Obama Snubs Usher, Embraces Kal Penn


Jan. 22 2009, Published 6:54 a.m. ET

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Perhaps someone should have taught Usher some White House etiquette before he went to the inauguration to meet new predisent Barack Obama in Washington D.C.

After performing at the We Are One: The Obama Inaugural Celebration concert on Jan 18, the sexy singer waited around at the Lincoln Memorial along with celebs including Steve Carell, Jack Black, Laura Linney and Josh Groban. But when it was time to meet Obama, Usher refused to take off his huge shades. Talk about an executive diss!

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“He should feel lucky to meet Obama but instead he cared more about trying to look cool by wearing his sunglasses,” an onlooker tells OK!. “It was overcast and not sunny at all. He looked like he was dressed for one of his music videos and not ready to meet the president. It was so rude.”

Obama appeared to take notice. When he went down the line of celebs, Obama took time to chat with each one, but when he got to Usher, 30, the President quickly shook Usher’s hand and moved on, leaving the snubbed singer in shock.

One person Obama didn’t snub was Harold & Kumar Go to White Castle star Kal Penn, 31, who’s been a longtime Obama supporter. Obama, with a huge grin on his face, gave Penn a tight hug, while the “Love in This Club” singer looked on.

“Kal and Barack are like this,” actress Courtney Ford, 30, told OK! at the Huffington Post Pre-Inaugural Ball on Jan. 19, crossing her fingers. Courtney says Kal her and hubby, Superman Returns star Brandon Routh, well as cast members on Penn’s show House involved in the Obama campaign, where they were able to meet Obama.

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“Yes, we’ve met Obama several times,” Brandon says. “He was cool. He’s a very, very humble person, well spoken and funny. I think that’s what’s great about him. He has a great sense of humor and he was very grateful for us being there and giving our time as well.”

Obama has many reasons to be grateful for Penn.

“Kal has probably been in every state talking to the young people, hitting the pavement, knocking on doors, calling phones,” Brandon says. “It’s awesome!”

And you can guarantee Kal wasn’t wearing any shades when he saw Obama this weekend.

By Laura Lane


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