Perhaps for the first time ever, the White House jammed and slammed last night.
Poets and playwrights, actors and musicians packed the ornate East Room, delivering cool jazz and glorious spoken-word poetry, sprinkling a bit of hip-hop and a bit of the heroic couplet. And through it all, the president and the first lady watched -- and applauded.
"We're here to celebrate the power of words," President Obama said. Words "help us appreciate beauty and also understand pain. They inspire us to action." He introduced the first lady as his poet.
Michelle Obama told the gathering that the event was a way to open up the White House and invite in diverse voices. "I have wanted to do this from day one," Mrs. Obama said. "The notion of standing in this room and hearing some poetry."