Washington DC - (Ass Mess): Laura Bush's embarrassment was excruciating last night as she and President Bush hosted a gala dinner at the White House where nearly all the invited guests turned up in exactly the same hideous, ruinously expensive designer outfit that the First Lady herself had chosen to wow the cameras with.
At first the US media played down reports that guests, including celebrity comedian Mr Borat, Dolly Parton, Steven Spielberg, George Lucas, Reese Witherspoon, Aretha Franklin, Tom Hanks, Joan Collins and Andrew Lloyd Webber all arrived in matching scarlet Oscar de la Renta embroidered tulle jackets and floor-length strumpet skirts from the designer's Whores and Mines collection 2006.
But soon it became impossible to gloss over camera footage of the festive event as guest after guest was ushered by White House aides to discreet changing room facilities where a few alternative outfits were hurriedly put together for their use by their nonplussed hosts.
The foreign press corpse soon latched on to these scenes of acute embarrassment, with one UK tabloid describing it as a moment of acute sartorial faux pas unrivalled since President Jimmy Carter's persistence in wearing a 'thoroughly unpleasant cardigan' at an Oval Office Halloween Party in honour of the Papal Pro-Nuncio.
But it was not all done and dusted after a quick make-over in the West Wing cloakroom, oh no.
President Bush's orders that evening to White House photographers were to snap up a group shot of him and the First Lady greeting the early arrivals and immediately rush the pictures for printing this year's official White House Xmas Card.
And so over five million official commemorative Xmas 2006 cards came hot off the press that evening ready in time for the customary annual White House mailshot.
If you haven't received yours in the post yet, it's probably because you weren't on the list, said a spokesman.....