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No tours for public, but White House still open for Hollywood VIPs

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The doors of the White House are open for big names in Hollywood even though the sequester ended tours for the public months ago.

Rob Lowe was the latest actor to pay a visit to the White House, giving reporters a surprise on Wednesday afternoon by shaking hands and taking photos in the Brady press briefing room and touring the small confines of the White House press corps’ working spaces just beyond.

Mr. Lowe was quick to say he was not “touring” the White House and was simply there, along with his son and his girlfriend, to see his old friend Gene Sperling, the president’s director of the National Economic Council who used to write for the “West Wing” TV drama.

“I told Gene he should get back to Hollywood and forget the nation’s business,” Mr. Lowe said while mugging for the cameras.

Just last month, the White House denied that Julia Louis-Dreyfus, who plays Vice President Selina Meyer on the HBO comedy “Veep” was spotted looking very much the tourist on the White House grounds — smiling while posing for a photo outside the West Wing.

An administration official said she was on hand to have lunch with Mr. Biden, who is well aware of her portrayal in the show as the country’s ambitious but virtually powerless No. 2. He previously called to congratulate her after she won an Emmy award in the season “Veep.”

After the sequester budgets cuts went into effect in April, the White House stopped tours and will not allow the public to access any part of the executive mansion.

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About the Author

Susan Crabtree

Susan Crabtree is an award-winning investigative reporter with more than 15 years of reporting experience in Washington, D.C. Her reporting about bribery, corruption and conflict-of-interest issues on Capitol Hill has led to several FBI and ethics investigations, as well as consequences for members within their caucuses and at the ballot box. Susan can be reached at

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