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Rick Gray, wife, enjoy Super


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Posted: Monday, February 7, 2011 10:08 pm | Updated: 12:01 am, Thu Sep 12, 2013.
BERNARD HARRIS Staff Writer

Lancaster Mayor Rick Gray's reading material of choice is books on public policy.
He doesn't spend a lot of time reading People magazine.
At Sunday's White House Super Bowl party, he
found himself three tables away from actress
Jennifer Lopez. He didn't meet her.
"It was funny. I didn't know who J-Lo was, but I
knew exactly who Arne Duncan, the secretary
of education, was," Gray recalled on Monday
after returning to Lancaster from Washington,
D.C.
Gray and his wife, Gail, were among about 150
people invited to watch the big game with the
big guy. They were in the East Room, two tables
away from President Barack Obama and first
lady Michelle Obama.

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In addition to Lopez and her husband, singer Marc Anthony - part owners of the Miami
Dolphins - the guests were mostly administration officials, lawmakers and friends and family of
the Obamas.

Grilling

The Grays said they were impressed that the gathering was so intimate and informal. Rick Gray
was afraid it would be stuffy and prearranged. Instead, he found the atmosphere very relaxed.

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"It was really like somebody was having a Super Bowl party in their home, a really big home,"
the mayor said.

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Much of the gathering was in the large East Room, where about 36 small round tables, each
with six chairs, were arranged. About five large-screen television sets were around the room.
The food buffet was in the grand hallway. Down the hall, the Red Room was set up as a kids'
room, with pingpong tables and televisions showing the Cartoon Network in addition to the
game.
There were few people wearing ties, said Gray, who sported his Philadelphia Eagles bow tie to
the event.
He and Gail spent much of the evening walking around meeting people. When they were
seated, they were at a table with U.S. Sen. Pat Toomey.
"He didn't know who I was," Gray said of Pennsylvania's new junior senator. Gray took the
opportunity to tell him about Lancaster and offered to show him around the city.
Gray, a progressive Democrat, said he didn't talk politics with Toomey, a conservative
Republican.

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Rick Gray, wife, enjoy Super Bowl at White House - LancasterOnline: News http://lancasteronline.com/news/rick-gray-wife-enjoy-super-bowl-at-whit...

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"Most of the time, we were talking football and what was going on with the game," he said.
Gray, an Eagles season ticket-holder, wasn't emotionally invested in the game between the
Pittsburgh Steelers and Green Bay Packers.
"When you're a big fan, it's hard to get excited about it when there isn't a team you can hate,"
Gray said.
Gray said it was a bi-partisan group, although there were more Pittsburgh fans in attendance.
"It was a real mixed crowd," Gray said. "Al Sharpton was there. I got to talk to him."
Those encounters weren't recorded.
"There was no photography, which was great. It would have ruined it," Gail Gray said of the
atmosphere.
Adding to the relaxed mood was the food served at the buffet. It was typical Super Bowl party
food, with a Midwest and Chicago influence. Along with deep-dish pizza, there were
cheeseburgers, bratwurst, knockwurst and chips with salsa and guacamole.
Gail recalled the fruits, salads and the make-your-own sundaes with homemade White House
ice cream.

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An artist, Gail also took the opportunity to walk around and look at the paintings of presidents
and first ladies hanging on the walls.
The Grays are still unclear how their names came to be included on the guest list. Yet, they were
told each name was personally approved by the president.
Once there, Rick Gray found himself with colleagues Reading Mayor Thomas McMahon and
former York Mayor John Brenner. They were the only three Pennsylvania mayors to be early
supporters of Obama's presidential bid.
On the way out, they thanked the Obamas for their hospitality, and Gail got a hug from the
president, "which really made her night," the mayor said.
"It was fun. I told Rick, now I've done it all," she said.
bharris@lnpnews.com

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Rick Gray, wife, enjoy Super Bowl at White House - LancasterOnline: News http://lancasteronline.com/news/rick-gray-wife-enjoy-super-bowl-at-whit...

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