Bush Marks Valentine's Day with Black-Tie Affair

Some women get flowers, others jewelry. This year, first lady Laura Bush got a formal dinner and an intimate concert by a well-known crooner from her valentine.

For the second year in a row, President Bush and his wife spent the lovers' holiday formally entertaining about 100 friends and associates at the White House.

Singer Michael Feinstein capped the romantic evening by serenading the crowd, which included new Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito, actor Chuck Norris — wearing black cowboy boots with his tux, of course — singer Wayne Newton and Sens. Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., and Joe Lieberman, D-Conn.

Feinstein brought a big smile to the first lady's face with a version of Johnny Mercer's "Laura." He sang for about a half-hour, concluding with Jerry Lee Lewis' "Great Balls of Fire."

"Thank you for making this Valentine's Day special," President Bush told Feinstein after the performance.

Before Feinstein played, the Bushes and their guests enjoyed what the White House called a "social dinner" in the State Dining Room.

The annual dinner used to be casual, with just a handful of close friends in the Bushes' private quarters at the White House residence. But last year's switch to a black-tie affair in the mansion's marble-floored and gilded state rooms, though not the kind of party the president is known to prefer, was part of Mrs. Bush's second-term goal of stepping the entertaining up a notch.

The menu included a tasting of American caviar; rack of lamb and vegetables for the main course; and, for dessert, baked camembert and a puff pastry called "The Lovebirds" — accompanied by the newly hip rose champagne.