5780962Photo: Michaele and Tareq Salahi at White House.
WASHINGTON (CBS/AP) Michaele and Tareq Salahi, the couple that, White House officials say, crashed a state dinner for the visiting Indian prime minister without invitations are feeling pretty bad for themselves these days.
"It's been devastating what's happened," Tareq Salahi told the "Today Show" Tuesday as the couple took to the airwaves to tell their side of the story.
5803574Photo: Michaele and Tareq Salahi with President Obama at state dinner.
"Our lives have really been destroyed," he said.
The Salahis, who described the furor surrounding their White House debut as "devastating," insisted that they were not gate crashers and that they would be exonerated from allegations of misconduct in the breach of White House security.
5815932Photo: The Salahis with Vice President Joe Biden.
"We're greatly saddened by all the circumstances ... portraying my wife and I as party crashers. I can tell you we did not party-crash the White House," Tareq Salahi said.
Appearing on the same program, White House spokesman Robert Gibbs described President Barack Obama and first lady Michelle Obama as angered by the incident.
"This wasn't a misunderstanding," Gibbs said. "You don't show up at the White House as a misunderstanding."
The Secret Service, who has been embarrassed by the incident, has said charges might be coming for the Salahis. Two senators have called for an investigation and the Salahis have been asked to explain themselves before Congress.
Tareq Salahi said he and his wife have "great respect" for President Barack Obama, and that they are working with the Secret Service in its investigation of the incident.
Michaele Salahi described the couple as "shocked and devastated" when they saw accounts of the incident the morning after the event.
"We were invited, not crashers, and there isn't anyone who would have the audacity or the poor behavior to do that," she said. "No one would do that, and certainly not us."
Asked if they had been mischaracterized through the media, Tareq Salahi said, "No question."
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