President Barrack Obama on Tuesday (Wednesday in Manila) pointed out what he called “a sign of warmth” from the audience gathered in the East Room of the White House—a lipstick smear on his collar.
He said the culprit was the “aunt” of Filipino-Mexican-American singer Jessica Sanchez.
But Obama was actually referring to Sanchez’s maternal grandmother, Virginia Bugay, who was visiting from her native Bataan and accompanied her granddaughter to a White House celebration of Asian American Pacific Islander Heritage Month.
Sanchez, a runner-up in the reality show American Idol, performed at the White House event.
While the audience waited for Obama to arrive, Virginia stood near the entrance, recounted Bing Branigin, spokesperson of the National Federation of Filipino American Associations (NaFFAA), who attended the event.
When Obama entered the room, Virginia rushed toward Obama and said, “Mr. President I’m a big fan, can I have a hug?” Branigin said.
In his speech, Obama said the contributions Asian-Americans have made to the US underscore the need to overhaul the nation’s immigration system.
A diverse group of artists, authors, and musicians, including Sanchez, spoke or performed, showcasing the many contributions of Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders to the rich artistic traditions of America.
Watch Jessica’s performance