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The Inauguration

By Anthony Y. Strike

"Y' all can take your shoes off now, 'cause I don't give a damn," bandleader Charlie Daniels shouted to the crowd gathered for the Inaugural party at the National Guard Armory.

President Jimmy Carter had just gone home after dancing a relaxed fox trot to the celebratory music of Guy Lombardo and the enthusiastic cheers of Georgians and campaign staffers.

Carter told the crowd that his wife was wearing the same dress she had worn to her last inauguration, and asked the crowd "how do you like Rosie's old dress?" They responded with shouts while Rosalynn smiled and Jimmy beamed.

There have traditionally been three Inaugural Balls around Washington, and the more casual Armory is usually the site of the campaign staff's celebration. That was unchanged this year despite the proliferation of Inaugural Parties.

Mixed drinks cost $2 apiece and cans of beer were $1.50, but many of the dancers seemed to have forgotten their January budgets. One man held a Budweiser in one hand and twirled his partner over his shoulders with the other, pouring part of the beer on the bare feet of an oblivious woman in white Levi corduroys dancing next to him.

Billy Carter watched from a box in the balcony and Pat Caddell '72, Carter's pollster, escorted Lauren Bacall. The big names left after Carter's appearance, but the dancers danced until 2:30 a.m.

One woman said the highlights of the entire inaugural week were Carter's appearance at the Armory and Dicky Betts leading the band in "Ramblin' Man." But not everyone had fun all week.

Robert Dole worked to pass a Senate resolution saying that people who avoided serving their country during the war in Viet Nam should have to serve some social service in peacetime. Scoop Jackson predicted trouble between the president and Congress. And the guards who kept watch over the Capitol grounds the night before the inaugural ceremony were more cold than excited.

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