In past inaugurations, there has been a tradition of holding regional candlelight dinners around the city for big funders. This year, the Obama campaign really shook things up by having them be bipartisan. For example, one honored Joe Biden. Ours honored Colin Powell. The last one honored John McCain. Plus – one of the speakers at ours was Sen. John Warner (R) and Faith Hill performed (not sure of her political affiliation).
The black tie event was so beautiful (held in the National Building Museum). As much as I love my fellow pacific northwesterners, though, I was very happy that it was a “west” dinner and not just a pacific northwest dinner. The West included California and the full host of Hollywood types. From Steven Spielberg and Kate Capshaw to Samuel L. Jackson (whose shoulder Eric touched when he thanked him for his speech at the opening) to Jamie Lee Curtis (I was going to ask her if she has the problem of people coming up and asking her if she knows that she looks like Suzi LeVine, but Eric stopped me) and Christopher Guest to Ben Affleck and more. It was incredibly star studded -and the dresses and such were gorgeous!
Colin Powell’s speech was truly a highlight. He spoke about MLK & Obama and reminded us all that we have to serve in our communities. He also brought the room to tears with his story of Election night and how, when he finally heard Charlie Gibson call it, he had to sit down because of the shock of the moment.
Later, when Joe Biden spoke in honor of Colin Powell, he slipped and called him Mr. President instead of Mr. Secretary. He then made a joke about it “You could have been if you wanted to”
Last to speak was Obama. His talk was his usual fantastic, but the most poignant was Sen. Claire McCaskill’s introduction to him as the last time she’ll reference him without calling him President Obama. She took a moment to savor the thought.
After he spoke, we got to go up and shake hands and take pictures with him (professional ones – not ready yet, but I”ll update in a couple of days with the pic). Quick note before going to the photo line – a little earlier, a friend had given me some temporary tattoos of Obama (the shepherd ferry one with “change” at the bottom). For kicks – I put it on my upper bicep (i was wearing a tank dress). Okay – back to the photo shoot….
I shake his hand and get in position for the photo – mentioning that I’m the early learning person (he then said to me “you ARE persistent!”). As I was walking away – he complimented my tattoo. SO FUN!!!
here are some of the photos of the evening (pretty self explanatory)