You might have mistaken the Governors' Reception, the first official invitational inaugural event, for the inauguration of California Gov. Jerry Brown.
Thousands of Republicans mobbed Brown at the Sheraton Washington hotel reception.Each of the 32 governors held court from a powder blue carpeted booth with his state seal. About 15,000 people came in three different hourly waves (designated by red, whire or blue buttoms) and greeted governors from their home states.
People were pushing and shoving so uncontrollably around Brown that officials were forced to set up velvet ropes in front of his booth. And the Brown crowd wasn't just from California. "We saw our own governor and now we came to see Jerry. He's just so cute," said one mink-stoled admirer. from Arkansas.
Brown didn't seem to mind the endless autograph and photo requests. "Oh, I'm from a big state," he said a little hoarsely as he shook hands with a woman wearing a big Reagan/Bush pin. "But I am a bit overwhelmed by this Republican reception." Maureen Reagan even came over to say hello -- though she didn't ask for an autograph.
Meanwhile, things at the neighboring Maine and Idaho booths weren't quite as hectic. "Jerry is mobbed at all our governors' conferences," said Maine Gov. Joseph Brennan. Down at the other end of the ballroom, West Virginia Gov. Jay Rockefeller and his wife, Sharon were also doing a brisk turnover. "Oh, I'm from Pittsburgh and I saw you on TV al the time," said one autograph seeker, referring to Rockfeller's extensive ad campaign last fall.
And what did Rockefeller make of his popularity at the reception? He said, "It must be my wife."