Shrugging off the exhaustion of a 100-party weekend, Inaugural Washington pulled its furs back on yesterday and dashed once more into tight-scheduled celebration. Intimate it was not, as 8,000 Distinguished Ladies were feted at the Kennedy Center, Vice President-elect Bush and his family made 15,000 new acquaintances at a museum at the Mall and the scent of 1,000 bratwurst floated elsewhere over commingled ladies and gentlemen of the presidential transition. Gala, it was.
For those on the way to the inaugural gala, like Frank and Jayne Ikard, and those whose drivers didn't want to buck the Captial Centre traffic, like Christine and Roger Stevens, the sumptuous party held by Time, Inc., was the place to be. Glenn Watts, the union president who endorsed Jimmy Carter, ran into Richard Viguerie, whose direct-mail campaigns helped clear Congress of many liberals, near the flaming mini-steak diane, and heard these consoling words from Viguerie: "You might have noticed our literature has stopped calling you union boss -- now you're officials."
On his way to the gray suits crowded around former Texas Gov. John Connally and Henry Kissinger, California Gov. Jerry Brown denied the crowds he kept attracting were edging into another former governor's limelight. "I'm just representing California in the right tradition. I wish Ronald Reagan well," said Brown. As he casually discussed the weather for the inaugural parade, Kissinger introduced his guests, two buinessmen from Hong Kong. "I am showing them the ropes. I told them about the free food," said Kissinger.
When diva Roberta Peters spied Sol Linowitz, the Carter administration's Middle East negotiator, she asked about the hostage situation. "I've been on the edge of my seat all day," she said. Linowitz described the "air of expectancy" around the Carter inner circle and Robert Stauss, Carter campaign chairman, said he was on his way to the White House. Diego Ascencio, the American ambassador held hostage in Columbia until April of thise year, said that "down the pike" he would be helping with some of the hostages' anticipated psychological and physical readjustment. "I'm not over it yet," said Ascenio. "My hearing is much more acute. I can hear conversations in the next room. Right now this band is deafening."
But the noise and the crush, under a pink tent in the rear of the Decatur House, only added to the festive sense of abandon. The Japanese proprietors of a sushi bar took pictures of former astronaut Mike Collins and former Nixon campaign manager Clark MacGregor trying the raw shrimp and salmon. National Urban League president Vernon Jordan suveyed the room, quipping, "It looks like the white people still are on top," Judge John Sirica, at one end of the seemingly mile-long buffet, and former White House secretary Rose Mary Woods, at the other, were united in their admiration of Ronald Reagan. "He not only has had great experience, he's selected a good Cabinet. I know William Casey personally; he's a good lawyer," said Sirica.
Sen. Larry Pressler (R-S.D.) was describing how he spent most of the weekend with 300 constituents, who didn't have tickets to the inaugural events and "were amazed" at the costs. Sen. Charles Mathias (R-Md.) said he hoped the costs would be "self-liquidating." But Mark Russell observed, "This has cost more than Millard Fillmore's entire budget for four years, and that's just since noon."