Back in one of the debates that preceded the 1980 election, President Jimmy Carter provoked consternation and doubt when he told rival candidate Ronald Reagan and the American public that his daughter Amy, just turned 13, had expressed anxiety about "nuclear weaponry and the control of nuclear arms."

D.C. Mayor Marion Barry took a leaf from Carter's book yesterday at the Metro subway's 10th birthday party at the Pavilion in the Old Post Office.

Barry was accompanied by his son Christopher, 5. On the platform, heavy laden with federal, state and local politicians, was Ralph L. Stanley, head of the U.S. Urban Mass Transportation Administration, who, Barry said, is holding up federal money for further Metro construction.

Christopher wanted to go to the ceremony, the mayor said, because he is troubled by the fund delay and wanted to tell Ralph Stanley to his face that the money should be released.

"Isn't that right, Christopher?" the mayor asked. Christopher nodded halfhearted assent, sat down and started bouncing a balloon around, sometimes knocking it into Stanley's lap. Daddy finally vetoed this distraction, folding the balloon in the crook of his own arm.

You'll read about the birthday celebration elsewhere in today's paper. Let it be said it was a party of the kind Metro favors: recognition for almost every regional politician who can be rounded up. If you like speeches, you'd have enjoyed all 15 that were delivered yesterday (if you count the lengthy invocation by the Rev. Jerry A. Moore Jr., a former Metro board chairman and D.C. City Council member, as a speech).