Maurice Smith of Plains, Ga., has known Jimmy Carter all his life, so he rode the Peanut Special from Plains to Washington for 17 hours to celebrate his friend's inauguration. Yesterday, Smith stood frustrated in a hotel lobby, and proclaimed it to be "a damn dump."
"There's no heat," said Smith. "The rooms are not clean."
Smith and more than 300 other Georgians who rode the train from Plains were scheduled to stay at the Ambassador Hotel at 1411 K St. NW. Maxine Reese, coordinator of the Peanut Brigade, said they found many rooms weren't ready, some rooms were without heat or clean towels, one room had a wall knocked out and the hotel management was uncooperative.
A desk clerk at the hotel refused to comment and the manager could not be reached. "It's unreal," said Reese, who was busy trying to book the Georgians in other hotels. "Two girls actually flew back to Georgia."
Reese said the Gerogians plan to stay only overnight and depart by train today after a reception at the White House. "I'm so embarrassed over this situation."
"We know it's not your fault," a fellow Georgian told Reese. "You had no way of knowing this would happen."
"It's a shame," said Sam Simpson of Barnesville, Ga. "Many of these people are (Carter) family."
Because her room waasn't ready, Jo Erb, who said she was a third cousin of Rosalynn Carter said she had to wear the blue jeans that she wore on the train rideto the inauguration. "I couldn't wash or anything."