Audley Tucker, one of Georgia's 100 percent Carter delegates, covered head-to-toe with Carter buttons, Carter jacket and a knit cap with Carter's name in the stitching, looked a bit sheepishly at one button on his lapel that read, "We Whipped His Ass!"
"I guess I'll take it off before I go out on the floor," he said with a shrug. "Everything else I've got on is positive."
Throughout the hotel lobbies and caucus rooms in the Big Apple today, there were the lingering echoes of the nine-month slug-out between the Kennedy and Carter factions and questions about how to resolve any of the bitterness that remained.
Tonight, Sen. Edward M. Kennedy (D-Mass.), to the disappointment of many of his staunch supporters here, resolved a lot of the questions by withdrawing.
Even before Kennedy ended his campaign after losing the crucial vote on the "open" convention rule, it looked as though the night's expected storms were petering out faster than Hurricane Allen on the shores of party unity.
The Carter forces had made peace offerings on the platform, and they urged supporters to "maintain a friendly relationship with the Kennedy people in your delegation. We're going to need them in November," as the Michigan whip told his delegates.
"Carter is making the kind of accommodations that are important on the platform, and I think If Carter wins we'll come away still a cohesive party," said Bobby Crim, a Kennedy delegate and speaker of the House in Michigan, where Kennedy narrowly won the caucus. "We won't be as split as the media or the Republicans think we will."
"We've talked strongly to each other but it's been a friendly rivalry," said Janet Mills, a Kennedy delegate from Maine, whose delegation split between Carter and Kennedy.
There was a spat in the delegations over whether some Carter delegates refused to have lunch with some Kennedy supporters, but more importantly, the state's governor, Joseph Brennan, the only governor to endorse Kennedy, had announced that he and other Kennedy backers in Mained would be working for Carter.
Still, beyond Madison Square Garden, where the political reins aren't so tight, this spirit of reconciliation could be more difficult to attain.
Some of the delegates staunchly set the tone for possible future resistance.
"My very first political science teacher taught me one thing," said Kristine B. Josly, a Kennedy delegate from Oregon dressed in white for the demonstration in support of the Equal Rights Amendment.
"My dear, she told me, there is another name for southern Democrat and that name is Republican -- and that is what Carter is . . . I know a lot of people who will move over to Anderson but I'm just going to stay home or write in Kennedy's name."
The cultural and political clash between 13 Kennedy delegates and the 26 Carter delegates from Oregon is almost unmendable, she added. "Oregon is well known as a small potatoes politics place. Carter people are small potatoes people. They don't seem to be interested in or informed about national issues."
Joyce Caplan, a Kennedy delegate from suburban Philadelphia, said late tonight she would "just throw my vote away" on a third party candidate before she would cast it for Carter. She insisted that she would refuse to support the president even if it comes down to a choice between Carter and the Republican nominee.
In Texas, there's "tremendous hostility" toward Carter because of his handling of the economy, said Gene Stockton, a Kennedy delegate from Fort Worth. He said Carter would lose by a "huge margin" in Texas if the election were held now, but he added "sheer fear . . . desperation" over Ronald Reagan might drive Texas Democrats to work hard for Carter.
Former Vermont Governor Philip H. Huff, a Kennedy supporter, said Kennedy supporters in Vermont feel so strongly about the "open" convention rule that its defeat tonight, he thinks will "impact on their willingness to turn-to in the fall."
Nancy Hoover of Del Mar, Calif., a city council member, stockbroker and former mayor, said, "The last time  I supported Carter, I worked for him. I gave money . . . I won't do that again. The things he has done for this country -- his economic policies, his decisions, his no-decisions -- have been irresponsible."
She said she would vote for independent candidate John B. Anderson or "even for Reagan" before she would vote for Carter.
Pro-Kennedy labor leaders, representing some of the country's biggest unions, had given Kennedy a boisterous welcome at a reception the night before, and indicated their post-convention support for Carter, while likely in most cases might be hard to translate into rank-and-file votes.
The most defiant, William Winpisinger, president of the million-member International Association of Machinists, said he planned to walk out of the convention if Carter is nominated and may support Barry Commoner, the Citizens Party candidate.
Jerry Wurf, president of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employes, warned that an endorsement for Carter from his union could not be taken for granted.
And United Auto Workers president Douglas A. Fraser, who is expected to play a peacemaker role after the nomination, said he would have no difficulty supporting Carter over Reagan. But he predicted it will be "very difficult" to whip up enthusiasm for the president among blue-collar workers because of the economic slump.
Albert Shanker, president of the American Federation of Teachers, whose 200,000 New York members are a force in this battleground state, made a similar prediction.
Colorado Gov. Richard Lamm, who has been an outspoken Kennedy backer, made the unconciliatory observation that "for Carter to come back in the West against Reagan would take the greatest resurrection since Lazarus."
An informal poll of delegates conducted during the three weeks before the convention by the Los Angeles Times found that about half of the Kennedy delegates who responded said they could not support the Carter ticket. Most said they would sit out the campaign.
On the other side, some Carter faithful indicated they might have some trouble forgiving Kennedy for taking his fight all the way to the convention.
"He's building for '84, only thing I can see," said Joe Wilson, a black retired postal worker from Texas and a Carter alternate. "And he's hurting his chances. . . . Blacks aren't just necessarily concerned with black concerns -- they're concerned with what is going on in the country as a whole. Mr. Kennedy has made me more of a Carter man because of how he's tearing up the Democratic Party."
Despite the grumbling, a lot of people, including Kennedy supporters, believe that thoughts of a Reagan presidency would help the party unite.
"I won't have any trouble supporting Carter," said Anna Biggins, a Kennedy delegate from McDonald, Ohio, "Because I'm a Democrat and I have been a Democrat all my life. I'm also a member of the auto workers union and I think the Democratic Party can help us more with our problems than Ronald Reagan and the Republicans."
Doris J. Miller, a Kennedy delegate and an American Federation of Teachers organizer from River Rouge, Mich., was handling out big "Open Convention buttons at the Garden early today. Most delegates were saying no thanks. Miller said that if the Kennedy forces lost, "that means America has lost."
But when pressed about whether she would support Carter, she lifted he chin and said, "Beg your pardon, I'm a Democrat first."