President Bush's sprint through the inaugural balls last night looked a lot like his campaign last year -- he swooped in, fired up the crowd, flashed a thumbs-up and moved on. He and the first lady visited ten parties, danced a little at each one and were back at the White House almost 90 minutes ahead of schedule. Total time on the dance floor: less than nine minutes. Around Washington, 50-thousand people gussied up for official balls draped in red-white-and-blue names like Freedom, Liberty, Democracy, Independence and Stars and Stripes.
Most them didn't mind Bush's briskness. The report from the Freedom Ball: warm champagne and five-dollar beer.
At the Patriot Ball, one disgruntled reveler complained, "There's no beef. There's no shrimp. This is the worst ball I've ever been to."