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Inauguration full of Texas flair

Jan. 23, 2001

WASHINGTON, D.C. -- 'Watch out America, here comes Texas' seemed to be the battle cry Friday and Saturday in Washington, D.C., at the inauguration of President George W. Bush. 'Bush's fellow Texans practically took over the nation's capital,' reported one USA Today article.

Planes departing from Houston and Austin on Friday were packed with Bush supporters wearing buttons, boots and cowboy hats. About halfway through my flight to Washington, someone on the plane got up and started singing God Blessed Texas. What a great time to be a Texan.

Americans received their first dose of Texas at the Black Tie 'N' Boots Inaugural Ball on Friday evening. Guests were treated to jalapeno poppers, nachos and barbecue, and guests could get their pictures taken with a longhorn or an alligator.

Ladies donned rhinestone-studded gowns and fur-covered coats. The men introduced the traditional Texas tuxedo to Washington: a tuxedo jacket, blue jeans, boots and a cowboy hat. Spectators lined the streets outside the ball just to get a glimpse of the party inside.

Sens. Kay Bailey Hutchison and Phil Gramm represented Texas in high fashion. Hutchison wore rhinestone-studded boots while Gramm had a Texas map imprinted on the side of his black leather boots.

On Saturday, the Presidential Inaugural Commission sponsored eight additional balls. President Bush, his wife Laura, and Vice-President Dick Cheney and his wife, Lynn, visited each ball to make speeches and dance for the adoring crowds. Bush joked that he wasn't a good dancer, then he proved himself correct when he stepped on his daughter's dress and almost pulled it off while dancing with her. Bush danced with the First Lady a mere 29 seconds at his first ball.

Guests were also treated to the few Republican celebrities in Hollywood.

Clint Black and Lisa Hartman Black performed at the Black Tie 'N' Boots Ball and Kelsey Grammer from Frasier emceed the Texas and Wyoming state ball.

Former Dallas Cowboy Roger Staubaugh made an appearance, along with current quarterback Troy Aikman.

At the Washington Hilton Ball, several entrepreneurs discussed opening Tex-Mex restaurants around Washington to appeal to the hundreds of Texans predicted to work in the Bush administration. Red River Western Wear owner Sandy Thompson said she has already benefited from the influence of Texas.

Thompson sold out of black boots to people wanting to look like genuine Texans.

On the plane back to Austin, a woman next to me said she was so proud that Bush had come from Texas.

'I'll sleep better at night knowing he's in office,' she said.

BJ Goergen worked for the Bush-Cheney campaign and attended several inaugural balls in Washington.

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