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Scenes from an Inauguration

Maryland's 61st gubernatorial inauguration brought freezing temperatures, an Irish sensibility and a new sense of celebration for Democrats in Annapolis. Even Republicans got into the spirit, at least for one day, as the outgoing governor and lieutenant governor turned out to see Martin O'Malley and Anthony G. Brown be sworn in and as others offered support to the new Democratic team.

"It's like Hollywood comes to Maryland," said state Sen. E.J. Pipkin (R-Queen Anne's). "It's one of the best days in politics."

The day's events drew House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), who had barely finished celebrating the Democrats' return to power in Congress before exclaiming over the Democratic return to the governor's mansion in her native Maryland; Fox News anchor Greta Van Susteren, whose husband, John P. Coale, is among the biggest O'Malley donors; and Irish Ambassador Noel Fahey, whom O'Malley greeted from the dais in Irish.

About 9,000 people attended the inaugural ball at the Baltimore Convention Center, where guests grazed on food from 75 restaurants across the state and watched O'Malley perform with not one but two Irish rock bands.

Given the weather, it was not a day to make fashion statements.

Or was it?

Amid the hundreds of gray tweed and black overcoats on Lawyers Mall, there were the yellow ties worn by the new governor, his lieutenant governor and top aides.

Yes, men can make sartorial choices in sync.

O'Malley, it turns out, has examined the symbolism in the colors of the Maryland flag and bowed to it on his big day. The crimson tie he often favors refers to the "blood we all share," spokesman Rick Abbruzzese said. The black and white celebrate the "coming together of the races" in the state. And yellow?
"It's the opportunity we share to move people forward," Abbruzzese said. "I didn't make it up. He has said that!" he said to skeptical reporters.

Others also stood out, notably Kendel Ehrlich in a fuchsia wool coat, which contrasted with the demure black worn by Katie O'Malley, the new first lady.

Then there was Howard Dean, a former presidential candidate and the Democratic National Committee chairman, who looked casual but comfortable in a burnt sienna down jacket that dated to his days campaigning during Iowa caucuses in 2004.

Lisa Rein

By Phyllis Jordan  |  January 18, 2007; 6:20 AM ET
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