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Obamas at the Balls: First Dance

(AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)

The crowd has been rocking out with Mary J. Blige and Mariah Carey at the Neighborhood Ball inside one of the ballrooms of the cavernous Walter E. Washington Convention Center, and then, precisely at 8:30 p.m., there they are: President Obama and first lady Michelle Obama, he in white tie, with that tie slightly askew, she in a sweeping, shimmery white, one-shouldered, floor-length gown with a train by Jason Wu.

"How good-looking is my wife?" says the president, with that megawatt smile of his. Crowd roar in response.

As promised, Beyonce sings the Etta James classic, "At Last," and the new residents of the White House slowly pivot around the stage. The crowd appears transfixed. Beyonce, in a fitted silver satin gown, looks as if she will weep. At song's end, Blige has tears running down her cheek, but the president and first lady seem quite composed. After all, they've got a marathon ahead of them -- nine more balls and a schedule that calls for them to return to their new residence well after 2 a.m.

And then, an uptempo number -- Stevie Wonder and "Signed, Sealed, Delivered," which also happened to be Obama's identifying ringtone on advisor David Axelrod's phone. All the talent crowds the stage and takes a stanza, and the first couple boogies around the stage with a bunch of other folks.

And then, there it is!! The first known presidential bump! as Obama dances onstage with a young woman.

By The Reliable Source  |  January 20, 2009; 9:14 PM ET
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I'm not very impressed by Mrs. Obama's gown. Looked like a Project Runway bottom 2 to me.

Posted by: ArlingtonGay | January 20, 2009 9:38 PM | Report abuse

I think Pres. and Mrs. Obama (a nice phrase to become comfortable with) are both very well and appropriately dressed.

As a man I can appreciate the good tailoring in Pres. Obama's evening wear. I can also appreciate that Mrs. Obama's dress is very beautiful. I also liked her outfit for the inauguration (complete with green leather gloves to hold the Lincoln Bible).

What is more important than the clothes is the fact that they are both clearly in love and happy.

Also, Pres. Obama has an unambiguous message, a message of hope and encouragement for America and its friends and neighbours.

As a Canadian I congratulate America on its new President, and its new Vice-President, and I wish them every success with their new responsibilities.

God bless America!!

PS: I teach a college class every Tuesday (late afternoon); I surprised my students today with a decorated cake and (dealcoholized) sparkling wine to commemorate the Inauguration of Pres. Obama and Vice-President Biden.

Posted by: Beprudent | January 20, 2009 10:05 PM | Report abuse

One never wears white tie with anything other than tails. Major fashion faux pas on Obama's part.

Posted by: VirgilCaine | January 20, 2009 10:42 PM | Report abuse

From Miss Manners:

Dear Miss Manners: I am attending a "white tie" ball.

I was taught by my father that white tie included the tails, white pique shirt, vest and tie but should also include white kid gloves, a white silk scarf, a top hat and a walking stick.

I own all of this apparel. Is it still proper to dress this way for a formal event such as I mention?

Gentle Reader: Your father must have been quite a well-turned-out gentleman, and Miss Manners rather regrets that on the rare occasions where white tie is still worn, the gloves (buckskin, rather than kid), hat and walking stick seldom accompany it.

As long as you don't line up with any other gentlemen who are similarly outfitted, however, and all start tipping your hats and twirling and tapping your walking sticks in unison, she would consider the full outfit to remain appropriate, not to mention dashing.

Posted by: lmwilker | January 21, 2009 9:24 AM | Report abuse

Absolutely - white tie with TAILS. He could have worn black tie, I guess, although if an Inaugral Ball isn't a formal occasion, what is? No one seems to know how to dress anymore. I am 100% behind the new president, but I was disappointed in the whole inaugural ball scene. It all looked too much like American Idol, with the Obamas up on a stage performing for a crowd. I wanted to see a really classy party, with real guests and evyerone dancing - not a made-for-TV spectacular.

Posted by: oldfashioned | January 21, 2009 11:37 AM | Report abuse

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