Utahns' experiences at inaugural festivities have ranged from rubbing shoulders with George Bush-or even better, with movie star Tom Selleck-to finding almost any excuse not to dance at the inaugural ball.
And one Utahn even used spare time to hunt for a house because he is hoping for an appointment soon in the Bush Administration.Utahns gathered at a reception Thursday hosted by Steve Studdert, the executive director of Bush's inaugural committee. Following are some of the experiences they described:
Steve Studdert, head of Bush's inaugural: "I shouldn't sit down-I'll fall asleep," he said as he signed some papers that couldn't wait, at the reception. He's been working around the clock for the past several days. His wife reminded him that even with such work, "The only people who will remember you next week are the ones who didn't get tickets."
The only time he gets off after the inaguration, he said, is between 4 p.m. Sunday and 7 a.m. Monday, when he travels to Japan to plan a visit by Bush. But he says he has throughly enjoyed working so closely with Bush.
Bonnie Beck Studdert, Studdert's wife: She was introduced on stage at the inaugural's opening ceremonies wearing an expensive, full-length fur coat but admits, "It wasn't mine. I borrowed it. I had surgery last week, and a neighbor brought over dinner-and the fur, and asked me to wear it. I'll return her plates, but maybe not the fur."
She also has had close contact with the family of George Bush and Dan Quayle. "The Bushes treat everyone like relatives. They are warm and accept you. The Bush (grand)kids haven't been affected by everything. They're cute. But the Quayle kids seem to have had a rough time with the publicity."
Richard Richards, former Utah Republican party chairman: He's said he's profiting from Studdert's decision to work full time in the White House for Bush.
"We have shared a consulting company, but I'm buying him out. It will be mine," Richards said.
Jon Huntsman Jr., vice president for international affairs, Huntsman Chemical Corp.,: He said he and his wife have been looking around Washington at houses because he hopes to be appointed by Bush to a position in the Commerce Department.
"I already have a great job and travel all over the world. I would like something comparable in Commerce", he said, adding he hopes to have final word in a month or so. "It may sound corny, but I really want to work to help others through the government."
Gov. Norm Bangerter: He said his recently operated-on knee is doing much better, but he has discarded only one of his two crutches. Pointing at the other, he said, "I'm using it as my excuse not to go to the ingugural ball and dance."
Sen. Jake Garn, R-Utah: He is also skipping the inaugural ball for a not-so-unique excuse. "It's boring. Kathleen and I went once so we've experienced it. Once you've been to one unaugural ball, you've been to them all." He said they are usually so crowded that guests simply spend the night standing shoulder-to-shoulder in a hot hall.
Nancy NeSmith, Republican Party volunteer from Salt Lake City: She's looking forward to the ball Friday evening because Utahns will share The Kennedy Center with people from California-including actor Tom Selleck, with whom she had a brief encounter at the last inauguration.
"I had my hands on him four years ago at the gala-we bumped into each other. He said, "Excuse me, can I get past?'" NeSmith's travels to inaugurations and Republican conventions have also allowed her to meet such people as Donald Trump, Henry Kissinger and Bush.
Rep. Wayne Owens, D-Utah: He admitted that being a Democrat among so many rejoicing Republicans can be a little depressing. "But I got over my most of my emotional distress in November after the election, so I'm passing by to offer my respects."
Palmer DePaulis, Salt Lake City mayor: I'm really excited to be here," he said, even though he's a Democrat, too. "I've never been to an inaugural before. And like I said before, I think we had two good candidates for president. The one I preferred didn't win. But Bush will be good."
DePaulis is attending concurrent workshops of both the National Conference of Mayors and the U. S. League of Cities and Towns.
Jim Campbell, president Utah Education Association: He's one of five teachers from who had his expenses-except transportation from Utah-paid by the inaugural committee. He believes such attention to teachers will truly make Bush the "education president."
"We've already had two meetings where he's spoken to us this week," he said. "We were at a meeting today where he encouraged high school students to become teachers someday. Bringing respect for teachers back into society is one of the most important things he can do."