President Obama may have saved his best Inauguration party for last.
Lady Gaga and Tony Bennett were the headliners of a private post-Inauguration bash for White House, campaign and inauguration staffers to blow off steam after a grueling election season.
Although most of the party was off-limits to the press, photos tweeted from the event showed Lady Gaga in a white gown with elaborate lacing, bizarre outcroppings of balls at her shoulders and hips, and a frothy, full skirt.
The president and First Lady Michelle Obama arrived at the Washington convention center for the ball just before 9:00pm to cheers from the roughly 10,000 to 15,000 guests in attendance.
“You all clean up pretty good,” the president quipped as he took the stage.
The Obamas were also dressed up for the occasion. The president wore a white tie, while Michelle Obama stunned in a sleek, long sleeved gold and black pantsuit.
When Obama introduced Gaga and Bennett – jokingly calling them “pretty good musicians” – his wife waved her arms in a little dance.
“It’s been a long weekend,” Obama teased. “She’s getting a little silly now.”
Obama then got serious.
“My main job here tonight,” he said, “is really simple: It’s just to say thank you. All of you have come to represent for me and Michelle our deepest hopes for America.”
“The average age here is probably around 20 something. And that’s only because I’m here, which brings the average age up, quite a bit,” he joked.
He said the skill and idealism of those in the room “makes me know that America’s future is in good hands.”
“As long as all of you understand the immense and incredible power that you possess when you work together, when you join voices,” he added.
The president also paid tribute to Alex Okrent, a Chicago campaign staffer who died during the presidential race.
“Alex was one of you,” Obama said. “This incredibly thoughtful, talented, compassionate, caring young person who decided to get involved because he thought he could make a difference. And tragically, he ended up leaving us while working on the campaign.”
“It was heartbreaking,” he said. “It reminded us of how precious our time on this earth is.”
The president ended the speech on an upbeat note – leading the crowd in his campaign chant, “Fired up! Ready to go!”
“I think Lady Gaga’s fired up, too,” Obama said.
The hottest ticket in town may also have been the cheapest. Tickets were sold to staffer for just $10. All proceeds were donated to the Alex Okrent Memorial Fund.
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