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Area residents enjoy ceremony

January 20, 2001

Area residents enjoy ceremony



By ANDREA BROWN-HURLEY / Staff Writer


Some Tri-State area residents who attended George W. Bush's inauguration ceremony in Washington on Saturday said they enjoyed the experience - but not all for the same reasons.

Del. Christopher B. Shank was in high spirits for his first presidential inauguration.

"I'm ecstatic," said Shank, R-Washington. "I think it's a new day for America."

President Bush's inaugural speech was brief but "uplifting and unifying," Shank said.

He saw a few protesters, mostly fringe groups such as people in support of medical marijuana, among the "throngs of people" at the ceremony, he said.

Sen. Alex X. Mooney, R-Frederick/Washington, attended a reception for Republican legislators on Pennsylvania Avenue, overlooking the parade.

When he arrived, he got off the Metro and was surprised to find a sea of protesters.

"I find it to be a little obnoxious that they're still sore about losing the election. I think it's very unfortunate that a fringe group of lefties want to come down here and whine," Mooney said.

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Saturday evening, Mooney planned to attend an unofficial inaugural ball for Bush supporters who helped with the Florida recount. Mooney said he felt like he played a small role in the win through his efforts in Broward County, Fla.

Dick Everhart, who was President Bush's campaign chairman for Washington County, said watching his candidate take the oath of office was "a great thing."

Though Democrat Chris Couturier attended the ceremony, she didn't feel the same way.

"I thought it stunk," said Couturier, of Greencastle, Pa.

She wasn't just talking about the short parade, her view of which was almost completely blocked by a thick line of police, she said.

Couturier said she felt "extremely compelled" to attend the inauguration to protest the process and outcome of the November presidential election.

"Gore got more, selected not elected," she and thousands of other protesters from across the nation chanted along the parade route, Couturier said.

Protesters booed when the new president's motorcade passed. They were orderly, but, Couturier said, "As the parade was getting closer, you could feel the excitement grow.

"There was a lot of anger," she said.

Despite being disappointed by the inaugural festivities, Couturier said the chance to join so many others at the nation's capitol Saturday to express her loss of faith in the election process was an opportunity she won't forget.

"It was just an incredibly overwhelming day," Couturier said. "I thought it was a great experience."

Staff Writer Laura Ernde contributed to this story.

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