Brown Carries `Inclusiveness' Too Far
WASHINGTON — THE theme of President-elect Clinton's inauguration next week is "inclusiveness." But Commerce Secretary-designate Ronald Brown may have carried that notion too far.
Mr. Brown, a lawyer-lobbyist who was Democratic Party chairman, planned to attend a gala on Sunday whose sponsors included large United States and foreign corporations. The event was canceled after Mr. Clinton expressed his displeasure.
With that distraction out of the way, Clinton and his supporters are free to concentrate on a festive week of events. Next week's transition activities are trying to strike a balance between the glitter of Ronald Reagan's first inaugural and the down-home style of Jimmy Carter's swearing in. While Mr. Carter's event cost about $3.6 million and President Bush's inaugural cost $30 million, the price tag for next week's events is estimated at $20 million to $25 million.
"This really is the most inclusive and diverse inauguration as far as events open to the public," inaugural press secretary Joyce Kravitz says. "Glitter? Well, I don't know about that. The things we have put on the schedule were designed so that as many people as possible could attend. That's why I think there are so many events that are free."
The festivities kick off Sunday with "America's Reunion on the Mall," an outdoor festival with plenty of music, arts, and crafts. "I think this event, `America's Reunion on the Mall,' is one of the best events of the week. And it is totally free," Ms. Kravitz says.
Later on Sunday, Clinton, Vice President-elect Al Gore Jr., and their families will arrive at the Lincoln Memorial after completing a 121-mile bus journey from Monticello, Thomas Jefferson's Virginia house. Clinton and the others will watch "A Call for Reunion - A Musical Celebration," and then ring a replica of the Liberty Bell. Other bells will ring across the country.
On Tuesday, there will be a glittering "Presidential Gala" at the Capital Centre. On Wednesday, there will be a parade along Pennsylvania Avenue, featuring, among other participants, the Lawn Chair Precision Drill Team. That night, there will be 11 balls with a top ticket price of $125.
But Democrats, who have accused GOP administrations of being "uncaring," are careful to put a spin of "social consciousness" on their reveling. For example, guests attending a Monday night gala will have to present not only a ticket but also a can of food for the poor.