WASHINGTON (AP) — "At Last" may have been just what President Barack Obama and his wife, Michelle, were thinking last night as they glided through their first inaugural dance to the Etta James classic.
The Obamas were the main attraction at the Neighborhood Ball, the first of 10 inaugural celebrations they planned to attend, going into the early hours today. The celebrations marked the end of a long day of formal inaugural events and the two-year campaign that put them in the White House.
The president pulled his wife close and they danced a slow, dignified two-step while, offstage, Beyonce sang. The president spun the first lady once in a half-turn.
Obama cut loose in a faster groove a few minutes later, as Shakira, Mary J. Blige, Faith Hill and Mariah Carey sang along with Stevie Wonder to his "Sign, Sealed, Delivered." The song was played at nearly every one of Obama's rallies throughout the campaign.
"You could tell that's a black president from the way he was moving," comedian Jamie Foxx joked after the dance.
The president wore white tie, while Michelle shimmered in a white, one-shouldered, floor-length gown. It was embellished from top to bottom with white floral details and made by 26-year-old New York designer Jason Wu.
"First of all, how good looking is my wife?" Obama asked the crowd of celebrities and supporters alike.
At their second ball, the president pulled the first lady much closer than he did on their first dance. At one point, he wrapped both arms around her waist and locked his fingers together at the small of her back.
"I hope all of you will remember what this campaign and, hopefully, this presidency is all about," Obama said. "It's about you, pitching in, working together, trying to get past our differences in order to create the kind of world we want to pass on to our children and America."