WASHINGTON – Rep. Wayne T. Gilchrest’s date for the annual Congressional Ball at the White House only got one dance out of her partner.
But she didn’t expect much else.
“He’s just like his father,” said 78-year-old Elizabeth Gilchrest. “Dancing never appealed to Wayne or his father. But it was most enjoyable.”
While most members of Congress brought their spouses Wednesday night, Wayne Gilchrest, R-Kennedyville, took his mother to be dined and dazzled by the first ball of the holiday season in the First Family’s home.
“To me, it’s just another activity and I’d rather stay at home,” Wayne Gilchrest said. “I didn’t know what [my mother’s] reaction would be when I asked her. … But she was really excited, really thrilled with the idea.”
A Christmas dance and some quiet time with her son were high on the list of highlights from Elizabeth Gilchrest’s evening.
“I most enjoyed sitting, talking to Wayne in the library,” she said. “I’m so amazed I can look at him and think, `That’s my little boy.’ ”
She also “had a nice little chat” and a photograph taken with House Speaker Newt Gingrich, R-Ga., whom she recognized from television.
And she had a picture taken with President Clinton, whom she said looked like he had a terrible cold.
“I was sorry to see the president look so bad,” she said. “He whispered, his face was flushed and of course you can tell by looking in someone’s eyes that they have a cold. … He shouldn’t have been there, I think, but I guess it’s part of his job.”
A White House spokesman, however, said the president is not sick.
“The president is having some problems with his throat and speaking, but he feels fine otherwise,” said the spokesman, who asked not to be named. “He might have sounded like he was sick, but in fact it’s a medical condition with his throat.”
Vice President Gore and his wife, Tipper, also attended the party for about 1,400.
First Lady Hillary Rodham Clinton, who is attending the Sixth Conference of Wives of Heads of State and Governments of the Americas, did not attend the affair, a White House spokeswoman said. -30-