Overheard at the New Zealand Embassy during the luncheon to celebrate the inauguration of President-elect Barack Obama:
“I learned that John Baldacci’s family is not from Italy, but actually from New Zealand,” said Severin Beliveau, joking to the crowd about why the event was held at the embassy.
In fact, Beliveau has long-standing ties to New Zealand.
Sen. Susan Collins said she is “impressed by Obama’s outreach to Republicans.”
When asked if she had any final thoughts on the Bush administration in its final day, she said, “I believe that President Bush always did what he thought was right — even if I didn’t always agree with him.”
Dan Tremble, the former mayor of Bangor and the owner of Fairmount Market, was dressed up and looked right at home in the New Zealand Embassy.
“I think they really made it a very inclusive event,” Tremble said, adding that he had been to the second Clinton inaugural in 1997 and didn’t want to miss this one.
“It really is a historic inauguration,” he said.
Bill Hathaway, 85, a former senator from Maine, reflected on his past political exploits, such as the time he told his mother he had defeated Margaret Chase Smith.
“Mother said, ‘you ought to be ashamed of yourself,’” he said.
Hathaway plans to watch the inauguration from “a crowded living room.”
“I think it’s wonderful, just wonderful,” he said. “Nov. 4, 2008, was the most important moment in America in my lifetime. It shows what a wonderful nation we have. We’re living in a democracy that’s really a democracy. And on top of all that, I think Obama will be a very good president.”
What Jack Baldacci, 17, was listening to on his iPod: Jedi Mind Tricks.
What Diane Bryant of Windham was thinking: “I can’t believe we’re here,” she said. “I’m going to cry when he takes the oath. I get goose bumps just thinking about it. And I’m impressed that the rest of the world is hopeful, too.”
And talk about impressive: As she rode the commuter train from Baltimore to Washington, D.C., Loretta Harper displayed her custom red, white and blue manicure, which spelled “Obama 2009.”
Harper of Las Vegas said she was a precinct captain for Obama and personally registered 500 new voters.
“We’ve got a rough, tough road ahead, but change is going to come,” she said. “It’s our time.”