by Philip Elliott and Laura M. Schneider
WASHINGTON – Throngs of President George W. Bush supporters – including the mayor of Vice President Dick Cheney’s hometown, a Bush family friend and an elector – found themselves blocked or delayed from the Inaugural events at the Capitol Saturday, as they played a game of Red Rover with officials.
“We thought we might see a black dot (Bush),” said Douglas Stalorard, 53, originally from Akron, OH, “But it looks like we won’t even see the black dot.”
The large crowd craned to see the addresses through clusters of tress, over knolls and past temporary toilets on The National Mall. Others were caught behind the fences roisterers left standing. Gatherers streamed across Constitution Avenue like a string of dominos.
At the one entrance to the Inauguration, a group of damp spectators fell a temporary fence and jumped over a wall. They then rushed more officials, who pushed them back.
“This is the first time I’ve jumped a fence and climbed up a wall in 50 years,” said Tom Walsh, mayor of Casper, WY, home city of Cheney. The last time Walsh committed similar acts, he said he was stealing pumpkins.
Members of the crowd, thinking their chance of getting to the Capitol in time to witness the ceremony was fading, pushed forward.
“It’s like a Limp Bizkit or Korn concert,” said one reveler, making reference to popular rock acts whose concerts are known for mosh pits and crowd surfing.
But others were more acceptant of the scenario.
“Of course I’m disappointed,” said Vicki Sorenson, a family friend of Bush from Salt Lake City, Utah.
Sorenson, 45, passed through the final checkpoint as Bush approached the podium.
But she said she was not entirely upset.
“I’ll see (Bush) later at one of the balls, I’m sure.”
Others also scampered to the Mall in time to see at least part of the ceremony.
Patrick Ploumb, 21, an elector from Washington, was among the last-minute admitees.
“Just because you’re an elector doesn’t mean you get in,” Ploumb said.
But during the pomp at the Capitol, most managed to finagle their way closer to the Mall, if only for the closing prayer.
Police did not have information about spectators’ ability to maneuver through checkpoints in time, said Tony O’Leary, a spokesman for the police department. The department also did not keep crowd estimates.