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January 21, 2009 4:19 PM

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Of Honeymoons and Hangovers

President Barack Obama and Michelle Obama. Let the honeymoon begin. President Barack Obama, coming off of his inauguration and 10 official balls that ran into the wee hours of the morning, hit the ground running Wednesday....


President Barack Obama and Michelle Obama.

Let the honeymoon begin. President Barack Obama, coming off of his inauguration and 10 official balls that ran into the wee hours of the morning, hit the ground running Wednesday.

His first stop was the Washington National Cathedral, where he attended the traditional prayer service (of which he'll undoubtedly need more to get him through the next four years) and then it was off to the White House, where he convened meetings with economic advisers and military officials.

The glow still hadn't rubbed off by this morning, judging by one pool press report that gave details of a lone pedestrian holding a cardboard cutout of Obama, wearing only a white T-shirt with the words "I (heart) Michelle Obama," as the motorcade sped by en route to the prayer service.

On Capitol Hill, lawmakers, particularly those of the Democratic stripe, were nursing all-night inaugural party hangovers and trying to shake off the last eight years of the Bush administration.

Senators at the confirmation hearing for Treasury Secretary-designate Timothy Geithner, struggling with hoarse voices and baggy eyes, appeared to have a hard time focusing on serious matters such as the second $350 billion installment of a financial industry bailout and Geithner's failure to pay personal income taxes in early 2000. (He paid them back later in phases, but it hasn't gone unnoticed.)

Lobbyists, eager to get down to the business of bending the new President's ear, were trying to cut through the fog of euphoria that has entranced even the most hard-core politicos.

"You have all of these old Washington hands, a sea of gray heads, who all had their faces plastered against the windows, getting impatient about seeing Obama," said Cass Johnson, president of the National Council of Textile Organizations, who attended a party along the parade route.

But one lobbyist said the giddiness could wear off unexpectedly.

"Of course, honeymoons only last until you make your first big mistake," said Auggie Tantillo, executive director of the American Manufacturing Trade Action Coalition.

For now, the lovefest is still in high gear. Obama is wrapped in that cloak of invincibility -- a man and President who can do no wrong to the millions of people who voted him into office on his mantel of change.

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