White House counselor Edwin Meese III and U.N. Ambassador Jeane J. Kirkpatrick were honored at a party that was so ill-planned, it didn't do much honor to anyone who attended. Lew Lehrman's Citizens for America invited 1,700 people to the reception. To the planners' apparent surprise, at least half of them came, only to find the party was being held at the Heritage Foundation's office building on a floor of offices--none of which would comfortably hold more than 30 people. People were packed body against body in offices and tiny hallways.
"Can you believe," one guest said, "that they invited all these people to stand in a hallway?" The Heritage Foundation is a conservative think tank that has close ties to Reagan.
When Meese and Kirkpatrick finally arrived, separately, their Secret Service people had to form a wedge through the crowd as if they were returning a kickoff in a football game, and few people actually got to speak to them.
Among those who briefly braved the crush were Sen. Pete Wilson, Atty. Gen. William French Smith, William Casey, Sen. Jesse Helms and Lionel Hampton. Some visitors from Escondido, John and Marilyn Dailey, opted to stay in the lobby of the building rather than fight the mob on the third floor.
"It's a great turnout, but I think they should have held it someplace else," John Dailey said.
"I think they got more people than they counted on," said Marilyn Dailey, who nonetheless was enjoying the weekend, partly because, "it's the only time I get to wear my mink coat."