POLITICS
02/18/2009 05:12 am ET Updated May 25, 2011

The People's Inaugural Ball: Earl Stafford Invites The Disadvantaged

They are victims of hurricanes and women who suffered in abusive relationships; they are disabled adults and children scarred by poverty. Some suffer from terminal illness. They arrived in Washington by plane, train and automobile from as far away as New Orleans, Galveston, Tex., and Wichita, invited to witness one of the biggest events in a generation.

"Prince, you are stepping up!" Prince Brooks said to himself as he walked into the elegant lobby of the JW Marriott Hotel, surrounded by chandeliers, liveried bellmen and ornate furnishings. "I've got to make the most of it."

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