[NATL] The Inauguration of President Barack Obama

NATL

Parade and Ceremonial Swearing-in Held January 21, 2013

Inaugural Ball Benefits Staffer Who Died During Campaign

Alex Okrent, 29, died in July after collapsing at President Barack Obama's 2012 headquarters in Chicago

By BJ Lutz
|  Tuesday, Jan 22, 2013  |  Updated 10:03 PM CDT
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Inaugural Ball Benefits Staffer Who Died During Campaign

Alex Okrent, 29, worked in the campaign’s paid media department, which handled advertising for Obama’s re-election bid.

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Though most of the inaugural events are now recent memories, there was at least one more important presidential ball on Tuesday, the proceeds of which benefit an Obama staffer who died during the campaign.

Alex Okrent, 29, died in July after collapsing at President Barack Obama's 2012 headquarters in Chicago. He worked in the campaign's paid media department, which handles advertising. He'd been with Obama since 2004, working as a field organizer in the campaign for the U.S. Senate and then for the 2008 presidential campaign.

Tickets to Tuesday night's Staff Ball at the Washington Convention Center were priced at $10 apiece. Obama for America staff, White House and Administration Staff, as well as Presidential Inaugural Committee staff were invited.

Obama told the Thousands that they represent, in his words, his "deepest hopes for America." He said he knows the nation's future is in good hands. The first lady, wearing a silver and black ensemble, echoed the president's campaign-year chant of "fired up, ready to go."
 
Singers Tony Bennett and Lady Gaga performed.  The pop star noted the event on Twitter, with a simple post that read, '#whitehausball."

The president and first lady started the tradition of the Staff Ball in 2009 as a way to express gratitude to their staff and celebrate with them.

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