Emma Tyler did not have to enforce her ban on public maternal dancing at the Midwest Regional Ball of the 56th Presidential Inauguration.

"That's the rule," said Emma's mom, Jackie Cherryhomes, who didn't let the ban put a damper on her celebratory spirit. "Yeah, I was OK with listening to Sheryl Crow," without dancing, said Cherryhomes, a consultant who is a former Minneapolis City Council prez.

Her husband, attorney F. Clayton Tyler, said that if Barack Obama got elected president, they had to go to D.C. for the inauguration with their daughter. At the ball, Tyler blackmailed Emma into a dance by saying that if she refused, dad was going to dance on her first date. "At 11 and a half she knew why [refusing Dad] was a bad idea," said Cherryhomes.

And while Dad is a better dancer than Mom, seeing him dance as you go on a date is nonetheless "essentially a bad thing," said Cherryhomes.

Watching TV footage of President Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama at their many ball appearances, including the Midwest, we know that he's one smooth slow dancer. So the question was hanging there, but I did not intend to put Emma on the spot or cause the eye rolling that can be viewed at startribune.com/video, when asking if her dad was a good dancer. A follow-up question -- who's a better dancer, your daddy or Obama-- created pause for the self-confident Emma, whose first reaction was a laugh.

Tyler told her to "Be careful with your answers," before giving the legal/political advice that it's always best to say the prez is a better dancer. "I know, I was going to but you were lookin' at me like," and Emma made a face, before adding, "Yeah, Barack Obama is better than him at dancing."

I ran into Emma while she was doing homework at National Airport as we awaited a NWA flight back to Minneapolis on Wednesday. Other passengers on that flight included former Vice President Walter Mondale, his wife, Joan, their WCCO-AM morning show host daughter, Eleanor Mondale; her husband, Chan Poling of Suburbs fame, and political power couple Sam and Sylvia Kaplan.

In a conversation with Sam Kaplan and the former veep, who was taking photos with fans, I recalled to them the first time I ever laid eyes on the man also called Fritz. It was more than 20 years ago. He was coming up the escalator at what was then the Pillsbury Center, as I was riding down. I thought he was very handsome (even sexy). Mondale, a Minnesotan to the core, walked away, perhaps embarrassed.

D.C. was overwhelmed

Count the Kaplans among those underwhelmed with the organization of the inauguration. More alarming than media with credentials, like me, who did not make it past inaugural security check points, were people with precious tickets to the swearing-in.

"I know Josh Syrjamaki [a staffer for Congressman Tim Walz] didn't get in," said Sylvia Kaplan. "My kids in D.C. all had friends with tickets who didn't get in. The cops did not know anything, they didn't seem to have any walkie-talkies. It's really hard to explain, isn't it? I guess you could say it was a great [example of] democracy because having tickets didn't do you any good."

I think authorities were trying to suppress the crowd, for security reasons and also as a way of lowering estimates of its size. There were clearly more than 2 million, plus the 500,000 or so wandering from closed entry point to closed entry point, to say nothing of the people who stood in lines for hours before being denied access. One official told me the system failed because it was prepared to handle only 3 million people.

Get Paul Ridgeway

If President Obama is re-elected, may I suggest he forgo another inauguration. It would set a fine fiscal example, even though private money paid for most of it. But if Obama must have a second inauguration, those D.C. chuckleheads who planned this one need to consult with Minnesota's Paul Ridgeway on how to execute the event. At Ridgeway International, they've got global expertise at event management.

C.J. is at 612.332.TIPS or cj@startribune.com. E-mailers, please state a subject -- "Hello" doesn't count. Attachments are not opened, so don't even try. More of her attitude can be seen on FOX 9 Thursday mornings.