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President Obama / J. Scott Applewhite, AP

The president and first lady Michelle Obama attended a staff inaugural ball Tuesday, though there are no press pictures of it.

The White House permitted only a print pooler -- no photographers, no television cameras -- into the post-inaugural party that featured one of music's great odd couples: Lady Gaga and Tony Bennett.

In his remarks, Obama praised the crowd of more than 10,000 -- "you all clean up pretty good" -- and commented on their youth and political potential.

"All of you have come to represent for me and Michelle our deepest hopes for America." Obama said. The 51-year-old president added: "The average age here is probably around 20 something. And that's only because I'm here, which brings the average age up, quite a bit."

Specifically citing the youth vote, Obama said: "It makes me know that America's future is in good hands. As long as all of you understand the immense and incredible power that you possess when you work together, when you join voices."

The crowd at the staff inaugural ball included campaign employees and volunteers, inaugural workers, Democratic Party members, and White House officials.

During the remarks, Mrs. Obama did a little dancing motion with her arms. "It's been a long weekend," the president joked. "She's getting a little silly now."

Obama paid particular tribute to Alex Okrent, a campaign staffer in Chicago who died during the campaign. The $10 admission fee to the ball went to a memorial fund in Okrent's name.

"Alex was one of you," Obama said. "This incredibly thoughtful, talented, compassionate, caring young person who decided to get involved because he thought he could make a difference. And tragically, he ended up leaving us while working on the campaign ... It was heartbreaking. It reminded us of how precious our time on this earth is."

The president ended his remarks with a familiar campaign chant: "Fired up! Ready to go!"

"Fired up! ready to go!" the crowed shouted back.

"I think Lady Gaga's fired up, too," Obama said.



Copyright 2014 USATODAY.com

Read the original story: Obama praises young supporters

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