Ali Salutes Obama at Inaugural Soiree

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WASHINGTON (AP) _ ``The Greatest'' is saluting the nation's first black president as inaugural soirees get under way with a bugle call to dinner at the Kentucky Blue Grass ball.

Boxing legend Muhammad Ali, celebrating his 67th birthday, was the guest of honor Monday night at a party for 1,400 that included other celebrities, lawmakers and native Kentuckians.

Steve Buttleman, official bugler of the Churchill Downs race track, said it was appropriate to be saluting Obama and Ali at the same time. He said Obama was the leader of the greatest nation on Earth and Muhammad Ali was the greatest boxer of all time.

Former Miss America Phyllis George was emcee of the affair, along with her daughter, Pamela Brown.

George noted that Obama and Ali have both brought people together.

(Copyright 2009 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)