While Democratic presidential candidate Bill Clinton was picking up $50,000 last night at a garden party down the street from her house in Guilford, Laura Young waited with her friends, a few of their parents and many of the neighborhood's poodles, dachshunds, bulldogs and mutts.
The Arkansas governor met with supporters in the Lambeth Road home of Larry Gibson, chairman of the Clinton campaign in Maryland and chief political aide to Mayor Kurt L. Schmoke.
Outside, 7 1/2 -year-old Laura played on the carefully clipped lawns of this lushly landscaped enclave of brick, stone and stucco houses.
Was it unusual to have such an onslaught of motorcycle cops, Secret Service men and posh, chauffeur-driven limousines?
"Pretty unusual to have so many Democrats," said Dr. Warren Brill. Dr. Brill was out walking Zack, a frisky Airedale.
When Mr. Clinton emerged, he spoke briefly to reporters and then headed straight for Laura and her friends, who had been waiting for at least an hour to catch a glimpse of him. Though rushed by his aides to join an already-moving motorcade, Mr. Clinton shook hands with every child who was interested, including Laura.
"Did you shake his hand?" asked her mother, Nancy, when he was gone.
"I slapped him five," Laura said.
"Now you'll have something to tell your father," Mrs. Young said.
Mr. Clinton was quickly off to Wardour, a West Annapolis neighborhood on the banks of the Severn River. There, at the home of Tom and Debbie Siebert, he picked up another $125,000. Mr. Siebert was a 1968 classmate of Mr. Clinton's at Georgetown University.
In Baltimore, the candidate said he thought the past 10 days had been "very good" for his candidacy, though he is still struggling to raise enough money to sustain momentum until he gets the nomination officially at the Democratic National Convention next month in New York.
Then, Mr. Gibson explained, Mr. Clinton will qualify for about $55 million in federal matching campaign funds.
Mayor Schmoke said he thought Mr. Clinton was progressing nicely. He called the candidate's plan for aiding the nation's cities just thekind of "bold" initiative needed.
Mr. Gibson downplayed the importance of Ross Perot, calling the undeclared candidate "a summer fascination" who seems to be peaking already.
Mr. Gibson said he believes the candidate's recent criticisms of rap singer Sister Souljah were accurate and appropriate.
The singer seemed to suggest that blacks should stop killing each other and start killing white people.
"I agree with what Clinton said. Racism and racist statements should be condemned wherever uttered and by whomever uttered," Mr. Gibson said.
Mr. Clinton's remarks have been criticized by the Rev. Jesse L. Jackson, who called them an affront to the Rainbow Coalition. Mr. Gibson disagreed.
"I was there. He did not attack the Rainbow Coalition. In fact, no one paid much attention to what he said at the time," Mr. Gibson said.