President Obama has taken the oath of office for his second presidential term.
Follow along with updates of the 57th inauguration festivities below and watch social reaction and video here.
Hey, you mind if I get out of here? I mean, it’s been fun sitting in this office, but the president’s gone home, and I’d kind of like to hit the after-parties if you don’t mind. Check in with The Reliable Source blog tomorrow to see what happens later. Don’t feel like you need to stay up for me, okay?
Brewed-in-Washington beers have become ubiquitous in the last year, and the natural extension is the first Brewers Ball at ChurchKey. Local and national beer lovers came together over 55 draft and cask beers, including Allagash FV13 (aged for four years in oak barrels in Maine) and Schlafly Tasmanian IPA (made in St. Louis with New Zealand hops). Representatives of D.C.’s breweries toasted the toasted crowd and offered their own predictions for 2013: Look out for lower-alcohol session beers and funky, Belgian-influenced ales.
– Fritz Hahn
Cyndi Lauper, performing at the HRC ball, on the inclusion of gay rights in Obama’s noontime speech on Monday (he was the first U.S. president to ever use the word “gay” in an inaugural address):
“He said the g-word!”
Lauper also said Obama’s 2013 inauguration was better for her than 2009, when she had a purple ticket.
“Like, wowza. What a room!
“Acres of concrete floor at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center to sashay across in gowns and heels, to clippity-clop around in tuxes and shiny dress shoes. All in search of that special ‘I-was-there’ moment, an inauguration night when a city consumed by its quarrels stopped its sniping for a few, and just smiled.
“In this age of austerity, President Obama trimmed the fat off the inauguration festivities, slimming down from the 10 balls he attended for his first inauguration to the two official galas he attended Monday night for his second inauguration. But it’s not like he slummed it, not with Alicia Keys on stage at the piano in that red backless dress.”
– Go read the full story, Inaugural balls give Obama fans chance to party, by Manuel Roig-Franzia, Monica Hesse and a team of Washington Post correspondents.
After a decadent dinner, guests were sent away to a different ballroom for dessert and coffee while the American Legion’s Salute to Heroes Inaugural Ball staff transformed the banquet hall into a dance party. Restless patrons kept coming back to see if the band was ready. “Are they still setting up in here?” “Oh, I guess they aren’t ready.” “What’s taking so long?”
Eager to dance, partygoers made a beeline for dance floor the moment the band, D.C. group Free Spirit, played the opening notes of Black Eyed Peas hit “I Gotta Feeling.” Soon, even Medal of Honor winners were grooving to “Call Me Maybe.”
During a break, saxophone player Eli Gonzalez of Alexandria said he was having a blast, despite the fact he had to wake up at 2:30 a.m. for his day job, playing with the U.S. Army band in the inauguration parade. Anticipating being awake for 24 hours straight, Gonzalez still pronounced the day “awesome” — and though Free Spirit was playing the gig for the second inauguration in a row hoping to catch a glimpse of President Obama, they were thrilled Joe Biden showed up.
“Horrid. Winding. I just left,” says a correspondent at the scene.
A steady stream of celebrities are crowding the red carpet at the National Portrait Gallery for a gala hosted by BET. Among those spotted: Hall of Fame basketball player Patrick Ewing, singer Kenny Lattimore and actresses Tatyana Ali and Gabrielle Union.
– Robert Samuels
It is a day to celebrate, said Rep. Barbara Lee (D-Calif.). She was dressed in a chiffon fuchsia top and black dress. Lee was one of about 600 people gathered at the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation’s gala at the Capitol Hilton. Her hair was pinned up and she bounced as the DJ played an Alicia Keys hit in the background.
But Lee’s mind was clearly back in the office. What was she thinking about?
“The significance of having our first black president being sworn in for a second time on King’s birthday, 150 years after emancipation, the convergence of all this together is important for us to celebrate,” Lee said. “But it is also time for us to regroup. When you look at unemployment in the black community, it is 14 percent. When you look at poverty — which started before our president was elected — we have a lot of work to do. Today really reminds us of the work that has been done before us.”
– Krissah Thompson
At least for the president and first lady. Four years ago, they left their final inaugural ball at 12:45 a.m. — before heading back to the White House to party with an elite crowd of friends. But tonight, the clock had barely struck 10 before they were headed home. Granted, they had more territory to cover last time: ten balls spread out over several locations, instead of the consolidated mega-balls, all at the convention center. Four years ago, Obama did the Bump with one lucky guest. Nothing so lively this time.
Flashback: Obamas, Bidens Dance the Night Away at 10 Balls, 1/21/09
Not getting as much attention as Michelle Obama’s dress – but for those wondering, Jill Biden’s blue (or is it periwinkle???) gown is by Vera Wang, reports NBC’s Carrie Dann.
From Vera Wang’s Twitter feed:
Greeting Joe and Jill Biden at the Inaugural Ball xxVera yfrog.com/o0eboelj
— Vera Wang (@VeraWangGang) January 22, 2013
What a joy, honor and privilege to have dressed Dr Jill Biden for tonight’s Inauguration. A beautiful, spirited, accomplished woman! XxVera
— Vera Wang (@VeraWangGang) January 22, 2013
Old-school hip hop heads alert! Doug E. Fresh is in the building at the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation’s gala at the Capitol Hilton.
“It is a privilege to be with y’all tonight on this historical night,” he said. “Make some noise for Martin Luther King. And it couldn’t get no better. Four more years. Make some noise for Obama. Let me ask you a question. Did you eat your vitamins? Did you get some rest?”
Fresh was ready to party, and soon he had his companion on the turntables, Big Tigger, playing the 1988 E.U. hit “Da Butt.”
Then Fresh launched into the familiar beatboxing that made him famous. “Put your hands in the air. Wave them like Michelle Obama. First Lady. She even do the dougie! … Celebrating the first black president of the United States. He doing his thang!”
– Krissah Thompson
Bryan Brokmeier, who traveled here from New York for the official inaugural ball, said it wasn’t quite what he expected. He thought there would be “less concrete on the floor, something other than Cheez-its” to eat. He and a friend, like many others, waited in long lines to get their photo taken near presidential decorations.
The 600-plus people at the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation’s party at the Capital Hilton look tired. It has been a long day.
They would not have missed their former CBC member’s second inaugural ceremony this morning for anything. But now they are sleepwalking on the dance floor as local DJ Big Tigger tries to make them move.
“Oh Lord, I could just stretch out,” says a woman from Louisiana in a long black sequined dress. She is already wearing her flats, bone-tired after waking before the crack of dawn to arrive on the National Mall.
Others drag chairs past the dance floor. They don’t plan on dancing the night away. But wait — has Tigger found a way to make them move?
The crowd skews a little older and the attendees enjoy “Flashlight” and “Before I Let Go” much more than the Beyonce mix Tigger tried earlier. The dance floor is now packed.
– Krissah Thompson
At least according to White House press pool reports. The motorcade has departed the convention center, en route back to the executive mansion.
This is the first Ambassadors Ball, so its media relations team thought it was important to make sure the press scrum knew it was going to be a swanky affair. Their dress code was: “No jeans. No hats. No tennis shoes.”
Some members of the media have been on marathon ball benders and just couldn’t do it. “I just wanted to wear comfortable shoes,” said Mojisola Edu, the owner of Lush Radio online and also one of the official photographers of the event.
– Emily Wax
Earlier, we saw some selected service members dancing with the president, vice president and their wives at the Commander in Chief’s Ball. Now we know who they are:
The president danced with Staff Sergeant Bria D. Nelson of the Air Force, and the first lady danced with Gunnery Sergeant Timothy D. Easterling of the Marine Corps. . . The vice president danced with Army Staff Sergeant Keesha Nicole Dentino, while his wife danced with Petty Officer Patrick Figueroa of the Navy. According to the presidential inauguration committee, they were chosen by senior enlisted leaders from the Joint Task Force-National Capital Region, based on factors including combat experience and volunteer efforts.
We’ve having a bit of a lull in the action — unless, of course, the Obamas and Jennifer Hudson decide to do their song-and-dance act a fourth time — so how about catching up some stories from the past 48 hours of inaugural madness?
Canadian embassy ‘tailgate’: great food, great view for inauguration
Ashley Judd makes the scene at inauguration parties
Surprising inauguration fashion: Scalia’s hat, Hatch’s hat, Ashley Biden’s shoes
Lupe Fiasco escorted off stage after anti-Obama comments
Will.i.am is everywhere: A star makes the rounds in Washington on inauguration weekend
Inauguration parties: 2013 is the year of the brunch
Quoted: Joe Biden, ‘proud to be president’
No, that was not an instant reply. The Obamas had to do their first dance three times: First, for the Commander in Chief’s Ball, and then on each of the two floors that the larger Inaugural Ball has been divided between. Each time, Hudson sang “Let’s Stay Together.”
The music — a seemingly constant rotation of “Sweet Home Alabama” and Toby Keith — came to a halt around 8:45 p.m. at the American Legion’s Salute to Heroes Inaugural Ball, in a packed banquet hall of the Renaissance Washington. Guests, who had been making their way through shrimp cocktail, beef tenderloin, and grilled swordfish medallion with citrus sauce, looked up as a special guest was announced over the speakers: “Vice President Joe Biden!”
A gasp went up through the room, as people jumped to their feet, cameras flashing. Thunderous applause as Biden and his wife, Jill Biden, walked out on stage.
“I’m Jill Biden’s husband,” the VP began (a possible shout out to Amy Poehler’s “Hillary Clinton’s husband” line at the Golden Globes last week?), introducing the rest of his family.
He paid tributes to the veterans in the room and the troops abroad: “Our veterans are unique in the world…every single generation has risen to the occasion.”
Adding that they were “the finest warriors the world has ever seen” (repeating it twice, to much applause), Biden beamed from the stage, even when the microphone went out for a good 10 seconds before he noticed. “We only have one truly sacred obligation, and that’s to equip those we send for war, and care for them and their family when they come home from war… we remember how long this obligation extends.”
“The president and I, and I’m sure the next president and vice president, will do everything in our power to do this obligation,” he added.
After he stayed to pose for a photo with all the Medal of Honor recipients, a crush of people gathered near the side of the stage where Biden was heading toward the exit. People held up cell phones and iPad cameras to get a glimpse. “Mr. Vice President, I met you in [something unintelligible about high school],” a man yelled. Biden stopped immediately to take a photo with him, beginning a crush of people reaching out to get a photo for themselves. Spending a few extra minutes working his way through the crowd, Biden bid farewell. “I’m in trouble, I gotta go…I’m late for the president.” he joked on the way out.
People compared iPhone pictures as the crowd slowly dissipated; some were photo-less. “I shook his hand, so I’m good,” said one partygoer, sounding relieved.
Congressman John Dingell (D-Mi.) and his wife Debbie were the party animals of record at the Michigan State Society Ball at the National Museum of American History. The 86-year-old congressman, who has served in the House of Representatives since 1955, and his wife had a jam-packed day, with only about 10 minutes to change clothes after attending the inaugural lunch and dealing with traffic jams.
“The lunch was amazing,” John Dingell said. “I hope the spirit of goodwill we saw today will continue.”
– Jura Koncius
NBC special correspondent/former “Nightly News” anchor Tom Brokaw showed up at the American Legion’s Salute to Heroes Inaugural Ball at the Renaissance Washington to introduce the Medal of Honor recipients. He spoke for a few minutes about the deep bond between members of the military and how they look out for each other. “I never hear combat veterans say, ‘I only want to be in a foxhole with someone from a red state or a blue state,’ ” Brokaw said.
Brokaw said he wished he could stay longer at the ball, but he had to get back to his other job at NBC. He gave a shout out to his colleague (and current “Nightly News” anchor) Brian Williams, who sits on the Board of Directors of the Congressional Medal of Honor Foundation. “When it comes to NBC News, you’re well-served,” Brokaw said.
After Brokaw left, there was a solemn moment as the attendees turned their attention to an empty table set for one at the front of the room, symbolizing members of the armed forces missing from the ranks.
Leave it to Jamie Foxx to try to ratchet up the romance factor of dancing on a stage in front of thousands of people.
Taking his place behind the piano at the inaugural ball, he prepares the vice president and his wife for a bit of Ray Charles: After a day like this, “I’m sure you will whisper something in your wife’s ear something like – ‘I can’t stop loving you, I’ve made up my mind. . .”
Jill Biden, for the record, is wearing a slinky blue cowl-neck, cowl-back dress. Double cowl? Is that what you call it? Anyway. It’s nice.
Jamie Foxx, by the way, is, like will.i.am, one of those ubiquitous celebrities of the inaugural weekend. Dan Zak found the Oscar winner (a Dallas native) at the Texas “Black Tie and Boots Ball” on Saturday wearing a big old cowboy hat, during the epic Running of the Balls.
As soon as Hail to the Chief begins, ball-goers wind sprint from all corners of the airplane hangar. Screams! Cheers!
When the president and first lady began dancing to Let’s Stay Together, there were wooos and cheers, and the sense that maybe this was a little bit blush-worthy. Like your parents are POTUS and FLOTUS and your parents just got a little bit naughty.
Three blocks south of the Convention Center, an unofficial resting place for some well-heeled inaugural revelers.
The Impact Arts + Film Fund party at Oya restaurant featured sushi, free-flowing champagne, visiting celebrities like MC Hammer, Kate Walsh and Aisha Tyler — and a 6 to 9 p.m. time fram that suggested it would be a hip alternative to the official inaugural balls. Instead, we chatted with a few guests in formal-wear who actually had ball tickets. . . but at 7:30 or 8 p.m., were still mulling whether to use them.
“I saw the lines on my way here,” a Chicago financier in an exquisite coral gown and shoulder-grazing earrings told us.
Miss USA Nana Meriwether has to live in New York because Donald Trump owns her title and provides an apartment. But she is from Potomac and came back this weekend to attend the Ambassadors Ball.
“Today D.C. is the center of the universe. I felt so much pride,” said Meriwether, a 2003 graduate of Sidwell Friends (the same private school that the Obama daughters attend). “I was giving people directions while I was still on the train.”
More on Meriwether from the Reliable Source:
– Emily Wax
Alicia Keys, the entertainer at the main inaugural ball, is singing her “Girl on Fire” song, made famous by those baffling Citibank commercials where a guy just dumped by his girlfriend uses his credit card to hang out with Keys and Rachael Ray. Or something like that. Anyways, she’s changing it up: “Obama’s on fi-i-i-re! Obama’s on fi-i-i-re!”
From the White House:
“The First Lady is wearing a custom Jason Wu ruby colored chiffon and velvet gown with a handmade diamond embellished ring by jewelry designer Kimberly McDonald. She is wearing shoes designed by Jimmy Choo. At the end of the Inaugural festivities, the outfit and accompanying accessories will go to the National Archives.”
Some quick reaction to Michelle Obama’s Jason Wu ruby gown:
No idea what any of that means but she looks great. RT @joshuahoyos Michelle’s wearing a custom Jason Wu ruby colored chiffon & velvet gown
— Andrew Kaczynski (@BuzzFeedAndrew) January 22, 2013
— Elizabeth Holmes (@EHolmesWSJ) January 22, 2013
I may be in a minority on this but i like this year’s jason wu better than the last one, which looked like wadded up kleenex
— Karen Tumulty(@ktumulty) January 22, 2013
Michelle picks a ruby Jason Wu dress for the night. Shoes, apparently, by Jimmy Choo.
As our colleague Robin Givhan noted recently, Wu is one of several designers launched to prominence when he dressed the first lady — but the only one who has found lasting success from that jolt of fame. He also designed her 2009 gown, the “flowing ivory silk chiffon . . . embroidered with silver thread and adorned with Swarovski crystal rhinestones” that is now in the Smithsonian’s first ladies exhibit.
“I’ve got a date with me here. She inspires me everyday. She makes me a better man and a better president. The fact that she is so devoted to taking care of our troops and our military families is just one more sign of her extraordinary love and grace and strength — I’m just lucky to have her. . . Some may dispute the quality of our president but no one disputes the quality of our first lady.”
With that, he brought out “my dance partner, Michelle Obama.”
Her dress: A bright orange-red, halter-neck, with a deep V in the back. CNN is reporting that the dress is by Jason Wu, who designed her first inaugural dress as well.
Jennifer Hudson began the old Al Green classic “Let’s Stay Together” — remember when POTUS sang a couple bars of that last year? — and the first couple began a slow, swaying dance that continued in slow, swaying mode even after Hudson urged them “Yo, let’s groove!” They only danced together for a verse or so before a man and woman in uniform were brought in stage to cut in, wedding-style.
Update: The president danced with Staff Sergeant Bria D. Nelson of the Air Force, and the first lady danced with Gunnery Sergeant Timothy D. Easterling of the Marine Corps. . . The vice president danced with Army Staff Sergeant Keesha Nicole Dentino, while his wife danced with Petty Officer Patrick Figueroa of the Navy. They were chosen by senior enlisted leaders from the Joint Task Force-National Capital Region, based on factors including combat experience and volunteer efforts.
Brad Paisley, now performing at the Commander in Chief’s Ball, is probably one of the more Democrat-friendly country stars. He has said his 2009 song “Welcome to the Future” was inspired by President Obama’s election. It’s one of those amazing-how-things-change songs, marveling at social progress over the past several decades. (“Every day is a revolution / Welcome to the future”); and he sang it at the White House in 2009.
The youngest guest at the official inaugural ball might be Layla Crockett, 7, whose parents brought her all the way from Huntsville, Ala., to see the parade, the inauguration and the ball.
“We just wanted her to see something she would always remember,” said her mom, Lisa. “To be a part of something bigger than herself.”
Layla wore her green plaid party dress, bought for Christmas.
Dikembe Mutumbo waited in a long coat check line at the Convention Center with his wife Rose and gamely endured people walking up to him and wagging their finger (his signature gesture after blocking shots during his Georgetown and NBA basketball career.)
“Tired!” said Mutumbo, when asked about his day. “Now that we got rid of the kids, my wife and I are going to have some fun.”
Mutumbo said he had been a fan of President Obama since before Obama’s Senate years, and had met him through Ron Blaylock, who also played college basketball at Georgetown.
“I’ve been with him since the beginning,” Mutombo said.
Will.i.am to CNN anchors: “This is Mana from Mexico. They’re huge.”
At 7:55 the crowd was instructed to turn its attention to the stage. Everyone got excited (Obama!?) but it turned out to be just the color guard. No matter, once the band started playing the national anthem, members of the audience sang along lustily as if they were singing along to Alicia Keys. And then Alicia Keys came on stage For Real.
Screaming! Excitement! “I just want it to be me and you,” she confided, and all thousands of the audience we t, “all right.”
“He’s president and he’s on fire,” she sang, altering the lyrics to one of be songs. “Obamas on firrrrrrre!!”
There were some problems caused by the security arrangements at President Obama’s second inauguration Monday, but they were far less severe than those that happened four years earlier, when thousands complained of being trapped near checkpoints for hours, unable to move, let alone watch the festivities. This year, those crowd management headaches seemed like ancient history.
For the parade, thousands of spectators lined Pennsylvania Avenue NW, standing six and seven deep, hoping for a glimpse of the president and first lady. Katrina Way, 34, of Jacksonville, Ark., stood in back of at least five people, swaying side to side and shaking her legs, trying to stay warm.
Way, a ticket holder, had tried two security checkpoints before finding one with only a 30-minute wait that let her get to Pennsylvania Avenue in time for the festivities. “I wanted to be a part of history,” she said. Although she was not entirely satisfied with her view, “just being out here” is enough, she said. The full story by Valerie Strauss is here.
They don’t have many drinks to pour yet – many of the guests are still outside – but the bartenders at the official inaugural ball at the Convention Center have found a way to pass the time as people file in. A group of them are dancing and clapping along to Earth, Wind and Fire’s “September,” played by the DJ. This early in the evening, it’s like their own private party.
Seating is scarce in the Convention Center, save for a plush “special guests” corner. Overheard two unhappy women in the ladies room: “Did you notice there weren’t any chairs? I guess we’re expected to stand the entire night!”
Over at the far end of the airplane hangar/ballroom, a large plot of land has been partitioned off for special guests. Between the panels, the regular guests can spot white sofas, gold tablecloths, tea candles. And the special guests are? Nobody we recognize yet. But they appear to be feasting on the same Cheezits as everyone else.
The “ballroom” for the official inaugural ball is a gargantuan airplane hangar of a room, Brobdingnagian in proportions as a room must be to accompany the expected 40,000 ish guests.
At 6:45, guests are listening to Madonna, guests are listening to the best of the 1990s — it’s the deejay from your cousins wedding! The dance floor is empty ( all of the floors are empty — only scattered guests so far) and the only crowd is for drink tickets. Food? Think summer camp. Three kinds of pretzels, including a pretzel blend. Also Cheezits.
The National Archives Metro station is now open and operating normally, Metro officials said. Trains will operate on rush hour service frequency until 9 p.m.
Anyone attending the Inaugural Ball at the Convention Center can take Metro to Gallery Place-Chinatown on the Red, Yellow and Green Lines and exit at 7th and H Street. The Ball is a short walk north of the station.
Metro just announced the latest ridership numbers, which continue to lag behind the 2009 Inauguration. There were 657,000 rides by 6 p.m., compared with 923,000 during the same period four years ago, a nearly 30 percent drop.
Overcrowding, a disabled train between Foggy Bottom and Rosslyn and a sick passenger caused rail delays of up to 40 minutes and even longer waits for passengers trying to enter several downtown Metro stations. L’Enfant Plaza, Federal Center SW, Metro Center, Farragut West and Foggy Bottom were the most affected by the post-ceremony rush, and all but Farragut West were temporarily closed at some point.
All Metrorail lines were operating on or close to schedule as of 3:15 p.m, WMATA officials said. Earlier delays on the Orange and Blue lines are now clear.
The final marching band, from Virginia Military Institute, passed the presidential reviewing stand about 6:37 p.m., and the parade is over. The president and vice president walked together back to the White House. Now, the nighttime fun begins.
In addition to VMI, two other local bands (not including the many military bands) marched in the parade: Ballou Senior High School’s “Majestic Marching Knights” and the University of Maryland’s “Mighty Sound of Maryland Marching Band.”
The Washington Post photo staff has already put together a gallery of some of the highlights from Pennsylvania Avenue, including the strolls taken by the President and the First Lady at the head of the parade:
As the Inauguration parade began, a terrific sunset in the nation’s capital was captured by many photographers:
— Amy Rogers Nazarov (@WordKitchenDC) January 21, 2013
Did you capture an Inauguration Day sunset? Upload it to our sunset gallery here.
An inauguration planning official says turnout was “definitely above 800,000” and possibly up to one million people.
Chris Geldart, who directs the District of Columbia’s homeland security and emergency management agency, says early and unofficial estimates of the number of people on the National Mall indicate a turnout higher than 800,000. That’s based on aerial views of how the crowd filled sections of the mall.
Officials initially anticipated as many as 800,000 visitors, but lowered the projections to 500,000 to 700,000, based partly on an updated number of charter buses and restaurant and hotel reservations. But Geldart, who’s also co-chairman of the district’s presidential inaugural committee, said the event benefited from relatively mild weather. About 1.8 million people attended President Barack Obama’s first swearing-in in 2009.
– Associated Press
Twitter is still working to resolve a crash that occurred around 4 p.m., leaving some users frustrated and unable to live-tweet the Inauguration. For some, Google Chrome and Mozilla Firefox are failing to load the site; others are having issues with logging in and refreshing their feeds.
The issue comes on the same day as the social media giant set a new record for tweets-per-minute: Nearly 28,000 during Obama’s swearing-in. The outage is also mentioned by the websites “Down Right Now” and “Down For Everyone Or Just Me,” along with the numerous people annoyed by the site’s slowness and inability to load. Twitter officials have not disclosed a cause, but Huffington Post’s Stefan Sirucek tweeted: “Biden’s grin is powerful enough to crash Twitter. #inaug2013″
At 5 p.m., sisters Symone Brown and Brittany Gamble, both 18 and from Baltimore, swept trash from Pershing Park. They were dressed in orange vests. The sisters arrived at 6 a.m., working for a temp agency called Allstate. Earlier in the day they helped people find their seat.
Now they were filling blue bags with bottles, cigarette butts, discarded hand warmers. The money — $8 an hour — was nice, but this was more than a job. “I feel like I’m part of history,” Gamble said. They both caught a glimpse of the president through his limo window.
Gamble said that getting up early Monday morning to take the bus down from Baltimore was tough. “The money was a motivator, but to be honest it was more to be there with Obama.”
– John Kelly
— Steve Chenevey (@stevechenevey) January 21, 2013
When the Latino band “Seguro Que Si” from Osceola, Fla., went by the presidential reviewing stand, President Obama stood and showed off some of his salsa dance moves. This prompted some more adoration on Twitter for the president — still waiting for the definitive gif (animated photo). Seguro Que Si, from Osceola County’s School for the Arts, is the only band from Florida in the parade.
If I could get one salsa dance in with President Obama, I would die a happy woman the next day. #MiGente
— Holly Lynnea(@HollyLynnea) January 21, 2013
— Patrick Madden (@Patrick_Madden) January 21, 2013
Quincy Phillips spotted President Obama on the sidewalk on Constitution Avenue. He ran up to the commander-in-chief, threw an arm around his shoulders and gave him the bunny ears. A camera snapped.
The real Obama was blocks away, but a life-size cardboard cutout seemed every bit as popular Monday afternoon. A swarm of tickled inauguration attendees, who never got anywhere near the actual president, queued up. A vendor collected a suggested $1 donation for each picture.
“I lost my job, so I came up with this friendly hustle,” said Christopher, who declined to give his last name, but said he lived in Arlington. He said he actually got the idea from a friend, who did it during the first Obama inauguration in 2009.
Business was brisk — Christopher said he snapped about 200 photos between 10 a.m. and 3 p.m. “Ma’am lean the president forward,” he told one woman to keep the afternoon glare off the cutout. She shot back: “Can I kiss him?”
“Is he that tall?” a Girl Scout from Newport News asked as she craned her neck to see the president’s face. When asked if he would be back for the 2016 inauguration, Christopher said he couldn’t say for sure: “It depends upon how photogenic the next president is.”
Metro ridership numbers on Monday as of 4 p.m.: 538,000 rides, compared to 807,000 at the same time in 2009. And though Metro ridership for President Obama’s second inauguration was only about two-thirds of what it was during the 2009 inauguration, crowded stations, a sick passenger and a disabled train caused major headaches Monday for thousands of commuters.
After the swearing-in, long lines formed at several downtown Metro stations and platforms were packed as Metro dealt with a disabled train between the Foggy Bottom and Rosslyn.
L’Enfant Plaza, Federal Center SW and Foggy Bottom all had delays and crowding.
A huge crowd amassed at the L’Enfant’s 7th and C entrance, the station jammed by non-moving escalators and lingering delays from a track problem at Foggy bottom, The Post’s Emma Brown reports.
Metro temporarily closed four stations near the National Mall because of crowding. The problem was exacerbated by a disabled train in Northern Virginia that caused extensive delays for passengers trying to get out of city. Lines around stations snaked for blocks in some cases, as stranded and frustrated passengers congregated outside entrances. “People were trying to enter the station faster than trains were taking them out,” Metro spokesman Dan Stessel said.
— Kimberly Suiters(@KimberlySuiters) January 21, 2013
The four stations — Federal Center SW, Metro Center, Foggy Bottom and L’Enfant Plaza — closed and reopened during the course of Monday afternoon.
“The biggest travesty is we don’t have anyone out here providing information and directions,” said Barbara Means, part of a group who rode a bus from Atlanta to the inauguration. “We live in Atlanta. This would never happen there. … This is inexcusable. We don’t know what to do.”
(The Associated Press contributed to this report.)
Columnist John Kelly reports from the parade route: There was a noticeable deflation in the crowd at 15th and Pennsylvania after Obama’s limo passed, and he didn’t get out. He had already walked a bit earlier down Pennsylvania, and walked again further down the avenue.
But then Joe Biden’s smiling face was visible through another limo’s window. “We want Joe!” Someone shouted. Others joined in: “We want Joe! We want Joe!”
— Marcy McGowan (@marcylauren) January 21, 2013
“He’s getting out!” shouted Troy Hawkins. And he was. Biden, his wife and others from the vice presidential limo got out near the Commerce Department building, a phalanx of Secret Service agents nearby. Biden waved and gave a thumbs up then disappeared around the corner.
“Man, it was crazy,” said Hawkins, a 29-year-old landscaper from Capitol Heights. “My heart’s still pounding. We were shouting ‘We want Joe,’ and he got out.” Hawkins was at the parade with his sister Kendra Quarles, 21. “I just wanted to witness history,” he said. “This may not ever happen again.”
Joe Biden was having waaaaaay too much fun during the parade!!Run Joe run!!
— Bob Mackey (@bigmack13) January 21, 2013
Suddenly, he jerked his head as a familiar figure walked along the barricade shaking hands. “Vincent Gray! Vincent Gray!” Hawkins shouted. “You came to my church, Greater Refuge Temple.” And then he shook Gray’s hand.
“I feel like a celebrity,” Hawkins said.
Biden also stopped to shake hands with “Today” show co-host Al Roker, who earned a thumbs-up from President Obama after shouting “Mr. President! Mr. President!”
— Charles Crain (@charlescrain) January 21, 2013
Beyonce sang the national anthem at the inauguration, and her performance yielded praise (and even a new account) on Twitter. Twitter partner Topsy offers more than 588,000 search results for tweets about Beyonce in the last day.
The singer subtly removed her ear piece mid-performance, but Twitter noticed. @BeyonceEarPiece cropped up a few hours ago. Social trends website Buzzfeed sang Beyonce’s praises with a roundup of “The 22 most fabulous Beyonce moments at the inauguration.”
In addition to making waves on social media, Beyonce has offered insight into the day’s festivities on her Tumblr account, sharing shots of her rehearsing the national anthem and making her inaugural entrance with husband Jay-Z. Twitter interest in the singer is unlikely to wane over the next couple of weeks – she’s slated to perform a halftime show during the Super Bowl next weekend.
Eleven-year-old Kahlia, one of two children reported missing on the Mall, has been found and reunited with her parents, the U.S. Park Police said. Police are still searching for Nickolas Barner, a 14-year-old white male wearing a black jacket, black vest, brown hat, jeans and white shoes. If Barner is located, please notify a police officer or call 202-610-7500. Earlier today, an 8-year-old girl who went missing on the National Mall was also found, U.S. Park Police said. The child was found near the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum around 1:30 p.m.
The President and the First Lady emerged from their limo again at 15th Street. The crowd noise sounds like a teenaged rock concert. They are walking toward the reviewing stand, waving, grinning.
Obama waves– he’s almost home twitter.com/stevenportnoy/…
— Steven Portnoy (@stevenportnoy) January 21, 2013
When the presidential limo slowed to a stop directly in front of the FBI building, the crowd rumbled. When the back doors opened, the spectators roared. “Obama! Obama!” “Oh my god, there he is!” “Obama!” “Michelle!”
People rushed the twin barricades and two FBI police officers ran to stand over a woman who had been knocked over. She thanked them and several other spectators who helped her gather her Obama buttons and rushed off with the flow of screaming viewers following the first couple along Pennsylvania Avenue.
Several downtown Metro stations have reopened after overcrowding. Passengers at Metro Center were allowed to board around 3 p.m. after being held at the top of the escalators for more than 15 minutes, and Foggy Bottom was moving steadily with no major problems after 3:30 p.m. Smithsonian, closed for the Inauguration ceremony, opened shortly after 3 p.m. as well.
A disabled train between the Foggy Bottom and Rosslyn and signal problems caused delays on the Red, Blue and Orange lines for up to 40 minutes. At L’Enfant Plaza, long lines are still backed up to 7th Street, after police opened the entrance at 7th and C Streets around 2:45 p.m. to let the enormous crowd enter. Metro urged customers traveling to Blue Line stations in Virginia to use the Yellow Line as an alternate route. Congestion had largely abated at Farragut West by 3:30 pm. The largest crowds were awaiting the trains heading to New Carrollton and Largo Town Center. Follow Dr. Gridlock for more updates on Metro congestion throughout the evening. http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/dr-gridlock/wp/tag/dr-gridlock/
Dustin (@dgilardino) January 21, 2013
Orange-Blue platform packed at Metro Center shortly before 3 pm.
h; Martin Di Caro (@MartinDiCaro)
– Rachel Karas
At 3:47 p.m., the President and First Lady exited the limo near the FBI Headquarters at 9th Street, a pretty safe spot, and are now walking hand-in-hand down Pennsylvania Avenue. The crowd is cheering loudly.
— Russ Ptacek (@RussPtacek) January 21, 2013
Update. The President and First Lady got back in the limousine at 12th Street, after about a quarter-mile walk.
— MolotovFlicker (@MolotovFlicker) January 21, 2013
Even though the parade has started, hundreds of people are still waiting to get through security lines near 14th and Pennsylvania Avenue to enter the viewing area.
Some who are just getting in say they waited about 90 minutes.
Those who got here hours ago to stake out spots probably have little sympathy.
Ovetta Wiggins reports: At 3:15 p.m., parade goers at 10th and Pennsylvania, began to grow impatient, waiting for any sign or sound of the parade. “All right, come on Mr. President,” said one woman from Oakland California. When the sounds of drums and horns started blaring from several blocks away, the group began to cheer. Seconds later someone asked: “Why did the music stop?”
— Natalie DiBlasio (@ndiblasio) January 21, 2013
A crowd of impatient, wannabe parade-goers started chanting, “Let us in! Let us in,” complaining about the long wait through security. The crowd crammed together at the gates near the Federal Triangle metro station.
A volunteer for the inaugural committee came by around 3 p.m. and said the delay was due to a bomb threat that turned out to be a bag of discarded souvenirs. The volunteer also told the crowd that a security official directed people who didn’t have parade tickets to the wrong part of the line, increasing confusion and delays.
Eli Klein traveled from Philadelphia and bought tickets to the parade. After waiting two hours in line, he couldn’t get through security to his bleacher seats. He left the line and gave up.
The inauguration has been “exciting, exhilarating and a little disappointing to be honest,” he said. He and his girlfriend spent $75 on tickets they never got to use, he said.
So what were they going to do instead? ”We’ll probably stop and get a bloody Mary,” Klein said.
At 3:20 p.m., the president’s heavily armored limo took off from the Capitol, about 50 minutes later than scheduled.
— Christine McBain(@ccmcbain) January 21, 2013
These images of President Obama stopping, before entering the Capitol, to take one last look at the crowd on the Mall, are popular on Twitter right now. Here’s the video:
Here’s what you need to know about the inaugural parade, which had been scheduled to start at 2:30 p.m. but is starting late:
The Route: It begins at the steps of the U.S. Capitol and will proceed along Pennsylvania Avenue until it reaches the White House. Viewing stands and bleachers extend from 3rd to 17th streets.
The Weather: 44 degrees
The Theme: “Our People. Our Future.”
This is the front of the presidential viewing area, at the end of the inaugural parade route. twitter.com/k_rincon/statu…
— Kevin Rincon WNEW (@k_rincon) January 21, 2013
Participants: There are scores of bands, infantry regiments and other participants. At least eight custom-made floats will be in the parade, four representing the First Family and Second Family’s home states and four honoring the country as a whole. The states are Illinois, where Michelle Obama was born; Hawaii, where President Obama was born; Pennsylvania, where Vice President Biden was born; Delaware; home state of Biden and his wife, Jill.
The History: The tradition of a parade starts with George Washington when he took the oath of office on April 30, 1789 in New York City. He began his journey there from Mount Vernon in Virginia and was joined along the way by local militias. When he arrived in New York City, he was joined by government officials, lawmakers, prominent citizens and members of the Continental Army.
— BrandLinkDC (@BrandLinkDC) January 21, 2013
Here’s the full Obama speech, plus the transcript, plus notes from Post reporters at key points explaining the context of the remarks.
UPDATE, 4:25 p.m.: Kahlia has been found. Nickolas remains missing:
ORIGINAL POST: The U.S. Park Police are looking for two missing children. Nickolas Barner, a 14-year-old white male, is wearing a black jacket, black vest, brown hat, jeans and white shoes. Kahlia, a 11-year-old white female with a disability, is 5-feet-five and weighs around 100 pounds. She is wearing all beige with a red armband and was last seen in the area of 7th Street and Jefferson Drive.
If Barner or Kahlia are located, please notify a police officer or call 202-610-7500.
– Rachel Karas
Inaugural parade set to begin. Waiting for Obama. twitter.com/SariHorwitz/st…
— Sari Horwitz (@SariHorwitz) January 21, 2013
The Post’s Clarence Williams reports that the parade is starting. Meanwhile, the president and the assembled dignitaries in the post-inaugural lunch are still making speeches. Obama said he would keep his remarks short. He said the previous presidents told him “the longer you’re there, the more humble you become.”
Obama concludes: “There is controversy about the quality of the president, there is no controversy about the quality of the First Lady.”
— Bree H.(@OrbitBree) January 21, 2013
At the post-inaugural luncheon, former president Bill Clinton chatted endlessly with House Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.). The GOP’s vice presidential nominee, Rep. Paul Ryan (Wisc.), gabbed with Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, and ever-present celebrity John Legend was there as well. Held every four years after the inaugural swearing-in ceremony, in Statuary Hall on the second floor of the Capitol, the meal is the nation’s most exclusive luncheon.
Ostensibly meant to honor the newly sworn-in president, the event is Washington’s quadrennial celebration of itself. President Obama, Vice President Biden, their wives and top congressional leaders sat at a head table along the south end of the grand hall, home to statues of some of the nation’s great heroes. Out in front of the head table were two dozen other tables representing their own small clusters of power, perhaps none more fascinating than the Clintons’ table, No. 7. In addition to McCarthy — who whispered non-stop to the former president — the table included Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts and his wife, Senate Majority Leader Harry M. Reid (D-Nev.) and his wife, White House Chief of Staff/Treasury Secretary designate Jack Lew and his wife.
Across the aisle, at table No. 8, Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia mingled with Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), former president Jimmy Carter and his wife, and Defense Secretary Leon Panetta.
Oddly enough, Legend wandered into the early portion of the event and ambled around greeting the world’s most powerful — and who can blame him, given the odd omnipresent way he appears everywhere in Washington these days. Before leaving the event, Legend chatted up the Clintons and posed for pictures.
At the John A. Wilson District building, city officials held their own silent protest. On the mayor’s parade reviewing stand, city leaders displayed the phrase, “A more perfect union must include a free DC” in support of statehood and voting rights.
In recent days, after Obama agreed to place the District’s “taxation without representation” license plates on presidential vehicles, city leaders urged Obama to also mention the issue in his inaugural address. The issue did not come up, but several city leaders said Monday they are not holding it against Obama.
“It would have been nice, but I don’t know I would have expected it,” said Council Chairman Phil Mendelson (D). “Arguably, it would be more important to do it in the State of the Union address.”
— Michael K. Lavers (@mklavers81) January 21, 2013
Two Metro signal problems – one on the Red line and one on the Orange line — have caused delays. The L’Enfant Plaza and Federal Center Southwest stations were temporarily closed because of overcrowding.
Ruby Lewis of Southeast and her two friends couldn’t get on at Federal Center so they walked to Capitol South only to wait about 10 minutes for a standing-room-only train.
Still, they said it was a pleasant experience. ”The weather has been good and people have been patient,” she said.
Security checkpoint to get into the parade!!!! @ 7th And Constitution Washington,DC instagr.am/p/UwQ4S3pZlY/
— The Hustler (@KenDaGenius) January 21, 2013
Army personnel have blocked the security check point at 7th Street and Constitution Avenue NW and are no longer letting people use the entrance. The entrance closed just after 2 p.m. because the crowd was too large and the parade was about to begin, an Army official said. Large crowds of people moved further north on Constitution after being turned away.
Several dozen people were in line before the entrance closed and continued to wait, although it was moving slowly. The Army official said that the people at the end of the line would be lucky to make it inside the parade route by the time it began.
— Sean Ian Lynch (@seanianlynch) January 21, 2013
Among the Metro problems this afternoon is a line on 23rd Street NW containing hundreds of people waiting to enter the Foggy Bottom Metro.
“We feel like cattle,” said Lindsay Carless, a senior at Oakland University in Michigan. “This is overwhelming.”
Carless and her group of seven friends tried two other Metro stops before Foggy Bottom: Metro Center and Federal Triangle.
“This was our last option,” Carless said.
Michelle Chandler, of San Antonio, didn’t have a bad commute into the city this morning but said she couldn’t believe the situation this afternoon.
“I hate people,” she said waiting on line down the block from the Foggy Bottom Metro. “I was expecting some hold up, but not like this.”
A group called Occupy Monsanto started an impromptu dance party on Independence Avenue near the Washington Monument to remind Obama about his pledge to label genetically modified foods.
With a portable sound system blaring dance music, activists danced and handed out fliers beneath a sign featuring an ear of corn with a fish tail.
“We helped Obama get elected,” said organizer Adam Eidinger. “We brought carrots today, but we’re bringing sticks next time.”
Eidinger was referring to the 50 pounds of organic carrots the group handed out. They even offered a peeler for removing the tough outer carrot skins.
An activist got on a mike and rapped over the music:
“You got a right to know/if our food is GMO,” he said. “Viva democracy! Democracy at the dinner table!”
Inauguration attendees stopped and started dancing, too. But the party was short-lived.
A police officer told the group, which did not have a permit, to turn off the music.
— Julie Jones (@Museumstudent) January 19, 2013
It’s worth noting that it is men’s headgear that is making people take notice at this inauguration. Sen. Orrin Hatch wore an enormous white felt cowboy hat throughout the ceremony, and Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia checked in with another notable bit of headgear, as he did four years ago.
Asked in the Capitol afterward by a reporter for the Fort Worth Star Telegram if the hat made him appear to be a Texan to audiences at home, Hatch exclaimed, “I’m from Utah!” As a Utahan, Hatch appeared to think this needed no further explanation. (There are, indeed, a lot of ranches and cowboys in Utah, too.) Hatch went on to explain that he owns two similar cowboy hats–one black and one white. He said he thought about wearing the black hat for inauguration, and then thought better of it and went with white.
Richmond law blogger Kevin Walsh reports that “Scalia’s hat is a custom-made replica of the hat depicted in Holbein’s famous portrait of St. Thomas More. It was a gift from the St. Thomas More Society of Richmond, which presented it to him in November 2010 as a memento of his participation in its 27th annual Red Mass and dinner.”
The U.S. Park Police are looking for a missing teen. Nickolas Barner, a 14-year-old white male, is wearing a black jacket, black vest, brown hat, jeans and white shoes. If Barner is located, please notify a police officer or call (202) 610-7500.
Earlier today, an 8-year-old girl who went missing on the National Mall was found, U.S. Park Police said. The child was found near the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum around 1:30 p.m.
– Rachel Karas, Jeremy Borden
The Post’s Ezra Klein says Obama wants “to use his bully pulpit to make an aggressive and uncompromising case for why his side is right, and to not rest until the American people agree that the other side is wrong.” His analysis is here.
Columnist David Ignatius rates the speech as “flat, partisan and surprisingly pedestrian.”
Eugene Robinson called the speech “the most unabashedly progressive speech he has given as president.”
Here’s the transcript. What was your analysis of the speech?
— Will Marble (@wpmarble) January 21, 2013
The protester who climbed a tree near the U.S. Capitol this morning and managed to stay at least 40-feet high for several hours is now down, according to authorities.
Officer Shennell S. Antrobus, a spokesman for the U.S. Capitol Police, had no immediate details of how the man was removed, or whether he came down on his own. Antrobus also could not say if the man was arrested.
The man had been in the tree near Garfield Circle, along the Capitol reflecting pool, since about 8:30 a.m. He was spotted in the tree holding a protest sign, with capitol police officers surrounding the area.
At one point, D.C. firefighters were called in to try to use a ladder to reach the man, but they could not get their fire engine close enough because of security barricades.
U.S. Capitol police then tried to talk the man down, but officials said he climbed higher. Lon Walls, the fire department spokesman, and Antrobus confirmed at 1:40 p.m. that the man was out of the tree. Antrobus said more details would be released later.
President Obama’s first inauguration may have boasted a larger live audience, but online, #Inaug2013 dwarfed the 2009 festivities. According to Twitter, tweets-per-minute hit nearly 28,000 during Obama’s swearing-in, nearly six times the rate of his first swearing-in four years ago. More than 1.1 million tweets were sent during the ceremony overall, versus 82,392 in 2009.
Most of this change, of course, has to do with Twitter’s growing popularity. (A Pew report found that 15% of online adults used Twitter in February 2012, up from 8% in 2010.) But the Obama family has also become a veritable online force, wielding a social media savvy that arguably helped the president win his last campaign. Just check out the official @whitehouse account, which sent out a series of illustrated quotes from Obama’s inaugural remarks mere minutes after he said them. Visuals typically perform better on social media, and Obama’s meme-ified remarks are no exception: A graphic on gay rights has been retweeted 2,843 times, and the President’s remarks on American potential have 57,000 shares on Facebook.
— The White House (@whitehouse) January 21, 2013
— DC Fire Fighters L36 (@IAFF36) January 21, 2013
The D.C. Fire Department has sent a medical warming bus to 12th Street and Independence Avenue Northwest. A spokesman said there is no emergency, but the bus is available for anyone who needs a few moments to warm up.
Temperature at time of swearing in, according to Capital Weather Gang, was 40 degrees.
With a fleet of 6-foot-long model drones, banners and bull horns, more than 150 anti-war protestors forced a rolling roadblock for nearly a mile along 16th Street, north of the White House just as the Inauguration ceremony began on the Mall.
“Stop the war, that is what we’re marching for,” the group chanted in a block-long call-and-answer.
The protesters were a disparate mix of supporters for over a half-dozen groups, including CodePink, Move On, and the Bradley Manning Support Network.
The united under the banner of the anti-war group, the Arc of Justice, but in a rally preceding the march at Meridian Hill Park, Mauri Saalakhan of the Peace thru Justicex
Foundation seemed to sum up the essence of the message uniting the crowd:
“We are here to mark the profound contradiction,” Saalakhan said. “Our first African-American president is presiding over a great expansion of war and killing. And we celebrate his inauguration on the day we remember a revolutionary.”
“The irony, I believe, is that if Dr. Martin Luther King was still alive, he would be here, with us, sharing our message,” Saalakhan said.
Jim Schulman, of CodePink DC, held a sign that read Obama: Earn your Peace Price. Ground the Drones.’
“I wanted the out-of-towners to recognize that there are some of us who believe he has not lived up to his potential,” Schulman said of Obama.
Catering staff set up for the traditional inaugural luncheon in Statuary Hall in the U.S. Capitol, hosted by the Joint Congressional Committee on Inaugural Ceremonies, on Capitol Hill Monday. (Melina Mara/The Washington Post)
President Obama has arrived at the inaugural luncheon. In case you missed it, here’s the menu for the luncheon, which includes steamed lobster, hickory grilled bison and apple pie.
— Tisha Thompson (@TishaOnTV) January 21, 2013
The swarm seemed unending as tens of thousands of people slowly marched down Constitution Avenue around 1 p.m, not long after after President Obama took the oath of office.
Presti Bradley was among the dozens of people who stopped outside the Natural History Museum to stop and rest. Bradley was at the inauguration four years ago and described this ceremony as “almost as overwhelming as the first one.”
Being here in person doesn’t compare to watching it on TV, Bradley, who is just over 70, said. “Being live, the emotions and the electricity cannot be replaced,” he said.
Immediately after his inaugural celebration ended, President Obama put his name to four nominations: John Brennan to be director of the CIA, Chuck Hagel to be Secretary of Defense, John Kerry to be Secretary of State and Jack Lew to be Secretary of the Treasury.
The president also signed a proclamation commemorating the inauguration as “National Day of Hope and Resolve, 2013.”
Before departing for the Capitol for the inaugural luncheon, the president and the first lady had tea and coffee with the leadership of the Joint Congressional Committee on Inaugural Ceremonies and their spouses and staff at the White House.
Several inauguration attendees on the Mall stopped Andy Wormser and Tim Myers to take a photo of the couple decked out in Uncle Sam hats and other patriotic gear.
Wormser and Myers of Arlington have been married for six years. As a gay couple, they say Obama’s message of equality resonated most with them.
Myers said the country has come a long way. “To be able to stand here, holding hands, hugging and singing the National Anthem together and feeling comfortable…I don’t think I would have done that 10 years ago,” he said.
In his address, Obama called for gay men and women to be “treated like anyone else under the law.”
— Frank Yonkof (@FrankYonkof) January 21, 2013
Now that the ceremony has wrapped up, crowding at Metro stations will be a major issue. There are already reports of heavy congestion at L’Enfant Plaza and Judiciary Square. In addition, a Red Line train heading to Glenmont offloaded at Bethesda, while a signal problem at West Falls Church is creating delays on the Orange Line.
Robert Thomson, a.k.a. Dr. Gridlock, reports that police have stopped people from entering L’Enfant Plaza on 7th Street because of crowding at the station. The Post’s Emma Brown reports that westbound Orange and Blue trains at that station are very crowded.
Remember: The Smithsonian, Archives and Mount Vernon Square stations are closed. Here’s a complete rundown of Metro’s service plans for the day.
— Meena (@MeenaGanesan) January 21, 2013
Police have stopped people from entering L’Enfant Plaza station at 7th Street because of crowding in the station. People are reacting well, once they know what’s going on. Many are asking directions to other entrances. #inauguration.
— Meena (@MeenaGanesan) January 21, 2013
As crowds streamed off the Mall following President Obama’s speech, L’Enfant Metro station quickly began filling up. Lines at fare card machines were two dozen deep and a horde stretching back 100 feet waited to enter the fare gates. Meanwhile, at one entrance (from the L’Enfant food court) both down escalators were out of order, backing up foot traffic there.
As the ceremony concludes at the Capitol, thousands of people from the Mall are moving toward Pennsylvania Avenue NW. The previously quiet screening station at 10th Street and Constitution Avenue is now thronged. What had been a sparse crowd along the parade route is now three and four deep In many places.
And with that, the ceremony has concluded. But don’t go anywhere! We’ll be bringing you live coverage of the parade, the sights, the sounds and everything else for the remainder of the day and into the evening.
The inaugural ceremonies ended with a traditional showstopper: Beyonce Knowles, backed by the U.S. Marine Band, took the stage to belt out the National Anthem.
Just as the main part of the inaugural ceremony started, the giant TVs sometimes known as Jumbotrons began to flicker and fail for much of the crowd at the back of the Mall.
Throughout the speeches and prayers, the crowd periodically booed and called for better reception. Some of the crowd, after bearing early-morning trips and long security lines, were so disappointed that they began streaming off the Mall before President Obama’s speech concluded.
“It’s pointless to be here,” said one woman as she pushed her way through the crowd, headed away from the failing screen.
The moment President Obama finished asking God’s blessing for country and finished his speech, hundreds headed for the exits. They didn’t wait for Kelly Clarkson, poetry or even Beyonce. Crowds packed 3rd Street across the Mall, but many people continued to exit steadily and without stoppage as they walked north across Pennsylvania Avenue.
The moment that President Obama finished asking God’s blessing for country and finished his speech, hundreds headed for the exits.
They didn’t wait for Kelly Clarkson, poetry or even Beyonce. Crowds packed 3rd Street across the Mall.
But crowds exited steadily and without stoppage as they walked north across Pennsylvania Avenue.
The dignitaries arrayed on stage bowed their heads as the Rev. Luis Leon, a scarf knotted around his neck, delivered the inaugural benediction.
“We pray for your blessing, because without it, we will see only what the eye can see,” he said.
Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia’s hat has proved particularly buzz-worthy since he took the stage at inaugural festivities today, with hordes of Internet fashion critics debating whether it best resembles something Professor Snape, a Spanish inquisitor or a medieval priest would wear.
But the hat’s biggest fan is probably Sen.Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.), the unusually candid tweeter who began critiquing it during President Obama’s first inauguration.
“Four years ago today I began tweeting. One of my first tweets was a comment on Scalia’s weird hat,” she wrote this morning. “Will he wear it again? Stay tuned.”
House Speaker John A. Boehner (R-Ohio) is known to cry at formal events: The start of a new Congress, the death of a colleague, events marking St. Patrick’s Day.
So what made Boehner well up and take out his handkerchief today? The sight of his political rival taking the oath of office for a second time? The ruffles and flourishes of the U.S. Army’s Herald Trumpets?
No. Almost as soon as Kelly Clarkson began singing “My Country ‘Tis of Thee,” Boehner’s lip began to quiver, his eyes welled up and he began to cry.
But who can fault the speaker? Even Sen. Charles E. Schumer (D-N.Y.) acknowledged the power of Clarkson’s performance when he retook the podium. “Wow!” Schumer said. The crowd on stage seemed to agree.
The Secret Service is denying a report that its agents blocked a D.C.ambulance from reaching a patient who was having trouble breathing inside the ticketed area near the Capitol. A Secret Service spokesman, Brian Leary, said “the ambulance went in unimpeded.”
Lon Walls, the chief spokesman for the D.C. Fire Department, had said the ambulance was not allowed in because it displayed the wrong colored placard. He had said the paramedics were allowed to walk in and treat the patient, who is in a wheelchair. Walls later confirmed the Secret Service account.
Richard Blanco, a Cuban American poet, stepped up to the podium to deliver the inaugural poem.
“My face, your face, millions of faces in mornings mirrors, each one yawning to life, crescendoing into our day,” he recited.
The poem he is reading is an original work, according to the Miami Herald.
For the full poem, see here.
President Obama argued that now is the time to address climate change and defended entitlement programs that have been targeted for cuts.
“We are made for this moment, and we will seize it – so long as we seize it together,” he said.
Our current challenges, he argued, call for “collective action.”
Kelly Clarkson, backed by the U.S. Marine Band, sings “My Country, ‘Tis of Thee.”
President Obama praised the “constants” of hard work and perseverance in his second inaugural address. (Here’s a running transcript of Obama’s remarks.)
“Through it all, we have never relinquished our skepticism of central authority,” he said. “Nor have we succumbed to the fiction that all of society’s ills can be cured through government alone.”
Obama discusses the crises that have steeled the spines of Americans, while also acknowledging the need for “new ideas and technology” to help revitalize the government, revamp the tax code and improve schools.
“A nation that rewards the effort and determination of every single American, that is what this moment requires,” he said.
People still believe that every citizen deserves security and dignity, he continued.
The address touched on the need to fight climate change as well as the necessity of confronting the deficit. And he extolled the importance of democracy across the world.
“America will remain the anchor of strong alliances in every corner of the globe,” he said. “For no one has a greater stake in a peaceful world than its most powerful nation.”
The notion that all of us are created equal is the idea that has powered men and women for generations, he said. This has stretched through Seneca Falls, Selma and Stonewall, he said.
“It is now our generation’s task to carry on what those pioneers began,” Obama said.
But the journey for equality is not complete until women can earn as much as men, nor will it be complete until gay men and women are able to get married, he said. In addition, this work will be unfinished until the country figures out how to tackle immigration and deals with the difficulties of voting.
“That is our generation’s task,” he said. “To make these works, these rights, these values — life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness — real for every American.”
This doesn’t require that all people agree on all things, Obama said. But it requires that people “act in our time.”
Calling for the need to “answer the call of history” in tackling the debates and problems of the era, Obama wrapped up his speech at 12:12 p.m.
Sen. Charles Schumer (D-NY) introduced President Obama just after 11:50 a.m., leading to prolonged applause and cheers from the crowd assembled on the Mall.
“Each time we gather to inaugurate a president, we bear witness to the enduring strength of our Constitution,” Obama began.
Law enforcement have closed part of the Mall — from the Capitol to 12th Street NW — and are now directing traffic toward the Washington Monument or other areas, said Sgt. Paul Brooks, a U.S. Park Police spokesman.
The closed order does not affect ticketed areas closer to the stage, Brooks said.
He said spectators without tickets should seek other vantage points.
President Obama and John Roberts, chief justice of the United States, took to the stage at 11:50 a.m. for a familiar ritual: the oath of office. Perhaps owing to their experience in 2009, the oath went off without a hitch.
Chief Justice nails it this time….no mistakes in issuing the oath of office
— Steve Scully (@SteveScully) January 21, 2013
James Taylor, Grammy Award-winning singer, took the stage after Vice President Biden to sing “America the Beautiful.”
Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) took the stage to introduce Justice Sonia Sotomayor, who will administer the oath of office to Vice President Biden.
Biden took the oath at 11:46 a.m. on Monday morning.
D.C. paramedics trying to reach a patient who had trouble breathing was barred by the U.S. Secret Service from driving an ambulance into the ticketed area near the U.S. Capitol because the vehicle displayed the wrong colored placard, according to a Fire Department spokesman.
The spokesman, Lon Walls, said the paramedics were allowed to walk into the area near the Newseum in the 500 block of Pennsylvania Ave. NW, and assess the patient, who was in a wheelchair. Walls said the Fire Department had another ambulance positioned within the restricted area.
Walls had no information about the condition of the patient. The incident occurred about 10:30 a.m.
The Brooklyn Tabernacle Choir is now performing a soaring, sweeping rendition of “The Battle Hymn of the Republic.” President Obama, Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) and the others assembled on the stage are turning to look over their shoulders at the singers.
The U.S. Park Police said at 11:35 a.m. that the National Mall is now “full and closed.” Visitors still trying to get to the inauguration are being directed to the overflow area near the Washington Monument.
The big bottleneck at the orange gate at First and C streets is slowly easing.
D.C. police directing crowd flow said they didn’t know what caused it. Ticket holders said they had been held a block north at First and D streets for what seemed a long time.
They were cleared to start moving before 11 a.m. Now the pace is a slow shuffle toward security. For those arriving on line now, the wait appears to be about at least 15 minutes.
Most ticket holders were patient and veterans of the 2009 inauguration were especially unfazed.
“This is way better coordinated; you couldn’t move in ’09,” said Fred Miller, who never even made it through the blocked orange gate four years ago. “At least we’re moving.”
– David Montgomery
We will have a running transcript of President Obama’s second inaugural address here. Remarks will be updated as they become available.
Veterans Affairs Secretary Eric Shinseki is the Cabinet secretary being left out of today’s inaugural celebrations in case of catastrophe.
Whenever the president and other political leaders are all gathered in one place, a “designated survivor” is left out to ensure a smooth transfer of power in the event of a mass attack.
The tradition dates back at least to the 1960s and the White House first publicly released the names of designated absentees during the Nixon administration, according to the Senate Historical Office.
After all of the organizing, planning and preparation, the 57th presidential inauguration is underway. Sen. Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) has taken the stage at the Capitol and is delivering the opening remarks of the 57th presidential inauguration.
Far too many people still doubt the ability of the U.S. to handle its problems, Schumer said.
“We do well to remember that Americans have always been and still are a practical, optimistic, problem-solving people…America always rises to the occasion,” he said. “America prevails and America prospers.”
Some creative headwear spotted on the inaugural stage: Sen. Max Baucus (D-Mont.), wearing an oversize cowboy hat; Rep. Loretta Sanchez (D-Calif.), wearing a round black fur number, and — of course — the Supreme Court justices. Antonin Scalia is sporting an Oxford-style hat, while Stephen G. Breyer is wearing a simple, practical ski cap.
The 12th Street entrance to the Mall is closed, according to D.C. Police. People are being diverted to the entrance at 15th Street and Independence Avenue.
David Wu, the former Oregon Democratic congressman who resigned in disgrace two years ago, was spotted among the crowds of reporters and other onlookers near the base of the Capitol, just underneath the podium where President Obama will deliver his inaugural address.
Wu, who appeared to be attending alone, resigned in July 2011 amid allegations that he had made unwanted sexual advances toward the young daughter of a campaign donor.
He also caused headaches for the Democratic leadership after it was reported that he had e-mailed staffers photos of himself wearing a tiger suit.
At Monday’s ceremony, he was wearing a long black coat, sans tiger attire.
Today’s edition of The Washington Post and an inauguration commemorative edition are on sale at several points throughout the city — including The Washington Post building at 1150 15th St. NW. The papers will be sold at the downtown building today until 5 p.m.and Tuesday from 7 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Papers are also being sold from trucks parked at these locations: 1200 block of C St. SW; 1100 block of New York Ave.; Verizon Center, 100 H St. NW; RFK Stadium; 600 block of Maryland Ave. SW
The inauguration edition of Sunday, Jan. 20, 2013, is sold out but is available for purchase online at www.washingtonpost.com/store.
Tickets may not be the ticket to a good view of the inaugural ceremonies. At the green security gate near 2nd and C Sts., NW, The Post’s Matt Zapotosky said that frustrated ticket-holders were leaving even after making it through the security check. The two women approached a police officer near the green security gate and said they had arrived at 8:15 a.m. and then ran into an unmoving wall of people.
“You maybe went about 25 feet and that was it,” said a woman who asked to be identified as only Paula from New York. “It took us about 25 minutes to leave, and we were at the back.”
Similar complaints are erupting on Twitter at the nearby orange gate. “Tickets are worthless,” according to one tweet.
People without tickets were being encouraged to go to 9th St., NW to see if they could get on the Mall there, according to the Post’s James Arkin. And on the north side of 13th and Pennsylvania Ave., NW, pedestrians were encourage to move to 11th Street or to the south side of the streets, reported The Post’s Keith Alexander.
“Every time we get to one corner, someone tells us to move somewhere else,”
said Veronica Douglas, 32, of Chicago.
Planning on heading into the District for the parade? Metro now says that parking facilities are more than 90 percent full at Dunn Loring, Branch Avenue, West Falls Church and Largo Town Center.
A few more names and faces we’ve spotted in the crowd:
Former House speaker Newt Gingrich and his wife, Callista, seated alongside former Senate majority leader Tom Daschle and his wife. They are directly in front of Reps. John Conyers (D-Mich.) and Charles Rangel (D-N.Y.).
Across the stage, Rep. Joe Wilson (R-S.C.) — who famously shouted “you lie!” at President Obama during his 2009 address on health-care reform, is seated with Rep. Tom Cole (R-Okla.).
Down closer to the presidential podium, former presidential body man Reggie Love is seated with one of President Obama’s top aides, Valerie Jarrett. They have better seats than Cabinet secretaries, including Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. and Interior Secretary Ken Salazar, who are seated near Jack Lew, the Treasury secretary nominee and current White House chief of staff.
And for those of you keeping tabs at home, former presidents Bill Clinton and Jimmy Carter have exchanged few words, but the Carters and Clintons will sit with each other a few rows back on the right side of the stage. Four Supreme Court justices — Chief Justice John Roberts and Justices Antonin Scalia, Anthony Kennedy and Sonia Sotomayor, are on stage near the front.
In one row, the following people will be sitting from left to right: Bill Clinton, Hillary Rodham Clinton, Jimmy Carter, Rosalynn Carter, Caroline Smedvig, and her husband, singer James Taylor.
— Ed O’Keefe
As police allowed hundreds of people to cross at 11th Street NW and Pennsylvania Avenue to get a better spot for the parade, tempers flared as people pushed and shoved each other.
“Stop pushing me,” yelled David Haynes, 28, of Atlanta to a crowd of people behind him.
“Dude, it’s Inauguration Day. Chill out,” yelled a guy at him.
A woman, who declined to give her name, began yelling and cursing at a man who she said touched her shoulder and wouldn’t stop. “Quit touching me,” she yelled.
Metro officials said one reason stations like Federal Center SW become so overcrowded with riders was due to something done by the Joint Congressional Committee on Inaugural Ceremonies.
Transit officials said the inaugural committee printed the names of four Metro stations on 250,000 tickets — Union Station, Federal Center SW, Capitol South, Judiciary Square — as stops that were close to particular seating areas. Roughly 105,000 inaugural tickets, for example, had Federal Center SW printed as being the station closest to a particular assigned seating area.
But not all of those stations could handle an onslaught of people. And this contradicted advice Metro had given to use all stations and be prepared to walk.
Federal Center SW became extremely crowded as riders tried to get out around 9 a.m. Throngs of riders tried to get through faregates that typically have no more than 15,000 riders coming through on a rush hour week day.
No doubt the biggest, loudest, most exciting cheers of the day today go so far to Beyonce and husband Jay-Z, who were followed on stage by James Taylor, who also earned also earned a big cheer.
The cheers for the crooner even bigger than those for former president Bill Clinton and Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton.
– Ed O’Keefe
Not only do the roughly 1,200 guests on the inaugural stage get a grand view and much closer to the main characters of today’s festivities, they also get warming devices.
On each seat on the stage rests a rolled up blue blanket that guests can place on their lap or around themselves. There are also booster seats towards the front in special blue leather chairs for some relatives of President Obama and Vice President Biden.
Must be nice, eh?
The crowd on the bleachers outside the White House erupted in cheers and squeals of delight as the presidential caravan — about 40 black armored suburbans and Cadillac limousine hard cars — pulled put of the White House driveway to head to the Capitol.
People in the VIP crowd, which included affluent Obama supporters and their children, tried to guess who was in each vehicle and waved to all of them just in case.
There seem to be two key choke points for crowds entering the Mall: The central security gate at 1st and C streets NW and the secondary ticket check at 1st and D street NW.
Police at D street are funneling ticket holders through several gates, which caused a bottleneck.
Performances on the inaugural stage began at exactly 9:30 a.m. when the children’s choir from P.S. 22 began singing Phillip Phillips’ hit song, “Home.”
Beyond the traditional military bands and chart toppers performing today, three groups from New York and Tennessee will also entertain the crowd. In addition to the schoolchildren, the Lee University choir and Brooklyn Tabernacle Choir also will sing.
Why those groups? Because they hail from the home states of the co-chairs of he inaugural festivities, Sens. Charles E. Schumer (D-N.Y.) and Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.).
Crowding has become an issue at the Orange and Blue gates. The security line at the Orange gate had virtually stopped pedestrian traffic heading east or west at 1st and D streets NW at around 10:50 a.m.
A late surge of attendees swamped the Blue and Orange gates at about 10:30 a.m., creating a sea of concerned faces. Revelers who filed in from Union Station found lines at the Blue gate that stretched back for three blocks. Outside the Orange gate at 1st and C streets NW the line was two blocks long, jamming up the intersection.
Several revelers have reported failed cellphone calls along the inaugural parade route, despite the addition of several new cell phone towers along the Mall.
“We’re monitoring usage throughout the area and we’re making adjustments to maximize the capacity of our sites,” said Verizon Wireless spokeswoman Melanie Ortel. “We’ll continue to do so, as usage shifts occur throughout the day in these areas. “
At the green security gate for ticket holders, you can now walk right up to the security screening tents — though what lies beyond could be troublesome. Hundreds, if not thousands, are still weaving down 2nd Street to make their way inside an area where at least a few dozen have left, complaining of overcrowding and lack of a decent view.
Things could have been much different for Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) today. The defeated GOP vice presidential candidate arrived with several members of the House of Representatives at approximately 10:30 a.m., squeezed between Reps. Mike Rogers (R-Mich.) and Elijah Cummings (D-Md.).
Paul Ryan booed by crowd as he walks out. Harsh. #inaug2013
— Amanda Becker (@RollCallAmanda) January 21, 2013
Ryan told reporters last week that he would be here today, because “it’s my obligation.”
Not expected today: former Republican nominee Mitt Romney, who will be the first loser of a presidential election not present for the inauguration since Democratic nominee Michael Dukakis didn’t show up for George H. W. Bush’s swearing-in in 1989.
— Rosalind Helderman (@PostRoz) January 21, 2013
President Obama, Vice President Biden and their families attended services at St. John’s Church in Lafayette Square this morning.
The Rev. Andy Stanley from North Point Community Church in Alpharetta, Ga., thanked Obama for speaking to mourners after the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting. He said the president should be called “Pastor in Chief.” He prayed that Obama would “continue to leverage this influence for the sake of our nation and the sake of the world.”
Bishop Vashti McKenzie of the African Methodist Episcopal Church blessed the president and vice president. “Bless this administration with both favor and grace,” she said, and “give them the resources and people necessary to get the job done.”
The congregation also prayed for the nation, the Supreme Court justices, the officers of the courts and the men and women in the armed services.
R&B singer Ledisi sang. “Mr. President, when Ledisi started singing you started smiling. I think may she should open up Cabinet meetings,” Stanley joked. A 12-person choir in white robes also sang hymns.
Charlotte Hord and Ann Weathers flew in from Lexington, Ky., on Saturday to attend the parade. In 2009, the ladies stood on the Capitol grounds for the swearing in and missed the parade. This time, they wanted to see it.
Both women said the biggest difference between the crowds now and then is that people aren’t as “friendly” as they were in 2009.
“People just aren’t as nice and friendly as they were then,” Hord said. “Then, folks, white, black, whatever, laughed, chatted and bonded with each other. Now, people are snapping and not at all helpful.”
Inauguration days sure have a way of bringing together folks who might not otherwise cross paths. Need some examples? How about Richard Trumka, president of the AFL-CIO, chatting up the entire Joint Chiefs of Staff. Or top Obama confidantes David Plouffe and Robert Gibbs and their spouses making their entrances on to the inaugural stage close behind Demetrios, the Greek Orthodox Archbishop of America?
Today — as on few other days in U.S. history — such meetings are possible.
Metro reports that 266,000 riders had entered the rail system by 10 a.m. today. That is significantly lower than the 473,000 riders who had entered the system by the same point on inauguration day in 2009.
— Dana Hedgpeth
The D.C. Department of Transportation was very prepared for inaugural bicycle riders, constructing a bike “parking lot” with room for 700 and adding two corrals for Capital Bikeshare bikes north and south of the Mall.
But as of 10 a.m., the bike parking lot was almost empty. “Um, #BikeDC, where are you?” DDOT tweeted. “Only 65-70 bikes at the lot so far.”
The empty lot is more than an odd anomaly on a day infamous for packed trains, closed roads and other commuting headaches. And it’s a surprise for the District, which has become even more bike-friendly in recent years.
“We are very proud that the nation will get to see why D.C. is now regarded as one of the most bicycle-friendly cities in the nation,” Terry Bellamy, the department’s director, told the Post last week.
— Caitlin Dewey
Metro reports that additional parking lots have filled up. The parking areas at the Greenbelt and Vienna South Metro stations both filled up shortly after 9 a.m.
There are now seven stations with full parking facilities: Greenbelt, Vienna South, Rhode Island Ave., Fort Totten, Van Dorn St., Franconia-Springfield and East Falls Church.
— Patricia Sullivan
The entrance to the Mall at 7th Street and Constitution Avenue is closed due to large crowds, officials said. People trying to get to the Mall were being directed to the entrance at 9th Street.
Gary Allen, the Maine man running 700 miles to the inauguration to raise money for charity, is expected to reach the Capitol, his makeshift finish line, tonight.
According to his brother, Larry Allen, there were concerns about how Gary’s goal of reaching the Capitol on Inauguration Day would work out.
But by late Sunday night, according to Larry, Gary had been cleared by the Capitol Police to run down Maryland Avenue NE and eventually work his way over to East Capitol using local streets.
“Gary will finish on the east steps of the Capitol and he will be allowed to go to the Capitol building to touch it as his finish line,” Larry said. He will be allowed to finish anytime after 7 p.m., according to Larry.
Riders at the L’Enfant Plaza station were orderly and polite as they tried to leave the crowded station. Still, the crowding didn’t impress veterans of the 2009 inauguration.
“This is nothing compared to four years ago,” said Lakay Wilkerson, 54 of Fort Lauderdale, Fla.
Four years ago, she said, she waited two hours to get on a train at New Carrolton starting at 4 a.m. because the platform was so crowded with people. On Monday she walked right on at New Carrolton at 8:30 a.m.
“This isn’t bad,” she said, even as she waited in a crush of people inching to the fare gate to exit at 9th and D streets.
Metro is reporting that the parking lots at the Greenbelt station on the Green Line and the Vienna stop on the Orange Line are full.
Meanwhile, at the Federal Center SW station, passengers are only allowed to exit the stop. No entry is permitted right now due to severe crowding.
Near 4th Street and Pennsylvania Avenue NW, eight protesters from Westboro Baptist Church picketed inside a gated area. The protesters held signs that criticized President Obama, abortion, gay men and lesbians.
“I’m here to hold up the only words of hope and truth for the final generation of this nation,” said Rachel Hockenbarger, 47, of Topeka, Kan.
The protesters stood on American and rainbow flags, and were being monitored by several U.S. Park Police officers. But most people who passed by ignored the group, though some snapped pictures of their signs, one of which called for the “death penalty” for gay people.
– Tim Craig
Lt. Gen. Joseph L. Lengyel, vice chief of the National Guard Bureau, said traffic flow has been smooth so far this morning.
“It’s going great,” Lengyel said. “I couldn’t be more proud of the National Guard contribution.”
Things are working “calmly and peacefully,” he said. “It’s surprising how orderly it’s working out.”
About 6,000 members of the National Guard from around the country were sworn in as special police and are assisting with crowd management, medical and other support services.
Sgt. Beau Pollard, with the Florida Army National Guard, stood at 14th Street and Independence Avenue SW directing traffic. It was his first time in D.C. His unit is bunking at Trinity College near Washington Hospital Center in Northeast.
He said he’s been impressed with how happy and friendly the crowd is.
“No matter how many times people are getting turned around, they’re still nice and friendly.” The weather, however, isn’t as friendly for Pollard, 28, who lives in Jacksonville. “If it was this cold at home, nobody would be out,” he said.
Dozens of disabled and elderly people, dropped off by tour buses at RFK Stadium, waited 20 minutes and longer for free shuttles downtown.
“They’re backed up….You would have thought they would have put more buses out,” said Minniett Westbrook, 74, of Covington, Ga. “But it’s well worth the wait.”
A worker stationed at the shuttle stop said the free buses are arriving every half-hour. People who take the free shuttle will still have a distance to travel on foot. They are being dropped off at 7th Street and Frontage Road, about a half-mile from the Mall.
Stephanie Jordan, 48, of Sterling, Va., wearing a mink hat and matching full length mink coat, and her two daughters have been waiting to get her spot at 13th Street and Pennsylvania Avenue NW since 5 a.m.
Jordan and her daughters, ages 12, 8 and 6, are leaning on the silver guard rail listening to the brass band playing a version of the “Star Spangled Banner” over the loud speakers while waiting for the parade to start.
“We came early thinking it was going to be crowded like in 2009. It’s nowhere near as crowded, or as cold,” Jordan said. Jordan’s youngest daughter Maya says she has to go to the bathroom. “Don’t start that,” said her mom.
For President Obama’s second inauguration, first lady Michelle Obama is wearing a collarless navy blue checked coat and dress from Thom Browne, matching the outfit with a pair of shoes and a belt from J.Crew. Her necklace is by California-based jewelry designer Cathy Waterman, whose work was featured in last year’s film “Snow White and the Huntsman.”
Obama’s coat is made of a silk textured tie jacquard with a fitted bodice and undulated skirt, and the dress is made of navy, loden, grey, pink and white jacquard based on men’s silk tie fabric. All the fabrics were developed specifically for this collection.
The first lady wore a custom-made lacy gray Thom Browne dress to the final presidential debate — a dress she also had on during the Democratic National Convention. The American designer is better known for his menswear.
Malia Obama is wearing a fuchsia J. Crew coat with purple tights; Sasha is wearing a purplish-blue Kate Spade coat with gray tights. See their outfits here.
Three women stand at the corner of 12th and Constitution, their voices lifting above the passing crowd, shortly after 9 a.m.
“Obama earrings! Five dollars! Ladies OR gentlemen! Obama earrings! Five dollars!!”
Tonya Leonard is almost past them when she doubles back. She is attending inaugural festivities with her two sisters, and they stop, looking back knowingly.
Leonard, 26, a teacher in Cambridge, Mass., is already wearing a gray pullover Obama sweatshirt, knee-high white Obama socks and brightly patriotic American flag mittens.
She decides she needs earrings too, picking out a set modeled after the Obama “Hope” poster of four years ago.
“Never enough,” she laughs, as she immediately puts them on.
President Obama will feast in all-American style after being sworn in at noon: steamed lobster, hickory grilled bison and apple pie are on the menu for the 57th inaugural luncheon, attended by roughly 200 people, including Cabinet members, Supreme Court justices and high-ranking Congressmen.
The three-course luncheon, served in the Capitol’s Statuary Hall, is a tradition dating back to 1897. This year’s menu includes regional specialties from across the U.S., including New England clam chowder and upstate New York artisan cheese. The accompanying wines — a riesling, merlot and champagne — hail from California and New York state.
“The menu is meant to be simple,” said Greg Boyd, a veteran caterer who worked the 1996, 2000 and 2004 inaugural luncheons. “They generally plan around a theme, like a president or a message … there’s a focus on sustainability this year.”
Foodies can also enjoy most of the dishes at home, too. The Joint Congressional Committee on Inaugural Ceremonies, which organizes the luncheon, has posted recipes for all the dishes online.
— Caitlin Dewey
The U.S. Park Service Police said at 9:34 a.m. that the non-ticketed public viewing area on the National Mall east of 7th Street is now full and closed to any more inaugural visitors. There is still room west of 7th Street.
Access to Mall is open at 9th Street and Constitution Avenue, 12th Street and Constitution Avenue and 12th Street and Independence Avenue, according to the Post’s Peter Hermann.
Crowding has become an issue at the Federal Center SW station. There was just one escalator leading from the platform to the mezzanine, and with Metro operating at rush hour service levels, trains kept disgorging riders onto the platform.
Metro turned off the lone escalators from the platform just before 9:30 a.m. Now that the escalators have essentially turned into stairs, movement inside the station has significantly slowed.
Police are positioned inside the station along the platform in an effort to keep people away from the edge.
While it may turn out to be a bit warmer today than during President Obama’s first inauguration, it’s far from a heat wave.
The National Weather Service is reporting morning temperatures around 35 degrees in downtown Washington with a predicted high of 46. Snow — yes, that sticky, wet white stuff — is possible in the afternoon as the parade gets underway.
The temperature around the time of the swearing in should be about 40, says the Capital Weather Gang. That’s about how the day unfolded during the second Clinton inauguration in 1997. For Obama’s first inauguration, it was a chilly 28 for the high, says the Capital Weather Gang, in a historical look at inaugural chill here.
Before 1937, the president was sworn in on March 4 or March 5, but there were many ceremonies even then that were extremely cold.
Just after 9 am, Brian and Ruth Cantwell gave away two green gate tickets outside the security gate.
The couple, who flew in Fruday from Palo Alto, Calif., said they had gone past security — arriving at about 730 a.m. and waiting about 45 minutes in line to do so — but they could not see anything through the massive crowd.
“You couldn’t really move,” Brian Cantwell said. “When you get in there and try to get access to get to a view, you end up in a gridlock situation.”
He said that the best vantage point he could navigate to was only the back of a stand, offering “no view whatsoever.” He said he and Ruth planned to head to the Mall, hoping to get a spot near a jumbotron or the parade route.
— Matt Zapotosky
Up to 60 anti-government protesters, some wearing masks and carrying signs, raced through the Mount Vernon area of Northwest Washington late Sunday and early Monday and damaged automated bank machines and a restaurant, according to D.C. police.
In one case, police said the protesters left anti-government literature behind.
“We’re looking at all avenues affiliated with anarchist groups,” said Officer Araz Alali, a D.C. police spokesman. “We’re taking this very seriously. We’re working on obtaining surveillance videos.”
Alali said police will “maintain a heavy presence monitoring the situation” in the area throughout Monday morning.
— Peter Hermann
The cause of the 90-minute delay in opening some security gates along the
inauguration parade route remains something of a mystery.
“We are striving to minimize inconveniences at all checkpoints. Any protective effort of this magnitude will inevitably have unexpected delay,” said Secret Service spokesman Brian Leary.
— Patricia Sullivan
Hundreds lined up at 9 a.m. in front of a security checkpoint north of the parade route on 7th Street NW, while three blocks to the west only a few dozen waited to get through. Plenty of curbside viewing spots were available between 9th and 12th streets.
— Mike DeBonis
The security entrance at 7th and D streets NW is mobbed, with much confusion and long lines shortly after 9 a.m. Over at 10th and E streets NW, by contrast, the lines are short and the staff working quickly and efficiently. They’re also letting non-ticketed visitors enter at 10th to walk to the Mall.
— Ben Pershing
We got the first glimpse of the Obama family this morning as they left for church at St. John’s Episcopal Church in Lafayette Square, across from the White House.
The Vice President Biden and Dr. Jill Biden will also attend the service, according to the Pool report.
Kenny Johnson, 33, of Los Angeles, flew to Washington with five duffel bags stuffed with Inauguration T-shirts, handwarmers and buttons.
Johnson set up his booth on a concrete police barricade that police used to block streets and sidewalks at 14th and G Streets NW. Handwarmers are two for $5, while T-shirts areor $10. The handwarmers have been the biggest sellers so far, he said.
“We’re just making a living out here,” Johnson said.
— Matt Zapotosky
U.S. Capitol Police and the D.C. Fire Department are working to get a man out of a tree near the intersection of Maryland Ave. SW and First St. SW, said Officer Shennell S. Antrobus, spokesman for the U.S. Capitol Police.
Antrobus declined to provide any other details about the man and said he did not know how far up the tree the man is. Michael Doyle, a reporter for McClatchy newspapers, tweeted that he was 30 to 40 feet up. Other observers have estimated that as many as 50 police officers are responding.
Doyle tweeted shortly after 8:30 a.m. that the fire department was calling for a ladder or “some kind of aerial device” to get the protester out of the tree.
The intersection is on the mall immediately outside of the Capitol Building, near the Capitol reflecting pool.
— Graham Vyse (@GrahamVyse) January 21, 2013
U.S. Capitol Police and the D.C. Fire Department are working to get a man out of a tree near the intersection of Maryland Ave SW and First St SW, said Officer Shennell S. Antrobus, spokesman for the U.S. Capitol Police.
Antrobus declined to provide any other details about the man, who appears to be an anti-abortion protester, and said he did not know how far up the tree the man is. Michael Doyle, a reporter for McClatchy newspapers, tweeted that he was 30 to 40 feet up. Other observers have estimated that as many as 50 police officers are responding.
Doyle tweeted shortly after 8:30 a.m. that the fire department was calling for a ladder or “some kind of aerial device” to get the protester out of the tree.
The intersection is on the mall immediately outside of the Capitol Building, near the Capitol reflecting pool.
The Washington Post
With the Capitol in front of her and in a prime viewing seat, Gwendolyn Rakes was already a little teary-eyed. The 63-year-old flight attendant missed the 2009 inauguration, volunteering to stay home with her grandchildren. This time, she and her husband were able to trade orange tickets for better seating at the last minute with the help of their son.
“I think it’s even more symbolic this year. He had so many obstacles, real and imaginary,” said Rakes, who lives in Atlanta. “You juxtaposition that with Martin Luther King Day. That’s a powerful statement, not just for people of color, for the whole world.”
While many of the dozen security checkpoints near the Mall finally have opened — at least two of them opening later than planned — there are almost no lines at 12th Street and Constitution Avenue.
There was some confusion about getting volunteers through the checkpoint first, but that has been cleared up and the security lines at that spot were moving quickly as of 8:45 a.m.
It was not immediately clear why the parade entry on 7th Street NW, as well as at least one other parade entrance, opened so late.
“It wasn’t us. It was the Inaugural Committee,” said one Secret Service officer, who asked not to be identified because the officers were not authorized to speak to the media. “We’ve been ready to go since 4:30 a.m.”
The gate on 7th Street was still closed shortly before 8 a.m., so the crowd began chanting “open this gate, open this gate.” When the gate on 7th Street NW opened at about 8 a.m., the crowd cheered and surged forward.
— Tim Craig
Hundreds of people were packed into security lines from Constitution Avenue to C Street NE at about 8:45 a.m.
President Obama’s second inaugural address lays out a vision for the country’s future without offering any new policies, according to the Associated Press. But the speech comes at a pivotal moment in his presidency:
But his words come at the start of a second term with no shortage of tough battles. Obama may in some way reference the Connecticut elementary school shooting that pushed gun control to the top of his agenda. He may also speak of a need to tackle comprehensive immigration reform, another second-term priority, and a need to bring U.S. troops home from Afghanistan.
Head here for more.
Three Metro trains had bypassed the Federal Center SW stop as a safety measure because the platform had become too crowded, said Dan Stessel, the transit agency’s spokesman.
As of 8:20 am, he said trains were again stopping there. He said decisions were being made on a “minute by minute” basis of whether to stop trains because of safety concerns of overcrowding.
He said part of the problem is the inaugural committee put the Federal Center SW, Union Station, Judiciary Square and Capitol South stations on tickets, so too many people have gone to those stations.
Iris Murdock, 62, a retired school teacher from Baltimore, had started out well before dawn, driving to her daughter’s home in Hyattsville. There, the two women boarded a Green Line metro train and set out to their first presidential inauguration.
They emerged at Federal Triangle before 7 a.m., when it was still dark, white lights twinkling on nearby trees as a gathering crowd bundled up against the cold.
“This was on my bucket list,” said Murdock. “You live in Baltimore, and it’s a hop, skip and a jump away.”
Four years ago most of the spaces were taken by sunrise at most of the Metro stations in Prince George’s County as African Americans arrived early to see history. But at 8 a.m., there were mo more than six cars on level 3D of the College Park Metro Station and very few people at the ticket machines.
“The crowd is definitely smaller, but this still is history in the making, ” said Gene Medley, a Metro safety officer on duty at the station. He has been with Metro for 26 years. “The largest crowds will be at Greenbelt, New Carrollton and Branch Avenue stations.”
A cheer went up from the crowd gathered at the parade entrance at 13th Street NW as the checkpoint opened up shortly after 8 a.m.
The Post’s Tim Craig also confirmed that the entrance at 7th Street NW opened at around the same time.
People had stamped their feet while waiting impatiently for the 13th Street entrance to open. A line curled around the block and vendors circulated selling hand warmers.
Despite that, the mood remained upbeat. People laughed and chatted as the sun began to shine on the upper floors of buildings.
“It’s really nice to be with people that share your views,” Ellen Synakowsk of Chevy Chase said with a laugh.
Plenty of first-time Metro riders are trying to navigate the mysteries of the nation’s second busiest subway system.
At New Carrollton, a woman in a red knit cap was stymied by the SmarTrip card reader.
“Tap it on top”, a station manager told her. She held waved her red-mittened hand over the reader. “Tap it, tap it, with the card”, the manager implored, until the woman realized she needed to wave the card over the reader, not just her hand.
“What do you think, you have special powers?” he asked, as they both laughed.
The Post’s Joel Achenbach set the stakes for President Obama’s second inaugural address by recapping the moments he has soared — and stumbled — behind the podium:
With the right audience, in the right moment, Barack Obama is an exceptional speaker, someone who invites comparison to such masters of oratory as Ronald Reagan and John F. Kennedy. He can also be a bore…. The academics who study political communication say Obama has unfinished business. They point out that, although Obama has some signature speeches — including the healing speeches after the mass shootings in Tucson and Newtown, Conn. — he still has no signature line as president, no trademark statement.
The L’Enfant Plaza Metro station was transformed around 8 a.m. today from a ho-hum commuter hub to a place of history.
The station was packed. People were snapping photos of everything imaginable: of the uniformed National Guardsmen giving directions, of themselves, plastered with Obama hats and scarves with the guards, or in front of illuminated signs advertising the inauguration.
— Michelle Boorstein
Looking for a way to stay warm on the Mall? The Smithsonian Castle is open for spectators now.
The castle’s entrance is on Independence Avenue, near the shuttered Smithsonian Metro station entrance on the Mall.
The Going Out Guide assembled a helpful list of museums on the Mall that will be open for visitors today.
Long before the sun rose over the Capitol a little before 7:30 this morning, thousands of people queued up outside the mall and throughout downtown D.C., camera-phones in hand.
While the festivities might not officially start until 11:30, the long wait might be worth it for these views:
— Bryan Canterbury (@TriDocB) January 21, 2013
— Alex Shapiro (@ashapir2) January 21, 2013
— T. Rees Shapiro (@TReesShapiro) January 21, 2013
— Deborah Roberts (@DebRobertsABC) January 21, 2013
— Jim Long (@newmediajim) January 20, 2013
— Peter Alexander (@PeterAlexander) January 21, 2013
— NPS National Mall (@NationalMallNPS) January 21, 2013
As the sun peeked over the east, washing the sky with amber and gold streaks of light, Ericka Brignac, 41, stood and beheld the Martin Luther King Jr. memorial.
“It’s breathtaking and so sobering,” said Brignac, pulling her knit Obama cap below her brow. “Sometimes, we get so caught up and forget how lucky we are.”
As a black woman from Grammercy, La., she said that the campaign season brought a lot of negativity to her mostly Republican community.
Abdul-Rahmaan I. Muhammad, 39, came from Hartford, Conn., to see the inauguration. He founded an organization that promotes grand ideas and called King the ultimate dreamer for black people like himself.
“He’s proof that you can dream something impossible,” Muhammad said. “It shows people that no matter what your dream is you can make it a reality. His dream became our dream. I needed to come here to pay homage to him.”
Andrew Callery, 26, of San Francisco, boarded a Red Line train toting three large cups of Dunkin Donuts coffee. The day was off to a seamless start for the middle school teacher and his brother and friend, both law school students at American University.
The three had tickets to watch the inauguration from the orange section near the Capitol. Whitney Garrett, 25, had homemade blueberry muffins in a plastic bag for the group, while Tim Callery, 28, was carrying bottles of water.
All were Obama voters but were marking the day on the Mall because they had the chance to be a part of the festivities inspired by simply being part of an American tradition: Inauguration Day.
“We don’t know where we’re going to be four years from now, or when well have the chance again, ” said Tim Callery.
The security checkpoints at the parade route were scheduled to open at 6:30 a.m., but by 7:30 a.m. a crowd of about 1,000 people was still waiting at a checkpoint near the Verizon Center.
The crowd at 7th and D streets NW stretched back nearly a block, with many confused about whether they were in the right line. A sign on a nearby light pole read “Green Ticket Entrance Only.”
But many without inauguration tickets said they also believe they should use the 7th Street entrance. There did not appear to be any officials around who could answer questions about who can use the entrance.
“There ought to be something on the tent saying non-ticketed entrance,” said Robert Gonzales, 46, of San Antonio Texas, who hoped he was waiting the correct line.
Others were taking the confusion in stride.
“I think it’s pretty organized, But this is my first inauguration, ” said Javier Cepeda, 44, also of San Antonio.
At a regional transportation operations center in Greenbelt, analyst Will Truong manned six computer screens, a TV tuned to local news, a radio tuned to National Public Radio and a 55-inch flat screen with TweetDeck showing Twitter feeds. He was monitoring the #inaug2013 hash tag and paying particular attention to Metro’s official feeds, as well as reports from riders.
Behind him, six police scanners crackled every minute or so. The Capital Beltway, near Kenilworth Avenue, hummed along with relatively light traffic for a Monday morning rush hour. The rest of the staff from the Metropolitan Area Transportation Operations Coordination Program, or MATOC, is at the emergency operations center in the District. Luong was working alone, in charge of monitoring Twitter feeds and the police scanners.
The verdict? Revelers have decided to leave the cars at home.
“It seems like everyone got the message to ride Metro today,” Truong said.
Robert Thomson, the Post’s Dr. Gridlock, reports that downtown Metro stations are much less crowded than they would normally be at 7:15 a.m. on a weekday morning. Outer stations and the big transfer stations are crowded, Thomson said. But they are nowhere near as crowded as they were at the same time in 2009.
As of 7 a.m., 89,000 people had entered the system, according to Metro.
Riders shared photos and tweets documenting light crowds at the beginning of the day:
— andrewmswift (@andrewmswift) January 21, 2013
— Sunfire (@Sunfire2109) January 21, 2013
Denese Wilson brought a group of high school students from Semmes, Ala., for the inauguration and got them on the Metro at Grosvenor stop at 4 a.m. because she was worried about crowds. Instead, she found plenty of empty rail cars.
“It was packed in 2009 and I thought it would be the same,” she said. “I didn’t want to take any chances.”
Terry Moore of Spartanburg, S.C., drove up from a business trip in Norfolk and got to the Greenbelt Metro stop at 3 a.m. and headed into the city. He was one of the first to get on the train at Greenbelt and saw few other passengers at that hour.
“It is no comparison to ’09 when it was packed,” he said of riding the Metro. “By this time early in the morning it was jumping with people, jammed up.”
— Neal Augenstein (@AugensteinWTOP) January 21, 2013
Large crowds are building at the parade entry checkpoints, which were scheduled to open at 6:30 a.m. The Post’s David Montgomery reports that more than 1,000 people had lined up at the security gate on D Street between 6th and 7th streets. The crowd was patient, despite the gates being closed shortly before 7 a.m.
Metro reports that that parking lots at the end of the line stations are about 70 percent full. The only exceptions are the Glenmont and Huntington stations, which are both about 40 percent full, according to the transit agency.
Lines are getting longer at the dozen parade entry checkpoints. While you’re waiting, check the U.S. Secret Service list of items that are prohibited Monday at the Mall and other sites where thousands already are massing to get through security checkpoints.
To ease your way through security, here are just some of the items you cannot bring: weapons and ammunition, backpacks, bikes, coolers, animals other than guide dogs, strollers and Thermos-type containers.
Lines to enter the inaugural security perimeter began forming in the dark well before 6 a.m. with hundreds of revelers lined outside the Russell Senate Office headed towards security screening tents to enter the Blue ticketed areas.
“I’ve never felt cold like this,” said one woman from Jacksonville, Fla., who declined to give her name, as she adjusted her scarf.
People standing with her confirmed their discomfort from the cold, but excitement about the day ahead.
Walking from North Capitol St. towards the Capitol, people attending this year’s inauguration appear to mirror the crowds from four years ago: Young black families here to witness history; smiling, singing high school groups; troops of volunteer Girl Scouts; dozens of television reporters and producers staged on blocks near the Capitol; and several packs of middle-aged women bundled up, but keeping each motivated with jokes and songs.
Inside the Russell building, Senate Sergeant at Arms Terrance Gainer arrived at 6:20 a.m. with his wife and children in tow. He greeted Capitol police officers before heading through underground tunnels towards the Capitol. It appeared like business as usual in the Capitol basement for an early Monday, with the Senate Carry Out serving hot coffee and breakfast sandwiches to the building’s police officers and maintenance support staff.
“We already had a briefing and they told us they don’t want to see us anywhere today. We can’t even take pictures,” one of the Architect of the Capitol staff was heard telling a coworker.
— T. Rees Shapiro (@TReesShapiro) January 21, 2013
Serenity reigns at the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial this morning. The cool trickle of a fountain fills the air. Across the tidal basin, the twinkle of police lights glitter on the water. A lone visitor holds a hand to the cold gritty stone.
Sandra Davis Funk, 63, said she came from Malvern, Pa., to witness history.
“If it weren’t for Martin Luther King President Obama wouldn’t be president today,” Funk said. “We certainly owe a debt to him.”
Pam Joslin, 58, came from Rowland, Ark., to see her first inauguration. She read King’s letter from the Birmingham jail before visiting the memorial where his words are engraved in stone. “It’s almost like poetry,” Joslin said.
“Being here is a profound way to start the day,” said her sister, Holly Wieland, 57, of Reston.
The presidential inaugural ceremonial schedule starts at 11:30 a.m. Monday. The order of the ceremony is scheduled as follows, but all times are flexible:
11:30 a.m. EST:
The U.S. Marine Band Musical selections: P.S. 22, Staten Island in N.Y., and Lee University Festival Choir, Cleveland, Tenn.
11:45 a.m. EST:
Call to order and welcoming remarks: Sen. Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y. Invocation: Myrlie Evers-Williams Musical selection: Brooklyn Tabernacle Choir
11:55 a.m. EST:
Oath of office administered to Vice President Biden: Associate Justice Sonia Sotomayor Musical selection: James Taylor
Oath of office administered to President Obama: Chief Justice John Roberts
Inaugural address: President Obama
Musical selection: Kelly Clarkson
Poem: Richard Blanco
Benediction: the Rev. Luis Leon of St. John’s Church, Washington
The National Anthem: Beyoncé
2:35 p.m. EST:
Inaugural Parade Viewing stands and bleachers are lined along Pennsylvania Avenue
The Obamas and Bidens participate in a parade featuring floats and vehicles representing about 60 groups.
6 p.m. EST:
The Commander in Chief’s Inaugural Ball Washington Convention Center The gala honors service members and their families.
6:30 p.m. EST:
The Inaugural Ball Washington Convention Center
For African-Americans, there is a special meaning in President Obama’s second inauguration coinciding with Martin Luther King Jr. Day.
Katherine Ward was serving in Iraq the last time Obama was inaugurated. This time, the Navy officer is here to see the event for herself.
“Now I’m here to cheer him on,” Ward said. “Everything Martin Luther King marched for and spoke on has come true.”
Dotty Myers traveled from San Jose, Calif., for the inauguration.
“This is the last time I will see the first black president inaugurated,” she said.
Audrey Smallwood, of Marlboro, Md., has great hope for the second term.
“President Obama has dreams just like Martin Luther King had dreams,” she said. “Now that it’s his second term, he can put his foot down and make them come true.”
Four years ago LaTonya Thompson, a letter carrier, and her husband Rodney, who is retired from the Postal Service, brought their three sons to Washington from Atlanta to witness the first African-American president’s swearing in and celebratory parade.
“It was cold, very cold,” recalled Rodney, who said that was his enduring memory, and those of his sons, of that blustery weekend of President Obama’s first inauguration.
This morning, LaTonya and Rodney, along with LaTonya’s sister Diane Harris, lined up at 4:30 a.m. at the security checkpoint at 7th Street, NW. This year, the boys stayed home.
Harris said it was crowded. And cold. But they were excited to have seen the president on Sunday. They caught a glimpse of Obama, who waved from his limousine while on his way to church services at Metropolitan AME on M St.NW.
“I waved back. I did not scream like they did,” Rodney laughed, pointing to his wife and sister-in-law. “That was a big thrill.”
Marysol and George Beltran haven’t seen their son since Dec. 4. Today, they will get to see him march in the Inaugural Parade as a member of the Coast Guard.
The Beltrans moved to Virginia from Puerto Rico a little over three years ago. They’re stationed at Ft. Belvoir in Alexandria.
Their son is in Coast Guard boot camp. They won’t get to see him today, but they are proud to see him march.
“This is a once in a lifetime chance to be a part of history,” said George Beltran, 39, a chief warrant officer.
Security screening doesn’t begin at entrances to the parade until 6:30 a.m., but that hasn’t stopped large crowds from gathering and waiting. Hundreds of people are already lined up at the non-ticketed parade entrance on D Street NW between 6th and 7th streets, reports David Montgomery.
Neal Augenstein of WTOP tweeted this photo of a crowd gathered at this entrance shortly before 6 a.m.
— Neal Augenstein (@AugensteinWTOP) January 21, 2013
Sun starting to rise over the U.S. Capitol. twitter.com/RyanLizza/stat…
— Ryan Lizza (@RyanLizza) January 21, 2013
The crowd attending this year’s presidential inauguration has long been expected to be smaller than it was in 2009. And now that number might be even lower. D.C. officials lowered the turnout estimate to between 500,000 and 700,000 people, fewer than the 600,000 to 800,000 that were originally expected, according to the Associated Press.
Heading to the parade? The U.S. Secret Service reminds revelers that screening to the parade route begins at 6:30 a.m. and will stay open until the route is full.
Parking update: Vienna, Franconia-Springfield, Shady Grove, Greenbelt & New Carrollton now about 40% full. Largo, Branch Av, Huntington 25%.
— Metro Inauguration (@MetroInaug) January 21, 2013
Metro reports that parking lots at stations at the end of the lines were about 25 percent full shortly after 5:30 a.m. Remember, even though it’s a federal holiday, parking is not free at these lots.
The Third Street Tunnel — site of so much misery during the 2009 inauguration — has officially closed, according to the District Department of Transportation. It is closed to cars as well as pedestrians.
Four years ago, several hundred people hoping to see the inauguration wound up trapped for hours in the tunnel, which became known as the “Purple Tunnel of Doom.” To avoid a repeat, officials announced last month that the tunnel would be closed this time around.
Robert Thomson, a.k.a. the Washington Post’s Dr. Gridlock, sends in the following dispatch:
The huge parking lot at the Greenbelt Metro station was busy but not yet crowded at 5:15 a.m. By this time on Inauguration Day 2009, it had been full for more than half an hour.
The Greenbelt station’s parking lot, with 3,399 all-day spaces, is one of the biggest in the Metro system and one of the easiest for drivers to reach from a highway. The station at the end of the Green Line has an exit off the inner loop of the Capital Beltway. Such end-of-the-line stations filled up fast for the 2009 Inauguration. Greenbelt had filled by 4:30 a.m.
The vast field of asphalt can be a bit confusing, especially in the dark. Look for the signs that mark the rows, so you can remember where you parked. While parking usually is free on federal holidays, the usual weekday parking rules are in effect for Inauguration Day. The $4.50 parking payments are made by SmarTrip or credit cards at the gates on the way out. No cash payments are accepted. Reserved parking is suspended, so drivers can used those spaces all day Monday.
Mall-bound riders would do better to stay aboard till they reach L’Enfant Plaza station, south of the Mall.Greenbelt station is also the southern terminal of the B30 Metrobus, which takes people to and from BWI Marshall Airport. There’s extra service on the line today in anticipation of inauguration travelers.
Blue and Orange Line trains heading toward downtown Washington from Northern Virginia were populated but not crowded at around 4:30 a.m., shortly after the Metro system began service.
Watch for crowding to increase in the coming hours, with the heaviest congestion expected to begin building up at end stations.
Coming from Bethesda on the Red Line, The Washington Post’s Miranda Spivack reported trains running every three minutes, with several cars nearly full at 4:30 a.m.
The Washington Post’s Emily Tsao reports that the Vienna Metro station is already “bustling with activity,” while the station’s parking lot was very crowded shortly after 5 a.m.
Heading to the Inauguration festivities this morning? Here’s what you need to know about getting around:
• Driving: Numerous streets are closed around the District, while parking is also heavily restricted in several areas. Read a complete rundown here.
• Metro: The rail system opened at 4 a.m. and plans to operate rush hour service until 9 p.m. The Smithsonian, Archives and Mt. Vernon Square stops are closed. Head here to find out more.
• Biking: Capital Bikeshare will have corrals set up on the north and south sides of the National Mall. For non-Bikeshare users, a bike parking lot will be established on 16th Street NW between K and I streets. Read more about that here.
For more, Dr. Gridlock has a complete rundown of everything you need to know about getting around.
The Washington Post’s live coverage of the 57th Presidential Inauguration continues right here. We’re going to be bringing you live reports from across the Washington region as crowds gather for President Obama’s second inauguration.
We also want to hear from you. Share what you’re seeing and experiencing. Tweet to @washingtonpost and use the hashtag #Inauguration. Share Instagram photos with the hashtag #WPunfiltered. And make sure to stay with us throughout the day and into the evening as we cover the crowds, traffic, ceremony, speech, parade, balls and much more.
by Miranda S. Spivack
Four years ago LaTonya Thompson, a letter carrier, and her husband Rodney, who is retired from the Postal Service, brought their three sons to Washington to witness the first African-American president’s swearing in and celebratory parade.
“It was cold, very cold,” recalled Rodney, who said that was his enduring memory, and those of his son, of that blustery weekend of President Obama’s first inauguration.
This time, the grownups, who are still marveling that a black man is president of the United States, made the drive again, after easily obtaining a hotel reservation a week ago at a Holiday Inn on 15th Street, NW, a few blocks from the White House.
The Thompsons’ three sons, ages 23, 21 and 16, stayed home in Atlanta. Fear of freezing, their Dad said.
But for the Thompsons and LaTonya’s sister Diane Harris, the excitement persists.
And they were rewarded Sunday with a glimpse of the president himself, who waved from his limousine while on his way to church services at Metropolitan AME on M St., just off of 15th.
“I waved back. I did not scream like they did,” Rodney laughed, pointing to his wife and sister-in-law.
“That was a big thrill.”
by Miranda S. Spivack
Louphelia Simmons stayed home in Birmingham four years ago. She was not happy. But family duty called. This time, for President Obama’s second – and final – inauguration, Simmons was not going to miss it.
“I want to be part of this historic moment,” said Simmons, who works in the insurance industry where she says many clients are anxious about the potential impact of the Affordable Care Act.
“Never did I think that I would see this in my lifetime,” she said.
With her friend April Robinson, who attended four years ago, Simmons will be at the swearing-in Monday. The longtime girlfriends were able to obtain tickets through their congresswoman, Rep. Teri Sewell (D-Ala.)
Last time, Robinson said, the day of the inauguration “was absolutely electrifying.” She firmly believes Monday will be even better.
Veteran ABC reporter Barbara Walters fell at an inauguration party Saturday night and has been hospitalized.
ABC News spokesman Jeffrey Schneider said that Walters, 83, fell on a step at the British ambassador’s residence and was left with a cut on her forehead.
“Out of an abundance of caution, she went to the hospital to have her cut tended to, have a full examination and remains there for observation. Barbara is alert (and telling everyone what to do), which we all take as a very positive sign,” he added.
According to TV Newser, Walters will not be involved in ABC’s inauguration reporting Monday and may be off the air for days.
First Lady Michelle Obama wore a dark blue dress by Reed Krakoff to Sunday’s small, official swearing-in ceremony. Who’s that?
Krakoff has been the creative director of Coach for the past 16 years, helping turn the veteran leather accessories company into an international fashion giant. In 2010 he started his own eponymous label.
Michelle Obama is a fan, apparently. The blog Mrs. O notes that she’s worn Krakoff multiple times.
by Miranda S. Spivack
Gwen and William Edwards of Atlanta, Ga., gathered up their clan Saturday morning, and drove eight hours to Washington. Their daughter, Amy Catlett, had wisely booked hotel rooms in Springfield, Va., in September, assuming that Obama would win reelection.
“We came to see the Inauguration and bring our grandchildren,” said Gwen, a retiree who said she wanted her African American family wanted to see history being made. The family did not make it to Obama’s first swearing-in four years ago, and vowed not to miss his second and final inauguration.
On Sunday, like thousands of others out to enjoy an unseasonably warm afternoon, three generations of Edwards relatives were in front of the presidential reviewing stand outside of the White House, taking in the grandeur on clogged Pennsylvania Avenue.
On Monday, they will be out early, on the Metro, ready to compete with thousands of others who have no tickets for either the swearing in or the parade.
“We are just going to go and try to see the inauguration. We don’t have spot picked out,” said Amy.
And then, when everything wraps up, they will drive back to Atlanta on Monday night. Amy, who is a teacher, expects to be back in her classroom bright and early Tuesday.
D.C. has lowered its turnout estimate for Monday’s inauguration. The city’s homeland security director, Chris Geldart, tells the AP that between 500,000 and 700,000 people are expected — a drop from the 600,000 to 800,000 people the district had planned to accommodate.
The estimate is based in part on the number of charter buses coming in as well as the number of hotel and restaurant reservations.
In 2008, a record 1.8 million crowded the National Mall for President Obama’s first inauguration.
by Dana Hedgpeth
Metro said Sunday that it has nearly sold out of its commemorative inaugural SmarTrip cards that have a picture of President Obama on them.
The transit agency ordered 100,000 of the cards and started selling the $15 cards right after the election.
Only a few thousand of the commemorative cards were still available at Metro Center as of 2:30 p.m. Sunday. Once those are gone, that’s it, Metro officials said.
by Miranda S. Spivack
The hundreds of workers getting the National Mall ready for Monday’s Inaugural festivities had a little last-minute luck on Sunday. The temperature is at least 10 degrees warmer than the high 30′s high predicted for Monday.
All along the parade route – from the Capitol to the White House – there are signs that the finishing touches are almost finished. Workers are erecting five huge Jumbotrons, each 21 feet tall, over the Mall and installing 1,500 portable toilets along the parade route from the Capitol to the White House.
It’s inauguration weekend, which means there are dozens of balls to attend. These balls are tedious, so Monica and Dan decided to make a competition out of going to them, in the style of “The Amazing Race.” They live-tweeted Saturday night’s contest — @MonicaHesse, @MrDanZak — using the hashtag #runningoftheballs.
— Dan Zak (@MrDanZak) January 20, 2013
On Monday, millions of people will watch President Obama take the oath of office. On Sunday, his official swearing-in was attended by only about a dozen.
In addition to first lady Michelle Obama and daughters Sasha and Malia, here’s the list.
* Marian Robinson, Michelle Obama’s mother.
* Craig Robinson, Michelle Obama’s brother, along with his daughter Leslie Robinson and son Avery Robinson.
* The president’s half-sister Auma Obama and her daughter, Akinyi Manners.
* Obama’s half-sister Maya Soetoro-Ng, her husband, Konrad Ng, and their children Savita and Suhaila Ng. Kaye and Wellington Wilson, family friends.
* Chief Justice John Roberts’ wife, Jane Roberts.
D.C. police have been investigating a spate of crime Saturday night and Sunday, including a series of armed robberies, even as police have the center of Washington under virtual lock down as inaugural activities get underway.
The violence was a continuation from Friday night and early Saturday, when more robberies occurred. Assistant Police Chief Peter Newsham said that robbers have struck in all quadrants of the city, but the numbers have not spiked compared with other weekends. “The entire force is working,” Newsham said.
None of the latest attacks are near inaugural festivities.
The latest incident occurred about 11:45 a.m. in Capitol Hill, five blocks east of Union Station. Police said a man armed with a gun robbed a victim at 6th and F streets Northeast.
About noon, three men, one with a gun, committed an armed robbery in the Trinidad neighborhood of Northeast Washington, according to police. A half-hour earlier police said a man wearing a black ski mask and a puffy green jacket robbed someone at Pennsylvania Avenue and 15th Street Southeast, near the Potomac Avenue Metro station.
Shortly before 10 a.m., police said a man sitting in his car in the 3900 block of Southern Ave. SE, near the Maryland line at Suitland, was shot in the chest.
A police spokeswoman said the victim was conscious and breathing and being treated at an area hospital. Newsham said the shooting appears accidental and detectives are close to an arrest.
About 2:40 a.m., police said a man was shot while getting out of his car in the 800 block of Barnaby St. SE, also near the Maryland line. Police said the victim was struck in the hip and back as he tried to run away, and was being treated at a hospital.
Police said that about three blocks away in the 800 block of Chesapeake St., SE, a man was shot in the neck while sitting in his car. Authorities were not able to say if any of the attacks in Southeast were are related.
The Associated Press reports on the other swearing-in ceremony happening today, as thousands of police officers are deputized so they can assist with the inauguration.
The officers will be sworn in as deputy U.S. marshals during a training session Sunday at American University. The oath, administered by the U.S. marshal for the District of Columbia, authorizes them to work security for the event.
The D.C. police are deputizing more than 2,000 officers from 40 states to help with security, which is similar to the 2009 police presence.
The Transit Police also hosted a swearing-in ceremony in Hyattsville on Sunday morning, giving about 150 officers from around the country the same powers as Metro’s police force to beef up security on public transportation.
Watch the very brief ceremony:
President Obama was sworn in by Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts in a brief ceremony in the Blue Room at the White House, surrounded by his family. The ceremony started at 11:55 a.m. and was over in only a minute. “I did it,” Obama said afterwards, hugging his wife and his daughters.
“You didn’t mess up,” Sasha replied.
At the end of the oath, Roberts said “Congratulations, Mr. President.” Obama said “Thank you, Mr. Chief Justice. Thank you so much.”
The president took the oath with his hand on the Robinson Family Bible, held by first lady Michelle Obama. The bible was a gift from her father, Fraser Robinson III, to his mother, LaVaughn Delores Robinson, on Mother’s Day in 1958.
Press Secretary Jay Carney was in attendance, as was Roberts’ wife Jane.
Roberts read the oath from notes. When swearing in Obama four years ago, the justice attempted to recite the oath from memory and flubbed a few lines. He re-administered the oath to Obama in the White House the following day, out of what a White House lawyer described as “an abundance of caution.”
Because Jan. 20 fell on a Sunday this year, Obama will take the oath a fourth and final time on Monday.
D.C. police started closing streets around the White House on Sunday morning — first up is Pennsylvania Avenue from 3rd through 15th Street Northwest. Police said transportation officials started removing traffic signals at about 10:30 a.m. to clear space for Monday’s parade.
Authorities said Pennsylvania Avenue will remain closed through the inauguration festivities, and many more streets will be closed 3 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday. Read Dr. Gridlock’s blog for a list of closures.
Police also are warning that unannounced street closures and parking restrictions are possible throughout the city. Authorities say they’re trying to post signs along affected routes, but the absence of signs — or if signs are torn down — might not be enough to get you out of a ticket or a tow.
Officials urge people who have had their car towed to call 311 to find out where it has been relocated.
We have contributions from five individuals in different fields, all providing an innovation prescription for the next four years.
X PRIZE CEO and Chairman Peter Diamandis encourages the president and Congress to leverage the power of prizes, writing, “The day before anything is a breakthrough, it’s a crazy idea.”
Rennsselaer Polytechnic Institute President Shirley Ann Jackson advises Congress to “invest in what is next,” and take advantage of a rare opportunity to foster innovation in the United States.
Meanwhile, PolicyMic co-founders Christopher Altchek and Jake Horowitz encourage the president and his administration to meet millennials in new places online writing that President Obama’s strategy for engaging America’s young voters “has to consist of more than a one-time stunt.”
Metropolitan AME Church’s Rev. Ronald E. Braxton used President Obama’s campaign theme of “Forward” in his sermon Sunday morning, as the president and his family looked on from the pews.
The scripture for the service was from Exodus — the parting of the Red Sea. Comparing the president and this country to Moses and the children of Israel, Braxton said it was a situation “where forward is the only option.”
When the Israelites crossed the Red Sea, he said, “The people couldn’t turn around. The only thing that they could do was to go forward “
Braxton concluded his message by telling Obama to be like Moses who stood on a rock as the people crossed into the promised land. “Mr. President, stand on the rock,” he said.
The service ended with a call-and-response chant of “Forward.” Before the president left, Braxton and the entire church stood and held their hands out and prayed for Obama, who exited the sanctuary at 10:40 a.m., heading back to the White House to be sworn in.
When President Obama and his family arrived at the Metropolitan African Methodist Episcopal Church at about 9:45 a.m, the gospel choir was already singing. Obama was introduced by Pastor Ronald E. Braxton, the senior pastor at the church. When first lady Michelle Obama was welcomed by Pastor Marie P. Braxton, the crowd rose and sang “Happy Birthday.” The first lady turned 49 on Thursday.
President Obama will underscore the importance of seeking common ground in Washington and encourage the American people to engage in the political process in his second inaugural address, White House senior adviser David Plouffe said Sunday.
“He’s going to make that point very strongly – that people here in Washington need to seek common ground,” Plouffe said on “Fox News Sunday.”
Plouffe added that Obama’s speech will include a call to ordinary Americans to have a voice in the legislative process. “He’s going to talk about how the American people – if they are not engaged in these debates in pushing Washington, progress and change won’t happen,” Plouffe said.
Vice President Biden’s second swearing-in began at 8:18 a.m. Sunday morning. Why so early? Because Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor, who administered the oath of office to Biden, needed to be in New York for a book signing Sunday afternoon.
“I want to explain to you what a wonderful honor it was, and how much out of her way the Justice had to go,” Biden said after the ceremony at the Naval Observatory, his official residence in northwest Washington. “She is due in New York. She has to leave right now. So I apologize. We’re gonna walk out. Her car’s waiting so she can catch a train — I hope I haven’t caused her to miss.”
From the balcony to the basement Metropolitan AME is already full in anticipation of the first family’s arrival twitter.com/HamilHarris/st…
— Hamil Harris (@HamilHarris) January 20, 2013
Vice President Biden was sworn in early Sunday morning. He then joined President Obama at Arlington National Cemetery, where together the two placed a wreath on the Tomb of the Unknowns. Soon the president and his family are headed to the Metropolitan African Methodist Episcopal Church. Hamil Harris is inside:
“This is a great occasion for Metropolitan AME,” said Horace Dawson, the retired U.S. Ambassador to Botswanna. “The founders of this church built it close to the White House so that we could bear witness to our faith.”
From Dawson, who was appointed by former President Jimmy Carter, to former Secretary of Transportation Rodney Slater, Metropolitan has been home to many White House appointees and Civil Rights veterans like Ernest Green, a member of the Little Rock 9 who integrated Central High School in the 1960s.
Even though the service doesn’t begin until 10 a.m., the choir and church members are singing the hymn “Thank You Lord.”