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Some Now Question Cost of Inauguration

She cited the Commander in Chief inaugural ball that offers free tickets to service members back from Afghanistan and Iraq and their family members. That ball is one of nine; the other eight require a ticket.

"Every inaugural there's a really good reason given why you should spend whatever donors are sending in on something else," said Rich Galen, a veteran Republican activist, saying many of the complaints come from the losers of the election.

Billionaire Mark Cuban, owner of the National Basketball Association's Dallas Mavericks, voted for Bush - twice. Cuban knows a thing or two about big spending, once starring in ABC's reality TV show, "The Benefactor," in which 16 contenders tried to pass his test for success and win $1 million.

Cuban questioned spending all that money on the inaugural.

"As a country, we face huge deficits. We face a declining economy. We have service people dying. We face responsibilities to help those suffering from the ... devastation of the tsunamis," he wrote on his blog, a Web journal.

Cuban challenged Bush to set an example: "Start by canceling your inauguration parties and festivities."


EDITOR'S NOTE: Will Lester covers polling and politics for The Associated Press.


On the Net:

Mark Cuban blog:http://www.blogmaverick.com

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© 2005 The Associated Press