The Washington Post

Obama inauguration details announced


Construction continues on the viewing stand for President Obama's Inauguration Day ceremonies. (J. Scott Applewhite/AP)

President Obama’s second inauguration will feature two swearings-in and the traditional parade and official balls. All the pomp will follow a national day of service to honor the country’s shared values and the legacy of Martin Luther King Jr., the newly launched Presidential Inaugural Committee announced Thursday.

Eva Longoria, who was a big fundraiser and prominent surrogate for Obama’s campaign, will serve as a committee co-chair, all four living former presidents will serve as honorary co-chairs, and several top campaign officials will organize the weekend’s festivities.

Campaign manager Jim Messina is in charge of the inaugural parade down Pennsylvania Avenue on Jan. 21, which coincides with the King federal holiday.

As is the tradition when the constitutionally mandated swearing-in falls on a Sunday, the chief justice will administer the oath of office privately on Jan. 20, then perform it in front of the crowds on the Capitol steps the next day.

A second inauguration is what nearly every president hopes to have, but if it arrives, it usually attracts fewer spectators and offers less spectacle.

Nearly 1.5 million rode Metro trains and buses to the Mall for the president’s historic inauguration in 2009, setting a one-day ridership record. For this second go-round, the system is planning for 800,000 visitors, a little more than half the number in 2009, Metro officials said.

Metrorail will operate on a regular, non-holiday schedule from 4 a.m. Monday to 2 a.m. Tuesday, with rush-hour service lasting until 9 p.m.

Metrobuses will run weekday rush-hour service in the morning and early afternoon, though many buses will be detoured because of street closures downtown.

The District launched a Web site Thursday where residents and visitors can get information and updates on road closures, existing hotel rooms and transit, although the road closures usually are not announced until the last week of December. The site, inauguration.dc.gov, is the inauguration committee’s official go-to place for ticket information.

Pedro Ribeiro, a spokesman for Mayor Vincent C. Gray (D), said city officials designed the site to be a “clearinghouse” that will eventually be updated daily. “It’s really a place to come for traffic advisories and get valuable links,” Ribeiro said. “If you have questions, at least you will be redirected to where you can find answers.”

In announcing committee officials, the president said, “This year’s inaugural will reflect our belief that working together, we can keep moving our country forward.”

To that end, he called on Americans across the country to step up and serve in their communities on Jan. 19. The president and first lady and Vice President Biden and his wife will participate in service projects in the metropolitan area. In 2009, the president visited with troops at Walter Reed Army Medical Center and then with teens at a D.C. shelter.

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