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Countdown to Inauguration
With the Capitol in the background, a worker, who asked not to be named, paints the center stand of the inaugural platform, at the west front of the Capitol in Washington, on Thursday, Dec. 4, 2008, as preparation continues for Barack Obama's inauguration on Jan. 20, 2009. (AP)

A worker paints the center stand of the inaugural platform at the west front of the Capitol on Dec. 4, 2008. (AP)

Presidential inaugurations are big in American democracy. A chance to celebrate. And the inauguration coming next month, of Barack Obama, may be the biggest ever.

Big — gigantic — on symbolism, as the nation’s first African-American stands before the Capitol to take the oath of presidential office.

But also just plain big — huge — in numbers. Maybe millions of Americans gathered in Washington, D.C. for maybe the biggest public gathering in the history of the continent.

That’s big, and a big challenge.

This hour, On Point: Planning for an epic inauguration.

You can join the conversation. Will you be in the crowd? What are your expectations for this Inauguration?

Guests:

Linda Douglass, chief spokesperson for the Presidential Inaugural Committee.

Nia-Malika Henderson, White House reporter for Politico. She reported yesterday about Obama’s plan to arrive in Washington by train.

Rep. Eleanor Holmes Norton, Democratic Congresswoman representing the District of Columbia.

Kevin Johnson, Homeland Security corrrespondent for USA Today.

Earl Stafford, Virginia businessman who spent $1 million to rent out 300 rooms at the JW Marriott Hotel in Washington, D.C. He’ll open the hotel to wounded soldiers, poor and homeless people, and guests otherwise unable to attend the inauguration. Read the Washington Post story “The Benefactor of the Ball.”

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  • CLhristy Mach

    I will definately be at the inauguration! Three of my friends and I are roadtripping from Iowa the day before. Spending the day at the event and driving back on Wednesday. We put our names in our congressmen’s lotteries but did not get picked for tickets. We have a hotel room we booked before the election to get an affordable rate. We will probably just use it as a basecamp as we plan to get to the mall as early as possible (in the middle of the night if necessary)to get a spot for the historic event.

  • http://www.obamapalooza.blogspot.com Lalo Cura

    With only 10,000 police in DC on January 20, will the Secret Service be able to adequately protect the President Elect if 2-5 million people do actually come to DC?

  • http://www.obamapalooza.blogspot.com Lalo Cura

    I have a few questions:

    With only 10,000 police in DC on January 20, will the Secret Service be able to adequately protect the President Elect if 2-5 million people do actually come to DC?

    For the people booking overpriced hotel rooms in the outskirts of Maryland, Virginia and even West Virginia, will the mass transit infrastructure of the DC area be able to even get them into Washington? Are all these poor folks going to be out thousands of dollars to watch the inauguration on TV in their motel rooms, or worse, miss the entire event because they’re caught in traffic?

    Finally,

    Should Washington residents be prepared for runs on food, alcohol and cash at ATMs? Is the District Government coordinating with area retailers to stock up on extra goods in advance of the expected 2-5 million visitors?

  • Marco Polsen

    Why isn’t this first hour available as a podcast? This discussion is undoubtedly interesting, so please share it with those who listen every day via podcasting. Thx.

  • Nancy Williams

    Is there a transcript of first hour Dec. 16 broadcast – Countdown to Inauguaration – available?

  • Nancy Duggan

    After the election I naively considered going to the inauguration. The more I hear about the expected crowds, the happier I am to sit in my warm apartment with a bowl of popcorn and the TV. My happiness at the outcome of the election is not diminished.

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