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Published: Thursday, 1/15/2009

Leading up to the inauguration


Don t worry if you aren t brave or lucky enough to attend the historic presidential inauguration.

There will be plenty of media coverage for those at home. Here s a guide to making the most of watching the big event, and the events leading up to it:


Renewing America s Promise. Full details on the history of inaugurations and this year s events can be found at the Inaugural committee s Web site, www.pic2009.org.


CNN s Wolf Blitzer will follow President-elect Barack Obama s train ride from Pennsylvania to Washington. The train will stop in Wilmington, Del., to pick up Vice-President-elect Joe Biden and his family. Mr. Obama will give a speech in Baltimore before heading south.


We Are One: The Obama Inaugural Celebration at the Lincoln Memorial.

The free concert features top performers such as Bruce Springsteen, Stevie Wonder, and Garth Brooks. Mr. Obama and his family are due to attend, with Mr. Obama expected to speak. The special will air at 7 that night on HBO. Cable and satellite subscribers who don t have HBO will be able to watch for free.


The Disney Channel will air a concert honoring military families, Kids Inaugural: We Are the Future, expected to be hosted by Michelle Obama. Entertainers include the Jonas Brothers and Miley Cyrus.

During the day, Mr. Obama, Mr. Biden, and their families, joined by Americans across the country, will participate in activities dedicated to serving others in community service activities.


On Inauguration Day, if tradition holds, the Obamas will visit the White House in the morning before President Bush and Mr. Obama ride to Capitol Hill together for the swearing-in ceremony.

Festivities begin at 10 a.m, and include musical selections Aretha Franklin is slated to perform an invocation, swearing-in of the president and vice president, the inaugural address, a benediction, and the playing of the national anthem, according to the Presidential Inaugural Committee Web site. Mr. Obama will be sworn in at noon. He will take the oath of office, using President Lincoln s Inaugural Bible, administered by Chief Justice John Roberts.

Mr. Obama then will escort Mr. Bush to a departure ceremony and go to a luncheon in the Capitol s Statuary Hall.


Mr. Bush and his wife will leave the Capitol in a helicopter. Look for the wave.


Down Pennsylvania Avenue from the Capitol to the White House.

The parade will begin after Mr. Obama s lunch.


The current Weather Service forecast is morning clouds giving way to afternoon sun with highs in the upper 30s and a 10 percent chance of precipitation.


There are 10 official inaugural balls. The Obamas are expected to attend all of them.


Expect coverage all day Tuesday on the major networks.

At night, many are planning specials.


The president, vice president, and their families will participate in a prayer service at Washington National Cathedral.


• The crowd size: The number has been as high as 5 million. Estimates have since been scaled down to 2 million still more than the 400,000 who attended the 2005 inauguration of President Bush.

• The inaugural address: Mr. Obama s speech probably won t come near the length of William Henry Harrison, who spoke for about an hour, 45 minutes. (He caught a cold and one month later he died of pneumonia.) Watch to see what he says and how he says it.

• The crowd reaction: In his 2001 inauguration, Mr. Bush navigated the largest inaugural protests since Richard Nixon. Most were upset about the Florida election controversy. Four years later, thousands of people in dozens of cities across the nation protested, motivated by the war in Iraq.

• The trip from the Capitol to the White House: Jimmy Carter was the first president to walk all the way from the Capitol to the White House after the ceremony. What will Mr. Obama do? What will the Secret Service allow him to do?

• Michelle Obama: Whether she wears a full ball gown or a sparse sheath to the balls, it s sure to influence what the rest of us will wear. She s the darling of the fashion world right now and the color, style, and designer she chooses probably will enjoy a surge of popularity.

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