For over a century, a good indication of America’s excitement and support for its new President is the number of people that show up to witness the newly elected Commander in Chief’s inauguration. Using that metric, it appears that President Obama has lost as much as two-thirds of his die-hard supporters since his first inauguration four years ago.
First Obama inauguration
For those that don’t remember, President Obama’s first inauguration was historic and memorable for a number of reasons. First and foremost, an estimated 1.8 million people came out to brave the cold and watch from a distance four years ago. Following record numbers for newly registered voters and votes for President, that was a record for any President’s inauguration in US history.
There were also other noteworthy incidents from President Obama’s first inauguration that many may not remember. As occasionally happens, President Obama was sworn in twice last time, but not for the normal reason. The law mandates the exact day the President is sworn in. But when that day falls on a Sunday, the President has two ceremonies – one legal and official swearing in on that day, and another public swearing in the following day.
In President Obama’s case, he was sworn in twice because newly appointed Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts messed up the wording the first time around. The President’s handlers thought it would be prudent to have him sworn in again, using the correct wording, rather than face critic’s accusations that he really isn’t President because of the bumbled oath.
President Obama’s second inauguration
For his second inaugural, President Obama will again be sworn in twice, although this time for the proper reason. The official day, January 20, falls on a Sunday. So the President will be sworn in once on that day, and then again the following day during the public inauguration on January 21. To add historical relevance, that day also happens to be Martin Luther King Jr. Day.
Indicating a dramatic and noticeable drop in the President’s grassroots support, Washington DC officials have announced that they expect as few as one-third the number of spectators that showed up to witness the first inauguration. Capital police say they anticipate between 600,000 and 800,000 people will show up this time. That’s roughly one-third the 1.8 million that attended the first inaugural in 2009.
Little known inaugural facts
For readers who appreciate some good statistics, here are some little known details about the Presidential inauguration:
- The custom-constructed platform used for the swearing in is 10,000 square feet, holds 1,600 people, takes 3 months to build and is overseen by ‘the Architect of the US Capitol’.
- President Obama’s 2009 inauguration wasn’t just the most attended inauguration in history, it was the most attended Washington DC event of any kind in history, drawing 1.8 million people.
- Both the hottest and coldest inauguration days in history happen to belong to the same President – Ronald Reagan. In 1981, the local temperature was 55 degrees, the hottest inaugural on record. Four years later in 1985, it was just 7 degrees, the coldest inaugural.
- Tickets for the inauguration are available. However, they’re distributed by US Congressmen.
For those interested in attending the inauguration on January 21, contact your US Representative or US Senator for more information.
For more information on the inauguration ceremonies, visit the Joint Congressional Committee on Inaugural Ceremonies website.
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