Four years ago, throngs of people sat outside for hours in 24-degree weather, waiting to see the first black president sworn into office.
Two million people to be exact!
But this year, officials aren’t expecting such huge crowds. The luster of President Barack Obama’s historic win has seemed to wane, and with it goes the excitement, according to the Huffington Post:
“There certainly will not be the sort of exultation you saw four years ago,” said Mike Cornfield, a George Washington University political science professor. One reason why, Cornfield said, is it simply lacks the dramatic transfer of power from one president to the next.
“This is not a change that commands people’s interest automatically,” Cornfield said. “It’s a confirmation of power.”
This time, officials say there will be close to 600,00 to 800,000 people to bear witness to Obama’s swearing into office.
But let’s be clear, those numbers are still very impressive. At George W. Bush’s first inauguration, an estimated 300,000 people attended.
But even the President seems to notice that this time around won’t be so poppin’.
“I think that a lot of folks feel that, ‘Well, he’s now president. He’s a little grayer. He’s a little older. It’s not quite as new as it was,’” the President often told supporters while campaigning for re-election.
The inaugural committee has pulled back on festivities, scaling inauguration celebrations to three days instead of four. There will only be two inaugural balls this year, rivaling the 10 from January 2009. Even security will be more lax; not dangerously so, but just enough to ease the security burden on law enforcement.
Reports are also showing that hotel rooms still haven’t been booked in Washington; a major issue in 2009 when most, if not all, hotels in the city were booked to capacity.
But numbers don’t always speak volumes. There is still excitement brewing around Obama’s second term.
Victoria Wimberley, owner of an Atlanta-based event planning business, brought four busloads of people to Washington for the 2009 inauguration. She’s coming again, though with two fewer buses, which she blamed on the high price for accommodations and not any lack of excitement for Obama.
Wimberley said she feels “the same level of joy, happiness, excitement and celebration” for Obama’s second swearing-in among the people she comes into contact with. “Because now he can really go to work,” she said, explaining her view that another term should free him to govern without fear of any political repercussions.
President Obama’s public swearing-in will take place on the Capitol steps on Monday, Jan. 21
We’ll definitely be tuned in!
SOURCE: Huffington Post