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Lawmakers crushed by inauguration requests

Nov. 22, 2008 at 2:30 PM

WASHINGTON, Nov. 22 (UPI) -- U.S. lawmakers, who will dispense tickets to President-elect Barack Obama's Jan. 20 inauguration, say they're overwhelmed by requests for the limited spots.

Sen. Benjamin Cardin, D-Md., says he's fielded 55,000 requests from constituents for the approximately 400 tickets available to him, while a fellow Maryland Democrat, Sen. Barbara Mikulski, has had 35,000 requests. Both will hold lotteries to determine who gets them, The Washington Post reported Saturday.

U.S. House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer, D-Md., says he has temporarily suspended accepting ticket requests, while Rep. Elijah Cummings, D-Md., said he was met by requests from 25 people when he walked into a barbershop to get a haircut Friday, the Post said.

"I can't go shopping in a supermarket for food. I usually average 30 requests doing that, so I'm almost afraid to even go into a supermarket now," Cummings told the newspaper.

A total of 240,000 free tickets will be dispensed for the inauguration, entitling the holders to standing space closer to the U.S. Capitol when Obama takes the oath of office. As many as 4 million people are expected to descend on Washington for the festivities, officials said.

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