An estimated 600,000 to 800,000 people are expected to witness the Jan. 21 swearing-in at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, down from the estimated 1.8 million who crowded the National Mall in 2009, but still a high figure for second inaugurations. George W. Bush's second inauguration drew between 300,000 and 400,000 observers, and Bill Clinton's drew about 450,000, McClatchy Newspapers said Monday.
"People are excited about Obama being re-elected, but not excited about going to D.C. and enduring the cold like last time," said Missouri restaurateur Marvin Lyman, who filled two charter buses with attendees for the 2009 inauguration and struggled this year to find enough passengers to fill a single bus.
"It's subdued in the sense that January 2009 was a very historic occasion," said David Goldfield, history professor at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte. "Obama's  campaign generated a considerable amount of hope and progress, but a lot of programs Obama touted in 2008 didn't receive a lot of discussion in Congress."
Even the president agreed.
"It's not as trendy to be involved in the Obama campaign as it was back then. Some of you have rolled up those 'HOPE' posters and they're in the closet somewhere," he said at a Chicago fundraiser in March.