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Obama inauguration cost figures elusive

Jan. 19, 2013 at 12:45 PM   |   Comments

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WASHINGTON, Jan. 19 (UPI) -- Calculating the costs associated with U.S. President Obama's second inaugural is proving difficult, with some costs a closely guarded secret, ABC News reported.

The total cost of Obama's first inauguration in 2009 was $170 million. Second inaugurals typically are less costly than first inaugurals, and estimated spending so far on Obama's inauguration Monday comes to $13.637 million, but it will probably amount to much more than that, ABC said Saturday.

One of the biggest unknowns is how much money has been raised by the Presidential Inaugural Committee, which funds certain parts of the quadrennial event such as the parade and the inaugural balls. The committee collected $53 million in 2009, with donations banned from unions and corporations -- a ban that has been dropped this year.

Taxpayers foot the bill for the swearing-in ceremony and the congressional luncheon, with spending on those items controlled by the Joint Congressional Committee on Inaugural Ceremonies. This year, they have a budget of $1.237 million, down about $163,000 from four years ago.

There's a host of other groups who'll need money for the event too.

Local and state government and the National Park Service were reimbursed $22 million in 2009, the Congressional Research Service says. That figure is conservative, as officials from the District of Columbia, Virginia and Maryland estimated their needs at $75 million.

So far, the park service has been allocated $1.2 million for this year's celebration.

The cost for security is unknown. The Secret Service and District of Columbia police and fire and emergency services don't report such budgets for security reasons.

Another unknown is what the president might say, and how long he might say it, CNN reported.

Some second-term inaugural speeches, like that of Ulysses S. Grant, ended on a note of vindication, while Lincoln's mentioned union and charity and the binding of wounds.

Beginning his second term, George Washington uttered only 135 words, compared to the 1,428 for his first inauguration. Franklin Roosevelt's fourth address lasted 5 minutes.

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