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Official Obama crowd: 1.8 million

Official Obama crowd: 1.8 million
President Barack Obama gives his inaugural address to a worldwide audience from the West Steps of the U.S. Capitol, calling for "a new era of responsibility," after taking the oath of office in Washington on January 20, 2009. More than 5,000 men and women in uniform are providing military ceremonial support to the presidential inauguration, a tradition dating back to George Washington's 1789 inauguration. (UPI Photo/Thomas Meneguin/U.S. Air Force) | License Photo

WASHINGTON, Jan. 22 (UPI) -- Officially, 1.8 million people gathered in Washington to witness the inauguration of Barack Obama as U.S. president, District of Columbia officials said.

Mayor Adrian M. Fenty's office said the estimate was a "collective decision" reached inside the city's joint operations command center, where local and federal agencies helped coordinate security and traffic management, The Washington Post reported Thursday. The official crowd figure was based on information collected by several cameras and people on the ground.

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The figure surpassed the official tally of 1.2 million attending the 1965 inauguration of President Lyndon Johnson.

A security official said the D.C. Police Crowd Management Division estimated internally that 1.4 million people were on the Mall at the crowd's peak, another 300,000 to 400,000 on surrounding streets and 72,000 on the parade route.

Others, however, said the total was lower, but offered caveats that their figures didn't include people lining the parade route or were estimated before Obama was sworn in and the crowd was still gathering on the Mall.

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