Inauguration festivities lower key the second time around

Jan. 9, 2013 at 10:16 AM
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WASHINGTON, Jan. 9 (UPI) -- This year's presidential inauguration will have less fanfare than in 2009, when Barack Obama made history as the first black U.S. president, observers said.

While fewer people traditionally turn out for a president's second swearing-in, it's unclear exactly how much smaller the crowd will be this year, CBS News reported Wednesday.

"2008, 2009 was very different, I think, for everyone because of the euphoria," said Hans Bruland, vice president and general manager of the tony Hay-Adams hotel in Washington. "With the election of an incumbent now ... it feels like a return to a normal cycle."

Still, interest has slowed enough that it has become "a little worrisome," Bruland said.

"Maybe because of the decision to cut back on the [inaugural] balls, there may be not as much interest," he said. "The whole debate with regard to the 'fiscal cliff' may have put off people."

This year's inaugural committee scheduled three days of events instead of four and only two official inaugural balls this year, compared with 10 four years ago.

Approximately 600,000 to 800,000 people are expected to trek to the National Mall Jan. 21 to watch the public inaugural ceremony, well below the approximately 1.8 million who watched Obama take the oath of office in January 2009, CBS said.

Wednesday, the Presidential Inauguration Committee named Richard Blanco the inaugural poet. He will appear at President Barack Obama's swearing-in ceremony on Inauguration Day, Politico said.

Blanco will be the country's youngest Inaugural poet, as well as the first Hispanic and first member of the LGBT community to serve in the role, the committee said.

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