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White House Aides Fear there will be Thousands of Empty Seats at Obama’s Inauguration

Crowds may have flocked to the National Mall  to see President Obama make history in 2009, but the team behind the president’s  2013 inauguration bash later this month are bracing themselves for a ton of  empty seats.

The ceremony that Washington will stage in a few weeks  won’t be the historic affair  it was in 2009, when nearly 2 million people  flocked to the Capitol o watch Obama take the oath of office.

This time, District of Columbia  officials  expect between 600,000 and 800,000 people for Obama’s public  swearing-in on the  steps of the Capitol on Monday, January 21.

Two weeks before the big day, plenty of  hotel rooms still haven’t been booked. Four years ago, some hotels sold  out  months in advance.

D.C. officials are expecting between 600,000 and 800,000 people for Obama’s public swearing-in on the steps of the Capitol on Monday, January 21

There will be just two official inaugural balls this year, both at the Washington Convention Center, rather than  10  official balls at multiple locations around town.

The pair of celebrations are the lowest  number since 1953, according to the New York  Post.

A political insider told the paper: ‘Some on  the presidential inaugural committee are starting to seriously  worry.’

His inaugural committee has also scaled the  celebration back to three days of festivities, instead of four.

Some changes are on account of the  slowly  recovering economy and a desire by planners to ease the security  burden on law  enforcement.

But they also reflect a realization that the  thrill for Obama’s second inauguration burns a little weaker.

‘There certainly will not be the sort of  exultation you saw four years ago,’ said Mike Cornfield, a George Washington  University political science professor.

One reason why, Cornfield said, is it simply  lacks the dramatic transfer of power from one president to the next.

‘This is not a change that commands people’s  interest automatically,’ Cornfield said. ‘It’s a confirmation of  power.’

Even Obama acknowledges he’s already, shall  we say, a little washed-up the second time around.

‘I think that a lot of folks feel that, “Well, he’s now president. He’s a little grayer. He’s a little older. It’s not quite as new as it was,”‘ the president often told supporters while campaigning for re-election.

There will be a parade, but it’s expected to  be smaller too; about 130 groups and 15,000 people marched down Pennsylvania  Avenue to the White House in 2009.

Obama will be sworn in first on January 20,  the date set by the Constitution, but it will be done in private since the day  falls on a Sunday.

His public swearing-in the next day also  falls on the federal holiday honoring civil rights leader Martin Luther King  Jr., branding the occasion with another layer of historical significance,  especially for African-Americans.

Lessened interest in the second inauguration  of a two-term president such as Obama could be a natural function of America’s  political process, said Daniel Klinghard, associate professor of political  science at the College of the Holy Cross.

‘When it’s your first [inauguration], you’re  new and people are only seeing the potential in you,’ Klinghard said. ‘By the  time the second one rolls around they’re used to your voice, they’re used to you  saying certain kinds of things.’

One group for whom the Obama thrill remains  strong is African-Americans, who overwhelmingly wanted him to have four more  years in the White House.

More than nine in 10 blacks voted to re-elect  Obama, according to surveys of voters as they left their polling places in  November.

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Posted by on January 7, 2013. Filed under NY News,Slider. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. Both comments and pings are currently closed.