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Guide to the 57th Presidential Inauguration

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Guide to the 57th Presidential Inauguration

The public swearing-in ceremony Monday will be held on the west front of the U.S. Capitol and is scheduled to run from 9 a.m. when VIPs start to arrive until shortly before 1 p.m. when President Obama and first lady Michelle Obama, along with Vice President Biden and wife Jill Biden, leave for the congressional luncheon, and later the parade.

Local officials estimate 500,000 to 700,000 people will be on the National Mall to witness the ceremony, compared to 2009 when an estimate 1.8 million saw the country’s first black president take the presidential oath. President Obama will be sworn in by Chief Justice John G. Roberts on two Bibles: one from President Lincoln and the other from the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.

The invocation will be given by Myrlie Evers-Williams, the widow of slain civil rights leader Medgar Evers. She will be followed by a performance by singer James Taylor.

  • 11:55 a.m.: President Obama takes the presidential oath: "I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will faithfully execute the office of president of the United States, and will to the best of my ability, preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States."
  • 11:56 a.m.:  The U.S. Marine Band performs “Hail to the Chief,” which is followed by a 21 gun military salute.
  • 12:00 p.m.:  The president gives in inaugural address.
  • 12:21 p.m.:  Kelly Clarkson performs.
  • 12:26 p.m.:  Richard Blanco reads poem.
  • 12:30 p.m.:  The Rev.  Luis Leon delivers the benediction.
  • 12:34 p.m.:  Beyonce performs the National Anthem.
  • 2:32 p.m. President Obama reviews the troops, then departs with his wife and the Bidens for the luncheon and parade.

The luncheon for the roughly 200 invited guests will be inside National Statuary Hall in the Capitol building and will include steamed lobster with New England clam chowder sauce, hickory-grilled bison, red potato horseradish cake and Hudson Valley apple pie.

Before 1933, the president had been sworn in on March 4, typically the final day of the congressional season. But the stretch between the November elections and the March 4 inauguration was too long. The parade down Constitution Avenue dates back to the first inauguration, for President Washington, in 1789.

There will be two official inaugural balls this year, compared to 10 in 2009. One is the invitation-only Commander In Chief's Ball, started by President George W. Bush for members of the armed forces. The other, the Inaugural Ball, quickly sold out at $60 a ticket. Supporters and other private donors pay for much of the balls’ costs.

In 2009, President Obama raised $53 million in private money for his inauguration. The private money pays for the official inaugural balls, the traditional parade, giant TV screens on the National Mall for the swearing-in and thousands of portable toilets. Public money is used for security, which is harder to put a price tag on.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.


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  • Joanne Loftus
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