The Washington Times - January 21, 2013, 07:33AM

Parade-goers got a quick glimpse of the new plates as Mr. Obama’s motorcade headed from the White House to the U.S. Capitol for his public swearing-in.

The slogan calls attention to the District’s payment of federal taxes, despite having no voting representative in the Senate or House of Representatives like the 50 states.

More than 630,000 people live in the nation’s capital, or more than Wyoming and Vermont, according to census estimates.

— Tom Howell Jr.

Updated at 11:06 a.m.

President Obama and Vice President Joseph R. Biden have arrived at the U.S. Capitol for Mr. Obama’s second inaugural address and celebration.

Dressed in a black suit and light blue tie, Mr. Obama climbed the steps of Capitol’s East Front, shaking hands and greeting well-wishers as he made his way through the halls of Congress.

As Mr. Obama entered, former President Bill Clinton and Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton were making their way to the West Front stand where Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. and a large delegation of lawmakers awaited the president.

Former President Jimmy Carter and wife, Rosalynn, also were escorted to their seats just minutes before Mr. Obama and his family were set to make their appearance on the cold and slightly overcast morning.

— David R. Sands

 

Updated at 11:02 a.m.

Metro officials reported that downtown travel Monday morning was significantly smoother than four years ago, with ridership at 266,000 as of 10 a.m. — just more than half of what it was on Mr. Obama’s first inaugural celebration in 2009.

Several parking garages filled early. Metro officials by midmorning said no spaces were available at the Greenbelt, Fort Totten, Rhode Island Avenue, Vienna South, Van Dorn Street, Franconia-Springfield and East Falls Church stations.

Checkpoints at the Capitol were jammed, but security personnel moved people through quickly.

“Everybody’s being pretty patient. It’s more organized,” said Michael Moss, 62, of Louisville, Ky., comparing the lines with what he experienced attending the 2009 inauguration. Mr. Moss and his wife were buying $5 hand warmers from a vendor near the checkpoint at First and D streets Northwest.

Frances Lippette, 70, of Raleigh, N.C., was decked out in Obama campaign buttons.

“There’s not as many people, but it’s still just as exciting for me,” she said.

— David R. Sands

Updated at 10:51 a.m.

President Obama has entered the presidential limousine for the short drive from the White House to the Capitol for the public celebration of his second inauguration.

Mr. Obama walked with New York Sen. Charles E. Schumer, chairman of the Joint Congressional Committee on Inaugural Ceremonies, to the limousine, which was bearing the District of Columbia’s “Taxation Without Representation” license plates.

Crowds already filling temporary risers along the route cheered as the motorcade traveled on Pennsylvania Avenue Northwest to the Capitol for the ceremonies, set to begin at 11:20 a.m.

David R. Sands

Updated at 10:44 a.m.

The congressional delegation filing into the stands where President Obama will deliver his second inaugural address Monday morning included at least one lawmaker who had hoped to be in a better seat.

Rep. Paul Ryan, Wisconsin Republican, was part of the bipartisan delegation filing into the temporary stands on the West Front of the Capitol. He was GOP nominee Mitt Romney’s vice presidential running mate in the 2012 election.

Two other men who had hoped for a different role were also part of the delegation — Massachusetts Sen. John Kerry, the failed Democratic nominee in 2004, and Arizona Sen. John McCain, who lost to Mr. Obama in 2008.

Mr. Romney, who had a private lunch with Mr. Obama at the White House shortly after the election, is not attending the inauguration. Also staying away are former Presidents George H.W. Bush, who has been ailing, and George W. Bush.

— David R. Sands

Updated at 10:39 a.m.

President Obama was urged to use the immense power of his office to do good at the traditional church service Monday morning just hours ahead of his public second inauguration ceremony.

With the families of Mr. Obama and Vice President Joseph R. Biden in the pews at St. John’s Episcopal Church across Lafayette Square from the White House, the Rev. Andy Stanley, pastor of the North Point Community Church in Alpharetta, Ga., asked in his sermon what a person’s responsibilities are when he realizes he is the most important person at a gathering.

The cleric said it was that person’s responsibility to leverage that power in the service of others, according to The Associated Press.

Addressing Mr. Obama directly, Mr. Stanley said, “Mr. President, you have an awfully big room. It’s as big as our nation.”

The AP reported that Mr. Obama stood for a blessing from Bishop Vashti McKenzie of the 10th Episcopal District of the African Methodist Episcopal Church. She prayed for the president to be a “soothing presence in the White House when the stress and strain of leadership seeks a resting place.”

The presidential motorcade left after the nearly hourlong service to return to the White House, where a bipartisan delegation from Congress was waiting to escort him to the Capitol for the ceremonies set to begin at 11:20 a.m.

Mr. Obama was the subject of another prominent cleric’s thoughts as the Rev. Patrick J. Conroy, the House chaplain, opened a brief session of the House of Representatives with some thoughts as Mr. Obama embarks on his second term.

The Catholic priest prayed that Mr. Obama “be strengthened in his work and grow in understanding as he proves ever more responsive to the people.”

— David R. Sands


Updated at 10:31 a.m.

In a milestone denied his 43 predecessors, President Obama officially became the first president to tweet on his Inauguration Day.

“I’m honored and grateful that we have a chance to finish what we started. Our work begins today. Let’s go,” the presidential tweet released early Monday morning read.

The message was signed “-bo” — the designation Mr. Obama uses when he composes the messages himself on his Twitter feed at @BarackObama.

The president wasn’t the only top politico using social media to chronicle the events of the day.

House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, Virginia Republican, let his followers chart his progress as he joined the congressional motorcade heading to the White House to escort the first family to the ceremonies at the Capitol.

“Headed to the @whitehouse with my wife Diana for coffee with the President, Vice President and their lovely wives,” Mr. Cantor tweeted.

David R. Sands

Updated at 10:26 a.m.

Former D.C. Mayor Anthony Williams was among the throng of city residents and visitors filing into the center of Washington on Monday morning, a day on which even VIPs have to trek to enjoy festivities along the National Mall and Pennsylvania Avenue Northwest.

Sporting a cap of the D.C. United soccer team, Mr. Williams rode by subway to Metro Center and was complimented by a passer-by who said he did a “fine job” as mayor from 1998 to 2006, a time of transformation as the District of Columbia got its fiscal house in order.

Above ground, newly elected D.C. Council member David Grosso, at-large independent, was among the horde of people walking from Federal Triangle to the barricaded parade route.

Mr. Grosso said Mr. Obama should have the freedom in his second term to promote his vision for residents of the nation’s capital.

“I think that’s true with a lot of issues, and ours as well,” he said.

— Tom Howell Jr.

Updated at 10:14 a.m.

President Obama was urged to use the immense power of his office to do good at the traditional church service Monday morning just hours ahead of his public second inauguration ceremony.

With the families of Mr. Obama and Vice President Joseph R. Biden in the pews at St. John’s Episcopal Church across Lafayette Square from the White House, the Rev. Andy Stanley, pastor of the North Point Community Church in Alpharetta, Ga., asked in his sermon what a person’s responsibilities are when he realizes he is the most important person at a gathering.

The cleric said it was that person’s responsibility to leverage that power in the service of others, according to the Associated Press.

Addressing Mr. Obama directly, Mr. Stanley said, “Mr. President, you have an awfully big room.”

The presidential motorcade left after the nearly hourlong service to return to the White House, where a bipartisan delegation from Congress was waiting to escort him to the Capitol for the ceremonies set to begin at 11:20 a.m.

Mr. Obama was the subject of another prominent cleric’s thoughts as the Rev. Patrick J. Conroy, the House chaplain, opened a brief session of the House of Representatives with some thoughts as Mr. Obama embarks on his second term.

The Catholic priest prayed that Mr. Obama “be strengthened in his work and grow in understanding as he proves ever more responsive to the people.”

David R. Sands

Updated at 10:10 a.m.

There are two official inaugural balls Monday night — and at least one unofficial “Disinauguration Ball.”

As people filed into the National Mall for inaugural ceremonies on a cold Monday morning, they were handed small pamphlets inviting them to the “Disinauguration Ball” on Monday night in Arlington.

“Democracy, as the American founders described it, was like two wolves and a sheep deciding on what’s for dinner,” reads the invitation, complete with a “Not My President” banner across the top.

The flier notes that 60 percent of all Americans “did not try to impose their choice of leader on the rest of you!”
“We refuse to acknowledge unjust authority,” it reads. “To the extent we can, we refuse to comply. We refuse to be sheep. You can have a President, we will choose to be free. Sincerely, The Disinaugurators.”

For those interested, the Disinauguration Ball is from 7 to 11 p.m. at the Clarendon Grill, 1101 N. Highland St. in Arlington.

David Sherfinski

Updated at 9:45 a.m.

It doesn’t have the numbers or the history-breaking vibe of four years ago, but many in the crowd gathering Monday morning said they still found a special satisfaction in President Obama’s second inaugural celebration.

Zuri Murrell, a physician from Los Angeles, said he made a point of traveling to Washington this time after not attending four years ago.

“I still feel like it’s a historic event — I want my children to be a part of it,” he said.

Jabari Reeves of San Francisco chimed in, nodding toward his young daughters.

“Just being African-American,” he said. “Showing our children that they can be anything they want to be.”

By coincidence, Mr. Obama’s swearing-in falls on the official Martin Luther King holiday. Mr. Obama will use Dr. King’s Bible as part of the ceremony as he is sworn in by Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts.

“I think I’m more thrilled this time around,” said the Rev. Eugene Williams Sr., an adjunct professor of English at the University of the District of Columbia. “When you’re 75 years old and have seen some of the things you’re seen as an African-American, I don’t think you can forget how special an event like this is.”

A spokesman for the Metro transit system told the Associated Press that some 113,000 riders had boarded trains as of 8 a.m. Officials also hope more and earlier signs, and additional metal detectors, will ease congestion.

“It’s coming. It’s steady, but it’s coming,” said Donald, a vendor from D.C. who declined to give his last name, of business.

He noted, however, that the traffic for T-shirts was far heavier four years ago.

“It was much better then, because it was the first time he was sworn in,” he said. “They were walking in the street, it was so many people.”

— David R. Sands

Updated at 9:38 a.m.

A congressional delegation made its way by motorcade down Pennsylvania Avenue to escort President Obama and his family to the Capitol for his second inaugural celebrations.

The Obamas and the family of Vice President Joseph R. Biden were still in services at St. John’s Episcopal Church across Lafayette Square as the bipartisan delegation arrived at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. The president and his family emerged from the church to cheers from a throng of admirers at 9:37.

The president waved to the crowd but made no remarks before getting back into the presidential limousine for the drive back to the White House.

A spokesman for the Metro transit system told The Associated Press that some 113,000 riders had boarded trains as of 8 a.m. Officials also hope more and earlier signs, and additional metal detectors, will ease congestion. One glitch developed when Metro officials closed the exits at the Federal Center SW station, forcing many attendees to exit farther from the National Mall.

— David R. Sands

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