November 30th, 2008
10:48 AM ET
5 months ago

Obama inauguration could take on subdued tone

Inauguration preparations at the Capitol began before the Thanksgiving holiday.
Inauguration preparations at the Capitol began before the Thanksgiving holiday.

(CNN) - Millions of people are expected to go to Washington to celebrate Barack Obama's inauguration on January 20, but with a troubled economy and pocketbook issues on the mind, the president-elect must be careful to set the right tone.

President Bush raised a record $42.8 million dollars for his second inauguration, and according to Public Citizen, more than 90 percent of the donations to that ceremony were from executives or corporations.

But this year, some say throwing a multimillion-dollar party would be unseemly in a time when crash, bailout, and foreclosure fill the economic headlines.

"A lot of it is about tone and making sure that the celebrations that do take place are not over the top, that they don't appear to be insensitive to the pain people have right now," said Ryan Alexander, president of Taxpayers for Common Sense.

The inaugural committee for Obama and Vice President-elect Joe Biden has pledged to make sure the ceremony underscores the incoming administration's "commitment to change business as usual in Washington."

The Presidential Inaugural Committee has limited individual contributions to $50,000. There is no law restricting the size of donations, but in the past, inaugural committees have set contribution limits as high as $250,000.

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soundoff (70 Responses)
  1. Milhouse van Houten

    I don't think that it would be prudent to stage some lavish and exorbitant ceremony at this point,but that being said,it is the presidential inauguration,an historical one at that,so people should
    understand that"the show must go on".

    November 30, 2008 02:05 pm at 2:05 pm |
  2. Uncle Sam

    Why do Democrats and Republicans hate one another?
    The world is much too small for that.

    November 30, 2008 02:09 pm at 2:09 pm |
  3. Seth

    There's been a lot of talk about spirits nowadays...summoning spirits...spirits of hope...even a movie about one "The Spirit". Makes you wonder what spirit is being invoked here:

    "Wherein in time past ye walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience" Eph 2:2

    Not all of us are blind to who you are!

    November 30, 2008 02:11 pm at 2:11 pm |
  4. Gisele from NY

    I think the subdued tone is appropriate. Consumer watchdog groups should warn people about the phony, scalped tickets. I would hate to see people who have been ripped off blame Obama. Go Obama and Biden!!!

    November 30, 2008 02:13 pm at 2:13 pm |
  5. shaiiwn hoover

    wooow plz ladies and gentlemens, remember its the Inauguration of the President of the free world/ lets say the President of the of the Entier World..set the Tone right Equal standing for the pledge of the entier world..=clean govment=stand for the nation in evry form
    so hight festivity or low festivity doesn"t change nuthing
    i think more u make it Low, more U send the wrong signal
    lets the world wrap it Up again and stand hight wit prosperity
    so plz Set the record Hight and let the world Celebrate again
    Shaiiwn the netherland(Anna paulowna)

    November 30, 2008 02:14 pm at 2:14 pm |
  6. Yvonne

    Who is this "some say" who would object to a major bash? After 8 years of this administration, the nation is entitled to the biggest bash in history!

    November 30, 2008 02:21 pm at 2:21 pm |
  7. Jacqueline, New York

    Let President Elect Obama celebrate any way he pleases. This is an historic event, let him celebrate. If this was a white president elect, no one would suggest toning down the celebration. We were in a war with Iraq when George Bush was elected for his second term and that was a grand event. I am sick and tired of the media suggesting that Obama should tone down his inauguration.

    November 30, 2008 02:21 pm at 2:21 pm |
  8. S Callahan

    I disagree, What is different about this election and win is that 'the people' as a Nation supported this candidate and they should, and must, be a part of a large celebration which again is being financed through the individual donations. As well, I don't know about your family but in mine when stresses are high we always find an excuse for a party..it lightens the load and raises the attuitude into the positive.

    November 30, 2008 02:23 pm at 2:23 pm |
  9. Abby from Florida

    enough with the punditry advice to president-elect on what he should and should not do, he is an intelligent man that is capable of knowing to do the right thing. It especially amusing to me when irrelevant losers like Rove and Krystol give advice to Obama. These fools should be laughed out of the 'news' business.

    November 30, 2008 02:24 pm at 2:24 pm |
  10. blair

    "business as usual in Washington." could not have said it better myself. You that voted for him why don't you just fess up he got you to vote for him cause he is not white and you listened to his lies and believed them. it was not us that did not vote for him that were bigots or raciest it was you. Well enjoy the "business as usual in Washington" same ol same ol. So much for change.

    November 30, 2008 02:28 pm at 2:28 pm |
  11. Michael

    I don't see why he can't throw the party he deserves. If you have money, spend it.

    November 30, 2008 02:41 pm at 2:41 pm |
  12. Annie

    So What! Let Obama have this celebration. All the previous Presidents had it grand.

    November 30, 2008 02:45 pm at 2:45 pm |
  13. Mike Dallas

    Do not think of it as an inauguration so much as the lifting of the oppression of the rabid religious right fascists previously known as Republicans.

    And that alone is reason for a high energy celebration, regardless of the state of the economy!

    November 30, 2008 02:46 pm at 2:46 pm |
  14. Denise Groves

    For the first time in my life, I am visiting DC to attend a Presidential inauguration. I am thrilled to bits! It is so exciting to partake in this as Obama is the first person of color to be elected POTUS

    November 30, 2008 02:59 pm at 2:59 pm |
  15. George Arlington, TX.

    I hope the Fox News jerks are watching as his hand is placed upon the Bible .

    November 30, 2008 03:18 pm at 3:18 pm |
  16. Jim Hall

    President Obama during an interview with Barbara Walters on 20/20 last Wednesday that "the inauguration would be simple due to it being improper to have a lavish one due to the economic situation that the country is in now" smart man Jim Hall Kansas City Missouri.

    November 30, 2008 03:38 pm at 3:38 pm |
  17. Paul, Riverside, CA

    Let me be one to say that as hard as it was to donate to Obama's campaign, doing so gave me the greatest feeling. Yeah these are tough economic times, but Obama is not an ordinary President, and definately NOT a Bush. So, even though financially it might be a pinch on the pocket book, donating to Obama in any way makes me feel good.

    November 30, 2008 03:42 pm at 3:42 pm |
  18. Tom in Delaware

    Just make the celebration about half the size of your ego, that way you'll only have to bring in four climate machines, 100 million metric tons of sand, and 137 palm trees (1 for each day you were actually working in the Senate),...that shouldn't be too much.

    You can just tax my children for the extra cash needed.

    Your happiness is the only thing that matters.

    November 30, 2008 03:43 pm at 3:43 pm |
  19. annie - Palin 2012

    obama wouldn't be there if it is low profile.

    November 30, 2008 03:45 pm at 3:45 pm |
  20. JOSEPH QUAYE

    MR PRESIDENT ELECT KINDLY STOP -DONT TAKE MONEY FROM BIG CORPORATIONS BUT RATHER TAKE $5000 FROM SMALL BUSINESSES AND THEN FOCUS ON BUILDING THEM.
    WAIT A MUNITE -THE MAIN STREET FUNDED YOUR CAMPAIGN AND WE CAN DO IT AGAIN.

    MONEY FROM BIG CORPORATIONS IS NOT A TRUE CHANGE

    November 30, 2008 03:55 pm at 3:55 pm |
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