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Barack Obama Inauguration Day wrapup

January 20, 2009 |  8:44 pm

Aretha Franklin performs at the swearing-in ceremony at the U.S. Capitol in Washington with Bill and Hillary Clinton and Lynne Cheney in the background

- Although the inauguration was scheduled for 11:30 a.m. EST, citizens began to stake their spots on the National Mall the night before, as The Ticket reported early this morning, in order to assure prime viewing locations for today's events. Legalities did not allow people to pitch tents or lay down blankets -- however, sitting in lawn chairs to pass the time was perfectly acceptable.

- In case you were wondering if President Barack Obama would have time to grab a bite between all the speeches and the balls, don't worry: he had time to wind down at the traditional luncheon hosted by the Joint Congressional Committee on Inaugural Ceremonies. And despite the country being in a recession, it sounds like it was a scrumptious feast.

- Obama's presidency might have already begun to help the economy -- at least in the eyes of D.C. cab drivers -- especially with all the tourists in town. One cab driver, who was driving a Times writer, commented, "The people in D.C.? They will spend $10 on a beer but don't have $5 for the cabdriver."

- The man whose shot was heard round the world (or at least felt by Harry Whittington, the victim of the unfortunate hunting accident), Dick Cheney, attended the inaugural festivites in a wheelchair. A spokesperson said that Cheney "pulled a muscle in his back" moving boxes into....

...his Virginia home.

- New times may be ahead: bicycle valets made their services available to attendees who traded their four wheels for two when cars were restricted and Metro trains were full. Volunteer Guy Connelly commented, "Maybe this will be what it looks like when we finally all run out of gas."

- As tradition has it, Bush left a private letter for his successor in the top drawer of the presidential desk. What was written remains a secret, but we're wondering if Bush left Obama any advice on how to fix the economy (and whether or not he will take that advice).

- Obama's inaugural speech moved many to tears, even for those who were able to fly out to witness the event in person.

- Sen. Ted Kennedy was rushed to the hospital today. Friend and fellow Sen. Christopher Dodd said Kennedy assured him he was fine. "It's not a medical conclusion, but when he bellows, he's usually in pretty good shape," Dodd said.

- There were also two prayers and a poem.

-- Lindsay Barnett

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Photo credit: Ron Edmonds / Associated Press (Aretha Franklin performs at the Obama inauguration at the U.S. Capitol, Tuesday, Jan. 20, 2009).