January 19, 2013

Obama begins inaugural festivities by volunteering

The Associated Press

(Continued from page 1)

Following their service project, the first family returned to the White House. The president had no other public events planned, though Mrs. Obama and Mrs. Biden were hosting the Kids' Inaugural Concert, an evening event paying special tribute to military spouses and children.

The crowds pouring into Washington were expected to be far smaller than they were four years ago, and there will be fewer inaugural balls for the president and first lady to attend. Still, Obama's swearing-in at the Capitol is expected to draw up to 800,000 people, which would make it the largest second.

The president was still working on his inaugural address heading into the weekend. He isn't expected to delve deeply into the policy objectives he'll tackle in a second term, but the tone and theme of the speech will set the stage for the policy fights to come.

Aides said he will make the point that while the nation's political system doesn't require politicians to resolve all of their differences, it does require Washington to act on issues where there is common ground. He will speak about how the nation's core principles can still guide a country that has changed immensely since its founding.

Temperatures were forecast to fall throughout the weekend and be in the 30s on Monday when the crowds gather along the parade route that will take Obama from Capitol Hill to the White House.

Despite scaling back on some of the revelry, the inauguration will be a star-studded affair. Top acts including Beyonce, Katy Perry and Brad Paisley have signed on to perform at the weekend's events. Lady Gaga was also slated to perform at a staff ball Tuesday night.

The inauguration also is bringing thousands of Obama campaign staffers and donors to Washington, with many getting invitations for tours and other events at the White House. On Friday, the president and first lady held two private events for donors who helped finance his 2012 campaign.

 

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