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President Barack Obama gives his inaugural address to a worldwide audience from the West Steps of the U.S. Capitol after taking the oath of office in Washington, D.C., Jan. 20, 2009
President Barack Obama gives his inaugural address to a worldwide audience from the West Steps of the U.S. Capitol after taking the oath of office in Washington, D.C., Jan. 20, 2009
Today is arguably the most fun and celebratory of the nation's quadrennial political events, one that really gets the history buffs going. If you really want to impress friends and family with your encyclopedic knowledge of the event, here's the great big official press guide, all 106 pages of it.

It includes—I love this—the luncheon menu for today. It will be hosted by the members of the Joint Congressional Committee on Inaugural Ceremonies for nearly 200 guests, including the "President, Vice President, members of their families, the Supreme Court, Cabinet designees, and members of Congressional leadership will attend the event in Statuary Hall." On the menu: "Steamed Lobster with New England Clam Chowder Sauce, Hickory Grilled Bison with Red Potato Horseradish Cake and Wild Huckleberry Reduction, and Hudson Valley Apple Pie with Sour Cream Ice Cream, Aged Cheese and Honey." That's not the good part, though. The good part is that they give the recipes for these dishes so you can have your own inaugural luncheon. Sour cream ice cream with maple caramel sauce, here I come.

As for today's events, the guide also tells you anything and everything you might want to know. For example, you know Franklin Delano Roosevelt was the only president to serve four terms, but did you know he used the same Bible for all four swearings-in? And that that Bible "is the oldest Inaugural Bible, printed in 1686, and the only one written in a modern foreign language: Dutch"?

Some more fun stuff below the fold.

  • The shortest ever inaugural speech was George Washington's second, just 135 words.
  • Thomas Jefferson was the first President to have the Marine Band at his inauguration on March 4, 1801. They have played for every inauguration since.
  • James Madison hosted the first inaugural ball, on March 4, 1809. It took place at Long's Hotel and tickets cost $4 each.
  • The first inauguration known to be photographed was James Buchanan's in 1857. The first to be recorded as a motion picture was William McKinley's in 1897. The first one televised was Harry Truman's, in 1949. The first broadcast on the Internet was BIll Clinton's second, in 1997.
  • The first time African Americans participated in the Inaugural Parade was Abraham Lincoln's second, in 1865.
  • The first time a former President administered the oath of office as Chief Justice of the Supreme Court was when William H. Taft swore in Calvin Coolidge on March 4, 1925.
  • Warren G. Harding was the first President to to ride to and from his Inauguration in an automobile. That was in March, 1921.
  • President Obama officially took the oath yesterday, but do you know who was the first President to take the oath of office on a Sunday? That would be Woodrow Wilson, in March, 1917.
  • Telephone lines were installed in the Capitol for the first time for the inauguration of Theodore Roosevelt, in 1905.
  • The first President to have a poet participate in the ceremony was John F. Kennedy. That poet was Robert Frost.
  • The first woman to administer the oath of office was U.S. District Judge Sarah T. Hughes, who swore in Lyndon Johnson on Air Force One after the assassination of Kennedy. It was also the only time the oath was taken on an airplane.
  • Ronald Reagan saw the most extreme weather. The warmest inauguration was his first, 55 degrees, and the coldest his second, with a noon temperature of 7.

And here's all the history made in President Obama's first inauguration on January 20, 2009.

  • First African American to hold the office of President of the United States
  • Largest attendance of any event in the history of Washington, DC
  • Largest attendance of any Presidential Inauguration in U.S. history
  • First citizen born in Hawaii to hold the office
  • Highest viewership ever of the swearing-in ceremonies on the Internet
  • First woman, Sen. Dianne Feinstein, to emcee the ceremony
  • First Inaugural webcast to include captioning
  • First swearing-in ceremony to include an audio description
Every inauguration makes history, but this is a particularly sweet one, the second time an African American will take the oath of office. It might not be quite as huge as the first, but it is at least as significant.

Originally posted to Joan McCarter on Mon Jan 21, 2013 at 07:31 AM PST.

Also republished by Daily Kos.

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