Rumor: Obama inauguration closed to press

The inauguration ceremony for President Obama on Jan. 20 may be closed to the press.


               The Presidential Inauguration Committee sent out a press release stating that there would be a “private” inauguration on Jan. 20 because it falls on a Sunday. Chief Justice John Roberts will administer the official oath of office. The public inauguration on the Capitol Building’s West Front — at which Roberts will administer a second, symbolic oath of office — will take place the next day.

Both the White House and the inauguration committee note that “private” simply means the event is not open to the public and that press arrangements have not been formalized.

Unconfirmed: Press access

According to sources close to, committee officials privately indicated to the press that the Jan. 20 event could be closed to reporters and cameras, with an official photograph supplied to the media by White House photographer Pete Souza.

Not the first time

When Obama was sworn in four years ago, he and Roberts stumbled through the public ceremony and were forced to hold a second, private inauguration the next day. Only four reporters were allowed to attend the private swearing-in, and only a photo from the White House photographer was provided.

Ronald Reagan was the last president to be sworn in on a Sunday, in 1985. Reagan’s White House allowed complete news coverage of the private ceremony, including three reporters, three still photographers, and one network television pool camera, according to a Los Angeles Times report from the time. ABC, NBC, CBS and CNN carried live broadcasts of the event.


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