Reading Inauguration Day
By Ben Pershing
Three hundred eighty-three days after he won the Iowa Democratic Caucus, 146 days after he accepted the nomination in Denver and 77 days after he won the election with 67 million votes, Barack Obama will be sworn in four hours from now as the 44th president of the United States.
Did it really begin in Iowa? Or was it his convention speech in 2004? His birth in 1961? The Civil War, a century before? Regardless, the journey from that beginning to this end has generated sustained drama and many millions of words have been spent chronicling it. This morning, as the minutes tick away, the coverage appears divided evenly between practical and political, hassle and hope.
On the practical level, the crowds are surging but not, so far, unruly -- The Rundown's 6 a.m. Metro ride was crowded but uneventful. The weather is cold but mercifully dry. The security is extraordinarily tight, with police and national guard visible everywhere.
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