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Md. Sen. Cardin: I Have 400 Tickets and 55,000 Requests

The requests for inaugural tickets keep pouring into congressional offices across the country, but perhaps no more quickly than to the offices of the local Washington area delegation. Take the case of Md. Sen. Benjamin L. Cardin (D), who sent an email yesterday to residents who have requested tickets.

"Because of our close proximity to our Nation's Capital, requests to Maryland Congressional offices for free tickets to the swearing-in ceremony have been astronomical. To date, my office has received nearly 55,000 individual requests for tickets," the email stated. "As you can imagine, the requests for tickets far exceed the availability. It is expected that each Senate and House offices will have less than 400 tickets to distribute and those will be primarily for standing areas on the National Mall.

"For those who have requested tickets from my office, your name will be entered into a random drawing. I will contact everyone who has requested tickets via e-mail sometime in January updating you about ticket availability. I also will continue to send updates about Inaugural events as information becomes available."

Because of overwhelming demand for tickets to the inauguration of President-elect Barack Obama, Md. Sen. Barbara Mikuski (D) also has decided to dispense their tickets by random drawing, staffers said.

Cardin spokeswoman Sue Walitsky said told the Post's Avis Thomas-Lester: “We’re still getting calls from people who still want to put their name in to request tickets."

Mikulski spokeswoman Cassie Harvey said the senator had decided on a lottery because “the number of people contacting us has been astronomical.”

Besides, she said, a lottery would be the “the best way, the fairest way to do it.”

Both staffs said they did not how many tickets their offices would be given but officials believe it will be fewer than 500. They were still working out the logistics of a random drawing.

Read the full letter after the jump.

Here is the full letter:

THE INAUGURATION OF PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA WILL BE A HISTORIC EVENT

Thank you for contacting my office about tickets to the Inauguration. January 20, 2009 will be a historic event as millions of Marylanders - and Americans across the country - witness the Inauguration of Barack Obama as President and Joseph Biden as Vice President of the United States . Because of our close proximity to our Nation's Capital, requests to Maryland Congressional offices for free tickets to the swearing-in ceremony have been astronomical. To date, my office has received nearly 55,000 individual requests for tickets.

As you can imagine, the requests for tickets far exceed the availability. It is expected that each Senate and House offices will have less than 400 tickets to distribute and those will be primarily for standing areas on the National Mall.

For those who have requested tickets from my office, your name will be entered into a random drawing. I will contact everyone who has requested tickets via e-mail sometime in January updating you about ticket availability. I also will continue to send updates about Inaugural events as information becomes available.

For those who do not receive congressional tickets to the Inauguration, sections of the National Mall and Inaugural Parade route will be open to the public and will not require tickets. We expect that large-screen televisions and audio speakers will be placed throughout the Mall so that as many people as possible can hear and see this historic event. Also, please keep in mind that if the weather is inclement, the outdoor Inaugural events may be cancelled and the swearing-in ceremony will take place inside the U.S. Capitol with only family members of the President-elect and Vice President-elect, members of Congress, members of the U.S. Supreme Court, and other officials in attendance.

A word of caution: We all have seen recent media reports about people selling tickets over the Internet. I want to remind everyone that tickets to the swearing-in ceremony are free and will primarily be distributed by congressional offices. No tickets to the swearing-in ceremony are available yet and they will not be distributed before mid-January. Anyone who claims to have tickets to the swearing-in for sale is not being truthful. In addition, eBay has banned the sale of swearing-in ceremony tickets on its websites, including eBay, StubHub and Kijiji.

The President-elect also will form a Presidential Inaugural Committee (PIC), which will be responsible for all balls, galas, receptions, parties and the official Inaugural Day parade. Ticket requests for these events should be directed to the PIC. Its website is: http://www.change.gov/learn/inauguration/. Information on these events will be updated by the PIC as it becomes available.

Whether you are able to attend the swearing-in ceremony in person or whether you watch it on TV with family and friends, this will be a historic experience for all Americans and for our nation.

Sincerely,

Senator Benjamin L. Cardin

By David A Nakamura  |  November 21, 2008; 11:48 AM ET  | Category:  Swearing-in Ceremony , Tickets
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Comments



I got this email from Sen. Cardin yesterday because I am 1 of the 55,000 requests. I am not very happy that it will be a lottery system. I emailed him about 8:30am Nov. 5th. Of course I don't know that I was one of the first 400 people, but I think it would be better to give them out on a first-come-first-served basis. I think that I should have a better chance than someone who emailed him a week later just because all their friends were asking for tickets.

Posted by: SweetieJ | November 21, 2008 12:29 PM | Report abuse

I am grateful that Senator Cardin is doing what he feels is right rather than following SweetieJ's advice. When there are nine instances of "I think" or "I got" or "I am" or "I should" over the course of just four sentences, that really says something about the writer.

Posted by: random-adam | November 21, 2008 4:22 PM | Report abuse

I don't see anything selfish about asking that the tickets be given out on a first-come-first-served basis. I too thought ahead and put in my request early, only to learn that my chances of getting tickets won't be any better than those who jumped on the bandwagon last week.

Posted by: PhilinMD | November 26, 2008 12:42 PM | Report abuse

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