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Are Inaugural Ball/Parade Tickets Available -- For the Lucky Few?

Everyone's been waiting for the word on how to buy tickets to the official inaugural balls and the parade--but so far the Presidential Inaugural Committee has not issued any instructions on when they'll be available and how to buy them. Today, a source called Inauguration Watch to say he stumbled onto this ticket page on the PIC Web site. But the source goes on to say that it appears impossible to actually place an order because one needs a special log-in and password.

The question is whether that Web page is actually functional or just a template for whenever the PIC gets around to announcing that it is taking ticket orders? And the related question is, if it turns out the page is functional, whether only a select few are allowed to place orders. According to a note on the page, "Your Account ID and Pin/Password can be located on the 2009 Presidential Inauguration e-mail notification."

When asked about the Web page, a spokesman for the PIC said he would look into it and get back to Inauguration Watch. But we want to know whether any of you have received an email from the PIC with an account ID and password? Let us know.

The history of inaugurations has been rife with complaints that they are only open to big donors and "friends of" ... and not to the general public. In Jan. 2005, an antiwar group sued President Bush's inaugural committee, alleging that the committee had blocked the public from getting tickets to the parade.

Update 11:50 a.m.: A Chicago resident called to say that indeed an email has gone out to Obama campaign workers and other volunteers offering them the secret account name and password for tickets. This resident, who did not want his name used, said he received an email last night and, after logging into the PIC Web site's ticket page, was offered tickets to the swearing-in, parade and the official Obama-hosted Illinois Inaugural Ball at the Washington Convention Center. The only complaint he had was that he's not sure where he'll be able to sit or stand for the swearing-in at the Capitol: "There's no seating chart on the committee Web site or TicketMaster," he said.

By David A Nakamura  |  January 7, 2009; 10:40 AM ET  | Category:  Parade , Presidential Inaugural Committee , The Balls , Tickets
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I've been signed up for updates since the PIC site went live. Since then I've received emails asking for donations and volunteering, but nothing regarding a user ID or ticket information.

Posted by: Princeton_Rambler | January 7, 2009 11:16 AM | Report abuse

I got the PIC email yesterday with a password and login ID. I got my *official* ticket to the swearing in ceremony (1). I was a long-time Obama supporter and volunteered hundreds of hours on the campaign (and gave $). The PIC is using Ticketmaster as an exclusive distributor of inaugural tickets, so the site discussed above actually puts you into Ticketmaster. Funny thing for me is that I think my swearing in ticket is just a general admission ticket that I paid UPS postage to receive. Go figure!

Posted by: dc_sue | January 7, 2009 11:37 AM | Report abuse

I received an offer for a Standing Room only ticket, with no location chart attached. Ticketmaster charged $17 for shipping and handling.

I am not sure why I received a ticket (money, or volunteering or connections).

Posted by: afs213 | January 7, 2009 12:09 PM | Report abuse

Well, rats. I volunteers AND donated money and didn't get the email. On the upside, I'll be warmer sitting on my sofa.

Posted by: TerryMcT | January 7, 2009 12:28 PM | Report abuse

Heh. I volunteered and contributed... Will need to check various email accounts.

Posted by: wp11234 | January 7, 2009 1:33 PM | Report abuse

No luck, I guess primary volunteers don't count.

But anyone can buy exciting merchandise!!!

Posted by: wp11234 | January 7, 2009 1:55 PM | Report abuse

At current, tickets to the 10 official Balls are invite-only. Those invited have until Friday, 9 Jan. 2009, to decide if they will attend, after which the remaining spaces will be available to the general public. This was confirmed by the Inaugural Committee.

Posted by: dontreconerly | January 7, 2009 2:19 PM | Report abuse

Good tip, dontreconerly.

Inauguration Watch: you should twitter!

Posted by: wp11234 | January 7, 2009 2:21 PM | Report abuse

I also received the email last night with the subject "Your official Inaugural invitation" with an account number and password and a link to the Ticketmaster site that is linked to in this post. I talked to someone at PIC today and they confirmed that there are two ways to get one of the 240,000 tickets to the Swearing In Ceremony: 1) through your congressperson, although this is only a very small number, and 2) a computer is randomly selecting people who volunteered/donated during the campaign to receive tickets via this email. Those who received the email have until 10pm EST on Jan 9 to claim their ticket.

Posted by: dchead | January 7, 2009 4:07 PM | Report abuse

I was a HRC delegate (who even voted for Hills at the convention!) at the DNC convention, a very small donor and a person who volunteered limited amounts of time during the campaign:

Needless to say I was shocked to received this message:

Dear Justin,

Barack Obama will be sworn in as the 44th President of the United States of America on Tuesday, January 20th, 2009.

The Presidential Inaugural Committee is pleased to offer you the opportunity to attend the Inaugural festivities. This email contains information you'll need to be part of this historic event. Please do not forward this email, as it contains specific information for your access to Inaugural tickets.

We are providing you with an account number and password for our secure ticketing website so that you can access your tickets and input a shipping address and billing information, if necessary. Tickets will be shipped to you by UPS once you complete your transaction. Therefore, please confirm or update your shipping address.

Do not distribute your account number and password or forward this email, as either may invalidate your tickets and your ability to attend any official Inaugural events.

Click here to log in to Ticketmaster's secure website.

Your account number is: ################################
Your password is: ################################

This invitation to receive tickets expires at 10:00 p.m. EST on Friday, January 9th.

Ticket availability is not on a first come, first serve basis. Your tickets are reserved for you until this invitation expires. We urge you to accept your tickets and complete your order via the ticketing website as soon as possible. Again, this invitation is good only until 10:00 p.m. EST on Friday, January 9th. After that time, you will no longer have the ability to purchase or receive tickets.

Please click the following link to log in to Ticketmaster's secure website and complete your transaction:


For further information on Inaugural events, locations, directions and instructions, please visit our website at: http://www.pic2009.org. Please note that there is no housing or transportation associated with this invitation.

We look forward to celebrating this historic occasion with you in our nation's capital.

Thank you,

The Presidential Inaugural Committee

Posted by: justinz | January 8, 2009 9:54 AM | Report abuse

So the key moment is 10 PM Friday. I guess those in the know but out of the loop need to sit at their computers right then to see what gets released to the general public...

Posted by: wp11234 | January 8, 2009 6:40 PM | Report abuse

Congradulations to all who got their lucky user ids. I did not recieve any either. I was a supportered too, but I was not lucky enough. Have fun!!!

Posted by: easternstar25 | January 9, 2009 10:42 AM | Report abuse

Seems the more I keep watching it is those who did not support him the most, they are being rewarded or if your're famous, I don't have $50,000 to donate, I donated all I could. I wonder is it really change? I will just keep working hard and looking from a far.

Posted by: easternstar25 | January 9, 2009 10:49 AM | Report abuse

I am a grassroots organizer who didn't have much money to give, but gave all the time I could. I actually even gave my house over during the last month to the campaign, hosting volunteers every day for canvassing. Today I not only got an email but also a phone call reminding me of the 10 pm deadline. I was able to reserve one seated ticket to the swearing in and purchase two tickets to the Neighborhood Ball! I feel like I have won the lottery. I've been singing the song from Willy Wonka- "I've got a Golden Ticket" since it happened.

I am so glad to find this article because it has seemed just too good to be true and I thought that it may have been a scam. Now I am just going to savor the news!

Posted by: ejba | January 9, 2009 8:20 PM | Report abuse

I got my Golden Ticket!!!

I only contributed about $50 in cash, but I knocked on about 400 doors (not including what others on my team did), led the team for my town, used my house as a base station for canvassing and phone banking, and hosted a debate party for each debate. Oh, not to mention engaged in every debate I could find during the campaign.

But, I'm in Florida. I got 1 ticket. The task of travelling up there by myself is daunting and I don't have really any money for travelling! Looks like the cheapest way to get there is Amtrak, for a 17 hour train ride, sleep on the train, arrive in DC in the morning, and then ride the train back out afterwards. I'm having trouble finding a round trip ticket. I can only find one-way in with Amtrak, so I'm thinking I should take Metro Rail out?

Any advice here?

Also I have a few questions...

I have a seat # and a row #! Does anyone know what that means as to where I'd be sitting?

1 - How would I get from Union Station to the Capitol Steps?
2 - What time do I need to get there?
3- How long would it take from me to get from Union Station to the steps?
4 - If I have a ticket seat number and row number. What does that mean? Where would I be sitting? Does anyone know?

Thanks. I can use all the help I can get. I really don't want to have to put my ticket on Ebay!


Posted by: mwolda | January 11, 2009 9:28 PM | Report abuse

Before you think about profiting from selling your ticket(s) on eBay, I can think of any number of deserving people who would benefit from your goodwill. I bet a lot of people who received tickets can't attend.
I know some of the swearing-in ceremony performers' (girls chorus) families are coming from California for this, at their own expense, and have no connections and no tickets for anything.
Most people who donated time and/or money to the campaign didn't get that magic email. It would be nice to make someone really happy at no cost to you. I talked with one of the moms - she deserves a medal!
It will be a great day for all.

Posted by: mamalion | January 14, 2009 8:44 PM | Report abuse

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