Obama's Presidential Inaugural Committee Sets Up Shop
Barack Obama's Presidential Inaugural Committee begins its work today, though an official announcement of its formation is not expected until later in the week.
Key members of the finance team and press staff have arrived in Washington for the undertaking of what is widely expected to be the most highly attended presidential inauguration ever. Their task is to organize - and raise several million dollars for - all of the official inaugural balls, galas and other festivities that will mark the dawning of the Obama administration. (To put it in perspective, President Bush spent around $40 million on his inaugural events in 2005, much of which was raised from corporations and lobbyists.)
Given the severity of the current economic disaster, it's unclear how lavish Obama's historic inaugural celebration will be and from what sources the funding will come. Obama has sworn off raising money from lobbyists for his transition, just as he did during his campaign, so it's unlikely he'll do a 180 and allow them to bankroll his inauguration.
Among those playing key behind-the-scenes roles in inaugural planning will be regional finance directors from the Obama presidential campaign as well as big names such as Penny Pritzker, a close Obama confidant who served as chair of his record-breaking national finance operation, and Chicagoan Bill Daley, the former Commerce secretary.
As Lynn Sweet reports on her blog at the Chicago Sun-Times, Daley will serve as one of the committee's co-chairs, along with John Rogers, a close friend of President-elect Obama. (Rogers' ex-wife, Desirée Rogers, will become the first ever African American White House social secretary.)
The Presidential Inaugural Committee press team will include, among others, Josh Earnest, who the Sleuth is told will be communications director. Earnest, after working on the short-lived presidential campaign of former Iowa Gov. Tom Vilsack's, went to the Obama campaign's press shop.
And Politico's Mike Allen is reporting that former newswoman Linda Douglass, who served as Obama's traveling press secretary during the campaign, will be a spokeswoman for the inaugural committee.
This week may not be the best of weeks to unveil the Presidential Inaugural Committee given the meltdown of last week, the Thanksgiving holiday and today's big announcement on Obama's economic team, which the president-elect hopes will help calm the nerves of anxious and scared Americans who have visions of bread lines dancing in their heads. But as they say, there's no time like the present.
Note to readers: To read more on all things inaugural, check out the Post's Inauguration Watch blog.
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