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Masses Clamor to Volunteer at Obama Inaugural Events

Barack Obama's Presidential Inaugural Committee is being inundated with offers from tens of thousands of people who want to volunteer at various events on Jan. 20.

Since posting a "volunteer" option on its Web site 13 days ago, the committee -- as of late this morning - had received 35,000 emails from people wanting to help out and get a front-row seat to history, sources say.

Asked about the staggering number of people eager to volunteer, Presidential Inaugural Committee chief spokeswoman Linda Douglass told us, "We are heartened by the display of enthusiasm from people who want to be part of the celebration of American unity."

But as for how 35,000 people and counting will actually be able to play a role, she said, "We're trying to figure that out."

The volunteer form is general and wide open. It simply states: "We need volunteers with different skills and backgrounds to assist with Inaugural events. Please fill in the form on this page to tell us a little about yourself." The form asks for your name, address, email address and a box in which you can "tell us about yourself."

The form says nothing about whether your email address might be used for fund-raising purposes, and Douglass had no information on the inaugural finance operation. But given the Obama presidential campaign's mastery at raising vast amounts of money online by soliciting small contributions from many different people, we wonder if his finance team will hit up would-be volunteers and their friends to help fund the inaugural celebration (which, again, lobbyists and corporations are barred from financing).

Whether or not it raises money from the volunteers, the inaugural committee will at least have plenty of new email addresses to add to the Obama organization's vast grassroots database. The Presidential Inaugural Committee Web site asks those who wish to volunteer to send up to 10 email addresses, or share their entire address book.

And with $30 million left over from the presidential campaign, Obama's finance team may not have such heavy lifting to do for the inaugural festivities.

By Mary Ann Akers  |  December 8, 2008; 3:30 PM ET
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I signed up to volunteer and I am wondering - can you find out - when and how we will be notified if we are among the chosen?

Posted by: withsampson | December 8, 2008 4:56 PM | Report abuse

Do you think Wright will volunteer? He could be in charge of ensuring that the weather is nice by using his powers of divine intervention.

I don't care how obnoxious the lady may be, if you call any woman a broad, it just shows how narrow you are! Not godly at all.

Posted by: MikeK3 | December 9, 2008 10:20 AM | Report abuse

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