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Obama to Inaugural Volunteers: No Mas (and No Tickets)

To give you an idea of just how jam-packed Washington will be on inauguration day, Barack Obama's inaugural committee is turning away scores of volunteers.

An email sent from the Presidential Inaugural Committee over the weekend to people who signed up through its Web site to volunteer on Jan. 20 said, "Due to unprecedented interest, we will not be able to place everyone that would like to help. Nor are we able to provide transportation, housing, or tickets to inaugural events for those who do volunteer."

The inaugural committee asked potential volunteers to complete a form providing more personal information such as where they plan to stay in Washington, whether they have volunteered for a presidential inaugural before, physical and occupational abilities and - the big question - whether they own formal attire.

The volunteer form notes that "due to the volume of requests, the large majority of volunteers will serve at only one function throughout Inaugural Weekend." And it warns would-be volunteers to be prepared to walk long distances in what will surely be claustrophobic conditions. (The form says "transportation will be challenging in and around the DC area." Translation: transportation around the DC area will be next to impossible.)

And since roads will be nearly impassable, it's a good thing Obama and Vice President-elect Joe Biden are arriving in Washington as Abe Lincoln did for his inauguration: by train.

The inaugural committee announced today that Obama will take a daylong journey by train on Jan. 17 with his family to the nation's capital, where he'll be sworn in three days later as the 44th president of the United States. Obama will kick off the trip with an event in Philadelphia on the 17th before stopping in Wilmington, Del., to pick up Biden and his family.

By Mary Ann Akers  |  December 15, 2008; 10:35 AM ET
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If you think volunteering for this event is going to be tough, just imagine what it's going to be like trying to work under the upcoming stimulus plan. We did. See

Posted by: saturdaymorningpost | December 15, 2008 12:27 PM | Report abuse

I think I'm glad I WON'T be in Washington D.C. in January. I'd love to see Senator Obama's inauguration, but this sounds like a circus.

I hope someone is keeping a weather eye out for bin Laden wannabes. I assume they are...after the incident with al Zaidi's big shoe attack, the Secret Service has to be on their toes... but who wants to be in the middle of some nutball attempt to cause trouble, even if the authorities manage to break it up before someone gets whacked?

Posted by: Iconoblaster | December 16, 2008 5:05 PM | Report abuse

For anyone still looking for Inaugural housing, check out this blog. There are REASONABLY priced housing options available.

Posted by: veronicalogan72 | December 19, 2008 9:47 AM | Report abuse

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