We The People USA

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Obama's inauguration is most expensive ever at $160 million

Updated Wednesday, January 14th 2009, 2:42 AM


The Capitol in Washington DC, where Barack Obama will be sworn in as president on Jan. 20.

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It will take Barack Obama less than a minute to recite the oath of office -- and when he’s done dancing at the inaugural balls Jan. 20, the price tag for his swearing-in festivities could approach $160 million.

Obama’s inaugural committee is in the midst of raising roughly $45 million in private funds, exceeding the $42.3 million President Bush spent in 2005. In 1993, Clinton spent $33 million when Democrats returned to the White House for the first time in 12 years.

As in previous years, the costs borne by the taxpayers, for security and emergency medical services, far surpasses the privately funded events.

The federal government has budgeted $49 million for this year’s inauguration, more than triple what taxpayers spent at Bush’s first inauguration in 2001, according to the Office of Management and Budget.

Earlier this year, the District of Columbia, Virginia, Maryland and the Washington transit authority sent a request to federal lawmakers for more than $75 million to cover a variety of inaugural costs ranging from security to transportation.

Carole Florman, spokeswoman for the Joint Congressional Committee on Inaugural Ceremonies, which oversees the events at the Capitol, said this year’s budget of $1.24 million -- $10,000 less than 2005 -- is "not a lot of money in the scheme of planning an event for 240,000 people."

"We're always very budget conscious," she said. "But we're sending a message to the entire world about our peaceful transition of power, and you don't want it to look like a schlock affair. It needs to be appropriate to the magnitude of events that

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