Obama planners hope inauguration will signal change in DC

By Ryan Nobles - bio | email

Posted by Colby Rogers

WASHINGTON, DC (WWBT) - He was elected on the promise of a new day in Washington, and accordingly Barack Obama is hoping that his inauguration is the first signal of that change.

"The key goal is to make the most open, inclusive and accessible inauguration in history," said Linda Douglass of the Presidential Inauguration Committee.

And that will be no easy task. With crowds estimated in millions on their way to Washington and tens of millions of more watching from home, the inauguration committee is taking a number of different steps to make this experience different.

"It's about bringing people together with their common values and shared aspirations and feeling unified over this inauguration period," Douglass said.

The change begins on Monday, Jan. 19 - the Martin Luther King holiday. President-elect Obama is asking people to commit to volunteer. Then, on inauguration day, the National Mall will be open to anyone willing to take part. Although they may not be able to see the president take the oath of office, they will be able to experience it.

"They will be able to witness the swearing in from a vantage point that is within the site of the capitol, so there will be ten Jumbotrons to support the crowd on the mall." Douglass said.

All of these new changes come with a price - a price that won't be ponied-up by big corporate donors or lobbyists. Instead, money will be brought in by donations under $50,000  and in large part by small contributions from everyday Americans. It is a gesture that organizers hope is more than symbolic

"He's trying to do what he can to end business as usual in Washington, Douglass said.

As to whether these changes lead to a new day in Washington - only time will tell if they will last beyond Inauguration Day.

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