(WASHINGTON) — Jan. 20, 2009 was clearly a historic occasion, marking as it did the first time that an African-American was sworn in as U.S. president.
Jan. 21, 2013, when President Obama will be inaugurated for a second term, won’t prove quite as momentous.
The Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority doesn’t expect anywhere close to the 1.8 million people who crowded the National Mall to attend the first ceremony. It could be half that number or less on Jan. 21.
That also means area hotels won’t be doing the brisk business they experienced in 2009, with many now reporting rates the same or even lower than they were four years ago.
The president and first lady Michelle Obama also won’t be buzzing around Washington the way they did for the 10 inaugural balls that were held during the night of Jan. 20, 2009. It’s possible there could be as few as two official balls, The Wall Street Journal reports, and outside groups that sponsor similar events might be cutting back as well.
Obama will take the oath of office twice, since the Constitution says the president has to be sworn in on Jan. 20. That date this year falls on a Sunday, however, so Obama will take the oath privately on Jan. 20 and then at the Capitol the following day.
As it happened in Jan. 20, 2009, Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts mixed up some words when he administered the oath to Obama, so to play it safe, Roberts re-administered the oath at the White House on Jan. 21.
Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio
Deirdre Walsh and Eugene Scott, CNN
Ryan Browne and Evan Perez, CNN