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Countdown to Inauguration46:00
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A worker paints the center stand of the inaugural platform at the west front of the Capitol on Dec. 4, 2008. (AP)
A worker paints the center stand of the inaugural platform at the west front of the Capitol on Dec. 4, 2008. (AP)

Presidential inaugurations are big in American democracy. A chance to celebrate. And the inauguration coming next month, of Barack Obama, may be the biggest ever.

Big — gigantic — on symbolism, as the nation’s first African-American stands before the Capitol to take the oath of presidential office.

But also just plain big — huge — in numbers. Maybe millions of Americans gathered in Washington, D.C. for maybe the biggest public gathering in the history of the continent.

That’s big, and a big challenge.

This hour, On Point: Planning for an epic inauguration.

You can join the conversation. Will you be in the crowd? What are your expectations for this Inauguration?Guests:

Linda Douglass, chief spokesperson for the Presidential Inaugural Committee.

Nia-Malika Henderson, White House reporter for Politico. She reported yesterday about Obama's plan to arrive in Washington by train.

Rep. Eleanor Holmes Norton, Democratic Congresswoman representing the District of Columbia.

Kevin Johnson, Homeland Security corrrespondent for USA Today.

Earl Stafford, Virginia businessman who spent $1 million to rent out 300 rooms at the JW Marriott Hotel in Washington, D.C. He'll open the hotel to wounded soldiers, poor and homeless people, and guests otherwise unable to attend the inauguration. Read the Washington Post story "The Benefactor of the Ball."

This program aired on December 16, 2008.

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