|"Before he enter on the execution of his office, he shall take the following oath or affirmation:--'I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will faithfully execute the office of President of the United States, and will to the best of my ability, preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States.'" Article II, Section 1|
Saturday, January 20, 2001
West Front of the United States Capitol
Call to Order
and Welcoming Remarks:
The Government Printing Office printed up over 200,000 tickets, most for standing room. Each House member received a bit fewer than 200 and each Senate member a bit fewer than 400 to distribute, and the PIC received tens of thousands. About 1,400 people were on the platform (almost exactly 1,000 people were on the inner platform and another 400 in four boxes).
It is a major logistical challenge to make sure everyone is in the right place at the right time. Fourteen to fifteen hundred people have to be taken through the Capitol, which is a bit of maze, to the platform. The presidential party itself was about 20 minutes late leaving the White House. "It's amazing these things come off on time, said Somerville.
The original program called for the Rev. Billy Graham to deliver the invocation, but he had to bow out due to illness.
Transition spokesman Ari Fleischer said Bush's inaugural address would run 10-12 minutes and would focus on "unifying the nation" and would be "healing in tone and spirit." Bush started to talk over his ideas on the speech with speechwriter Michael Gerson in December; Gerson wrote the bulk of the speech, while advisors Karen Hughes and Karl Rove also provided input.