Obama’s Inauguration Closed To The Press?

White House reporters are concerned that the President’s official Inauguration will be closed to the press:

The White House Correspondents Association is strongly urging the Obama administration to allow press access to the president’s official swearing-in ceremony on Jan. 20, following indications from inauguration committee officials that the event could potentially be closed to the press.

“Mindful of the historic nature of this occasion, we expect the White House will continue the long tradition of opening the President’s official swearing-in to full press access, and we as an organization are looking forward to working with the administration to make that happen,” Ed Henry, the Fox News correspondent and president of the White House Correspondents Association, said in a statement.

Because inauguration day falls on a Sunday in 2013, Chief Justice John Roberts will officially administer the official oath of office in a private ceremony that day. The public inauguration on the Capitol Building’s West Front — at which Roberts will administer a second, symbolic oath of office — will take place the next day.

In early meetings with the inaugural committee, officials privately indicated to reporters that the Jan. 20 event could be closed to reporters and cameras, with an official photograph supplied to press by White House photographer Pete Souza, sources familiar with the meeting told POLITICO.

Fears of such a scenario were reignited this week when the Presidential Inauguration Committee sent out a press release referring to a “private” inauguration.

Both the White House and the PIC note that “private” simply means the event is not open to the public and that press arrangements have not been formalized.

“There is no truth to any rumors that decisions have been made about media access to this year’s Inaugural events,” Rachel Racusen, a spokesperson for the PIC, told POLITICO. “The 2013 Presidential Inaugural Committee announced its launch yesterday and is just beginning its planning. Any announcements about media access and credentials will be made in the coming weeks.”

I remember when this happened in 1985 for Ronald Reagan’s second Inauguration. The official swearing-in took place in the White House on Sunday January 20th, although it was televised. The public ceremony took place the next day although, due to the fact that the East Coast was experiencing a bitter cold spell at that time (it reached -4°F in New Jersey that day), the ceremony ended up being held inside in the Capitol Rotunda.

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Doug Mataconis
About Doug Mataconis
Doug Mataconis held a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May 2010 and contributed a staggering 16,483 posts before his retirement in January 2020. He passed far too young in July 2021.


  1. john personna says:

    Not worth the airfare to Kenya ..

  2. Tsar Nicholas says:

    I’d call the media “attention whores,” but that would be an insult to hard working whores. This is a silly non-story.

  3. JKB says:

    The inaugural committee are just afraid the flags will spontaneously go to half mast on January 20th.

  4. James Joyner says:

    If we were actually changing presidents on January 20, I’d agree that it would be odd to exclude the press. Since it’s a purely procedural matter—and the press is invited in spades to the massive festivities and mock re-swearing in the very next day—the complaint is beyond silly.

  5. John Peabody says:

    His first inaugural also took place behind closed doors, if you believe that the botched oath was a problem. Remember that some words were twisted at the inauguration? Just a few hours later, they hauled in the Chief Justice back to the White House and the oath was re-done, just in case someone had a problem with the inaccurate original oath-taking. The press complained then, too.

  6. Jenos Idanian #13 says:

    Sheesh. And after all the press did to get him re-elected…

  7. OzarkHillBilly says:

    @Jenos Idanian #13:

    Sheesh. And after all the press did to get him re-elected…

    Yeah…. Especially those guys at FOX.

  8. Whitfield says:

    Is this the transparency that we have been promised?

  9. al-Ameda says:

    If this causes the (so-called) Main Stream Media to go “FoxNews” then I’d say it is worth closing it to the Press. Perhaps Karl Rove and Sarah Palin can run the “Decision Room” while they cover the lock out?

  10. An Interested Party says:

    I’d call the media “attention whores,” but that would be an insult to hard working whores the pot calling the kettle black.

    Happy to be of help…

    Sheesh. And after all the press did to get him re-elected…

    And this concludes another post in the never-ending Victimhood Tour…

  11. anjin-san says:

    Sheesh. And after all the press did to get him re-elected…

    Considering that you backed a man who was utterly convinced he was going to win right up until he got his ass handed to him, you might want to thing about never mentioning the election again.

    Or is being humiliated such a regular thing that you don’t notice it anymore?