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Inside Politics

Pomp, pageantry, tight security at inauguration


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President Bush's security legacy will hinge on his second term.

Inaugural security precautions this year are unprecedented.

CNN's Judy Woodruff looks at who pays for inauguration festivities.

CNN's Wolf Blitzer reports on inaugural moments from the past.
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WASHINGTON (CNN) -- President Bush will raise his hand and take the oath of office for a second time Thursday, as the traditional pomp, ceremony and celebration of the quadrennial presidential inauguration take place under unprecedented post-9/11 security.

As the Constitution requires, Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney will be sworn in at noon, on the West Front of the Capitol.

Afterward, the president will deliver his second inaugural address, which aides said will emphasize freedom and Bush's vision of spreading democracy worldwide.

Bush is scheduled to be sworn in by Chief Justice William Rehnquist, who will be making his first official appearance since beginning treatment for thyroid cancer in October. (Rehnquist ready)

Cheney will take his oath from House Speaker Dennis Hastert, marking just the fourth time in U.S. history that the House speaker has been called on to perform that task.

The ceremony will be followed by the traditional inaugural parade along historic Pennsylvania Avenue to the White House, and the day will be capped off by nine inaugural balls, including one for military personnel who have served in Iraq and Afghanistan.

The Presidential Inaugural Committee has said putting on the inaugural events will cost about $40 million, which is being raised from private donors -- more than half of them corporations that gave as much as $250,000 each -- as well as sales of tickets and merchandise.

In addition, the federal government and District of Columbia will bear the costs of providing security, expected to be around $20 million.

Some critics have questioned spending millions on inauguration festivities in a time of war and after the devastation of December's tsunami in South Asia. But organizers insist that the pageant is an appropriate celebration of American democracy.

"We're a nation at war, but we do believe it's important, through privately raised money, [that] we ought to go forward with the inaugural festivities," said Dan Bartlett, White House communications director.

Organizers have included a number of events to honor military personnel, including Thursday night's Commander in Chief Ball, which is expected to draw 2,000 troops.

"The president made it clear that he wanted to pay special tribute in a special way to those armed forces -- men and women -- who put their lives on the line every day, with particular emphasis on the war on terror," said Greg Jenkins, the inaugural committee's executive director.

Thursday's inauguration will be the first presidential swearing-in since the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001.

In a vivid demonstration of how much the world has changed since Bush's last inauguration four years ago, security "will be at the highest levels of any inauguration," according to Homeland Security Secretary Tom Ridge.

About 6,000 officers from dozens of law enforcement agencies will be on patrol throughout the city, along with 2,500 military troops involved in security operations.

In addition, 4,700 military personnel will be involved in ceremonial functions for inaugural events, according to Maj. Gen. Galen Jackman, commander of the Military District of Washington.

Heavily armed Coast Guard boats will patrol the Potomac River, watching for suspicious watercraft and monitoring activity under bridges and along the shoreline.

A web of streets around federal facilities in central Washington will be blocked off to keep vehicles away from inaugural activities, and subway closings will affect four Metro stations at various times of the day.

Flight restrictions over Washington for private aircraft will be expanded, and pilots are being warned that they risk being shot down if they stray into restricted areas and don't respond to radio calls, signals or flares.

Reagan Washington National Airport will be closed to general aviation, but commercial flights will not be interrupted.

Despite all the precautions, authorities stress that they have no credible information that terrorists are specifically targeting the inauguration or related celebrations.

Police will also be out in force to prevent demonstrators from disrupting the parade, as they nearly did during Bush's first inauguration in 2001.

Sgt. Scott Fear of the U.S. Park Police said authorities will act quickly if there is civil disobedience or violence. "We are prepared to make arrests, and mass arrests, if needed," he said.

Some anti-Bush groups are urging people to turn their backs as the president's limousine passes by, in a silent, non-violent protest of his politics.

"No one should underestimate the hatred that the world has for the Bush administration," said Bill Hackwell, a spokesman for the group ANSWER (Act Now to Stop War and End Racism), which plans to demonstrate along the parade route. (Full story)

The parade steps off at 2 p.m. on Constitution Avenue, near the Capitol, and will move along a 1.7-mile route down Pennsylvania Avenue to the White House, where Bush and other dignitaries will view the festivities from inside a reviewing stand.

Featuring 120 entrants, the parade will include military troops, color guards, marching bands, floats, drill teams and equestrian units.

By custom, organizers sought to include groups from every state, from Alabama's Auburn University Marching Band to the Wyoming High School All-State Marching Band.

According to a parade lineup released by the inaugural committee, the only states not represented are Alaska, Washington and Hawaii, although a group of Hawaiian hula dancers from Virginia will march.

The high school marching band from Crawford, Texas, where the president has a ranch, will be in the parade, as will the Red Hot Mamas, a comedic drill team from Idaho that performed a synchronized routine with shopping carts in the 2001 parade.

Bush, 58, won a second term in November, carrying 31 states and capturing 51 percent of the popular vote after a hard-fought election against Democratic Sen. John Kerry.

Amid a surge in the number of voters going to the polls, the president captured more than 60 million votes, the largest number in presidential history.

His second inauguration also creates a number of historical precedents.

He is the first son of a president to be sworn in for a second term, and the first president whose parents have lived long enough to see him inaugurated twice.

Bush's second term, following the two-term presidency of Bill Clinton, also creates a historical succession not seen for nearly 184 years, since the second inauguration of President James Monroe in March 1821.

Monroe's two terms followed the two terms of James Madison, marking the last time two presidents were elected and inaugurated for two full terms in succession.

CNN's Jeanne Meserve, Brian Todd, Dana Bash, Elaine Quijano and Judy Woodruff contributed to this report.


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