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Obama swearing-in to be open to media coverage. Should not even have been a question

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WASHINGTON--The American public will be able to witness President Barack Obama getting sworn in for a second term; the Presidential Inaugural Committee said Wednesday the unusual Sunday ceremony will be open to media coverage.

This should not even have been a question--but it was, because the White House would not say--as recently as Tuesday--whether the event could be covered.

"The official swearing-in on Sunday will be open to media coverage," Addie Whisenant, the national spokesman for the Presidential Inaugural Committee told me after I asked her Wednesday about the status of coverage for the historic event.

"We are still working out additional details and logistics and expect to be able to share more about media coverage plans for that ceremony and other Inaugural events soon," she said.

Congress set noon on Jan. 20 as the date terms end for the president and vice president with the switch from March 4 made in the 20th amendment to the Constitution--passed by Congress on March 2, 1932 and ratified on Jan. 23, 1933.

In 2013, Jan. 20 falls on a Sunday--which is why--as per custom--the public festivities--the parade, balls, etc.--are taking place on Monday, Jan. 21, with the swearing-in on the Capitol steps a ceremonial re-enactment.

That's because the Constitution can't be ignored--so the White House is planning for Obama to be sworn-in for his second term on Sunday, Jan. 20.

Questions about whether the press would be able to witness the event were prompted in part by the White House declining to say for days if the event would be open or closed to coverage.

On Tuesday, White House press secretary Jay Carney dodged the question at the briefing when he was asked, "Can you tell us and the public what the coverage will be of the swearing-in for the President on Sunday for the inauguration?

"I don't believe those decisions have been made," he said.

Ed Henry, the Fox News White House correspondent who is the president of the White House Correspondents Association said in a statement last Friday, "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."

According to the House/Senate committee handling inauguration ceremonies, the 2013 inauguration marks the seventh time since 1933 that Jan. 20 in an inauguration year has landed on a Sunday.

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Lynn Sweet

Lynn Sweet is a columnist and the Washington Bureau Chief for the Chicago Sun-Times.

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This page contains a single entry by Lynn Sweet published on December 12, 2012 3:47 PM.

Holiday spirit with "The President's Own Marine Corps Orchestra" was the previous entry in this blog.

President Obama official schedule and guidance, Dec. 13, 2012. Hanukkah reception. Updated is the next entry in this blog.

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