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Question of the day

Friday, Jan 18, 2013

* USA Today looks at the upcoming presidential inauguration

The group representing Obama’s home state of Illinois expects to draw more than 2,000 to its ball Saturday night — where it will honor Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood, a former Illinois congressman. Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn, a Democrat, and Rep. John Shimkus, a Republican, are honorary co-chairs.

Dean Franks, a lobbyist for the American Road & Transportation Builders Association, is one of four co-chairs of the Illinois State Society’s gala and helped solicit corporate sponsors. He said he avoided seeking any contributions from his association or member companies to avoid appearing to influence LaHood. The companies helping to fund the event are participating “because of their presence in Illinois,” he said. “They can get meetings with these guys whenever they want.”

Corporations helping to underwrite the event include Health Care Service Corp., which operates Blue Cross and Blue Shield health plans in Illinois and is the state’s second-largest private employer.

Company spokesman Greg Thompson said Health Care Service also is helping to underwrite inaugural galas for three other states in which it does business, Oklahoma, Texas and New Mexico, as part of the company’s civic engagement.

Company officials have plenty of opportunities to talk to state and federal officials during the year and don’t need to buttonhole policymakers at events, he said. “We’ve been at the table, and we continue to be at the table,” he said.

For many organizations and lawmakers, the inaugural weekend also is a chance to raise campaign cash.

* Sun-Times

Gov. Pat Quinn, Attorney General Lisa Madigan and Mayor Rahm Emanuel and a contingent from the Illinois General Assembly are expected here this weekend for President Barack Obama’s second inauguration. That’s in addition to the Illinois congressional delegation.

Quinn on Saturday will attend the Illinois State Society Inaugural gala–he is an honorary chair of the event–and then moves on to the “Hard Hat Inaugural Ball.”

On Monday, he attends a National Governors’ Association breakfast before the inauguration, which he gets to watch with other governors from a spot on the platform in front of the Capitol. On Monday evening, Quinn will attend an Inaugural Ball.

* The Question(s): Are you going to the inauguration? If so, what will you be doing there? If not, will you watch? Have you ever been to a presidential inauguration? Explain.

- Posted by Rich Miller        

  1. - Kasich Walker, Jr. - Friday, Jan 18, 13 @ 12:20 pm:

    No, I will not be attending and have never attended an inauguration.

    As a casino owner I am not allowed to contribute to campaigns.

  2. - bored now - Friday, Jan 18, 13 @ 12:30 pm:

    yes, we’re going. have tickets to the swearing in, inaugural ball and staff ball. this will be my third. (my first was in 1981, with reagan). proud to see barack inaugurated for the second time…

  3. - WizzardOfOzzie - Friday, Jan 18, 13 @ 12:33 pm:

    No thanks. Last time was a total cluster. Impossible to get around DC and the balls were underwhelming. Also was in one of the ticket lines that never made it in.

    I imagine it will be a lot more orderly with experience and far less people, but I’ll be happy to watch from the comfort of my couch.

  4. - Pot calling kettle - Friday, Jan 18, 13 @ 12:33 pm:

    I will watch on TV with my family.

    Four years ago I helped sponsor a reception at my college during the inauguration. We served cake and snacks and watched it on a big screen. The room was packed with students, faculty, & staff, and local media attended. This time, we have the day off, so no big event.

  5. - Just Observing - Friday, Jan 18, 13 @ 12:36 pm:

    Never been, never plan on going… unless its me being inaugurated :) I can’t imagine a much worse vacation.

    I may catch a rebroadcast or something of the swearing in.

  6. - Kasich Walker, Jr. - Friday, Jan 18, 13 @ 12:43 pm:

    In reference to my post above — I do not own a casino.

    I remain surprised by Gov. Quinn’s objection to allowing everyone but Casino owners to contribute to political campaigns, and I see sponsoring galas at inaugurations or party conventions as contributions…not sure if they’re considered as such by campaign funding laws.

    I won’t be there and hope to be doing something more interesting — watching stray cats or wandering around — than sitting around watching the inauguration.

  7. - Patrick Gurrie - Friday, Jan 18, 13 @ 12:45 pm:

    I have been to the nonpartisan Illinois State Society Gala for two Bush Inaugurals and one Clinton Inaugural and they always do a very good job of going out of their way to welcome people from both parties who might or might not sympathize with the party that won the election but the guests just want to celebrate a 120-year old tradition. It is in the spirit of JFK who said in 1961 Inaugural Address: “We observe today, not a victory of party but a celebration of freedom.” The money does not go to any party or candidate but to scholarships for Illinois students working as interns in DC. See

  8. - 3rd Generation Chicago Native - Friday, Jan 18, 13 @ 12:49 pm:

    Not going but now I have a better understanding as to why my Blue Cross Blue Shield premiums are so high.

  9. - LincolnLounger - Friday, Jan 18, 13 @ 12:53 pm:

    Cold weather, ridiculous prices, long lines, mud, etc. A glimpse of history is neat, but it’s something that I (and I’m guessing most people) would only need to experience once.

  10. - Kasich Walker, Jr. - Friday, Jan 18, 13 @ 12:55 pm:

    @ P. Gurrie — That’s a fine and admirable event, but I’m not sure I’d consider recent elections a “celebration of freedom”.

    Why must candidates raise so much cash in these “celebrations of freedom”?

    Statewide too many candidates are unopposed in gerrymandered districts. If JJ, Jr. had been running for state office instead of the US Congress I wouldn’t have even been able to write-in another candidate on the ballot I had.

    “Write-ins” must be effective (and I don’t equate effective necessarily with likely to win) in elections for state offices. If they weren’t effective the “manual” ballot I had would have had a blank for them.

  11. - zatoichi - Friday, Jan 18, 13 @ 12:56 pm:

    The highlights and analysis will be repeated for days on any number of the network and cable newsshows. Bravo and Entertainment TV will go all out on the fashion angle. That’s enough.

  12. - Wensicia - Friday, Jan 18, 13 @ 1:01 pm:

    I’ll watch; I’ve seen almost every swearing-in ceremony going back to the ’70s. I think Obama’s is still an important part of history. As for all the other stuff attached to the inauguration, big waste of time and money.

  13. - 47th Ward - Friday, Jan 18, 13 @ 1:04 pm:

    I went 4 years ago. It was great to be a part of history and I had really sweet tickets (purple) to the swearing-in. Then the crowds descended, the Metro shut down, the entrances were mobbed with tens of thousands of people in freezing cold weather…

    I watched it on TV at the hotel bar.

    For anyone going, my advice is to get to the Mall early and dress warm. It isn’t expected to be as crowded as last time, but security is going to slow you down and once they close certain sections (which they will), it doesn’t matter what your ticket says or who you are. You ain’t getting in.

  14. - MrJM - Friday, Jan 18, 13 @ 1:15 pm:

    Are you going to the inauguration?


    If not, will you watch?


    Have you ever been to a presidential inauguration?

    President Obama 1.0 in 2009.

    Like him or not, that inauguration was a civil rights milestone. By comparison, this one will HAVE to be a let down.

    – MrJM

  15. - Quicknote - Friday, Jan 18, 13 @ 1:22 pm:

    2009 was an amazing experience. Everyone under the sun was there. Such a great vibe. Don’t think it will be the same feeling this time around, so taking a pass.

  16. - wordslinger - Friday, Jan 18, 13 @ 1:32 pm:

    Haven’t been, won’t be going, may watch a little.

    I am very moved to see Rep. Shimkus as co-chair of the Illinois State Society gala celebrating the state’s favorite son’s second inaugural. What an honor that must be for him. I hope he can stick around for the whole thing.

  17. - John Galt - Friday, Jan 18, 13 @ 1:41 pm:

    Are you going to the inauguration?


    If not, will you watch?

    No. As a general rule, I don’t watch second inaugurations. I’m a pretty solid Republican, but typically I do make a habit of any inauguration that involves a transition of power no matter what parties might be involved. I like to see the ceremony of the peaceful transfer of power. Plus the novelty of a new POTUS is kind of cool to see, even if you don’t agree with their policies. All of that is diminished when you’ve got a 2nd inaugural. I might catch the news clips of Obama actually taking the oath (perhaps he won’t botch it this time around) but that’s about it.

    Have you ever been to a presidential inauguration?

    No. I’d love to go one day, but would never do it as strictly a “tourist.” I love politics and policy, but I do have this disdain for “political tourism” and “face time for the sake of face time.” I suppose the 2009 inaugural was different for it’s historical purposes, but generally I don’t see the point. Same holds true with receptions for various political players or other bigger fish. If I’m at a fundraiser or event, it’s because I want to donate to that cause, or hear somebody give a policy speech, or to schmooze with the other people in the audience. But the running up to shake somebody’s hand for no other reason than to shake their hand or to snap some photo doesn’t make sense to me. If I’m talking to some grand poobah, it’s hopefully because I have a substantive reason to talk to them, and they (hopefully) have a reason to actually care what I’m talking to them about. If I’m going to just be some plebe in a grip & grin line, then I don’t see the point.

    Same holds true for the inaugural stuff I guess. If I were a winning part of the new POTUS campaign team, or if I were there for some policy luncheons, or as an Illinois congressional or legislative delegation, then it makes more sense.

  18. - jeffing in Chicago - Friday, Jan 18, 13 @ 1:43 pm:

    I was going to go, but my girlfriend was injured in a car wreck found to have leukemia and died this week. So I have a lot of other things on my mind.

  19. - Kasich Walker, Jr. - Friday, Jan 18, 13 @ 1:58 pm:

    @ jeffing in Chicago

    I’m deeply moved by your story and hope it inspires you during this weekend’s big event. My partners & spouses weren’t really interested in the event until they heard your moving story.

    I’m sure they’ll be watching and backing you all the way!

  20. - Stones - Friday, Jan 18, 13 @ 2:00 pm:

    I attended Bill Clinton’s first inauguration. It was a blast. One of the parties was sponsored by MTV. That by far was the hottest ticket in town.

  21. - Dan Vock - Friday, Jan 18, 13 @ 2:33 pm:

    I went to the swearing in of Barack Obama on the Mall and to the Illinois State Society ball the night before. This year, I’ll probably stay home and stay warm.

    Honestly, the ball was a pretty big letdown. We stood in line for more than an hour — most of it outside — and nobody seemed to know what was going on. Once we got in, the lines for drinks were really long, and many places ran out early on. The big honchos (the politicians and people who could spend the extra dough to have dinner with them) left pretty early, so there wasn’t much stargazing to do.

    The actual experience on the Mall was unforgettable. I went down and met a lot of people from around the country. The music was amazing (even the replay of the previous say’s concert was great). The ceremony, simple as it is, was profound. Watching so much power change hands peacefully between two men with starkly opposing ideologies while you’re between the Capitol and the Washington Monument really does bring home what an awesome country we live in.

    That said, the walk home was an odyssey that took all afternoon, even though I lived barely a mile away. It was also pretty claustrophobic being stuck in such large crowds for so long, basically being herded down paths that were far out of your way.

    So on Monday, I think I will relax and watch it on TV.

  22. - Siriusly - Friday, Jan 18, 13 @ 2:45 pm:

    Not going, don’t have a thing to wear.

  23. - Dazed & Confused - Friday, Jan 18, 13 @ 2:48 pm:

    Went to George HW Bush. I have tickets for this inaugural but due to some last minute issues, I won’t be able to attend. Nice souvenirs when I sell them on Pawn Stars in 50 years.

  24. - Dan Johnson - Friday, Jan 18, 13 @ 2:50 pm:

    I went to the inauguration already .. it was in Springfield on January 9th.

  25. - wordslinger - Friday, Jan 18, 13 @ 2:51 pm:

    –Watching so much power change hands peacefully between two men with starkly opposing ideologies while you’re between the Capitol and the Washington Monument really does bring home what an awesome country we live in.–

    It’s amazing.

    Even more so when you consider the unprecedented power that the United States and its people exercise over the rest of the planet.

    And it’s why you can still believe in the “last best hope of earth.”

    For those, like me, who are always mesmerized by the utility and power of Lincoln’s words, here’s the Second Inaugural.

  26. - Wolverine - Friday, Jan 18, 13 @ 2:57 pm:

    No I won’t be going. I think the whole thing is a waste of money and resources. This country is in a financial mess but hey lets millions of dollars for something we’ve already seen once before. If anyone had any class they would cancel the ceremony and give the money to the Hurricane Sandy victims. But lets give these political blowhards their day in the sun, especially from this state, which is the most poorly run in the United States. I guess people need someone to laugh at, why not Illinois finest?

  27. - Amalia - Friday, Jan 18, 13 @ 2:57 pm:

    was in DC with a ticket for Reagan inaug #2….long story….but that was the one frozen out to all but a small audience inside the rotunda. Made it to Clinton #1 and it was nothing but magic. HIllary wearing purple, Lyle Lovett playing at the bash that included Illinois, tons of other parties in the days before. will watch every bit of this inauguration, as there is much important work for President Obama to do.

  28. - Just Observing - Friday, Jan 18, 13 @ 3:15 pm:

    === I might catch the news clips of Obama actually taking the oath (perhaps he won’t botch it this time around) ===

    Well, actually it was the Chief Justice that botched the oath — Obama merely repeated the botch (and with a quizzical look if I recall).

  29. - WazUp - Friday, Jan 18, 13 @ 3:17 pm:

    Can’t go have to wash my hair.

  30. - Hans Vanity - Friday, Jan 18, 13 @ 3:24 pm:

    @ Waz up

    Hair washing, like inaugurations, can be over rated. Like campaign donations and attention given to donors, the more frequently you wash the more oil produced. How much in those shampoos is artificial color and who knows what?

    Shampoo no more than once a week.

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