Oregon Congressman Earl Blumenauer on the inauguration events.

January 20, 2009

Congressman Earl Blumenauer, who represents Oregon’s 3rd district, rang us this afternoon from the nation’s capital to give us his take on today’s historic inauguration ceremony—the fourth inauguration the  Congressman has attended (the first was in 1996, Clinton). One imagines that the grandeur of the moment never wears off. "Every inauguration is a uniquely American of patriotism and peaceful transfer of power," the Congressman told us.

But on this particularly frigid morning in Washington, this ceremony stood out. "If I live to see another twenty inaugurations I don’t think I will ever see anything like this today," he said.


We saw them televised, Congressman Blumenauer got closer.  "I ran early in the morning, using my Congress ID to get access to restricted areas," he said. Congressman Blumenauer was out for his jog before 8 AM and already there was a steady crush of ticketholders streaming toward their assigned gates. Running down Fourth Street on the Mall—the break between more than a quarter of a million people in the ticketed areas and the general public—”people were packed as far as I could see."  

The Congressman left the restricted area. "I left to see the crowd," he said. He realized quickly that he was "at risk of being swallowed by this happy, joyous, amazing, crowd." He likened the numbers to the huge Obama rally held in Portland last spring. "The vast sea that we had in Portland, times twenty or more—it was truly indescribable."

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