“So you’re attending an inaugural ball saluting the historic election of Barack Obama in the worst economic climate in three generations. Can you get away with glitzing it up and still be appropriate, not to mention comfortable and financially viable? To quote the man of the hour: Yes, you can. Veteran ballgoers say you should. And fashionistas insist that you must....And if anyone does raise an eyebrow at those sequins, remind them that optimism is good for times like these. ‘Just say you’re doing it to help the economy,’ chuckled good manners guru Letitia Baldridge.” — AP writer Laurie Kellman in a January 13 dispatch, “For Inaugural Balls, Go for Glitz, Forget Economy.”


“President Bush’s second inauguration will cost tens of millions of dollars — $40 million alone in private donations for the balls, parade and other invitation-only parties. With that kind of money, what could you buy? - 200 armored Humvees with the best armor for troops in Iraq. - Vaccinations and preventive health care for 22 million children in regions devastated by the tsunami. - A down payment on the nation’s deficit, which hit a record-breaking $412 billion last year.... “The questions have come from Bush supporters and opponents: Do we need to spend this money on what seems so extravagant?” — AP writer Will Lester in a January 13, 2005 dispatch, “Some Now Question Cost of Inauguration.”