How the 2nd Obama Inauguration Will Be Different

Predictions about crowds and atmosphere in 2013 versus 2009.

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NPR

President Obama's second inauguration is set to take place next month in Washington, D.C., with a National Day of Service Jan. 19, a private swearing in on Jan. 29 and the big event -- the public swearing-in, followed by a parade and the official inaugural balls -- on Monday, Jan. 21.  

In 2009 the historic ceremony drew unprecedented crowds of 1.8 million and unparalleled enthusiasm. But there's only one first time an African-American president gets sworn in. Plus, second inaugurations generally are a bit more low-key.

“This January, the President will formally recommit himself to serving the people of this great nation at his second Inauguration. In keeping with the precedent set by previous second Inaugurals, this Inauguration will be smaller in scale than the historic ceremony four years ago," Stephanie L. Young, Director of Constituency Press for the 2013 Presidential Inaugural Committee told The Root.

NPR has some predictions about how and why the event will be different this time around, from others in the  know.

Less crowded:

On Pennsylvania Avenue in front of the White House, a huge metal and wood structure has been erected over the past several weeks for Inauguration Day. The same thing is happening at the other end of Pennsylvania Avenue in front of the U.S. Capitol. These hard structures are pretty much exactly what they were four years ago, but the feel of a second inauguration is always very different from a first. "By the time of the second inaugural, I could at least find my way to the mess to get a cup of coffee," says Gordon Johndroe, who worked through all eight years of the George W. Bush White House.

More relaxed:

Like everyone who has been through two inaugurations, he says from the inside, the second one feels way more relaxed. "The president and first lady aren't moving into a new house. The staff aren't moving from a new city. People aren't trying to find their way around the West Wing. So it just has a different feel than when you're moving up to Washington for that first time," Johndroe says.

A little bit sad:

"There's a slight sense of its coming to an end. You know, this is the last chance; this is where I make my history," Cabot says. A president going through his second inauguration knows that he will never run for office again -- that the next four years will cement his legacy. And, Cabot says, for whatever reason, second inaugurations often take place under a cloud. That was true of Reagan in 1985. 

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