Inaugural Cost Fact Check

Last week Sean Hannity of Fox News said:
Barack Obama's inaugural bash is going to be the most expensive celebration in U.S. history. Its opulence stands in stark contrast to our faltering economy, yet those who expected frugality from George W. Bush four years ago are strangely silent this go-around.

As the Media Research Center notes back in January of 2005, ABC's Terry Moran asked about President Bush's party plans, saying "In a time of war and national disaster, is it time for a lavish celebration?" And AP reporter Will Lester was equally credulous, charging, "Do we need to spend this money on what seems so extravagant?"

This, when the cost of Obama's inaugural will dwarf past celebrations and make those of President Bush's look like budget bashes.
According to

All the bills for Obama's event won't be in for several more weeks, but it appears likely that his inauguration will not cost significantly more than Bush's second inauguration, and could conceivably cost less after adjusting for inflation.
Just thought that you might like to know.. a lot of silly rhetoric circulating out there.. and kudos to Brian for bringing this to my attention.


  1. And when you consider that nearly two million people attended (more than five times previous two such events) puts it into even more perspective.

    All I know is that mt town's high school band had the honor of playing that day, and they thought it was amazing.

  2. Oh, I love it when the conservative talking heads start their lips a flapping before they've actually got all the facts at hand. Always makes for musing stories.

  3. He could have kept it to a modest level, since he's "so worried" about the working class. Puh-leeze.

    I agree that security had to cost more, both for his safety and for the higher turnout of the public, but hundreds of marching bands and groups in a miles-long parade? Ten inaugural balls? And let's not forget the "Office of the President-Elect" and the Roman columns he stood under.

  4. Pretty sure parades are standard and that the tax payers don't pay for (all of) the balls. President Elect is his appropriate title and given the charged political atmosphere I think it was important for Bush/Obama to work harder on a smooth transition than in years past. As for the columns, have you been to the capital?

  5. That's funny - I cannot find a thing about the cost of the inauguration at

    Do you have a link there Brian?

  6. The tallies aren't in yet, so it's pretty hard to say one way or another.
    They may end up costing about the same, actually, factoring in inflation.
    The hypocrisy lies in the fact that one president is chided for excess, while the other is applauded.

  7. Thanks Bob. I tried all kinds of things in their 'search' box but got nowhere.

  8. Karen, how can you say one was chided and one applauded when the article that kicked off this discussion was one chiding the current president? Maybe my memory is dim, but i don't recall much conversation on this topic in prior elections.

  9. Ed, the article KB posted was by Sean Hannity--a very few are pointing out the discrepancies in perspective of the two inaugurations--and are taking a lot of flack for it, too.
    I remember some mainstream questioning and snide comments about the inappropriate excess of Bush's inaugurations, and listened to the gushing of the beauty and lavishness of Obama's. I'm not surprised that some folks can't remember, and I unfortunately can't prove it.
    It's all perspective, isn't it?


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