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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: November 16, 2008


Tickets for the Inaugural Ceremonies Are Provided Free Of Charge And Only Distributed Through Congressional Offices

New Yorkers Can Go Online to Submit Their Requests Directly to the Senator's Office - Drawing Will be Held the First Week of December

Today U.S. Senator Charles E. Schumer announced that his office will be conducting a statewide lottery to distribute inaugural tickets to constituents who request them. The office has received tens of thousands of requests for tickets from Upstate New York constituents who are trying to experience a piece of American history by seeing President-elect Obama sworn in as President. Schumer’s office will distribute 350 tickets during a random drawing that will be held the first week of December. The deadline to submit requests will be November 30th, 2008 with requests ONLY being accepted through our website or by fax. Tickets for the swearing-in ceremony are only provided through Congressional offices and are free of charge.


“The Inauguration of a new President is always an exciting event,” Schumer said. “But I think we all realize that this year is special. After an historic election season and the extraordinary nomination of Barack Obama, it is time for America to celebrate the bright future that is ahead of us. Although I wish all of America could attend the Inauguration, there is only so much space, which is why we need to distribute these tickets fairly.”


To enter, New Yorkers should go to Senator Schumer’s homepage,, to enter the lottery. Entrants will be asked to submit their name, address, phone number, and amount of tickets requested (limit 2 per request). They can also fax their request to 202-228-3027. Requests WILL NOT be accepted by phone. Schumer’s office received a total of 393 tickets, of which the overwhelming majority, a total of 350, will be given out through the random lottery with the rest reserved for friends, family, and staff.


In total, there are about 240,000 tickets available for the swearing-in ceremony. The 56th quadrennial Presidential Inauguration will take place on January 20, 2008. The day begins with a parade and procession to the nation’s Capitol. President Bush will accompany President-elect Obama to the Capitol following a parade which will feature marching bands, marching units, and other performers chosen by the Armed Forces Inaugural Committee. The number of tickets available for the parade is currently unknown, but will also be distributed via the lottery. Immediately following the parade, Vice-President Elect Biden will be sworn in on the Inaugural platform.


President-Elect Obama will take his oath of office on the west front of the United States Capitol, a tradition which began with President Ronald Reagan and has continued ever since. The oath of office, noted in Article II, Section I of the United States Constitution is as follows, “I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will faithfully execute the office of President of the United States, and will to the best of my ability, preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States." The oath is administered by the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, John Roberts.

Following the swearing-in ceremony, President Obama will give his Inaugural address, which traditionally outlines the President’s plan for America. The custom of delivering an address on Inauguration Day started with George Washington's inauguration on April 30, 1789. After taking his oath of office on the balcony of Federal Hall in New York City, Washington proceeded to the Senate chamber where he read a speech before members of Congress and other dignitaries. His second Inauguration took place in Philadelphia on March 4, 1793, in the Senate chamber of Congress Hall. Washington gave the shortest Inaugural address on record, 135 words, before repeating the oath of office. This tradition has continued to this day with every President since Washington delivering an Inaugural address.

Other Inaugural events, such as luncheons and the Inaugural Ball, are off limits to the public, but public festivities will be taking place throughout the city. And although Inaugural traditions have changed through the years, their basic foundation has remained unchanged. The American Presidential Inauguration Ceremony, with its speeches and attendant festivities, has represented both national renewal and continuity of leadership for the past two hundred and will continue to do so into the future.

Additional information can be found at Senator Schumer’s website at or the Inaugural website at



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