Inaugural Numbers: The Truth Behind Inauguration Costs

This week, inaugural festivities are a pretty big deal -- in D.C., throughout the country, and even around the world -- but it appears some news outlets have found a way to find fault with the celebration.


The AP, for example, reported, "Unemployment is up. The stock market is down. Let's party. The price tag for President-elect Barack Obama's inauguration gala is expected to break records, with some estimates reaching as high as $150 million."

Indeed, the costs associated with the multi-day event are apparently of considerable interest. In addition to the AP, Yahoo News reported, "As the recession continues to wreak havoc on the U.S. economy and inauguration celebrations ramp up, a lot of people are asking: 'How much will this shindig cost?'" It didn't say who the "people" are who are asking, but it went on to say Obama's inauguration is "the most expensive ever," and costs more than triple Bush's 2005 inauguration. MSNBC's Tamron Hall followed suit, telling viewers that Obama's inauguration festivities are "estimated to reach as high as $150 million," while "[i]n 2004, to note, the inauguration of George W. Bush cost roughly $40 million."

Eric Boehlert set the record straight, explaining, "[T]he Obama figure of $160 million that got repeated in the press included security costs associated with the massive event. But the Bush tab of $42 million left out those enormous costs. Talk about stacking the deck."

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