Inauguration Update: At The White House

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NPR's David Greene reports from outside the White House on what the day holds for the outgoing president and vice president as the new administration moves in. Scott Horsley also checks in near the White House.


Today's inauguration of Barack Obama brings the departure of President George W. Bush from the White House, though the outgoing president's day is also full of ceremony. Following White tradition, President Bush is leaving a note in the oval office for President-elect Barack Obama as he takes the reigns of the executive branch. NPR's Scott Horsley is outside out front of the White House, and he joins us now. And we've heard all morning of crowds streaming into Washington. What is the scene like - if there is one there - at the White House?

SCOTT HORSLEY: Well, we're actually across Lafayette Park from the White House, outside St. John's Episcopal church, where in a short while the vice president-elect and the president-elect will come with their wives to attend church services. And then they'll make their way over to the White House for coffee with the outgoing president and vice president, and also some of the Congressional leaders. It's a mob scene around the secured perimeter here, but right where I'm standing, is actually fairly quiet, because this area is all been blocked off to the general public.

MONTAGNE: Well, besides the coffee and I guess the note, which is a lovely note, a really lovely tradition, what does the day hold for President Bush?

HORSLEY: Well, President Bush will, of course, attend the swearing-in ceremony at the Capitol, and then he will depart as the new president has lunch with lawmakers and takes care of getting his new Cabinet secretaries officially nominated. And then the Bushes will make their way out of Washington and home to Texas. And the new president will arrive at the White House, and during that short period of a few hours, all the possessions of the Bushes will be moved out, and the possessions of the Obamas will be moved in.

MONTAGNE: Well, you're saying he's arriving after the oath of office, naturally, but when in fact does he arrive? And beyond what you've just listed as his duties, new Cabinet secretaries, signing of on - does he have really any kind of a work day today, Mr. Obama?

HORSLEY: Well, much of his day this afternoon will be spent actually reviewing the parade. He will, of course, lead the parade from the Capitol down to the White House, and I'm actually looking now at the giant reviewing stand that's been built for the president that watch over Pennsylvania Avenue and watch the large crowd of vans and others who will be coming through on the parade ground. And then this evening, there are no fewer than 10 official inaugural balls for the Obamas to attend. And we're told he will attend all 10, and will make remarks at all 10.

MONTAGNE: Which is a form of work, I suppose.

(Soundbite of laughter)

MONTAGNE: Although they'll be all dressed up in, you know, tie and tails and whatnot.

(Soundbite of laughter)

MONTAGNE: Scott, thanks very much.

HORSLEY: My pleasure, Renee.

MONTAGNE: NPR's Scott Horsley is outside St. John's Episcopal Church outside the White House, where President-elect Barack Obama is about to attend a prayer service.

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