Obama inauguration ticket requests pour into congressional offices

It’s a tough ticket to get, even though you don’t really need one.

Congressional offices have been swamped with requests for tickets to President Obama’s second inauguration ceremony on Jan. 21.

“We have had over 10,000 requests,” said Kathie Miller, who handles inauguration ticket requests for Sen. Johnny Isakson. “Right now our list is closed, and I know Sen. (Saxby) Chambliss’ list is closed as well.

Miller said each senator gets about 390 tickets to distribute throughout the state. She said members of the House of Representatives get about 190 tickets for their districts.

“That doesn’t spread too far,” she said. “Calling early is the main thing if you want to get on the list.”

Miller said that demand is always high for inauguration tickets but that it is up to members of Congress to decide how to distribute them.

U.S. Rep. John Barrow announced Tuesday his office would hold a lottery for the 12th Congressional District’s allotment.

“We started getting requests the day after the election,” said Richard Carbo, Barrow’s spokesman.

Carbo said constituents have until Jan. 6 to sign up for the ticket lottery on Barrow’s Web site: www.barrow.house.gov.

“We wanted as open a process as possible,” he said. “We decided the best way to see that everyone got a chance was to put everyone in the same pot.”

The tickets are only for the inauguration ceremony. Other events, such as balls and galas, require other tickets, Miller said.

For example, the Georgia State Society will hold an
inauguration gala Jan. 20 at the National Museum of Women in the Arts. Tickets to that event are $150 for members and $200 for others, according to the organization’s Web site.

Richmond County Demo­cratic Party Chairman Lowell Greenbaum said interest in attending the inauguration is almost as strong this time as it was in 2009.

“I’m quite surprised that so many are going for the second time,” he said. “There are literally busloads going.”

All of those planning to go probably don’t have tickets, however.

“You don’t actually need a ticket to go,” Miller said, explaining that getting a ticket will just get the holder a little closer to the podium. Those without tickets will just have to stand farther along on the National Mall.

“About 90 percent of tickets are standing tickets anyway,” she said. “They are still pretty far down the mall.”

Miller said people planning to go should get there very early and find a spot close to one of the big video screens to get a better view of the action.

Dress warmly and wear comfortable shoes.

“You can’t take blankets, chairs or food,” Miller said. “You have to be prepared to stand for about eight hours.”

TICKET LOTTERY

12th Congressional District constituents have until Jan. 6 to sign up for the inauguration ticket lottery on U.S. Rep. John Barrow’s Web site, www.barrow.house.gov.

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