January 19th, 2009
06:00 PM ET

Extravagant Inauguration: Does it send the wrong message?

From CNN's Jack Cafferty:

Barack Obama is hosting the party of a lifetime, and it seems that there's no penny pinching going on in spite of the recession.

US President-elect Barack Obama and his wife Michelle wave during yesterday's 'We Are One' concert, one of the events of Obama's inauguration celebrations.

Estimates are that total costs for Obama's inauguration celebration could reach, or even exceed, $160 million. Obama has raised an estimated $41 million to help cover the costs of things like the train ride from Philadelphia to Washington on Saturday, and the star studded concert featuring U2, Beyonce, Bruce Springsteen and others yesterday. There's also the actual swearing in ceremony tomorrow with a price tag of $1.24 million and 10 official inaugural balls. Not to mention the cost of security and those 5,000 port-a-potties.

Four years ago, Democrats warned President Bush about an extravagant inauguration calling it inappropriate during a time of war. Today, the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan continue, the unemployment rate is the worst since 1945, consumer confidence is down along with the stock market and companies announce daily they are laying off people, closing stores or going out of business altogether.

But not a peep from the Democrats about the costs of Obama's inauguration. See, he's one of theirs.

And if you want to lose your appetite for dinner, consider this. The biggest donors for the inaugural festivities are recently bailed out Wall Streeters. Is this a great country or what?

Here’s my question to you: In light of the sour economy, does an extravagant inauguration celebration send the wrong message?

Interested to know which ones made it on air?

Claudia writes:
An extravagant inauguration sends a message around the world that we may be down but don't count us out.

Dawn from Sellersville, Pennsylvania writes:
Extravagant yes, but well worth the effort. This is a glorious event I never thought would come to pass. As a black woman, I've noticed since the morning after the election there has been a subtle change in our society. People actually speak to each other. I can't tell you how many people make a point to have eye contact and say good morning or good afternoon. The message that is being sent is a new beginning for our great country. The world is envious and I am proud.

Gigi writes:
It makes me sad with our government and economy in such a mess. With American children going to bed hungry and cold it does seem outrageous to me. This weekend we compiled food boxes for our poor. It reminded me of France when the Royalty dared to dance, eat and sing. And Queen Marie was told the people had no bread and she "said then let them eat cake".

John from Fort Collins, Colorado writes:
Barack Obama's grand and elaborate inauguration festivities are a positive way to capture public attention and set the stage for the implementation of his new agenda for the country. I feel it is fitting to have a brief holiday from all the dire news, economic and otherwise, to enjoy the festivities and celebrate this moment in history. It is money well spent. Early on Wednesday morning the hard work will begin.

Karl from San Francisco, California writes:
After 8 years of the Bush administration, it isn’t an extravagant inauguration, its intense mental health therapy for a few days and we need it.

Filed under: Inauguration • US Economy
soundoff (700 Responses)
  1. Domenic from Montreal, Canada

    I don't think so. Afterall this is an historic event.

    January 19, 2009 at 1:35 pm |
  2. Karl from SF, CA

    After eight years of the Bush administration, it isn’t an extravagant inauguration, its intense mental health therapy for a few days day and we need it.

    January 19, 2009 at 1:39 pm |
  3. Gloria Cingano

    Under ordinary circumstances (i.e., just another white guy) I would say yes. But in this case, I don't believe it sends a wrong message. I believe it sends the message that we are all celebrating (hopefully) a change in America's expanding view of itself and the rest of the world. Party on!

    White Senior Citizen–

    Gloria Cingano
    Imperial, MO

    January 19, 2009 at 1:39 pm |
  4. Meg Ulmes

    I think that this inauguration is necessary to mark the end of the last eight years, and to celebrate the beginning of a new era in American. Lots of people are going to be able to work because of all the activities going on not only in Washington but all over the country. Things are pretty bleak–it's good to have at least one positive event to enjoy.

    Troy, Ohio

    January 19, 2009 at 1:40 pm |
  5. Paul Round Rock, Texas

    Extravagant? This is for once a true Historic event that should have a celebration that the whole nation and world should be proud to see and be part of. You see the way I see it this is a turning point in History that we all should be proud of and proud to present to the world. Anything less then evryone would ask if it was done less extravagant because Obama is an African American.

    January 19, 2009 at 1:40 pm |
  6. Kathleen, Calgary

    No it doesn't Jack. It is a very fitting commencement to a new, intelligent, peaceful and prosperous era.

    January 19, 2009 at 1:43 pm |
  7. kerry diehl

    Since we now are favoring theFrench styled socilaized government, it is only appropriate that our leaders proclaim "Let them eat cake" while they live high on the hog.

    January 19, 2009 at 1:43 pm |
  8. Mike Epperson

    It does send the wrong message. And I do think that it will cause misquotes in the history book. The main stream states that Obama is the first African-American President and I think that is why it is becoming "extravagant"! Along with the "change" aspect, which we are all aiming for as one. Most people are forgetting several reports that started coming out in 2003 about Abe Lincolns race himself. They have found and proved with DNA that Abe Lincoln was half black. Lincoln's father was from West Africa. So why is Obama stated as the first African American, and why is it being used for the extravagant inauguration?

    January 19, 2009 at 1:44 pm |
  9. AlanP from Naperville, IL

    Oh yea. Sure it is. But it's still much better than the presidential campaigns which many have put up in the rally. I can't believe they had that much resources in the candidates' campaigns. I would only celebrate when our new president actually do some good, such as fixing our economy, and many other issues.

    Have a good day, Jack

    January 19, 2009 at 1:45 pm |
  10. Venia PA

    It may have until I found out the thousands of people that are being put to work because of it and the huge boost in the economy Washington DC will receive.

    January 19, 2009 at 1:46 pm |
  11. Denise.....Boardman, Ohio

    Why ask that question now? Ever four years this Nation elects a President, and every four years that President has an inauguration. After forty-three white Presidents, and under each administrations we have had economic woes, and now we have a Black President, why ask if this inauguration is extravagant? But to answer your question Jack, no, the celebrations are not sending the wrong message...1)over half of the monies that are funding this inauguration are coming from "private" donations, 2) this is our "FIRST" Black President, so as a Nation, we need to rejoice because this has been a long time coming and 3) after the last eight years of living "through" the Bush regimen, we as a Nation deserve to "party" a little...Rejoice now for the dawn is fast approaching...

    January 19, 2009 at 1:46 pm |
  12. Kevin in Dallas, TX

    They should do what it takes to accomodate all the people who want to attend. This will be the last time that something so simple can give such a large moral boost to so many people. Studies have shown that happy people work harder, so hopefully some good will come of it.

    January 19, 2009 at 1:46 pm |
  13. KarenB, Florida

    Yes. It reads more like a "coronation" than a simple Presidential
    Inauguration. Just like the overboard campaigning ploys. It takes away from the Presidential aspect of it and likens it to theatrical
    mishmash. Causing lots of folks to spend money they don't have
    just to "get there/be there" thinking just the act of being in the same city is really going to make a difference in their lives. Standing in the cold waiting for what. stay home and watch it on TV if you must.

    January 19, 2009 at 1:47 pm |
  14. Mark, OKC

    I'm just guessing here, but I think if the Obama's had just shown up at the White House tomorrow a little before noon with the Chief Justice waiting for them, He could have been sworn in, given his inaugural speech on live television and then went to the oval office and got right to work. Then the tens of millions of dollars could have been spent to provide food, medical attention and clothing at our nation's homeless shelters. That would have been the RIGHT thing to do.

    January 19, 2009 at 1:48 pm |
  15. carson

    No jack, it's much more important than bush's inauguration . because, bush has come to destroy and obama is coming to rescue . so no mattter how it is extravagant or not .

    January 19, 2009 at 1:49 pm |
  16. Ray Lawson from Danville, VA


    January 19, 2009 at 1:49 pm |
  17. Judie from St. Augustine, Fl

    With the economy in the tank anything other than a small group of friends, relatives and associates attending a globally televised swearing in of President Obama is a waste of money that we probably do not have anyhow. How much is this inauguration costing anyhow? How many homes could be saved from foreclosure with the money that is being spent? How many jobs could be created with this money? How many of the estimated millions of people that plan to attend the festivities can afford to take the time off from work without pay? How many of them can afford to be there at all? This really seems like people are reacting emotionally instead of intellectually. Obama could have set an example for the people by keeping the inauguration simple and at little cost as possible to the taxpayer. I will be watching the swearing in on CNN at home and saving money and I will be warm and have a great seat.
    St. Augustine, Fl

    January 19, 2009 at 1:49 pm |
  18. Jan Illinois

    Jack, Look at it as I do, your getting two parties for the price of one. Your getting a new president, that's carring our hopes and dreams and that is something to celebrate!! And best of all your getting rid of a president that nearly destroyed all he touched, Now Jack, when you look at it that way it's "PRICELESS".

    January 19, 2009 at 1:57 pm |
  19. Carolyn Price

    It does send the wrong message. But it's a hard call. If any inauguration deserves to be extravagant it's this one. But I still think frugality would have been prudent.

    January 19, 2009 at 1:58 pm |
  20. Paulette,Dallas,PA

    No. The American people need a reason to celebrate. To have hope and faith and actually take part in this rebuilding of the American Dream. To experience this synergistic moment is amazing. I doubt there will be a dry eye among the people physically attending the Inauguration or the ones watching at home.

    January 19, 2009 at 1:59 pm |
  21. Kader Gueye

    Priceless !! In this historic moment, President-elect Obama has chosen strong symbols inviting this great country to get together . From this unity will emerge a stronger society and hopefully a better economy .

    January 19, 2009 at 2:03 pm |
  22. Dean in Pa

    This a once every 4 year affair, sometimes 8 year. To become the leader of the greatest country in the world is the wish of many, and to achieve that goal should be celebrated no matter how bad the economy is.

    January 19, 2009 at 2:05 pm |
  23. VK RAMAN

    I believe the expenses involved are just and is necessary to glorify the fact that anything is possible in our country if one keeps preparing oneself for opportunity we are seeking.

    January 19, 2009 at 2:05 pm |
  24. Tony from Torrington

    The message is loud and clear. Hypocracy. Set against the backdrop of mortgage foreclosures, high unemployment, bankruptcies, a volitale stock market and a soaring national debt, it is hypocritical to hold the most expensive inauguration ever. History is one thing, excess and hypocracy are another.

    January 19, 2009 at 2:06 pm |
  25. Mar

    This whole inauguration business is a waste of money. One way or another the money spent will be written off on some corporations tax return and that in turn means the taxpayers will be footing the bills. With the economy in the tank, more and more people losing their jobs and homes, millions without health insurance it is an insult to spend money for this nonsense.

    January 19, 2009 at 2:07 pm |
  26. Carolyn Price

    Naples, Florida: It does send the wrong message. But it’s a hard call. If any inauguration deserves to be extravagant it’s this one. But I still think frugality would have been prudent.

    January 19, 2009 at 2:10 pm |
  27. David,San Bernardino,CA.

    The money spent on the inauguration is just as obscene as the money spent on the election. Obama should just be sworn in,told good luck and go to work. He has been left a horrible mess and,unfortunately,he has to fix it and bush will be quickly forgotten.

    January 19, 2009 at 2:12 pm |
  28. Terry from North Carolina

    By all means this sends the wrong message, but guess what the African Americans in this country deserve their day in the sun.

    January 19, 2009 at 2:12 pm |
  29. Marie Ontario

    Absolutely not!!!!! Americans likely don't know the excitement this inauguration is creating world wide and the feeling of renewed faith the world has in the future of the U.S. and it's probable return to global greatness.

    The entire world for the most part is celebrating this event and are filled with hope for the future as most are aware of what benifits or consequences the U.S. policies can have on their futures.

    There is now hope the atrocities the U.S. foisted on much of the world, over the past 8 years, will be alleviated and prevented from happening in the future.

    January 19, 2009 at 2:13 pm |
  30. Nuria

    Why shouldn't Obama get the same pomp and circumstance every other president has received? He deserves it and so do we. This has been a historical moment and we should give it all of the extravagance it deserves. I didn't see Bush cutting back on anything during his second inauguration, and at that time, we were already into this war. One could say HE should have cut back out of respect for the men and woman losing their lives in a war that should not have happened.

    January 19, 2009 at 2:14 pm |
  31. Roger from Espanola, New Mexico

    This is an historic inauguration. We deserve to celebrate. Tough times are awaiting our President Obama. He will have more to deal with than perhaps any other past president at day one of a presidency. Will it be too extravagant? Let's hope good judgement will prevail and we'll see how historians record the event.

    January 19, 2009 at 2:15 pm |
  32. Paul S. Columbia, SC

    It will do no good to complain about yet another example of the governments way of saying, "Do what I say; Not as I do". The obscene cost of this inauguration/coronation is a slap in the face to everyone struggling on Main Street. This celebration is for the fat cats.

    January 19, 2009 at 2:16 pm |
  33. Dennis from Albuquerque

    No, on the contrary, it gives us hope for better times coming. We should celebrate the end of an 8 year nightmare.

    January 19, 2009 at 2:18 pm |

    No, it is not out of our tax money paying for it. Why should our new President skimp anymore than the out going Bush, that has created this mess? let the Obama's have the fun times, as all the other ones before him did.

    January 19, 2009 at 2:19 pm |
  35. Anthony Smith

    YES! I'm sick of politicians using the lower and middle class as a campaign promise. Granted, it is historical! But also, the job losses, economy, social problems, foreign policy problems, and so on are also historical. You can't say you're fighting for the little guy when you are in the big man's corner.

    Wildwood Crest, NJ

    January 19, 2009 at 2:19 pm |
  36. David of Alexandria VA

    Somewhat - particularly after a presidential campaign that dropped a billion or so on campaigning and $60M on the acceptance speech while criticizing the opposition for not understanding the plight of middle class.

    Having said that, some celebration is in order - I remember what a case of national ennui resulted from Jerry Ford dousing the lights in Washington during the oil embargo.

    I just wish that so much of my Federal, State and Local tax money was not going to such festivities, knowing that I'll have to pay more of it next month in Bailout II. I wonder about a congress and press corps which lambasts the Auto CEO for taking a private jet with our money when congress itself uses private jets all the time - isn;t that our money, too? People need to think about this stuff.

    In the end, it will end tomorrow - and then the rubber hits the road.

    January 19, 2009 at 2:22 pm |
  37. Katie Krafka

    No, I do not think it send the wrong message. The whole world is celebrating this historic event with us. This is an exciting time not just for the United States but for the world. Cincinnati, Ohio

    January 19, 2009 at 2:24 pm |
  38. Jane (Minnesota)

    As long as the lobbists are not bank-rolling the party; I don't think it sends the wrong message. Times are tough – celebrating the change in Leadership is a healthy thing. It should stimulate the economy in and around Washington DC at a minimum.

    I it time to celebrate.

    January 19, 2009 at 2:24 pm |
  39. Ed Reed

    Jack, don't be such a wet blanket. Come on, party like it's 1929.

    Ed Reed
    Port Aransas, TX

    January 19, 2009 at 2:26 pm |
  40. Katiec Pekin, IL

    No, Jack. Our country needs and deserves some doses of happiness and hope. These ceremonies etc have provided a lapse of worrying about all the diasters we are facing.
    There will be a long haul before we have something we can celebrate.
    Let the excitement, fun and hope continue for as long as it can.
    And, then, let us support change.

    January 19, 2009 at 2:26 pm |
  41. Gina in Racine, Wi

    Listen Jack-

    ALOT of the expense for Barack Obama's Inauguration is because he needs so much security.....which is so sad. Sad that in this day and age people are so full of hatred.

    I don't care what it takes to keep this man safe......

    People need to quit with the "extravagance" issue.

    This is a Historic Event that needs to be celebrated.

    January 19, 2009 at 2:27 pm |
  42. Richard Sternagel

    No! After 8 years of Bush and his minions the entire country needs to celebrate his departure! The country needs to celebrate the arrival of President Obama as some one who really cares about his constituents and welcomes their input.

    January 19, 2009 at 2:28 pm |
  43. Rick

    I wish our new president the best and pray he will be able to turn things around but in light of how our economy is at this time I find it very disturbing that the new administration would spend between 150-170 million-by far the most ever for inauguration festivities-and then tell us the public that we all need to make sacrifices. My question is why isn't the media asking the same question when they bashed President Bush for spending about a third of that amount for his inauguration saying that it could go for better things such as vaccinations and help for the poor.

    Longview, Texas.

    January 19, 2009 at 2:30 pm |
  44. Charles, Lansing, MI

    You want extravagant. Extravagant is spending a trillion dollars and over 5000 lives (counting contractors) to try and change the politics of a mid east country the size of Montana that has had the same politics since the beginning of civilization. Extravagant is gving a trillion dollar blank check to a Wall Street gang that has no regard for the workingl man. At least for the inauguration many people were put to work and did a small part to help the economy for a change.

    January 19, 2009 at 2:31 pm |
  45. Mysterious

    Sending the wrong message? Absolutely not. I live in Chicago, and drove to the DC area for this monumental, historical event. I don't have much money, but my car runs great, I have warm clothing and enough food and beverages to maintain. I have waited 48 years for this moment. I've watched CNN 7 days a week (on-line and on television) ever since Barack Obama announced his candidacy,. If the government can find billions for banks, billions for wars, etc., I well then, I think the Inauguration of Barack Obama IS PRICELESS!

    January 19, 2009 at 2:33 pm |
  46. Larry from Georgetown, Texas

    People in Washington don't care about what kind of message they send to us that struggle to make ends meat, they care about themselves and their little click of friends. Sure it sends the wrong message but what's new, it's only money.

    January 19, 2009 at 2:33 pm |
  47. Bill Davis

    Where did the $150 million figure quoted by AP come from? It's not attributed to anyone! Did they just make it up? Are you helping to spread it? C'mon Jack!

    Bill D
    Champaign, IL

    January 19, 2009 at 2:35 pm |
  48. Larry from Georgetown, Texas

    Yes, unless you're getting paid to put on all of this nonsense. Have the swearing in and get to work to put people back in jobs and houses and of course give Wall Street more money and the auto industry a lot more to pay off a business that will be buried in less than a year. If this sounds cynical, it is because they give me so much to complain about.

    January 19, 2009 at 2:37 pm |
  49. Paul from Parry Sound, Ontario

    The extravagance is thoroughly justified by the magnituade of the event. This the first time the world has felt good about the U. S. in eight long years.

    January 19, 2009 at 2:38 pm |
  50. Tina Texas

    I am so ready for fresh blood to get in and take our great country in a new direction. We are hated world wide because of the Bush doctrine. You have to have a party to invigorate the people and make them happy for at least one day and then get down to business and thank the good Lord a breath of fresh air.

    January 19, 2009 at 2:38 pm |
  51. Sharon Jacksonville FL

    We need to see something positive on TV. With anyone who might have won as president during this time when the economy is so low they still be able to have inauguration celebration in any way they feel is showing their joy.

    January 19, 2009 at 2:39 pm |
  52. kathleen , san juan

    I saw Barack Obama on TV today using a paint roller.
    He was being really careful, not goofing around for the cameras or anything. My jaw dropped.
    The new leader of the free world is being inaugurated tomorrow, and he is painting this wall a really nice shade of turquoise and he doesnt even turn around to smile for the camera. He just kept painting a nice clean straight line.
    All that change ha kept talking about?
    I think I just saw some of it. And it didnt look all that extravagant to me.

    January 19, 2009 at 2:39 pm |
  53. odessa

    nope!.. i voted for obama and i want to be happy...if bush and congress can cough up 700 billions dollars of taxpayers' money, obama's inaugration is well worth it..i am so sick of people saying that we shouldn't spend so much money for obama's inauguration but this country has been in debt since the iraq war and the finanical crisis...i know that our economic crisis is so depressing now but i believe that as americans should be happy to celebrate a new generation entering the white house that was built by slaves... i rather spend this money for obama than waisting money on the iraq war and finanical crisis..

    January 19, 2009 at 2:43 pm |
  54. Mark

    Jack, I don't believe this extravagent event sends the wrong message despite the current state of affairs of our economy. When you look at the cost of this event compared compared to the size of the current deficit, this doesn't show up on the radar.

    In fact it sends the correct message to the world, that this is an event worth celebrating, a watershed event, a social milestone in this countries history earmarking the progress we've made as a nation where we can look beyond race, color, religion as a basis of selecting this countries leaders. We've truly achieved a milestone that we should all be happy to shout from the roof tops to the world that we have arrived as one nation.

    In watching one of the CNN opinion polls this morning which asked the question whether or not Americans felt that MLKs dream has been realized. I was surprised at the results of the polls which would indicate that most Americans (african americans) feel that we have. I agree we've achieved tremendous progress as a nation, but the dream is far from realized. Until such time that african americans and other minority groups are free from discrimination and other forms of social and economic injustice and disparities, we all have work to do.

    The context of the media coverage of Obama's successful run for the White House also suggests that many feel that Dr King's dream was just about african americans. If that's the concensus among americans, then we've still a long road to travel. Just so happens that the movement which inspired the dream was ignited by the plight of African Americans but was intended to serve a greater purpose at achieving justice, equal rights and civil liberty for every american regardless of race, color or religion. Until we can say confidently as a nation that civil injustice and discrimination have been purged from the social and political processes of America, we cannot say "We are Free at Last"

    It took George Washington to inspire a vision of a free nation. we've arrived !
    It took JFK to inspire a vision of putting an American on the Moon. we've arrived !
    It took MLK to inspire a vision of justice and social equality for all Americans. we're making progress....

    Case in point ...I takes a great man to inspire a vision, it takes great men to fulfill the dream.

    As a nation of great men and women, lets continue building on the progress we've made to fulfill the dream.

    January 19, 2009 at 2:44 pm |
  55. Billy G in Las Vegas

    was the celebration of the end of WWII or the fall of the Berlin wall "extravagant"?

    January 19, 2009 at 2:46 pm |
  56. Tom in Desoto, Tx

    I heard this shindig's tab was going to be about $150 million for a one day party. I voted for Obama but this is abusively excessive. I don't care if the NAACP, KKK, DNC, or Bernie Madoff paid for it in cash, it's to damned much.

    January 19, 2009 at 2:46 pm |
  57. Linda in Florida

    No, because we have two things to celebrate. One that Barack Obama is our new President and two that Dubya isn't our President any longer!

    January 19, 2009 at 2:49 pm |
  58. Gordon from NJ

    I'm an enthusiastic Obama supporter, but when did inauguration day get replaced by inauguration week. The US media needs to stop beating every big story to death, while neglecting news you should be covering. Repeat after me. "Less is more."

    January 19, 2009 at 2:49 pm |
  59. Rob , NYC

    After what Bush has done to this country and that fact that everyone is feeling hopeful – I think we need this .And where is painting walls or making up packages for the soldiers extravagant ? Extravagant is the wars we're in . This isn't for only the U.S.–this is for the World !

    January 19, 2009 at 2:52 pm |
  60. JD in NH

    Actually, it's just what the city of Washington, DC needs as an economic stimulus. And in any case, a good portion of the inauguration is paid for by private donations. Given the past 8 years, this celebration can't be big enough.

    January 19, 2009 at 2:53 pm |
  61. vern-t anaheim,ca

    it is not extravagant to me,it cost more for things tocday and why should a presidential inauguration be any different and in fjuture inaugurations the price will be higher than this one.this is a happy occasion for the country and the world to finally be rid of the outgoing administration

    January 19, 2009 at 2:53 pm |
  62. M. Leah Davidson Vancouver B.C. Canada

    After all the money thrown at the banks, the celebration of this historic event, seems like money well spent.

    January 19, 2009 at 2:59 pm |
  63. Anne from Vero Beach, FL

    I have struggled with this question but in the end I believe the country needs this celebration. We have been drained in every way possible these last 8 years and the inauguration of Obama is a chance for a transfusion of positive, joyful energy back into the American spirit.

    January 19, 2009 at 3:00 pm |
  64. Tom Ft Lauderdale

    I,m very unhappy with the cost of this party. It's not what I supported and voted.

    January 19, 2009 at 3:01 pm |
  65. Shel

    It sure does send the wrong message!!!!! We have people hungry and homeless veterans, people are losing their homes, but there is an over abundance of money for presidential parties and such. Come on people......... I could care less that this President is black. white or green. Celebrate when the economy has turned around. Until then, there is no reason to celebrate!!!!!!!

    January 19, 2009 at 3:03 pm |
  66. Jane - WI

    This over the top, record spending inauguration is definitely sending the wrong message to America. As I recall, Democrats and some in the media were having a tizzy in 2005 about George Bush's inauguration. Now we see way, way more spending going on despite our country being at war and being in dire economic straits. This ego soothing extravaganza being put on to worship Barack Obama is disgusting, and the media coverage of it has gone way overboard. How much did the showboating train ride cost the taxpayer? Just think of how much assistance could go to the "poor" that Obama claims to care so much for if he wouldn't have squandered so much money on his campaign as well as his coronation party?

    January 19, 2009 at 3:04 pm |
  67. Jerry from Monroe Co., WV

    Extravagant is the wrong word, Jack. Large? yes, Inclusive? yes,
    Participatory?, yes. Necessary? absolutely. The mutitude will be proclaiming to the world that that America is back, and the world will be glad.

    January 19, 2009 at 3:05 pm |
  68. Ann from S.C.

    From all appearances at yesterday's concert, it seems that the message is one of jubilation and excitement.

    January 19, 2009 at 3:06 pm |
  69. Mike, Syracuse NY

    Jack, I have no problem with the ceremony itself, but that train ride from Phlly to DC was over the top. The cost of security alone could have done a lot of good elsewhere. if Obama thinks he's the second coming of Lincoln, let him buy a stovepipe hat and knock off the pagentry.

    January 19, 2009 at 3:06 pm |
  70. Rod from Allentown PA

    Politics and ego's as usual Jack. Of course it is over the top, but it is just a little more taxpayer debt to add to the deficit.

    January 19, 2009 at 3:11 pm |
  71. Mike, Albuquerque, NM

    That so many people donated for this event reveals how hopeful and joyous the people are in anticipation of the Presidency of Barack Obama. Let them flaunt it!

    January 19, 2009 at 3:12 pm |
  72. Annie, Atlanta

    Extravagent is against my nature normally, but Bush is leaving (yeah), FINALLY, and it's time to celebrate.

    January 19, 2009 at 3:12 pm |
  73. Simpliticus

    Extravagant? Would people not spend the time and the money if they didn't have it, thinking that other more of a priority of things should be entertained. Apparently this is very important and I bet eggs will not be seen on the new president's welcome walk as seen in Bush's last installment in '04. No, eggs will not be cast as projectiles this time but only lots of hope for this incoming administration, given the tremendous problems facing this president by the outgoing man leaving that same office, what a shame!

    January 19, 2009 at 3:16 pm |
  74. Tripp Mechanicsburg, PA

    The wrong message to whom, Jack? I think it's a big waste of money and man-power that could be put to far better use. I, however, am only one out of about 300,000,000 Americans and about 6,000,000,000 people around the world. Is it too much pomp and circumstance to herald in the best chance the world has seen for peace and prosperity since...I can't recall any time in my life when such a thing was offered to the people of the world, but then I'm not five thousand years old either.

    January 19, 2009 at 3:17 pm |
  75. Dawn - Sellersville, PA

    Extravagant, yes. But well worth the effort. This is a glorious event I never thought would come to pass. As a black woman, I've noticed since the morning after the election there has been a subtle change in our society. People actually speak to each other. I can't tell you how many people make a point to have eye contact and say good morning or good afternoon. The message that is being sent is a new beginning for our great country. The world is envious and I am proud.

    January 19, 2009 at 3:18 pm |
  76. George

    Give me a break Jack? It's about time we had something to celebrate, and change is. The last damn eight years hasn't been anything to celebrate about, but things are looking up, and now is time to celebrate our liberty from our last regime. Maybe it isn't very nice to say it this way, but I will say it any ways. It's kinda like coming home after winning a war for your freedom.

    January 19, 2009 at 3:18 pm |
  77. Pugas-AZ

    Remember that old saying; "the rich don't live like you and me." Let's end this fairy tail on a grand note before the reality of the moment sets in. The people will save and the government will spend. What a country.

    January 19, 2009 at 3:19 pm |
  78. John, Fort Collins, CO

    Barack Obama's grand and elaborate inauguration festivities are a positive way to capture public attention and set the stage for the implementation of his new agenda for the country. I feel it is fitting to have a brief holiday from all the dire news, economic and otherwise, to enjoy the festivities and celebrate this moment in history. It is money well spent. Early on Wednesday morning the hard work will begin.

    January 19, 2009 at 3:19 pm |
  79. Anne/Seattle

    This occasion deserves an extravagant expression of what it respresents to the nation. It represents new hope, a sense of togetherness, the struggle to overcome wrongs, a new direction, our history and our government, our democracy and republic as well as the man who has encouraged positive emotion and renewed trust. This nauguration day is the time for an extravagant expression of The American Dream.

    January 19, 2009 at 3:23 pm |
  80. MARCUS123 Flanders

    The message is get ready for a spending spree the likes of which will make the last 8 years look like an austerity period;

    January 19, 2009 at 3:27 pm |
  81. Mari Fernandez, Salt Lake City, Utah

    EXTRAVAGANT? ALL inaugurations are extravagant! BUT....... what you fail to mention is that the extravagance IS being.......paid....... for by *** private**** donations! Just like the Bush one was!

    The title of this is misleading! We, the People, have donated to the Obama campaign, and the Inaugural committee. Also, ALL of the balls and banquets are *** privately*** funded.


    January 19, 2009 at 3:28 pm |
  82. ken

    The message I got from "We Aren't One" affair was that the middleclass and those who don't own HBO get trumped by Obama's Inauguration Committee who pocketed a few million. I crossed the line to vote for the Man who gave middleclasser HOPE and promised change. It looks like the change is this 2 cents worth. I'm not good enough to witness a "free" event at a National Monument and Obama's cronies pocket the bucks.

    January 19, 2009 at 3:28 pm |
  83. Tom in Dubuque

    It's never been an issue before; why change it now? This is a historic moment that our children can look back at in pride. When were in a recession when Ronald Reagon was elected; I didn't hear any complaints.

    January 19, 2009 at 3:29 pm |
  84. John

    Jack: We finally have a president with style and cool. It is worth celebrating in Washington D.C., because th tongue tied Bush and his inarticulate gang of clowns are leaving. This is another reason to have a real good party. The only thing the Bush Administration will leave behind are headaches and a broken economy.


    January 19, 2009 at 3:34 pm |
  85. Diana Ewing NJ

    It is big because the people want it big and be part... Obama is turning it around to get us to work together..... and in case you did not notice, all the people there are boosting the economy of Washington and surrounding areas.... they are spending money... resturants, diners motels hotels... anything that has Obama on it they are buying.

    January 19, 2009 at 3:34 pm |
  86. JW in Atlanta

    Yes.....I think it sends a very poor message. The country has problems, and most of us carrying the load don't think it's appropriate to watch well connected public servants, especially the D.C. types, dance and celebrate while wearing high fashion and drinking champagne. Time to get on with things. I'm guessing Roosevelt probably kept the high-ended hooplah down to a minimum.

    January 19, 2009 at 3:35 pm |
  87. Don in Fort Gratiot MI

    I'm not offended in the least. Only wish I could be there to participate in the event. Some traditions are worth keeping and send a message of hope and inspiration.

    January 19, 2009 at 3:35 pm |
  88. Gigi in Alabama

    Since this is also a celebration for ending eight years of George Bush, I say let the partying begin!!! Wish I could be up in Washington, D.C. to party along with them.

    January 19, 2009 at 3:37 pm |
  89. Hugh ~ Tracy, California

    Only the sore losers would not want Barack Obama's achievement to be an extravagant celebration. This inauguration day will be forever remembered in our nation's history, and for all time.

    January 19, 2009 at 3:37 pm |
  90. Jim/NC

    I know this is an historic event. The vast majority of Americans wants President Obama to do well. However, over one Billion dollars was spent just to win the various political offices at the federal level.. What's another $150 million spent for the inauguration? No, it is not extravagant, it is ridiculous! Double standards are alive and well in this country.

    January 19, 2009 at 3:38 pm |
  91. Kendall Pittsburgh

    It depends if your a supporter or not. I am, and find it appropriate, it signifies the end of America's eight years of hell and marks the era of America coming together as one race,one country.

    January 19, 2009 at 3:41 pm |
  92. roger dowdle lockhart, tx

    An extravagant celebration is appropriate! Do not forget, this as also a celebration of being rid of Bush and his idiotic and illegal policies.

    January 19, 2009 at 3:42 pm |
  93. claudia farrell

    An extravagant inauguaration sends a message around the world that we may be down but don't count us out.

    January 19, 2009 at 3:42 pm |
  94. Linda in Arizona

    Why should the Obama Inauguration be stifled by the bush economic "legacy"? Screw that. Hard times require a lift to the national spirit.

    January 19, 2009 at 3:43 pm |
  95. Daniel, Indiana

    This may be a historic event, but I feel that it is being presented as something that even Julius Caesar would have looked forward to. Let us remember that he was coronated emperor and was deified at the same time. Is that what we are doing here? Are we now going to distort being President like we have the word "Hero"/

    January 19, 2009 at 3:43 pm |
  96. bob, oshawa, ontario

    Jack, no. The inauguration is part of the choreography in the politics of the U.S. that should be seen as a harbinger of better times ahead. It is the preface of things to come and is needed to point to what Obama's campaign theme heralded as Hope We Can Believe In. The inauguration comes at a time when Americans want to turn the corner and head down what one 1930s song hailed as the Sunny Side of the Street. It is my hope that you in the U.S. come to that corner so that we can all sing, Happy Days Are Here Again. Maybe, Jack, you and Wolf, could lead the inaugural crowd in a rousing chorus. Just a thought.

    January 19, 2009 at 3:46 pm |
  97. Gigi

    It makes me sad with our government and economy in such a mess. With American children going to bed hungry and cold it does seem outrages to me. This weekend we compiled food boxes for our poor.
    It reminded me of France when the Royalty dared to dance, eat and sing. And Queen Marie was told the people had no bread and she "said then let them eat cake". How far would the money spent care for the hungry children and their parent (s) in America.

    January 19, 2009 at 3:46 pm |
  98. Mike - Hot Springs, Arkansas

    Hey, this was paid for by those who could afford it. After all the money Bush and his crew of idiots blew this is a mere pittance.

    January 19, 2009 at 3:49 pm |
  99. arlene in iowa

    Depends on who is picking up the tab..

    January 19, 2009 at 3:50 pm |
  100. don in naples, florida

    It does send the wrong message. Most of us voted on his message of change, thus far he has failed to show any. However, he has managed to continue with big budget spending. Obama has started out very poorly, and no dramatic inauguration will be able change the bad start.

    January 19, 2009 at 3:51 pm |
  101. Howard M. Bolingbrook IL

    Even though Obama's becoming President is a great and historic event, the cost factor related to it is too much, and sends a poor message in this economy.

    January 19, 2009 at 3:51 pm |
  102. earl,florida

    One hundred million dollars last I heard for a simple,and humble procession. It's wonderful that we have a new president ,but let's not forget (remember) we all were responsible for bush#43 being elected two terms,so what's the big deal? Obama promises alot ,but at least bush only spent $40mn in Jan/ 2005,and the way he's burning cash I don't see it wanning,...? So,yes to your question ,Jack.

    January 19, 2009 at 3:54 pm |
  103. Bob D, Morristown, NJ

    An extravagant celebration helps to boost the economy, at least in D.C. This change of administration is so momentous that the more that can be done to spread the exuberance the better. It marks a transition from despair to the kind of hope that may turn our economy around.

    Since the "official" balls are not being sponsored by taxes, big corporations, or major lobbyists, they don't have the taint of previous celebrations, and truly represent the spirit of the majority of the electorate that voted for Obama, and especially the millions of Americans who contributed time, money, and goods to this historic celebration.

    January 19, 2009 at 3:55 pm |
  104. just me!

    Its sad to see this money ($50 million) spent on parties. could not this money be better spent on our tanking economy. Its depressing seeing people celebrate with extravagence when most citiizens are struggling to make it from pay check to pay check.

    January 19, 2009 at 3:57 pm |
  105. Beverley, Fredricksburg Va


    Don't hate. Celebrate!

    Ps. I'd buy down some of our federal debt to see you and Wolf boogie!

    January 19, 2009 at 3:59 pm |
  106. Keith - Cleveland

    Who says that this is an extravagant inauguration celebration.?

    From everything that I see the extra dollars being spent is because of the bazillions of people that are making the journey to DC to be a part of this 'Happy Times Are Here Again' feeling that has overcome our nation.

    I just trying to figure out if this is saying that we are 'incoming-happy' or 'outgoing-happy'...

    January 19, 2009 at 3:59 pm |
  107. Susan from Greenfield, Wi.

    No. This is our moment, the people's moment in an otherwise horrible chapter in our history. Wall Street parties everyday with our money, but we are not supposed to celebrate at all. To hell with the nay sayers, they are the people that have caused so much of our misery.

    January 19, 2009 at 4:02 pm |
  108. Valarie in Castro Valley,California

    It is a day of celebration and has been for a long time in our history. Was it not grand when Kennedy or Lincoln was inaugurated? Take the time enjoy the moment. Shake off the past eight years and look forward to change and making that change within ourselves. Stop looking at what is wrong with America and look at what is right in America and use that as something to build on. Extravagant? Maybe. Necessary? Yes.

    January 19, 2009 at 4:03 pm |
  109. Lynn, San Diego County

    There is a time for everything and this is the time to celebrate, so get on your party rags and join the festivities – besides think of all the jobs it is creating and businesses that will benefit from the inauguration – we have had nothing but fear mongering and bluster for the last 8 years, now there is hope that Superman is in the house and Lex Luthor is banished to a dry hole in Texas, let that feeling last as long as possible to help elevate us for the hard work ahead.

    January 19, 2009 at 4:03 pm |
  110. Al, Lawrence KS

    If you build it they will come. They will come in the millions. That takes crowd control, security, and yes porta-potties. This is history, Jack, and it will be witnessed by millions. What did Bush have, 5 people and a dog to watch his inauguration?

    January 19, 2009 at 4:04 pm |
  111. Ken in NC

    What you call an "extravagant inauguration celebration" is, in fact, the celebration of 4 things.

    (1) It's the celebration of the inauguration of our next President.
    (2) It's the celebration of the coming of age of a nation demonstrating it's world growth.
    (3) It's the celebration of a special accomplishment of a race of once oppressed people.
    (4) And finally, it's the introduction of a New America to the world.
    All four, when combined, are what give many the appearance of an "extravagant celebration" when, in fact, it is reality.

    January 19, 2009 at 4:06 pm |
  112. Mary

    Denise.....Boardman, Ohio and others are not correct, Obama is not black, he is mixed. So get off the soapbox.

    I do hope he does better, but he has already proven he is just another politician!!

    January 19, 2009 at 4:07 pm |
  113. Paula in Albuquerque

    "Wrong message" about what? Washington has always done EVERYTHING with "ruffles and flourishes"...pagentry...pomp...and, what is euphemistically termed, "show"! It's much like The Vatican, and Buckingham Palace, in that respect. I'm not offended by it, since it certainly beats spending BILLIONS to kill, and be killed, in Iraq; or nearly as much to examine, in quite intimate detail, the "sexual habits of the blow-fly"! The new President is "historic" beyond measure, and he deserves a "Coming-Out Party", designed to "stop the show"! He is a poised young man, with a deft hand, and what appears to be a clear vision of "what must be done". I couldn't begrudge him a thing!

    January 19, 2009 at 4:08 pm |
  114. Sue -Idaho

    Jack, as far as I can tell they have tried to keep the costs under control, but really after surviving GWB for eight very long years, don't you think we all deserve to party!

    January 19, 2009 at 4:09 pm |
  115. Hubert Bertrand

    It looks like some people will have money to buy bread,milk and eggs. we need more good jobs, Thanks

    January 19, 2009 at 4:10 pm |
  116. Kay in WV

    It absolutely sends the wrong message. It says "Hey look at me, I can do things bigger and more expensively than any before me". Just a typical politician indulging a typical politician's desire for the spotlight. But, then again, I think the media is also going ridiculously over the top with their coverage. They seem to be celebrating the President they packaged and sold to the public. It is a shame that all that talk of hope and change boiled down to this cliche.

    January 19, 2009 at 4:12 pm |
  117. Terry in Hanover County

    Both parties do it and it's paid for by private funds. While I don't expect President Obama to order a pizza, kick off his shoes, and watch CNN after he's sworn in, during a time of record unemployment, families losing their homes, and more children going to bed hungry, the inauguration bash smacks of elitism. But it's just one very special night in America's history. Enjoy! I hope President Obama doesn't have a hang over because the clock on change and hope starts running after the ball. I wish him the best.

    January 19, 2009 at 4:15 pm |
  118. Griff

    Just the Usual Americam Circus... You should live in Europe for a few weeks.. They Laugh at America... An English Man Comes to the USA... Turns you into Clowns... Charlie Chaplin....

    January 19, 2009 at 4:15 pm |
  119. Thom Richer

    Absolutely. I am a huge Obama enthusiast but I could not be more disappointed by his opting for this elitist and self-serving useless bash. This was his greatest and intitial chance to turn Washington on its head and he chose to blow it by staying in line with the status quo. I realize the enormity of this event in our history but just think how much more meaningful it would have been had he just had a quiet swearing in ceremony with family, friends and peers. Just think how much more faith would have been given to him by Americans had he just flat out said, "This money can be used elsewhere for a much greater good than a party. We need monies to raise this economy from ruin and every dollar sacrificed is needed to attain this. Let's start now and do it right.....together."

    Silly? Naive? Fruitless? Too much to ask? Maybe. But I think it would have been a moment of true greatness at a time when greatness is needed the most from our president.

    Negaunee, MI

    January 19, 2009 at 4:17 pm |
  120. Janny from NJ

    Sour grapeson you Jack ! Obama is not the cause of the sour economy. This is not for Obama anyway. It's for this country to celebrate this monumental day in our history.

    January 19, 2009 at 4:18 pm |
  121. Richard Rohde

    I think the comments here speak volumes about the hypocrisy and immorality of the left. Bush was criticized by the socialists for spending $45 million. Obama is praised for spending over $150 million.

    January 19, 2009 at 4:19 pm |
  122. Kathleen

    The country "needs" this celebration. It is a culmination of coming together. After the inauguration, on day one, we can all role up our sleeves and get to work. Let the country enjoy this extravagant moment and then get on with it.

    January 19, 2009 at 4:19 pm |
  123. Hubert Seaton

    Tyler, Tx. Once again this nation has chosen a man as it's god. Instead of truly repenting and turning from it's evil ways. This nation is cursed for all it has done and is doing that is against the will of God.

    January 19, 2009 at 4:19 pm |
  124. Sly, Alpena, Mi.

    $119 Million , compared to $11.5 Trillion that President Bush wasted during his 8 years in office? It's well worth it Jack.

    January 19, 2009 at 4:20 pm |
  125. Janny from NJ


    We are not only celebrating Obama's election, we are celebrating Bush and Chaney's ride outta town !! It is worth the cost eh?

    January 19, 2009 at 4:20 pm |
  126. Clark, Milford, IN

    Come on Jack!!
    Would you have rather had 8 more yeays of Bush ??????????

    January 19, 2009 at 4:21 pm |
  127. etelle, Toronto, Canada

    Of course it sends the wrong message, just like the millions of dollars spent on almost one full year of campaigning. It is outrageous, but oh, so American!!! As they say, Americans love a Parade, and they sure know how to do it, regardless of the cost.

    January 19, 2009 at 4:22 pm |
  128. Axl in Iowa

    Damn right it does. Change?? ... Haaa!! Keep yer arms and legs inside the vehicle folks. We're in for a helluva ride.

    January 19, 2009 at 4:23 pm |
  129. LJL - Cda

    Ridiculous!! Who cares what Obama has to say to a few thousand, that hasn't been heard by millions throughout the world already. White, black, red or green, who cares. I for one don't..... No tears here! No need for all of this foolishness and waste of money. Get on with turning our country around – (yes, Canada is in North America) –

    January 19, 2009 at 4:23 pm |
  130. angel in Louisiana


    January 19, 2009 at 4:23 pm |
  131. BRUCE, CA.

    Hi Jack !


    Oh gosh, I think this is ONE TIME we can – 'JUST NOT LOOK AT THE PRICE TAG'...



    January 19, 2009 at 4:23 pm |
  132. Diana Ewing NJ

    JW in Atlanta, You have got it so wrong.... the invitation thousands millions went out to regular people who worked in the campaign for him... My invite is framed as we are both out of work... with health problems... and could not go..

    Obama is not about the rich well connected.. Look at the faces of those on tv walking around... they are not rich, but inspired and want to be part of history..

    January 19, 2009 at 4:24 pm |
  133. Ken in NC

    Jack, we could be celebrating the departure of President Bush. Would you consider an expenditure of this magnitude for his departure as an “extravagant celebration”?

    I wouln't.

    January 19, 2009 at 4:24 pm |
  134. Annie Florida

    No. Finally, after 8 years, we have something genuine to celebrate!

    January 19, 2009 at 4:24 pm |
  135. Hendrik from Hille, GER

    I think it's a good, jet shortterm investment in the local economy, especially the catering industrie. The celebrations surrounding the inarguration create jobs, wich will give the employed person some days of work and some money before the position is retired and the person is jobless again.

    It's also good for the american spirit, wich deserves a refresh after 8 long, bushy years.

    January 19, 2009 at 4:24 pm |
  136. Jeff in Minnesota

    Inaugurations are inaugurations. President-elect Obama got people to contribute for the extracurricular activities. The government would have done all the rest, regardless. So, move on to the real problems we face.

    January 19, 2009 at 4:24 pm |
  137. steve in pensacola

    Absolutely not! This country needs and deserves a little celebration. We've been beaten down so far in the last 8 years, I say we have the big high profile, world class event that befits the occasion and shows the rest of the world that the United States is about to rise from the ashes of the scorched landscape that is the true Bush Legacy.

    January 19, 2009 at 4:25 pm |
  138. Melissa

    Only to some doomsday people.

    I'm fine with it. The people need something to celebrate and it needs to be done right.

    Besides, most of that is being spent on needed security. Obama needs it if he wants to end the day alive. Too many nutbags out there.

    January 19, 2009 at 4:25 pm |
  139. Davonne in Easton Pennsylvania

    Oh please, after what we've had to endure the last 8 years, this is well worth it. I've never been more excited about seeing an inauguration in my life, and I've never seen one before either. This doesn't send a bad message, it's befitting for this occasion because of how historic it is.

    January 19, 2009 at 4:26 pm |
  140. Willow, Iowa

    I have watched CNN, answered your questions, Jack, for over a year. I have been an obsessive political online reader for quite awhile now and I think that the biggest celebration in the world will send a wonderful message to the world. Our country has pulled together, has been filled with optimism. I think this inauguration should be as big as it can be.

    January 19, 2009 at 4:28 pm |
  141. Wanda Walker

    What would Dr. King say about this day? I don't know if there would be anything to say. I believe that he would be humble, just as Barack Obama is. I think that he would thank Almighty God and probably do as Barack has done...and move towards unity.
    As for me, I live in McDonough, Ga., where my "WHITE" neighbors don't even speak; smile at them, and they appear to look right through you. This is a federal holiday; yet, it's business as usual. I think that's disrespectful to Dr. King. People think more of Valentine's Day than this holiday.
    Being a Black woman, I feel the tensions around me, since Mr. Obama was elected. White people used to speak and ask how I'm doing; now, they can not even look me in the eye. Why, I ask? Blacks always accepted White Presidents; and now that Mr. Obama has been elected, there is a change in attitude. All we as Blacks ever wanted was equality. Life has never been equal on any level, and it never will be. Not as long as we have people like this, and I might add that these are young men and women.
    My question to you is...'WILL THINGS EVER CHANGE???"

    January 19, 2009 at 4:28 pm |
  142. Sean in California

    I expect Obama's next Inauguration to be quite mellow by comparison, but for heaven's sake, Jack...this is a bit of a special year, don't you think? Everyone and their little brother wants to be a part of this event...I say, let them.

    January 19, 2009 at 4:28 pm |
  143. Don from Canada

    Jack, whatever the cost of the inaguration tomorrow, it should be totally acceptable. This is a chance for America to feel good about itself again and that hasn't happened in a long time, so let the festivities begin and the hell with the cost!

    January 19, 2009 at 4:29 pm |
  144. vern-t anaheim,ca

    i don't think obama's election is extravagant,we the people have paid a bigger price already by electing george ws. bush and his incompetent administration for 8 long years and obama's inauguration is a joyous occasion for the u.s. and the world

    January 19, 2009 at 4:30 pm |
  145. steve in Pensacola

    I think it sends exactly the right message! The 8 years of darkness are over and it's time to celebrate. To make a statement that the United States is about to rise from the ashes and soar above the scorched
    landscape that is the true Bush legacy.

    January 19, 2009 at 4:32 pm |
  146. marti thompson

    This is just a start jof whats to come...Whoa Nellie !!!!

    January 19, 2009 at 4:33 pm |
  147. Tim

    The money being spent goes to pay people or to buy things, then the people who get it spend it to pay people or to buy things - it's stimulus. In addition, tons of people have come from other countries for this - that's import dollars. And what do we all get for that money - incredibly positive images of our country that go out around the world, a call to service that may last a lifetime for many people, and the joy of seeing our deepest principles realized.
    Tim in Texas

    January 19, 2009 at 4:34 pm |
  148. MLW

    Tomorrow we will see for the first time in the history of our great country an African-American take the oath of office of the President of the United States. What message would it send if we DID NOT celebrate and rejoice extravagantly?

    If people are worried about the cost, just think of it as a party to celebrate that Bush will no longer be a figurehead of menace on the world stage. In that context, we probably need more balloons.

    January 19, 2009 at 4:34 pm |
  149. Kerry - Florida

    No more than having a parade for the first men on the moon or a statue or stone tributes to our veterans all over the country. It's called pride Jack and there is nothing wrong with that.

    January 19, 2009 at 4:35 pm |
  150. Michael and Diane Phoenix AZ

    Considering how monumental this event is, probably not, but since we are in such an economic bind, maybe something along the lines of FDR's inaguartion $25,000 cost would be nice instead. Just think how this money could have been used for in areas like health care and education!

    January 19, 2009 at 4:35 pm |
  151. Matthew, Cedar Rapids

    Unfortunately, the inauguration IS a big waste of money when we are seeing such economic problems. However, it was never going to be small, and we all knew that. A great many first time voters voted for Obama, and he is also going to be our first black president. This is a moment in history that people will remember exactly where they were and what they were doing, and will most certainly be celebrated for years to come.

    January 19, 2009 at 4:38 pm |
  152. N.S , Huntsville Al

    Hell No Jack, this is a big event a the biggest time in History. Everyone get over it, he raised part of the money and if everyone can late Bush put us in the dumps for 8 years, 1 day of luxury for Obama shouldn't hurt anyone. GET OVER IT!!!!!

    January 19, 2009 at 4:41 pm |
  153. garrick

    hi jack
    no because of storys like this and more around the world its priceless

    Del. Ken Melvin, D-Portsmouth, marveled over the election of Barack Obama in an emotional floor speech Monday.

    Melvin, an African American, recalled watching the election returns on Nov. 4 with his family and tearing up at Obama’s victory.

    “I’m sitting there boo-hooing with my wife and my brother, his wife,” he said. “My kids and their friends, they’re laughing at us. `Why you crying?’ the kids asked. He was ahead in the polls, he was the best candidate and he was supposed to win, they said.

    “My brother said, `Well, I just feared they’d take it away.’

    “My kids response was, `Who? Who’s going to take it away?’

    “At that moment it became clear to me that things have indeed changed in America. My brother and I were looking for ghosts. My kids, it is apparent, are now more grounded in today’s reality.”

    Melvin, with a crack in his voice, turned his attention the Obama’s inauguration.

    “Tomorrow, the promise of America will have a different meaning for me and for many others,” he said. “I’ve always felt that I loved America more than America loved me, and it often caused resentment because there was never a full buy-in in the promise of America and all it entailed. Access, I felt, was limited.

    “But tomorrow what happens? The president-elect will become the commander in chief, arguably the most powerful man in the world. He can end wars. He can spend $1 trillion. He’s got the keys to Air Force One. And a woman of color is about to become the first lady. And more important, apparently two-thirds of America is alright with that. They like the idea.

    “That changes the way we look at each other. I’m thrilled that I got to see this in my lifetime because at 56, I can finally say that there are no limitations on what can be accomplished in the United States. And believe me ladies and gentlemen, I am proud to say that is so huge.”

    The 100-member House gave a standing ovation.

    January 19, 2009 at 4:42 pm |
  154. Denis Duffy

    The coronation should have been quiet. What a declaration if Obama had said, "let us not waste a penny of the taxpayers money!"
    Just another politician, basking in the light of victory.

    Pittsburgh, Pa.

    January 19, 2009 at 4:42 pm |
  155. John in Arizona

    Jack, there is nothing materially "extravagant" about this inauguration. It is important beyond words for the people of the country – even of the world – to exuberantly celebrate the change and embrace both the hope and the challenge that this historic milepost represents in our collective history.

    January 19, 2009 at 4:43 pm |
  156. Alan, Buxton Maine

    This inauguration will be a much needed catharsis after the torture of the last eight years. Hallelujah and let us rejoice as an intelligent man with scruples and honesty replaces a criminally insane moron in the White House.

    January 19, 2009 at 4:47 pm |
  157. M.L. Squier

    Since this president is going to one of the most important ones in American history…
    And as long it “ain’t” coming out of my taxes, let the new president and entourage have their cake and eat it too.
    Compared to $1,000,000,000,000 or $70,000,000,000, $160 million is a relatively small drop in the larger bucket.


    January 19, 2009 at 4:47 pm |
  158. william fitzwater

    This question is asked at every inauguration. In theory all they have to do is say the oath of office in a slum or project with the chief justice or in a McDonalds for that metter .

    I guess it is time to celebrate and there has to be some pomp. I feel that tomorrow will be the day of jubilee . This is borrowed fro mthe old testament as well as the days of slavery . We need to celebrate a new leadership who will guide us into the “Undiscovered country “ or the “promised land “ with milk and honey . Hopefully for all at last and not for a favored few.

    January 19, 2009 at 4:49 pm |
  159. Bob

    There is no way it can be too extravagant.

    This inauguration marks the end of the worst Presidency in the history of the country that leaves us in desparate times and the beginning of a new Presidency. A new Presidncy that not only holds out hope for the future but also a Presidency that is a significant milestone on the road to the elimination of racial prejudice.
    A road upon which we have been travelling far too long.

    Louisville, Ky

    January 19, 2009 at 4:51 pm |
  160. Larry D.


    This sends a message of hope and glory to america and the world that when people come together its the most beautifulest thing of all time. Nothing can stop we the people from electing a great fiqure like Barack H. Obama one person that I think will make one hell of a president and will break all barriers and records since John F. Kennedy and Ronald Reagan who were both great presidents but this is much different its change once more this time an African American president this is history in the making. Its a dream come true the past has been reborn in our generation and its getting better. Our economy and problems we face today will slowly get better now that Barack Obama is president. The world will see us as the comeback kids cause we are we deserve this moment in our time and we want to share this with the world. It takes a dollar and a dream but in this case it took a dream without spending the dollar. I am proud to be an american now that George Walker Bush is out and a new era has come hope has come to america and things will start going up hill slowly.

    January 19, 2009 at 4:53 pm |
  161. HD Taylor - Arizona

    As long as it is tempered with humility and wisdom then the answer is no. The Bush administrations and the Reagan administrations were ages of greed that were highly characterized by extreme extravagance and wasteful spending. It is ironic that Republicans accuse Democrats of wasteful spending when the past three GOP Presidents have spent trillions more. Obama’s inauguration may possibly be the first one in a very long time that in interlaced with reality and truth instead of political lies and public manipulation.

    HD in Phoenix, Arizona

    January 19, 2009 at 4:56 pm |
  162. Craig from Arcata, CA

    Hey Jack, remember that old saying, "you get what you pay for." Considering what we got when Bush was inaugurated, Obama's inauguration, no matter what it costs, will be a bargain. But, seriously, this celebration isn't just about a new president, it's about a new era, a new vision for America. Trying to put a price on that is just silly.

    January 19, 2009 at 4:57 pm |
  163. Joyce - Atlanta

    No, Jack, we need this - this inauguration bring renewed hope for the country. It brings a huge boost to the economy also.

    January 19, 2009 at 5:00 pm |
  164. Arlene-- Illinois

    When Obama gets re-elected in 2012 we can just do a little
    back yard sort of thing but for now let the light shine down on
    the first black President!

    January 19, 2009 at 5:00 pm |
  165. nancy in manteo, nc

    absolutely not. this is a time to celebrate without concern of cost. this country needs a big grand party to bring it out of the last eight years. geez, i can't believe bush has taken eight years of my life.
    party, party, party and have a helluva good time. i am.

    January 19, 2009 at 5:01 pm |
  166. lynnej from lattimore, nc

    Given how that Republican crowd has raided and pillaged the country, this is a pittance. We deserve it. We need a good feeling to wipe out that misery that Bush and his folk have wrought.

    January 19, 2009 at 5:03 pm |
  167. Susan Carroll

    I'm an Orange County, CA Republican for Obama and I can't tell you how thrilled I am to the imminent departure of the Oaf of Office!

    January 19, 2009 at 5:04 pm |
  168. Susan from Idaho

    I think too much expense would send a message of what is good for the goose is not good for the gander.

    January 19, 2009 at 5:04 pm |
  169. Gerry In Toronto

    After watching yesterday, listening to the interviews and reading numerous articles about the events, I get a sense of healing is starting to spread accross the USA.

    Considering what it cost the country to get to this state, I think the dollars spent on this inaugeration is money well spent.

    America is on the way back, true change is coming.

    January 19, 2009 at 5:04 pm |
  170. Darren

    It's an epic presidential inauguration of epic proportions ... damn the torpedoes full speed ahead

    January 19, 2009 at 5:06 pm |
  171. ken-tx

    Yes, this one especially sends a pathetic message to all
    the people. It is a shame that Obama did not step up and
    show change here. I'm a democrat and I certainally expect to see
    a much different conscious spending habit from this White House.

    Or Obama family will hear from the millions who voted them into
    our White House, loudly.

    January 19, 2009 at 5:06 pm |
  172. frankie

    "To everything there is a season, a time for every purpose under Heaven" (Ecclesiastes 3:1). This is a time to celebrate.

    January 19, 2009 at 5:08 pm |
  173. Weldon from Canada

    I think it is time for an elaborate celebration. The world has been truly blessed to have selected possible hope for at least the next four years.
    They should actually have a SUPER celebration to signify the end of one of Americas biggest failures.

    January 19, 2009 at 5:09 pm |
  174. Mickey Gensler Bronx, 10471,N.Y.

    The important question is how do you avoid it. Most of the country thinks it is their celebration. Obama preached that he is reaching out to all the citizens that it is their inauguration, as well as his. They believe that they want to show support for him so that he cannot say he did not have the countries good wishes. So enjoy.

    January 19, 2009 at 5:09 pm |
  175. Jack - Lancaster, OH


    With loss of jobs with figures to 6 zeros, and debt figures with 12 zeros (trillions?), define "extravagant". ! Carl Sagan was content to describe stellar numbers with only "billions and billions" of stars, Congratulations Government, our debt is beyond astronomical descriptions !! Therefore, the message sent is a pittance.


    January 19, 2009 at 5:09 pm |
  176. Judie Williams

    Perhaps "the shrub" was advised not to party hearty during his innaugration(s), however he made up for it with the war in Iraq and the billions it has cost the taxpayers in this country.

    What I would like to know is the $$$$ amount left in the D.C. and surrounding areas by the thousands upon thousands during this historic event.

    Ones can just flat stop complaining of the costs and turn on the stereo if you do not want to be a part of this.

    January 19, 2009 at 5:10 pm |
  177. Kelvin

    No, I'm tired of people who feel like this one event will cap side the economy. Where were the Waste Police" over the last 4 years?

    January 19, 2009 at 5:11 pm |
  178. frank

    obama and the demo's like to spend are money
    wait they will have us so deep in the hole we'll never get out

    January 19, 2009 at 5:11 pm |
  179. Kate Henry

    Mr. Cafferty: You are mixing apples and oranges. The costs for Bush's inauguration did not include the costs for security whereas the costs being bandied about for Obama do include the costs for security.

    Personally I think it is money well spent. We need something extravagant to wash the stench of the last 8 years away.

    January 19, 2009 at 5:14 pm |
  180. Edgar

    Why not be extravagant? Enjoy the day! The world is doing the same.

    January 19, 2009 at 5:16 pm |
  181. Michael, TX

    Hey, it's the nation's first communist president. I'd say that makes this innaguration special. We're $9,000,000,000.00 dollars in debt. What's $1,700,000.00 down the toilet for saying an oath?

    January 19, 2009 at 5:16 pm |
  182. Kate Henry

    Another way to look it is that the so-called 160 million (an amount I doubt is accurate) is being pumped back into our economy. It isn't disappearing into off-shore bank accounts like the banking thieves did.

    January 19, 2009 at 5:17 pm |
  183. Jacqueline Mongeot

    The inauguration of a new President is always celebrated, it is simple protocole. The people attendance is beyond expectation. It measures the hopes of all Americans and I understand the feeling.; The hopes for better days should include a good dose of patience, for President Obama CANNOT deliver as quickly as most people expect and he says so in every speech he makes. Will Americans be as disappointed as they are hopeful? That is the rub, Jack.
    Jacqueline San Diego CA

    January 19, 2009 at 5:21 pm |
  184. Bill

    Well we know he is hasn’t started his “change” yet and is keeping up with the rest of the money wasting government! I think the tax payers should have been ask to donate, and then used that money that was collected for this bash, not just take tax payers money as a given.

    January 19, 2009 at 5:21 pm |
  185. Kate Henry

    Bush had 8 inaugural balls the first time and 9 the second.


    So, I fail to see Obama having 10 as being "extravagant". Plus, Obama has arranged several of his balls so that the average Joe can attend. He arranged the ball for people in the military and he arranged the young people's ball.

    And, one should not forget that people pay to attend these balls. So that income goes a long way towards paying for them.

    January 19, 2009 at 5:21 pm |
  186. Carol

    If the economy is in as much trouble as government says, then yes, it is too extravagant...do they know something they aren't telling us?
    Hopefully a lot of private donors are footing this huge, over-the-top bill.

    Carol, Minnesota

    January 19, 2009 at 5:23 pm |
  187. Harold


    If ever there was a time to celebrate, this is it! The first African-American president! The most inspiring leader in at least a generation! The end of the Bush years! The pending come-uppance of Manipulative Investment Bankers! Wow!

    January 19, 2009 at 5:26 pm |
  188. Jackie in Dallas

    Whoa! The concert was free, Jack...all the performers donated their performances - at least, that's what the CNN story said. Are you saying you don't trust CNN's reporting?

    The main large ticket item in this inauguration is security, which I certainly can't fault anyone about. In the past, big businesses such as Exxon-Mobile and AIG (isn't that ironic?) hosted and paid large amounts of inauguration costs. This one is being paid for, at least partly, by individual donations - including mine. It is a historical event, as well. Besides, think of the economic stimulus it is causing in Washington, D.C. and the surrounding areas! Jobs, even temp ones, are always welcome!

    If you want to see some truly extravagent events, go back and check out Reagan's!

    January 19, 2009 at 5:28 pm |
  189. Gary - Woodhaven, Michigan

    Can we place a value on the rebirth of a Nation and it's people?

    Not in dollars and cents.

    January 19, 2009 at 5:31 pm |
  190. Sylvia Wallace

    I don't believe the country expects anything else. When you read about salaries of baseball and football players and the cost of the winner's ticker tape parade, how can you put a value of the cost of an historic and monumental inauguration. I am 63 and remember the assassinations of both Kennedys and Martin Luther King. I lived when I could not eat in Walgreens, drinking from the colored fountains, and going around the back the place an order. I am proud as a peacock because I was a young adult fighting not only for my rights but for my education. This is only a small part of the vindication of what my people suffered. On a day like today, I am proud to be an African-American, Negro, or colored woman, and I contributed money I could not afford to help with his campaign and with his inauguration. He deserves it, as well as the African-American community. The time is now for change, but the dream is not over, the dream is just beginning/


    January 19, 2009 at 5:32 pm |
  191. Betty, San Diego, Ca.

    I do not see extravagance. I see an American tradition. I see strength in the peaceful transfer of power. I see joy in celebration like I have never witnessed before.

    January 19, 2009 at 5:37 pm |
  192. Jackie in Dallas

    By the way, to all you naysayers, the amount of money being spent on the inauguration is less than one day of interest on a single month's bill for the Iraqi war. And even $100 million, which sounds like a lot, wouldn't even cover the foreclosures in a medium sized town for less than a month...and a lot of the inauguration costs are being covered by small donors, such as myself. You are missing the point...even FDR had an inauguration during the Great Depression. It wasn't as big as ours today (and I mean any in the last 20 years), but he still celebrated, as did those who elected him.

    And considering how the Democrats in Congress are already showing how they are going to be pains in Obama's programs, I think that they would probably be screaming if it really were that extravagent. See my first post...

    January 19, 2009 at 5:37 pm |
  193. Jeff

    Given that Obama's message has been one of unity, encouraging the masses to flock to D.C. is in keeping with his message. It's going to take ALL Americans to stave off the debilitating condition the last administration left us in. This is an extravagant celebration, yes, but think of it as the first salvo in Obama's stimulus plan. Many people will benefit from this festive occasion, not only in the form of financial gains from the increased employment opportunities, but emotionally as well. Barak Obama ran on a platform of change, and all the world wants to witness the beginning of such a venture.
    Ashburnham, Massachusetts

    January 19, 2009 at 5:38 pm |
  194. Ronald Holst

    Well I guess It might If You are worried about Hurting Bush's Feelings Or his family's feelings.
    To All the Nay Sayer's get Over It . This Is a once in a life Time event For this nation And maybe the world. I do realize That Some feelings may be hurt because there neo con world is crumbling But That is reason in it self to celebrate.
    But then Aging I An just A Red Neck From The Real America .
    Ronald Holst
    San Antonio ,Texas

    January 19, 2009 at 5:38 pm |
  195. Kim

    Have you ever thrown a celebration without spending any money? We have much to celebrate, including that W. is gone!! The world is looking to us for leadership and unity and this celebration will show our unity and our pride in our nation, and our willingness to be leaders of change in the world.

    January 19, 2009 at 5:39 pm |
  196. Eileen

    It seems to me that the MEDIA hasn't learned anything from the Kennedy days – you people posted his route on his comings and goi ngs and look what happened? Why does the media feel that our citizens need to know EVERYTHING? Don't you think that others besides US citizens are watching and reading what is going on also? Its not necessary that we know whats on Airlorce One or where the SECRET tunnels etc are – get a clue

    January 19, 2009 at 5:39 pm |
  197. bella in naples

    No way too extravagant! This is HISTORY for
    crying out loud. I'm a white person, and I think
    this is a great day for America.
    If you know anything about numbers, try to compare $150 million to $1 trillion. The government has spent that on the bail out of
    AIG and or BOA, Bears Stearns, Morgan Stanley, etc, etc. and not one person added to the payroles, probably some pink slips there. Another $3 trillion on the war in Iraq. How about the $50 billion Madoff, made off with!
    Do you know how many people are being
    paid to work at the inauguration? hundreds of thousands, people to move porta potties, people to prepare food and lodging, people to
    move the speakers, stands, tents, etc.,etc.
    This is boon for the DC area. WORTH
    That's what we need, MORE JOBS, not
    more rich fat cats getting special treatment.
    I have paid my taxes for 63 years and I do NOT
    believe one should be the head of the IRS
    when he doesn't have enough brains or
    guption to pay his own taxes.

    January 19, 2009 at 5:42 pm |
  198. Diane Dagenais Turbide

    NO! We need to celebrate!

    January 19, 2009 at 5:44 pm |
  199. Jan from Iowa

    This day will mark a historical event that an African American becomes president of the United States of America. I believe it will rival historical events each one of us remembers from our own history – Such as man landing on the moon, the Berlin Wall coming down, President Kennedy assisnation, The shuttles blowing up. Each time I remember what an impact that historical event made on my life – where I was, what I was doing when I heard, even what I was wearing, and in a few instances the smells around me. I don't believe it is too extravagant to honor and and celebrate that our country has grown in its democracy and can rejoice that a African American becomes president when in 1774 in this he could not. That tells the world how we have progressed and shows democracy better than any Bush doctrine could have!

    January 19, 2009 at 5:45 pm |
  200. Mertis


    No. The cost of these events pales in comparison to the money we've spent on the Iraq war and the inauguration isn't on the taxpayers dime.

    Mertis in Atlanta

    January 19, 2009 at 5:45 pm |
  201. Marsha Brooks

    I think all the past presidents went overboard with the parties they had. All of them. My understanding is that the cost of Obama's is mainly being paid from other private funds. My answer is Yes I think all of the past presidents have over done it and the money would have been better put to use elsewhere.

    I listened to a talk show radio in Washington state, Dory Mansom, who was not an Obama supporter and was going on n on about our schools setting aside to watch it and state workers being given the day off to watch it, I disagree with most of what he was yelling about. IT IS HISTORY MAKING ! They should not have paid day off but letting the children in schools watch it or having the day off to watch it and reflect is perfectly a good thing. Some will not reflect but so many others will.

    January 19, 2009 at 5:46 pm |
  202. Lynn, Columbia, Mo..

    In Mo., our new governor had a pot luck dinner for his inauguration. I thought that was pretty cool, but I like the big celebrations too. Besides, it's only money. We can always print up somemore. And what would we have to talk about? I think it will bring in good ratings for all the networks too. A big party before the big clean-up sounds balanced to me.

    January 19, 2009 at 5:46 pm |
  203. Jerald Gross

    As I read the comments to this question, I am astonished of the double standard. If McCain had been elected and spent the money that's being spent, he'd be linched.

    January 19, 2009 at 5:49 pm |
  204. marion trotman

    at 70 i have lived to see history in the making...now i would love to see a NATIVE AMERICAN become the PRESIDENT

    January 19, 2009 at 5:50 pm |
  205. vangerl dupigny

    I love America.... now we have a mixed president. What happen to if you had a drop of Black blood in you you are Black. My children are of mixed race and all of their life they have been seen as Black and they are shades lighter than Obama. When we lived in Upstate New York and they taunted racial slurs at them they didn't say hi you mixed kids; they said you know what; oh we don't say that word anymore. Get off it We have our first openly Black President (you all want to say old Abe was Black) so let's Party and get some of the money out of the rich folks hands and put it in the economy...

    January 19, 2009 at 5:54 pm |
  206. Marla

    Not really, this is expected, let the people celebrate a new begining.
    What I wish for is that commentators would refer to him as Mulato, instead of the first African American President. He is ALSO WHITE.

    Let us celebrate both heritages. Not just one or the other.

    January 19, 2009 at 5:56 pm |
  207. Judy, Exeter, Calif,

    After 8 years of misery for the middle-class American, it's high time we had something to celebrate. Obama is hope for the nation and the world. He has a very tough job ahead of him. This inauguration isn't just for the president-elect, it is for everyone in the U.S. Security is necessary, and so are the port-a-potties. Get over it Jack.

    January 19, 2009 at 5:58 pm |
  208. Janice

    Well, we are celebrating George Bush leaving town as well as Obama coming in. I'd say that's worth a double or triple celebration.

    January 19, 2009 at 6:03 pm |
  209. leon stokes Baltimore Maryland

    NO!!!!!!!!!! this is one chance of a lifetime. live it up to the fullest.

    January 19, 2009 at 6:10 pm |
  210. Andrew


    January 19, 2009 at 6:10 pm |
  211. Phoebe

    Jack, after 8 years in the wilderness, I welcome some celebration.

    January 19, 2009 at 6:10 pm |
  212. David Kroning


    Are you auditioning for a job on FOX? This isn't "Obama's" innauguration...it's "ours."

    David, Ohio

    January 19, 2009 at 6:10 pm |
  213. Amber

    No, Jack. Are you forgetting that this is the first black man to be president? No penny should be spared to protect the president-elect and celebrate this historic event.

    January 19, 2009 at 6:10 pm |
  214. Jim Green, Seguin, TX www.Inclusivism.org

    No, Jack....in today's economy it is spend, baby spend!

    January 19, 2009 at 6:10 pm |
  215. Andre'

    Hmm, sounds like half the price of the RNC...

    January 19, 2009 at 6:10 pm |
  216. DaVonne

    I don't think so at all. Afterall, he is contributing some of his money to cover a small portion of the cost. However, at the same time we only get an African American president once every 44 presidents. I think it is okay because to say this event is historic is an understatement.

    January 19, 2009 at 6:10 pm |
  217. LaSharn Moore,Georgia

    I think that if President Obama is putting up lots of funds to help with the cost then nothing is wrong. Is / werejobs created in doing this??
    I do not have all the information needed to full give the best response
    to this question. Although I have to say I am enjoying what I have seen so far.

    January 19, 2009 at 6:10 pm |
  218. Alberto


    January 19, 2009 at 6:10 pm |
  219. Malina

    NO! This is a major historic event and we tax payers want to send the right message to each other.

    January 19, 2009 at 6:10 pm |
  220. S

    Let him celebrate. I believe the inauguration should be proportional to the new president's popularity and the old president's "unpopularity". Since this is the standard, I believe that the cost is proportional.

    January 19, 2009 at 6:10 pm |
  221. Ken C

    I feel it is over the top for this inauguration. I understand that it's historical but all the pomp and pageantry is ridiculous.

    January 19, 2009 at 6:10 pm |
  222. Mark

    Jack, an extravagant inauguration will not send the wrong message at all. Why not celebrate this joyous occasion as well as we can?

    January 19, 2009 at 6:10 pm |
  223. Lane from Nashville

    Aren't we told at every turn that the best thing for the economy is for spending to increase? In that case, scaling back the inauguration would only prolong the problem. At least the inauguration festivities are creating jobs–although temporary ones.

    January 19, 2009 at 6:10 pm |
  224. Diane Dagenais Turbide

    Dear Jack,

    erase my previous answer since I had not read the end part of your text!!!

    And if you want to lose your appetite for dinner, consider this. The biggest donors for the inaugural festivities are recently bailed out Wall Streeters. Is this a great country or what?

    Tell me Jack, the call to bailout Wall Street was a bad joke on all of us or what!!

    January 19, 2009 at 6:10 pm |
  225. Mary

    That amoun included! security!!! Please, do the research. The amount cited is being spun by the GOP!

    January 19, 2009 at 6:11 pm |
  226. Dameon


    I don't believe it does. This is a historical moment. It deserves to be celebrated. While I believe things could have been a bit less extravagant, people do have the right to celebrate something legitimately worthwhile.

    Besides, the money is spent, so it's not like you can ask for a refund. Why not celebrate and let things be?

    January 19, 2009 at 6:11 pm |
  227. Janie

    No Jack, It does not send the wrong message, you are sending the wrong message by asking if it sends the wrong message.

    January 19, 2009 at 6:11 pm |
  228. Bethany

    If you voted for Obama because he would be the first black president, then no, it's not extravagant.
    If you voted for him because he was the right man for the job, then yes, it is.

    January 19, 2009 at 6:11 pm |
  229. Ben

    This is exactly what we as a nation need, to restore the confidence that two wars, loss of face abroad, and a horrible economy have taken from us. This inauguration is a revitalization of a Patriotism, duty, and service to State for a lot of Americans and that can't have a price tag. Plus who cares if the fat cats in Wall Street donate, it's not like they are going to get any love from Obama and Company.

    January 19, 2009 at 6:11 pm |
  230. Brian Laesch

    As much as I like a good party, it absolutely sends the wrong message. The 2009 Inauguration has become the best form of escapism that this country has found yet.

    January 19, 2009 at 6:11 pm |
  231. IKE in Atlanta

    Not at all. At this time of economic downturn, we are called to spend more money to jump-start the economy. Is there a better way to spend the money if not in joy and happiness?

    January 19, 2009 at 6:11 pm |
  232. Paul Miola

    No, it does not send the wrong message. I view it as a celebration of the end of the Bush/Cheney era. That gives us all reason to celebrate!

    January 19, 2009 at 6:11 pm |
  233. Holly H

    I think that sometimes people just need something to celebrate.

    January 19, 2009 at 6:11 pm |
  234. Jason Kennedy

    I believe it is far too extravagant. Of the many things Bush did wrong, there is one right. At least he had the courtesy to our tax payers to remain conservative in celebration of his second inauguration.

    January 19, 2009 at 6:11 pm |
  235. Robert Smith

    Yes an extravagant inaugaration sends the wrong message especially when backed by the people/corporations that were bailed out by the governement.

    January 19, 2009 at 6:11 pm |
  236. john

    Jack, I read an article that said that if you included Bushes Security costs his would have been 157 million. So... why is the media not pointing out this FACT!

    January 19, 2009 at 6:11 pm |
  237. tagscats

    What's he supposed to do, have a backyard BBQ?? I think this country is due a celebration, it's been a looooong 8 years...

    January 19, 2009 at 6:11 pm |
  238. Mary Kunstman

    5 million people...150 million dollars. It's cheap...
    $30 per person. When have we have 5 million people joining together to celebrate and be hopeful about the future!

    January 19, 2009 at 6:11 pm |
  239. Nicheli

    This is a time in our country where people have came together no matter what race they are. So it is a time to celebrate no matter what the cost!!!!!!!!

    January 19, 2009 at 6:11 pm |
  240. Newfoundlander, Canadian

    Of course it does. When times are so hard a government should be more reflective of those times.

    However, it sure beats wasting money on blowin' the hell out of Iraq!

    January 19, 2009 at 6:11 pm |
  241. Mary Floyd

    No, it does not send the wrong message especially since tax dollars are not involved. Remember to note, more than one, that private donations from millions have also helped fund this inauguration.

    January 19, 2009 at 6:11 pm |
  242. Hudson Todd

    This inauguration, while being very expensive, is still something we as a people need. Americans have been without hope for so long that a little celebration to cangradulate us on finally making the correct decision in our leadership is hardly something to sulk over.

    January 19, 2009 at 6:11 pm |
  243. Candace

    Obama has a great way of unifying a people. Bush was not as effective in that area as Obama is. So for Bush to have an expensive inauguration does not make any sense' but energy and Hoope and optomism gained fro the "We are One Concert" and his Whistle Train stop tour sends a bigger message to the people then the overall cost of the events.

    January 19, 2009 at 6:11 pm |
  244. Maynard

    maybe, then again, maybe its a great start to "new deal" -type investment. Port-o-potty owners are part of our economy too.

    January 19, 2009 at 6:11 pm |
  245. James Frye

    Please stop repeating the falsehoods about the costs of the Obama inauguration. For the first time, it is being inflated by the costs of security – something that, if it had been done in 2004, would have made the Bush inauguration $160 million by adding in the $115 million security costs. It's dishonest and a rightwing talking point – traditional media doesn't need to repeat their lies.

    January 19, 2009 at 6:11 pm |
  246. Jenny Burgess

    Don't be a such a dullard. This is the first black president. Of course we should have a big party. You can stay home and darn your socks you big fuddy duddy.

    January 19, 2009 at 6:11 pm |
  247. michelle

    no, this is an historic time in America's history, we have every right with the amount of money that George Bush spent on the war to have a big inauguration. There will never be a moment like this again, an inauguration for the first African-American president. Spend all the money you want, it's deserved.

    January 19, 2009 at 6:12 pm |
  248. Maggie Griscavage

    It may be extravagant, but – does it not exemplify the fact that he's intending to make or at least keep jobs? All those dollars went somewhere! To the farmers, dairymen, doormen, servers, kitchens, waiters, policemen and so on... Some honest and common folks are doing Ok because of the Inauguration spending.

    January 19, 2009 at 6:12 pm |
  249. Michael

    I think its a good thing that 160 million is being spent on the inauguration. Its will pump millions into the DC area economy and put people back to work. Its a stimulus that the local economy needs.

    January 19, 2009 at 6:12 pm |
  250. Marvin Martin

    President elect Obama is to be commended for pouring $160 million back into the economy.

    January 19, 2009 at 6:12 pm |
  251. Don in Central TX

    Of course it does, Jack, but it's part and parcel with how all politicians prey on us.

    Sooner or later, you and I will pay the price for this, whether it's through taxes for the security arrangements or higher prices to the corps that bribe... errr, bankroll... him.

    January 19, 2009 at 6:12 pm |
  252. Terri in Lakewood

    Jack, No!! We don't live in the same stupid box that we lived in years ago. This is all a part of a financial, emotional, social and spiritual stimulus package! Terri in Lakewood!

    January 19, 2009 at 6:12 pm |
  253. Mike New York

    So much for change!

    January 19, 2009 at 6:12 pm |
  254. Peter Ahrend

    It is the message embedded in the message that needs the boost.

    January 19, 2009 at 6:12 pm |
  255. Sam

    It doesn't give a wrong message in a time where the economy is bad thats exactly what our country needs. A big celebration with lots of extravagant things is a good way to make struggling Americans feel good.

    January 19, 2009 at 6:12 pm |
  256. johnie

    What a crock ..... We little people suffer while those fat cats in D.C. live it up. and they call this change.

    January 19, 2009 at 6:12 pm |
  257. Megan G.

    It's not all doom and gloom. The D.C. economy is going to get an amazing boost from the festivies.

    January 19, 2009 at 6:12 pm |
  258. bifster

    Nornally I would agree about the excessive expense but the partys, balls, celebrations are all apart of bringing people together so that they can move toward a better American as one. Besides the kind of debt we in 150 million isn't paying for much.

    January 19, 2009 at 6:12 pm |
  259. David E

    You cant put a price tag on priceless Cafferty. This whole event is historic, its not every 4 yrs you get a black president. I feel its worth every penny.

    January 19, 2009 at 6:12 pm |
  260. Juan

    What Democrats? Can you be specific? And no. During times of recessions, spending is good. And in regards to the donors, do you mean folks they actually used the money they got from Congress to pay for this?

    January 19, 2009 at 6:12 pm |
  261. Debbie

    I don't think the price of the inauguration is any worse than the more than $400,000 that the current administration paid two weeks ago for the new china!

    January 19, 2009 at 6:12 pm |
  262. Omar Sharif Jr.

    That's not change... That's more of the same.

    January 19, 2009 at 6:12 pm |
  263. Matt in Stafford, VA

    I honestly don't care how much the inauguration costs. This is a historic moment, and after the last president (if you could call him that) we all need to let loose for one day. To those complaining about the costs, this is a one time celebration that will cost somewhere in the hundred million range. How much has Iraq cost? How much money did your government give industries, all without oversight? Thought so.

    January 19, 2009 at 6:12 pm |
  264. Joni

    This is a time to celebrate. This inauguration will be one for the history books. Most of the funds are either donated by the public or from the DNC. Nobody complained about the $400 million in burial/memorial services for Reagan. For those who may be complaining...let 'em eat cake.


    January 19, 2009 at 6:12 pm |
  265. Nathaniel Moore


    Stop whining. America is celebrating, and you should be, too.

    January 19, 2009 at 6:12 pm |
  266. Carl Stibolt

    There is certainly no harm in raising the issue of the cost of the inauguration in these difficult times, but I wonder: how much is CNN spending on it's coverage of the event, and how much are you being paid Mr. Cafferty??? The reality is that for the first time in 8 years we Americans have something to celebrate, so on to the expensive celebration, as (expensively) covered by CNN!!

    January 19, 2009 at 6:12 pm |
  267. Anne

    Please be honest about how Obama's inauguration is costing us pretty much what Bush's 2004 inauguration cost us, would you?

    January 19, 2009 at 6:12 pm |
  268. Katie Campagna

    Think about it... that money is being paid to caterers and wait staff people and security people and probably valet parking attendents among others... the economy only works if the people that HAVE the money spend it so it can paid to the people that NEED the money!

    January 19, 2009 at 6:12 pm |
  269. Kim

    Yes, considering the horrrible economic state of our nation you would think Obama would know better!!

    January 19, 2009 at 6:12 pm |
  270. Harold

    No.....unless you happen to be a Democrat..

    January 19, 2009 at 6:12 pm |
  271. Phil P

    Look Jack,
    This is a celebration of a lifetime. This is as big a day as the 4th of July in the minds of many Americans. The day America visibly made a HUGE step forward in racial progression and we deserve to celebrate our achievements in lieu of the economy and wars.
    Our soldiers fight so we may keep our way of life, and we appreciate them today as well as every other day.
    But this day is not a celebration for just Barack, this is America's Day...the day we showed the world that 40 days after MLK's Death, we are moving forward.
    Let us celbrate Jack.

    January 19, 2009 at 6:12 pm |
  272. Mike Barton

    It sure does sound the wrong message, on every level. I would protest spending money like that you outlined on air at the best of times. Obama should have sent a message to the people by resisting any extravagance. Sounds like it could come back to bite him, like the jet ride in for the auto execs.

    January 19, 2009 at 6:12 pm |
  273. Cheryl - Wilmington Delaware

    I don't think it sends the wrong message. We have had eight years of disgrace with Bush. This country needs a serious moral booster filed with hope and unity. I have seen more of the "good" in us in the past week than I have seen for along time. Spend the money and celebrate this historic moment for our country and the world.

    Then, get back to work.

    January 19, 2009 at 6:12 pm |
  274. Matt Keedy

    Yes...in this case, history is truly being made on a number of historical levels that have not be attained in the past and the barriers that have been broken. Furthermore, this is stimulating the economy and creating (albeit temporary) jobs.

    January 19, 2009 at 6:12 pm |
  275. Tracey Greene from Huntsville AL

    What's he supposed to do, have a backyard BBQ?? Order in some pizza? I think this country is due a celebration, it's been a loooong 8 years...

    January 19, 2009 at 6:12 pm |
  276. Maria

    I am a huge supporter of Barack Obama, and I also very aware and frightened about our economic crisis. Do I think that an extravagant inaguration sends out the wrong message? To some, it will. But I think others, like me, will see that this is a historic day, and an extraordianry event, that has every right to be celebrated. I have full faith in Obama that he will bring change, and he will solve our economic problems, whether it takes 100 day or over 2 years. I think he deserves this day to be very special=)

    January 19, 2009 at 6:12 pm |
  277. Andrew


    Not this time. This inauguration is unlike any other in our nations long history. An African-American man will be sworn in as President. This is truly a historic day and most certainly a change of our country's course. In addition, for the first time, arguably, we are truly trying to unite EVERYONE; the entire country. Let's celebrate.

    January 19, 2009 at 6:12 pm |
  278. Tim - Idaho

    This is actually two parties. The induction of Barack Obama, and the long-awaited booting of "W"! Yeah, I still have my appetite and ask, "who wants dessert!"

    January 19, 2009 at 6:12 pm |
  279. Marvell Smither

    No. At least they are doing something constructive with our money.

    January 19, 2009 at 6:12 pm |
  280. Jeff

    Hi Jack, I understand the concern fully. However I consider this to be an investment in the future. 160 mil to show the world how far we've come and how much we can change, seems like a bargain to me.

    January 19, 2009 at 6:12 pm |
  281. Karmel

    Jack, you can tell by this inaugural buzz that the country needs a shot of seratonin. The United States has been under a black cloud since Hurricane Katrina, when President Bush's supporters finally saw what the rest of us saw ... that our commander in chief was incompetent and that we'd lost clout in the world. Pride in the U.S.A. has only been an idea, not a reality, for years. The country needs a little bit of a ceremony, pride to turn the page.

    January 19, 2009 at 6:12 pm |
  282. Debbi

    It's worth every penny when it brings our nation together and puts on a path to great things, UNITY!

    January 19, 2009 at 6:12 pm |
  283. Alex McArthy

    Obama's willingness to spend millions on a extravagent party while so many are out of jobs, and homeless (like his brother in Kenya) just shows that Obama is not for the lower, or middle class.

    January 19, 2009 at 6:12 pm |
  284. Alex

    i do not think so. we are in a time of nothing but bad. if anything, this celebration because of it extravagance, once again, establishes a great sense of hope and optimism. this inauguration is just what we need, a sparkle of hope amidst the bleakness of real life. YES WE CAN.

    January 19, 2009 at 6:12 pm |
  285. Karen

    I definitely think the 10 parties send the wrong message. I can see a few celebrations but not 10. How many people could be fed with the money spent celebrating????

    January 19, 2009 at 6:12 pm |
  286. zurui

    mr. cafferty,

    the cost of president-elect obama's inauguration is minor in comparison to what others paid for him to get where he is! let americans enjoy their part in history!

    eric l. robinson

    January 19, 2009 at 6:12 pm |
  287. Morgan from Tacoma, Washington

    I don't think it's overdone, in fact a large celebration for the American people couldn't hurt, after the last eight years I'm pretty sure we need it.

    January 19, 2009 at 6:12 pm |
  288. Pam

    This inauguration is not only a Presidential Inauguration. It's the celebration of an entire nation of a milestone achieved. This is history-making.

    January 19, 2009 at 6:12 pm |
  289. Valentina

    San Francisco, CA

    I don't think that in light of the year in which we live, Obama's inauguratin is too extravagant. In 2009, everything is more expensive than four years ago. What might have been accepted in George Bush's day is no longer accepted. I'm sure that Obama is taking precautions against spending too much. But with the flood of people coming to D.C. in the past few days, the extra security measures are necessary, and that costs a lot of money.

    January 19, 2009 at 6:12 pm |
  290. Jeremy Jimenez

    While it is hypocritical to some extent, it is actually more justified during a recession; government spending of any kind is justified to help boost a weak economy, a Keynesian position that is a clear part of the Democratic platform.

    Caracas, Venezuela

    January 19, 2009 at 6:12 pm |
  291. Pete

    They should do it in a parking lot out back of the White House and say go hang to the two million people in DC.

    So what, there will only ever be this one time that something so historic happens to the nation and it is the very fact that it has come at this time that makes it all the more improtant that tomorrow lifts the nation. If it lifts the mood, shows the change of direction we need and is a moment in history $150m is cheap!

    January 19, 2009 at 6:12 pm |
  292. Akash

    Obviously, by far. Does the democratic party really expect us to go on losing our jobs, (and not to mention our money), and then celebrate extravagantly? Of course, 76 percent of us are happy Bush is leaving, and 100% of us want to celebrate, but maybe, just maybe, $160 million is too much.

    January 19, 2009 at 6:12 pm |
  293. Zach

    no. this American achievment is so momentous and important in the history of this country and the world that a giant celebration is only necessary.

    January 19, 2009 at 6:12 pm |
  294. Chris

    Yes, the amount of money being sent on the celebration is way to much. So is the $4,700 raise that each member of Congress has given to themselves this year. I am a Democrat, and I think the money could be spent on things the country actually needs… like education or alternative sources of energy.

    January 19, 2009 at 6:12 pm |
  295. Jim

    this is one of the most historic days of this countrys history. It's not often we get to plan for what will be one of histories most improtant dates becaus unfortunately most of them are assisnations. So we should be celerating and making this day special regardless of the current financial situation. In 200 years this day will not be remembered for our financial woes.

    January 19, 2009 at 6:12 pm |
  296. Karl Grossner

    I thought expenditures meant jobs and invigorating the economy - if so, then this expenditure is good, no?

    January 19, 2009 at 6:12 pm |
  297. Sophia in Canada

    Jack –
    We grew up poor, but when guests stopped by they were treated like royalty. They would never know we were hurting poor.
    The entire world is watching this historic Inauguration
    – does America want to appear to be "penny pinching" during this historic occassion?
    For goodness sake!

    January 19, 2009 at 6:12 pm |
  298. Robin Kent


    This is our first black president. Nothing less than the best inauguration would be appropriate.Get ready, it will be even bigger when the first woman is elected to office.
    Robin Kent

    January 19, 2009 at 6:12 pm |
  299. LaToya

    No it definitely does not. This is the first real celebration of Emancipation. The U.S. is finally equal and not separate.

    January 19, 2009 at 6:12 pm |
  300. John

    So long as it gets George W. Bush out, any cost isn't too high!!

    January 19, 2009 at 6:12 pm |
  301. Andrew POrter

    JACKO!! hey you forgot one thing This is HISTORIC!!!

    January 19, 2009 at 6:12 pm |
  302. Sage from Maryland

    No, the celebration will help take American's minds off their trouble for a few days. Also, the spending that's going on will help the economy in the tri-state area of Maryland, Virginia and Washington D.C.

    The truth is that although their are job and business losses, there are still a lot of people who have money to spend but have been holding off out of fear.

    Remember what FDR said. We have nothing to fear, but fear itself. As soon as those Americans who have the money to spend, do so, we will be out of this mess.

    January 19, 2009 at 6:12 pm |
  303. Bobby

    As long as we are going to quote amorphous figures that have no basis in fact, why stop at $160 million?

    'Estimates' say....

    And how much of that money is privately donated again? How much of it is public money?

    I personally don't think things should be that extravagant, I just hate, hate, hate it when the MSM manufacturers a controversy – especially when they are lazy about it.

    January 19, 2009 at 6:12 pm |
  304. Carole King

    No, it does not send the wrong message you Grinch. This country needs a positive, inspiring Inaugration to offset the doom and gloom which has reached its zenith in the last few months. We all know we have much work to do, and please give us our time to celebrate both the beginning of a new administration and the end of one that has decimated our country.

    January 19, 2009 at 6:12 pm |
  305. JAmes Dissette

    I think highly of your work, but you should source the 165 million as it includes security expenses. Previous inauguration spending did not include those figures. This figure is a myth and I hope you get right on it.

    Best Regards

    Jim Dissette

    January 19, 2009 at 6:13 pm |
  306. Malcolm

    No. It's priceless when you can bring us together!

    January 19, 2009 at 6:13 pm |
  307. Max in Florida

    Hi Mr.Cafferty,
    I am 11 years old and I think this would be happening anyway regardless if it was a democrat or republican black or white and from what I heard, most of it is being payed for by donations!

    January 19, 2009 at 6:13 pm |
  308. Kannan

    I agree that when we are in the middle of a major recession, we should not be spending this kind of money on an inauguration. We can put the $100+ million to better use and help create more jobs. This is not the time for an ostentatious celebration.

    January 19, 2009 at 6:13 pm |
  309. Randy K

    Relax Jack. There are plenty of issues for which to work up a strong and righteous indignation. This is not one of them. Let's all enjoy the moment.

    January 19, 2009 at 6:13 pm |
  310. Andrew

    I do not personally think it sends the wrong message. Whether we are in good times of bad,there will be a celebration for the president-elect. It is a time of hope, not a time of regrets.

    January 19, 2009 at 6:13 pm |
  311. Mark Flowers

    Ordinarily I would say spending so much on the inauguration sends the wrong message. But, This nation is experiencing a joy that it has not experienced in 8 years. I think we have a whole lot more to gain with the investment that is going into the auguration.

    January 19, 2009 at 6:13 pm |
  312. Virginia - from Alabama

    No...I think we desperately need a celebration! We have lived for two years with the bickering and arguments of the campaigns, and now is the time to take joy in the election of a decent and intelligent man who is actually bringing hope to the country, as promised. The world is watching... let's do a good job of it!

    January 19, 2009 at 6:13 pm |
  313. claire

    If I had it I would have payed $160 million dollars to be there tomorrow. This is a celebration, it is a security risk, and its worth every penny.

    January 19, 2009 at 6:13 pm |
  314. Ken

    In light of a sour economy, does the exhuberant media coverage send the wrong message?

    January 19, 2009 at 6:13 pm |
  315. john hart syracuse ny

    Jack, can you put a price on history?

    January 19, 2009 at 6:13 pm |
  316. Randall Fitzgerald


    I think that Obama's celebration is just what the country needs. It's sort of a coming together and a new beginning. I think the country needs some lifting up and somethiing to loook forward to especially given the current state of the economy. It should be viewed as a rallying cry for the nation. A call for everyone to do their part.

    January 19, 2009 at 6:13 pm |
  317. Jerry Domi

    Oh yes it does however, it's like most wasted money spent in Washington, the politicians don't have to explain it until the next election.

    January 19, 2009 at 6:13 pm |
  318. Stephen from Laguna Naguel

    Hell yes! And it clearly shows that even before Day One, they are not in touch with the American People. So, what's going to change, anyway? Wasn't what this election was all about or has everyone forgotten already?

    January 19, 2009 at 6:13 pm |
  319. babygirl

    No really, it is ok because this is our FIRST AFRICAN AMERICAN to become PRESIDENT of the UNITED STATES what is wrong with that. We need to celebrate no matter how much it cost.


    January 19, 2009 at 6:13 pm |
  320. Bryan Cash

    This is a time of celebration, a time of change, and a mark in history. A celebration of this magnitude doesn't send the wrong message, it energizes the American people. It let's us feel like we apart of the victory, and with that we then go back to our lives, and our jobs, with a sense of renewed energy. We need to have a little fun, and celebrate the good times, because there are a lot of hard times ahead. Eat Drink and Be Merry America.

    January 19, 2009 at 6:13 pm |
  321. Roxanne

    Umm...YES! I thought we were broke? I guess not. So um...Someone should come help me pay my bills.

    January 19, 2009 at 6:13 pm |
  322. Karl Stier

    After paying eight years worth of taxes during the Bush administration's follies, yes, I'm okay with a celebration. God forbid people actually feel like they are taking part of something good happening in Washington.

    January 19, 2009 at 6:13 pm |
  323. Peggy Richardson

    Yes, I think it does send the wrong message, although I am proud that President Elect Obama is being sworn in as President, I thought he might try to curtail some the extravagant parties, etc.

    January 19, 2009 at 6:13 pm |
  324. Keith Blake

    I think it absolutely sends the wrong message. I'm as much a democrat as anything else, primarily because of the pro-people, pro-middle-class message they seem to be for. However, this inauguration is WORSE than more of the same. It's the government spending the money of the people to put on a concert. There are other ways to highlight this occasion's historic significance.

    January 19, 2009 at 6:13 pm |
  325. Steve Canada

    This is a historic moment for your country and all Americans..All of us need something to change the mood right now..The money spent will give more benefits than the money that has been inhaled by the banks and auto companies that has not shown any tangible benefits to the majority of Americans..Spend it and Enjoy the moment....Congatulations to you allll!!!!!

    January 19, 2009 at 6:13 pm |
  326. John W

    We need to show the world that Barrack Obama is the kind of person we aspire to be, caring and inclusive.

    January 19, 2009 at 6:13 pm |
  327. Donna MacKinney

    Seems like this is the apples to oranges comparison referred to on the Media Matters website at http://mediamatters.org/columns/200901170003?f=h_top .
    According to the details in this article, the last Bush inauguration cost $157 million...not that different, is it?

    January 19, 2009 at 6:13 pm |
  328. Jennifer

    Yes very wrong message.. We are being preached at by the experts to budget and prepare for a tough 2009 but Goverment gets to take our money and party. Obama missed a great opportunity to show America how fiscally responsible his Administration is going to be and still had an unforgettable Inauguration.

    January 19, 2009 at 6:13 pm |
  329. Carol

    No Jack I don't think it sends the wrong message. To me the message it sends is that many people have donated funds to help make this a big celebration and look forward to our new administration and President.

    This is a historic event that has changed millions of peoples outlook of our future for many reasons. If we feel like giving money to celebrate and mark this historic event in a big way, it's because it's such a big deal for us.


    January 19, 2009 at 6:13 pm |
  330. Charlotte allen

    If this wonderful, not felt before, positive energy has a cost........ worth it. This wonderful country is finally unifying. We will take care of business on Wednesday. God bless America!!

    January 19, 2009 at 6:13 pm |
  331. Brendan Collins, New York, NY

    As someone that voted for Obama based on his words of change I am quite concerned on what is taking place pertaining to this Inauguration. I can certainly understand the enormity of this moment however for one who preaches such change I am VERY saddened to see him more than happy to oblige with the costs of this celebration. God Bless him and America but who is being represented here? ELITISTS just like the past 8 yeARS.

    January 19, 2009 at 6:13 pm |
  332. Molly Gallagher

    Doesn't bother me a bit – $160 million is a small investment in America and the world and the renewed hope that all feel for the future. If we don't like it, let Congress regulate it and impose limits; otherwise, it's freedom of expression by donors and contributors, of which I am proud to be one.

    MG – sitting in the Phila Int'l Airport

    January 19, 2009 at 6:13 pm |
  333. Natalie Wilson

    Are you kidding me? After the last 8 years, we deserve this party. And frankly after the 200 years + our country has bled to accomplish, this is a priceless celebration of hope and the American Dream. The price tag is nothing compared to the lives and the sweat that have been given to create this moment in history.

    January 19, 2009 at 6:13 pm |
  334. Michelle

    Given the historical nature of the inauguration I don't think the extravagance is over the top. In a way I think it is needed to help pump people up to get us thinking and believing, yes there is hope and I am willing to do my part. I think it sends the right message.

    Michelle from Maryland

    January 19, 2009 at 6:13 pm |
  335. Heather

    I think America needs something to celebrate right now. We'll be back to money crunching on Wednesday. Let us have a few days of excitement and celebration for the end of 8 bad years and the beginning of our more hopeful future.

    January 19, 2009 at 6:13 pm |
  336. todd

    Does it even matter, Jack? I didn't vote for either one. This is the same old story, find something new out the day before it happens, leaving no time to change it. Screw wall street!!!They do it to us every few years. Move along folks nothing to see here.

    January 19, 2009 at 6:13 pm |
  337. Teneika Gravely

    No. This does not send a wrong message. This is a historical even and deserves to be celebrated. You said that you wanted money circulated back into the economy and this is how many donors have choosen to do so. I think it's great that we as a country can show this amount of support for our future president.

    January 19, 2009 at 6:13 pm |
  338. Stephanie

    Are you kidding with this quesiton? We are celebrating history. We may never see again a time such as this. Yes, the economy is still in ruins, yes we are still at war but we have HOPE now. Remember the message.....Barack Obama stands for that! No one has forgotten what we face in the coming months and years.
    Let us have this historic day in peace with no talk of democrats or republicans or deficits or bailouts. Thanks for reading!

    January 19, 2009 at 6:13 pm |
  339. Matt

    Thank you Jack, for bringing this up! The fact that the democrats warned bush for doing hte exact same thing Obama did is sad. Its a waste, there shouldnt be ANY celebrations. In a country where money is so desperately needed in so many places, Obama should step up to the plate and do something GOOD with the money

    January 19, 2009 at 6:13 pm |
  340. David in Oregon

    The one thing people seem to forget is that this is not "money out the window" or even "money into the pockets of billionaires."

    This is money going into the pockets of security guards, caterers, florists, bakers, waiters, etc. Everyday working people like you and me.

    January 19, 2009 at 6:13 pm |
  341. Rob

    After the misery we've had to endure for 8 years of the feckless elite pandering to the equally feckless elite I think the attempt to bring in as many people to this historic event is worth a little expense. Christ, it's a drop in the bucket to what they've given to the people who cause all of our pain and they've only used their payouts to pad their own pockets.

    Don't look for controversy where it just isn't Jack.

    January 19, 2009 at 6:13 pm |
  342. Jide

    I think so, while it is permissible to spend as much as necessary for the inauguration, it is still expidient to communicate the dire situation of economcy and put that in perspective.

    Jide , Boston MA

    January 19, 2009 at 6:13 pm |
  343. M.A. Rahman

    This is a celebration of change and of looking toward a new day. It is a celebration for the people who are and will be inspired to do more in service of our country. No, It is not too much..just look at the faces of the people and the tears of joy.

    January 19, 2009 at 6:13 pm |
  344. Lynne from Dumfries, VA

    This is the first African-American president ever elected. There will be only one first. I think that people of African descent everywhere want to celebrate this breaking of the color barrier in the US. Some of the costs were necessary due to the high number of people that want to attend. What part of the cost is President Elect Obama actually responsible for?

    January 19, 2009 at 6:13 pm |
  345. steve

    i don't think it does because this is an extravagant evnt millions of americans have been waiting for.Also,in these times,people are not really thinking about the prices,the just see a historical event.

    January 19, 2009 at 6:13 pm |
  346. Michael

    Absolutely it sends the wrong message, but its just part of the hypocrisy that is the left wing. Do you think Bono, Bruce Springsteen, and Oprah "jetpooled" to DC for the week or let their individual jets emit tons of Carbon? What about those massive screens and speakers and lights? People are excited enough just to see President-elect Obama sworn in, is the extravagance really necessary economically and environmentally?

    January 19, 2009 at 6:13 pm |
  347. Laura from LA, CA

    The price tag on this inaugeration is what – $100,000,000 more than has ever been spent in the past? I'm appalled.

    January 19, 2009 at 6:13 pm |
  348. John, Boston, MA

    Hey Jack, I thought you out of all people would have done better research. The 160 million dollar figure is unsubstantiated. NOT ONE media outlet has cited a source for their number. Anyone who has tried to make sense of this number points to the high costs of security being a major reason that it is so high. So using that logic...if the same standards are applied to George W.'s 2004 Inauguration then the numbers would be pretty much the same.

    Your numbers are unsubstantiated. Shotty journalism is something I would never expect from you.

    January 19, 2009 at 6:13 pm |
  349. Jonathan, Los Angeles

    Love you, Jack, but disagree with you today, Ever heard the old saying, "Sometimes you have to spend money to make money"? The country is in need of hope these days. ...Hope that will encourage, motivate, and soothe our weary hearts and minds after these last 8 years. A big party is just the thing. We all know there is work to do in the months and years ahead, give us a chance to celebrate that help is on way, finally!

    January 19, 2009 at 6:13 pm |
  350. Darryl Edington in Eagle Point, Oregon

    Since the money is being spent here in America, why don't we just consider it a mini-economic stimulus package, and a major spiritual stimulus effort?

    January 19, 2009 at 6:13 pm |
  351. Gwen Caranchini

    Absolutely not. We are celebrating a once in a lifetime event. And we are also celebrating the end of 30 years of hands off government started with Reagan with a bang and ending with Bush II with a whimper. A little extravagance FOR THE People is what we need. As for the wall streeters paying for it–why not. As mom used to say, what goes around comes around. How sweet it is

    January 19, 2009 at 6:13 pm |
  352. clarenoi

    And you would suggest what? Tone it down? Make it less of what it is in the name of what? Cheese and crackers? No security? Fewer balls? C'mon, Jack. Lighten up.

    January 19, 2009 at 6:13 pm |
  353. David Peppi from Wilkes Barre, PA

    Absolutely not, there is only one first time. We are witnessing history before our own eyes and it should be celebrated. What was the daily amount of money spent in Iraq for how many years? It's OK to spend a little on ourselves for a change.

    January 19, 2009 at 6:13 pm |
  354. THamilton

    We will NEVER have another 1st African American President!! This country owes it to itself to celebrate such a major accomplishment. Obama is a master fundraiser. Give him a year and he'll raise the money to pay us back, if it's that big of a deal.


    January 19, 2009 at 6:13 pm |
  355. David Krohn

    The expense spent on the inauguration is a lot, but in this time of trouble, Obama needs to bring the country together and hear his message. This may be what it takes to get everyone listening.

    January 19, 2009 at 6:13 pm |
  356. Don

    Hey Jack ! Expense? It's our country, we're celebrating !! We're gonna make it !! Come join in the celebration !!


    January 19, 2009 at 6:13 pm |
  357. Els Williams

    This Inauguration might welll be thebest monies spent compared to the stupid bank bailouts where the CEO's are still getting their bonuses.
    Barack Obama gives us hope where as the banks are increasing our APR's on our credit cards for no reason!

    January 19, 2009 at 6:13 pm |
  358. Brandon Rooks

    It would send the wrong message, however what has been failed to mention is that Barack Obama and his pic2009.org has raised more than $35 million. So he is fronting some of the bill.

    January 19, 2009 at 6:13 pm |
  359. Elizabeth

    We need a few days of celebration. This has clearly motivated people, not just across our country, but the world. We finally have a day to be excited, honored, proud and hopeful. We have been brought together and feel hopeful. Those alone are worth more than any dollar.

    January 19, 2009 at 6:13 pm |
  360. sharon

    Sure it sends a wrong message to those of us out hee working 2 jobs trying to survive! Take part of that money and giving to working class.We can't affored to go to McDonald's let alone PARTY!!

    January 19, 2009 at 6:13 pm |
  361. Joe Smith

    Yes, it sends the wrong message. Imagine what would happen if they took all that money they are wasting and give it to small companies that are going under. Or, heaven forbid they give that money to Americans that can't heat their homes this winter. There is only one color anymore that matters. Gold... They have it and we don't.

    January 19, 2009 at 6:13 pm |
  362. Robert Pegg

    Not this time. We all need something special for a special time

    January 19, 2009 at 6:13 pm |
  363. Eugene

    Absolutely. They are trulying rubbing this in our faces. Suck that last sources of wealth out of the economy, handing it over to the corporate elite who funded their rise to power and then they recipricate the return RIGHT IN OUR FACES!!!!! with this over the top inauguration. wake up people. please wake up!!!

    January 19, 2009 at 6:13 pm |
  364. Betty

    It is enough to make me want to throw up. My nephew has lost his job after being with a furniture company for 15 years. My other nephew is a salesman and earns only a commission. Therefore, no sales, no money. We can't re-finance our home because it has lost value since we purchased it. We've lost over 30% of our retirement funds. Yet Obama is spending four times what President Bush did four years ago–millions of dollars. Don't people know what all those extra 0s mean? It's disgusting when our men and women are endangering their lives and living in tents in 100 degree weather that all these fat cats and Hollywood types are yucking it up!

    January 19, 2009 at 6:13 pm |
  365. David Sommerville

    It's definitely a matter of perspective. Supporters of Obama view him as a messiah figure, so any expenditure is warranted and justified. For those who do not support him, it is view as extravagant and wasteful. The media OBAMAGASM is what is so shocking.

    January 19, 2009 at 6:13 pm |
  366. Nicholas Arnold


    You seem to forget that the biggest reason why this inauguration is so expensive is because the of sheer numbers of Americans who will be celebrating in D.C. You're whining about 160 million dollars? How about turn your anger on the cost of our stupid wars?

    January 19, 2009 at 6:13 pm |
  367. Ryan

    Does celebrating the making of history send the wrong message? What, are you nuts? 10 billion dollars a month for a pointless war sends the wrong message to me

    January 19, 2009 at 6:13 pm |
  368. Gary

    If people knew the cost you list and the unstated cost (people taking off work and lost productivity), I think they may have voted differently. The expense in this time of hardship for so many in our country is rediculous.

    January 19, 2009 at 6:13 pm |
  369. Jay

    Although we are in alot of crisis in our country, I do feel that in this time, it may be appropriate to have something extravagant like the inaguration since this is a major transitional time in our country not only in peril, but leadership. Also, where do you get your dry humor from? It could help the economy.

    January 19, 2009 at 6:13 pm |
  370. Robert Albee

    As close as I can tell the government is delaying my VA. disability
    payment so as to have a little more cash for the inauguration.

    January 19, 2009 at 6:13 pm |
  371. Fred Rutledge

    no, live it up

    and if brokers on wall street want to donate
    let them

    I don't suffer from that whole
    "I'm too proud to take something from someone"

    fool and his money....

    take their money and then propose more stock market regulations!!!

    January 19, 2009 at 6:13 pm |
  372. jward

    First of all, we don't really know for sure what the final cost is, who is paying for what, etc. Every inauguration costs a lot and much of it is paid by donors. Second, how much does one day of the Iraq war, which has been going on for 6 years, cost? Cafferty–don't rain on this parade.

    January 19, 2009 at 6:13 pm |
  373. Beni, from Marion, Ohio

    Come on now Jack. As a young black youth in America, this inauguration is very important to me. And if we need to spend $160 million to celebrate, so be it. Oh yeah, in the words of Mr. Jenkins, "My president is black, my lambo is blue!"

    January 19, 2009 at 6:13 pm |
  374. Suzanne Wood

    Oh my gosh, people! Wake up and smell the $150,000,000 coffee! This is only the beginning of the spending and wasting that will be going on from this liberal over the next four years. You say a big party is necessary to oust Bush...he'd go even if Obama blew up three balloons and showed up in a UHaul. WE DON'T NEED A PARTY. OUR ECONOMY IS IN THE TOILET. STOP CELEBRATING AND GET TO WORK, MR OBAMA!

    January 19, 2009 at 6:13 pm |
  375. G.Coleman

    Simple and sweet -YES wrong message. Can't spend money yoU don't have.

    January 19, 2009 at 6:13 pm |
  376. More And Again

    Well Jack, what better way to bolster confidence in the economy than to spend? Employ security who otherwise might not get paid this month. And I can't think of a better reason to celebrate.

    January 19, 2009 at 6:13 pm |
  377. Cara Lee Evans

    Personally I cannot think of a time when this kind of celebration would be more appropriate. Toning it down will not help the economy because the donations would never be made to help anyone else anyway, however, just the services, products and sales will help promote the economy with all the people who are participating. I say let the good times roll and celebrate in a way that tells the world "this is an exceptional man for an exceptional time"....Praise the Lord!!! What a glorious time for the black people of America and the world...I celebrate with them. I love this so much!

    January 19, 2009 at 6:13 pm |
  378. Jim

    Are you kidding with that question.....why don't you guys do your homework and see how much Bush spent on his two shindigs.....and then ask how much the last 8 years have cost us....do even go there with that lame question

    January 19, 2009 at 6:14 pm |
  379. Carrie, Houston, Texas

    An extravagant inauguration may indeed give the wrong message over our sour economy, but like everything today, it tries to cover up the real problem. Through the extravagance of history being made, the whole economy crisis is put behind the curtain. Just for a moment, for a little moment, forget what the real problem is.
    Give hope to the American people, hope for something better. Even if the message is bad, it is probably what the American people need to prevent from going crazy.

    January 19, 2009 at 6:14 pm |
  380. Seth Riseman

    The unprecedented meaning of this momentous occasion demands an equally momentous celebration. The country needs to celebrate the change that was enabled by Obama's election.

    January 19, 2009 at 6:14 pm |
  381. Kathleen OConnell

    From where did you get the 160 million dollar number? I heard it was floated by the AP and Republicans. There has been no detail or itemization offered along with this bogus number. from AP or you. This random number seems to be presented to make Obama appear hypocritical. C'mon Jack, I thought you were one of the smart ones, and more importantly, one of the objective ones. Please don't try to manipulate us, we've had eight years of that.

    January 19, 2009 at 6:14 pm |
  382. Shauna Sperle

    I think its a disgrace to this country to be spending all this money on something that is above and beyond what anybody needs. It makes me sick to know there are men, women and children starving on out streets while this money is being spent like its nothing. Our country needs to wake up and realize we are the ones who need to help not promote the trouble that is going on – we all did this and continue to do it.

    January 19, 2009 at 6:14 pm |
  383. Dawn from Arizona

    The Bush inaugurations were designed to be enjoyed only by the wealthy, powerful elites. The Obama inauguration is a celebration of ordinary Americans. George Bush and his cronies held parties for the rich and famous and beautiful people. Barack Obama is accommodating regular, ordinary Americans, millions of whom have traveled across the country to share in this historic, seminal moment.

    For those of you who are complaining about the Obama inauguration... what would you do? Turn away the millions who came to DC to share in the historic celebration? Accommodating the little people, the every day Joes is exactly the right thing to do.

    January 19, 2009 at 6:14 pm |
  384. Tom in Iowa

    Obama will be the first African-American President in this nations history, it will NEVER happen again. I believe the people are due one day of extravagance, after all the bail-outs and wasted money over the past eight years, one day of extravagance will not hurt us, and perhaps it will help lift the spirits of some down and out Americans.

    Tom in Iowa

    January 19, 2009 at 6:14 pm |
  385. Charlene

    This isn't sending the wrong message because he is doing it for the people. He is the President for the people so he wants the people to be able to experience such a historic time with him.

    January 19, 2009 at 6:14 pm |
  386. Andrea

    This is a celebratory mood that has been long over-due...a morale booster! Americans needed a recharging after the last 8 years of war, deficit and neglected cities. I don't have a ticket to the ceremony, ball, or parade; but would brave the traffic just to be there tomorrow.

    Andrea in Bel Air, MD

    January 19, 2009 at 6:14 pm |
  387. Smurfs

    remember, we do have to spend money to make money, or so I'm told.

    January 19, 2009 at 6:14 pm |
  388. Elizabeth

    Extravagant Inauguration–I would say so. Seems more like a corination to me. Yes, of course the ceremony is necessary but I think $160 million is about $159 million too much. He says we must cut back–why hasn't he??

    January 19, 2009 at 6:14 pm |
  389. Dena G Garcia

    Your comments sound like "sour grapes" to me. Maybe Wall St is just trying to stay the executioner's hand.

    January 19, 2009 at 6:14 pm |
  390. rudolph ansah,Ohio

    I dont think so Jack.After all the number of people attending will pay for its cost.

    January 19, 2009 at 6:14 pm |
  391. Teri

    I think the country is so relieved that the corrupt Bush administration is finally leaving. People want to celebrate getting rid of Bush and having a new president who is not only the first African-American president, but also a seemingly intelligent, morale man. He is inspiring and I think it's time we had something to celebrate!

    January 19, 2009 at 6:14 pm |
  392. David W.

    This is a historic event lets celibrate it to the fullest. Its time to start spending the money if you got it, you cant live in fear. Plenty of people are having trouble but its time to stop listing to what the press has been saying and look at your own personal finance.

    January 19, 2009 at 6:14 pm |
  393. Lance (Florida)

    Lighten Up Jack,

    Republicans squander Billions on their Parties (& War Games).
    Democrats only spend Millions on Parties (& U.S Social Programs)

    Democrats are a bargain for the common people.


    January 19, 2009 at 6:14 pm |
  394. Arielle

    This is the toughest question you've asked us in a while! Wow, hard to say. It is the most memorable day of my life as an American thus far, seeing the very first black president sworn in to the highest public office!

    Due to our country being so divided, we do need the extra security; and, we need to protect the millions of people who are heading to DC to see this amazing event; but, wow... I sit here home, unemployed, job hunting online, and wondering where I will end up in a month's time without a paycheck.

    I can honestly say, I'm not upset by the money spent on this event for Obama (he deserves it); but, I do wish I had some of it to pay my rent. I am upset to hear the bail-out recipients are donors! How dare they donate anything right now, to anyone! They need to hire back employees and get this economy back on track! Ugh.

    Arielle Haze
    Glendale, CA

    January 19, 2009 at 6:14 pm |
  395. Leonard Novick

    Did you see the energy, love and spirit of hope and inspiration yesterday on the Mall, Jack? When was the last time our country has been able to feel so jubilant about our leader and about ourselves? No, Jack, let's party as if something like this has never happened! Hey, wait. Something like this has never happened!

    Leonard, American in Amsterdam, NL

    January 19, 2009 at 6:14 pm |
  396. Debby Risley

    No it doesn't send thw wrong message. First of all it will bring a much needed boost of excitement and joy to the public, something to look forward to and talk about and remember instead of the normal every day dpepressing talk of a recession. Secondly, the bulk of the cost is coming from selling the rights to tv stations. Also, Obama's supporters have raised close to 4o million dollars for it.

    January 19, 2009 at 6:14 pm |
  397. Paulina Williams

    Normally, I would say yes but this is such a historic event. A turning point in the life of our country. I can't begrudge us as a nation the opportunity to show our togetherness to the world in grand style. After the last 8 years we have endured...we deserve a celebration!

    January 19, 2009 at 6:14 pm |
  398. John Petkus

    I think that Mr. Obama's extravagance is highly indicative of what we should NOT be doing as a nation, namely spending hard earned resources on frivolities when others are in need. While I understand that the bailed out Wall Street is paying for much of the extravagance, it hardly seems fair that they are the same who asked for our coin. That the new President should buy into this is very disappointing.

    January 19, 2009 at 6:14 pm |
  399. Joey Cipriano

    I've not heard anything about massive fireworks or steak tar-tar being served to the crowd. It's no different than a family who has nothing to their name but will put as much as they can into one special moment in their lives. For one day, lets not turn this into money and politics. For one day, lets look at this this day as one of the greatest days in American history.

    January 19, 2009 at 6:14 pm |
  400. Kaye in SC

    We are in recession right now, but we are celebrating hope and change. Something we all have been looking forward to for a long time...it's worth it.

    January 19, 2009 at 6:14 pm |
  401. Sand


    The nation needs this. Not only has Obama contributed significantly to the inauguration, he is using it as an opportunity to promote community and volunteerism – the value of this effort will far outweigh the costs of the inauguration. America is becoming a family – they need to celebrate the union.


    January 19, 2009 at 6:14 pm |
  402. Jay from Florida

    Of course not! This is a historic moment for America. It should be celebrated fully.

    January 19, 2009 at 6:14 pm |
  403. Mark - Anchorage, AK.

    Well Jack I would have been more impressed had Obama stated "Look we'll do this whole party thing once we have our economy back on track" and just be sworn in at the oval office. Honestly I'm not holding my breath, I hear he's taking out the bowling alley Nixon had put into the White House in favor of a basketball court, yep that's responsible spending at its finest.

    January 19, 2009 at 6:14 pm |
  404. Jalissa Meredith

    No. I believe as Americans, we NEED actually NEED ALL the bells and whistles of this inauguration. 2008 has been a EXTREMELY rough year for us, and many people need to finally feel a little joy and happiness on this Inaugural Day.

    January 19, 2009 at 6:14 pm |
  405. Hilary

    Jack - Although the cost of the inauguration may seem extravagant, the celebration of Obama's inauguration will herald in (hopefully!) a new era of service, responsibility, and accountability. So, maybe what we all need in these tough times is a celebration of hope and optimism. Besides, doesn't the war in Iraq cost something like $12 billion a month?

    Hilary, Charlotte, NC

    January 19, 2009 at 6:14 pm |
  406. Lee Anne Sorto

    I would normally say yes~definitely! However, all inaugural balls are paid for by inaugural fund raising and many of the events over last weekend have been non-government funding. If citizens want to donate money for these festivities it is their choice. It would be irresponsible of the government to estimate 1-4million people to be in DC for tomorrow's ceremony and NOT provide basic services such as sanitation and police presence.

    January 19, 2009 at 6:14 pm |
  407. Bina

    Going all out for the inauguration of the first African American President does not send the wrong message. We have this honor of experiencing a first major national event only once in a lifetime. Every penny spent for this celebration is a penny well spent

    January 19, 2009 at 6:14 pm |
  408. Joan from the Midwest

    As a person of color – YES! I think it sends the wrong message! The Dems chewed on Pres. George for his party so I think the golden boy of the moment should proceed with caution. The party is one night, the first term is 4 years; The honey moon will sour quickly if results are not forth coming and this may come back to bite him.

    January 19, 2009 at 6:14 pm |
  409. Laura C.

    To be honest, I'm surprised that the many celebrities that are participating have not made a bigger contribution. Or do they figure their presence is contribution enough? Were they paid to appear?

    Also, I disagree with the "mulatto" statement. It's an outdated term that people don't really use anymore, and I don't think it's appropriate.

    January 19, 2009 at 6:14 pm |
  410. Amber, Orlando

    You dern right it sends the wrong message. This guy is a phony. He talks a good talk, but where's the walk? Oh, that's right....he's a politician too. I think we were all fooled for awhile there.

    Hardworking Americans are going without healthcare, losing our homes, losing our jobs, filing bankruptcy, eating $1 cheeseburgers from McDonalds....and Obama and his crue are spending $160M. But, rest assured, nobody will say a word against it....after all....its the King, the Messiah, and lets not forget he's black and everyone is scared to criticize anything he does. No one wants to be branded a racist for simply stating the obvious- this is WRONG!

    (I think this is the 1st time I've ever agreed w/ you on something Jack).

    January 19, 2009 at 6:14 pm |
  411. C. Days

    Absolutely not. This is a historic event – one a long time in the making. With so much doom and gloom, the hope this administration inspires is something to celebrate.

    This celebration is the jumping off point for not just a new administration but for the chance for a new country. Generations of people – from all over the country – are re-inspired and re-invigorated. That deserves celebrating!

    January 19, 2009 at 6:14 pm |
  412. Greg in Davis, CA

    Pipe down Jack. After 8 years of the Boob-in-Chief, it's about time the country celebrated something. If it makes you feel any better, we can call it the celebration for the departure of the Bush administration. We can give the Obama administration $1.00 for every IQ point higher that W's. That is money well spent!! By the way, if you're pulling that information from Associated Press, I have one question for both of you... who's the source???

    January 19, 2009 at 6:14 pm |
  413. Dexter

    While our economy is already trillions of dollars deep in debt, $160 million is just a small price that the American people can pay for celebrating this pivotal point in our history. So SPEND the $160 million now, because with this democratic government we shall recover. Obama says that it may not be in one year or one term, but WE SHALL OVERCOME!

    January 19, 2009 at 6:14 pm |
  414. christopher Rubin

    It is absolutely extravagant and out of line. If the president elect wants to set a good example he would hold down the cost. It is nothing but another case of "Do as I say, not as I do". Please, will things ever truly change!!!!!

    January 19, 2009 at 6:14 pm |
  415. Colin

    I don't think it sends the wrong message at all. This is a historical event and the crowds are expected to be larger than ever. Because of this there's a higher cost for porter potties, security and other things to keep President-Elect Obama and the crowds safe. He raised money for the concerts and train ride, but some of the things are necessities and you can't help but have to dish out money for them. Plus it's a big stepping stone for our country, hopefully everyone is finally over the issues of race, religion,etc. and are finally seeing that all people are truly created equal. This is a big celebration for the U.S. and the rest of the World. Obama is becoming our new President and George Bush is finally gone.

    January 19, 2009 at 6:14 pm |
  416. Tim Rothwell

    Of course it does.. how many of the 2 Million people who are going to attend this great event in the mall and who are the real fans will be invited to inauguration balls..I suspect none..I think we have forgotten that the richest party and memebrs of congress today are the Democrats.. strange Irony...

    January 19, 2009 at 6:14 pm |
  417. Chris

    I believe Obama's swearing in represents a huge ray of hope for america and is worthy of celebration.Therefore,it sends the right message.Let us not forget the money Bush has wasted throughout his 8 years in office.Obama's inauguration is pennies by comparison.

    January 19, 2009 at 6:14 pm |
  418. charlie como

    Our country is so hungry for hope that no expense can be too much. A bunch of my students are on site to witness the beginning of our countries' living up to its promises, kids who, until now, doubted the possibility.

    January 19, 2009 at 6:14 pm |
  419. Arlene Schlosser

    No, No, No. It is needed for this country to heal from the last eight years.

    January 19, 2009 at 6:14 pm |
  420. Fran

    Let's be negative on Wednesday, ok? No, the cost isn't an issue...hello? The first black President of the United States? Shall we act like it is an ugly secret? Heck, no...he's black and he's proud!! and we are proud of him....blacks, whites – Americans!!

    January 19, 2009 at 6:14 pm |
  421. Tom

    If the inauguration restores confidence in the people, then it will serve to be a good investment in America's economy.

    January 19, 2009 at 6:14 pm |
  422. Kelly Pino

    We need to celebrate – a president coming in who, I feel confident, will have we the people in mind ahead of they the huge business interests, who will actually defend the constitution rather than bend it to his will – and all that money is going into someone's paycheck, paying someone's bills. I will be watching every minute tomorrow from Texas.

    January 19, 2009 at 6:14 pm |
  423. Jennie Savage

    No it doesn't. This is a special day and more so because it's Barak Obama who is being inaugurated. it is wonderful to see all the happy enthusiastic faces enjoying the best that this country has to offer and I see it as part of the hope for better days that Barak is offering.

    January 19, 2009 at 6:14 pm |
  424. Chris Matthews

    Cafferty...you're missing the point of the big celebration. This is a historical event that most of us thought we would not see in our lifetime. And the world is watching!

    January 19, 2009 at 6:14 pm |
  425. Jillian Gunn

    Absolutely not! This inaugeration is one that millions have dreamed of for so many years. This is more than a simple inaguration. People attending and celebrating and watching deserve the hoopla of 45 years of bowl games, 4th of Julys, Super Bowl half-times, Olympic extravaganzas.

    Jack, lighten up. Have you not dreamed the dream?

    January 19, 2009 at 6:14 pm |
  426. Gary Beasley

    The Inauguration celebration is a celebration of more than just that of a Democrat, but that of a change in US History! Despite the fact that "Wall Street" are the contributors to this celebration- it's for the United States of America, not the Blue States or the Democrats or anything other than a celebration of change and for change.

    I only wish I could be there!

    January 19, 2009 at 6:14 pm |
  427. Martha Hanson

    Can we, PLEASE, as a country, have just one day of unadulterated joy without this carping, devisive baloney?

    January 19, 2009 at 6:14 pm |
  428. onnye

    At least the american people know where the money is going. With Bush & his cohorts, only the rich were benefiting. The american people deserve this celebration and were happy..

    January 19, 2009 at 6:14 pm |
  429. Tony Peterson

    A recession is important, but must be put in the perspective of this momentous historical occasion. Let the people celebrate!

    January 19, 2009 at 6:14 pm |
  430. MSG Karl Heyliger (US Army Retired)

    I do not think so because every dollar spent goes into the US economy and it has put people to work preparing for the event. This is one job that was not outsourced.

    January 19, 2009 at 6:14 pm |
  431. yoyolite

    Are you kidding ! This inauguration is actually stimulating the economy. Thosae Barrack Obama keepsakes are generating millions of dollars. The joy on millions of people's faces are worth more than 150 million.

    January 19, 2009 at 6:14 pm |
  432. Michael Holtz

    That this is the most expensive inauguration in history absolutely sends the wrong message. If a Republican were being sworn in tomorrow your network and the Democratic Party would be all over him/her and the Inaugural Committee. In fact, that exact thing happened four years ago when George W. second inaugural "topped out" at $43 million. Still, the media in general are celebrating this joyous occasion without–until now–questioning the price tag. I am excited about this moment in history, too, but this excess in a time when people are losing their jobs and companies are shutting their doors every day smacks a little like oligarchy.

    January 19, 2009 at 6:14 pm |
  433. Brian Plow

    It may to some, but you have to think about where this 160 million may be going. It is not disappearing but rather going into local, regional economies. Security requires staff, portable toilets requires rentals to regional companies, which also hire staff. All those people will be reaping some form of money for that event. They will then return to their homes, pay their bills, buy groceries, buy televisions, cars, etc. Those businesses will then reap benefits, hire people and so on. Regenerative spending is vital to our economy.

    January 19, 2009 at 6:14 pm |
  434. Thelma from Ohio

    Awww Jack, Don't be a party pooper. We have something to celebrate.
    A new day is dawning in Washington. We have hope again.

    January 19, 2009 at 6:14 pm |
  435. Steve W


    Yes, the price can be considered extravagant. However, this is history that will never be repeated. It should serve as an opportunity to show not just America, but the world how united and we the People can be, even when the country and the world are experiencing tough times. As the saying goes, United we stand, divided we fall. This is a time to stand tall and let the world know it.

    Steve W
    Palm Beach Florida

    January 19, 2009 at 6:14 pm |
  436. Paul

    $150 millions didn't go to Chicago or Hawaii. When we spend money, we are putting people to work. Amtrak workers will get pay check, contructors will get paycheck, electrician, real plumbers, carpenters, restaurants and hotels will get paychecks. Remember, this is a very slow time in Washington. To call back hotel and restaurent employees to work and get paid, it is more than STIMULUS...

    Chantilly, Virginia

    January 19, 2009 at 6:14 pm |
  437. Laura Stukel-McLean

    Due to the magnitude of the historical nature of this inauguration it would be as sad the economy not to celebrate.

    January 19, 2009 at 6:14 pm |
  438. Alisa, KS by way of MI

    First African American President, Bush on his way out, need I say more, celebrate, use my tax dollar for this!

    January 19, 2009 at 6:14 pm |
  439. Susan

    The celebrations are a real boost to our morale at this time

    January 19, 2009 at 6:14 pm |
  440. Denise

    I am a die hard Democrat and I voted Democrat, but nothing turned my stomach more than to see so much money spent on one man as I cry in heartache each night of how I am going to find a job to take care of my kids. It would have been better if the Obama crew had used that money to help his fellow Americans who have no idea how they are going to survive in the months ahead.

    January 19, 2009 at 6:14 pm |
  441. Jacob H from Riverside, CA

    If you want to go back further, look at LBJ's inaguration. It was extravagant and 1 million people witnessed it, but this was in the shadow of the Civil Rights Act, JFK's death, and the events leading to the Vietnam War
    45 years later, the same emotions are rampant. An economic crisis, 2 wars, and the impending death of Racist America. This is a time to celebrate, no doubt. If only to let people have a moment of pure happiness and joy, and to show the rest of the world that America is still strong and hopeful during a time in post 9/11 America

    January 19, 2009 at 6:14 pm |
  442. Roanna Martin

    I don't accept the premise of your question Jack. You are implying that the two inagurations are the same. Bush caused many of the situations that would call for a toned down celebration in '04 but Dems should not have to curtail our joy because Republicans cannot run our country effectively. As for wall street donors, at least that "trickle down" theory will have a chance to work . Since they are not loaning the money so at least workers and services get the fees for inaguration work. Ya know Jack I am starting to get the impression that you just like picking fights. As my old nemesis Bush would say, "bring it on."

    January 19, 2009 at 6:14 pm |
  443. Laura

    This inaguration is more than the swearing in of the 44th president. This inaguration celebration is for all of us "the people". We have watched our savings, our jobs and our homes crumble in front of us. We need change, hope, a "breath of newness". January 20th is the day where some of us feel like we can start to breathe again.

    January 19, 2009 at 6:14 pm |
  444. David

    Your comparison and criticism of inauguration costs is totally unfair. The vast majority of the difference is increased security costs, which is more than understandable given the crazy people out there and the threats that have already come in. How would you feel if something happened? Shame on you.

    January 19, 2009 at 6:14 pm |
  445. George

    There's a big difference between an extravagant inauguration for a few fat cats, and an inauguration for all Americans. This is the latter; a celebration.

    January 19, 2009 at 6:14 pm |
  446. Joe in DE

    Yes, it is a missed oppurtinyy to show responsibility and concern for the disadvantaged. It could have been handled much better.

    January 19, 2009 at 6:14 pm |
  447. dsiciliano

    although times are bad, the historical significance of this inauguration and to a greater extent the hopes for the future obama represents justify the cost.

    January 19, 2009 at 6:14 pm |
  448. Renee Nashville, TN

    Twenty years from now when I'm telling my grandchildren about this moment the last thing that will be on my mind is how much it cost. We have enough money to spend millions a day on a unwanted war wich has devistated millions of people. We should also have enough to celebrate history in the making. All work and no play? AMERICA, enjoy this celebration and know that you are getting your money's worth!!!

    January 19, 2009 at 6:14 pm |
  449. Jacqueline Corbett

    Doesn't ALL spending ... especially spending that's largely contributed to (or will be contributed to)... by the private sector... actually STIMULATE the economy and make it stronger?

    Conversely, doesn't holding back on spending actually SHRINK the economy?

    If that's the case, seems to me that the more money that's put into circulation via spending for the inauguration festivities is actually GOOD for the economy!

    Plus, having a lavish and festive inauguration is totally in keeping with the mood of the people... the mood of the nation... in celebrating this new president.

    I'm all for it!!

    January 19, 2009 at 6:14 pm |
  450. Rev. Steff

    You really kill me with these thought provoking questions, however, I love them anyway. No I do not think that spending money on an extravangant inauguration sends the wrong message, in fact when you really consider it, this extravagance has just created a gazillion jobs, and an influx of money into DC and surrounding states. There will be over 2 million people that will converge on DC, do we really have an economic issue? If 2 million people can afford to converge on DC to take part in a piece of history, if young children are being exposed to a piece of history, if black, white, asian, gay, straight, latino, disabled, and abled are walking side by side to witness this historic event, does money really matter???

    January 19, 2009 at 6:14 pm |
  451. yevette

    Since this happens to be a history making event I don't believe it is sending the wrong message. We should celebrate the first african ameriman president as well as the next 4 years without Bush!

    January 19, 2009 at 6:14 pm |
  452. Marber

    Does it send the wrong message? It sure as heck does. At a time of two wars, the stock market down, businesses going up the creek, layoffs on a daily basis, spending $140,000,000.00 to inaugurate the new President is disgusting. As is always asked, "What will all that money do if put toward education, medical care and the like?
    I understand that celebrating the first African/American who was elected President is the reason but still, all the inauguration really is, is a swearing in ceremony. This is a shameful waste of the peoples money just as the bailout is.

    January 19, 2009 at 6:14 pm |
  453. Charles from Decatur

    Yes it seems extravagant but only because I'm not their! lol sour gapes..

    January 19, 2009 at 6:15 pm |
  454. Jeralyn

    160 million is cheaper than reparations. America should be fine with this.

    January 19, 2009 at 6:15 pm |
  455. Rose

    Hey Jack,
    I really like your blog and tell Wolf he is the best. 2004 was Bush's 2nd term. 2008 is Obama's 1st term couple with the fact that it is historic. This moment can never be captured in time again so please let him...oops let us have a blast.

    January 19, 2009 at 6:15 pm |
  456. Paul in Nevada

    Jack, consider it a $160mil stimulus package.

    It's a stimulus for DC, Virginia, Maryland and the surrounding states, the food and beverage and tobacco industires, the airline industries and Amtrak, car rental agencies, the hospitality industry, the fuel insutries, retailers, clothiers, and other industires I haven't mentioned. Consider also all those extra people who will be hired on to assist with this massive event, many of whom might not be regularly employed.

    It is a moment of historical significance and impact. It's necessary and justified. The same as when a woman is sworn into that office.

    January 19, 2009 at 6:15 pm |
  457. Carl S Massey

    Yes, why does it cost so much for someone to accept a job with so many out of work? I have been taken down to 7hrs a day and my wife layed off indefinatly from GM, I would show you how to make good use of just the intrest for the money spent. Yes very bad idea on his part show us how he can do this on a budget, if he did that I would be impressed.

    January 19, 2009 at 6:15 pm |
  458. Kevin, NJ

    Even with the sour view of the economy in mind, this event means alot to so many people in the U.S. and all over the world. 4 years ago, Democrats gave Bush that advice because it WAS the wrong thing to do. Now, this is a celebration of not only history in the making, but a celebration of a very unpopular individual named George W. Bush leaving an office and position nobody is sad to see him leave. Sounds like the only thing thats sour is your view Mr. Cafferty.

    January 19, 2009 at 6:15 pm |
  459. Karen from Florida

    Why be such a grinch? We need some hope as we face the fierce urgency of now. America needs to celebrate the new day we all hope is dawning. Not all the money came from Wall Streeters-many others were happy to contribute to this most important American event.

    January 19, 2009 at 6:15 pm |
  460. Selma

    No..... This is an amazing time for our country. Let's celebrate America!

    Shutdown Iraq for one day....that should cover the cost of celebrating America.

    January 19, 2009 at 6:15 pm |
  461. Lou Ann Marrero

    The extra security required to handle the number of people in Washington is probably what's jacking up the cost of the inauguration. But because so many people have chosen to attend, let's let them enjoy it and the security that is necessary to protect them and the President.

    January 19, 2009 at 6:15 pm |
  462. Givonna

    I am glad he raised tthe money to cover the train trip. That has not been publicized.

    Had he not done these separated events, Washington would be even more difficult to handle. So the different events gives people a change to see him and celebrate. This is mega historic to boot!!!

    January 19, 2009 at 6:15 pm |
  463. Colt Hunter, Dallas, Texas

    Why don't we wait and have a celebration AFTER he's accomplished something? Kind of like giving the "physique-challenged" lady the bouquet of roses and shouts of brava before she sings ...

    January 19, 2009 at 6:15 pm |
  464. Lisa

    This is a momumental occasion that justifies the spending for this inaguration. This inaguration is for all of us and I believe the majority of people do not mind the cost for such a joyous day tomorrow.

    January 19, 2009 at 6:15 pm |
  465. Anthony Letayf

    Of course it does. The Government slaps the Motor City around regarding the bailout yet they don't have a problem spending $160 million on an inauguration. If they want to get after auto execs for taking private planes to D.C. then they should be as skeptical when it comes to an exorbitant amount of money for an inauguration! Double standard anyone?

    January 19, 2009 at 6:15 pm |
  466. Tinashe

    160 million seem a bit too much given the current Economic situation the US is going through, but then again this is not like any other inauguration. It is historic and people need to celebrate this event.

    January 19, 2009 at 6:15 pm |
  467. Stuart Little

    Sorry Jack – just another media hype. The $40 million figure for the Bush inauguration doesn't include the cost of security – wheras the $150,000+ figure quoted for Obama does. And while I'm on – what exactly does "could reach as high as..." mean? Give us facts, not speculation
    Stuart – Minnesota

    January 19, 2009 at 6:15 pm |
  468. Mark Jacobs

    The country must celebrate this historic moment and this inauguration ushers in a vast change of consciousness, where we are all called to give our best selves to this moment and every future moment. Who cares how much it costs – let's celebrate the new, let it lift our spirits. This inauguration is the really the emotional and spiritual bailout we need.

    January 19, 2009 at 6:15 pm |
  469. sheryl

    No I dont thin so. This is such an historical moment in time, it can't possibly cost too much. The blood of those before us is whats too costly. Jack, relax and enjoy history, and stop being a party pooper and grinch.

    January 19, 2009 at 6:15 pm |
  470. Centerville

    I understand your point regarding this expense and its timing. However, I believe that our nation needs a time to celebrate before having to dig in and tackle the problems that we face. The inauguration isn't about Mr. Obama...it is about all of us. We deserve a party after eight years of disaster.

    January 19, 2009 at 6:15 pm |
  471. Susan

    The inaugural dollars we're spending are finally going to be worth every penny. We're electing a President who is passionate, intelligent, and finally "gets it".
    I wonder if the fact that Bush's inaugural cost less is the reason we got an illiterate, arrogant, thief.

    Des Moines, IA

    January 19, 2009 at 6:15 pm |
  472. shelley gardham

    I believe that such an extraordinary event needs to be celebrated and such an occasion is not the right time to start tightening the belt. The citizens of the United States deserve this major pomp and circumstance as this is also a turning point for hope and promise.

    I am a Canadian but I share your excitement and hope for a bright future! Cheers to you!

    Shelley Gardham

    January 19, 2009 at 6:15 pm |
  473. Lario

    Absolutely! but it falls right in line with "we'll spend our way out of this economic mess" attitude. Don't they realize that the out of control spending is what caused the mess?

    January 19, 2009 at 6:15 pm |
  474. Bill Hyde

    No, Jack, It doesn't send the wrong message. It sends just the right message. The Inauguration is paid for mostly by rich folks who can contribute up to $50,000 with no corporate contributions allowed. What is this? It is a job creating, economy boosting stimulus package provided at no taxpayer expense (discounting the 1.2 mil for the ceremony and lunch) plus a tremendous boost for the Washington D.C. Economy. It's just what the rich should be doing!!!

    January 19, 2009 at 6:15 pm |
  475. Matt Emma from Philly

    Oh Please, though I cannot argue with the "one of our own" argument, however in the midst of a recession where all are fearful of spending (which is fuel for the beast), I think that this "extravagant" spending is fine, and perhaps necessary, to show the American people that we are still moving and still can function. Further, who are they spending this money? This "extravagant" celebration is being done for the people, who have been all over the news EXTREMELY excited, and appreciative, that this government supports their first black President and wish him well. Further, 8 years ago who would've shown up? I don't even remember the event being televised. I think the extravangance is justified by the hope and inspiration that this new President-Elect brings out in people.

    January 19, 2009 at 6:15 pm |
  476. Leslie McFarlane

    Please note that at least $120 million of that cost is for security – costs not counted when the Bush 2004 numbers are flashed on the screen. See, http://mediamatters.org/columns/200901170003
    Further, when is the last time Bush got the public involved in the celebration – an American celebration – like Obama has? Did Bush do community work the day before his inaguration?

    January 19, 2009 at 6:15 pm |
  477. Roo

    No, it doesn't send the wrong message. All that money is going right into the local economy–we should count ourselves lucky the whole thing wasn't outsourced offshore.

    January 19, 2009 at 6:15 pm |
  478. DMM, Illinois

    For the state of our economy, I believe they may be going over the top.

    January 19, 2009 at 6:15 pm |
  479. John DeBow

    Normally, I would be concerned about the cost of the inauguration. Not this time! It is a low price to pay, even in these terrible economic times, for what it is doing to unite the nation.

    January 19, 2009 at 6:15 pm |
  480. Ron from Millville NJ

    The historical nature of this inauguration trumps the economic situation. It would be inappropriate not to celebrate this milestone in US history in grand fashion. Obama has himself raised 40 million and will probably raise more before this is all over. We need to keep the image that America is tested not diminished by the crisis. To pinch pennies on an inauguration of such significance would send the wrong message.

    Consider this not only a national event but rather an international one. The world is celebrating Obama and the hope and intelligence he represents. The world is looking for us to take the lead at this time and it believes that this man has the wherewithal to inspire us all to build together a future the whole world can be proud of.

    January 19, 2009 at 6:15 pm |
  481. Joyce

    It is sad. I am a Republican but WAS sincerely hoping Obama would suceed in his efforts to help the country. His first grade is an F. It is truely disgusting how the egos of politicians trump everything of any real concern or value. I am embarrassed that the rest of the world will see this today and tomorrow. It does not make me proud.

    January 19, 2009 at 6:15 pm |
  482. Timothy L. Berry

    Are you kidding? Come on, the biggest event ever to befall this great country,the ushering in of someone who proves that America is not all talk. We are who we say;;;;the greatest,freeest country on good ole earth....I say,let it rip,,then down to work. Frankliunville.NJ

    January 19, 2009 at 6:15 pm |
  483. Kelly

    At a time where we are facing so much in our economy, the American sitizens should find a sense of pride in a historical inauguration. While the costs are nonetheless extravagent, a piece of history is unfolding before us....let the moment be momentous!

    January 19, 2009 at 6:15 pm |
  484. Kenneth E. Walton

    Are you kidding? Its feelings like that and talk radio that always try to rain on the parade of the rest of us.


    Las Vegas

    January 19, 2009 at 6:15 pm |
  485. Mike Novogradac

    While the cost of an inauguration of an elected President of the United States may seem extravagant at any price, the peaceful transition of power is what's most importantly displayed. The democratic election process of a new President by the American people ... in a peacfeul process ... is an example for the world. You cannot do this on a dime. It is worth displaying and celebrating at any price. The U.S. military's Armed Forces Inaugural Committee is the backbone of this process and has been ever since George Washington. The news media asks this same question with each and every inauguration. Don't you understand it yet? You also should understand when Barrack Obama is elected to his second term, the price will probably be higher four years from now.

    January 19, 2009 at 6:15 pm |
  486. Jenn

    Why should Obama or the Federal Goverment be any different the the company's we are bailing out.
    Company's are not being held responsible for the frivolous way they are spending money, so why should Obama or the Government

    January 19, 2009 at 6:15 pm |
  487. Jeff Tautges

    Jack, Ordinarily I would agree that there should be a rather austere inaugaration given the state of the economy. But given the huge historical implications of the first African American man being elected President given the history of racism in this nation, an eleborate inaugaration is not only justified, be extemely appropriate and would be regardless of whether or not Barack Obama is Democrat or were Republican, Independent or anything else. This is a big deal and should be treated as such.

    January 19, 2009 at 6:15 pm |
  488. Robert Peltier

    Not at all, this is one of the greatest moments in American History! Hell Jack, if we can spend hundreds of billions on an unjust war, why not spend a little on a party for our country finally becoming the UNITED States of America!

    January 19, 2009 at 6:15 pm |
  489. Fran

    I feel it totally sends the wrong message. Our new administration needs to walk the talk from the very beginning. Those millions could be put to better use such feeding the hungry, providing clothing and shelter to the homeless, and providing grants to schools to improve their infrastructure and teaching materials.

    January 19, 2009 at 6:15 pm |
  490. Ron R.

    While the expense may be great, this country needs a party. We are celebrating the end of an eight year long error. On Tuesday we will celebrate. On Wednesday we will begin the hard work of putting America back on track and President Obama will be leading that effort.

    January 19, 2009 at 6:15 pm |
  491. Kristin, Danville CA


    There were a lot of folks who contributed to Obama's Inauguration, not just Hollywood celebs. It does cost something to have security, honeypots and first aid. More people will be attending this event than ever before, and it is mostly free of cost to the participants. I'm a small contributor but couldn't make the trip; I'm happy to help make this a safe celebration.

    January 19, 2009 at 6:15 pm |
  492. ron morales

    there is nothing on this planet that can deter an extravagant celebration in this situation. not a war, not bad financial times, not even your old crothety man stare, jack. if you want to blame something for it, blame human nature.

    January 19, 2009 at 6:15 pm |
  493. Fernando

    Yes, it does send the wrong message.

    I voted for Obama and admire him very much. That being said, I'm sure we could have had a more tempered inauguration. Having him elected is celebration enough.

    Scottsdale, AZ

    January 19, 2009 at 6:15 pm |
  494. Greg S

    I think your comment that the celebration for our next president Barack Obama is extravagent is ludicris. What kind of drugs are you taking. George Bush ran up an extravigant deficent & because you are a sour sap republican, you have a little problem with expenditures for this joyuous occaision. Take a chill pill & get over it. Remember he is your president as well.

    January 19, 2009 at 6:15 pm |
  495. Bernice Walker

    No, the extravacance does not send the wrong message. The fact that he's the 1st African-American president is such a big deal historically that the event deserves all the pomp and circumstance.

    January 19, 2009 at 6:15 pm |
  496. Kathy Bartholomew

    Well here we go again, the inauguration of a President and we, The People, will be putting out more money to celebrate a new president.

    Of course the Democrats are silent about the cost of putting on a party when most of us who voted are worried on a daily basis whether our job will be there for us tomorrow and the next day, and so on.

    10 Balls, really, is that necessary? We are talking about a person who has to wake up tomorrow morning and start his new job. OK, let's follow our previous commander's in chief and have a ceremonial oath, but why spend all that money for all those parties when us Americans, are the one's footing the bill.

    When will there be a president that says, Let's economize the celebration, there will only be 1 ball, 1 ceremonial oath, and that's it. Let's help out our fellow Americans and let's downsize the parties to reflect what is going on in the US.

    January 19, 2009 at 6:15 pm |
  497. Valerie

    Of course not! This is a historic event which we are all blessed to witness in our lifetime. The majority of the money is going to be spent on security which is needed. This is a great celebration for the entire country to enjoy.

    January 19, 2009 at 6:15 pm |
  498. Jamila H. - Birmingham, AL

    Honor should be given where honor is due. As for the Wall Street financial contributions, this investment is far better than the AIG retreat taken after the bailout. We are spending $160 million on a PRICELESS MOMENT. A LONG, OVERDUE moment. We will never inauguarate the first African- American president again.

    January 19, 2009 at 6:15 pm |
  499. David from Florida

    Lighten-up Jack.
    All economist say we must spend our way out of this financial mess. An extravagant party does not hurt this economy, it helps it. Take a deep breath and join in.

    January 19, 2009 at 6:15 pm |
  500. Kelley Black


    I don't care how much the Inauguration costs. It is so refreshing to see so many people excited about politics, the country's future and what we can all do to make a difference in the world. I would be more interested in knowing if any of the celebrities who had to be in D.C. for this celebration actually did any volunteer work today.

    January 19, 2009 at 6:15 pm |
  501. Susan - Plano, TX


    I raised my two children by myself in the last 18 years, I pay tax and have no part of any bad stuff in our society and economic. So what's wrong for people like me to join the party and express our joy to celebrate the most significant event in human history? Do you have any idea how this great event and activities help our business in general? How many people fly from out of state, booking the hotels, eating at restaurants, shopping, and more importantly uniting as Great Americans by expressing their true sense of patriotic?

    Let's party and we will promise to get back to work and support Obama on the 21st and the next 8 good years.

    I love America.


    January 19, 2009 at 6:15 pm |
  502. Jackie from Atlanta

    Sure, that's a lot of money- but think about all the revenue coming into DC and surrounding areas from hotels, restaurants, shops, etc. Millions of people are pouring into the area with their own money to spend and support local businesses.

    January 19, 2009 at 6:15 pm |
  503. Cheryl, Cocoa Fl

    Jack, I'm not one of them, but I am ready to have a celebration. 53% of Americans elected this man, more than 60% now support him. Let us have just one day of happiness, After 8 years, we deserve it!

    January 19, 2009 at 6:15 pm |
  504. allison francis

    Yes, I think it sends the wrong message. The president is supposed to be a role model, someone that is supposed to be helping people, not taking our money to pay for his big expensive inuagaration and any other parties, that money is supposed to be to help the economy not help the president party. All of that money could boost the economy. What is wrong with this picture???? It's not in the best interest of the country and the economy....

    January 19, 2009 at 6:15 pm |
  505. Sandra - Illinois

    Jack, let me ask you a question? Where is all this money going? It's going right back out into the ecomony. I think about all the hotels, restaurants, big and small businesses who are going to benefit. But most of all I think about the waitresses, cab drivers, vendors who are going to be able to pay their bills with this money.

    But also I see all the people who are there feeling like they are a part of this celebration. I can't see how this is going to hurt our economy and I have to wonder if it is getting to "mainstream" America more than all these bailouts. This is history in the making!

    January 19, 2009 at 6:15 pm |
  506. Eileen Slade

    It is unfortunate that my own political party did not have the sense to scale the festivities down a bit. So many, many Americans are losing their jobs and their homes. We have two wars still going. I responded to my own Democratic Committee here in my county in Virginia that I thought all of the Inaugural Balls were inappropriate given the times we live in. Only a few others responded in kind. I am very disappointed in my own political party for not having more sense than this.

    January 19, 2009 at 6:16 pm |

    Don't even get me started on this. People have critized Pres. Bush for everything under the sun and given Obama a free ride. NO, NO, NO he shouldn't spend $160,000,000.00 on all of these items and more to come and then claim he is going to "CHANGE" anything. The only thing he is going to do is please the MONEY PEOPLE that got him elected. He won't do ANYTHING he has claimed he will and has already back peddled on almost every promise he made including getting his dog from a pound.

    January 19, 2009 at 6:16 pm |
  508. al miroff

    We the people have been contributing to the fund for the inauguration. The federal government puts in a few million but the bulk is donated hollywood talent and private funds.
    I am a little surprised that you are trying to make an issue of this party. After 8 years of having our constitution stripped from us, we deserve to celebrate the change from a malicious moron surrounded by malicious staff to the opposite type of people.
    do you really think that the folks who are lining up to see Obama inaugurated would have shown up for"W's" inauguration. W would only have gotten those who are comfortable with the Us vs Them politics of the republican party, ie rich fat cats.

    January 19, 2009 at 6:16 pm |
  509. Michael Marlowe

    This absolutely sends the wrong signal. President elect Obama had an opportunity to communicate a deep commitment to change by changing how Washington celebrates the innaguration. Changing the celebration practice, the number of balls and all the associated costs for security etc. and either donating the money on this day of "service" would have signaled a new way of doing things. President elect Obama had the same opportunity to signal a new way of doing things we he raised millions and millions to campaign with - he could have used some of the money to help Americans rather than adverstisements.

    January 19, 2009 at 6:16 pm |
  510. Laura S. Mack

    I feel the celebration is justified. I am sixty years old, and I have waited for a long time for a President that I can really believe in. It is not an Inaugaration for Barak Obama alone but a celebration of what is best in American life; the fruition of a long, long struggle. There can be no price tag on this moment.

    January 19, 2009 at 6:16 pm |
  511. Isaac

    Well that depends on how you characterize the message. There is certainly nothing "wrong" with celebrating an historic election and a highly anticipated change in leadership. That positive message is undermined, of course, by the extravagance of the events in a time of severe economic turmoil. While it's hard to put a price on catharsis, $160 million seems excessive.

    January 19, 2009 at 6:16 pm |
  512. Mike

    yes Jack, of course it sends the wrong message. now what are you going to do about it?

    you're the one with the forum to battle the problem why aren't you raising hell about it?

    or are you just another hypocrite?

    January 19, 2009 at 6:16 pm |

    One recognizes the cost of the inauguration but this is history. In addition, the Obama team has raised and will continue to raise a good portion of the cost.

    January 19, 2009 at 6:16 pm |
  514. Inpes from Michigan

    Absolutely, it is wrong. I voted for Obama to win. Historical or not let us be realistic. The economy is going down the tubes in this country and all over the world and here we are lusciously spending on one event. Is this the start of another another disaster?

    January 19, 2009 at 6:16 pm |
  515. Doug Nelson

    Get your facts straight, Jack. The 160 million includes securty. The inauguration of the failed ex-president cost about the same, if the numbers were to be reported honestly.

    And, yes. It is worth every penny.

    Doug in Montana.

    January 19, 2009 at 6:16 pm |
  516. Rod Wiggins

    Not at all. Our economic prosperity will be reborn with the restoration of the hope and confidence of the American consumer. What better investment in the new fresh start and a turning point for the United States. I see it as an excellent investment in the restoration of the American spirit. These investments will pay back many times over.

    January 19, 2009 at 6:16 pm |
  517. Alida

    THIS inaguration extravaganza, while topping over $160M, really can't be compared to others in the past. THIS inaguration is HISTORY! And you can't put a price on history!

    War – $Billion
    Economy failing – $750M
    Gasoline profits – $Billions
    Housing market downfall – $Billions

    1st U.S. African-American President – PRICELESS!!!


    January 19, 2009 at 6:16 pm |
  518. Alma

    Jack: Come on we deserve this party! Besides you can look at in a positive light by acknowledging how this celebration has and will inspire millions in this country and around the world! This inspiration will result in motivation to get so many of us to get up off of the sofa turn off the tv and do something for this country and our fellow citizens! ...

    January 19, 2009 at 6:16 pm |
  519. Frances Smith

    At least half of the inaugural expenses are funded by private donations. So you're making it sound worse than it is

    January 19, 2009 at 6:16 pm |
  520. Judi

    ABSOLUTELY NOT!!!! This is a historic celebration for many, many reasons..both for our country and for the rest of the world. Besides, it gives our new President Obama a fitting platform and backdrop from which to deliver his message of hope, of unity, of responsibility, of giving. I'm a middle aged white woman, and I will tell you this young man is a gift of monumental proportions to us all.

    I'm thrilled, and HAIL TO THE NEW CHIEF!!!

    January 19, 2009 at 6:16 pm |
  521. Bill

    Sends a clear message. Lets give him the BENEFIT (no pun intended) that an average inagu. cost around $60 million.

    He could have at least saved $200 million homes @ $500 k each from foreclosures.

    Its his playground, his ball, his rules. I didnt vote for him.

    Columbus, Ohio ( Yes the snow has covered the foreclosure signs)

    January 19, 2009 at 6:16 pm |
  522. Kim

    No. Did anybody care how much money Cindy McCain spent on her outfit the night of the Republican Convention when she was drenched in a 200k bracelet, a $10,000 dress, $3,000 shoes, giver or take a few thousand dollars here and there. Geesh. I don't think so.

    January 19, 2009 at 6:16 pm |
  523. Ella

    As a small donor to this inauguration, I don't see how it affects the opinion of others. As others have stated this is something we need and we want to see it at it's full potential. Also, there are also a lot of people who have sacrificed to attend the occasion and who will also contribute to the cause of the economy.

    January 19, 2009 at 6:16 pm |
  524. Lauren

    The "sour" economy is the result of a Republican president. Of course we should celebrate the change that Barack Obama will bring to this country. We are celebrating a NEW day with a Democratic President. We are not holding this celebration responsible for what happened in the past.

    January 19, 2009 at 6:16 pm |
  525. Pete Greenville SC

    First, get the facts right. This inauguration is not much more expensive than President Bush's. Bush's last inaugural cost about 150 million when the security costs are added. Fox and other new outlets are comparing Bush's inaugural costs without the additional security costs and comparing that to Obama's actual inaugural costs plus the security costs. Apples and oranges.

    January 19, 2009 at 6:16 pm |
  526. Nikole

    As a staunch Democrat, and a staunch Obama supporter, I must admit that I agree this inaugural extravaganza is sending the wrong message. Instead of spending all that money on the inauguration, I would rather the money be put to more charitable causes that are likely to be negatively affected by the economy. Regardless, I am thrilled that this country is finally taking a step in the right direction, and that the years of the George W. Bush Reign of Terror is finally over.

    January 19, 2009 at 6:16 pm |
  527. Nate

    Let's Celebrate like we never did before – This is a special occassion like none other in many generations.

    January 19, 2009 at 6:16 pm |
  528. Sarah D.

    Celebrating our first African-American President $160 million. Celebrating President Bush leaving the White House....priceless.
    Sarah D.
    Robstown, TX

    January 19, 2009 at 6:16 pm |
  529. Susan from OKC

    Excellent point, Jack. We Dems should hold our own feet to the fire same as we held those big Elephant feet for the past 8 gawdawful years.

    This Inauguration IS extravagant and maybe it should be scaled back. On the other hand, it is PROVIDING work and necessary income for a lot of small businesses.

    The printer of the invitations? He was ready to lay off employees until he received the contract to print all the invites for the festivities. JOBS SAVED.

    Think about the small business/entrepreneurs that are selling food, drinks & trinkets - welcome money being funneled into the economy.

    A million people (maybe more) are traveling to Washington D C - that's change in the pockets of the airlines, gas stations, motels, restaurants. JOBS SECURED.

    Many clothes & shoes are being purchased, hair being cut & curled, manicures performed.....all these services are putting money in the pockets of the working class.

    And let's not forget the all important Porta Potties ..... gotta be jobs saved there.

    YES THE INAUGURATION costs alot of money but I'm willing to bet the boost to the economy in money & morale is well beyond the million + it's costing.

    January 19, 2009 at 6:16 pm |
  530. C.L Blackmon

    I dont think that it sends a bad message by doing so he is creating jobs,and i don't think that he cares it for the people if he could have it in a room with just him and his wife and kids that would be fine with him.

    January 19, 2009 at 6:16 pm |
  531. Jen

    I don't think it sends the wrong message at all. It's a historic event and deserves a historic celebration. In fact, I think it sends a positive message to people. At least the inauguration is putting 160 million dollars back into the economy. Not so bad if you ask me. The economy is based on consumer confidence. People need to feel confident and get out there and spend money. Those who can afford it should be out there spending money to help the economy. I'm tired of hearing bad news about the economy which puts fear in me and makes me not wanna spend money. But thankfully, I have a job and I'm not really suffering as much as others. So those who are like me should be spending and putting money into the economy.

    January 19, 2009 at 6:16 pm |
  532. Monica from Virginia

    Come on, Jack – Stop trying to stir up things. Of course it's the most expensive inauguration. This inauguration has been opened up to those who have been mostly shut out from the government - the American People! It's sort of like Christmas - a wonderful gift to thie country. I refuse to be concerned about the cost. We have paid a cost for many, many years. This celebration is long overdue for all Americans.

    January 19, 2009 at 6:16 pm |
  533. notartsyeither

    No, Jack, I don't think spending this kind of money on the Inauguration sends a wrong message. While I concede that I'm a fervent Obama supporter, if there were a Republican being sworn in with an equal level of popular enthusiasm around his/her election, I would also be completely fine with the expenditures.

    The stability of our Presidential Inauguration is an incredible thing that makes American democracy unique, and I think the celebration is a great way to bring our country together around our shared beliefs.

    Stockton, CA permanently (Washington, DC temporarily)

    January 19, 2009 at 6:16 pm |
  534. David Stephenson

    Yes, it is a lot of money... too bad the story is wrong.


    January 19, 2009 at 6:16 pm |
  535. Tasha-The Bahamas

    Hey Jack.Disappointed you did not run for President and Wolf for V.P.I think the cost of the events is really over the top.It could be cut by a few million bucks.I however think it should be a memorable event because of its history.This cost really out did the cost of Palin's outfit but ..... that is selective politics..All the best to him.
    Bahama for Obama

    January 19, 2009 at 6:16 pm |
  536. Jason O.

    While 160 million does seem a bit much given the state of the economy, it seems to me that a party is in order. It seems a small price to pay to show a little unity and the strength of the nation while celebrating what is truly a momentous occasion in our nation's history. We should be proud of ourselves as Americans and what we achieved in this election.

    January 19, 2009 at 6:16 pm |
  537. Steve J

    After 8 years and trillions of unaccounted for dollars going to Haliburton and every other back door buddy Dick "Madoff" Cheney could spirit it away too, while he manipulated Dummy George the puppet president..

    They spend all the want on this Celebration

    Bye Bye BUSH So Long Cheney

    Free at Last, Free at Last, Thank GOD ALMIGHTY, We are FREE at Last!!!

    January 19, 2009 at 6:16 pm |
  538. Howard Wegener

    As a strong supporter of the Bush presidency I believe that you have a point. But I have never seen a nation so positive and hopeful for this upcoming event and the new administration. As long as Howard or Jack the taxpayer doesn't have to foot the bill – go for it.

    Staten Island, New York

    January 19, 2009 at 6:16 pm |
  539. Larry

    No it doesn't. Besides this is a celebration for the whole world.

    January 19, 2009 at 6:16 pm |
  540. Shirley Hutcheson

    I believe that a small inauguration would be better, however as with calling all American's to be of service today, I think having such a large celebration brings our past divided country together. Americans have been becoming more and more selfish and irresponsible. I feel that the only way America can return to it's Values and Character is by getting people personally involved in the success of educating and raising our children and through service, by reaching out to those less fortunate and to those hit by the failing economy. Everyone wants to feel needed and appreciated. This energy around Obama's presidency is providing a mood of hope and a sense of responsibility that is bringing American's together.

    January 19, 2009 at 6:16 pm |
  541. donna

    I think the celebratory innauguration is exactly what this nation needs. in a time when the extreme challenges, both nationally and internationally, might cause a sense of hoplessness. This inauguration sends the message of hope. Just as President Bush suggested after 911 that everyone needs to continue with life, this celebration shows that, as a nation, we have the courage and spirit to celebrate a. new president who may indeed be able to turn things around.

    January 19, 2009 at 6:16 pm |
  542. Jenn

    Why should Obama or the Federal Goverment be any different than the company's we are bailing out.
    Company's are not being held responsible for the frivolous way they are spending money, so why should Obama or the Government

    January 19, 2009 at 6:16 pm |
  543. Nina

    Cost? I'm broke – but I'll send money.
    I'm sure he's still raising money too. This is a reason to celebrate, naysayers can just stay home with the TV shutoff. Crowd control alone will be astronomical.

    January 19, 2009 at 6:16 pm |
  544. Lydia

    I feel that in this time of crisis, the message the president-elect is sending is really wrong. He spoke of change during his campaign and to my knowledge the change in this case is not for the best. Instead of being humble, I feel he has a need to flash.
    This election and the innauguration is taking a turn where the well being of the country is on the low-down and the fact that he is the first african american U.S President is taking the lead.
    Let's see the change Mr. Obama.

    January 19, 2009 at 6:16 pm |
  545. Cora Honolulu

    Absolutely not. It is unifying the American people both those there and those watching it on tv .The city of D.C. is having record sales in mass transit and general tourism. As a business owner I wish the inaugartion festivities were held here in his hometown of Honolulu.When Bush was inaugarted it was not the time nor was there the same excitement and hope.
    America is making history yet again and it is a wonderful thing.
    160 million spent but I am sure the city got more than a sufficient return on their investment. Worth every penny.

    January 19, 2009 at 6:16 pm |
  546. Helen Fox

    Though I'm a Quaker who values simplicity, I think the lavish spending on the inauguration is a good thing, since the purpose is to bring as many people as possible into the celebration and hopefully, the political process. If it were the usual celebrity events for the richest and most connected, I would be disgusted.

    January 19, 2009 at 6:16 pm |
  547. Tanesha

    CELEBRATE! This is the start of a new beginning for all of us! Remember Ecclesiastes 7:8 "Better is the end of a thing than the beginning thereof: and the patient in spirit is better than the proud in spirit." Things are about to get a lot better 🙂

    God Bless ;o)

    January 19, 2009 at 6:16 pm |
  548. Diego

    Aint' no party like a democrat party cause the democratic party don't stop.

    San Antonio,TX

    January 19, 2009 at 6:16 pm |
  549. Kevin Tionesta, Pa.

    I think there's nothing wrong with it. This is a historical first in the U.S.A. and the whole world should celebrate with us. It deserves to be extravagant with our new hope for our countries future.

    January 19, 2009 at 6:16 pm |
  550. James Cornett

    NO, with everything wrong in America today, you can't put a price on one of the most important day's in History, it's worth it at all cost. They don't know what happened to the first 350 billion in bailout, what difference does a couple of hundred million make on this important day..

    January 19, 2009 at 6:16 pm |
  551. jackson msimbe

    Jack I think these expensive festivities are not necessary especially during these hard times. I know its history in the making thats why everyone gives this act a justified pass but honestly they should atleast speak off about it.
    Not to forget this price tag is double what Mccain had for the general election from the Gov't....wow!!!
    Good luck Obama, Situation Room and Cafferty....

    January 19, 2009 at 6:16 pm |
  552. Marissa

    Absolutely not. We all need to celebrate this historic moment, these extraordinary times that we are living in. We are about to usher in a new era in American history. All of the stars are in alignment for our new president. And all of us are very much aware of the trials & tribulations that we are about to embark upon in this amazing journey . Why not do it with a bang and in style to start the new "New Deal"?

    January 19, 2009 at 6:16 pm |
  553. Jamal

    Absolutely not. Sure the country is in a dire state, but there is something else happening here that needs to be highlighted and celebrated. Our 44th president will be the first black president of the United States. That makes it worth it to me!

    January 19, 2009 at 6:16 pm |
  554. Larry D Meadows

    For the first time in a long time the country generally according to Obama's approval ratings are feeling hopeful about the future.
    This election has brought Americans and visitors from all over the world to share in this event like no other Inaugural. At what point is extravagant? Every President has them and frankly it's a time when we can "let our hair down" and enjoy the moment..
    Calm down Jack, we have bigger issues to worry about. "Wednesday you can come out swinging."

    January 19, 2009 at 6:16 pm |
  555. Alan-Salt Lake City

    I think that the Democrats need to stop being so hypocritical. They give President Bush hell about overspending because of the war, then they go out and spend 168 million dollars on their own. I find that ridiculous. I would find it a better message for everyone if Obama would do something simple and not so expensive. Then that money could be used for something that would be good for everyone in the country. It is a very historical election, but I do think that it is definitely the wrong message. What a way to say, "I know you are all suffering and many are loosing your jobs, but I'm gonna spend 168 million on a party....for me."

    January 19, 2009 at 6:16 pm |
  556. Dee

    We have to be joking! If I thought the $150 million would save my neighbors from foreclosure, then maybe. Obama has set the right tone. This is his first term not second one. LET THE PEOPLE CELEBRATE!

    January 19, 2009 at 6:16 pm |
  557. Linda

    I would normally say yes...but given the historic nature of this presidency with the backdrop of Martin Luther King day preceding it...I believe it is totally appropriate in terms of not only it's place in history as it happens, but for purposes of future generations to recognize (as it is archived)...as a national turning point in our country's history.

    I am actually glad that some of our money that went to Wall Street bankers...ended up paying for the celebration of our choice for change...the change that will come to Wall Street, and hopefully to Mainstreet.

    January 19, 2009 at 6:16 pm |
  558. Ashley Smith

    Let's tell the full story of the inaugural costs - the huge expense is for security. Bush's '05 inauguration came in around $42 million for events, but the total cost after adding in security was $157 million; looks like the Obama total costs will be about on par (at least by these estimates - do we have any hard numbers with facts to back them up?), and that he's raised money to cover about all of the non-security related costs already if they are the same as they were 4 years ago. Still legitimate to ask about spending money in a down economy (wait, isn't that how we're supposed to help the economy and keep the terrorists from winning?), but let's do so with the full set of facts out there for consideration.

    January 19, 2009 at 6:16 pm |
  559. jason

    The huge amount of people attending and that want to be involved in this celebration demand it to be "extravagant" as you say. Don't put a spin on it unless he doesn't get to work the day after tomorrow.

    January 19, 2009 at 6:16 pm |
  560. Rynette Robinson

    It's amazing that we are comparing a man who stole the election versus a man who has inspired many, The tab is extreme to cover the large amounts of people who want to witness this historical event. If we didn't have the proper security and facilities in place then we could subject ourselves to terror attacks. Obama did contribute to his own bill right? I never heard you all say Bush did.

    January 19, 2009 at 6:16 pm |
  561. Lisa Brooks

    Extravagant, absolutely not! The historic nature of this inauguration warrants a party of a lifetime, because it is once in a lifetime. The nation has finally come together to celebrate, in the midst of such difficult economic times. This is a party of the people. and was designed for accessibility for the everyday common American. We want to be a part of HIStory.

    January 19, 2009 at 6:16 pm |
  562. shina, MD

    It's just like a wedding........It happens only once within the span of human existence and its memory lasts for eternity.
    It's absolutely worthwhile.

    January 19, 2009 at 6:16 pm |
  563. Hitchcock

    The banks are not loaning the money that we gave them. Whats wrong with them spending a little with the people on this inauguration. At least some of the money will get back to the people. The last administration gave it back to the elite few.

    January 19, 2009 at 6:16 pm |
  564. Greg

    Even though a crazy amount of money , I'd say with al the depressing news it is nice to celebrate histroy in tis regard. As a Canadian married to an American you guys deserve to celebrate and put on a show that only America can.

    January 19, 2009 at 6:16 pm |
  565. George

    Yes, it's too much...Most people in their right minds will tell you that. Just look at the pain of the people all around us who have lost jobs. The hype is just plain stupid and infectious here in the DC area

    January 19, 2009 at 6:16 pm |
  566. don diehl

    I think we should celebrate for getting rid of Bush, And because we now at least have a man who can speak english and think things out.

    January 19, 2009 at 6:16 pm |
  567. Mitchell

    I think that putting on such an extravagant inauguration is a joke. Obama talks about all of the things that he needs funding for, and he plans to waste $160 million for this celebration. That money could be used to help with health care, the homeless, and for other government spending, but it is being wasted to put this man in office. And the fact that this money is being used at an all time high of unemployment and serious financial crisis, is an act of selfishness. I'm afraid of the next four years to come.

    January 19, 2009 at 6:16 pm |
  568. Zain

    In spite of the informative points you make Jack, the question you ask is out of context. Rather than asking, "Is such an extravagant celebration inconsiderate to everybody affected by the economy?" You ask whether it sends "the wrong message." Even at a time of two wars and the worst economic moment in decades, the most important message remains one of equality and brotherhood. That is the most important message Jack, and that is what Obama is doing.

    January 19, 2009 at 6:16 pm |
  569. Lynn

    Give it a rest. This inauguration is important. And, the money being spend is providing people with jobs.

    January 19, 2009 at 6:16 pm |
  570. Wayne from Germany

    The inauguration extravaganza is a fabulous stimulus package for Washington DC. Also, America has an obligation to celebrate its first African-American president in a big way. Consider that $160million to be something like war reparations, paid to the rest of the world for having to put up with Bush for eight long years!

    January 19, 2009 at 6:16 pm |
  571. Dominique Pavageau

    I strongly feel every single dime of the cost towards the ignaugeration will be well appreciated. Regardless of cost, this event signifies the word CHANGE! Lets try things differently, and break the expected traditions. In all things you do, the more you invest into something the better quality you can expect. Although the race card continues to be pulled, this is a celebration much bigger than the African American culture, but more so the expectations of America and the American Culture.

    January 19, 2009 at 6:16 pm |
  572. Kate, Calif.

    The United States has reached a pivotal moment and that definitely calls for celebration! Extravagant, perhaps, excessive, no. Let us put our economic concerns on hold for a weekend and come together to celebrate a new path for America!

    January 19, 2009 at 6:16 pm |
  573. Erich

    I agree $120MM is extravagant, but some events justify such extravagance. I have never seen such genuine excitement and captivation with a such a special time. If $120MM is the cost of further inspiring people's confidence at a difficult time, I'd say that's a deal.

    January 19, 2009 at 6:16 pm |
  574. joyce jacoby

    No. When you consider the national debt this is a drop in the bucket. when was the last time 4 years ago that you saw Bush raise any money for his inauguration. Jack try and tone down your right wing tendencies at least until the Inauguration is over. I t appears everyone in america has goten Obamas message of reaching out and cooperating with each other but you

    January 19, 2009 at 6:16 pm |
  575. Allen Lizardo

    Although it's expensive economically, this inauguration deserves to go all out, who know's it might lift our spirits and inspire barak's ambitions. A historic event will mimic an historic price tag

    Allen Lizardo. Hudson Florida

    January 19, 2009 at 6:16 pm |
  576. Thomas California

    No We need to celebrate our new leader taking office now. 1.6 million is a drop in the buket compared to 700 billion given to big business and for what ????


    January 19, 2009 at 6:17 pm |
  577. mindy

    I don't think so because this isn't just about the inauguration. It's the message of the inauguration and what Obamas election represents. Obamas inauguration is sending a message of change and most importantly, hope. The Bush inauguration wasn't representing anything new and he definitely wasn't elected because he gave Americans hope. You can't put a price on that.

    January 19, 2009 at 6:17 pm |
  578. Maksaba Arlington, Virginia

    Yes and No, this is a great time in American History so we should definitely celebrate it and make the most of it. But at the same time our country is in an economic peril with people struggling to put food on their plates and homes to live in so it is a little slap in the face to Americans.

    But considering the circumstances I think we can let one night of extravegence slide because the party going to be over starting Jan. 21.

    January 19, 2009 at 6:17 pm |
  579. Terry

    Someone is lying to us. It is difficult to overlook the ongoing problems that exist and understand all that glitter and gold. I am a supporter of The President-Elect, but every day I am out looking for a job and trying to keep ahead of the bill collectors.

    January 19, 2009 at 6:17 pm |
  580. ty

    Really, $160million to mark a day in history? thats not extravagant but a celebration of value and sacrifice. Agreed the economy is bad but the inauguration is another mark in US history, a billion is not enough. Jack, whats the estimate of the Iraq war moneywise?


    January 19, 2009 at 6:17 pm |
  581. Yvette, Cedar Rapids, Iowa

    The message it sends is "we the people" want to celebrate this day in history. We the people are funding this inauguration with donations. So I think if we are willing to pay for it, we have the right to do it.

    This is not like the billion dollar bailout that is missing in action. The bailout has not saved any foreclosures or jobs. But this inauguration will be tangible and significant. It is for we the people. And I think it is a good minimal investment, in comparison, to help turn the mood of this country and world around.

    January 19, 2009 at 6:17 pm |
  582. Richard

    It is nice to have something to celebrate at a time when economic bad news is the norm. How much business and sales tax will be generated by the event in Washington and across the country? It may be a mini-stimulus package itself.

    January 19, 2009 at 6:17 pm |
  583. Ned Audeh

    The inauguration cost;

    It is high, but the country needs it.

    January 19, 2009 at 6:17 pm |
  584. Jim Bryson

    Absolutely it sends the wrong message to spend that amount of money just for the inaugration. It is almost crimial. He and Biden were doing charity work painting yesterday and tomorrow they will spend $100 million. He wants to help the Americans keep their houses and generate more jobs he should just go to the swearing in ceremony. They don't need all of those parties/balls. He could put an end to this madness but since he is the first black president, why not flaunt it. After all, it ain't his money.

    January 19, 2009 at 6:17 pm |
  585. mitchell, arkansas

    i was fine with it ,up to the point where we find out the 'bailout boy's' are funding it. how much of that was bonuses for the bigwigs. seems the maximum amount donors are the one's who were bailed out with the most. this does not look good at all. one other complaint jack- the PIC [presidential inaugural committee, scheduled the gay-bishop's prayer 5 minutes before the airing on HBO, so that noone was able to hear. gays are really mad now, and i dont blame them.

    January 19, 2009 at 6:17 pm |
  586. Tanha

    So since we are in recession should we stop celebrating Christmas or cancel the super bowl shows?
    Ultimately ppl are being employed and getting paid. Remember most of the cost is only for security since millions are planning to attend.

    January 19, 2009 at 6:17 pm |

    Jack – Pleas don't rain on this parade! Think of the spending as employing caterers, food service workers, bartenders,security employees, and the thousands more that at working to provide a beautiful day for our nation. The hotels, bars & resturants in D.C. are enjoying an economic boom during this time. They need it. The huge spending reflects the huge number of people who are in D.C. to witness this historic event.

    January 19, 2009 at 6:17 pm |
  588. gretta

    I am sorry but I do not understand why Obama wants to act like Lincoln. Lincoln did not bring the country together. He had a war between states start under his watch that killed over 650,000 americans. He did not live to see the country really united. That did not happen until the 1870's.

    Now he says he wants change, but the cost of the party for his Inauguration is the only thing I see changing, going up. People should be screaming.

    January 19, 2009 at 6:17 pm |
  589. Janet

    Jack – Billions of dollars being funneled to companies like Haliburton and Blackhawk is extravagant and disgusting and criminal. Spending millions of dollars to throw a party for the ENTIRE country that actually INCLUDES people from all walks of life is refreshing and celebratory and necessary. Let's not forget the last eight years of deceit and lies and hypocrisy. Millions and millions and millions of Americans want to be included in the most historic election in your country's history.

    If you want to complain about costs why not look at how much the toxic trailers FEMA sent to New Orleans cost. Yes, this is expensive. But when was the last time so many "average" Americans actually had something to celebrate?

    Janet from Toronto

    January 19, 2009 at 6:17 pm |
  590. Tonisha DeLaCruz

    Obama and the country deserve a major celebration.This event is a major moment for our entire country and honestly whats $150 million when we are in debt trillions of dollars already

    January 19, 2009 at 6:17 pm |
  591. Randy Cochran

    This is Obama's first Stimulus package. Think of how many caterers, carpenters, painters parking lot attendants etc. that are making a good living over the past several days. I would rather see the money go to workers putting on a celebration that to wall street or car companies. Hey if the wall street people want to give us back some of our money for a party, I say good for them we will be happy to spend it for them.

    January 19, 2009 at 6:17 pm |
  592. Zandra

    Heck no! We need to celebrate after 8 years of George W. Bush. They can spend 200 million for all I care.

    January 19, 2009 at 6:17 pm |
  593. Ryan, Galesburg, IL

    After 8 years of our country's finances being flushed down the toilet of Republican profiteering and jilting the American people, I think this represents a positive expendature and that we are finally allowed to feel good about something.

    January 19, 2009 at 6:17 pm |
  594. Will, Charlotte, NC

    I think an extravagant inauguration is nothing more than a display of how excited this country is to be going in a new direction!

    January 19, 2009 at 6:17 pm |
  595. William Herman

    I don't think that it's a celebration for Obama as much as we're getting rid of Bush. Bill Petaluma, CA

    January 19, 2009 at 6:17 pm |
  596. Walter Vestal

    This is a historic time for our country and it is good for the national psyche to celebrate. $160,000,000 sounds like a lot of money but compared to what the congress has been giving away much less the cost of a day in Iraq, it is not all that much. Would having a cheap celebration really do anyone any good? Divide that amount by the millions that are celebrating and it probably amounts to 25 cents apiece. Celebrate today then roll up our sleeves and get to work tomorrow.

    January 19, 2009 at 6:17 pm |
  597. Scott in Boston

    Yes. It's also very ironic that 4 and 8 years ago, another president was criticized when spending was at lower levels by many of the very people celebrating this week. I realize people are more excited about Obama, but legally, a President is a President, and this is very extravagant and unnecessary.

    January 19, 2009 at 6:17 pm |
  598. CynicalJohn

    Maybe it was Obama who won the $169 million lottery that went Saturday night....I know I didn't win it. We haven't had a president in 8 years, why not enjoy the return to sanity...and away from Hannity.

    January 19, 2009 at 6:17 pm |
  599. Connie Gomez

    I believe that spending this much money is totally inappropriate given the current economic conditions in this country. However, I believe that the message being sent is that there isn't going to be any change with this new presidency....it will be a government that is out of touch with the rest of the population. It is apparent that with no forthcoming comments from the democratic party about the expense during these very bleak economic times is they are only concerned with their own respective party, rather than pretending to be concerned about the country. It is too bad that people believe that this one man will be able to make such drastic changes and it will be a huge let down for many when those changes in the way our government does business doesn't change.

    January 19, 2009 at 6:17 pm |
  600. Ed Passalugo

    Jack–Just goes to show that we have two classes in this country, Them(politicans) and us (citizens) who will shoulder the wieght of the present and the future debt to come.
    There is no conception of what runs this econony except what they feel is the Government–A poor choice compared to the private sector but I guess under Socialism what's the difference?

    January 19, 2009 at 6:17 pm |
  601. Liz Littleton

    Hallelujah!!! Someone is finally discussing this. How can the Democrats justify this debacle in this economy? They claimed Palin's wardrobe was in poor taste, Cindy McCain spent too much on her attire at the RNC eve, has the cat got their tongue now that Obama is helping to increase our deficit with these days of unnecessary partying? I am so disgusted by this excess, I don't even think I will watch this 'moment in history' What hypocrisy!!!

    Boca Raton, Fl

    January 19, 2009 at 6:17 pm |
  602. alma from California!

    Viva Obama!

    January 19, 2009 at 6:17 pm |
  603. John, Oregon

    Of course it sends the wrong message. Like the primary and general election, this whole process has been defined by obscene amounts of money, too much corporate involvement, and the illusion that the everyday American is benefiting. Eventually the illusion will fade and we'll stuck with the bill.

    January 19, 2009 at 6:17 pm |
  604. Gayle Pritchard

    Awww, Jack. Did you wake up on the wrong side of the bed today? What President in the past has raised millions of dollars for his own inauguration? Which Inaugural in the past has had so many events (including balls) open to the public? This isn't about him; it's an event for this country, and has been designed that way. Your comment about the Democrats not saying anything because he is "one of theirs" was over the top. It came across as sour grapes. This is an amazing, historical event, and for those of us who can't be there, I am thrilled to be able to watch all the events from afar, and receive Facebook posts from friends who are there. The problems we face as a country, financial and otherwise, are not his making. We need to come together as a country, and this is the beginning of that effort.
    The value of turning this page on history, beginning to hope, beginning to heal: priceless!

    January 19, 2009 at 6:17 pm |
  605. Richard Sansom

    This is a celebration for the whole nation and nothing should be spared to make it great - even dazzeling. In 2004 we had little if anything to celebrate. Today we have much.

    January 19, 2009 at 6:17 pm |
  606. Thomas, Ohio

    The 160 million is just an example of Washington business as usual. So much for change. What a missed opportunity to send a real message of understanding and unity.

    January 19, 2009 at 6:17 pm |
  607. Dave in La Jolla, CA

    If the majority of the money comes from bailed out Wall Streeters...GREAT!!! A good share of the dollars will end up back in the pockets of the working folks (carpenter, technicians, police, caterers, etc, etc.) as wages for helping put this celebration on.

    January 19, 2009 at 6:17 pm |
  608. Joyce

    It does not sound extravagant to me, just necessary. What are you gonna do? Tell Americans who voted and participated in the election not to come to Washington? Sounds like more sour grapes from the disgruntled right wing.

    Orange Park, FL

    January 19, 2009 at 6:17 pm |
  609. Nancy Brinkley

    I think this celebration is entirely appropriate. It's the party before we all have to roll up our sleeves and dig into the hard work that confronts our nation. Party hard, work hard. I think the it helps foment the "movement" that this administration embodies.

    January 19, 2009 at 6:17 pm |
  610. Karim

    This is a historic inauguration to celebrate the first colored person to lead the greatest country in the world and if we can afford to bailout those failed executives I think we can forgive him to have his inauguration whatever way he wants it.

    January 19, 2009 at 6:17 pm |
  611. Milton Jackson

    Jack, There is no time more appropriate than now to celebrate. The expenses of this inauguration coincide with the historical significance of this President. Celebration feeds the soul and this inauguration is feeding the soul of the country: hope, optimism, unity and progress don't have a price, but if we have to pay for it, feeding the soul of 305+ million people is worth approximately .55 cents each.

    January 19, 2009 at 6:17 pm |
  612. New Mexican for Change

    Jack ... PLEASE! People are willing to spend 'bill money" to witness this ONCE IN A LIFETIME event! No cost will keep them away. Of course the media has had to find something negative to report. Millions have been spent in years past, also.

    January 19, 2009 at 6:17 pm |
  613. Carol Sussman

    Absolutely not. For the first time in a long time, I am proud to be an American. President Obama's sensibilities are mine. God Bless the USA and God Bless the Obamas, all of them.
    Carol Sussman, Hollywood, FL.

    January 19, 2009 at 6:17 pm |
  614. CLAY

    We are talking about America's history here . The first black president . This not a celebration for Barack Obama this is a celebration on how far America has come , along with our hope for it's future . With that in mind this is priceless .

    January 19, 2009 at 6:17 pm |
  615. Don Bottomley

    Since the monies will be spent here in the US, employing our workers, it looks like a good step towards 'the recovery'.

    January 19, 2009 at 6:17 pm |
  616. kevin bruce/columbus, oh

    in 2004 america was hornswaggled into re-electing the bozo that got us even deeper into the horrible mess we're in now – this past election truly gives us reason to celebrate PARTY ON!!!

    January 19, 2009 at 6:17 pm |
  617. Keith LaPan

    Jack, you're barking up the wrong tree and biting the hand that feeds you. Americans are hungry for some celebration. The inaugural activites are a desparately needed economic boost for DC and I bet CNN is selling advertising right now, too.

    January 19, 2009 at 6:17 pm |
  618. Gail T

    You can go eat dry crackers in a corner if you want, Jack, but if you want to create jobs, this is as good a place to start as any. Think of all the printers, security guards, caterers, florists, hotel maids and bleacher builders who got extra work this week.

    January 19, 2009 at 6:17 pm |
  619. Mike Conley

    The level of enthusiasm for Obama's inauguration is unprecedented. We need to tap into it and build on it to raise us out of the Bush leagues. Hope is priceless.

    January 19, 2009 at 6:17 pm |
  620. Jessica, Union City, NJ

    The cost of the inauguration is nothing compared to the trillion dollar plus war, waged by Bush. The money that is going into the inauguration will go back to the people; people will be working and making money and will get the chance to see a very significant moment in our country's history.

    January 19, 2009 at 6:17 pm |
  621. Margo, Lewisville, Tx

    Jack, it's all good. Nothing we do today can make this country's situation worse after 8 years of the Bush crime family. Sometimes you just do what my mom did at Christmas time, charge it , celebrate, and worry about the bill tomorrow. It really is all good.

    January 19, 2009 at 6:17 pm |
  622. Jennifer M

    I don't think this year it does. As you said Barack Obama has raised money to cover his train ride and the concert. The ceremony itself isn't that costly. The bulk of the money has to be spent to take care of the almost 2 million people who have overcome Washington, DC. They need the Port a Potties. They need the extra security and forces in place. They need extra medical staff and hypothermia relief stations due to the sheer cold. The officials of DC cannot tell the people of this nation that they can't come to see the inauguration of their first black president because you can't afford it. That won't fly and the people will still come!

    January 19, 2009 at 6:17 pm |
  623. Trina

    This is more than an inaugral celebration. It is a celebration of hope, victory, possiblity, a celebration that is looooooooooong overdue. No price is too much for what tomorrow (both literally and figuratively) will bring. The cost should be the least of anyone's worries. Focus on the obstacles that Obama has overcome, not only for himself, for the his people – all people. Have you NOT seen the hundreds of thousands of people that have turned out to celebrate this HISTORIC event???????? To even mention the price is a disgrace and you and anyone who has an issue with the price should be ashamed of.

    Brining people of all races and ethinic backgrounds of all ages, together from ALL over the world is PRICELESS!

    January 19, 2009 at 6:17 pm |
  624. Dan R.

    Given the historic significance of this occasion, skimping on the on the inguauration seems petty given the billions spent on the bailout. The long term historic significance and security are well worth it. The last thing we need is a botched security because we cut corners. That would leave a longer lasting negative impact than the money spent.

    January 19, 2009 at 6:17 pm |
  625. Julia, Cape Cod, MA

    Mr. Cafferty,
    I think that even though our economy has seen better days the inauguration celebration is not going over-board. It is important for our country to celebrate at this time because our country will have an amazingly great leader starting tomorrow and our country will be pointed in the right direction again.

    January 19, 2009 at 6:17 pm |
  626. Judith Honig

    This amount of spending is absolutely ridiculous. Already we can see that Obama's idea of change meant to simply change the name of the President. Hang on folks- it's going to be the same old same old.

    January 19, 2009 at 6:17 pm |
  627. maria

    how quickly do we forget about the economic situation the country is in? It is appaling to see these amounts of money being spent for parties and balls. We could have use that money for more important priorities. Where is the change and the common sense?

    January 19, 2009 at 6:17 pm |
  628. Katrina Jackson

    I think that it is money well spent. They are all justified expenses and are welcomed by over 85% of Americans. For the other 15%, well that's just to bad. This inauguration day will be forever remembered in our nation’s history, and for all time.

    January 19, 2009 at 6:17 pm |
  629. nasiru tejan philly

    C,mon jack history is always expensive this is a special moment you can not put a price tag on it, so let's eat and be merry, wait a munite did you includs how much ordinary people are spending to celebrate this event? They are strugling but they will spent that money anyway christmas is once a year jack.

    January 19, 2009 at 6:17 pm |
  630. Fred" Enforcer" Esannason USVI

    I look at it this way. For over 400 years of slavery paid in full. For over one hundred years of oppression paid in full. For over forty years of searching for a hero, Paid in Full. For the United States of America to realize unity of hope and love , paid in Full. For the one who can bring these things to pass.... priceless.

    January 19, 2009 at 6:17 pm |
  631. sayed

    why not wall street is still having parties with bailout money

    January 19, 2009 at 6:17 pm |
  632. Derrick

    The is a terrific history making event, therefore cost should not be an issue. I understand the issues of the economy, however do you understand the significance of this event. Obviously, you don't. Maybe this is something that you have to black to understand. Another issue is the required security that is needed to protect the first African-American president. Contrary to what everyone would like to believe, there are those who hate that we will have a African American as president and would love to see him assinated.

    January 19, 2009 at 6:17 pm |
  633. Joe Kavanagh

    It would be nice if you or anyone in the media would cite a source for your number. No one has. Not one. If I say that Abraham Lincoln's Inauguration cost $1.2 Trillion (adjusted for inflation) you'd expect me to cite sources but my facts are just as good as yours. If you include the cost of security Bush's Inauguration cost $157 million ( http://mediamatters.org/items/200901180003?f=h_latest - also note that adjusted for inflation that's $175 million ) so this isn't noteworthy. This is also, according to Nielsen's projections going to be the most watched Inauguration in the history of our nation. That costs money.
    -Joe K.

    January 19, 2009 at 6:17 pm |
  634. Yvonne

    No Jack it DOES NOT send the wrong message. This is a historical event which will be watched from all over the world. People are expecting a good show. There will be a need for tight security. The bottom line: all this costs money. We the people expect the best on this occasion, and although we don't believe in wasting money, sometimes it is necessary to spend some. America, go ahead and enjoy your day, you will need it. There are tough times ahead.

    Yvonne from Canada

    January 19, 2009 at 6:17 pm |
  635. Georganne Brumbaugh

    This is inauguration represents so much more than just any inauguration. It is historical on many levels. The extravagance of the Reagans, for instance, during another challenging time, was not questioned. In addition, it is clear that what we are celebrating tomorrow is not just a victory for Democrats, but obviously, an election which represents the victory of civil rights, a grassroots movement, engagement of the youth and the disenfrachised, etc. I believe the amount is justified, for we will not look upon an inauguration like this one for probably hundreds of years to come, if ever. The world is watching and celebrating with us.
    P.S. I would like to know if the cost has been adjusted for inflation, for if you are claiming it is the most expensive in history, then let us be certain that you are making that claim taking into account inflation since Reagan's inauguration.

    January 19, 2009 at 6:17 pm |
  636. AlexUSArmyVet

    As a strong Obama supporter and a Democrat who is no doubt happy about the outcome of the election, I am embarrassed as well as surprised at the insensitivity of Obama and his supporters for not curbing the shameless expenditures for the inauguration.

    It is unconscionable that so much money is being wasted at a time when millions of our people are hurting financially. Shame on the leaders of my party for lack of humility and commonsense.

    January 19, 2009 at 6:17 pm |
  637. Nicole Dussere

    This is an inauguration like no other, I think that there is a great feeling of celebration and untity in the country right now, and even though the cost seems ridiculous, it feels right. This is a huge, historical moment for our country, and democrat or republican you really have to feel proud that we have come so far as a nation, and there is an anticipation for what is too come. It's a great time, and I feel like celebrating!

    January 19, 2009 at 6:17 pm |
  638. Mel

    It has been an honor to see what positive visions that this election has made. Who would have thought that close to 3 million people would want to descend on D.C. for this historic moment. Although the cost is high...the generation on funds is also VERY high. I am not upset about anything except that I could not be there.
    What a time of unity to be remembered...by all people who are desiring change. If being in the environment makes people what to be part of the change then that is great! I am honored that this happened in my lifetime.

    January 19, 2009 at 6:17 pm |
  639. Donna Kohlhausen

    Absolutely, and if Michele shows up in an expensive designer gown I just may burn my voters card. Is there no moderation left in this world except in insurance benefits?

    January 19, 2009 at 6:17 pm |
  640. Frank Jones

    With the economy in the condition that it is this is an obscene waste of money. No ine can be more happy to see Bush leave office than I am but in spite of voting for Obama I must admit to being very disappointed at the extravagance. I know the country needs its collective psyche lifted a bit and this is a good occasion to do so, but I would have expected a man that ran on his platform to have come up with something creative and just a bit less expensive. Maybe all politicians are the same afterall - spendthrifts and irresponsible.

    January 19, 2009 at 6:17 pm |
  641. Rob

    Are we really upset about the money being put out for this historic inauguration or are we just upset because of the person we are celebrating???? I know that I won't be able to go to the fancy balls and stuff with celebs and such but it's time to celebrate even with this sad and downing economy. OBAMA is POPULAR.......if Mccain had won you think he wouldve had a big throw down......nope i don't think so you know why......He's not popular! Let's not beat the celebrations down!!

    January 19, 2009 at 6:17 pm |
  642. Sharon, Rockford, IL

    Is it really so extravagant to allow the entire country to celebrate? I don't think so. Funny thing is, I can't remember any other inaugurations in my adult lifetime. Everyone wants to be a part of this one. We need him to succeed and this inauguration is sending the message that we believe in hi and are behind him. If I were the Bushs I'd be fighting a case of major depression right now. It's just another way to send Bush off into the sunset, hopefully to never be seen again.

    January 19, 2009 at 6:18 pm |
  643. Ron Rasi

    This historical event is worth very penny spent!!

    January 19, 2009 at 6:18 pm |
  644. Laban Seyoum

    Spending 160 million in time of recession is wrong. The resident of DC, VA, and MD taxes will be raised in order to cover this expenses . Well these states voted for Obama therefore let them pay for it.

    January 19, 2009 at 6:18 pm |
  645. arthur siasios

    So much for CHANGE!

    January 19, 2009 at 6:18 pm |
  646. Ehab From Los Angeles

    Please, I agree with what you say, but let us and all those millions of people who have been robbed, lied to, and ignored over the last 8 years not just celebrate a new begining, but the ousting of the existing dictators and criminals in the White house.
    No matter what it costs, let us bask in one day of happiness, and joy.
    The only thing missing in this ceremony, is seeing Bush and Cheney escorted out of the White house in handcuffs.

    January 19, 2009 at 6:18 pm |
  647. Jennyfer NY

    No! Bush should have been restricted because of the war.
    Obama should be given as much celebratory spending for this day as possible. Why? because this is historical. You have only one moment for this and a day like this. Let's do it right.

    January 19, 2009 at 6:18 pm |
  648. Dave

    I don't think a big Inauguration party send shte wrong message to the country because through the long and hard fight with the economy and Iraq, a new leader is taking charge of the country. The government wants to celebrate with a big party and balls. It's a historical moment and deserves to be celebrated.

    January 19, 2009 at 6:18 pm |
  649. Ralph Nelson

    Sad. I got a fancy invitation on expensive paper. I was impressed but relized it cost money. I wish his $825 billion recovery plan was as impressive. It isn't. Ralph, Yakima, Wa.

    January 19, 2009 at 6:18 pm |
  650. SR

    YES! It absolutely does. I bust my bum 15 hours a day to float my very small brick and mortar store, just trying to keep it alive. When hear the folks who partly caused this crisis pay for Obama's big party insults me beyond belief.

    I wasn't even able to do a measly grand opening for my storefront because I opened in September while everything was crumbling. I have to do what I need to do to keep my business alive. I have cut corners and services just to float!

    Until I see him in action, he is no different than any other politician that came before him. He is in the back pockets of the folks that put him there and paid for his big party. If anyone thinks differently, they are living with their heads in the clouds.

    January 19, 2009 at 6:18 pm |
  651. Connie

    The expense of this inauguration is due to the size of the inauguration. So many people are in D.C. until the expense is necessary. Therefore, in my opinion I think the message it sends is that we will do what is necessary to protect the American people and our President. God Bless America and God Bless our President.

    January 19, 2009 at 6:18 pm |
  652. Kimberley from Texas

    Absolutely not. This day is long overdue and should be celebrated to the fullest. It's somewhat equivalent to a modern day emancipation proclamation. The costs reflect the number of everyday people who are involved and engaged in the process. To me, that's worth the pricetag.

    January 19, 2009 at 6:18 pm |
  653. john f darragh

    Ordinarily I would say yes to the question bur this is an historic inauguration. The American people feel like they really have a stake in this president's administration. They want this inauguration to be special. As far as I know, the funds for, the inauguration have come from donors. Obama wanted to keep lobbyist's money out of the equation.

    January 19, 2009 at 6:18 pm |
  654. Lorna Abbott

    About the cost of the inaugral, does this money create jobs? Are people being paid? Are supplies being purchased? If so, doesn't this help to stimulate the economy? After all, one of his top priorities is creating jobs and stimulating the economy.

    January 19, 2009 at 6:18 pm |
  655. Debbie

    Much of the money is being spent so everyday Americans can be involved in the extravaganza. That's a good reason and builds capital for Obama. THIS is worth a party!

    January 19, 2009 at 6:18 pm |
  656. Don Lindner

    I believe that our nation could use a good morale-builder in this time. Furthermore, given the truly historic nature of this event, I feel that this is resonable.

    January 19, 2009 at 6:18 pm |
  657. Linda Kelly

    Well, Mr. Cafferty, you just couldn't wait to attempt to turn something so very POSITIVE into something NEGATIVE. The people of America have demonstrated over and over that they want to be a part of this inauguration and this important day in history. All of us understand the difficult economic times facing us, but we all want to try and turn things around from Tuesday on. Working together to do this is exactly what this Country needs. Quit the negative attitude and work together with the rest of us to turn this mess around!

    January 19, 2009 at 6:18 pm |
  658. Jerry from Keedsyville MD

    Jack, This won't make me lose my dinner, only hungry for more. In fact I think I'll have cheeseburger, and just the standards of democratic party, make mine a double!

    January 19, 2009 at 6:18 pm |
  659. Thelma

    We are celebrating History.
    There shouldn't be a limit on how much is spent.
    America is rejoicing.!
    I am sorry you don't seem to be able to.

    January 19, 2009 at 6:18 pm |
  660. Cathy in Rhode Island

    Absolutely not! THis is the People's Party. When else have 2 million plus people decend ed on DC to celebrate THe price of security and potties alone must be phonominal. . And how about all of us here at home watching your great coverage, taking it all in This is history in the making and is such a high point in such a dire time. Let us enjoy this moment without your guilt trip please.

    January 19, 2009 at 6:18 pm |
  661. Aaron

    Jack, please tell us how much of that 150-160 million is taxpayer money and how much is separate monies for the various events that are held by other organizations and groups. If MTV, Huffington Post or Oprah spend money having a party, then that is their business. Regardless, this is an event that is once in a lifetime and may have dividends that are immeasurable. I'd say it helps the economy with all the people coming to see Bush leave.

    January 19, 2009 at 6:18 pm |
  662. Rhonda

    As a Democrat, I personally feel that as costly as this inauguration may be, the wrong message is not being sent here. I mean, you can't really point the finger at the whoel entire democratic party, I'm pretty sure that Obama didn't sit over night and write out his own party list. Besides, as extravagant as this event may be, what did you expect? After all, this is America's FIRST BLACK President. It's history in the making! I just don't see how you could've thought something like that would just be a couple thousand people and one gathering. You should think that through to yourself.

    Gainesville, Florida

    January 19, 2009 at 6:18 pm |
  663. Bob

    $160,000,000? Obscene.

    I've sent donations to the Democrats for the past decade or more. And to Mr. Obama. I'm happy to see him and all other Democrats take charge. I'm appalled at what they're spending on this.

    But spending $160,000,000 on the Inauguration is really obscene and detracts from the Democratic message. They should have seized this issue in the beginning and said: let's spend $5,000,000 and just have a simple, no frills swearing in. And let's raise $155,000,000 for good works in this country: Head Start, books for students, a money gift for all the Itroops in Iraq and Afghanistan and their families, paint jobs for all of the Veterans Admin. Hospitals, prosthetics for all of the Iraqis & Afghanis who have lost limbs due to Bush/Cheney's wild adventures.

    January 19, 2009 at 6:18 pm |
  664. jackson msimbe-Miami FL

    Jack I think these expensive festivities are not necessary especially during these hard times. I know its history in the making thats why everyone gives this act a justified pass but honestly they should atleast speak off about it.
    Not to forget this price tag is double what Mccain had for the general election from the Gov’t….wow!!!
    Good luck Obama, Situation Room and Cafferty….

    January 19, 2009 at 6:18 pm |
  665. CitizenQ

    No, the economy needs a little stimulation and what better way to do it than by holding a week long celebration dedicated to all that is best about America.

    Every business owner knows the most difficult part of leadership is inspiring your team to perform. Barack Obama is doing that for us. He's inspiring our workers, giving them hope and directing all of that energy in positive directions.

    The return on this investment will be priceless.

    January 19, 2009 at 6:18 pm |
  666. jason

    The huge amount of people attending and that want to be involved in this celebration demand it to be "extravagant" as you say. Don't put a spin on it unless he doesn't get to work the day after tomorrow.

    January 19, 2009 at 6:18 pm |
  667. Tamara

    Jack, before I watched your story about the cost of the inauguration, I did not realize how much it would be nor that it would be more than 100 million dollars. I am a dedicated Democrat and a supporter of Obama. While I understand the price of this historic event is extreme, this is HISTORIC. We have our first African American President of the United States. This is an exciting moment in history. Let's embrace it and enjoy it and worry about the price tag later. Besides, after eight years of a man who has bailed out major companies, had our troops in two wars, messed up the people in Katrina and watched as hardworking men and women lose their jobs and their financial security, we all could use the celebration. And also remember, he has collected 41 million to help with the fees. Can Bush say that he did that? At least he is willing to pay for his share. Let's worry about the rest of the bill on Wednesday.

    January 19, 2009 at 6:18 pm |
  668. Sharon


    I am disappointed in the critical tone of your commentary. This is a very important time in American history. I believe that this historic event needs to be celebrated around the world. Nickel and diming the celebration for the new President will not solve the country's economic crisis. Let's welcome in our new President and First Family with the respect we should give to our leader. Then we can all roll up our sleeves and join him in rebuilding America.

    January 19, 2009 at 6:18 pm |
  669. Bobbie

    Your darn right I'm mad. I see americans who are hard workers. We do not mind reaching in our pockets and tightening our belts. He said It will get worse before it gets better...Ya sure it will. Your spending our money already. 160 million for a party. This is america and a bit over the average american middle class budget. And "WE" are Your worker bee's. This hive is sick...

    January 19, 2009 at 6:18 pm |
  670. John

    You bet it sends the wrong message. And I have to stop and wonder why Obama is allowing this to happen. If he allows this kind of spending, how can we really put any credibility into his actions to get at the heart of this nation's problems? Sure, this is history and a major event, but lets show some responsibility and let the nation know the(the new administratioin) understand that it is a troubled financial time and yes, even the this happening can be scaled back. Especially since Wall Street is fronting the bill, oops, excuse me, the tax payers $$ are really paying. I can't afford to be there but I guess I'm paying. Excuse me....the hot dogs are burning on the grill.

    January 19, 2009 at 6:18 pm |
  671. Steven Perry

    Jack – It's two-fer. For half a buck I get Obama in and Bush out! You media stars will need to step up your game. The smarter folks are taking charge. The Keystone Kops are getting back on the little bus and leaving Washington. Enjoy the moment!

    January 19, 2009 at 6:18 pm |
  672. Joe Fontana

    This could have been the ultimate opportunity for Obama to put his party's money where their big mouth is and have a celebration that is stately, but respectful of all the people in this country who are suffering financially. Consider the familes who are living on the edge, lost their jobs, or homes, and voted for Obama because he seemed to want change. Now they are about to watch the most extravagant innaugural ever. Wouldn't it be nice to at least have a comment from the President Elect as to why he has allowed this to happen? Or has he become Steve Martin in Father of the Bride – a deer in the headlights – while the people around him spent and spend. Gee. I hope this is not a test of his leadership talent.

    January 19, 2009 at 6:18 pm |
  673. Cheryl

    Would you please contact the Obama people for the latest contributions from us, the lowly supporters. I contributed to the campaign because I felt it was the first time my funds would actually be appreciated and as well to the Inauguration!

    January 19, 2009 at 6:18 pm |
  674. Paula

    Can't you stop being a sourpuss for just one day? This event is being celebrated around the world, bringing everyone together to celebrate a new beginning for the United States. In Seattle, we are going to have several free events that bring us together as a community. We have a lot of work that we have done and a lot more to do, so we deserve a party!

    January 19, 2009 at 6:18 pm |
  675. Harvey Fader

    Part of our present problem is that people are UNWILLING to spend money, so this inaugural expense (plus) the money spent on getting to and staying in DC) is a aboon to the econlomy. Even the perception that we are willing to spend for an extravaganza sends a positive message to our citizens AND the world.

    January 19, 2009 at 6:18 pm |
  676. Dwain

    Jack, what kind of question is that? At least we know where the money is going but we can't account for the $700bn bailout package which was supposed to stimulate the economy. Let's not look at how much it cost but rather celebrate this once in a life time moment.

    January 19, 2009 at 6:18 pm |
  677. Mike Brdy

    Jack, you brought up the cost of this Inauguration. That’s Washington DC mentality. They will give the little people a glimpse of the ceremony from 2 miles away. Also, if you wanted to see the stars perform yesterday at the PEOPLES Lincoln Memorial, you have to pay for HBO if you couldn’t be there. What would Honest Abe say about this? That’s Washington…….Mike B.

    January 19, 2009 at 6:18 pm |
  678. Smita

    I think it is really extremely inconsiderate of Obama and his team to be spending $160million on the inauguration festivities while hundreds are jobless and people are losing their homes. I would have respected him if he had kept it low key and instead used a lot of the donated money to help people in need. His election may be historic but he needs to be more sensitive to the people's needs.

    January 19, 2009 at 6:18 pm |
  679. Mike in Quebec City

    Yes it does. I think after a year run up to an election and now all of this it is becoming comical how this is playing out. Sure it's important but come on, this is a politician. Just like the other joker. A party? Yes! Sure! But this overload of love-in is sending a wrong message. Sure the US needs someone that can instill hope....but come on. Hope comes from your job... I also think that RACE is becoming too much of a cheering section that can backfire. Blacks and Latinos were not the only ones to vote for this guy, so did a lot of whites. There is an extreme danger in trying to set this as a 'black president" race event...

    January 19, 2009 at 6:18 pm |
  680. Angela M. Smith

    If money ever had to be used in an extravagant manner – – THIS IS IT! And it is the catalyst to America starting to spend their money in the right direction for the right purpose...for the things that are significant (see it in the spirit).

    President Obama and the people of America deserve every dime spent on this historic and divine happening.


    January 19, 2009 at 6:18 pm |
  681. Juan

    Jack we are not just facing an economic rceession, but a recession of hope! This is a historical even so why not go all out.
    Plus Bush is leaving so the sky is the limit!!!

    January 19, 2009 at 6:18 pm |
  682. jill

    Nope. Finally there's something someone's paying for that benefits us regular folk. And the fact that Wall Street is paying for it just makes it that much more satisfying. I can't think of too many better ways (although re-financing bad mortgages to give struggling people a break would be one, and depositing money in deflated retirement accounts could be another) for them to use our money...er, the money we gave them. Certainly it's better than big bonuses, retreats, trips on private jets, etc. for unapologetic executives. Obama is the peoples' president, and what a great way for the people to celebrate - even those of us at home who just get to watch. After all, we helped get him there and we will hold him accountable for his policies, including if he enacts ones which benefit Wall Street at the expense of Main Street.

    January 19, 2009 at 6:18 pm |
  683. Carol, Tennessee

    I do not think this is extravagant. If the money keeps the president-elect safe, fine. Also, don't you think that 350 years waiting for this day more than justifies the money spent to celebrate this historic event? I'm not black – I'm a white, southern independent voter. I only wish this day had come sooner.

    January 19, 2009 at 6:18 pm |
  684. Dick Martin

    This historic celebration will cost each of us Americans about 30 cents. What a small price to pay for uplifting the spirits of 300 million fellow citizens–and signaling an end to eight nightmarish years,

    January 19, 2009 at 6:18 pm |
  685. Idris Khames

    We should remember JFK when he said "say no for what your country can do for you, say what you can do for your country."
    this is the moment.
    Macomb IL

    January 19, 2009 at 6:22 pm |
  686. Vicky

    It send the message of heightened security and accommodations for the expected crowds.

    January 19, 2009 at 6:22 pm |
  687. Marcia Goins

    I know the dollar amount is large, but for the first time in the history of America, there are a large number of people descending upon DC for this historic event. But, Mr.Caferty, you fail to mention how much income is being generated by the airline, hotels, food industry, shops in DC, entreprenuers who were suffering from this economy, you cannot discount how much Americans are spending to be there. They are boosting the DC economy and airlines all around the world. You should add that up, 2 million Americans times an airline ticket. 2 million Americans pay hotel fees, transportation fees.

    I would bet Americans and people who are here from around the world are paying more than the 160 mil spent and what President ever raised 41 million to help pay the cost.

    I really feel, you need to find another angle to pin on the new President, because if you are not going to talk about all cost, you should not pick what just suits you as newsworthy. Well you certainly pissed me off.

    Happy hunting.
    Marcia in Milwaukee

    January 19, 2009 at 6:22 pm |
  688. glenda

    I want to see the evidence that the bailedout banks contributed to this.

    January 19, 2009 at 6:22 pm |
  689. Tracy

    I think the American people need/deserve this celebration.
    Why be hateful when everyone is happy?
    Tracy, NY

    January 19, 2009 at 6:22 pm |
  690. shelli simon

    I am a democrat who is embarrassed at our partys extravagance, especially considering the economic situation we are in. I hope this is not a sign of the future. 160 million dollars would go a long way to feeding the hungry and helping the homeless. The republicans have a right to chastise the Dems on this one!

    January 19, 2009 at 6:22 pm |
  691. Carolyn Race

    It is definitely appropriate to celebrate the inauguration of President-elect Barack Obama, an intelligent, articulate leader whose presidency can save the United States of America -certainly a reason to celebrate. Save your cynicism for reflection on the Bush era. Now is the time for unity, hope and yes, celebration.

    January 19, 2009 at 6:22 pm |
  692. Warren Short

    Given the complaints made by democrats concerning the expenses surrounding the Bush inauguration, the money being spent for this inauguration is hypocritical at best. If this is an example of how the Obama administration will be run, I prefer my tax money be spent elsewhere.

    January 19, 2009 at 6:22 pm |
  693. MLee

    $160 million?

    My husband and I have MBAs and were laid off in September of 2008. We're making $240 a week in unemployment benefits and spending $900 per month on COBRA. We're fairly healthy, but have been turned down by three different insurance companies. We voted Obama because we wanted change. And it would set the right tone to tone down the festivities.

    Scottsdale, AZ

    January 19, 2009 at 6:25 pm |
  694. philip orlando

    Yes, I voted for president elect Obama for change (change that we can belive in). I hope we are not going to get more of same!!!!

    January 19, 2009 at 6:25 pm |
  695. suryarao kurumety

    It is extravagance as usual. Where is the change?

    January 19, 2009 at 6:25 pm |
  696. John

    As any sensible person knows by now, this is just further evidence that it is just "BUSINESS AS USUAL"! Nothing is going to change except for a few superficial cosmetic things on the surface, but behind the scenes it's going to be the same old Wall Street thieves who control Obama/Biden that control Bush/Cheney. Everything for the banks and big corporations and NOTHING as usual for the American people. That is why so many people are TOTALLY fed up with the entire U.S. system! There's not a dime's bit of difference between "Republicans" and "Democrats". A liar and thief by any other name, IS STILL A LIAR AND THIEF!

    January 19, 2009 at 6:25 pm |
  697. Gray

    C'mon Jack. 160 million is chump change compared to what the banks got. Let the peons party a little!

    January 19, 2009 at 6:25 pm |
  698. Daniel

    Sure it does. Its a no brainer.

    January 19, 2009 at 6:26 pm |
  699. PPBump

    It is an investment in the people. In the future this will be History. Now is Ourstory. It will Come Back 10 if not 1000 fold in service. Yes We Can!

    January 19, 2009 at 6:46 pm |