Congressman Blumenauer gives us a unique point of view on the morning’s inaugural events—as an elected official, he is seated behind the podium.
At 10 AM Congress assembled on the House floor, and then was seated. "For the better part of an hour, the Supreme Court, members of Congress, governors, and other dignitaries are arrayed in a great big horseshoe looking out at the Mall." And while the sight of the first quarter-million people stunned the Congressmen, others were less awestruck, as it turned out. There were jokes and quips and a festive attitude, and members of Congress—Blumenauer included—had their pictures snapped behind the podium.
As members of the president’s team were introduced, they were greeted with shouts and treated like rock stars. “You better be good to us now!” someone shouted to Rahm Emanuel, Obama’s White House Chief of Staff.
"After about an hour and a half, everyone—no matter how well they had prepared—was feeling the cold," Blumenauer tells us. The Congressman wore a wool coat, used handwarmers, and had on about four layers of clothing. "The cold was a shared experience that added a punctuation point to the day, and we weren’t the people that had been there since 8, or even 6, or even 3 a.m."