'Thousands' seeking tickets to inauguration

Tribune reporter

As the price skyrockets for an ostensibly free ticket to Barack Obama's inaugural swearing-in (and as federal legislation that would outlaw their sale looms), questions remain about how to legally obtain the tickets.

Members of the Joint Congressional Committee on Inaugural Ceremonies, who host the big swearing-in ceremony, say the only way to obtain a real ticket is by contacting your local representatives in Congress, each of whom will be given tickets to the Jan. 20 event to distribute for free the day before.

Depending on your congressional district, there will almost certainly be more requests than tickets, and the criteria by which requests are judged varies from congressman to congressman.

U.S. Rep. Danny Davis (D-Ill.) has gotten 8,000 requests but hasn't come up with a way to decide who'll get first pick.

"There's a possibility we'll have enough for everyone," said Davis' executive personal assistant, Clayton Boyd.

U.S. Reps. Jan Schakowsky (D-Ill.) and Bobby Rush (D-Ill.) have put automated forms on their office Web sites.

U.S. Reps. Judy Biggert (R-Ill.) and Jesse Jackson Jr. (D-Ill.) want constituents to send them e-mails. Jackson's Web site says the requests will be considered on a "first-come, first-served" basis. Jason Tai of Democratic U.S. Rep. Bill Lipinski's office said requests there already are "well into the thousands."

There is one exclusive niche in the inaugural that's actually seeking participants. If you want to march in the parade, applications are being taken by the Armed Forces Inaugural Committee.


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