Obama and Biden go to pre-inaugural church service

Charles Dharapak/AP

At 8:30 a.m. a lengthy stream of Washington Metropolitan police motorcycles rounded the corner of 16th and I Streets outside the Monitor’s Washington bureau as Vice President -elect Joe Biden and his family arrived for a worship service at the historic St John’s Episcopal Church bordering LaFayette Park.

No room for your police car

The street outside the church was so crowded with security vehicles that it took several minutes for the end of the motorcade to snake its way onto the block that contains the yellow and white church where President Bush came to worship most Sunday’s when he was in town.

Just before the 8:45 a.m. scheduled start time of the church service, Barack and Michelle Obama were driven around the corner from Blair House to the church, which is a familiar sight to the Obamas. It is directly across the street from the elegant Hay Adams Hotel where they stayed until moving into Blair House, the official guest residence across Pennsylvania Avenue from the White House.

A brief glimpse of the president-elect and his new wheels

The block containing St. John’s Church has been sealed off with concrete barricades. A steady stream of tourists is flowing past the barricades, moving down I Street to the Washington Mall to watch the inauguration.

The church-door arrival gave tourists a rare chance to see the Obama and Biden families through the bullet-proof glass of their limousines. Since last weekend, Mr. Obama had been traveling in a new, heavily armored Cadillac with a license plate that said “44” referring to his soon-to-be inauguration as the 44th president.  This morning, the license plate had been changed to "1".

After the church service, which is closed to the public, the Obamas headed directly to the White House, where at 9:55 a.m. President and Mrs. Bush greeted Barack and Michelle Obama on the steps of the North Portico.

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