Obama: You don't have to come to my inauguration!
Well, it's not as though he doesn't want you to join in on all the inaugural fun, but President-elect Obama today did warn supporters about the chilly weather and swarms of people who could make attending the event a struggle.
"You've probably heard the reports that unprecedented numbers of Americans are planning to join us in Washington," Obama said in a video address. "That will mean long lines, a tough time getting around, and most of all, a lot of walking on what could be a very cold winter day."
Regardless, Obama made it clear that he isn't forcing you to attend.
"Fortunately, you don't have to brave the crowds and commotion in order to participate in this celebration -- because we've made this Inauguration open and accessible to communities across our nation," he said.
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The president-elect goes on to explain that by texting the word "open" to 56333, you can receive frequent updates from the Obama team on inaugural plans. By the way, if it is anything like the campaign -- they aren't afraid to text all the time.
"We're kicking off inaugural week events on Sunday afternoon with a free celebration at the Lincoln Memorial that's open to the public," he said. "And to allow Americans across the country to join us, HBO will broadcast the event for free that evening."
That's true, but if you get your TV the old fashioned way (without cable or satellite), you're doomed. However, as we told you yesterday, MSNBC is broadcasting the 4 1/2 hours of the Inauguration to theaters across the country.
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"Monday night, Michelle and Jill Biden are hosting a free Kids' Inaugural concert to honor the children of military families, which the Disney Channel will broadcast live on television and their radio network," Obama continued.
He then discussed the Neighborhood Inaugural Ball -- which we discussed earlier today -- and talked about how it can link up to any inaugural party you may be hosting locally.
Then a call for service. The president-elect asked citizens to spend Monday -- Martin Luther King, Jr. Day -- to honor the memory of the civil rights leader by volunteering.
"On Monday, my family and the Biden family will spend time volunteering in neighborhoods around Washington," he said. I am asking you to join us in that same spirit of service to others -- no matter where you live."
What can you do? Obama suggested going to USAservice.org to find out what your community is doing or to organize your own service event.
And if you do step it up and do some volunteering, you can get some free coffee. All you have to do is go to Starbucks and fill out a pledge card stating that you will donate five hours of your time to a volunteer opportunity and you can get a free tall coffee.
Through this campaign, Starbucks is hoping to generate one million hours of volunteer service.