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Obama inauguration schedule

\With Barack Obama set to be inaugurated today as the nation's 44th president, the day figures to be one of the most-covered live events ever in television history. Estimates put the potential worldwide audience for Obama's swearing-in in the billions, a figure that could dwarf viewership numbers for the Super Bowl and Academy Awards and reach heights ordinarily seen only by the Olympics and the World Cup.

Following is an hour-by-hour account of what to look for as you keep up with the day's proceedings. In addition:

- >>Click for the latest photos today from Obama's inauguration

- >>Updates on where Obama is right now

- >>Newsday reporters are embedded with the crowds

- >>'OMG! This is INSANE!' ... Teens in DC are writing live updates for us

5 a.m. CNN kicks off the day's live event coverage from Capitol Hill. C-Span and Fox News begin broadcasting at 6 a.m. In these early hours, expect to see a lot of talking heads doing a lot of talking. There will also be copious live shots of empty stages and digital maps of the parade route as the anchors and correspondents fill hours talking about what their viewers are about to see.

- >>See the celebrities at inauguration ceremonies

8 a.m. Security gates open for ticketholders for the swearing in and the National Mall. Expect to see shots of cold, but excited attendees slowly making their way through security gates at entrances to the swearing-in viewing areas and on the National Mall. Inauguration officials have advised anyone with tickets to arrive no later than 9 a.m. to get through security. Nonetheless, expect to see people in lines well before and after the official program starts.

8:45 a.m. The Obamas attend a private prayer service at the historic St. John's Episcopal Church on Lafayette Square.

9:30 a.m. CBS News begins a six-hour broadcast.

10 a.m. Now the show starts for real. The swearing-in ceremony begins with music from the Marine Band, the San Francisco Boys Chorus and the San Francisco Girls Chorus. Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) will issue the call to order and make brief welcoming remarks before making way for probably the day's most controversial figure, Rick Warren of the Saddleback Church in Lake Forest, Calif.

Obama infuriated gay and lesbian groups when he announced earlier this month that Warren, a conservative evangelical megachurch minister, would deliver the invocation. The Obama camp attempted to defuse the situation by naming Gene Robinson, an openly-gay Episcopal bishop of New Hampshire, to give the invocation at Sunday's inauguration opening ceremonies at the Lincoln Memorial.

Warren, 54, has a long record of staunchly opposing same-sex marriage, though he most certainly will deliver a nondenominational prayer Tuesday.

Also, Obama meets with President George W. Bush at the White House; they travel together to the Capitol for the inauguration ceremony.

ABC News and MSNBC begin their coverage, with NBC starting at 10:30 a.m.

10:30 a.m. After a song by Aretha Franklin, who also sang at President Bill Clinton's first inauguration, Joe Biden will be sworn in as vice president by Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens. Stevens, 88, is the court's oldest and most liberal justice and, to put it gently, since the justices have lifetime appointments, the most likely to be replaced during Obama's term.

This will be Biden's second swearing-in ceremony in as many weeks. He took the oath for his seventh term in the Senate Jan. 6, then officially resigned the seat Jan. 15.

- >>Photos of Sasha and Malia Obama

11 a.m. The third musical interlude features composer and Floral Park native John Williams (noted for his "Star Wars" scores, among other accomplishments), violinist Itzhak Perlman, cellist Yo-Yo Ma, pianist Gabriela Montero and clarinetist Anthony McGill.

Once Williams and the foursome are through playing, Obama and John Roberts, the Supreme Court's chief justice, will take center stage.

The swearing-in duties will be Roberts' first, making him the 14th chief justice to swear in a president.

Every elected president since John Adams has been sworn in by the chief justice. (In 1789, George Washington was sworn in by Robert Livingston, the New York State chancellor, and William Cushing, an associate justice, in 1793.)

When presidents have died in office, their successor's oath has been administered by an available judge or, in Calvin Coolidge's case, by his father, a notary public.

Obama, placing his hand on Abraham Lincoln's inaugural Bible, will recite the same oath as his 43 predecessors, as prescribed by the Constitution: "I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will faithfully execute the office of president of the United States, and will to the best of my ability, preserve, protect, and defend the Constitution of the United States."

PBS begins its inaugural coverage.

Noon Obama is sworn in as president and delivers his inaugural address. The speech is perhaps one of the most anticipated political speeches in modern American history. It will be televised on scores of television networks worldwide, giving Obama an unprecedented platform to deliver his message to the world. Expectations for the speech are understandably enormous, so look for Obama to give a speech heavy on soaring language, and light on specifics.

The address will be followed by a poem composed and read by New York-born poet Elizabeth Alexander. The Rev. Joseph E. Lowery will follow with a benediction and the program concludes with a playing of the national anthem by the U.S. Navy band Sea Chanters.

12:30 p.m. After Obama, now president Obama, finishes his speech, he will accompany now-former President Bush to a departure ceremony at the Capitol and then attend a luncheon at the Capitol's Statuary Hall. The three-course meal featuring stewed and scalloped oysters and an apple desert, is inspired by Lincoln's culinary favorites. Obama, Biden and their families, the Supreme Court justices, cabinet designees and the congressional leadership are expected to attend.

At 1:25 p.m., Bush makes "brief remarks" at the departure ceremony.

2:30 p.m. The 56th Inaugural Parade begins, and the Obamas join the inaugural motorcade. The parade will make its way down Pennsylvania Avenue from the Capitol to the White House, with groups including the Mobile Azalea Trail Maids from Alabama, and the University of Delaware Fightin Blue Hen Marching Band, having traveled from all over the country to participate.

Despite the predicted cold weather -- forecasts call for dry, though mostly cloudy weather Tuesday with temperatures near 30 at the time of the swearing in -- expect Obama to emerge from his limousine to walk a stretch of the route. In doing so, he would follow a tradition established by Jimmy Carter that now seems ingrained in the presidential inauguration.

Carter's 1.5-mile walk, which he made with his wife, Rosalynn, was designed to show that the country had emerged from the stain of the Watergate scandal. The symbolism struck home, and President Bill Clinton and both Bush presidents also walked a stretch of the parade route.

6 p.m. The parade ends.

7 p.m. The official inaugural balls begin, with the first-ever Neighborhood Ball at the Washington Convention Center. The event, which is expected to include the president and first lady's first dance of the night, will be broadcast exclusively on ABC beginning at 8 p.m.

8 p.m. The Obamas begin their trek to the remaining official balls: The Commander-in-Chief's Ball, a Youth Ball, five official regional balls -- including the mid-Atlantic ball at the convention center, for invitees from New York and four other states and the District of Columbia -- and Home States Balls thrown by Hawaii and Illinois for Obama, and Delaware and Pennsylvania for Biden.

Among unofficial events, there's also a ball that touts itself as "the largest gathering of peace activists without a protest" (Harry Belafonte and Joan Baez are attending), a Funk 4 Peace ball and a ball thrown by the D.C. municipal government to highlight the capital's lack of representation in the federal government.

Also, several television networks air inaugural specials in this time period: BET's "Yes We Will" inauguration celebration, featuring Ne-Yo and Wyclef Jean, and the Disney Channel's "Kids' Inaugural, honoring military families, at 8 p.m.; CBS's "Change and Challenge," and Frontline's "Dreams of Obama" on PBS at 9 p.m. and NBC's "The Presidency of Barack Obama" and ABC's "A moment in history: The inauguration of Barack Obama" at 10 p.m.

- >>See the celebrities at inauguration ceremonies


- >>Photos of Sasha and Malia Obama

- >>Michelle Obama photos


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