Presidential Inauguration: Walk or Limo?
January 3, 2004 1:59 PM   Subscribe

History question: January 21, 1977. "The afternoon of infamy" for people in the limousine business. After having just been inaugurated, Jimmy Carter decides to exit his limo and walk with his family (and a large crowd) down Pennsylvania Avenue to the White House. What has been the trend since?
posted by john to Society & Culture (6 answers total)
I seem to recall that Reagan walked the whole way in 1980 and since then every President has walked at least part of the way from their inauguration.

Not trying to be mean or anything, but what's the problem-based question here... or was this just a trivia question?
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 3:56 PM on January 3, 2004

Response by poster: I was just curious if it caught on or not. I am having a hard time finding information about what seems to be an obscure bit of trivia.
posted by john at 4:29 PM on January 3, 2004

Presidential Inaugurations: Some Precedents and Notable Events.

From George Washington to George Bush, Speeches and Parades, Dances and Tradition. [NYT samizdat]

Every President since Carter has walked part of the inaugural route ...
GovExec magazine, 2001

Mr Bush delighted supporters by getting out of his limousine and walked the last block of the parade, holding hands with his wife Laura. - BBC

The Clintons notably, perhaps infamously, walked down Pennsylvania at first apart, then holding hands -- though that may have been 1997. (Oddly, I just read an article about this somewhere, showing the photograph, but I can't find it now.)

There's a lot of interesting trivia surrounding this; for example, the first lady never held the bible for her husband until Lady Bird Johnson in 1965, but it's been a tradition ever since. And certainly JFK was the first to attend without a hat, and I don't think any haberdashery has been seen since, Harrison's deathly cold be damned -- but Reagan's swearing-in took place indoors due to -2F weather.
posted by dhartung at 4:55 PM on January 3, 2004

From the site:

March 4, 1841 -- William H. Harrison
Longest inaugural address (10,000 words). Broke precedent by beginning address, taking oath, and then resuming address.

April 6, 1841 -- John Tyler
First vice president to assume the presidency due to the death of the president.

posted by MiG at 5:47 PM on January 3, 2004

"And certainly JFK was the first to attend without a hat, and I don't think any haberdashery has been seen since"
posted by Grod at 5:53 PM on January 3, 2004

Response by poster: Thanks!

From the BBC link...
Police in riot gear lined the route of the parade five deep.
I was curious if the security increases every year too. It certainly sounds like the last one was pretty secure.
posted by john at 6:00 PM on January 3, 2004

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