WASHINGTON — Four years ago, Barack Obama’s swearing-in drew a record crowd to the National Mall. There were 1.8 million people eager to witness history: the country’s first black president taking the oath of office.
Now, as Obama prepares for his second-term kickoff, the capital is preoccupied with a looming economic crisis, exit from war, and a reshuffling in Congress. Ticket demand is lower. Hotels are far from booked. And from Capitol Hill to the White House, the upcoming festivities seem to be barely on anyone’s radar.