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President Obama scaling back inaugural cost

Workers prepared platforms where dignitaries and news cameras will witness the inaugural ceremonies.

J. Scott Applewhite/Associated Press

Workers prepared platforms where dignitaries and news cameras will witness the inaugural ceremonies.

WASHINGTON — The pomp surrounding the inauguration of the president of the United States can carry a hefty price tag, but the cost of this inauguration won’t be as big as the last one for President Obama.

Taxpayers will not cover the cost of the balls and other celebratory events, just things like preparing the inaugural platform, sprucing up the Capitol grounds, and providing security. A solid chunk of the tab for the 57th inauguration next month will be picked up by loyal supporters and other private donors, as it has been for years.

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In 2009, Obama raised $53 million in private money for his inauguration, when a record 1.8 million people braved the winter chill to see him take his place in history as America’s first black president.

Previous inaugural committees have raised big cash, too, though not as much as Obama. President George W. Bush had about $40 million raised for each of his inaugurals. For President Bill Clinton, it was about $30 million in 1997.

This time around, with the economy still sputtering out of the worst downturn since the Great Depression, Obama is scaling back the celebrations a bit.

But the precise cost of the inaugural has yet to be determined.

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