Over 1 Million Brave Cold Weather, Long Lines to Witness Historic Inauguration

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Over a million people filled the National Mall Tuesday to watch Obama take the oath. Many stood in line for hours in the cold to get a glimpse of the nation’s first black president. [includes rush transcript]

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This is a rush transcript. Copy may not be in its final form.

AMY GOODMAN: A million people, or more, gathered, filled the National Mall on Tuesday to watch Obama take the oath. Many stood in line for hours in the cold to get a glimpse of the nation’s first black president. It’s believed to be the largest inauguration celebration in US history. Crowd estimates ranged from one to two million.

Here are just some of the voices from the streets of Washington, D.C.

    STREET MERCHANT: We’ve got Obama official T-shirts over here. And beautiful buttons.

    TAMMY BOUDREAUX: Hi. My name is Tammy Boudreaux. I’m from Houston, Texas. I’m a huge supporter of Obama, like many of us here. And he has a huge fan base in Texas, so don’t let that fool you. Yeah, I’m here to celebrate and participate in our future potential of becoming better.

    JAMES JACKSON: I’m James Jackson. What am I hoping? Well, I guess I’m hoping for a very, very good four years for President-elect Obama. My hope is that he will be able to do some of the things that he’s said that he’s going to do. There’s a lot of challenges ahead of him, and I hope that we, as a country, will support him in his efforts in order to do the kinds of things that he wants to do.

    OBAMA SUPPORTER 1: Change has to occur, so something’s going to happen. How much, how much happens, we don’t know. But I think he got a pretty good stamp to do quite a few things, running off a change during his march to the White House. So he’ll be able to do some stuff. Will he be able to do everything he promised? No, and I don’t expect him to, either.

    OBAMA SUPPORTER 2: And we’ve got to realize we’ve got to give him patience, you know? Got to give him patience, make sure everything — these issues that we’re dealing with are all major issues, in and of themselves, and we’ve got like five major issues. And it’s going to take five years, four years to even tackle one of these issues, and the main issue right now being the economy. We’ve got to figure out and give patience to him and not put too much expectations on him. So…

    OBAMA SUPPORTER 3: But what I do know is that he’s going to be — try to be the best president that he could possibly be. And yeah, that’s what we expect.

    OBAMA SUPPORTER 1: Oh, and the major thing is, he’s just the general, but we’re the army, so he can lead us, but we also have to be willing to be led and be able to go out there and do the hard work also.

    LYND ROBSON: My first name is Lynd, Robson, and I’m from Montana, but I just moved to Washington. And I was part of the ’60s generation, the baby boomers. And, you know, it’s just wonderful to hear this generation and Barack Obama speaking to what we — the values of that time, which have somehow dissipated into the ozone, and he’s brought them back. And it’s just fabulous.

    OBAMA SUPPORTER 4: What I’m hoping is there’s going to be a change that is going to really reform the country. Right now, I think even at the grassroots level, a lot of people have given up or shifted their thinking. And I’m hoping this is the beginning of a shift of thinking that — where communities are going to come together and stop thinking about themselves as individuals and stop thinking that, hey, we’re going to improve life by making it better for our children, so our children can have more, better than we have, but rather, thinking in terms of things in terms of quality of life for entire communities.

    CLIFF FRASIER: My names Cliff Frasier, originally from Massachusetts, live in New York City now. And I’m going to the inauguration, because I worked for SEIU during the election, the labor union Service Employees International Union, and we worked a lot on the Obama election. And so, I want to be there. I want to be part of celebrating his victory and with all the other people who helped make this happen. And I just couldn’t imagine sitting in New York and not being here.

    CARLOS SANCHEZ: I’m Carlos Sanchez from El Salvador, and I’m coming here for the inauguration. I’m not a citizen yet, but this is a great opportunity to see a democratic process, so I’m very proud to be here.

    DAMIEN CHAVOUS: My name is Damien Chavous. I’m from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, coming down to D.C. — not for Bush. I’m going down there for the inauguration, first time in my life I went to any inauguration or anything like that.

    KIRK HARRIS: I’m Kirk Harris. I’m from Seattle, Washington, originally, living in New York now. And I’m coming down here for the inauguration just because I think it’s a historic and exciting event and because, you know, growing up, I was always really proud of this country, I was always really excited about the potential of this country to change and renew itself, and I think we’re kind of witnessing that in this moment. And hopefully, this will be the start of some good times for the United States.

    OBAMA SUPPORTER 5: Obama! Obama! Obama! Obama!

AMY GOODMAN: Voices from the streets of Washington, D.C. over this historic weekend. Thanks to producers Hany Massoud and Steve Martinez.

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