Inauguration Watch: Whether It's McCain or Obama, Planning Is Underway

One thing that won't wait for Election Day is planning the January 20 inauguration of the president.

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So it's not for another 95 days, and we don't know exactly who will be sworn in yet, but Whispers is already gathering up all the details for the presidential inauguration, which takes place here in Washington on January 20. We got some shots of the early construction of the inaugural platform in front of the Capitol Building. The Architect of the Capitol started building the stand in late September, and it will hold more than 1,600 people on Inauguration Day. Soon, the Joint Congressional Committee on Inaugural Ceremonies will post on their website each week a picture of the platform from the same vantage point, showing builders' progress. Last time around they had a webcam, but they decided to do away with it this year. "It was just sort of dull," says Communications Director Carole Florman. All sorts of other planning is underway. Florman says they're expecting upwards of 250,000 people at the inauguration and tons of media, too. In 2005 there were over 2,000 daily print reporters, not counting broadcast outlets whose platform has become bigger and bigger over the years. "All of the sudden there are these amazing pictures in 2001 so if you are looking over President Bush's shoulder toward the Mal, instead of seeing people he is looking over an enormous camera platform," Florman told us. "So that's not very good." They're trying to make sure that this issue doesn't occur again.

And for those viewing from home, the Senate is working on having a state-of-the-art webcast of the ceremony. "You've got to figure that people around the world are interested in this event," says Florman.

And while planning for inauguration has already started, a lot of things will depend on who gets picked to occupy the White House. For instance, while the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court often swears the president in, it's the newly-elected president's call of who actually does the job. And of the five enormous flags that are draped in front of the Capitol Building on Inauguration Day, two of the flags will have the number of stars the flag had when the president's home state (Arizona or Illinois) entered the union.

The menu for the luncheon too, which immediately follows the swearing in ceremony, won't be picked until January. And while the president will have a say there, so will the chairman of the Joint Congressional Committee on Inaugural Ceremonies, who this time around is Sen. Dianne Feinstein. "Our chairman is from California so obviously there will be some good California influences on the menu and on the wine," Florman says.

-Nikki Schwab