How dare the press corps plebes question Scottie about the coronation!
Q Scott, there’s been some criticism of the inaugural costs, $40 million being spent on the inauguration at a time when people are dying in Iraq and the tsunami disaster has created a sobering mood. Does the President feel that it’s appropriate to have a lavish celebration like that at such a time?
MR. McCLELLAN: I think we talked about this earlier in the week, and I think the Inaugural Committee has talked about it, as well. But the inaugural is a great American tradition, and this is a time not only to celebrate freedom, but to pay tribute to our men and women in uniform. And these are private contributions from people all across America who are enthusiastic about this great celebration that will be going on next week in Washington, D.C.
Q What about scaling it back, though, just making it —
Q Is he at all uncomfortable with the scale or the lavishness of what we’re going to see next week?
MR. McCLELLAN: The inaugural is a celebration of our democracy. It’s an opportunity for all Americans to come together around a great tradition. And it’s an opportunity to show the world the democratic values that America stands for. And so I think it’s an important moment and a great tradition.
Tradition, Scottie? Tradition? Gee, I wonder what tradition previous presidents observed in regards to an inauguration during wartime?
New York Rep. Anthony Weiner, a Democrat, suggested inaugural parties should be scaled back, citing as a precedent Franklin D. Roosevelt’s inauguration during World War II.
“President Roosevelt held his 1945 inaugural at the White House, making a short speech and serving guests cold chicken salad and plain pound cake,” according to a letter from Weiner and Rep. Jim McDermott, D-Wash. “During World War I, President Wilson did not have any parties at his 1917 inaugural, saying that such festivities would be undignified.”