The outward preparations for Barack Obama’s Jan. 20 inauguration are in full swing.Chain-link fences blocks Pennsylvania Avenue as workers in hard hats scurry on a blustery Friday to prepare for festivities that are expected to draw a record crowd.
Gray metal girders are already in place near the familiar fountain on the White House North Lawn, forming the shell for a bulletproof presidential reviewing stand. Across the street, at the edge of Lafayette Park, an orange construction crane is pouring concrete that will anchor stands where Obama supporters can simultaneously watch the new president and his inaugural parade.
Hidden work on the cabinet
Even more consequential work on the inauguration is taking place out of sight. At the Presidential Transition Office on the 38th floor of the Kluczynski Federal Building in downtown Chicago, Obama and his advisers are hard at work assembling the president’s cabinet.
There are leaks aplenty, but no cabinet officers have been officially announced so far. Speculation currently centers on the following line-up: Sen. Hillary Clinton (Secretary of State), Bush holdover Robert Gates (Defense), New York Fed President Timothy Geithner (Treasury), Arizona Gov. Janet Napolitano (Homeland Security), New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson (Commerce), and former Clinton administration official Eric Holder (Attorney General).