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President completes long day of events

1:44 AM, Jan 22, 2013   |    comments
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WASHINGTON (AP) -- President Barack Obama has ended a long day of formal inaugural events with lighter festivities.

Obama and the first lady danced three times at balls at the Washington Convention Center.

The first dance happened at the Commander-in-Chief Ball, where Obama recognized military brass and thousands of invited enlistees. He also used a video link to thank troops in Kandahar, Afghanistan.

The Obamas then attended the Inaugural Ball. It was so large that it was on two levels, requiring them to dance twice. All three dances featured live performances by Jennifer Hudson, who sang Al Green's "Let's Stay Together."

The president started the day with a church visit. Later he took a ceremonial oath of office as a vast crowd stretched the length of the National Mall. The first lady held the Bibles of Abraham Lincoln and Martin Luther King Jr.

Obama challenged the throng and those hearing and watching broadcasts to broaden equality and prosperity. His 18-minute address referenced many challenges including global warming, voting rights, gay rights and gun safety.

After a congressional luncheon, the president and first lady strolled about three blocks in the Inaugural Parade. They were among thousands who walked from the Capitol and then passed a reviewing stand at the White House.

Official: turnout above 800K, maybe 1M

An inauguration planning official says turnout was "definitely above 800,000" and possibly up to one million people.

Chris Geldart, who directs the District of Columbia's homeland security and emergency management agency, says early and unofficial estimates of the number of people on the National Mall indicate a turnout higher than 800,000. That's based on aerial views of how the crowd filled sections of the mall.

Officials initially anticipated as many as 800,000 visitors, but lowered the projections to 500,000 to 700,000, based partly on an updated number of charter buses and restaurant and hotel reservations.

But Geldart, who's also co-chairman of the district's presidential inaugural committee, said the event benefited from relatively mild weather.

About 1.8 million people attended President Barack Obama's first swearing-in in 2009.

Associated Press

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