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Q&A: Inauguration facts, figures, firsts

Lyndon B. Johnson is sworn in as president in the cabin of the presidential plane by U.S. District Judge Sarah T. Hughes. Johnson is the only president sworn in by a woman.

Times files

Lyndon B. Johnson is sworn in as president in the cabin of the presidential plane by U.S. District Judge Sarah T. Hughes. Johnson is the only president sworn in by a woman.

Inauguration facts, figures, firsts

There have been some questions about the inauguration, which is today at noon, so this version of Ask the Times is devoted to facts and figures about the event.

• The vice president is sworn in before the president, a tradition that began in 1937. His oath: "I do solemnly swear that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic, that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same: that I take this obligation freely, without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion, and I will well and faithfully discharge the duties of the office on which I am about to enter."

• The president follows: "I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will faithfully execute the office of President of the United States, and will to the best of my ability, preserve, protect, and defend the Constitution of the United States."

• The shortest address given by an incoming president was George Washington's as he was sworn in for his second term: 135 words.

• The longest address was from William Henry Harrison, with 8,444 words. Ironically, Harrison's tenure in office was the shortest of all presidents; he died 30 days, 12 hours and 30 minutes after being sworn in. He took office on March 4, 1841. On March 26 he caught a cold, and it developed into pneumonia and pleurisy. He died April 4, 1841, the first president to die in office.

• Thomas Jefferson began the tradition of the inaugural parade when he rode a horse to music from the Capitol to the White House while a few people watched.

• Abraham Lincoln was the first president to include African-Americans in his inaugural parade, in 1865.

• James Buchanan's inauguration in 1857 was the first to be photographed.

• William McKinley's inauguration in 1895 was the first to be recorded by a motion picture camera.

• William Howard Taft's wife was the first to accompany her husband in the procession from the Capitol to the White House, in 1909.

• The first time women were a part of an inaugural parade was 1917, when Woodrow Wilson was sworn in.

• Warren H. Harding was the first president to ride to and from his inauguration in a car, in 1921.

• Calvin Coolidge's inaugural address in 1925 was the first broadcast on the radio.

• Harry S. Truman's inauguration in 1949 was the first to be televised.

• Lyndon Baines Johnson is still the only president to be sworn in by a woman — U.S. District Judge Sarah T. Hughes after the assassination of John F. Kennedy in 1963.

• All but six presidents were inaugurated in Washington, D.C.: Johnson (Dallas), Coolidge (Plymouth, Vt.), Theodore Roosevelt (Buffalo, 1901), Chester A. Arthur (New York City, 1881), John Adams (1797, Philadelphia) and Washington (1789 in New York City and 1793 in Philadelphia).

Q&A: Inauguration facts, figures, firsts 01/19/09 [Last modified: Monday, January 19, 2009 4:23pm]
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