Bush 'the king' blows $50m on coronation
President's lavish inauguration is 'obscene' when US troops are dying in Iraq war, say critics
Paul Harri in New York Sunday January 9, 2005 The Observer
It will be one of the biggest parties in American history, but half of the country will be left out. With a price tag of up to $50 million, President George W Bush's inauguration in 11 days' time will be an unashamed celebration of Red America's victory over Blue America in last November's election. It is going to be the most expensive, most security-obsessed event in the history of Washington DC. An army of 10,000 police, secret service officers and FBI agents will patrol the capital for four days of massive celebrations that some critics have derided as reminiscent of the lavish shindigs thrown by Louis XIV, France's extravagant Sun King.
More than 150,000 people, nearly all Republicans whose tickets are a reward for election work, will pack the Mall to hear Bush take his oath of office on 20 January. There will be nine official balls, countless unofficial ones, parades and a concert hosted by Bush's daughters, Jenna and Barbara.