Today in Inaugural News: Finishing Touches, Hints at Michelle's Entertaining Style, and a Wine-Stocked White House

By Michael O'Connell January 20, 2009, 10:23 AM EST

President-elect Obama is just a few hours from dropping the “elect” from his title, and last-minute details for the celebrations all falling into place. Here's what's on our radar the morning of the inauguration:

  • Producers put the finishing touches on the Capitol Building stage for this morning's inauguration last night, lighting it up so everyone could catch a sneak peek. [Gawker]
  • Yesterday's lines to pick up tickets to the inauguration ceremony were predictably exhausting. [NYMag]
  • Many balls, including the Hawaii State Society Inaugural Ball and the Inaugural Purple Ball, will donate flowers used to Flower Power, an organization that delivers flowers to wounded soldiers. [Flower Power]
  • As first lady, Michelle Obama may delegate such duties as food tastings and china selection to her staff, and envisions hosting picnics with local children as well as state dinners, in order to make the White House more accessible to ordinary Americans. [NYT]
  • George W. Bush's farewell party, dubbed “Crossing the Finish Line,” was held in Maryland Sunday night and featured casual attire, BBQ, and cheap domestic beer. [Slate]
  • Planners hoping their inaugural events will be the talk of the town for weeks to come might want to think again. Some believe the party atmosphere in Washington will be forgotten before tomorrow's cleanup is even over. [CQ Politics]
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  • Native Kentuckian Muhammad Ali was the guest of honor at last night's Bluegrass Ball. The boxing champ will also sit on the platform during today's swearing in. [HuffPo]
  • At last night's bipartisan dinner, Obama spent time onstage honoring former rival John McCain. [NYT]
  • As evident by the wine pairings at this afternoon's inaugural luncheon, Obama is a wine enthusiast. And U.S. wine producers are apparently thrilled that he isn't a teetotaler like the outgoing president. [Reuters]
  • HBO, which secured rights to Sunday's “We Are One” inaugural kickoff concert, has been pulling images and video of the event from the Internet, citing copyright infringement. The network also got flack for editing out the invocation by openly gay Bishop Gene Robinson. [America Blog]
  • Planners at Sunday's event had hoped Challenger, a bald eagle, would fly from the Lincoln Memorial to a nearby landing site, but he didn't have enough time to rehearse before the show. [NYT]

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