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Washington DC Readies for Historic Presidential Inauguration

On January 20, Barack Obama will be sworn-in as the 44th president of the United States, in a ceremony that could draw millions to the nation's capital, Washington, D.C.

The fanciest hotels in Washington are booked for the week, and requests are pouring in for the 250,000 tickets available for the swearing-in ceremony.

A congressional committee in charge of the ceremonies says the theme of this year's inauguration will be a commemoration of the late President Abraham Lincoln, for the 200th anniversary of his birth.

Chairwoman of the committee Senator Dianne Feinstein says it is fitting to mark the inauguration of Mr. Obama, the first African-American president-elect, with the words of President Lincoln, who helped end slavery in the United States.

Mr. Obama will take the oath of office, as it is written in the Constitution, during a swearing-in ceremony in front of the U.S. Capitol.

Outgoing U.S President George Bush and his wife Laura are likely to leave the Capitol grounds by helicopter after the swearing-in ceremony - as every president has done since 1977.

There will also be a parade from the Capitol to the White House. In a tradition that goes back to the inauguration of the first U.S. president, George Washington, the city will host a number of glamorous inaugural balls to welcome the new president.