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Obama’s second-term swearing in will be open to media

FILE - In this Jan. 20 2009 file phoBarack Obamleft joined by his wife Michelle takes oath office from Chief

FILE - In this Jan. 20, 2009 file photo, Barack Obama, left, joined by his wife Michelle, takes the oath of office from Chief Justice John Roberts to become the 44th president of the United States at the U.S. Capitol in Washington. A White House site offering one-page biographies of all 44 presidents, has just six paragraphs in Obama's biography _ with no details about the historic 2008 campaign. It ends with his inauguration. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong, file)

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Updated: January 14, 2013 7:35AM

WASHINGTON — The American public will be able to witness President Barack Obama getting sworn in for a second term; the Presidential Inaugural Committee said Wednesday that the unusual Sunday ceremony will be open to media coverage.

This should not even have been a question — but it was, because the White House would not say, as recently as Tuesday, whether the event could be covered.

“The official swearing-in on Sunday will be open to media coverage,” Addie Whisenant, the national spokesman for the Presidential Inaugural Committee told me after I asked her Wednesday about the status of coverage for the historic event.

“We are still working out additional details and logistics and expect to be able to share more about media coverage plans for that ceremony and other inaugural events soon,” she said.

The Constitution set noon on Jan. 20 as the date terms end for the president and vice president. In 2013, Jan. 20 falls on a Sunday, which is why — as per custom — the public festivities (the parade, balls, etc.) are taking place on Monday, Jan. 21. The swearing-in on the Capitol steps will be a ceremonial re-enactment.

The Constitution can’t be ignored, so the White House is planning for Obama to be sworn in for his second term on Sunday, Jan. 20.

Questions about whether the press would be able to witness the event were prompted in part by the White House declining to say for days if the event would be open or closed to coverage.

On Tuesday, White House press secretary Jay Carney dodged the question at the briefing when he was asked, “Can you tell us and the public what the coverage will be of the swearing-in for the president on Sunday for the inauguration?”

“I don’t believe those decisions have been made,” he said.

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