JUSTIN ROOD, ANNA SCHECTER, and MEGAN CHUCHMACH
January 19, 2009
President-elect Barack Obama billed his inauguration an event “for all Americans.” But in the nation’s capital this long weekend, wealthy visitors are finding themselves a bit more equal — and warmer — than others.
Most Americans here to see President-elect Obama make history crammed onto buses and trains, slept on floors and fought crowds and cold. But the wealthiest Americans coming to see the event are enjoying all the perks their money and power ever warranted.
For CEOs and stars arriving by private jet, local airports have shut down entire runways to serve as parking lots for their planes. Officials are prepared to handle hundreds of private aircraft for the long weekend.
Limousine companies have been busily shuttling the somebodies around town in style. Shirlington Limousine’s Chris Baker says he has seen a spike in business for this inauguration, as he has for the past five. (Democrats seem to be more last-minute than Republicans, he said. “The GOP has much more advance, prior planning.”)