"Members of Congress scolded federal law enforcement officials Wednesday over why thousands of their constituents didn't get to see Barack Obama sworn in as president in January despite holding coveted tickets to the ceremony.
A classified congressional report, part of which was released this week, found that visitors overwhelmed an understaffed cadre of law enforcement officers on Inauguration Day. Crowds knocked down barriers, crowded security zones and forced many ticket-holding spectators away from their coveted viewing areas nearest the Capitol.
"These were constituents from each of our districts, who traveled often at great expense and personal sacrifice to witness this historic day," said Rep. David Price, D-N.C., who led the hearing along with Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, D-Fla. . . .
Among the problems, according to Wednesday's testimony: Spectators arrived before law enforcement officers. Signage was poor, and visitors without tickets mingled among those carrying tickets, breaking down any hope of orderly queues. Security maps conflicted. . . .
"It was just horrible," said Kay Singer of Hillsborough, N.C., whose blue ticket line moved just 25 feet in three hours in subfreezing weather. As the noon swearing-in time grew nearer, she abandoned the line and went to a friend's apartment to watch on television. Next time, she said, she'll just go to the National Mall without a ticket. . . .
Thousands of people who'd traveled from across the country with tickets from their members of Congress couldn't get close enough to see the swearing-in, however.
"What was supposed to be a positive experience for my constituents turned into an embittering one," said Rep. David Obey, D-Wis., the chairman of the Appropriations Committee. . . .
Rep. Harold Rogers of Kentucky, the top Republican on the Homeland Security Subcommittee, said that most of the decisions about signs, tickets and other plans were made by the Joint Congressional Committee on Inaugural Ceremonies. That committee is run by Democratic Sen. Dianne Feinstein of California, who wasn't at the hearing."
Really? I don't recall reading or hearing one word about any unruly behavior or disorganization. Did you?