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Inauguration Day trivia

Jan. 18, 2013: A painter touches up an entrance post outside the White House in Washington in preparation for the inauguration.AP

Think you know (almost) everything about the presidential inauguration? Here is some trivia to beef up your knowledge, or at least impress your friends:

  • The longest inaugural address was delivered by William Henry Harrison -- after delivering the 8,445-word address on a cold day in March 1841, he died a month later of pneumonia.
  • This is the seventh time in U.S. history the official presidential inauguration date has fallen on a Sunday. Each time, this pushed the public ceremony into Monday.
  • Inaugurations weren't always staged for the public. The inaugurations for George Washington's second term and for John Adams were held in Philadelphia -- inside Congress Hall. Thomas Jefferson then moved the ceremony back to D.C. in 1801, while still taking the oath inside the Senate. James Monroe moved the ceremony back to a public affair in 1817.
  • The words "so help me God" are not technically part of the constitutionally prescribed oath of office. Washington started the practice at the end of his 1789 ceremony.
  • The chief justice of the Supreme Court usually administers the oath. But when Washington was sworn in in 1789, no justice had yet been appointed. So Robert R. Livingston, chancellor of New York state, administered.
  • Most, but not all, of the oath ceremonies have included a Bible. Washington started the practice by using a Bible from a nearby Masonic Lodge.
  • Warren G. Harding was the first to deliver his address using speakers, Calvin Coolidge the first to have his address broadcast by radio and Harry Truman the first to deliver his address over television.
  • The shortest inaugural address was from Washington in 1793 -- at 135 words.
  • The coldest inauguration was Ronald Reagan's second in 1985. The morning low was 4 degrees below zero -- the high was only 17 degrees.
  • In 1853, Franklin Pierce delivered his address without using notes.
  • Andrew Johnson was thought to be drunk when he delivered his inaugural address in 1865.
  • Reagan's second inauguration was the first time the official date fell on Super Bowl Sunday. He was privately sworn in that day, but public ceremonies were on Monday.
  • The largest inaugural parade was for Dwight Eisenhower in 1953. It lasted more than four hours.
  • The largest turnout for an inauguration was in 2009, when 1.8 million came to see Barack Obama be sworn in -- he became the first black U.S. president.
  • The Blue Room, where the president took the official oath Sunday, is one of three oval-shaped rooms in the main part of the White House. The other two are the Oval Office and the Yellow Oval Room, in the private quarters. It wasn't always blue -- it was originally red, and then green, until Martin Van Buren redecorated it.

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