In Front of the Capitol

Reporting on Politics and Policy.
Jan. 21 2013 10:46 AM

In Front of the Capitol

The inauguration, in the age of social media, is a great nullifier. In 2009, I was unable to use any of my gadgets, and cursed myself for not thinking to bring some aircard that would let me report from the scene. In 2013 I came with a too-pricey aircard (from a company that sends the bill to a house I left... in 2009, actually) and tried to get online. Nothing doing. So I've started taking notes for posts that can, through the magic of time-stamping, appear when they should have appeared.

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The hour before the ceremony is prime gawker-time. Very special guests, from Jimmy Carter down to Newt Gingrich, are announced through loudspeakers. Everybody else, including people who usually command attention when they enter a room, just finds a place to chat and take photos. In the grainy pic above, John McCain wears mirror shades as Orrin Hatch (in the cowboy hat) points out friends. Mary Landrieau manipulates her phone-camera as -- on the other side of the stage, not visible here -- Kevin McCarthy teaches Steny Hoyer how to take a panoramic photo.

UPDATE: This clickable New York Times photo is much better than anything the iPhone-reliant print journos could have taken. A Chris Hughes sighting!

David Weigel is a Slate political reporter. You can reach him at daveweigel@gmail.com, or tweet at him @daveweigel.