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Jan 21, 2013 10:25 AM by AP

Crowds gather in advance of inauguration ceremony

WASHINGTON (AP) - The crowds aren't as big as the ones that saw President Barack Obama's first inauguration four years ago -- but at least one public viewing area on the National Mall was full, two hours before today's swearing-in.

Security is tight across Washington, with several streets near the White House and Capitol Hill closed off. Humvees and city buses are being used to block intersections. Volunteers have fanned out near the Mall to help direct crowds.

Lawmakers and other officials slowly trickled onto the platform on the West Front of the Capitol where Obama will be sworn in. Former Senate Democratic Leader Tom Daschle and former GOP House Speaker Newt Gingrich sat next to each other as they awaited the festivities.

Organizers are expecting 700,000 people to attend today's events, which would make it the largest second-term inaugural in history.

High temperatures are expected to be in the lower 40s during the day, with a slight chance of rain and snow showers in the afternoon and flurries later.


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