Tags: inaugural | obama | GOP

For Republican Lawmakers, It's 'Inaugural in Exile'

Friday, 02 Jan 2009 03:50 PM

By Rick Pedraza

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Many in the GOP will hit the road as inaugural festivities take place in the nation’s capital Jan. 17-20, when President George W. Bush relinquishes the reins of power to President-elect Barack Obama, culminating in Obama's taking the oath of office as commander in chief.

The city is preparing for 2.5 million to 3 million people during the inauguration week and may close a major freeway to make room for tour bus parking, Washington Mayor Adrian Fenty told the Associated Press. Fenty also signed a law allowing bars and restaurants to stay open 24 hours a day during the days leading up to the inauguration and to serve alcohol until 4 a.m.

But the exodus is on for Republicans who are out of favor and outnumbered in D.C.

Democrats, who now control the White House, the House, and the Senate, are leaving little breathing room for Republicans during the upcoming festivities, prompting many members of the GOP to take extended vacations.

"What better way to mark the Obama Inauguration ... than to get out of town to fabulous Las Vegas!” one Republican lawyer wrote to his GOP friends, Politico reported.

He and many other D.C. lawmakers, lobbyists, and fundraisers are choosing to spend inauguration week in warmer, if not friendlier, climates. Reports range anywhere from island retreats to remote locations for those looking to get out of town.

Even former Tennessee Sen. Fred Thompson, a 2008 Republican presidential candidate, is skipping town and renting his luxury condo that overlooks the inaugural parade route, the New York Times reports.

He’s not alone. Many other Republicans who live in Washington are doing the same.

“I want to rent my place out, but don’t put my name next to that in case I do — don’t want people knowing they are staying in a [REDACTED] staffer’s place and trash[ing] the joint,” one lobbyist told Politico.

Some other Republicans, however, are choosing to remain in town.

“I’ll be in town, going to events, taking care of clients,” Republican lobbyist Juleanna Glover tells Politico. Glover is having a party at her Kalorama home inauguration day. “It makes no sense to me" to leave town, she said.

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