Angelenos Invited to Public Inauguration Celebrations

Several public viewing parties of Tuesday's presidential inauguration are planned throughout Los Angeles, with the largest
at the L.A. Live entertainment complex adjacent to Staples Center.

The inauguration ceremony and parade will be shown on outdoor video screens beginning at 7 a.m. Local officials will address the crowd and the band War will perform between the swearing-in of Barack Obama as the nation's 44th president at 9 a.m. and the inaugural parade.

Public viewing parties are also planned for All Saints Church in Pasadena; Cal State Dominguez Hills in Carson; First AME Church in the West Adams district; and the Foshay Learning Complex in South Los Angeles.
Ben Affleck's 2006 Prediction

Actor/screenwriter Ben Affleck made a public statement in Southern California in the fall of 2006 predicting that Obama would become president. On Oct. 27, 2006, Obama visited USC to back Proposition 87 and speak at a California Democratic Party get-out-the-vote rally. Affleck introduced Obama before he endorsed the ultimately unsuccessful initiative that would have raised taxes on oil companies to fund research into alternative energy.

"He is very, very likely -- though good luck in getting him or anyone else to say so -- at one point, eventually down the road, at some point, in my opinion and many others, the future of this country," Affleck said.

"In a short time, he has already proven himself to be the most galvanizing leader to come out of either party in my opinion in at least a decade and a half, if not more," Affleck said.
Later that day, Obama self-deprecatingly described himself as "the flavor of the month."

For much of 2006, Obama had said he would not run for the Democratic presidential nomination in 2008. But five days before his visit to USC, Obama said on "Meet the Press," that he had "thought about the possibility, but I have not thought about it
with the seriousness and depth that I think is required."

Underdog in February 2007

In February 2007, Obama visited Southern California for the first time as a presidential candidate, days after a USA Today/Gallup Poll put the support for his bid for the Democratic presidential nomination at 21 percent, compared to 40 percent for New York Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton.

A few thousand people heard Obama speak at the Rancho Cienega Sports Complex in Baldwin Village.

"The fact is that there's something happening in the country," Obama told the cheering crowd. "There's a mood in the air. There's a sense that the way we've been doing business for the last couple of decades has to change -- that we are at a crossroads in this nation's history. We're at a crossroads internationally and we're at a crossroads domestically."

Obama also assailed the Iraq War as a conflict "that should have never been authorized and should have never been waged."

Obama also raised $1.3 million at a $2,300-per-person celebrity-studded reception at the Beverly Hilton during that visit.

More 2007 Visits

Obama came to the Los Angeles area five more times in 2007, mainly for campaign fundraisers that were closed to the news media.

However, he also spoke at the First African Methodist Episcopal Church in South Los Angeles, where he told parishioners  he would "usher in a new America" if elected, and at a Brentwood gas station where he said the nation needs to adopt a California-like standard for low-carbon fuels.

At a forum Aug. 9, 2007 on issues affecting the lives of gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender Americans, Obama declined to back off from opposition to same-sex marriage, but said he would continue to support a civil union that provides all the benefits of a legally sanctioned marriage.

2008 Visits

Obama visited Southern California six times in 2008, including three times for fundraisers.

Obama spoke at a modest Van Nuys home Jan. 16 to promote his proposal to change bankruptcy laws and cap interest rates; debated Clinton at the Kodak Theatre Jan. 31, five days before the "Super Tuesday" primaries; and joined his Republican rival, Arizona Sen. John McCain, at the Saddleback Civil Forum on Leadership and Compassion Aug. 16 at Lake Forest.

Obama raised more than $4 million June 24 at the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion; $1.2 million in Newport Beach July 13; and untold millions for his campaign and the Democratic National Committee in two Beverly Hills events on Sept. 16.

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