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CNN Today

Rain May Hamper Inaugural Parade

Aired January 19, 2001 - 1:10 p.m. ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.

LOU WATERS, CNN ANCHOR: The 54th presidential inauguration now less than 24 hours away, lest we forget about that. The stage is set, literally, on the west front of the U.S. capitol, but don't be surprised if the ceremonies are moved inside. Let's just say it's lucky most of the inaugural ball-goers plan to be wearing boots. Protesters will be out regardless of weather; but regardless of the weather they won't have the freedom of movement they had wanted.

CNN's Bill Hemmer is our point man for all things inaugural today.

Bill, how's the weather up there?

BILL HEMMER, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, Lou, thanks.

We are on America's main street here on Pennsylvania Avenue. I love a parade, and I love a parade in the rain, too. Listen, the capitol building is behind us here; 1.65 miles in the other direction is the White House. This is the route that every president has taken since 1805 and Thomas Jefferson.

This year there are two big stories in Washington, Lou. One is the weather, the other is security -- we'll talk more about security in a moment. But first with regard to the weather: It is expected to be nasty again tomorrow. Washington, D.C. is pretty much soaking wet just about anywhere you go today in the city.

But we have looked into some research, and this is what we found out, basically. In 1985 is really the only time we've been able to discover that a parade has actually been altered. That year it was 7 degrees in Washington; they took the parade for Ronald Reagan's second inauguration, put it indoors outside in Landover, Maryland. Back in 1937 they got up to 2 inches of rain for FDR's second inauguration, but the parade did go on. You've got to remember, a lot of marching bands tomorrow and, indeed, these people love to march; and that's what they come to Washington to do.

Now on the issue of security: They're expecting anywhere between 50,000 and 70,000 protesters representing 10 different major groups tomorrow. That's one reason why security has been such an issue. The other issue they're looking at, though, are the checkpoints. For the first time ever they'll have about 16 different checkpoints set up all over Pennsylvania Avenue. Anyone who wants to come to the parade tomorrow has to go through one of these 16 checkpoints. We will see how that is measured out tomorrow here in Washington.

But, again, right now we're watching the skies; it's expected to be nasty. I talked to Flip earlier today; they may get an inch 1/2 of rain tomorrow. But again, it takes a whole lot to keep people away from marching down this very, very famous route here in Washington.

Back with more in an hour, we'll give you another tour then.

Back to Lou now in Atlanta.

WATERS: OK, Bill Hemmer walking the center line of Pennsylvania Avenue looking a little like Daschle Hammet (ph) today.

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