U.S. Rep. Norm Dicks bundled up and ventured out Tuesday to watch the inauguration of Barack Obama from the steps of the Capitol. But the staff took advantage of the Belfair Democrat’s choice Rayburn House Office Building assignment and watched from the windows.
And apparently so did a lot of others who realized that it was better to be up close and warm than way in the back and freezing.
“We had many people in town who didn’t get tickets, so we told them we have a great view of the show – three large windows facing the Capitol,” wrote Dicks’ top aide George Behan.
The staff served coffee and food and offered binoculars and TVs – sort of like a luxury suite at the ballpark.
“As it turned out, we had some constituents who called us from cell phones while they were in lines that obviously were not moving,” Behan wrote. “We told them to come on in and they were much better off than colleagues who were in a line while Barack was taking the oath.”
Behan guesses that 150 people passed through the office during the day.
Dicks was near the aisle, next to U.S. Rep. Jesse Jackson, Jr. Both were close enough to shake Obama’s hand, as this photo – taken by Michael Meehan – shows.