The president-elect’s inaugural committee said Tuesday that it would limit contributions to $50,000 per donor. Previous inaugurations had much lower limits. President Bush limited donations to $250,000.
It is not yet known how many inaugural balls will be thrown for Obama but White House Deputy Press Secretary Tony Fratto thinks that they may be scaled back. “Everyone is making those kind of decisions and that is what you would expect to see in an economic dowturn, people readjusting their thinking on these kinds of things,” said Fratto.
George Bush had nine inaugural balls four years ago. CNN’s Kathleen Koch reported that the Obama’s inaugural committee doesn’t yet know how many balls will be thrown this year.
President Woodrow Wilson cancelled inaugural balls in 1913 because he thought they were unnecessary and too expensive. President Warning Harding asked to do away with them in 1921 to set an example of thrift. During the Great Depression and and World War II, inaugural balls became charity balls.
This video is from CNN.com, broadcast Nov. 26, 2008.