On his first full day in office, President Obama issued a Memorandum for the Heads of Executive Departments and Agencies, pledging that his Administration would "work together to ensure the public trust and establish a system of transparency, public participation, and collaboration," and directing the chief technology officer to develop an Open Government directive within four months.
And with that, the swearing in of the president will happen in private.
Since inauguration day takes place on a Sunday (of course, the 20th of January) a public "ceremonial" inauguration will take place on Monday, January 21st. However, the actual - Constitutional - inauguration will take place behind closed doors. The press will not be allowed to view the proceedings. Photos will be taken by the White House photographer and circulated to the press.
Ed Henry, FOX News correspondent and President of the White House Correspondents Association, addressed this situation in a statement:
Mindful of the historic nature of this occasion, we expect the White House will continue the long tradition of opening the President’s official swearing-in to full press access, and we as an organization are looking forward to working with the administration to make that happen
Even NBC's Chuck Todd weighed in, claiming himself "shellshocked:"
I'm stunned that this is even an issue; it boggles the mind," NBC News White House correspondent Chuck Todd told POLITICO. "This is not their oath, this is the constitutional oath. It's not for them. It's for the public, the citizens of the United Sates. It just boggles the mind. How is this even a debate?
The answer, Chuck, is in the vitriolic disdain that the administration has for the American people.
Yet Todd's commentary is so pitch perfect that to argue its merits is to admit one's self a fool. The oath of office is indeed for the American people. Our elected leader swearing to "preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States" is not small stuff. It is the basis and the basics of how the American system works.