Press Releases


AP compiles presidential inauguration style guide

To help with spelling and usage of the terms for the Jan. 21 inauguration of President Barack Obama, the AP compiled a style guide of essential words, phrases and definitions.

The following advisory was sent today to editors at AP member news organizations:

To help with spelling and usage of the terms for the Jan. 21 inauguration of President Barack Obama, The Associated Press compiled a style guide of essential words, phrases and definitions. A few terms are from the AP Stylebook. Others are common usage in AP political and historical coverage.

President Barack Obama 
Democrat and former Illinois senator starting his second term as 44th president.


Vice President Joe Biden
Democrat and former Delaware senator starting his second term.


presidential oath of office
“I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will faithfully execute the office of President of the United States, and will to the best of my ability, preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States.”


private swearing-in
Jan. 20 at White House to comply with automatic start of second term under 20th Amendment to the Constitution.


public swearing-in
Ceremony at noon, Jan. 21, on the west front of the Capitol.

Lincoln Bible
Published in 1853 and used by President Abraham Lincoln at his inauguration. President Obama used it for his first swearing-in and is likely to use it again.


Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts
Administers the oath of office. He mixed up the words four years ago at the public ceremony, requiring a do-over in private.

Inauguration Day
Capitalize only when referring to the collection of events that include inauguration of a U.S. president; lowercase in other uses: Inauguration Day is Jan. 21. This is the 57th inauguration. The shorthand term I-Day is used by some planners. AP avoids it except in direct quotes. 

Lowercase adjective for all ceremonies marking the president’s new term and as a noun for the address given by the president at his swearing-in.

inaugural address
Obama will stand on the Capitol steps to deliver a speech that will serve as both a state of the union report as well as his vision for a second term. He also will do a traditional State of the Union speech in the weeks after the inauguration, likely in February.

inaugural balls
There are two official inaugural balls Jan. 21, including the Commander In Chief ball, by invitation only. Other organizations sell tickets for unofficial balls and parties.


inaugural luncheon
Members of Congress toast the president at a luncheon held at National Statuary Hall in the Capitol following the swearing-in ceremony.

inaugural parade
After his inaugural address and the luncheon, Obama will take part in a national processional along Pennsylvania Avenue to the White House, where  he will watch the inaugural parade from a secure area.

inaugural platform
The stadium-style stage erected for the inauguration on the west front of the Capitol. It has more than 1,600 seats for members of Congress, Supreme Court justices, governors, foreign ambassadors,  military leaders, Cabinet members, former presidents and the families of President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden.

inauguration tickets
Free tickets issued by congressional offices for 250,000 people to attend in front of the Capitol. Thousands of others are expected to watch on giant TV screens at the National Mall.

“Faith in America’s Future” 
The inauguration theme commemorating the 150th anniversary of the completion of the Capitol Dome during the Civil War.


Capitol Building
Domed home of the U.S. House and Senate.

Capitol Hill
Site of Capitol Building, nicknamed the hill.


Pennsylvania Avenue
The thoroughfare from the Capitol to the White House, route of the inauguration procession and parade.


St. John’s Episcopal Church
Located across Lafayette Park from the White House where the president traditionally begins official appearances of Inauguration Day with a morning worship service.


Presidential Inaugural Committee
Organizes parade, balls and other official celebrations. Co-chairmen are Jimmy Carter, George H.W. Bush, Bill Clinton and George W. Bush. Staffed by Obama’s presidential campaign advisers. Contributions to pay for the events are accepted only from U.S. citizens and U.S. corporations, but not lobbyists or political action committees.


Joint Congressional Committee on Inaugural Ceremonies
Plans the inauguration ceremony and hosts inaugural luncheon. Sen. Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., is chairman.


Joint Task Force – National Capital Region
Combined command of U.S. armed forces supporting the inaugural. More than 13,000 active duty and reserve troops are involved in the 57th inaugural for parade marching and color guards, traffic and crowd control and medical assistance.


National Day of Service
President Obama has asked Americans to kick off the inaugural weekend Saturday, Jan. 19, by volunteering for community service projects  to celebrate unity and the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.


Martin Luther King Jr. Day
Annual federal holiday observed on the third Monday of January, coinciding with Inauguration Day.


Public School 22 Chorus
Fifth-grade musical group from Public School 22 in the New York City borough of Staten Island scheduled to sing at the inaugural prelude at the Capitol.

Lee Festival Choir
Student choir from Lee University in Tennessee scheduled to perform during the inaugural prelude.


Brooklyn Tabernacle Choir
Grammy Award-winning church singing group scheduled to perform during the inaugural program.


Eastman Quartet
Student musicians from the Eastman School of Music in Rochester, N.Y., scheduled to perform during the inaugural lunch.


Contact us