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Click through history: CBC’s inauguration archives

“It feels so great. We’ve waiting eight years for this,” says a woman in a big furry hat.

“I feel very elated. Excited for the first time,” says another woman in another big furry hat.

They were in Washington anticipating the swearing in of the next American president. Obama-ites from the non-PETA wing of the Democratic party?

Nope, fans of George W. Bush speaking to a CBC television reporter on the day he was sworn in for his first presidential term, eight years ago.

The CBC now offers online neatly packaged sound and video bites from eleven past presidential inaugurations, spanning 1941 to 2001, in which each new commander-in-chief takes the oath of office, then lets loose with oratory for a hopeful nation. They start with radio clips of Roosevelt, Truman, Ike, Kennedy and LBJ. The first video is of Nixon lying in his vow to “uphold the Constitution,” followed by Carter, Reagan, George Bush Sr. and Clinton.

Last comes Bush Jr., whose eight years so deflated the originally elated that his favourable poll numbers now only exceedNixon’s the day he quit.

The television clips are the best, as they afford an opportunity to scan the dazed and wary faces of the presidents’ spouses. By tradition, the wives present the oath-swearing Bible to husbands whose foibles they know all too well, soon to be revealed to the rest of the nation, and world.

Have a look and a listen here.

David Beers is editor of The Tyee.

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