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Crowds gather in advance of inauguration ceremony

Monday - 1/21/2013, 11:28am  ET

WASHINGTON (AP) -- The crowds aren't as big as the ones that saw President Barack Obama's first inauguration four years ago -- but at least one public viewing area on the National Mall was full, two hours before today's swearing-in.

Security is tight across Washington, with several streets near the White House and Capitol Hill closed off. Humvees and city buses are being used to block intersections. Volunteers have fanned out near the Mall to help direct crowds.

Lawmakers and other officials slowly trickled onto the platform on the West Front of the Capitol where Obama will be sworn in. Former Senate Democratic Leader Tom Daschle and former GOP House Speaker Newt Gingrich sat next to each other as they awaited the festivities.

Organizers are expecting 700,000 people to attend today's events, which would make it the largest second-term inaugural in history.

High temperatures are expected to be in the lower 40s during the day, with a slight chance of rain and snow showers in the afternoon and flurries later.

%@AP Links

140-r-36-(Lee University Festival Choir from Cleveland, Tennessee, performing 'This Land is Your Land' at the Capitol before the inauguration)--Sound of the Lee University Festival Choir from Cleveland, Tennessee, performing 'This Land is Your Land' at the Capitol before the inauguration. (21 Jan 2013)

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132-v-31-(Sagar Meghani (SAH'-gur meh-GAH'-nee), AP national security correspondent)--The scene is set on inauguration morning outside the Capitol. AP National Security Correspondent Sagar Meghani reports from outside the Capitol building. (21 Jan 2013)

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GRAPHICSBANK: Barack Obama, as US President (l), officially sworn-in; with John Roberts (r), as Chief Justice, 2013 inauguration swearing-in ceremony, Blue Room of the White House, Washington, DC, on texture, partial graphic (21 Jan 2013)

APPHOTO DCAB102: Security lines Pennsylvania Avenue in Washington, Monday, Jan. 21, 2013, prior to the start of the 57th Presidential Inaugural Parade which will take place following President Barack Obama's ceremonial swearing-in on Capitol Hill. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon) (21 Jan 2013)

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APPHOTO CAP106: Members of the Lee University Festival Choir and PS 22 Chorus perform before the ceremonial swearing-in of President Barack Obama at the U.S. Capitol during the 57th Presidential Inauguration in Washington, Monday, Jan. 21, 2013. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh) (21 Jan 2013)

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APPHOTO DCJL107: President Barack Obama supporters wave American flags on the National Mall in Washington, Monday, Jan. 21, 2013, prior to the start of President Barack Obama's ceremonial swearing-in ceremony during the 57th Presidential Inauguration. ( AP Photo/Jose Luis Magana) (21 Jan 2013)

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