- President Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama were the first first couple to give the shaka hand sign -- Hawaiian for hang loose, aloha, and awesome -- during an inaugural parade.
His hometown alma mater, Honolulu's Punahou School, had a contingent called the Buff ’n Blue in the parade. Hawaii was represented also by Honolulu's Kamehameha Schools "Warrior" Marching Band and Color Guard.
Surely the shaka didn't remind anyone of the Obamas' "fist bump" after his 2008 victory speech accepting the Democratic nomination for President. That hand sign made the cover of "The New Yorker", and a Fox News anchor apologized for dubbing it "A terrorist fist jab." What a difference five years makes.
- Also, President Obama was the first commander-in-chief to be seen chewing gum while reviewing his inaugural parade. Who says a Prez can't chew gum and watch an inaugural parade at the same time?
Surely the chaw did not remind anyone of President Lyndon Johnson's comment that Gerald Ford couldn't walk and chew gum at the same time. Actually, LBJ referred to doing something far less socially acceptable than chewing gum.
The lip smack's not causing much of a flap; nothing like the alleged lip-synch.
He may've been masticating anti-nicotine-craving gum. Even so, it comes in lozenge form.
At least the wad was not tobacco. President Andrew Jackson was so fond of chewing tobacco that spittoons were installed in the White House.
And President Woodrow Wilson's ram Old Ike became a popular White House figure because of his chewing tobacco habit. "Rarely was he seen without a wad clenched firmly between his teeth, the juices running down his chin," according to "Presidential Pets" (Abbeville Press) by Niall Kelly.
- The inaugural motorcade was the first to use license plates with the slogan "Taxation Without Representation", expressing support for full voting rights for Washington, D.C.
White House press secretary Jay Carney, in a briefing Jan. 17, said that using the license plates on Presidential vehicles throughout the second term of office "demonstrates the President’s commitment to the principle of full representation for the people of the District of Columbia and his willingness to fight for voting rights, home rule, and budget autonomy for the district."
The press secretary said "President Obama...has seen firsthand how patently unfair it is for working families in D.C. to work hard, raise children, and pay taxes without having a vote in Congress."
Washingtonians are allowed to elect only a "delegate" to the House of Representatives, and the delegate (Eleanor Holmes Norton) does not have voting privileges on the House floor -- only in committee. D.C. citizens do not have a Senator.
Norton has re-introduced a bill to make the District the 51st state, along with two other bills to grant full voting rights for D.C. Four Senators introduced legislation on Jan. 24 to grant the District full statehood.
"Taxation without Representation" has been emblazoned on the standard Washington, D.C. license plate since 2000. President Clinton's limousine used the license plate with the slogan, but they were created after his 1993 and 1997 inaugurations.
And surely no one confuses the Boston tea party's "Taxation Without Representation" slogan with Washington's.
Take a look back at photos from the Jan. 21 inaugural parade, and a look back at other inaugural parade firsts throughout history, in my quiz.