Yesterday, I received this presidential inauguration invitation in the mail — is it authentic?

Does it matter?


  1. I would think so. If it’s a real invitation (I’m waiting for mine) then you must have done something to merit it. If not, then…

  2. If it’s fake, Gordon, it’s impressive. A lot of money was spent on the raised, golden, seal the and fancy raised print. No golden tickets, though. SMILE! I guess it’s a good way to raise money by helping to commemorate the historic event.

  3. I got one too and am wondering about authenticity as well (searching for clues led me to your post). this site has information, but talks about tickets having color-coding, gate information and a bunch of other stuff that isn’t on these. I’ve posted about mine here. If you learn anything new, would you mind giving me a heads-up there?

  4. Hi Brad —
    Did you donate to the Obama campaign? I did. My wife didn’t. I have this invite. She doesn’t. SMILE!
    On one of the secondary pieces of paper it says “commemorative invitation” or something like that — I already threw away all the enclose sales junque — so I think the idea is to “invite you” with the responsibility for you getting anywhere close to the event by actually getting a ticket is on your shoulders.
    I pinned the fancy invite to my wall and I’ve colored myself happy and satisfied.

  5. Hi David, yeah, I smelled something similar and a friend just made the following comment on my lj:
    A bunch of people on the obama_2008 mailing list got this same mailing. it apparently “invites” people to the public events. It looks like its just selling Obama-related junk. Sorry. 🙁
    So yeah. Looks like a marketing thing. *sigh*. I am very excited about Obama being president (and yes, I did donate), but this person-as-a-brand thing is getting out of hand. =:(

  6. Hi Brad!
    Did you ever buy anything from the Obama campaigned? I bought lots of NJ and NY buttons and some shirts and a hat. I wonder if that was another trigger for this sort of mailing?
    The “invitation” sure is purposefully confusing and unclear and I don’t think that’s a good thing. It will tend to tick off more people than it will make happy.
    Yes, we’re “invited” to watch his inauguration on TV. Harr!
    I think they know they have until Jan. 20 to sell us all sorts of junque because once he takes office he popularity will plummet as it becomes clear to his ever-lovin’ masses that he cannot solve every single problem we have in the first 24 hours. “Get ’em while the gettin’ is good,” I guess.

  7. Poweroffacing —
    Great research, thanks!
    I guess we’re all gullible and we’ve all been had: Obama doesn’t really like us; he just loves our money! SMILE!
    I appreciate having those links to pass around — the confusion is so unnecessary.

  8. What a shame – great bit of detective work though 🙂
    He needs to be a bit careful with this kind of stuff – it annoys people!

  9. Yeah, Nicola, it was really thrilling for a moment. Then you looked for a catch or some sort of identifying mark on the envelope or inside to get a handle on who was sending it to you and what it was — all very sneaky, really, and I agree he needs to be more transparent about these money raising efforts.

  10. I got one today. (contributed to the campaign). I wonder how many of the million people who received these will spend loads of money to get to DC, commemorative invitation clutched in hand, only to be turned away because they are not authentic tickets.

  11. That’s an interesting query, chimpeach. If that happens, people will be really angry. If the Obama team hadn’t spent so much money on paper and nice ink — the invitations would look less official — the high standard of this “commemorative” is terribly misleading.

  12. It’s a shame some of you are so disappointed about receiving an invitation, but for what it’s worth 1,000,000 of these were produced and mailed out to many and varied people, not all of which were contributors to the campaign.
    Invitations almost identical to this have been sent out for decades now, with the same highest quality printing and gold seal, but for the first time regular common folk like you and I are now privvy to this once elite only distribution.
    I for one will be framing mine with a view to handing it down to future generations.

  13. I too contributed to the Obama campaign and initially thought I was pretty important, being invited to Obama’s Presidential Inaugural and all. However, when you read the enclosed flyer, note that it only “invites your presence at any of the public events…,” which of course ANYONE can attend! That flyer, together with the pitch for the various commemorative items, made me realize it’s just a gimmick. It’s definitiely misleading!

  14. That’s a great story, Nicola. It sort of proves the worthlessness of these fake “invitations” that actually invite you to nothing. The money spent on these invites would’ve been better placed in improving the public schools.

  15. I received one as well and after realizing that it’s an open invite to the public events (not sure if you have to show the invite, but most likely not) I was going to toss it next to the “You have just won $1,000,000 mailings” but then I checked Ebay, and it appears that this exact invite has been sent out for every President. They had one from Woodrow Wilson’s 1913 event.
    So they are authentic and a part of American history that is a great keepsake, so don’t toss it. It will be worth something someday.

  16. Hi Katha!
    I have it pinned to my wall along with a similarly-celebratory 8×10 I was sent of Nancy Pelosi with arms raised in victory when she was named the first female Speaker of the House.

  17. I just received my invitation today. The details are as clear as mud on the committee’s website.
    As far as I can tell, this is how it works (correct me if I’m wrong):

    Your invitation is not a ticket.
    Anyone can attend the parade and swearing-in ceremony.
    Unless you have a ticket, you cannot watch from the semi-comfortable bleachers; you will be standing in the crowd, watching from afar.
    Your invitation will allow you to attend your regional Inaugural Ball (in Washington).
    There’s a list of regional balls here:
    Regional balls cost money.

    Again, I could be wrong. I claim no responsibility if you’re denied access somewhere. 🙂

  18. Yes, that’s my understanding, too, dirkface.
    The “invitation” is nothing more than a generic “come on over” holler — you still have to have the money and the means to get pass the barricades and storm the castle.

  19. So you all are saying that this is a fake? Right? I was a contributor to Obama’s campaign.

  20. I’m saying it’s “fake” if you expect to use the invitation to get you access to the official inauguration in Washington, D.C.
    It’s “real” if you want to hang it on you wall as a memento.

  21. Okay, I’m changing my opinion a little bit because of the following article:
    It looks like it really IS an “official” invitation (i.e., it’s not a fake), even though it doesn’t give you anything more that what other members of the public get. However, it is nicely done and it is a nice keepsake – I just hope people don’t schelepp off to D.C. thinking they’ll be able to go to private events or meet President Obama!

  22. Well can anyone out there who doesn’t want theirs give it to me? I really want one to frame with a photo of my kids with Obama. I donated money & volunteered and I didn’t get one. Did you have to donate a specific amount of money?

  23. UPDATE:
    I just finished doing an interview with Barry Newman at the Wall Street Journal about this article I wrote about the Obama invitation fiasco.
    The interview went well. Barry was professional, interested and careful — and he asked a lot of great questions.
    Watch for his article in this Saturday’s edition, and be sure to check out, too!

  24. David, it’s “official” because it really DID come from the Presidential Inaugural Committee, which is the official committee in charge of Obama’s inauguration. A truly “fake” invitation would be one that purports to be from the Committee, but really isn’t. I still agree it’s very misleading, but I think it has some value as a keepsake.

  25. I understand what you’re saying — I just think an “invitation” should, in its essence, actually get you into something. This thing is more of an “announcement” than an invitation because you have no way to RSVP or to actually accept the invitation by letting them know you’re coming to the inauguration.

  26. We voted for Obahama. As teachers, he is losing our confidence. He needs to spend more time helping the country and less time schmoozing with celebrities and appearing on television. Brad Pitt is not an expert on anything except acting. Alicia Keyes is a singer not a teacher and she is touring schools with Michelle, why? Obahama, stop promoting your own agenda start helping our schools and our economy and not by yuking it up with pretentious and spoiled celebtities!As teachers we placed our faith in you. You are losingit!

  27. Middle School Teacher —
    Obama’s giddiness on 60 Minutes last night was just plain strange and it suggests he really has no clue how to fix anything.

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