At some point on Monday’s Inauguration Day, if all goes as expected, the president’s limousine will slow to a stop on its journey down Pennsylvania Avenue from the Capitol to the White House. A Secret Service agent will open the rear passenger door, and the newly sworn-in president and the first lady will emerge from his car for a several-minute stroll. The crowd will cheer. Barack Obama will wave.
In that moment, Pennsylvania Avenue is America’s red carpet. And the president and first lady are the only celebrities on it. The victory walk has become an iconic inaugural moment, one expected by the public and the press.