'Everyday Americans' Invited To Whistle Stop Tour

WASHINGTON (AP) - President-elect Barack Obama has invited a group of "everyday Americans" to join him and Vice President-elect Joe Biden on their Whistle Stop Tour to the nation's capital on the Saturday before Inauguration Day.

Obama's presidential inaugural committee announced the plans for the Philadelphia-to-Washington train ride on Wednesday, adding another element to the expanding horizon of parties and events associated with Obama's and Biden's oath taking Jan. 20 at the West Front of the U.S. Capitol.

"Each one of these families has their own remarkable story to add to our American story, and we're thrilled they've agreed to join us as we travel to Washington," said Josh Earnest, a spokesman for the inaugural committee.

Ten inaugural balls also are being arranged for the night of Jan. 20, including a "People's Ball" at the Washington Convention Center.

The invited guests include the following: Mark Dowell, Crestwood, Ky.; Matt Kuntz, Helena, Mont., Jim and Alicia Girardeau, Kansas City, Mo.; Juliana Sanchez, Albuquerque, N.M.; Rosa Mendoza, Las Vegas; Lisa Hazirjian, Cleveland; Kirsten Meehan, Dover, N.H.; Roy Gross, Taylor, Mich., Shandra Jackson, Arlington, Texas; Quincy Lucas, Dover, Del.; Patricia Stiles, Parker, Colo.; Gregg Weaver, Fairless Hills, Pa.; Tony Fischer, Cincinnati; Lilly Ledbetter, Jacksonville, Ala., Mike and Cheryl Fisher, Beech Grove, Ind.; and Randy Wehrman, LeClair, Iowa.

The tour will start with an event in Philadelphia Jan. 17 and stop for events in Wilmington, Del., and Baltimore, en route to the nation's capital.

The inauguration will take place at high noon next Tuesday before a large crowd gathered at the Capitol and huge throngs of witnesses along the National Mall and the inaugural parade route.

(Copyright 2009 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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