A Virginia businessman is spending more than $1.6 million to rent prime Marriott hotel rooms and promising that assorted down-and-out citizens — from the poor to the terminally ill to wounded soldiers — will have a perch of privilege on Pennsylvania Avenue for the parade.
The Washington Post reports that this Capraesque gesture — dubbed “The People’s Inauguration,” replete with two gala balls — is the gift of Earl Stafford, a 60-year-old Air Force retiree who made a fortune founding a military technology company.
Stafford is picking up the tab for three nights with meals at the hotel for scores of the normally uninvited and overlooked. He’s even promising gown, tuxedo and hair-dresser costs for those most in need.
If this isn't the premise of a Hollywood movie, then it's certainly a golden opportunity for an enterprising videojournalist to document the magical transformation of the disenfranchised. Assignment: follow one or more of the pauper-to-prince partygoers before, during and after the gala events. Don't just interview them -- show them interacting and partaking in the festivities. What a sensational story!