Broken viewing screen frustrates thousands on the National Mall

Tens of thousands of people who flocked to the Mall to watch Monday's inaugural ceremony will have to watch a replay to hear what President Obama said.

A  television set up just north of the Washington Monument was streaming terribly, sending a garbled signal — both audial and visual — that left observers west of 15th Street having to guess half of what Obama was saying.

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Many in the crowd — perhaps thinking there was another big screen on the south side of the monument — trudged that way only to find nothing, and were forced to loop back into the north-end throng that was trying its best to be upbeat despite the malfunctioning screen.

While most endured the glitch with smiles — taking cues from the cheers much closer to the Capitol — hundreds, perhaps thousands, wandered away long before Obama's speech was through, many of them dismayed.

"This is terrible," grumbled one man, joined by his family, who did not want to be identified.

— This story was updated at 2:00 p.m.


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