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WASHINGTON -- Some of the thrill is gone for Barack Obama, four years and one re-election after his historic oath-taking as America's first black president.

Obama seemingly came out of nowhere to win the presidency on a promise of hope and change, but now he doesn't have enough carry-over star power to recreate the scene from 2009 inauguration, when nearly 2 million people flocked to the National Mall.

Far fewer people are expected this time, between 600,000 and 800,000. Lots of hotel rooms still haven't been booked. Inaugural festivities are being scaled back.

One political observer says the Jan. 21 ceremony doesn't automatically command people's attention because it amounts to more of the same.

And in Obama's case, how does someone trump the history he's already made?