A Behind-the-Scenes Job With Historic Resonance

Just before noon tomorrow, a magisterial voice -- rich and befitting the moment -- will utter to the multitude spread before the Capitol the words: "Ladies and gentlemen, the president-elect of the United States . . . Barack H. Obama."

There will be a careful pause between "states" and "Obama." The B's in the president-elect's name will be perfectly enunciated. The words will be spoken as if from a patriarch, heard from on high, and broadcast across the nation.

No one in the throng will be able to see the man standing at a microphone in an open Capitol doorway. The man himself, wearing a headset filled with background chatter, might be unable to hear the crowd's roar as his introduction echoes across the Mall.

But his words will become part of history.

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