Former presidents named to co-chair inauguration

WASHINGTON (AP) - Former Presidents Jimmy Carter, George H.W. Bush and Bill Clinton are among more than a dozen honorary co-chairs of President-elect Barack Obama's inauguration.

The group announced Monday by the Presidential Inaugural Committee also includes retired Gen. Colin Powell, relatives of Obama and Vice President-elect Joe Biden, and members of Congress from both parties, including Illinois' senior senator, Democrat Dick Durbin, and Sen. Richard Lugar, R-Ind.

The committee also said Monday that it had asked the Special Olympics to march in the inaugural parade. The group said it would carry its "flame of hope," a torch that has been traveling the globe for nearly a month ahead of the Special Olympics Winter Games in February.

The inaugural committee has not finalized what role the co-chairs will play in the Jan. 20 inauguration, but described the group as "prominent Americans from both sides of the aisle who have dedicated their lives to selfless service to their fellow citizens."

Also named as co-chairs are Sen. Claire McCaskill, D-Mo.; Rep. Tammy Baldwin, D-Wis.; Rep. Artur Davis, D-Ala.; Rep. Linda Sanchez, D-Calif., and retiring Rep. Ray Lahood, R-Ill., Obama's choice for transportation secretary. Obama's sister, Maya Soetoro-Ng, and brother-in-law, Craig Robinson, also will serve, along with Biden's son and daughter-in-law, Hunter and Kathleen Biden.

"From family members to former presidents, each of these leaders has an unwavering commitment to bipartisan cooperation and a proud record of service to their community and our country," Obama said in a statement.