Some of the people who attended Tuesday's event on the Washington Mall had received their purple or blue tickets after having spent hours volunteering for Obama's campaign.
After waiting in line near the gate for people with the special tickets, many were not let in.
"We waited in line for nearly four hours, in a claustrophobic tunnel with no porta-potties, no food or drink, and not a single official or volunteer in sight," said Marc Lynch on his blog. "Finally, we got within sight of the Purple Gate -- only to find that it had been closed. Thousands of people in front of us hadn't gotten in."
Laurie Chambers, of the Bay Area, said she got her tickets through Congresswoman Nancy Pelosi's office, then "drove for hours, and slept on couches at friends... only to be turned away. They barely got out of there in time to catch some of it TV."
San Franciscan Daniel Elsea complained, "Didn't get in. Waited five hours. Now I have a bad cold. Very annoyed."
Two "tunnel of doom survivors," Maryam Mohit and her husband, said "the lack of crowd management that morning was disgraceful.There were no officials, no volunteers, I've been to triathlons that had more volunteers in evidence! If not for the goodwill and kindness of the citizens in that tunnel, people would have certainly been crushed."
The Joint Congressional Committee on Inaugural Ceremonies said in a statement that it "deeply regrets that some ticket holders to the ceremonies were not able to get to their ticketed sections... The number of tickets issued for these sections was based on historic precedent, and calculations of the number of guests that could safely be accommodated in each area."
"Those are very lame excuses," said Traci Grant, one of the people trapped in the tunnel. "I need a truthful estimation of what happened. It doesn't make any sense. They say that they underestimated how many people would attend? What they should have done is prepare for the amount of people who received tickets. How many people who received tickets to this historic event would actually not come?"
Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-CA., called for an investigation into what occurred about an hour after the JCCIC statement was released.
"Many of the problems appear to have been due to the unprecedented crowds, and a huge flow of unticketed people toward the U.S. Capitol and into the 3rd Street Tunnel from the National Mall, after it had reached capacity very early that morning and was closed to additional unticketed entries," the JCCIC said.
"See I don't really buy any of that because it makes no sense," Grant said. "The tunnel we were in came from the outside then went under the mall -- and when we emerged, we were several blocks away from the gate. So for them to say the people came from the mall and into the tunnel -- that makes no sense because that's not the way the tunnel worked."
You can check out the Facebook group that describes the "Purple Tunnel of Doom" here.
Grant said she had heard another explanation that they weren't prepared for how many layers of clothing people would be wearing. She said, however, that does not appear to make sense either.
"I saw a list of all of the inaugurations, and what temperature it was, dating back to the 1800s, and generally it was in the mid-30s or lower. People have been dressing this way for the inauguration for a long time. So to say that that played any role in this is quite obviously a lie."