Obama begins second term

Hilary Legge, ‘Doah Staff Writer 
January 23, 2013

Crowds gathered on the National Mall on Monday, Jan. 21, to take part in the 57th presidential inauguration.  While fewer people attended than did in 2009, the moderate temperature during the day brought in more people than were expected.

Crowds gathered on the National Mall on Monday, Jan. 21, to take part in the 57th presidential inauguration. While fewer people attended than did in 2009, the moderate temperature during the day brought in more people than were expected.

Just before noon on Monday, Jan. 21, President Barack Obama once again took the oath of office. Placing his hands on two bibles, owned respectively by President Abraham Lincoln and Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr., Obama was sworn in by the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, John Roberts.

Following the public swearing-in, Obama delivered the first speech of his second term. Following four years of conflict in Washington, the president’s address focused on the need for unity and cooperation.

“We recall that what binds this nation together is not the colors of our skin or the tenets of our faith or the origins of our names. What makes us exceptional — what makes us American — is our allegiance to an idea, articulated in a declaration made more than two centuries ago.”

Unlike some of our more recent, past presidents, Obama spoke of the good government can do, and how it is a necessary part of building a strong nation. “For the American people can no more meet the demands of today’s world by acting alone than American soldiers could have met the forces of fascism or communism with muskets and militias.

“No single person can train all the math and science teachers we’ll need to equip our children for the future, or build the roads and networks and research labs that will bring new jobs and businesses to our shores. Now, more than ever, we must do these things together, as one nation, and one people.”

Obama also took a decidedly liberal stance as he addressed a number of issues including entitlement programs, climate change and equal rights for all Americans. Making history by being the first president to ever address gay rights in an inaugural address, Obama said, “”Our journey is not complete until our gay brothers and sisters are treated like anyone else under the law.”

As much as his words emboldened his supporters, those on the other side of the political aisle are preparing themselves for the coming battles. Many are taking Obama’s address as notice that the president will be much more aggressive and resolute in his actions throughout his second term.

Following the end of his address, Obama paused on his way back into the Capitol in order to take in the scene around him. “I want to take a look,” he said. “I’m not going to see this again.” Initial estimates are placing the crowd at over 800,000, with some speculating that it may have reached one million. This held true the prediction that turnout would be down from Obama’s first inauguration in 2009, when almost two million people attended.

The celebrations continued as Obama, his family and the Bidens attended lunch with members of Congress, and then began the parade to the White House. Following in the tradition started by President Jimmy Carter, Obama stepped out of his car to walk along the parade route and wave to the crowds.

Acknowledging the hard economic times, Obama limited the number of inaugural balls this year to two, the lowest number since President Dwight Eisenhower’s inauguration in 1953. The first was the Commander-in-Chief’s Ball, an event started by President George W. Bush to honor members of the Armed Forces. The second was simple named the Inaugural Ball, and spread across several halls of the Washington Convention Center. The long day came to a close around 10:30 p.m. when it was reported that the Obamas’ limo had departed the convention center.

Both President Obama and Vice President Joe Biden were officially sworn in on Sunday, Jan. 20. According to the Constitution, presidential terms always begin on Jan. 20, but during years where that date falls on a Sunday, the public ceremony must be held the next day.

Due to this, Obama’s inauguration festivities coincided with Martin Luther King, Jr. Day. There was a significant amount of overlap in celebrations as people honored the civil rights leader on the same day that the nation’s first black president was sworn in for his second term.

Students at S.U. were able to watch the inauguration in the Brandt Student Center, where all TVs were turned to the event.

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