The Times West Virginian

Headline News

January 20, 2013

Swearing age-old oath, Obama steps into second term

WASHINGTON — President Barack Obama was sworn in for four more years Sunday in a simple ceremony at the White House, embarking on a second-term quest to restore a still-shaky economy and combat terrorists overseas while swearing an age-old oath to “preserve, protect and defend” the Constitution.

“I did it,” a smiling president said to his daughter Sasha seconds after following Chief Justice John Roberts in reciting the oath of office. First lady Michelle Obama and the couple’s other daughter, Malia, were among relatives who bore witness.

The quiet moments were prelude to Monday’s public inaugural events when Obama and Vice President Joe Biden will be sworn in on the steps of the U.S. Capitol before a crowd expected to reach into the hundreds of thousands and a television audience counted in the millions.

The trappings were in place — the flag-draped stands ready outside the Capitol and the tables set inside for a traditional lunch with lawmakers. Across town, a specially made reviewing stand rested outside the White House gates for the president and guests to watch the traditional parade down Pennsylvania Avenue.

A crowd of perhaps 800,000 was forecast, less than the million-plus that thronged to the nation’s capital four years ago to witness the inauguration of the first black president in American history.

The weather forecast was encouraging, to a point. High temperatures were predicted for the lower 40s during the day, with scattered snow showers during the evening, when two inaugural balls closed out the official proceedings.

The 44th chief executive is only the 17th to win re-election, and his second-term goals are ambitious for a country where sharp political differences have produced gridlocked government in recent years.

Restoration of the economy to full strength and pressing the worldwide campaign against terrorists sit atop the agenda. He also wants to reduce federal deficits and win immigration and gun control legislation from Congress, where Republicans control the House.

If he needed a reminder of the challenges he faces, he got one from halfway around the globe. An Algerian security official disclosed the discovery of 25 additional bodies at a gas plant where radical Islamists last week took dozens of foreign workers hostage.  

In Washington, tourists strolled leisurely on an unseasonably warm day.

“I’m very proud of him and what he’s trying to do for immigration, women’s rights, what they call ‘Obamacare,’ and concerns for the middle class,” said Patricia Merritt, a retired educator from San Antonio, in town with her daughter and granddaughter to see the inauguration and parade as well as historic sites. “I think he’s more disrespected than any other president,” she added, referring to his critics.

Sean Payton, an operations analyst from Highland Ranch, Colo., said he hoped to hear “a nice eloquent speech that makes people feel good about being an American.”  

Republicans lent a touch of bipartisanship to the weekend.

“We always want any president to succeed, to do well, that means America does well and Americans do well,” Sen. John Barrasso of Wyoming said on CNN’s “State of the Union.”

Obama took the oath in the White House Blue Room where portraits of Presidents John Adams, Thomas Jefferson, James Madison and John Tyler grace the walls. He placed a hand on a Bible held by his wife. His daughters stood nearby.

The nation’s political divisions seemed scarcely to intrude as Obama, a Democrat, shook hands with Roberts, a Republican appointee, in a rite that renews American democracy every four years. Unlike four years ago, when Roberts stumbled verbally, the chief justice recited the oath without error.

Before the swearing-in, the president listened from a second-row pew at the 175-year-old Metropolitan African Methodist Episcopal Church as the Rev. Jonathan V. Newman asked God’s blessing for the him and his family. “But also prepare him for battle ... because sometimes enemies insist on doing it the hard way,” he said.

Like Obama, Biden began his day early. He attended Catholic Mass at his official residence at the U.S. Naval Observatory a few miles from the White House. Justice Sonia Sotomayor, the first Hispanic justice and an Obama appointee, administered the oath of office.

Biden then joined Obama at the cemetery, where the two men placed a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknowns and observed a moment of silence as a bugler sounded “Taps.”

1
Text Only
Headline News
  • U.S. weighing military exercises

    The United States is considering deploying about 150 soldiers for military exercises to begin in Poland and Estonia in the next few weeks, a Western official said Saturday. The exercises would follow Russia’s buildup of forces near its border with Ukraine and its annexation last month of Ukraine’s Crimean Peninsula.

    April 21, 2014

  • Ukraine, Russia trade blame for shootout

    Within hours of an Easter morning shootout at a checkpoint manned by pro-Russia insurgents in eastern Ukraine, Russia’s Foreign Ministry issued a statement blaming militant Ukrainian nationalists and Russian state television stations aired pictures of supposed proof of their involvement in the attack that left at least three people dead.

    April 20, 2014

  • Governor: Closing Boston amid bomber hunt ‘tough’

    Several days after the Boston Marathon bombing, Gov. Deval Patrick received a call in the pre-dawn hours from a top aide telling him that police officers outside the city had just engaged in a ferocious gun battle with the two men suspected of setting the bombs and that one was dead and the other had fled.

    April 20, 2014

  • Everest avalanche reminder of risks Sherpas face

    The rescuers moved quickly, just minutes after the first block of ice tore loose from Mount Everest and started an avalanche that roared down the mountain, ripping through teams of guides hauling gear.
    But they couldn’t get there quickly enough.

    April 20, 2014

  • Colorado deaths stoke worries about pot edibles

    A college student eats more than the recommended dose of a marijuana-laced cookie and jumps to his death from a hotel balcony. A husband with no history of violence is accused of shooting his wife in the head, possibly after eating pot-infused candy.

    April 19, 2014

  • Everest avalanche kills at least 12

    An avalanche swept down a climbing route on Mount Everest early Friday, killing at least 12 Nepalese guides and leaving four missing in the deadliest disaster on the world’s highest peak. Several more were injured.

    April 19, 2014

  • Diplomacy doesn’t move insurgents in Ukraine

    Pro-Russian insurgents defiantly refused Friday to surrender their weapons or give up government buildings in eastern Ukraine, despite a diplomatic accord reached in Geneva and overtures from the government in Kiev.

    April 19, 2014

  • Clinton to Obama: Many parallels

    Thousands of pages of documents from President Bill Clinton’s White House affirm a longtime adage: The more things change, the more they stay the same.
    As Clinton prepared for an August 1994 news conference in which he hoped to build public support for his struggling — and ultimately unsuccessful — health care overhaul, he told his advisers: “A lot of them want to know they can keep their own plan if they like it.”

    April 19, 2014

  • Obama voices skepticism on Russia in Ukraine

    President Barack Obama conveyed skepticism Thursday about Russian promises to de-escalate a volatile situation in Ukraine, and said the United State and its allies are ready to impose fresh sanctions if Moscow doesn’t make good on its commitments.

    April 18, 2014

  • President defending health-care law good for some Democrats

    President Barack Obama’s full-throated defense of his health-care overhaul seems perfectly timed for Democrats who want their party to embrace the law more enthusiastically.
    At a White House news conference Thursday, Obama noted that health insurance enrollments under the new law are higher than expected, and costs are lower.

    April 18, 2014

House Ads
Featured Ads