Niagara Gazette — WASHINGTON — Stepping into his second term, President Barack Obama took the oath of office Sunday in an intimate swearing-in ceremony at the White House, the leader of a nation no longer in the throes of the recession he inherited four years ago, but still deeply divided.
The president, surrounded by family in the ornate White House Blue Room, was administered the oath by Chief Justice John Roberts. With Obama's hand resting on a Bible used for years by Michelle Obama's family, the president vowed "to support and defend the Constitution of the United States," echoing the same words spoken by the 43 men who held the office before him.
"I did it," Obama whispered to his youngest daughter, Sasha, as he wrapped her in a hug moments later.
The president said the oath in just minutes before noon on Jan. 20, the time at which the Constitution says new presidential terms begin. There was little pomp and circumstance Sunday — Obama walked into the room flanked by his family and exited almost immediately after finishing the oath.
He'll repeat the swearing-in ritual again today on the west front of the Capitol before a crowd of up to 800,000 people.
Only about a dozen family members were on hand to witness Sunday's swearing in, including the first lady, daughters Malia and Sasha, and the president's sister Maya Soetoro-Ng and her family. Mrs. Obama's mother, Marian Robinson, and the first lady's brother, Craig Robinson, and his family were also on hand, along with a few reporters and photographers.
Ahead of his swearing-in Sunday, Obama, along with Vice President Joe Biden, solemnly honored the nation's fallen soldiers during a wreath-laying ceremony at Arlington National Cemetery. On a crisp, sun-splashed morning, Obama and Biden placed a large wreath adorned with red, white and blue ribbon, in front of Arlington's Tomb of the Unknowns. Holding their hands over their hearts, the two leaders stood motionless as a bugler played "Taps."