Niagara Gazette

January 20, 2013

Obama sworn in for 4 more years in office

The Associated Press
Niagara Gazette

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."

From Arlington, Obama joined his family at a church service celebrating Martin Luther King Jr. The president's public swearing-in on Monday coincides with the national holiday marking the fallen civil rights leader's birthday, and Obama has invoked King's memory throughout the lead-up to the inauguration.

The Rev. Jonathan V. Newton, an assistant pastor at Metropolitan African Methodist Episcopal Church, prayed for God to prepare Obama for battle, "because sometimes enemies insist on doing it the hard way."

Biden took the oath of office earlier in the morning, surrounded by family and friends for a brief ceremony at the Naval Observatory, his official residence in northwest Washington. Justice Sonia Sotomayor, appointed by Obama as the first Hispanic to serve on the Supreme Court, administered the oath of office to Biden, who placed his hand on a Bible his family has used since 1893.

OBAMA INAUGURATION The public oath of office will take place at 11:30 a.m. today on the steps of the U.S. Capitol, followed by Obama's inaugural address