Obama takes public oath of office - 13 WTHR Indianapolis

Obama takes public oath of office

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President Obama was officially sworn in Sunday. President Obama was officially sworn in Sunday.

President Barack Obama is promising to uphold the Constitution in a public swearing in ceremony that signals the beginning of his second term in office.

Placing his hand on two Bibles -- one used by President Abraham Lincoln at his first Inauguration and one used by the Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. -- Obama took a public oath of office on Monday, after he was sworn in during a private ceremony on Sunday. The Constitution requires presidential terms to begin on Jan. 20.

Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts administered Obama's private swearing in on Sunday and the public ceremony Monday. He also swore Obama in during his first inauguration in 2009.

Threat of climate change

In his inauguration speech, Obama pledged to respond to what he calls "the threat of climate change."

He says that failing to do so would be a betrayal of the nation's children, and of future generations.

Obama spoke Monday in his second inaugural address. He said that while some might deny the "overwhelming judgment of science" - a reference to those who say they don't believe in global warming - no one can escape extreme weather like raging fires, drought and storms.

Obama tried and failed in his first term to get a climate change bill through Congress.

Stonewall riots

Obama referenced the Stonewall gay-rights riots in his inaugural address, classing them as a civil rights watershed along with key moments in the struggles for blacks and women.

The president said that the truth that all are created equal guides us today "just as it guided our forebears through Seneca Falls, and Selma, and Stonewall."

The Stonewall riots happened in New York City in 1969 when patrons at a gay bar reacted to police harassment, and the events helped found the modern gay-rights movement.

Obama, who has become increasingly outspoken in favor of gay rights and same-sex marriage, also said the nation's journey is not complete "until our gay brothers and sisters are treated like anyone else under the law."

After delivering his inaugural address and listening to patriotic musical selections and a poem written just for the occasion, Obama began walking off the inaugural platform to go into the Capitol.

He stopped and turned around to look at the scene on the National Mall, filled with hundreds of thousands of people who braved chilly weather to be part of the ceremony.

"I want to take a look, one more time," he said. "I'm not going to see this again."

Opening ceremony

Sen. Charles Schumer opened the 57th inaugural ceremonies by invoking the innate majesty and sacred meaning of the proceedings. The duty falls to the New York Democrat as chairman of the inauguration committee.

Schumer says that the entrusting of power from the people to our chosen leaders "never fails to make our hearts beat faster, as it will today."

Said Schumer: "America always rises to the occasion, America prevails and America prospers."

The president is taking part in a public swearing in, giving his second inaugural address, then dining with members of Congress and other VIPs during events at the Capitol. Obama was sworn in a much lower-key event Sunday, in accordance with the Constitution, which sets Jan. 20 as the beginning of a presidential term.

Earlier in the morning, Obama and Vice President Joe Biden attended church and had coffee with congressional leaders.

Story background:

It took just 32 seconds to officially begin his second term Sunday. On Monday, President Obama takes the oath again in front of what's expected to be as many as 800,000 people in Washington, DC.

President Obama becomes only the second president to ever take the oath four times - because he and the chief justice flubbed their lines last time - and twice this year because his official inauguration fell on a Sunday.

As crowds poured onto the Capitol grounds and parade route Monday morning, the first family headed to church, an inauguration day tradition.

The president takes the stage this morning having already been sworn in at the White House Sunday.

"The last one was kind of fast, so we've all agreed we're going to breathe in and enjoy it," said First Lady Michelle Obama.

They're pulling up the temporary plastic this morning as hundreds of thousands witness the second inauguration of America's first black president.

"It means a whole lot because it's something that I never fathomed," said Vania Abdul-Salaam, who was planning on attending the inauguration.

Many traveled hundreds of miles just to get a glimpse.

At a reception last night, the president had some advice for those standing hours in the cold today.

"Be sure to bundle up. Tomorrow's not as cold as it was four years ago," he said.

Here's a taste of what you'll see today:

Eight parade floats - honoring the first and second families' home states and civil rights.

Richard Blanco - the first Latino - and first openly gay - inaugural poet, said "I think that sense of unity is what I want to bring across."

Perhaps no one's more excited than the fifth graders from New York's Public School 22. They're singing this morning.

"Really excited!" said one student.

"It''s gonna be good!" said Nadia Nabawy, PS 22 chorus.

A group of Brownsburg High School students are also attending.

Thousands of extra security officers have been sworn in and there's a 30-mile no-fly zone over the city. 150 city blocks around the Capitol are shut down.

"We have to be prepared for everything, so that's the way we do it," said Ed Donovan, Secret Service.

Attendance is expected to be about half of what it was for Obama's first inauguration ceremony four years ago.

The end of months of planning and the beginning of a new term - or as the vice president put it:

"Something else about this guy Barack Obama - he's just getting started."

One of the biggest unknowns here today is what the president will say - his inaugural address before a divided nation, a divided Congress and a unified crowd who've come to witness history again.

Obama is not expected to tick through his first-term accomplishments, nor will he announce specific policy proposals for his next four years. But he will lay the groundwork for his second-term agenda, including stricter gun laws, immigration reform and ending the Afghanistan war.

How Obama plans to meet those objectives will be defined in more detail during his Feb. 12 State of the Union address.

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