Obama Takes Oath In Quiet Ceremony

Barack Obama (L) swearing in at the White House for his second and last term
Barack Obama (L) surrounded by his family swearing in at the White House for his second and last term

Barack Hussein Obama officially began his second term as US’ 44th president Sunday, taking the oath of office in a low-key ceremony at the White House and preparing to provide the nation of his vision for the next four years on Monday.

It was a crisp and flawless 30-seconds of history just before noon in the Blue Room. Obama and Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. flubbed the 35-word oath four years ago, but not Sunday. With Michelle Obama and daughters Malia and Sasha standing behind him, Obama quickly repeated the words from Roberts, who this time carried a printed text.

Obama and Biden sworn in for second terms: On the day before the public inauguration ceremony at the Capitol, President Obama and Vice President Biden are sworn in privately and lay a wreath at the Tomb of the Soldier.

“Congratulations, Mr. President,” said Roberts.

“Thank you, Mr. Chief Justice,” Obama replied. “Thank you so much.

He then kissed his wife, whom he called “Sweetie,” and told his daughters, “I did it.”

Obama’s hand rested on a Bible that Michelle Obama’s father Fraser Robinson III had given to his mother, LaVaughn Delores Robinson, on Mother’s Day 1958.

Obama and Roberts will repeat the process again Monday in a public celebration at the Capitol. The Constitution mandates that presidential terms begin on Jan. 20, and it is traditional when the day falls on a Sunday that the public ceremony take place the next day.

Washington began to play its quadrennial role as the nation’s host and seat of power: red, white and blue bunting draped official buildings and hotels; bleachers lined the parade route along Pennsylvania Avenue; Jumbotrons and portable toilets sprouted around the National Mall; out-of-towners in parkas and sneakers mingled with those in gowns and heels.

The brief ceremony at the White House— from the family’s entrance to the handshakes and kisses that marked departure took less than a minute and a half — provided one of several glimpses of the 51-year-old president. He also laid a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknowns at Arlington National Cemetery and worshiped at a historic African-American church.

Vice President Biden got a jump on the president by taking his oath at an early-morning ceremony at his residence at the Naval Observatory. Justice Sonia Sotomayor swore Biden in, becoming the fourth woman and the first Hispanic to administer the oath to the president or vice president.

Sunday’s White House ceremony took place before about a dozen family members and friends including Obama’s half-sisters Maya Soetoro-Ng and Auma Obama, and Michelle Obama’s brother Craig Robinson and their mother Marian Robinson. Roberts’s wife Jane Roberts stood next to the family, and Press Secretary Jay Carney watched over a small group of journalists.

That Roberts and Obama had bungled the first oath four years ago—there was a do-over at the White House days later to make sure all constitutional obligations were met—was not lost, thanks to the president’s younger daughter Sasha.


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