President Obama Begins Second Term With Pomp, Parades, and Old Problems
Brian Rooney/Correspondent: President Obama begins his second term in office little older -- and a lot grayer, some say. Wiser? Perhaps. He is facing many of the same challenges from his first four years: a struggling economy, massive debt, an intransigent Congress. Bur he also has some new battles ahead, including guns and Al-Qaeda agitating in Africa. But for Inauguration Day, it was all pomp, pageantry, and promise.The president attended the national prayer service this morning, the last of his inaugural events before getting back to work. He danced with his wife Michelle last night as a second-term president, Mrs. Obama's outfits and newly cut bangs causing as much talk as the inauguration itself.
President Obama: I, Barack Hussein Obama...
Rooney: He actually took the oath Sunday, but repeated it yesterday on Martin Luther King Jr's Bible, in front of a somewhat smaller and less starry-eyed crowd than four years ago on the National Mall. Less hope and change, more hard work.
Obama: Today we continue a never-ending journey...
Rooney: The President's speech was all at once an inaugural promise, a political agenda, and a recognition of Martin Luther King Day.
Obama: For we the people understand that our country cannot succeed when a shrinking few do very well and a growing many barely make it.
Rooney: He spoke up for medical care and social security, with a little jab at his recent political opponent.
Obama: These things do not sap our initiative; they strengthen us. They do not make us a nation of takers; they free us to take the risks that make this country great.
Rooney: He spoke for equal pay and gay rights -- the first president to use the word "gay" in an inaugural speech. He mentioned immigration reform and hinted at gun control.
Obama: Our journey is not complete until all our children, from the streets of Detroit to the hills of Appalachia to the quiet lanes of Newtown, know that they are cared for, and cherished, and always safe from harm.
Rooney: He made, as many presidents do, a plea for the fractious political parties to work together.
Obama: The oath I have sworn before you today, like the one recited by others who serve in this Capitol, was an oath to God and country, not party or faction.
Rooney: It was, as inaugurations have come to be, a star-studded event. Myrlie Evers-Williams, widow of slain civil rights leader Medgar Evers, gave the invocation. James Taylor sang, and Beyonce belted out the national anthem. Afterwards, the cameras lingered so long on her you might have thought she had been inaugurated. But it was President Obama who had taken his last oath to elected office. For a few minutes during the parade, he and Michelle stepped out of the limousine and walked Pennsylvania Avenue in front of roaring crowds. He was looking forward and headed to the White House, where he faces tough fights on the deficit, immigration, gun control, and a Congress that's fought him for years. But earlier, as he left the ceremony, Mr. Obama stopped, turned and took one long last look back. He has four more years, but it was the last time he would be able to look at America as president, with a view like this.