President Barack Hussein Obama, sobered but resolute after four years as the nation's first African-American head of state, began his second term Monday with an ardent defense of government as essential to the nation's economic and moral fiber, and a call to citizens to accept their obligation to shape the national debate.
Originally published on Mon January 21, 2013 8:59 pm
Credit Brendan Smialowski / AFP/Getty Images
President Obama began his second term with an unapologetically liberal inaugural address, calling on Americans to work together to preserve entitlements, address climate change and extend civil rights.
"Together, we discovered that a free market only thrives when there are rules to ensure competition and fair play," the president said. "Together, we resolved that a great nation must care for the vulnerable and protect its people from life's worst hazards and misfortune."
Hope and change were two of the watch words of President Obama's first presidential campaign. As he begins a second term, Tell Me More speaks with people gathered in the nation's capital about what they think the next four years will be about.
President Barack Obama delivered his second inaugural speech today. Host Michel Martin explores how his words may have resonated with Americans --those who voted for him and those who didn't-- with two former White House insiders.
On this day, when we observe the inauguration of the nation's president and, as well, the Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr.'s birthday, we decided to send TELL ME MORE producer Emily Ochsenschlager to the Martin Luther King, Jr. memorial to hear what visitors there had to say about what today's events mean to them.
Carrie Haskins(ph) came in for the inauguration from Fort Lee, Virginia.
This is special coverage from NPR News. I'm Neal Conan, in Washington. Just over two hours ago, President Barack Obama took the oath of office on the west steps of the Capitol before a throng gathered on the National Mall and millions listening on radio and TV. As he begins his second term in the White House, he leads a nation deeply divided on the size and purpose of government, on gay marriage, on guns.
Besides President Obama's oath and address, Monday's festivities will include an invocation by Myrlie Evers-Williams, Vice President Joe Biden's oath and poet Richard Blanco. Looking ahead to Obama's second term, politics in Washington seems as broken and gridlocked as ever.