0

Obama says 'America's possibilities are limitless'

President Barack Obama and first lady Michelle Obama waves as they walk down Pennsylvania Avenue near the White House during the 57th Presidential Inauguration parade Monday, Jan. 21, 2013, in Washington. (AP Photo/Charles Dharapak)

President Barack Obama and first lady Michelle Obama waves as they walk down Pennsylvania Avenue near the White House during the 57th Presidential Inauguration parade Monday, Jan. 21, 2013, in Washington. (AP Photo/Charles Dharapak)

photo

President Barack Obama speaks at the ceremonial swearing-in at the U.S. Capitol during the 57th Presidential Inauguration in Washington, Monday, Jan. 21, 2013. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)

photo

President Barack Obama receives the oath of office from Chief Justice John Roberts as first lady Michelle Obama (L-R) and his daughters Malia and Sasha listen at the ceremonial swearing-in at the U.S. Capitol during the 57th Presidential Inauguration in Washington, Monday, Jan. 21, 2013. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

WASHINGTON — Turning the page on years of war and recession, President Barack Obama summoned a divided nation Monday to act with "passion and dedication" to broaden equality and prosperity at home, nurture democracy around the world and combat global warming as he embarked on a second term before a vast and cheering crowd that spilled down the historic National Mall.

"America's possibilities are limitless, for we possess all the qualities that this world without boundaries demands," the 44th president declared in a second inaugural address that broke new ground by assigning gay rights a prominent place in the wider struggle for equality for all.

In a unity plea to politicians and the nation at large, he called for "collective action" to confront challenges and said, "Progress does not compel us to settle centuries-long debates about the role of government for all time — but it does require us to act in our time."

Elected four years ago as America's first black president, Obama spoke from specially constructed flag-bedecked stands outside the Capitol after reciting oath of office that all presidents have uttered since the nation's founding.

The events highlighted a day replete with all the fanfare that a security-minded capital could muster — from white-gloved Marine trumpeters who heralded the arrival of dignitaries on the inaugural stands to the mid-winter orange flowers that graced the tables at a traditional lunch with lawmakers inside the Capitol.

The weather was relatively warm, in the mid-40s, and while the crowd was not as large as on Inauguration Day four years ago, it was estimated at up to 1 million.

Big enough that he turned around as he was leaving the inaugural stands to savor the view one final time.

"I'm not going to see this again," said the man whose political career has been meteoric — from the Illinois Legislature to the U.S. Senate and the White House before marking his 48th birthday.

On a day of renewal for democracy, everyone seemed to have an opinion, and many seemed eager to share it.

"I'm just thankful that we've got another four years of democracy that everyone can grow in," said Wilbur Cole, 52, a postman from suburban Memphis, Tenn., who spent part of the day visiting the civil rights museum there at the site where the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. was assassinated in 1968.

The inauguration this year shared the day with King's birthday holiday, and the president used a Bible that had belonged to the civil rights leader for the swearing-in, along with a second one that been Abraham Lincoln's. The president also paused inside the Capitol Rotunda to gaze at a dark bronze statue of King.

Others watching at a distance were less upbeat than Cole. Frank Pinto, 62, and an unemployed construction contractor, took in the inaugural events on television at a bar in Hartford, Conn. He said because of the president's policies, "My grandkids will be in debt and their kids will be in debt."

The tone was less overtly political in the nation's capital, where bipartisanship was on the menu in the speechmaking and at the congressional lunch.

"Congratulations and Godspeed," House Speaker John Boehner, a Republican, said to Obama and Vice President Joe Biden as he presented them with flags that had flown atop the Capitol.

Outside, the Inaugural Parade took shape, a reflection of American musicality and diversity that featured military units, bands, floats, the Chinese American Community Center Folk Dance Troupe from Hockessin, Del., and the Isiserettes Drill & Drum Corps from Des Moines, Iowa.

The crowds were several rows deep along parts of the route, and security was intense. More than a dozen vehicles flanked the president's limousine as it rolled down Pennsylvania Avenue, and several agents walked alongside on foot.

As recent predecessors have, the president emerged from his car and walked several blocks on foot. His wife, Michelle, was with him, and the two held hands while acknowledging the cheers from well-wishers during two separate strolls along the route.

A short time later, accompanied by their children and the vice president and his family, the first couple settled in to view the parade from a reviewing stand built in front of the White House.

A pair of nighttime inaugural balls completed the official proceedings, with a guest line running into the tens of thousands.

In his brief, 18-minute speech, Obama did not dwell on the most pressing challenges of the past four years. He barely mentioned the struggle to reduce the federal deficit, a fight that has occupied much of his and Congress' time and promises the same in months to come.

He spoke up for the poor — "Our country cannot succeed when a shrinking few do very well and a growing many barely make it" — and for those on the next-higher rung — "We believe that America's prosperity must rest upon the broad shoulders of a rising middle class." The second reference echoed his calls from the presidential campaign that catapulted him to re-election

"A decade of war is now ending. An economic recovery has begun," said the president who presided over the end to the U.S. combat role in Iraq, set a timetable for doing the same in Afghanistan and took office when the worst recession in decades was still deepening.

"We will support democracy from Asia to Africa, from the Americas to the Middle East, because our interests and our conscience compel us to act on behalf of those who long for freedom," he said in a relatively brief reference to foreign policy.

The former community organizer made it clear he views government as an engine of progress. While that was far from surprising for a Democrat, his emphasis on the need to combat global climate change was unexpected, as was his firm new declaration of support for full gay rights.

In a jab at climate-change doubters, he said, "Some may still deny the overwhelming judgment of science, but none can avoid the devastating impact of raging fires and crippling drought and more powerful storms." He said America must lead in the transition to sustainable energy resources.

He likened the struggle for gay rights to earlier crusades for women's suffrage and racial equality.

"Our journey is not complete until our gay brothers and sisters are treated like anyone else under the law — for if we are truly created equal, then surely the love we commit to one another must be equal as well," said the president, who waited until his campaign for re-election last year to announce his support for gay marriage.

His speech hinted only barely at issues likely to spark opposition from Republicans who hold power in the House.

He defended Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security as programs that "do not make us a nation of takers; they free is to take the risks that made this country great."

He referred briefly to making "the hard choices to reduce the cost of health care and the size of our deficit," a rhetorical bow to a looming debate in which Republicans are seeking spending cuts in health care programs to slow the rise in a $16.4 trillion national debt.

He also cited a need for legislation to ease access to voting, an issue of particular concern to minority groups, and to immigration reform and gun-control legislation that he is expected to go into at length in his State of the Union speech on Feb. 12.

But his speech was less a list of legislative proposals than a plea for tackling challenges.

"We must act, knowing that our work will be imperfect," he said, and today's "victories will only be partial."

There was some official business conducted during the day.

Moments after being sworn in, the president signed nomination papers for four new appointees to his Cabinet, Sen. John Kerry for secretary of state, White House chief of staff Jacob Lew to be treasury secretary, former Nebraska Sen. Chuck Hagel for defense secretary and White House adviser John Brennan to head the CIA.

Comments

kevin 1 year, 2 months ago

Yes, they are limitless, as long as you re running our lives Mr. BO.

2

Why_not 1 year, 2 months ago

Ok so your guy lost Kevin....suck it up or just be a cry baby like John Boehner.

2

NewsReader 1 year, 2 months ago

This comment was removed by the site staff for violation of the usage agreement.

3

Cleanupguy 1 year, 2 months ago

Remember - this is the guy that guaranteed us a Romney win and still refuses to accept that he couldn't have been more wrong. Not a very credible or rational individual - probably yells at kids to get off his yard when going out to get his Socialist Security entitlement check.

0

NewsReader 1 year, 2 months ago

What exactly was it that I said that was in violation of the usage agreement here? NOTHING!

I said that we would suck it up and wait and watch until your entitlement dries up and that I am all set. Tell me how in the world that is a violation of the usage agreement. It isn't

I guess the truth hits a little too close to home doesn't it!

2

news2me 1 year, 2 months ago

NewsReader - hit donkeys do holler. Comments deleted, a user account tampered with, and the irony of the one with the multiple personalities decides to crawl out of his hole. This is winning to them, the way they will continue to defeat Republicans all while helping to destroy the country. This is all they have to live for. Give them their hollow little victory and sit back and let them turn on each other and destory themselves. They have 4 more years to self implode. Enjoy it! :)

1

FordGalaxy 1 year, 2 months ago

"...world without boundaries..."

I wonder what he means by that?

1

Mack711 1 year, 2 months ago

More illegal aliens coming in without fear of being arrested?

1

Cleanupguy 1 year, 2 months ago

In Gwinnett, with our 287(g) program, we are among the top EXPORTERS of illegals, but nice try. Remember that Ron Reagan legitimized three million of them with no strings - looks like there will at least be some conditions this time. Guess it was OK when Bush Junior invited them in too.....

1

R 1 year, 2 months ago

Truly Limitless... Defined as

No Budget limit

No real Debt Ceiling Limit.

No Spending limit.

NO real Immigration limit.

No limit on the existing laws that we WON'T enforce.

No Limit on the laws we will create.

No limit on the new lawsuits against states that dare to do the "jobs" the FEDs just won't do.

No limit to the Benghazi investigations

No limit on the "Bovine Scat-tistics" provided by DC.

No Executive order limit.

Tim - What do mean "We are out of funds?"

That just can't be true, because I have a whole book of blank executive orders left right here on my desk...

You know, right next to the binder I borrowed from Romney before I went all male

1

thecoach 1 year, 2 months ago

All Racist Comments. Run your own lives, quit worrying about what Obama is doing. Do you.

0

thecoach 1 year, 2 months ago

The GOP is only relevant in the South (Georgia, Miss, Alabama, S Car, Louisiana). Hillary will be the next president so cry for 12 more years. The Good ole boy system is OVER!

1

BuzzG 1 year, 2 months ago

Apparently he thinks the debt is limitless. $16,500,000,000,000.00 is not enough.

1

BurritoJones 1 year, 2 months ago

Okay, BuzzG. With the national debt being the concern you raised: enlighten us on which of Obama's new programs you think should be cut to fix our debt?

0

news2me 1 year, 2 months ago

Start with Obamacare. That's the entitlement that you and your little tacos will steal from the most and that will cost taxpayers dearly.

1

BurritoJones 1 year, 2 months ago

According to the Republican-created Congressional Budget Office, you're wrong. They estimate ObamaCare actually lowering the deficit by $124billion over ten years. But it's cool. I'm sure Neal Boortz has the real scoop.

And was the taco thing intended as a racist remark over my username? Cause I hate to break it to you, buddy: I'm whiter than Wonder Bread. I'm also gainfully employed, a homeowner and tax payer. But your xenophobia is duly noted.

But just for giggles. Let's reverse it and say ObamaCare COSTS $124billion over ten years. I know facts say it doesn't. But let's pretend. At 12.4billion a year, that comes out to .003% of the budget. That'll pay for a whopping six days of our yearly defense budget.

0

notblind 1 year, 2 months ago

Obamacare isn't "cutting the deficit" by reducing spending. It's doing it by dramatically raising taxes. Also, this isn't 2010 any more. You need to use current data .

http://www.forbes.com/sites/aroy/2012/07/27/cbo-obamacare-will-spend-more-tax-more-and-reduce-the-deficit-less-than-we-previously-thought/

0

BurritoJones 1 year, 2 months ago

Did you even read your own article? Even with the CBO's revised predictions(which were operating from a standpoint of expecting a removal of a tax that is still not removed), ObamaCare still reduced the deficit by a few billion.

0

notblind 1 year, 2 months ago

BY DRASTICALLY RAISING TAXES !!!!!! What will the projections look like next year ???

1

Cleanupguy 1 year, 2 months ago

Thanks Burrito - let's not forget that the uber right Heritage Foundation came up with the original plans for universal health care, as well as promoting a couple of unnecessary wars paid on credit. I nominate a 50% cut in defense spending - problem solved.

0

BurritoJones 1 year, 2 months ago

Any time. I don't object to conservative or liberal opinions. I object to ignorance and lies.

It's basic math people. If you'd bothered to read a news paper once in a while instead of getting your "news" from Hannity, you'd find yourself being a lot more informed.

1

notblind 1 year, 2 months ago

You must hate your mirror. Why don't you supply links to your 'facts'.

1

notblind 1 year, 2 months ago

Yep, 2 year old data. Didn't you say "I object to ignorance and lies."

1

BurritoJones 1 year, 2 months ago

My link was not a lie. Everything I posted was absolutely true. Now admittedly, you did post newer data. I personally don't think the updated estimate is gospel, given that it was built with the anticipation of a Republican repeal. But that's neither here nor there.

The debt was brought up. I pointed out that ObamaCare does not increase US debt. So far you have only posted information that still shows I am correct. Now granted, you continue to object that its simply a tax hike. Given that the tax that pays for the overwhelming majority of the plan is a tax on wealthy health care plans, I'd call that a good tax. But I'm sure you'll grind your teeth in anger over that one. So let's agree to disagree there.

Let me put this back on you: Social Security, Medicare/Medicaid and Defense. 2.2 trillion dollars. You can pull your hair out over Obama's comparatively microscopic programs, but you're only highlighting your party's own ineffectiveness if you have no ideas on fixing the Big Three. So what's your idea on how to fix the actual problem with the US budget?

0

notblind 1 year, 2 months ago

Going over the "Fiscal Cliff" was the best bet we had. Higher taxes on everybody and forced spending cuts everywhere resulting in deficit reduction. Instead what we got was higher taxes on everybody but no spending cuts [ actually more spending ] resulting in an every spiraling deficit. ..................................................................................As for your "comparatively microscopic programs"....there is no one $10T line item that can be cut. We are going to have to cut many thousands of $100M and $2B line items to come up with meaningful spending cuts. This is as likely to happen as Obama being actually transparent. :eyeroll:

0

dav 1 year, 2 months ago

This is where I have to jump in,surely you are not stating that a newspaper is a reputable place to gather truthful information are you?

1

kevin 1 year, 2 months ago

America will be limitless once the Liberals are out of office.

0

NewsReader 1 year, 2 months ago

Seeing as how I archive everything that I post, I'll just leave this for the record, as this is the exact posted message that was deleted for supposedly violation of the usage agreement.

Yes Why_not, we'll suck it up and watch all of you scramble like cock roaches on a newly lit room when your entitlements run out. As for me, I'm not crying. I'm all set.

GDP, I would encourage you to actually "read" objections to comments before you delete them for supposed violation of the usage agreement because some little whiney crybaby like Why_not suggests removal because he just didn't like what you had to say.

0

Sign in to comment