With array of challenges, Obama kicks off second term at public inauguration
By John Whitesides | ReutersWASHINGTON (Reuters) - Four years after making history by becoming the first African-American president, Barack Obama will kick off his second term on Monday with a scaled-back inauguration that reflects the tempered expectations for his next four years in office.
January 21, 2013, 2:48 pm TWN
Lingering high unemployment, bitter political battles and a divisive re-election campaign have punctured the mood of optimism and hope that infused Obama's 2009 inauguration after a sweeping election win.
This time, Obama's inauguration will feature smaller crowds and a reduced slate of inaugural balls and parties to match the more subdued tenor of the times.
When Obama raises his right hand to be sworn in by Chief Justice John Roberts outside the U.S. Capitol at 11.55 a.m. EST (1655 GMT), it will be his second time taking the oath in 24 hours.
He had a formal private swearing-in on Sunday at the White House because of a constitutional requirement that the president be sworn in on January 20.
Rather than stage the full inauguration on a Sunday, the main public events were put off until Monday.
Obama will take the oath again and deliver his inaugural address from the Capitol's west front overlooking the National Mall, where a crowd of up to 700,000 is expected to watch. That is down significantly from the record 1.8 million people who jammed Washington in 2009 for Obama's first inauguration.
The focal point will be Obama's inauguration address, which he will use to lay out in broad terms his vision for the next four years but will stay away from policy specifics.
David Plouffe, a senior adviser, said Obama would call on both parties to come together to resolve daunting second-term challenges like the budget, the need to raise the nation's borrowing limit and the Democrat's push for tighter gun laws and a legal path to citizenship for illegal immigrants.
The president views the inauguration speech and the State of the Union speech to Congress on February 12 as "a package," Plouffe said, and would save details of his second-term agenda for the later speech.