Tight Security Expected for Bush Inauguration

Security is expected to be very tight in Washington when President George Bush is inaugurated for a second term on January 20.  Security planners are concerned about terrorists and protesters.

The president seems anxious to begin his second term and start tackling some of the campaign pledges he made to reform the tax system and the government pension program known as Social Security.

"I like to confront problems," said Mr. Bush.  "I like to work with people so that we can say we left behind a better America after it is all said and done, and I do not have that much time here in Washington, so I am ready to work."

But before the work can begin in earnest, the president must take the constitutionally required oath of office on January 20, an American political ritual that has taken place every four years since George Washington was sworn in as the nation's first president in 1789.

This will be the first presidential inauguration since the 2001 terrorist attacks and security will be extremely tight.  Security officials are saying little about their plans to counter the threat of both terrorism and protesters, but thousands of police are expected to be on hand for the inauguration ceremony, parade, and formal balls.

Anti-war activists are planning extensive protests around the inaugural.  Gael Murphy is with a group called Code Pink, Women for Peace.

"I would say that it is going to be quite difficult to disrupt events," she noted.  "But I think that it is critical for our voices to be heard, not just for this administration to hear our voices, but for the rest of the world to know that we are still mobilized, that we are still opposing the Bush policies."

Historically, presidential inaugurations have been opportunities for the incoming or re-elected president to heal the political divide from the election just past and unify the country.

President Bush made an attempt at that four-years ago following his narrow victory over Al Gore.

"And this is my solemn pledge.  I will work to build a single nation of justice and opportunity," he said.

Mr. Bush won a more convincing victory this time, by winning 51-48 percent of the vote over Democrat John Kerry.

Marvin Krantz is a historian at the Library of Congress in Washington.  He says many Americans view a presidential inauguration as an important symbol of the continuity of democracy.

"But clearly, the presidential inauguration marks a kind of change and it is part and parcel of what we are as Americans because we accept this sense of change," he said.  "We know it is a legitimate change and we accept it, even in times of stress, we recognize this.  And those of us who might be in opposition who comes into office, he is still the president of all of us and we have to live under the new rules that are established."

But some political analysts believe the president faces a daunting challenge in trying to bring the country together in the wake of another close election.

Professor John White is an expert on U.S. presidents at Catholic University in Washington.

"I am sure the president will try to do that [bring the country together] with this inauguration.  But given the deep divisions within the country, divisions that have only deepened in the past four years, I think it is going to be harder for him to try to bring the country together even though he won a decisive victory," said Mr. White.

The president will take the oath of office around midday on January 20 at an outdoor ceremony in front of the U.S. Capitol building.  Mr. Bush will then review a parade that includes 10,000 marchers and features 45 marching bands.  In the evening, the president and First Lady Laura Bush will attend several inaugural balls where supporters will celebrate his re-election victory in November.

This forum has been closed.
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Russia’s Syria Involvement Raising Concerns in Europei
Luis Ramirez
October 02, 2015 4:45 PM
European nations are joining the United States in demanding that Russia stop targeting opposition groups other than the Islamic State militants as Russian warplanes continue to conduct raids in Syria. The demand came in a statement from Britain, France, Germany, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Turkey and the United States Friday. VOA Europe correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.

Video Russia’s Syria Involvement Raising Concerns in Europe

European nations are joining the United States in demanding that Russia stop targeting opposition groups other than the Islamic State militants as Russian warplanes continue to conduct raids in Syria. The demand came in a statement from Britain, France, Germany, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Turkey and the United States Friday. VOA Europe correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.

Video First Self-Driving Truck Debuts on European Highways

The first automated semi-trailer truck started its maiden voyage Friday, Oct. 2, on a European highway. The Daimler truck called 'Actros' is the first potentially mass-produced truck whose driver will be required only to monitor the situation, similar to the role of an airline captain while the plane is in autopilot mode. VOA’s George Putic reports.

Video Nano-tech Filter Cleans Dirty Water

Access to clean water is a problem for hundreds of millions of people around the world. Now, a scientist and chemical engineer in Tanzania (in East Africa) is working to change that by creating an innovative water filter that makes dirty water safe. VOA’s Deborah Block has the story.

Video Demand Rising for Organic Produce in Cambodia

In Cambodia, where rice has long been the main cash crop, farmers are being encouraged to turn to vegetables to satisfy the growing demand for locally produced organic farm products. Daniel de Carteret has more from Phnom Penh.

Video Migrant Influx Costs Europe, But Economy Could Benefit

The influx of hundreds of thousands of refugees and migrants is testing Europe’s ability to respond – especially in the poorer Balkan states. But some analysts argue that Europe will benefit by welcoming the huge numbers of young people – many of them well educated and willing to work. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.

Video Botanists Grow Furniture, with Pruning Shears

For something a bit out of the ordinary to furnish your home, why not consider wooden chairs, crafted by nature, with a little help from some British botanists with an eye for design. VOA’s Jessica Berman reports.

Video New Fabric Helps Fight Dust-Related Allergies

Many people around the world suffer from dust-related allergies, caused mainly by tiny mites that live in bed linen. Polish scientists report they have successfully tested a fabric that is impenetrable to the microscopic creatures. VOA’s George Putic has more.

Video Burkina Faso's Economy Deeply Affected by Political Turmoil

Political turmoil in Burkina Faso over the past year has taken a toll on the economy. The transitional government is reporting nearly $70 million in losses in the ten days that followed a short-lived coup by members of the presidential guard earlier this month. The crisis shut businesses and workers went on strike. With elections on the horizon, Emilie Iob reports on what a return to political stability can do for the country's economic recovery.

Video Fleeing Violence, Some Syrians Find Refuge in Irbil

As Syrians continue to flee their country’s unrest to seek new lives in safer places, VOA Persian Service reporter Shepol Abbassi visited Irbil, where a number Syrians have taken refuge. During the religious holidy of Eid al-Adha, the city largely shut down, as temperatures soared. Amy Katz narrates his report.

Video Nigeria’s Wecyclers Work for Reusable Future in Lagos

The streets and lagoons of Africa's largest city - Lagos, Nigeria - are often clogged with trash, almost none of which gets recycled. One company is trying to change that. Chris Stein reports for VOA from Lagos.

Video Sketch Artist Helps Catch Criminals, Gives a Face to Deceased

Police often face the problem of trying to find a crime suspect based on general descriptions that could fit hundreds of people in the vicinity of the crime. In these cases, an artist can use information from witnesses to sketch a likeness that police can show the public via newspapers and television. But, as VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Houston, such sketches can also help bring back faces of the dead.

Video Thailand Set to Build China-like Internet Firewall

Thai authorities are planning to tighten control over the Internet, creating a single international access point so they can better monitor content. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Bangkok on what is being called Thailand’s own "Great Firewall."

Video Croatian Town’s War History Evokes Empathy for Migrants

As thousands of Afghanistan, Iraqi and Syrian migrants pass through Croatia, locals are reminded of their own experiences with war and refugees in the 1990s. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from the town of Vukovar, where wartime scars still are visible today.

Video Long Drought Affecting California’s Sequoias

California is suffering under a historic four-year drought and scientists say even the state's famed sequoia trees are feeling the pain. The National Park Service has started detailed research to see how it can help the oldest living things on earth survive. VOA’s George Putic reports.

VOA Blogs