News / USA

Obamas Dance at Inaugural Balls

U.S. President Barack Obama and first lady Michelle Obama dance at the Commander in Chief's Ball in Washington, January 21, 2013.
U.S. President Barack Obama and first lady Michelle Obama dance at the Commander in Chief's Ball in Washington, January 21, 2013.
Kent KleinMark Snowiss

With singer Jennifer Hudson crooning the ballad "Let's Stay Together," U.S. President Barack Obama and first lady Michelle took the spotlight at two inaugural balls in Washington Monday evening.

Michelle Obama, wearing a red Jason Wu gown designed especially for the night, sang in her husband's ear as they danced.

The balls, an inaugural day traditions, cap off two days of official ceremonies as President Obama begins his second term.

Earlier, flag-waving crowds of hundreds of thousands of people turned out for inauguration ceremonies and celebrations of President Barack Obama's second term of office.

Watch a related video report by VOA's Carolyn Presutti


Obama Takes Oath for Second Term, Calls for United Actioni
X
January 22, 2013 5:17 AM
President Barack Obama was publicly sworn into office for a second term Monday, as hundreds of thousands gathered on the Mall to watch the ceremony, waving American flags and cheering the nation's 44th president. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti brings us the sights and sounds from the country's 57th Inauguration.

They and millions more Americans who watched and listened to broadcasts of Monday's events heard the president lay down a strong progressive agenda in his second inaugural address, demanding moderation from the conservative political opposition in Congress.

Jubilation and cheers filled Washington's most famous boulevard, Pennsylvania Avenue, as Obama and his wife, Michelle, stepped out of their limousine to walk part of the traditional parade route that follows a Capitol inauguration. The parade was one of the highlights of the inauguration, with elaborate floats, marching bands from all 50 states.

Watch: VOA's coverage of President Obama's second inauguration

Just before noon, the chief justice of the United States, John Roberts, led the president in the oath of office on a ceremonial stage outside the Capitol, the seat of the U.S. government. Seated nearby were congressional leaders, family members, celebrities and two former presidents, Jimmy Carter and Bill Clinton.

U.S. President Barack Obama is sworn in by Supreme Court Chief of Justice John Roberts, as first lady Michelle Obama looks on during inauguration ceremonies in Washington, D.C., January 21, 2013.U.S. President Barack Obama is sworn in by Supreme Court Chief of Justice John Roberts, as first lady Michelle Obama looks on during inauguration ceremonies in Washington, D.C., January 21, 2013.
x
U.S. President Barack Obama is sworn in by Supreme Court Chief of Justice John Roberts, as first lady Michelle Obama looks on during inauguration ceremonies in Washington, D.C., January 21, 2013.
U.S. President Barack Obama is sworn in by Supreme Court Chief of Justice John Roberts, as first lady Michelle Obama looks on during inauguration ceremonies in Washington, D.C., January 21, 2013.
Obama and Vice President Joe Biden actually had been officially sworn into office on Sunday, since the U.S. Constitution mandates January 20 for the swearing in. So Monday was above all a day for public celebration and uplifting speeches. By coincidence it also was the annual U.S. holiday commemorating the renowned civil rights leader Dr. Martin Luther King Junior, who was assassinated in 1968, shortly after his 45th birthday.

As the president was sworn in, he placed his hand on two Bibles - one that Abraham Lincoln used for his inauguration in 1861 and another that had been carried by King.

Unlike Obama's first inauguration in 2009, when he and the chief justice stumbled over the words of the presidential oath, everything went smoothly this year.

Equality and Opportunity

The president's address that followed stressed some of the main themes of his 2012 re-election campaign - equality, and making the cherished national values of "life and liberty" a reality for every American.

President Barack Obama speaks at his ceremonial swearing-in at the U.S. Capitol during the 57th Presidential Inauguration in Washington, Jan. 21, 2013.President Barack Obama speaks at his ceremonial swearing-in at the U.S. Capitol during the 57th Presidential Inauguration in Washington, Jan. 21, 2013.
x
President Barack Obama speaks at his ceremonial swearing-in at the U.S. Capitol during the 57th Presidential Inauguration in Washington, Jan. 21, 2013.
President Barack Obama speaks at his ceremonial swearing-in at the U.S. Capitol during the 57th Presidential Inauguration in Washington, Jan. 21, 2013.
“For we, the people, understand that our country cannot succeed when a shrinking few do very well, and a growing many barely make it. We believe that America’s prosperity must rest upon the broad shoulders of a rising middle class," said Obama said in his 19-minute address.

The president looked ahead to a future United States where all Americans - women as well as men, no matter what their sexual preferences - are treated equally under the law. He called on fellow citizens to put aside their political differences and work together to solve the country’s problems.

“We cannot mistake absolutism for principle, or substitute spectacle for politics, or treat name-calling as reasoned debate. We must act. We must act, knowing that our work will be imperfect," he said.

Obama called for a renewed commitment to social programs, education, technology and alternative energy sources, saying the United States needs to respond to the threat of climate change.

Watch VOA's Deborah Block related Inaugural Parade report

Thousands Attend Inaugural Parade to See President Obamai
X
January 22, 2013 3:54 PM
Hundreds of thousands of supporters of President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden clapped and cheered during the inaugural parade from the U.S. Capitol to the White House. VOA’s Deborah Block spoke to people watching the parade who were excited about the inauguration of the country's first African-American president to a second term.

Implicitly criticizing Republicans and Mitt Romney, his opponent in the presidential race, Obama offered a robust defense of Medicare and Social Security, noting those programs "do not make us a nation of takers."

The president said America will remain the anchor of strong alliances around the world, and will work to help democracy thrive.

“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.

  • President Barack Obama and first lady Michelle Obama waves as they walk down Pennsylvania Avenue near the White House during the Inauguration parade, Jan. 21, 2013.
  • The U.S. Army band marches down Pennsylvania Avenue en route to the White House during the Inaugural parade, Jan. 21, 2013.
  • President Barack Obama waves after his speech while Vice President Joe Biden applauds at the ceremonial swearing-in at the U.S. Capitol, Jan. 21, 2013.
  • President Barack Obama speaks at the ceremonial swearing-in at the U.S. Capitol during the 57th Presidential Inauguration in Washington, Jan. 21, 2013.
  • President Barack Obama, L, is sworn-in for a second term by Supreme Court Chief of Justice John Roberts, R, during his public inauguration ceremony at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C., Jan. 21, 2013, while wife Michelle (L-R) and daughters Sasha and Malia look on.
  • Crowds of people gather on the mall to watch the swearing-in of U.S. President Barack Obama in Washington, January 21, 2013.
  • Khongorzul Battsengel, left, and Ariunbolor Davaatsogt both from Mongolia, take a picture of themselves as they wait for President Barack Obama in the 57th Presidential Inaugural Parade on Pennsylvania Ave. in Washington D.C., Jan. 21, 2013.
  • Spectators react on the National Mall during the 57th inauguration ceremonies for U.S. President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden on the West front of the U.S. Capitol, in Washington, D.C., Jan. 21, 2013.
  • Vice President Joe Biden, left and President Barack Obama wait for their ceremonial swearing-in at the U.S. Capitol during the 57th Presidential Inauguration in Washington, Jan. 21, 2013.
  • People cheer on the National Mall during the ceremonial swearing-in ceremonies of U.S. President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden on the West front of the U.S. Capitol, Jan. 21, 2013.
  • A woman listens on the National Mall during the 57th inauguration ceremonies on the West front of the U.S. Capitol, Jan. 21, 2013.
  • Spectators wave American flags on the National Mall in Washington, Jan. 21, 2013, before the start of President Barack Obama's ceremonial swearing-in ceremony during the 57th Presidential Inauguration.
  • Dr. Bernice King, center right, and Christine King Farris, left, the daughter and sister of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., applaud while watching a broadcast of President Barack Obama's inauguration following the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. holiday commemorative service at the Ebenezer Baptist Church in Atlanta, Jan. 21, 2013.
  • Members of the Lee University Festival Choir and PS 22 Chorus perform before the ceremonial swearing-in of President Barack Obama at the U.S. Capitol during the 57th Presidential Inauguration, Jan. 21, 2013.
  • President Barack Obama's daughters Malia Obama, left, and Sasha Obama arrive on the West Front of the Capitol in Washington, Jan. 21, 2013, for the president's ceremonial swearing-in.
  • President Barack Obama arrives at the ceremonial swearing-in at the U.S. Capitol during the 57th Presidential Inauguration in Washington, Jan. 21, 2013.
  • Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and former President Bill Clinton speak with former President Jimmy Carter at the ceremonial swearing-in for President Barack Obama at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, Jan. 21, 2013.
  • President Barack Obama arrives on the West Front of the Capitol in Washington, Jan. 21, 2013, for his ceremonial swearing-in ceremony during the 57th Presidential Inauguration.
  • Security lines Pennsylvania Avenue in Washington, Monday, Jan. 21, 2013, prior to the start of the 57th Presidential Inaugural Parade.
  • People wave at President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden as their limousine passes Monday, Jan. 21, 2013, in Washington.
  • President Barack Obama and Democratic Senator from New York Chuck Schumer, the chairman of the Joint Congressional Committee on Inaugural Ceremonies, leave the White House on January 21, 2013 for the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C.
  • President Barack Obama supporters wave American flags on the National Mall in Washington, Jan. 21, 2013, prior to the start of the president's ceremonial swearing-in ceremony during the 57th Presidential Inauguration.

US Inauguration Firsts and Facts

2009 - President Obama: Largest attendance of any event in history of Washington
2005 - President Bush: Largest inaugural platform to date
1985 - President Reagan: Coldest inauguration day, -14 C at noon
1981 - President Reagan: Warmest inauguration day, 13 C at noon
1977 - President Carter: First president to walk in the inaugural parade
1965 - President Johnson: First inauguration that used a bullet-proofed limousine
1961 - President Kennedy: First time a poet, Robert Frost, participated
1949 - President Truman: First televised inaugural ceremony
Smaller Crowd

Three popular American singers - James Taylor, Kelly Clarkson and Beyonce - and a choir sang patriotic songs during the ceremony, and a reading by a Cuban-American poet celebrated the day.

The assembled crowd filled most of the National Mall, but still was only a fraction of the estimated 1.8 million people who jammed into that space four years ago for the inauguration of the first African-American president.

The Obama and Biden families began the day by attending a service at a Christian church near the White House. A pastor offered a blessing and counseled the president to use his power for the good of the country.

From the church Obama sent a message on Twitter: “I am honored and grateful that we have a chance to finish what we started. Our work begins today. Let us go.”
 
Obama returned to the White House for a brief coffee reception for top congressional leaders, including the Republican Speaker of the House, John Boehner, and Senator Mitch McConnell, leader of the Republican minority in the Senate.

Mark Snowiss

Mark Snowiss is a Washington D.C.-based multimedia reporter.  He has written and edited for various media outlets including Pacifica and NPR affiliates in Los Angeles. Follow him on Twitter @msnowiss and on Google Plus

You May Like

Anti-Terror Drills Highlight China’s Push Into Central Asia

China, Russia, several central Asian countries wrap up massive anti terrorism military drills in Inner Mongolia More

Erdogan’s First Step: Secure More Power in New Role in Turkey

Erdogan was sworn in as Turkey's first popularly elected president on Thursday; he picked former foreign minister Ahmet Davutoglu as PM More

Pakistan Army Fails to Break Political Deadlock

PM Sharif claims he didn't ask army to defuse crisis; military rejects claim More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: sirajo jalo from: Abidjan
January 22, 2013 2:40 AM
Today,we are much more confident that Obama's second will be better than his first,because of the experience he aquired in the first term.


by: Anonymous
January 22, 2013 2:08 AM
a powerful U.S. beneficial to world democracy


by: Juli Efendi from: Indonesia
January 22, 2013 2:00 AM
Congratulation for Obama.This is a Second period,so doing better with International studen exchange in the word to study in Amerika and All culture is welcome in Amerika.I hope Obama can make good reletionship with Indonesia especially for education and Scholarship for Indonesia Student to study in Amerika.


by: CcyY
January 21, 2013 9:44 PM
Obama should be grateful to President Lincoln(Lincolon is the republican!) for his enaction of the 13th amendment and do something as Lincoln did to the "national unity". As for personal charm,i really like this guy.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Ukraine Battles Pro-Russia Rebel Assaulti
X
Daniel Schearf
August 29, 2014 9:30 PM
After NATO concluded an emergency meeting to discuss the crisis in eastern Ukraine, the country is struggling to contain heavy fighting near the strategic port of Mariupol, on the Azov Sea. Separatist rebels are trying to capture the city, allegedly with Russian military help, and Ukraine's defense forces are digging in. VOA's Daniel Schearf spoke with analysts about what lies ahead for Ukraine.
Video

Video Ukraine Battles Pro-Russia Rebel Assault

After NATO concluded an emergency meeting to discuss the crisis in eastern Ukraine, the country is struggling to contain heavy fighting near the strategic port of Mariupol, on the Azov Sea. Separatist rebels are trying to capture the city, allegedly with Russian military help, and Ukraine's defense forces are digging in. VOA's Daniel Schearf spoke with analysts about what lies ahead for Ukraine.
Video

Video Growing Business Offers Paint with a Twist of Wine

Two New Orleans area women started a small business seven years ago with one thing in mind: to help their neighbors relieve the stress of coping with a hurricane's aftermath. Today their business, which pairs painting and a little bit of wine, has become one of the fastest growing franchises across the U.S. VOA’s June Soh met the entrepreneurs at their newest franchise location in the Washington suburbs.
Video

Video Ebola Vaccine Trials To Begin Next Week

The National Institutes of Health says it is launching early stage trials of a vaccine to prevent the Ebola virus, which has infected or killed thousands of people across West Africa. The World Health Organization says Ebola could infect more than 20,000 people across the region by the time the outbreak is over. The epidemic has health experts and governments scrambling to prevent more people from becoming infected. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video Asian Bacteria Threatens Florida Orange Trees

Florida's citrus fruit industry is facing a serious threat from a bacteria carried by the Asian insect called psyllid. The widespread infestation again highlights the danger of transferring non-native species to American soil. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Aging Will Reduce Economic Growth Worldwide in Coming Decades

The world is getting older, fast. And as more people retire each year, fewer working-age people will be there to replace them. Bond rating agency Moody’s says that will lead to a decline in household savings; reducing global investments - which in turn, will lead to slower economic growth around the world. But experts say it’s not too late to mitigate the economic impact of the world’s aging populations. Mil Arcega has more.
Video

Video Is West Doing Enough to Tackle Islamic State?

U.S. President Barack Obama has ruled out sending ground troops to Iraq to fight militants of the so-called Islamic State, or ISIS, despite officials in Washington describing the extremist group as the biggest threat the United States has faced in years. Henry Ridgwell reports from London on the growing uncertainty over whether the West’s response to ISIS will be enough to defeat the terrorist threat.
Video

Video Coalition to Fight Islamic State Could Reward Assad

The United States along with European and Mideast allies are considering a broader assault against Islamic State fighters who have spread from Syria into Iraq and risk further destabilizing an already troubled region. But as VOA State Department Correspondent Scott Stearns reports, confronting those militants could end up helping the embattled Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.
Video

Video Made in America Socks Get Toehold in Online Fashion Market

Three young entrepreneurs are hoping to revolutionize the high-end sock industry by introducing all-American creations of their own. And they’re doing most of it the old-fashioned way. VOA’s Julie Taboh recently caught up with them to learn what goes into making their one-of-a-kind socks.
Video

Video Americans, Ex-Pats Send Relief Supplies to West Africa

Health organizations from around the world are sending supplies and specialists to the West African countries that are dealing with the worst Ebola outbreak in history. On a smaller scale, ordinary Americans and African expatriates living in the United States are doing the same. VOA's Carol Pearson reports.
Video

Video America's Most Popular Artworks Displayed in Public Places

Public places in cities across America were turned into open-air art galleries in August. Pictures of the nation’s most popular artworks were displayed on billboards, bus shelters, subway platforms and more. The idea behind “Art Everywhere,” a collaborative campaign by five major museums is to allow more people to enjoy art and learn about the country’s culture and history. Faiza Elmasry has more.
Video

Video Chinese Doctors Use 3-D Spinal Implant

A Chinese boy suffering from a debilitating bone disease has become the first patient with a part of his spine created in a three-dimensional printer. Doctors say he will soon regain normal mobility. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video India’s Leprosy Battle Stymied by Continuing Stigma

Medical advancements in the treatment of leprosy have greatly diminished its impact around the world, largely eliminating the disease from most countries. India made great strides in combating leprosy, but still accounts for a majority of the world’s new cases each year, and the number of newly infected Indians is rising - more than 130,000 recorded last year. Doctors there say the problem has more to do with society than science. Shaikh Azizur Rahman reports from Kolkata.

AppleAndroid