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

IS Militants Release 49 Turkish Hostages

Turkey's state-run Anadolu news agency reports that no ransom was paid and no conditions accepted for the hostages' release; few details of the release are known More

Photogallery IS Attacks Send Thousands of Syrian Kurds Fleeing to Turkey

Syrian Observatory for Human Rights says more than 300 Kurdish fighters crossed into Syria from Turkey to defend a Kurdish area from attack by the Islamic militants More

Video Sierra Leone's Ebola Lockdown Continues

Thousands of health workers are going door to door in the West African country of 6 million, informing people of how to avoid Ebola, handing out soap 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.
Fears Ebola Outbreak ‘Beyond Our Capability to Contain’i
X
Jeff Seldin
September 20, 2014 10:28 PM
Each day brings with it new warnings about the deadly Ebola outbreak already blamed for killing more than 2,600 people across West Africa. And while countries and international organizations like the United Nations are starting to come through on promises of help for those most affected, the unprecedented speed with which the virus has spread is raising questions about the international response. VOA's Jeff Seldin has more from Washington.
Video

Video Fears Ebola Outbreak ‘Beyond Our Capability to Contain’

Each day brings with it new warnings about the deadly Ebola outbreak already blamed for killing more than 2,600 people across West Africa. And while countries and international organizations like the United Nations are starting to come through on promises of help for those most affected, the unprecedented speed with which the virus has spread is raising questions about the international response. VOA's Jeff Seldin has more from Washington.
Video

Video Iran, World Powers Seek Progress in Nuclear Talks

Iran and the five permanent members of the U.N. Security Council plus Germany, known as the P5 + 1, have started a new round of talks on Iran's nuclear program. VOA State Department correspondent Pam Dockins reports that as the negotiations take place in New York, a U.S. envoy is questioning Iran's commitment to peaceful nuclear activity.
Video

Video Obama Goes to UN With Islamic State, Ebola on Agenda

President Obama goes to the United Nations General Assembly to rally nations to support a coalition against Islamic State militants in Iraq and Syria. He also will look for nations to back his plan to fight the Ebola virus in West Africa. As VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports, Obama’s efforts reflect new moves by the U.S. administration to take a leading role in addressing world crises.
Video

Video Migrants Caught in No-Man's Land Called Calais

The deaths of hundreds of migrants in the Mediterranean this week has only recast the spotlight on the perils of reaching Europe. And for those forunate enough to reach a place like Calais, France, only find that their problems aren't over. Lisa Bryant has the story.
Video

Video Westgate Siege Anniversary Brings Back Painful Memories

One year after it happened, the survivors of the terror attack on Nairobi's Westgate Shopping Mall still cannot shake the images of that tragic incident. For VOA, Mohammed Yusuf tells the story of victims still waiting for the answer to the question 'how could this happen?'
Video

Video Militant Assault in Syria Displaces Thousands of Kurds

A major assault by Islamic State militants on Kurds in Syria has sent a wave of new refugees to the Turkish border, where they were stopped by Turkish border security. Turkey is already hosting about 700,000 Syrian refugees who fled the civil war between the government and the opposition. But the government in Ankara has a history of strained relations with Turkey's Kurdish minority. Zlatica Hoke reports Turkey is asking for international help.
Video

Video Whaling Summit Votes to Uphold Ban on Japan Whale Hunt

The International Whaling Commission, meeting in Slovenia, has voted to uphold a court ruling banning Japan from hunting whales in the Antarctic Ocean. Conservationists hailed the ruling as a victory, but Tokyo says it will submit revised plans for a whale hunt in 2015. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video A Dinosaur Fit for Land and Water

Residents and tourists in Washington D.C. can now examine a life-size replica of an unusual dinosaur that lived almost a hundred million years ago in northern Africa. Scientists say studying the behemoth named Spinosaurus helps them better understand how some prehistoric animals adapted to life on land and in water. The Spinosaurus replica is on display at the National Geographic museum. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Iraqi Kurdistan Church Helps Christian Children Cope find shelter in churches in the Kurdish capital, Irbil

In the past six weeks, tens of thousands of Iraqi Christians have been forced to flee their homes by Islamic State militants and find shelter in churches in the Kurdish capital, Irbil. Despite U.S. airstrikes in the region, the prospect of people returning home is still very low and concerns are starting to grow over the impact this is having on the displaced youth. Sebastian Meyer reports from Irbil on how one church is coping.


Carnage and mayhem are part of daily life in northern Nigeria, the result of a terror campaign by the Islamist group Boko Haram. Fears are growing that Nigeria’s government may not know how to counter it, and may be making things worse. More

AppleAndroid