President Barack Obama was sworn in for his second term as the US president in a private ceremony at the White House on Sunday.
The oath was administered by US Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts. The president was accompanied by his wife, First Lady Michelle Obama, and their two daughters, Sasha and Malia.
In remarks caught on video, he turned to his daughters and said, “I did it,” after he was sworn in. “You didn’t mess up,” Sasha Obama told her father.
“Thank you, sweetie,” he told Michelle when she congratulated him.
Sunday’s ceremony, shown live on television, was needed because the US Constitution mandates that the president take office on January 20. Planners opted to go with a private ceremony on the actual date and then hold the ceremonial inaugural activities the next day. By Monday, Obama will have been sworn in four times, two for each term, putting him equal to Franklin Roosevelt, who served four terms.
A second Obama swearing-in was deemed necessary in 2009 when Roberts flubbed the first one. On Sunday, Roberts read the oath carefully from a card and there were no mistakes.
Earlier on Sunday, Vice President Joe Biden was also sworn in for his second term as US Vice President. President Obama and VP Biden also went to the Arlington National Cemetery to lay a wreath the Tomb of the ‘Unknown Soldiers’.
The oath on Monday will be followed by the inaugural address and the inaugural parade outside the West Front of the Capitol overlooking the National Mall in front of as many as 800,000 people. However, the crowds are expected to be lesser than four years ago, when President Obama was sworn in as the 44th US President in January 2009.
Obama, who won a second four years on November 6 after defeating Republican Mitt Romney after a bitter campaign, opens round two facing many of the same problems that dogged his first term: persistently high unemployment, crushing government debt and a deep partisan divide over how to solve the issues.
This has taken some of the euphoria out of his second inauguration, but he got a boost at a rousing service at Metropolitan African Methodist Episcopal Church in downtown Washington where he and Michelle, who is sporting a new hair style featuring bangs, clapped and swayed to gospel music. “Forward, forward,” shouted Reverend Ronald Braxton to his congregation, echoing an Obama election campaign slogan. (WITH ADDITIONAL INPUT from REUTERS)
Published in The Express Tribune, January 21st, 2013.