Barack Obama was officially if informally sworn into office for the second time Sunday, but the formal, public ceremony is taking place today, on a bright, cold Martin Luther King Jr. Day, with Obama taking the oath on bibles owned by King and President Abraham Lincoln.
We’ll be live-blogging the rest of the ceremony ….
11:38 — A nicely done, dignified prayer by civil rights leader Myrlie-Evers Williams, a woman who has seen a lot.
11:41: With Sen. Schumer of New York as inaugural planner, it’s understandable that a Brooklyn choir is doing the “Battle Hymn of the Republic.” But really, a southern choir would have done it righteously.
11:47 Taking his oath, Biden’s just repeating what Sotomayor is saying. Didn’t he get in trouble for that once?
11:51: Obama takes oath, with one small stumble certain to cause comment among a few. The Capitol looks resplendent.
11:58: A call from Obama to the necessity of joint, unified action. “My fellow Americans, we are made for this moment, and we will seize it if we seize it together.”
12:03 “Social Security, Medicare … do not make us a nation of takers”
12:04: A call to action on climate change. The first real news of the day, committing to a second-term goal.
12:08: A strong embrace of gay rights, equal respect, immigration reform … a broadening of the American family.
12:10: “We cannot mistake absolutism for principle.” I suspect that was directed to some Dems as well as Republicans.
12:12: A relatively brief address by the president, with talk of national unity and purpose interspersed with indirect if sharp reminders of issues that divide us.
12:20: A rather prosaic effort by poet Richard Blanco.
12:31: But a stirring version of the Star Spangled Banner by the lovely and talented Beyonce to close the ceremony.
– Jay Bookman