Inauguration 2013 January 22, 2013: President Barack Obama thanks staffers at last inaugural ball




Obama thanks staffers at last inaugural ball

Source: Politico, 1-22-13

President Barack Obama thanked thousands of staffers Tuesday night and said they have come to represent his “deepest hopes for America.”

“My main job here tonight is really simple: It’s just to say thank you,” he told the crowd of between 10,000 and 15,000 at the last inaugural ball. “All of you have come to represent for me and Michelle our deepest hopes for America.”

“The average age here is probably around 20 something. And that’s only because I’m here, which brings the average age up, quite a bit,” Obama joked, according to a pool report….READ MORE

Political Headlines January 22, 2013: President Barack Obama’s Speech Leaves GOP Stark Choices on Debt Limit




Obama Speech Leaves G.O.P. Stark Choices

Source: NYT, 1-22-13

Speaker John A. Boehner, center, and other House Republicans on Tuesday at a news conference urging a set budget.

Christopher Gregory/The New York Times

Speaker John A. Boehner, center, and other House Republicans on Tuesday at a news conference urging a set budget.

As President Obama’s second term begins, Republican leaders appear ready to accede at least in the short term on some matters, like increasing the debt limit….READ MORE

Full Text Inauguration 2013 January 22, 2013: President Barack Obama’s Speech at Staff Inaugural Ball




Remarks by the President at Staff Inaugural Ball

Source: WH, 1-22-13  

Washington Convention Center
Washington, D.C.

9:00 P.M. EST

THE PRESIDENT:  Hello, everybody!  (Applause.)  You all clean up pretty good.  (Applause.)  You are looking good.

Couple of acknowledgements I want to make — first of all, please give it up for DJ Mel Sandico.  (Applause.)  The U.S. Army Band is in the house.  (Applause.)  We’re so proud — they can play anything — anything.  Go ahead and make a request, they’ll play it.  They are outstanding.  And we are so grateful for their service to our country each and every day.

Now, this is just a little gathering, little party among friends.  (Applause.)  Represented here are our outstanding OFA staff and volunteers.  (Applause.)  Our amazing PIC — that would be Presidential Inaugural Committee Team.  (Applause.)

MRS. OBAMA:  This has been a great inauguration.  They’ve done a great job.

THE PRESIDENT:  Michelle just said this has been a great inauguration, and you’ve done a great job.

We’ve got the DNC convention team that did an amazing job.  (Applause.)  We’ve got the DNC team that did an amazing job.  (Applause.)  And we’ve got the White House team, which is pretty good.  (Applause.)  They did an amazing job.


THE PRESIDENT:  I’m here, too.  (Applause.)  That’s true.  And the First Lady of the United States — (applause) — bangs and all — (applause) — looking very sparkly and twinkly.  (Laughter.)

Now, I’m not going to speak long, mainly because I’ve been speaking a lot and you all have heard me before.

MRS. OBAMA:  And the entertainment is pretty good.

THE PRESIDENT:  And, more importantly, we’ve got a couple of people who are pretty good musicians named Lady Gaga and Tony Bennett in the house.  (Applause.)  This is like my — Michelle is like doing interpretive dance of everything I say.  It’s been a long weekend — she’s getting a little silly now.  (Laughter.)
But my main job here tonight is real simple, and it’s just to say thank you.  (Applause.)  You know, some of you were involved the very first time I ran, back in 2007, 2008.  (Applause.)  Some of you were 14 at the time, and so just got involved this time out.  (Applause.)  You know who you are.  (Applause.)

MRS. OBAMA:  That’s right.

THE PRESIDENT:  But regardless of whether you got involved six years ago or you got involved six months ago, what is true is that all of you have come to represent for me and Michelle our deepest hopes for America.

The average age here is probably around 20-something — (applause) — and that’s only because I’m here, which brings the average age up quite a bit.  But when I think about traveling around the country during the course of the campaign and getting to know some of you and meeting some of you and seeing the work you do in the White House or the work that you did during the convention, and I meet young people who are so much smarter and more thoughtful and more caring about the future than I ever was at your age, so much more capable, so much more serious, so much more poised, it makes me know that America’s future is in good hands.  (Applause.)

As long as all of you understand the immense and incredible power that you possess when you work together, when you join voices, when you extend yourselves not just on behalf of your own ambitions but on behalf of a larger cause, you cannot be stopped. And part of the reason I know that America will succeed is when I look at how you work together, what I saw in offices from Vegas  — (applause) — to Richmond — (applause) — to Colorado Springs — (applause) — to Manchester, New Hampshire — (applause) — to Orlando, Florida — it didn’t matter — (applause) — it didn’t matter where I was, I’d walk into a volunteer office and what you saw was people from every walk of life — black, white, Hispanic, Asian, Native American, young, gay, straight — it didn’t matter where you came from, you came together with a mission in mind and a vision in mind.  And you were willing to set aside whatever surface differences you had because you understood you were working on behalf of an America that was a little more just and a little more fair and a little more compassionate, and better stewards for our environment.  (Applause.)

And seeing that kind of spirit operate day in, day out, no matter how hard the work, no matter how little you got paid, no matter how bad your candidate screwed up, it didn’t matter, you just kept on going.  And there were times during the course of this year where I might have gotten down, but you picked me back up.  (Applause.)  You lifted me up on your shoulders.  And you said, yeah, we know he’s gotten kind of old and gray-haired, and we know sometimes he stumbles.  But we are going to carry him across the finish line.  (Applause.)  Because this is not about him; this is about us.  This is about America.  This is about what we believe.  This is about what our values are.  (Applause.) This is what our ideals are all about.  We are going to go out there and change America.  (Applause.)

That’s what you did every single day.  And so this weekend belonged to you.  (Applause.)  To you.  (Applause.)

So my final message — because I’m already breaking my promise; I said I wasn’t going to talk long — is to say that you can’t stop now.  I know some of you have got to go back to school.  I know some of your parents are all like, okay, you did your little thing, but now you’ve got to go back and get your degree.  I know some of you’ve got some rent to pay, so you’ve got to —

MRS. OBAMA:  Some loans.

THE PRESIDENT:  — get some loans to repay.  You may be making a whole range of career choices and decisions right now.  And, look, not all of you will end up staying in politics.  Not all of you will end up pursuing professionally public service.  But every single one of you, in your communities, in your neighborhoods, in your workplaces, wherever you decide to put down roots, wherever you decide to make a difference, as long as you retain that spirit that you’ve shown during the course of these campaigns — the idea that you’re a citizen, that America only works when you make it work — (applause) — that you have the power to move this country and, as a consequence, the world  — if you retain that sense and never lose it, then I tell you, not only is America going to be in good hands, but what’s going to happen is you’re going to influence your peers and your friends and the folks you live next to and your neighbors and people in your workplace.  And suddenly, like Robert Kennedy described, you’re like a stone thrown in a pool and it starts rippling out.  And you don’t know where those ripples are going to go, and that’s the future that I see for you.

I know that every single person here donated $10 to a memorial on behalf of Alex Okrent Memorial.  (Applause.)  And Alex was one of you — this incredibly thoughtful, talented, compassionate, caring young person who decided to get involved because he thought he could make a difference.  And tragically, he ended up leaving us while working in the campaign — some of the people here were there when it happened.  And it was heartbreaking, and it reminded us of how precious our time on this Earth is.

We don’t have a lot of time.  I know when you’re young it seems like it goes on forever.  It turns out things are fragile. And yet, the thing that outlives each of us is what we do for somebody else, what difference did we make.  And we know Alex made a difference.  (Applause.)  And so his impact outlives him. And that means — that’s all right — somebody is over there and they probably fainted because they’ve been standing too long.  Many of you have been at rallies — there’s one over here, we’ve got EMS folks here.  People, bend your knees while you’re here.  (Laughter.)  And try to get hydrated as well.

MRS. OBAMA:  You know you’ve got to drink some water!

THE PRESIDENT:  Drink water is what I mean.  (Laughter.)  Juice is okay, too.  (Laughter.)

But in the same way that Alex left this indelible mark on my life and Michelle’s life, and many of your lives, you will leave an indelible mark as well, as long as you decide that you’re going to spend your life giving something back.

You’ve already given me an incredible gift.  You’ve given America an incredible gift.  Don’t stop.  Keep on going.  (Applause.)  Don’t stop.  Stay fired up.  (Applause.)

Are you fired up?

AUDIENCE:  Fired up!

THE PRESIDENT:  Are you ready to go?

AUDIENCE:  Ready to go!


AUDIENCE:  Fired up!

THE PRESIDENT:  Ready to go?

AUDIENCE:  Ready to go!


AUDIENCE:  Fired up!

THE PRESIDENT:  Ready to go!

AUDIENCE:  Ready to go!


AUDIENCE:  Fired up!

THE PRESIDENT:  Ready to go.

AUDIENCE:  Ready to go!

THE PRESIDENT:  I think Lady Gaga is fired up, too.

God bless you, guys!  (Applause.)  I love you!  Thank you!  God bless you.  God bless the United States of America.  (Applause.)

9:16 P.M. EST

Full Text Inauguration 2013 January 21, 2013: President Barack Obama’s Speech at Commander-in-Chief Inaugural Ball




Remarks by the President at Commander-in-Chief Ball

Ozier Muhammad/The New York Times

Source: WH, 1-21-13

Walter E. Washington Convention Center
Washington, D.C.

8:48 P.M. EST

THE PRESIDENT:  Let me begin by just saying you all dress up pretty nice.  (Applause.)  I hope everybody is having a wonderful time.  Now, those of you who are in uniform, you look outstanding.  Your dates do look better, though.  (Applause.)  I just want to point this out.  (Laughter.)

I’m not going to give a long speech.  What I really want to do is come down and express the extraordinary gratitude not just of me as your Commander-in-Chief, but more importantly, the thanks of all the American people.

I want to start by thanking some of our outstanding leaders who are here:  our hosts, our Senior Enlisted Advisors from all five branches of our military.  (Applause.)  The Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, General Marty Dempsey, who promised to sing sometime tonight, so you should hold him to it.  (Laughter.)  The Vice Chairman, Sandy Winnefeld, and all our outstanding members of the Joint Chiefs.  Our Secretary of Veterans Affairs and Vietnam veteran, Ric Shinseki, who is here.

And we’re honored to be joined by some truly extraordinary Americans, our wounded warriors, who inspire us with their incredible strength and resolve.  (Applause.)  Our enlisted men and women and junior officers — the backbone of our military.  (Applause.)  Our amazing military families — (applause) — including the families of the fallen — our Gold Star families  — we will stand with you always.

The members of the legendary Tuskegee Airmen in the house.  (Applause.)  And the recipients of our nation’s highest military decoration — the Medal of Honor.  We are honored by your presence.  (Applause.)

Today, we experienced the majesty of our democracy; a ritual only possible in a form of government that is of, and by and for the people; a day made possible because there are patriots like each and every one of you who defend our freedom every single day.

So this little party is just another way to say something we can never say enough:  thank you.  (Applause.)  Thank you for volunteering.  Thank you for stepping up.  Thank you for keeping us strong.  Thank you for always making us proud.  I have no greater honor than being your Commander-in-Chief.  (Applause.)

It’s because of you that with honor we were able to end the war in Iraq.  Because of you that we delivered justice to Osama bin Laden.  (Applause.)  Because of you that it’s even possible to give Afghans a chance to determine their own destiny.  We are going forward, and we’ll keep our military the finest fighting force that the world has ever known.

Now, tonight, we’re also joined by some of our servicemembers in Afghanistan.  They can’t see us, but we can see them on this monitor.

Who we got there?  General, are you there?  Abe?

MAJOR GENERAL ABRAMS:  Sir, good evening.  Mr. President, congratulations on your inauguration.  It is Major General Abrams, commanding general of the 3rd Infantry Division and Regional Command-South.  We’re honored to be able to join you there this evening.

Sir, I’m joined tonight by some fantastic airmen and non-commissioned officers and soldiers serving here in Kandahar.

SERGEANT JACKSON:  Congratulations, Mr. President.  Sergeant First Class Orlando Jackson from Lake Charles, Louisiana — 3rd Infantry Division, Falcon Brigade, Task Force Light Horse.  I just wanted to congratulate you on a job well done.

MASTER SERGEANT SKOWRONSKI:  Mr. President, Master Sergeant Robert Skowronski, Superintendent 807th Expeditionary Air Support Operations Squadron, hailing from Detroit, Michigan.  I want to say, go Tigers!  (Applause.)

SERGEANT WOOD:  Good evening, Mr. President.  My name is Sergeant First Class David Wood.  I’m out of Monument, Colorado — 3rd Infantry Division, Falcon Brigade, Task Force Light Horse.  Thank you very much for having us here at your party.  Congratulations.  (Applause.)

MASTER SERGEANT GODLEWSKI:  Good evening, Mr. President — Master Sergeant James Godlewski.  I’m the Operations Superintendent, the 807th Expeditionary Air Support Operations Squadron and the world’s greatest Air Force.  (Applause.)  I want to say congratulations on tonight.  I hope you guys have a blessed evening.  (Applause.)

MAJOR GENERAL ABRAMS:  Mr. President, we’re honored to be able to join you tonight.  And we’ve got one more thing for all of you there — Rock of the Marne!  (Applause.)

THE PRESIDENT:  (Laughter.)  Well listen, to all of you who are there, we know it’s tough being away from your families.  We know the incredible sacrifices and challenges that you meet every single day.  But I can tell you that you’ve got a room full of patriots here.  (Applause.)  And although I’ve got to admit that they’re a little spiffied up right now — (laughter) — their heart and soul, their dedication, their sense of duty is at one with every single one of the folks who are in Kandahar right now.

And I want you to know that when I was standing on the steps of the Capitol today, looking out over close to a million people, the single-biggest cheer that I always get — and today was no different at my Inauguration — was when I spoke about the extraordinary men and women in uniform that preserve our freedom and keep our country strong.  (Applause.)  So know that every single day we are thinking of you.

We’re going to make sure that you’ve got the equipment, the strategy, the mission that allows you to succeed and keep our country safe.  Know that we are going to be looking after and thinking about your families every single day, and that when you get back home you’re going to be greeted by a grateful nation, and that you will be on our minds tonight and every single night until our mission in Afghanistan is completed.

Can everybody please give our comrades-in-arms a huge round of applause?  (Applause.)  And please, all of you give our very best to your families back home, because I know it’s just as tough, if not tougher for them to see you in harm’s way and away from the family.  God bless you.  God bless the United States of America.  Thank you.  (Applause.)

There’s one last thing I’ve got to do.  I’ve got a date with me here.  (Applause.)  She inspires me every day.  She makes me a better man and a better President.  (Applause.)  The fact that she is so devoted to taking care of our troops and our military families is just one more sign of her extraordinary love and grace and strength.  I’m just lucky to have her.  (Applause.)

I said today at the lunch over at the Congress that some may dispute the quality of our President, but nobody disputes the quality of our First Lady.  (Applause.)

Ladies and gentlemen, my better half and my dance partner, Michelle Obama.  (Applause.)

9:00 P.M. EST

Political Headlines January 22, 2013: Republicans Express Skepticism Following President Barack Obama’s Second Inaugural Address




Republicans Express Skepticism Following Obama’s Address

Source: ABC News Radio, 1-22-13

ABC News

Given the statements made about President Obama’s second inaugural address, it appears that he won’t have an easy go of it with GOP lawmakers this term either.

Some prominent Republicans lawmakers criticized Obama’s inaugural address on Monday, saying he failed to reach out to their party….READ MORE

Inauguration 2013 January 22, 2013: President Barack Obama, VP Joe Biden attend inaugural prayer service at Washington National Cathedral




Obama, Biden attend inaugural prayer service at Washington National Cathedral

Source: Washington Post, 1-22-13

AP Photo

Some 2,200 guests filled the Washington National Cathedral on Tuesday morning for the inaugural prayer service, a tradition as old as the country itself. The service is meant to provide a spiritual boost to the newly sworn-in president….READ MORE

Obamas attend National Prayer Service

Source: Politico, 1-22-13

President Barack Obama and first lady Michelle Obama capped off more than three days of public inaugural events Tuesday with the National Prayer Service at Washington National Cathedral.

The Obamas were joined by Vice President Joe Biden and his wife, Jill. The service includes prayers, readings, blessings and hymns delivered by religious leaders from across the country. The Rev. Adam Hamilton, founding pastor of The United Methodist Church of the Resurrection in Leawood, Kan., was selected to deliver the sermon.

The inaugural prayer service is a tradition dating back to President George Washington and has been held at the National Cathedral since Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s first inauguration in 1933….READ MORE

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