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

POLITICAL HEADLINES

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OBAMA PRESIDENCY & THE 113TH CONGRESS:

THE HEADLINES….

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

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

POLITICAL HEADLINES

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BARACK OBAMA — 57TH INAUGURATION:

THE HEADLINES….

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.)

END
9:00 P.M. EST

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

POLITICAL HEADLINES

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OBAMA PRESIDENCY & THE 113TH CONGRESS:

THE HEADLINES….

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 21, 2013: President Barack Obama & First Lady Michelle Obama at the Inaugural Balls — Elegant inauguration spins to a starry end

POLITICAL HEADLINES

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BARACK OBAMA — 57TH INAUGURATION:

THE HEADLINES….

Obama’s elegant inauguration spins to a starry end

Source: USA Today, 1-21-13

President Obama and first lady Michelle wrapped up their inauguration with a night of merrymaking.

President Obama Michelle Obama dress
President Obama and first lady Michelle Obama show off her inaugural gown by Jason Wu.(Photo: Joe Raedle Getty Images)

Story Highlights

  • The president’s second inauguration was a star-filled affair
  • Inaugural balls culminate weekend of fashion, fun and celebrities
  • Mrs. Obama goes for Jason Wu gown again

An elegant second Obama inauguration, packed with high-fashion, high-energy and high-profile stars, twirled to an end Monday as President Obama and first lady Michelle Obama — she in another stunning gown — danced the night away at the inaugural balls.

And it’s a gown by Jason Wu, the same designer who crafted her 2009 white inaugural gown. The White House said this one is custom-made, ruby red, sleeveless, backless, cinched at the waist, chiffon and velvet, flowing pleats falling to the floor, with a handmade diamond-embellished ring by jewelry designer Kimberly McDonald. She is wearing shoes by Jimmy Choo. And her hair was down in her new style with the bangs everyone has been talking about….READ MORE

Inauguration 2013 January 21, 2013: President Barack Obama Offers Liberal Vision in Second Inaugural Address: ‘We Must Act’

POLITICAL HEADLINES

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BARACK OBAMA — 57TH INAUGURATION:

THE HEADLINES….

Obama Offers Liberal Vision: ‘We Must Act’

Source: NYT, 1-21-13


Luke Sharrett for The New York Times

Doug Mills/The New York Times

Leslye Davis/The New York Times

Josh Haner/The New York Times

Ozier Muhammad/The New York Times

Doug Mills/The New York Times

Chang W. Lee/The New York Times

Stephen Crowley/The New York Times

Stephen Crowley/The New York Times

Josh Haner/The New York Times

Joe Klamar/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

Stephen Crowley/The New York Times

Chang W. Lee/The New York Times

Christopher Gregory/The New York Times

Chang W. Lee/The New York Times

Chang W. Lee/The New York Times

Doug Mills/The New York Times

Chang W. Lee/The New York Times

Doug Mills/The New York Times


Chang W. Lee/The New York Times

Barack Hussein Obama ceremonially opened his second term on Monday with an assertive Inaugural Address that offered a robust articulation of modern liberalism in America, arguing that “preserving our individual freedoms ultimately requires collective action.”

On a day that echoed with refrains from the civil rights era and tributes to the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., Mr. Obama dispensed with the post-partisan appeals of four years ago to lay out a forceful vision of advancing gay rights, showing more tolerance toward illegal immigrants, preserving the social welfare safety net and acting to stop climate change….READ MORE

Inauguration 2013 January 21, 2013: President Barack Obama, First Lady Michelle Obama & the Bidens Finish Inaugural Parade Route on Foot to White House

POLITICAL HEADLINES

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BARACK OBAMA — 57TH INAUGURATION:

THE HEADLINES….

Obamas finish parade route on foot

Source: WaPo, 1-21-13

President Obama, first lady Michelle, Vice President Joe Biden and his wife Jill walked the rest of the parade route from Pennsylvania Avenue to the White House….READ MORE

Obama, first lady walk part of inaugural parade

Source: AP, 1-21-13

                                    President Barack Obama and first lady Michelle Obama walk down Pennsylvania Avenue en route to the White House, Monday, Jan. 21, 2013, in Washington. Thousands  marched during the 57th Presidential Inauguration parade after the ceremonial swearing-in of President Barack Obama. (AP Photo/Steve Helber)

President Barack Obama and first lady Michelle Obama walk down Pennsylvania Avenue en route to the White House, Monday, Jan. 21, 2013, in Washington. Thousands marched during the 57th Presidential Inauguration parade after the ceremonial swearing-in of President Barack Obama. (AP Photo/Steve Helber)

President Barack Obama and first lady Michelle Obama on Monday emerged twice from their limousine to respond to wildly cheering crowds along the inaugural parade route from Capitol Hill to the White House.

The couple waved to chanting, flag-waving crowds lining Pennsylvania Avenue to celebrate the start of Obama’s second term. Spectators began shouting ‘‘Obama, Obama’’ as they returned the greetings from the first couple. Many in the crowd used their cellphones for picture-taking to capture the scene. The first lady blew air kisses to the crowd as the couple got back in their limousine after walking about three blocks….READ MORE

Inauguration 2013 January 21, 2013: President Barack Obama Cites U.S.’s Ideals in Call to Act in Second Inaugural Address

POLITICAL HEADLINES

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BARACK OBAMA — 57TH INAUGURATION:

THE HEADLINES….

Obama Cites U.S.’s Ideals in Call to Act

Source: NYT, 1-21-13

Chang W. Lee/The New York Times

Doug Mills/The New York Times

Chang W. Lee/The New York Times

Doug Mills/The New York Times

Doug Mills/The New York Times

Doug Mills/The New York Times

Doug Mills/The New York Times

Chang W. Lee/The New York Times

Jewel Samad/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

Ozier Muhammad/The New York Times

Shannon Stapleton/Reuters

Luke Sharrett for The New York Times

Luke Sharrett for The New York Times

Pool photo by Win McNamee

Doug Mills/The New York Times

Brendan Hoffman for The New York Times

“We must act; we must act knowing that our work will be imperfect,” said President Obama.
Mr. Obama renewed his oath of office with Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. on Monday.
A view of the podium in front of the Capitol.
The Obama family on the podium.
Mr. Obama greeted guests as he arrived for the ceremony.
The crowd on the National Mall was expected to swell to an estimated 600,000 people.
The justices of the Supreme Court arriving for the ceremony.
Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton and former President Bill Clinton arriving.
American veterans gathered on the Mall to view the inauguration.
Spectators bundled against the cold made their way to the Mall.
Some entryways to the Mall were lined with cheering, flag-waving greeters.
Mr. Obama and his family arrived for a church service on Monday before the ceremony.
Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. and his family were welcomed to a morning church service.
Members of the military prepared for their role in the inaugural ceremony in front of the Capitol.
Tape marked the positions for the first and second families on the inaugural podium.

President Obama renewed his oath of office on Monday, marking the beginning of another four years in the White House without the clouds of economic crisis and war that hovered over his first inauguration….READ MORE

Inauguration 2013 January 21, 2013: President Barack Obama Calls for ‘Collective Action’ on Nation’s Challenges in Second Inaugural Address

POLITICAL HEADLINES

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BARACK OBAMA — 57TH INAUGURATION:

THE HEADLINES….

President Obama Calls for ‘Collective Action’ on Nation’s Challenges

Source: ABC News Radio, 1-21-13

ABC News(WASHINGTON)

Invoking the nation’s founding values, President Obama marked the start of his second term Monday with a sweeping call for “collective action” to confront the economic and social challenges of America’s present and future.

“That is our generation’s task, to make these words, these rights, these values — of life, and liberty, and the pursuit of happiness — real for every American,” Obama said in an inaugural address delivered from the west front of the U.S. Capitol….READ MORE

Inauguration 2013 January 21, 2013: President Barack Obama’s Inaugural Address: ‘We are made for this moment’

POLITICAL HEADLINES

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BARACK OBAMA — 57TH INAUGURATION:

THE HEADLINES….

Obama: ‘We are made for this moment’

Source: WaPo, 1-21-13

(Pablo Martinez Monsivais / AP)

Debbi Wilgoren

In his speech, the president struck some notes of bipartisanship, as expected after a bruising campaign and a bitter debate over the fiscal cliff. But he also emphasized the liberal themes that were the hallmarks of his successful electoral effort….READ MORE

Full Text Inauguration 2013 January 21, 2013: President Barack Obama’s Second Inaugural Address — Speech Transcript

POLITICAL HEADLINES

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BARACK OBAMA — 57TH INAUGURATION:

THE HEADLINES….

President Barack Obama’s Second Inaugural Address

Transcript: President Obama’s Second Inaugural Address

PHOTO: President Barack Obama arrives at the podium for his inaugural speech, Washington DC, Jan. 21, 2013.

President Barack Obama arrives at the podium for his inaugural speech, Washington DC, Jan. 21, 2013. (ABC NEWS)

Obama’s Second Inaugural Speech

The following is a transcript of President Obama’s second inaugural speech:

MR. OBAMA: Vice President Biden, Mr. Chief Justice, Members of the United States Congress, distinguished guests, and fellow citizens:

Each time we gather to inaugurate a president, we bear witness to the enduring strength of our Constitution. We affirm the promise of our democracy. We recall that what binds this nation together is not the colors of our skin or the tenets of our faith or the origins of our names. What makes us exceptional – what makes us American – is our allegiance to an idea, articulated in a declaration made more than two centuries ago:

“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness.”

Today we continue a never-ending journey, to bridge the meaning of those words with the realities of our time. For history tells us that while these truths may be self-evident, they have never been self-executing; that while freedom is a gift from God, it must be secured by His people here on Earth. The patriots of 1776 did not fight to replace the tyranny of a king with the privileges of a few or the rule of a mob. They gave to us a Republic, a government of, and by, and for the people, entrusting each generation to keep safe our founding creed.

For more than two hundred years, we have.

Through blood drawn by lash and blood drawn by sword, we learned that no union founded on the principles of liberty and equality could survive half-slave and half-free. We made ourselves anew, and vowed to move forward together.

Together, we determined that a modern economy requires railroads and highways to speed travel and commerce; schools and colleges to train our workers.

Together, we discovered that a free market only thrives when there are rules to ensure competition and fair play.

Together, we resolved that a great nation must care for the vulnerable, and protect its people from life’s worst hazards and misfortune.

Through it all, we have never relinquished our skepticism of central authority, nor have we succumbed to the fiction that all society’s ills can be cured through government alone. Our celebration of initiative and enterprise; our insistence on hard work and personal responsibility, these are constants in our character.

But we have always understood that when times change, so must we; that fidelity to our founding principles requires new responses to new challenges; that preserving our individual freedoms ultimately requires collective action. For the American people can no more meet the demands of today’s world by acting alone than American soldiers could have met the forces of fascism or communism with muskets and militias. No single person can train all the math and science teachers we’ll need to equip our children for the future, or build the roads and networks and research labs that will bring new jobs and businesses to our shores. Now, more than ever, we must do these things together, as one nation, and one people.

This generation of Americans has been tested by crises that steeled our resolve and proved our resilience. A decade of war is now ending. An economic recovery has begun. America’s possibilities are limitless, for we possess all the qualities that this world without boundaries demands: youth and drive; diversity and openness; an endless capacity for risk and a gift for reinvention. My fellow Americans, we are made for this moment, and we will seize it – so long as we seize it together.

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. We know that America thrives when every person can find independence and pride in their work; when the wages of honest labor liberate families from the brink of hardship. We are true to our creed when a little girl born into the bleakest poverty knows that she has the same chance to succeed as anybody else, because she is an American, she is free, and she is equal, not just in the eyes of God but also in our own.

We understand that outworn programs are inadequate to the needs of our time. We must harness new ideas and technology to remake our government, revamp our tax code, reform our schools, and empower our citizens with the skills they need to work harder, learn more, reach higher. But while the means will change, our purpose endures: a nation that rewards the effort and determination of every single American. That is what this moment requires. That is what will give real meaning to our creed.

We, the people, still believe that every citizen deserves a basic measure of security and dignity. We must make the hard choices to reduce the cost of health care and the size of our deficit. But we reject the belief that America must choose between caring for the generation that built this country and investing in the generation that will build its future. For we remember the lessons of our past, when twilight years were spent in poverty, and parents of a child with a disability had nowhere to turn. We do not believe that in this country, freedom is reserved for the lucky, or happiness for the few. We recognize that no matter how responsibly we live our lives, any one of us, at any time, may face a job loss, or a sudden illness, or a home swept away in a terrible storm. The commitments we make to each other – through Medicare, and Medicaid, and Social Security – these things do not sap our initiative; they strengthen us. They do not make us a nation of takers; they free us to take the risks that make this country great.

We, the people, still believe that our obligations as Americans are not just to ourselves, but to all posterity. We will respond to the threat of climate change, knowing that the failure to do so would betray our children and future generations. Some may still deny the overwhelming judgment of science, but none can avoid the devastating impact of raging fires, and crippling drought, and more powerful storms. The path towards sustainable energy sources will be long and sometimes difficult. But America cannot resist this transition; we must lead it. We cannot cede to other nations the technology that will power new jobs and new industries – we must claim its promise. That’s how we will maintain our economic vitality and our national treasure – our forests and waterways; our croplands and snowcapped peaks. That is how we will preserve our planet, commanded to our care by God. That’s what will lend meaning to the creed our fathers once declared.

We, the people, still believe that enduring security and lasting peace do not require perpetual war. Our brave men and women in uniform, tempered by the flames of battle, are unmatched in skill and courage. Our citizens, seared by the memory of those we have lost, know too well the price that is paid for liberty. The knowledge of their sacrifice will keep us forever vigilant against those who would do us harm. But we are also heirs to those who won the peace and not just the war, who turned sworn enemies into the surest of friends, and we must carry those lessons into this time as well.

We will defend our people and uphold our values through strength of arms and rule of law. We will show the courage to try and resolve our differences with other nations peacefully – not because we are naïve about the dangers we face, but because engagement can more durably lift suspicion and fear. America will remain the anchor of strong alliances in every corner of the globe; and we will renew those institutions that extend our capacity to manage crisis abroad, for no one has a greater stake in a peaceful world than its most powerful nation. 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. And we must be a source of hope to the poor, the sick, the marginalized, the victims of prejudice – not out of mere charity, but because peace in our time requires the constant advance of those principles that our common creed describes: tolerance and opportunity; human dignity and justice.

We, the people, declare today that the most evident of truths – that all of us are created equal – is the star that guides us still; just as it guided our forebears through Seneca Falls, and Selma, and Stonewall; just as it guided all those men and women, sung and unsung, who left footprints along this great Mall, to hear a preacher say that we cannot walk alone; to hear a King proclaim that our individual freedom is inextricably bound to the freedom of every soul on Earth.

It is now our generation’s task to carry on what those pioneers began. For our journey is not complete until our wives, our mothers, and daughters can earn a living equal to their efforts. Our journey is not complete until our gay brothers and sisters are treated like anyone else under the law – for if we are truly created equal, then surely the love we commit to one another must be equal as well. Our journey is not complete until no citizen is forced to wait for hours to exercise the right to vote. Our journey is not complete until we find a better way to welcome the striving, hopeful immigrants who still see America as a land of opportunity; until bright young students and engineers are enlisted in our workforce rather than expelled from our country. Our journey is not complete until all our children, from the streets of Detroit to the hills of Appalachia to the quiet lanes of Newtown, know that they are cared for, and cherished, and always safe from harm.

That is our generation’s task – to make these words, these rights, these values – of Life, and Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness – real for every American. Being true to our founding documents does not require us to agree on every contour of life; it does not mean we all define liberty in exactly the same way, or follow the same precise path to happiness. Progress does not compel us to settle centuries-long debates about the role of government for all time – but it does require us to act in our time.

For now decisions are upon us, and we cannot afford delay. 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. We must act, knowing that today’s victories will be only partial, and that it will be up to those who stand here in four years, and forty years, and four hundred years hence to advance the timeless spirit once conferred to us in a spare Philadelphia hall.

My fellow Americans, the oath I have sworn before you today, like the one recited by others who serve in this Capitol, was an oath to God and country, not party or faction – and we must faithfully execute that pledge during the duration of our service. But the words I spoke today are not so different from the oath that is taken each time a soldier signs up for duty, or an immigrant realizes her dream. My oath is not so different from the pledge we all make to the flag that waves above and that fills our hearts with pride.

They are the words of citizens, and they represent our greatest hope.

You and I, as citizens, have the power to set this country’s course.

You and I, as citizens, have the obligation to shape the debates of our time – not only with the votes we cast, but with the voices we lift in defense of our most ancient values and enduring ideals.

Let each of us now embrace, with solemn duty and awesome joy, what is our lasting birthright. With common effort and common purpose, with passion and dedication, let us answer the call of history, and carry into an uncertain future that precious light of freedom.

Thank you, God Bless you, and may He forever bless these United States of America.

History Buzz January 21, 2013: Doris Kearns Goodwin, Robert Caro, Michael Beschloss & Douglass Brinkley: Four Historians Have Some Thoughts About Barack Obama’s Second Inauguration

HISTORY BUZZ: HISTORY NEWS RECAP

History Buzz

HISTORY BUZZ: HISTORY NEWS RECAP

These Four Historians Have Some Thoughts About Today’s Inauguration

Source: WH, 1-21-13

Collectively, Doris Kearns Goodwin, Robert Caro, Michael Beschloss, and Douglass Brinkley have written more than a dozen popular and thoughtful books about American presidents ranging from Abraham Lincoln to John F. Kennedy, Theodore Roosevelt to Ronald Reagan. They’ve won Pulitzer Prizes, the National Book Award, and even an Emmy.

So we asked them to sit down and discuss the historical significance of a Presidential Inauguration and what it means for President Obama to begin second term.

The video is worth your time. Check it out

Inauguration 2013 January 21, 2013: President Barack Obama Opens 2nd Term in Lower Key

POLITICAL HEADLINES

http://politicsbuzz.files.wordpress.com/2013/01/inauguration.jpg?w=600

BARACK OBAMA — 57TH INAUGURATION:

THE HEADLINES….

Obama Opens 2nd Term in Lower Key

Source: NYT, 1-21-13

Luke Sharrett for The New York Times

Chang W. Lee/The New York Times

Ozier Muhammad/The New York Times

Shannon Stapleton/Reuters

Luke Sharrett for The New York Times

Pool photo by Win McNamee

Doug Mills/The New York Times

Brendan Hoffman for The New York Times

President Obama and his family arrived for a church service on Monday before his inaugural ceremony.

The crowd on the Washington Mall was expected to swell to an estimated 600,000 people.

Spectators bundled against the cold made their way to the Mall.

Some entryways to the Mall were lined with cheering, flag-waving greeters.

Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. and his family were welcomed to a morning church service.

Members of the military prepared for their role in the inaugural ceremony in front of the Capitol.

Tape marked the positions for the first and second families on the inaugural podium.

The place setting for Mr. Obama ahead of the inaugural luncheon in Statuary Hall at the Capitol.

Unlike President Obama’s inauguration in 2009, the nation is not in the midst of economic crisis and two wars, but he still faces many challenges….READ MORE

Inauguration 2013 January 20-21, 2013: Liveblogging the 57th Inauguration: President Barack Obama is Sworn-in for Second Term & Gives Second Inaugural Address

POLITICAL HEADLINES

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BARACK OBAMA — 57TH INAUGURATION:

THE HEADLINES….

Liveblogging the 57th Inauguration

Source: WaPo, 1-20-21-13

Welcome to the Washington Post Inauguration liveblog. We’ll be covering every aspect of President Obama’s second inaugural in this space, from the official swearing-in to the late night parties. So stay tuned….READ MORE

Inauguration 2013 January 21, 2013: President Barack Obama’s Inauguration Ceremony Schedule

POLITICAL HEADLINES

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BARACK OBAMA — 57TH INAUGURATION:

THE HEADLINES….

Monday’s Inauguration Schedule

Source: ABC News Radio, 1-21-13

Chris Dilts for the Presidential Inaugural Committee 2013

This is the schedule of Monday’s inauguration of President Obama on the West Front of the Capitol.  The approximate times, all ET, come from the Joint Congressional Committee on Inaugural Ceremonies:

11:09 a.m.: The president and his family are announced and seated on the inaugural platform, built by the Architect of the Capitol.  It holds some 1,600 people, including members of Congress, the Cabinet and the Supreme Court, the Joint Chiefs of Staff, former presidents Bill Clinton and Jimmy Carter and governors.

11:35 a.m.: Invocation by Myrlie Evers-Williams, the widow of slain civil rights organizer Medgar Evers, and the first woman and first non-clergy member to lead the pre-oath prayer.

11:46 a.m.: Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor administers the oath of office to Vice President Joe Biden.

11:55 a.m.: Chief Justice John Roberts administers the oath of office to Obama, who will use two Bibles: the one used by President Abraham Lincoln in 1861 (which Obama used four years ago); and a Bible that belonged to Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

Noon: Obama gives his second inaugural address.

12:26 p.m.: A poem by Richard Blanco, the first Hispanic inaugural poet.

12:30 p.m.: The Rev. Dr. Luis Leon delivers the benediction.

12:34 p.m.: Beyoncé sings the national anthem.

2:36 p.m.: After attending an inaugural luncheon in the Capitol, the Obamas and Bidens lead the inaugural parade down Pennsylvania Avenue from the Capitol to the White House.  The event will take several hours and include thousands of participants from across the country.

Inauguration 2013: The Official Schedule of President Barack Obama’s Second Inauguration

POLITICAL HEADLINES

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BARACK OBAMA — 57TH INAUGURATION:

THE HEADLINES….

SATURDAY, JANUARY 19

National Day of Service Summit on the National Mall
Location: The National Mall
Start Event: 9:30 AM ET

The First and Second families are issuing a call to action for all Americans to join together in service to honor the life and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. As part of the 57th Presidential Inauguration, the 2013 Presidential Inaugural Committee (PIC) is encouraging all Americans to participate in a National Day of Service on Saturday, January 1 – a tradition started by the Obamas at their first Inaugural four years ago.

As part of this Day of Service, the Inaugural Committee will host a Service Summit on the National Mall, and is planning service events in all 50 states. In addition to the Service Summit, on Saturday the President, Vice President, and their families will also participate in service events in Washington DC.

Kids’ Inaugural Concert
Location: Washington Convention Center
Start Time: 6:00 PM ET

First Lady Michelle Obama and Dr. Jill Biden will host the Kids’ Inaugural for America’s children and families as part of their ongoing commitment to military families. The concert continues a tradition they started in 2009 that builds on initiatives like Joining Forces by honoring and celebrating the service and sacrifice of our U.S. military as part of official Inaugural activities.

SUNDAY, JANUARY 20

Vice President Biden’s Official Swearing-In
Location: Naval Observatory
Start Time: 8:15 AM ET
[White House Press Pool only]

President Obama’s Official Swearing-In
Location: White House – Blue Room
Start Time: 11:55 AM ET
[White House Press Pool only]

Historically, Inaugural Ceremonies are not held on a Sunday because Courts and other public institutions are not open. This year, in accordance with the requirements of the United States Constitution, President Obama and Vice President Biden will officially be sworn-in on Sunday, January 20, 2013.

MONDAY, JANUARY 21

Ceremonial Swearing-In Ceremony
Location: Capitol Hill
Start Time: 11:30 AM ET

On Monday, the President and Vice President will be sworn in the traditional ceremonial swearing in ceremony at the U.S. Capitol that is open to the public. Note: Per tradition, the event is hosted by the Joint Congressional Committee on Inaugural Ceremonies and media credentials for this event are issued by the Senate Media Galleries.

Inaugural Parade
Location: Viewing stands and bleachers are lined along Pennsylvania Avenue
Estimated Start Time: 2:35 PM ET

President Obama, Vice President Biden, First Lady Michelle Obama, Second Lady Dr. Jill Biden will participate in the Inaugural Parade following the public swearing-in ceremony at the Capitol.  This year’s parade features participants, floats and vehicles representing more than 58 groups.

The Commander in Chief’s Inaugural Ball
Location: Washington Convention Center
Doors open: 6:00 PM

As he did at his first Inauguration in 2009, President Obama will host the Commander-in-Chief’s Ball to honor America’s brave service members and their families, a tradition started by President George W. Bush in 2005. Active duty and reserve military, Medal of Honor recipients, and wounded warriors and their spouses will attend. Troops from around the world will also be able to join the celebration virtually.

The Inaugural Ball

Location: Washington Convention Center – Halls A, B and C
Doors open: 6:30 PM

Location: Washington Convention Center – Halls D and E
Doors open: 7:00 PM

Americans across the country are invited to share in the celebration at The Inaugural Ball, a unified celebration for all Americans that will span every hall in the Walter E. Washington Convention Center.

TUESDAY, JANUARY 22

National Prayer Service
Location: Washington National Cathedral
Start Time: 10:30 AM ET

President Obama, Vice President Biden, and their spouses will attend a prayer service on Tuesday morning.

Inauguration 2013 January 20, 2013: A Guide to President Barack Obama’s Second Inauguration

POLITICAL HEADLINES

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BARACK OBAMA — 57TH INAUGURATION:

THE HEADLINES….

A Guide to Obama’s Second Inauguration

Source: NYT, 1-20-13

Although President Obama officially took the oath of office and started his second term on Sunday, the public festivities will be in full swing on Monday.

Though the ceremony is scheduled to begin at 11:30 a.m., prominent guests, including lawmakers, cabinet members and former presidents will begin arriving at 9 a.m. — fashionably late when compared to the 7 a.m. opening of security checkpoints on the mall….READ MORE

History Buzz January 18, 2013: From Carter to Obama: Covering Inaugural Addresses

HISTORY BUZZ: HISTORY NEWS RECAP

History Buzz

HISTORY BUZZ: HISTORY NEWS RECAP

From Carter to Obama: Covering Inaugural Addresses With the NewsHour

Source: PBS Newshour, 1-18-13

When it comes to inaugurals, the circumstances often outweigh the event. The weather is cold, the incoming presidents and their families all seem to have mastered the same genteel wave — famously employed by international royalty and pageant queens — and the speeches tend to be, well, less than exciting.

Of course, there are exceptions.

Looking back over the years, we can recall some of the better parades, the fashion and the balls (who can forget George H.W. Bush breaking it down with Lee Atwater in 1989?). But for us, it’s all about the speeches. And not all speeches are created, or delivered, equal. We look back at those speeches we covered and our reactions to them….READ MORE

History Buzz January 17, 2013: President Barack Obama’s Second Inaugural Address: Can Obama Speak to History?

HISTORY BUZZ: HISTORY NEWS RECAP

History Buzz

HISTORY BUZZ: HISTORY NEWS RECAP

Can Obama Speak to History?

Source: New Yorker, 1-17-13

packer-comment-inaugurals.jpgWhy are so few inaugural addresses memorable? This American-history junkie can immediately call to mind phrases from fewer than ten: Jefferson’s first (“We are all Republicans, we are all Federalists”); Lincoln’s first (“When again touched, as surely they will be, by the better angels of our nature”) and second (the entire speech glows transcendently); F.D.R.’s first (“The only thing we have to fear is fear itself”) and second (“I see one third of a nation ill-housed, ill-clad, ill-nourished”); Kennedy’s (“Ask not what your country can do for you…”); and Reagan’s first (“In this present crisis, government is not the solution to our problem; government is the problem”). I also remember George W. Bush’s second inaugural (“When you stand for your liberty, we will stand with you”), only because it made promises and claims that exploded in his face before he had left the podium.

I also remember five words from Obama’s first: “A new era of responsibility.” If his 2009 inaugural had a theme, that was it. And it was a good theme, coming at the depths of the recession, amid the ruins of an era of profligacy and “I want it now.” But I doubt that its signature phrase will enter the ages. Obama isn’t a phrasemaker….READ MORE

History Buzz January 18, 2013: President Barack Obama gets a second chance at Inaugural address for the ages

HISTORY BUZZ: HISTORY NEWS RECAP

History Buzz

HISTORY BUZZ: HISTORY NEWS RECAP

Obama gets a second chance at speech for the ages

Source: AP, 1-15-13

Sixteen presidents before Barack Obama got a second chance at giving an inaugural address for the ages. Most didn’t make much of it….

Indeed, expectations for inaugural eloquence are low these days, giving Obama some breathing room as he prepares for Monday.

“Most inaugural addresses are just pedestrian,” said Martin J. Medhurst, a professor of politics and rhetoric at Baylor University. Their function is ceremonial; they lack emotion and urgency.

After reading all 56 inaugural addresses to date, presidential historian Charles O. Jones found: “A lot of them, frankly, are highly forgettable.”

And second inaugurals? Even worse.

“Reality has set in,” Medhurst said. “You don’t have these grand visions for change you had when you were first coming into office.”…READ MORE

On This Day in History… January 20, 1961 50th Anniversary of John F. Kennedy’s Inauguration

ON THIS DAY IN HISTORY:

By Bonnie K. Goodman

Ms. Goodman is the Editor of History Musings. She has a BA in History & Art History & a Masters in Library and Information Studies from McGill University, and has done graduate work in history at Concordia University.

IN FOCUS: 5OTH ANNIVERSARY OF PRESIDENT JOHN F. KENNEDY’S INAUGURATION

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ON THIS DAY IN HISTORY….

On this day in history… January 20, 1961, John F. Kennedy was inaugurated the 35th president of the United States.

  • 50 years later, JFK’s words resonate: “And so, my fellow Americans, ask not what your country can do for you. Ask what you can do for your country . . .”
    It’s been 50 years since the phrase from President John F. Kennedy’s inaugural address first resonated from Capitol Hill and challenged Americans to take pride and be willing to sacrifice in making the world a better place. The fourth-shortest inaugural address delivered by a U.S. president, Kennedy’s 14-minute speech promoted public service and was a catalyst to programs such as the Peace Corps and NASA’s push to send astronauts to the moon… –  Boston Herald, 1-20-11

QUOTES

  • 50 Years Later, JFK’s Inaugural Address Continues to Resonate: On the 50th anniversary of his inauguration, watch an excerpt of John F. Kennedy’s famous speech on the steps of the Capitol that began his presidency on Jan. 20, 1961.:
    U.S. PRESIDENT JOHN F. KENNEDY: Let the word go forth from this time and place, to friend and foe alike, that the torch has been passed to a new generation of Americans, born in this century, tempered by war, disciplined by a hard and bitter peace, proud of our ancient heritage, and unwilling to witness or permit the slow undoing of those human rights to which this nation has always been committed, and to which we are committed today at home and around the world.
    (CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)
    JOHN F. KENNEDY: Let every nation know, whether it wishes us well or ill, that we shall pay any price, bear any burden, meet any hardship, support any friend, oppose any foe, to assure the survival and the success of liberty.
    (CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)
    JOHN F. KENNEDY: To those nations who would make themselves our adversary, we offer not a pledge, but a request: that both sides begin anew the quest for peace. Remembering on both sides that civility is not a sign of weakness, and sincerity is always subject to proof, let us never negotiate out of fear, but let us never fear to negotiate.
    (APPLAUSE)
    JOHN F. KENNEDY: Let both sides explore what problems unite us, instead of belaboring those problems which divide us.
    (APPLAUSE)
    JOHN F. KENNEDY: And if a beachhead of cooperation may push back the jungle of suspicion, let both sides join in creating a new endeavor, not a new balance of power, but a new world of law, where the strong are just and the weak secure and the peace preserved.
    Since this country was founded, each generation of Americans has been summoned to give testimony to its national loyalty. The graves of young Americans who answered the call to service surround the globe.
    Now the trumpet summons us again, not as a call to bear arms, though arms we need, not as a call to battle, though embattled we are, but a call to bear the burden of a long twilight struggle, year in and year out, rejoicing in hope, patient in tribulation, a struggle against the common enemies of man: tyranny, poverty, disease, and war itself.
    And, so, my fellow Americans, ask not what your country can do for you; ask what you can do for your country.
    (CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)
    JOHN F. KENNEDY: My fellow citizens of the world, ask not what America will do for you, but what, together, we can do for the freedom of man.
    (CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)
    JOHN F. KENNEDY: Finally, whether you are citizens of America or citizens of the world, ask of us here the same high standards of strength and sacrifice which we ask of you.
    With a good conscience our only sure reward, with history the final judge of our deeds, let us go forth to lead the land we love, asking his blessing and his help, but knowing that, here on Earth, God’s work must truly be our own.
    (CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)….
    Mp3 Download
  • President Barack Obama: “Because of his vision, more people prospered; more people served; our union was made more perfect. Because of that vision, I can stand here tonight as President of the United States.”
President Obama delivered remarks on the 50th anniversary of John F. Kennedy’s inauguration at the Kennedy Center in Washington.

HEADLINES

  • Kennedy’s Inauguration Still Captivates, 50 Years Later PBS Newshour, 1-20-11
  • Why Is JFK’s Legacy So Enduring? PBS Newshour, 1-20-11
  • 50 Years Later, Why Is America Still In Love With JFK?: On a frigid day, exactly 50 years ago, John F. Kennedy took office with the words, “Ask not what your country can do for you–ask what you can do for your country.” The world had high hopes for this dashing fellow from Boston — at just 43, the youngest president elected to office, and the only Catholic. While other presidents’ anniversaries come and go without fanfare, Kennedy will be honored this week with celebrations worthy of a king…. – MSNBC, 1-19-11
  • Robert Frost and J.F.K., Fifty Years Later: It was a bright and blustery day in Washington fifty years ago today for the inauguration of John F. Kennedy. An old newsreel reporting the day’s events notes that the city was recovering from a blizzard and that “battalions of snow fighters kept Pennsylvania Avenue clear for the swearing-in ceremony.” That earnest footage also communicates the enthusiasm that accompanied the event for many in the country. It was “the smoothest transition of power in history” from Eisenhower to Kennedy, the newsreader informs us. Nixon, recently defeated, even manages to smile brightly. Yet it was a new day, a new age: Kennedy was, at forty-three, then the youngest President and the first born in the twentieth century. (The past, though, had not been completely thrown off, judging by the top hats that Eisenhower and Kennedy wore to some of the festivities.)
    The anniversary marks Kennedy’s brief but era-defining inauguration address, but it also marks another coming together of custom and modernity, of the past and the future: the eighty-six-year-old Robert Frost reciting “The Gift Outright,” which ends with the lines: 

    Such as we were we gave ourselves outright
    (The deed of gift was many deeds of war)
    To the land vaguely realizing westward,
    But still unstoried, artless, unenhanced,
    Such as she was, such as she would become.

    New Yorker, 1-20-11

  • JFK: Great man, great liberal, great American, great goals, great nation: Today America celebrates the 50th anniversary of John F. Kennedy assuming the presidency with Kennedy remaining the most popular president of the last 50 years. Let’s end the mythology that America is moving to the right. In a Gallup poll released in December, Americans gave John F. Kennedy an approval rating of 85 percent, the highest of any of the nine presidents who have served in the last 50 years…. – The Hill, 1-20-11
  • 50 Years After the New Frontier Dawned, a Toast to Kennedy: On Thursday in the nation’s capital, the guest of honor was in effect President John F. Kennedy, who had been inaugurated 50 years earlier. And 15 members of Kennedy’s White House staff gathered for lunch at a restaurant with a view of the Capitol where he gave his famous speech, to celebrate the anniversary and reminisce…. – NYT, 1-20-11
  • Biden, others celebrate 50th anniversary of JFK’s inauguration: Vice President Biden led the celebration on Capitol Hill today for the 50th anniversary of President John F. Kennedy’s inaugural address in 1961. The celebration included remarks from Caroline Kennedy, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, Rep. John Lewis, House Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi, former secretary of Labor Elaine Chao and House Speaker John Boehner…. – USA Today, 1-20-11
Caroline Kennedy on Jan. 13, 2011, in Washington.
  • Congress pays tribute to 50th anniversary of JFK’s inaugural address: Congressional leaders today paused to pay tribute to President John F. Kennedy’s inaugural address that motivated a nation 50 years ago. In the rotunda of the US Capitol, congressional officials, aides, and Kennedy family members listened in silence to the 14-minute, 1,355-word speech that Kennedy delivered on a blustery day in 1961. Top congressional leaders – including Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, House Speaker John Boehner, and Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi – attended the event.
    “Sadly, this is the first congress to convene without a Kennedy since the Truman administration,” Boehner said, before looking over at the president’s daughter. “Caroline, there’s still time.”
    Vice President Joe Biden and Senator John Kerry, the Massachusetts Democrat, both delivered remarks. “It took President Kennedy just 1,355 words to summon a new generation and set in motion generations of service and sacrifice – to reignite the fires of idealism and patriotism in millions of Americans,” Kerry said…. – Boston Globe, 1-20-11
  • Obama celebrates JFK’s ‘unfinished life’: President Barack Obama on Thursday paid tribute to the “unfinished life” of John F. Kennedy and said his inauguration 50 years ago and his accompanying call for Americans to serve their country still “inspires us and lights our way.” “We are the heirs of this president, who showed us what is possible,” Obama said. “Because of his vision, more people prospered, more people served, our union was made more perfect. Because of that vision I can stand here tonight as president of the United States”.
    Obama confessed that “I don’t have my own memories of that day.” But, Obama said, “even now, one half-century later, there is something about that day, Jan. 20, 1961, that feels immediate, feels new and urgent and exciting, despite the graininess of the 16-millimeter news reels that recorded it for posterity.” He said Kennedy could have a chosen a different life, one of luxury, but that he opted instead for one of leadership and idealism, “soaring but sober that inspired the country and the world” five decades ago….
    “I can only imagine how he must have felt entering the Oval Office in turbulent times,” Obama said, as the audience applauded and laughed. He said Kennedy led a “volatile America, in this tinderbox of a world,” with a steady hand, “defusing the most perilous crisis since the Cold War without firing a single shot.” “He knew that we, as a people, can do big things. We can reach great heights. We can rise to any challenge, so long as we’re willing to ask what we can do for our country,” Obama said, recreating one of the more memorable lines from Kennedy’s inaugural address. – AP, 1-20-11
  • At the Kennedy Center, Gratitude to a President Fond of the Arts: President Obama and performing arts luminaries gathered at the Kennedy Center Thursday night to pay tribute to President John F. Kennedy on the 50th anniversary of his inauguration, with many paying homage to the inspiration they drew from the slain president. In his brief remarks, Mr. Obama characterized Mr. Kennedy as a visionary leader who made ardent strides in nuclear disarmament, civil rights, and space exploration in a “tinderbox of a land.”
    “Because of his vision, more people prospered; more people served; our union was made more perfect,” Mr. Obama said “Because of that vision, I can stand here tonight as President of the United States.”… – NYT, 1-20-11
  • Sen. Harry Reid: Honoring JFK’s legacy: The whole world watched with excitement and expectation in 1961 when Senator John and Jacqueline Kennedy moved into the White House with their young family. No one noticed when I first came to Washington the same year. I was a law student, a new father and to make ends meet, a Capitol Police Officer.
    At the end of those long days, I would often pass the White House on my way home. I can still vividly remember seeing Caroline’s pony, Macaroni, on the South Lawn.
    Fifty years later, it is a great privilege to be with Caroline – as well as the Vice President, Speaker Boehner, Leader Pelosi, Secretary Chao, and all of you – to remember the history and the hope of Caroline’s father’s presidency.
    We also remember and honor President Kennedy’s brother-in-law, Sargent Shriver, who led an exemplary life of public service, and who did so much for so many who had so little. We extend our condolences to his loved ones…. – The Hill, 1-20-11

HISTORICAL INTERPRETATION

  • Thurston Clarke: Passing the Torch to a New Generation 50 Years Ago a Young John F. Kennedy Took the Oath of Office, Changing the Presidency – and a Nation – Forever: “Not just the youngest elected but also the first Catholic,” notes historian Thurston Clarke. “And also elected by the slimmest vote, majority in the popular vote. And so that’s another reason that he had to give a speech for the ages. A speech that would unite the country.”…
    “You had all of the celebrities in Washington,” said Clarke. “You had a feeling that this was a gathering of the best and the brightest in the country.”…
    “I think you would find that John Kennedy contributed most of the passages and the famous words that we remember: ‘The torch has been passed to a new generation.’ The “Ask not’ line. ‘Bear any burden.’ All of those were Kennedy. He had a Sorenson draft in front of him. On January 10th he flew to Palm Beach, he looked at the draft, and he dictated his changes and his additions to the draft.”…
    “People remember this as a kind of Cold War speech because of ‘We’ll pay any price, bear any burden,'” said Clarke. “But most of the rest of the speech was about peace and about negotiations and about the threat of nuclear war.”…
    “When Kennedy said, ‘Ask not,’ people knew that this was a man who’d been decorated in World War II,” said Clarke. “Who’d almost lost his life trying to save the surviving crew members of PT-109. So it wasn’t Where does he get off saying ‘Ask not’? He had the credentials to make this claim on people.”…
    “I think what we do – what John Kennedy did – is we compartmentalize things,” said Clarke. “There was so much that was accomplished, that was on its way to being accomplished. We put this in one compartment. And then we have the other compartment, is this terribly reckless sexual life.”…
    “I think it’s what we thought could have happened,” said Clarke, “because in the last 100 days of his life he was suddenly beginning to have the courage to do the things that were going to make him a great president. And one was the civil rights bill and the other was the test ban treaty.
    “But the beginning of his presidency – and what turned out to be the end of his presidency – were both times when the American people hoped that … this president was going to solve their problems, and was going to become what he hoped to be, which was a great president.”… – CBS News, 1-16-11
  • E.J. DIONNE JR.: JFK’s words: The torch still burns: It’s remembered as a day chilled by “a Siberian wind knifing down Pennsylvania Avenue” and illuminated by “the dazzling combination of bright sunshine and deep snow.” On Jan. 20, 1961, John F. Kennedy began his presidency with a speech at once soaring and solemn. Fifty years on, we have not heard an inaugural address like it. Tethered to its time and place, it still challenges with its ambition to harness realism to idealism, patriotism to service, national interest to universal aspiration…. – WaPo, 1-20-11
  • John F. Kennedy inaugural address: How good was it?: The John F. Kennedy inaugural address was 50 years ago to the day – on Jan. 20, 1961. It remains an iconic American speech and is the subject of Google’s Thursday home-page doodle. Google’s logo is drawn using words that Mr. Kennedy used on that historic day.
    How good was Kennedy’s inaugural address? Very. Historians generally rank it as one of the four best US presidential inaugural speeches of all time. William Safire, former New York Times columnist and Nixon speechwriter, included it in a volume he compiled of the greatest speeches delivered in history, writing that it “set the standard by which presidential inaugurals have been judged in the modern era.”… – CS Monitor, 1-20-11
  • JFK and Obama: Their Similarities and Differences: History shows that despite their differences in ideology, most U.S. presidents have qualities in common with their predecessors. On this fiftieth anniversary of the Inauguration of John F. Kennedy, President Obama is marking the midpoint of his four-year term in office. The comparisons are inevitable as Mr. Obama begins the third year of his presidency, a year in office that Kennedy left unfinished… – CBS News, 1-20-11

Full Text Inauguration 2009 January 20, 2009: President Barack Obama’s First Inaugural Address Transcript

POLITICAL BUZZ

OBAMA PRESIDENCY & THE 112TH CONGRESS:

President Barack Hussein Obama Inaugural Address

My fellow citizens, I stand here today humbled by the task before us, grateful for the trust you have bestowed, mindful of the sacrifices borne by our ancestors. I thank President Bush for his service to our Nation, as well as the generosity and cooperation he has shown throughout this transition.

Forty-four Americans have now taken the Presidential oath. The words have been spoken during rising tides of prosperity and the still waters of peace. Yet every so often, the oath is taken amidst gathering clouds and raging storms. At these moments, America has carried on not simply because of the skill or vision of those in high office, but because we the people have remained faithful to the ideals of our forebears and true to our founding documents.

So it has been; so it must be with this generation of Americans.

That we are in the midst of crisis is now well understood. Our Nation is at war against a far-reaching network of violence and hatred. Our economy is badly weakened, a consequence of greed and irresponsibility on the part of some, but also our collective failure to make hard choices and prepare the Nation for a new age. Homes have been lost, jobs shed, businesses shuttered. Our health care is too costly. Our schools fail too many. And each day brings further evidence that the ways we use energy strengthen our adversaries and threaten our planet.

These are the indicators of crisis, subject to data and statistics. Less measurable but no less profound is a sapping of confidence across our land, a nagging fear that America’s decline is inevitable, that the next generation must lower its sights. Today I say to you that the challenges we face are real. They are serious, and they are many. They will not be met easily or in a short span of time. But know this, America: They will be met.

On this day, we gather because we have chosen hope over fear, unity of purpose over conflict and discord. On this day, we come to proclaim an end to the petty grievances and false promises, the recriminations and worn-out dogmas that for far too long have strangled our politics.

We remain a young nation, but in the words of Scripture, the time has come to set aside childish things. The time has come to reaffirm our enduring spirit, to choose our better history, to carry forward that precious gift, that noble idea passed on from generation to generation: the God-given promise that all are equal, all are free, and all deserve a chance to pursue their full measure of happiness.

In reaffirming the greatness of our Nation, we understand that greatness is never a given. It must be earned. Our journey has never been one of shortcuts or settling for less. It has not been the path for the fainthearted, for those who prefer leisure over work or seek only the pleasures of riches and fame. Rather, it has been the risk-takers, the doers, the makers of things–some celebrated, but more often men and women obscure in their labor–who have carried us up the long, rugged path toward prosperity and freedom.

For us, they packed up their few worldly possessions and traveled across oceans in search of a new life. For us, they toiled in sweatshops and settled the West, endured the lash of the whip, and plowed the hard Earth. For us, they fought and died in places like Concord and Gettysburg, Normandy and Khe Sanh.

Time and again, these men and women struggled and sacrificed and worked ’til their hands were raw so that we might live a better life. They saw America as bigger than the sum of our individual ambitions, greater than all the differences of birth or wealth or faction.

This is the journey we continue today. We remain the most prosperous, powerful nation on Earth. Our workers are no less productive than when this crisis began. Our minds are no less inventive. Our goods and services no less needed than they were last week or last month or last year. Our capacity remains undiminished. But our time of standing pat, of protecting narrow interests and putting off unpleasant decisions, that time has surely passed. Starting today, we must pick ourselves up, dust ourselves off, and begin again the work of remaking America.

For everywhere we look, there is work to be done. The state of the economy calls for action, bold and swift, and we will act not only to create new jobs but to lay a new foundation for growth. We will build the roads and bridges, the electric grids and digital lines that feed our commerce and bind us together. We will restore science to its rightful place and wield technology’s wonders to raise health care’s quality and lower its cost. We will harness the sun and the winds and the soil to fuel our cars and run our factories. And we will transform our schools and colleges and universities to meet the demands of a new age. All this we can do. All this we will do.

Now, there are some who question the scale of our ambitions, who suggest that our system cannot tolerate too many big plans. Their memories are short, for they have forgotten what this country has already done, what free men and women can achieve when imagination is joined to common purpose and necessity to courage.

What the cynics fail to understand is that the ground has shifted beneath them, that the stale political arguments that have consumed us for so long no longer apply. The question we ask today is not whether our Government is too big or too small, but whether it works; whether it helps families find jobs at a decent wage, care they can afford, a retirement that is dignified. Where the answer is yes, we intend to move forward. Where the answer is no, programs will end. And those of us who manage the public’s dollars will be held to account to spend wisely, reform bad habits, and do our business in the light of day, because only then can we restore the vital trust between a people and their government.

Nor is the question before us whether the market is a force for good or ill. Its power to generate wealth and expand freedom is unmatched. But this crisis has reminded us that without a watchful eye, the market can spin out of control. The Nation cannot prosper long when it favors only the prosperous. The success of our economy has always depended not just on the size of our gross domestic product, but on the reach of our prosperity, on our ability to extend opportunity to every willing heart, not out of charity, but because it is the surest route to our common good.

As for our common defense, we reject as false the choice between our safety and our ideals. Our Founding Fathers, faced with perils that we can scarcely imagine, drafted a charter to assure the rule of law and the rights of man, a charter expanded by the blood of generations. Those ideals still light the world, and we will not give them up for expedience’s sake. And so to all the other peoples and governments who are watching today, from the grandest capitals to the small village where my father was born, know that America is a friend of each nation and every man, woman, and child who seeks a future of peace and dignity, and we are ready to lead once more.

Recall that earlier generations faced down fascism and communism not just with missiles and tanks but with sturdy alliances and enduring convictions. They understood that our power alone cannot protect us, nor does it entitle us to do as we please. Instead, they knew that our power grows through its prudent use. Our security emanates from the justness of our cause, the force of our example, the tempering qualities of humility and restraint.

We are the keepers of this legacy. Guided by these principles once more, we can meet those new threats that demand even greater effort, even greater cooperation and understanding between nations. We will begin to responsibly leave Iraq to its people and forge a hard-earned peace in Afghanistan. With old friends and former foes, we will work tirelessly to lessen the nuclear threat and roll back the specter of a warming planet. We will not apologize for our way of life, nor will we waver in its defense. And for those who seek to advance their aims by inducing terror and slaughtering innocents, we say to you now that our spirit is stronger and cannot be broken. You cannot outlast us, and we will defeat you.

For we know that our patchwork heritage is a strength, not a weakness. We are a nation of Christians and Muslims, Jews and Hindus and nonbelievers. We are shaped by every language and culture, drawn from every end of this Earth. And because we have tasted the bitter swill of civil war and segregation and emerged from that dark chapter stronger and more united, we cannot help but believe that the old hatreds shall someday pass, that the lines of tribe shall soon dissolve; that as the world grows smaller, our common humanity shall reveal itself, and that America must play its role in ushering in a new era of peace.

To the Muslim world, we seek a new way forward based on mutual interest and mutual respect. To those leaders around the globe who seek to sow conflict or blame their society’s ills on the West, know that your people will judge you on what you can build, not what you destroy. To those who cling to power through corruption and deceit and the silencing of dissent, know that you are on the wrong side of history, but that we will extend a hand if you are willing to unclench your fist.

To the people of poor nations, we pledge to work alongside you to make your farms flourish and let clean waters flow, to nourish starved bodies and feed hungry minds. And to those nations like ours that enjoy relative plenty, we say we can no longer afford indifference to suffering outside our borders, nor can we consume the world’s resources without regard to effect, for the world has changed, and we must change with it.

As we consider the road that unfolds before us, we remember with humble gratitude those brave Americans who, at this very hour, patrol far-off deserts and distant mountains. They have something to tell us today, just as the fallen heroes who lie in Arlington whisper through the ages. We honor them not only because they are guardians of our liberty, but because they embody the spirit of service, a willingness to find meaning in something greater than themselves. And yet at this moment, a moment that will define a generation, it is precisely this spirit that must inhabit us all.

For as much as Government can do and must do, it is ultimately the faith and determination of the American people upon which this Nation relies. It is the kindness to take in a stranger when the levees break, the selflessness of workers who would rather cut their hours than see a friend lose their job, which sees us through our darkest hours. It is the firefighter’s courage to storm a stairway filled with smoke, but also a parent’s willingness to nurture a child, that finally decides our fate.

Our challenges may be new. The instruments with which we meet them may be new. But those values upon which our success depends–honesty and hard work, courage and fair play, tolerance and curiosity, loyalty and patriotism–these things are old. These things are true. They have been the quiet force of progress throughout our history. What is demanded then is a return to these truths. What is required of us now is a new era of responsibility, a recognition on the part of every American that we have duties to ourselves, our Nation, and the world. Duties that we do not grudgingly accept but, rather, seize gladly, firm in the knowledge that there is nothing so satisfying to the spirit, so defining of our character, than giving our all to a difficult task.

This is the price and the promise of citizenship. This is the source of our confidence, the knowledge that God calls on us to shape an uncertain destiny. This is the meaning of our liberty and our creed; why men and women and children of every race and every faith can join in celebration across this magnificent Mall, and why a man whose father less than 60 years ago might not have been served at a local restaurant can now stand before you to take a most sacred oath.

So let us mark this day with remembrance of who we are and how far we have traveled. In the year of America’s birth, in the coldest of months, a small band of patriots huddled by dying campfires on the shores of an icy river. The Capital was abandoned. The enemy was advancing. The snow was stained with blood. At a moment when the outcome of our Revolution was most in doubt, the Father of our Nation ordered these words be read to the people:

“Let it be told to the future world . . . that in the depth of winter, when nothing but hope and virtue could survive . . . that the city and the country, alarmed at one common danger, came forth to meet [it].”

America, in the face of our common dangers, in this winter of our hardship, let us remember these timeless words. With hope and virtue, let us brave once more the icy currents and endure what storms may come. Let it be said by our children’s children that when we were tested, we refused to let this journey end; that we did not turn back, nor did we falter. And with eyes fixed on the horizon and God’s grace upon us, we carried forth that great gift of freedom and delivered it safely to future generations.

Thank you. God bless you, and God bless the United States of America.

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