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Barack Obama, Joe Biden, are Sworn in to Office

Aired January 21, 2013 - 11:30   ET



SEN. CHARLES E. SCHUMER, D-N.Y.: Now, our present times are not as perilous or as despairing as they were in 1863, but in 2013 far too many doubt the future of this great nation, and our ability to tackle our own era's half finished domes. Today's problems are intractable they say. The times are so complex, the differences in the country and the world so deep, we will never overcome them.

When thoughts like these produce anxiety, fear and even despair, we do well to remember that Americans have always been and still are a practical, optimistic, problem-solving people, and that as our history shows, no matter how steep the climb, how difficult the problems, how half finished that tasks, America always rises to the occasion, America prevails and America prospers.


And those who bet against this country have inevitably been on the wrong side of history.

So it is a good moment to gaze upward and behold the statue of freedom at the top of the Capitol dome. It is a good moment to gain strengths and courage and humility from those who were determined to complete the half-finished dome. It is a good moment to rejoice today at this 57th presidential inaugural ceremony. And it is the perfect moment to renew our collective faiths (ph) in the future of America.


Thank you. And God bless these United States.

In that spirit of faith (ph) I would now like to introduce civil rights leader Myrlie Evers, who has committed her life to extending the promise of our nation's founding principles to all Americans.

Mrs. Evers will lead us in the invocation.


MYRLIE EVERS-WILLIAMS, CIVIL RIGHTS ACTIVIST: America, we are here, our nation's capital, on this day, January the 21st, 2013, the inauguration of our 45th president, Barack Obama. We come at this time to ask blessings upon our leaders, the president, vice president, members of Congress, all elected and appointed officials of the United States of America. We are here to ask blessings upon our armed forces, blessings upon all who contribute to the essence of the American spirit, the American dream, the opportunity to become whatever our mankind, womankind allows us to be. This is the promise of America. As we sing the words of belief, "This Is My Country," let us act upon the meaning that everyone is included. May the inherent dignity and inalienable rights of every woman, man, boy and girl be honored. May all your people, especially the least of these, flourish in our blessed nation.

EVERS-WILLIAMS: One hundred-fifty years after the Emancipation Proclamation and 50 years after the March on Washington, we celebrate the spirit of our ancestors, which has allowed us to move from a nation of unborn hopes and a history of disenfranchised votes, to today's expression of a more perfect union. We ask, too, Almighty, that where our paths seem blanketed (ph) by throngs (ph) of oppression and riddled by pangs of despair, we ask for your guidance toward the light of deliverance and that the vision of those who came before us and dreamed of this day, that we recognize that their visions still inspire us. They are a great cloud of witnesses unseen by the naked eye, but all around us, thankful that their living was not in vain. For every mountain, you gave us the strength to climb. Your brace (ph) is pleaded to continue that climb for America and the world. We now stand beneath the shadow of the nation's Capitol, whose golden dome reflects the unity and democracy of one nation, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.

EVERS-WILLIAMS: Approximately four miles from where we are assembled, the hallowed remains of men and women rest in Arlington Cemetery, they who believed, fought and died for this country. May their spirit infuse our being to work together with respect, enabling us to continue to build this nation, and in so doing we send a message to the world that we are strong, fierce in our strength, and ever vigilant in our pursuit of freedom. We ask that you grant our president the will to act courageously, but cautiously when confronted with danger, and to act prudently, but deliberately when challenged by adversity. Please continue to bless his efforts to lead by example in consideration and favor of the diversity of our people. Bless our families all across this nation. We thank you for this opportunity of prayer to strengthen us for the journey through the days that lie ahead. We invoke the prayers of our grandmothers, who taught us to pray.

EVERS-WILLIAMS: God, make me a blessing. Let their spirit guide us as we claim the spirit of old. There's something within me that holds the reins. There's something within me that banishes pain. There's something within me I cannot explain. But all I know, America, there is something within-there is something within. In Jesus name, in the name of all who are holy and right, we pray. Amen. (APPLAUSE)

SCHUMER: I am pleased to introduce the award-winning Tabernacle Choir, the Brooklyn Tabernacle Choir to sing "Battle Hymn of the Republic." (MUSIC)


SCHUMER: Please join me in welcoming my colleague and my friend, the Senator from Tennessee, the Honorable Lamar Alexander. (APPLAUSE) SEN. LAMAR ALEXANDER, R-TENN: Mr. President, Mr. Vice President, ladies and gentlemen, the late Alex Haley, the author of "Roots," lived his life by these six words: Find the good and praise it.

Today we praise the American tradition of transferring, or reaffirming immense power in the inauguration of the President of the United States. We do this in a peaceful, orderly way. There is no mob. No coup. No insurrection. This is a moment when millions stop and watch. A moment most of us always will remember.

It is a moment that is our most conspicuous and enduring symbol of the American Democracy. How remarkable that this has survived for so long in such a complex country when so much power is at stake. This freedom to vote for our leaders, and the restraint to respect the results.

Last year, at Mount Vernon, a tour guide told me that our first president, George Washington, once posed this question, "What is most important," Washington ask (sic), "of this grand experiment, the United States?" And then Washington answered his own question in this way, "Not the election of the first president, but the election of its second president. The peaceful transfer of power is what will separate our country from every other country in the world."

So today we celebrate the 57th inauguration of the American president. Find the good and praise it. Now, it is my honor... (APPLAUSE) It is my honor to introduce the associate justice of the Supreme Court, Sonia Sotomayor, for the purpose of administering the oath of office to the vice president. Will everyone please stand? (APPLAUSE)

SONIA SOTOMAYOR, ASSOCIATE JUSTICE, U.S. SUPREME COURT: Thank you. Mr. Vice President, please raise your right hand and repeat after me.

I, Joseph R. Biden Jr., do solemnly swear...

BIDEN: I, Joseph R. Biden Jr., do solemnly swear...

SOTOMAYOR: ... that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States...

BIDEN: ... that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States...

SOTOMAYOR: ... against all enemies, foreign and domestic...

BIDEN: ... against all enemies, foreign and domestic...

SOTOMAYOR: ... that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same...

BIDEN: ... that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same...

SOTOMAYOR: ... that I take this obligation freely...

BIDEN: ... that I take this obligation freely...

SOTOMAYOR: ... without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion...

BIDEN: ... without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion...

SOTOMAYOR: ... and that I will well and faithfully discharge...

BIDEN: ... and that I will well and faithfully discharge...

SOTOMAYOR: ... the duties of the office on which I am about to enter...

BIDEN: ... the duties of the office upon which I'm about to enter...

SOTOMAYOR: ... so help me, God.

BIDEN: ... so help me, God.

SOTOMAYOR: Congratulations.



SCHUMER: It is my pleasure to introduce renowned musical artist, James Taylor.



SCHUMER: It is my honor to present the Chief Justice of the United States, John G. Roberts Jr., who will administer the presidential oath of office.

Everyone please rise.


JOHN G. ROBERTS JR., CHIEF JUSTICE OF THE UNITED STATES ROBERTS: Please raise your right hand and repeat after me. I, Barack Hussein Obama, do solemnly swear...

BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I, Barack Hussein Obama, do solemnly swear...

ROBERTS: ... that I will faithfully execute...

OBAMA: ... that I will faithfully execute...

ROBERTS: ... the office of president of the United States...

OBAMA: ... the office of president of the United States...

ROBERTS: ... and will, to the best of my ability...

OBAMA: ... and will, to the best of my ability...

ROBERTS: ... preserve, protect and defend...

OBAMA: ... preserve, protect and defend...

ROBERTS: ... the Constitution of the United States.

OBAMA: ... the Constitution of the United States.

ROBERTS: So help you God?

OBAMA: So help me God.

ROBERTS: Congratulations, Mr. President. Well done.




SCHUMER: Ladies and gentlemen. It is my great privilege and distinct honor to introduce the 44th President of the United States of America, Barack H. Obama.


BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Thank you. Thank you. Thank you so much. 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 America 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. (APPLAUSE) That they are endowed by their creator with certain unalienable rights, and 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've 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. And for more than 200 years we have. Through blood drawn by lash, and blood drawn by sword, we noted 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 resolve 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 societies 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.

For 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 (ph) our resolve and proved our resilience. A decade of war is now ending.


And 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, of 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. (APPLAUSE) For we, the people, understand that our country cannot succeed when a shrinking few do very well and a growing many barely make it.

(APPLAUSE) 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 will 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 (ph) programs are inadequate to the needs of our time.