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Obama: 'America's possibilities are limitless'

 FILE - In this combination of file photos, the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. speaks at a peace rally in New York on April 15, 1967, left, and President...
 Vice President Joe Biden shakes hands with US Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor after taking the oath of office during the 57th Presidential Inau...
 Vice President Joseph Biden, Jr. takes the oath of office, administered by Associate Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor in the residence of the Vi...
 President Barack Obama is officially sworn-in by Chief Justice John Roberts in the Blue Room of the White House during the 57th Presidential Inaugura...
 President Barack Obama is officially sworn-in by Chief Justice John Roberts in the Blue Room of the White House during the 57th Presidential Inaugura...
 President Barack Obama embraces daughter Malia as first lady Michelle Obama and daughter Sasha, right,  and Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts,...
 President Barack Obama is officially sworn-in by Chief Justice John Roberts in the Blue Room of the White House during the 57th Presidential Inaugura...
 Chief Justice John Roberts arrives in the Blue Room of the White House during the 57th Presidential Inauguration in Washington, Sunday, Jan. 20, 2013...
 Vice President Joe Biden, left, places his hand on the Biden Family Bible held by his wife Jill Biden, center, as he takes the oath of office from Su...
 President Barack Obama is officially sworn-in by Chief Justice John Roberts, not pictured, in the Blue Room of the White House during the 57th Presid...
 President Barack Obama waves after being officially sworn-in by Chief Justice John Roberts in the Blue Room of the White House during the 57th Presid...
 President Barack Obama gets a kiss from first lady Michelle Obama as daughter Malia watches after Obama was officially sworn-in by Chief Justice John...
 President Barack Obama and first lady Michelle Obama arrive to speak to supporters and donors at an inaugural reception for the 57th Presidential Ina...
 President Barack Obama kisses first lady Michelle Obama as they speak to supporters and donors at an inaugural reception for the 57th Presidential In...
 President Barack Obama and first lady Michelle Obama, Vice President Joe Biden and Jill Biden, speak to supporters and donors at an inaugural recepti...
 President Barack Obama and first lady Michelle Obama speak to supporters and donors at an inaugural reception for the 57th Presidential Inauguration ...
 President Barack Obama and first lady Michelle Obama greet Vice President Joe Biden and Jill Biden before they speak to supporters and donors at an i...
 Vice President Joe Biden hugs his wife Jill Biden after taking the oath of office during and official ceremony at the Naval Observatory, Sunday, Jan....
 President Barack Obama pauses after placing a wreath at Arlington Cemetery in Arlington, Va., Sunday, Jan. 20, 2013.  (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)
 President Barack Obama smiles as he arrives at St. John's Church in Washington, Monday, Jan. 21, 2013, for a church service during the 57th President...
 President Barack Obama, accompanied by his daughters Sasha and Malia, first lady Michelle Obama and mother-in-law Marian Robinson, waves as they arri...
 A ceremonial Coast Guard honor guard stands in front of the U.S. Capitol before the ceremonial swearing-in of President Barack Obama during the 57th ...
 President Barack Obama supporters wave American flags on the National Mall in Washington, Monday, Jan. 21,  2013, prior to the start of President Bar...
 Flanked by Sen. Charles Schumer, D-N.Y., President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden arrive at the ceremonial swearing-in at the U.S. Capitol...
 President Barack Obama and first lady Michelle Obama react as they watch their daughters as the first family arrives at St. John's Church in Washingt...
 President Barack Obama, followed by Sen. Charles Schumer, D-N.Y., chairman of the Joint Congressional Committee on Inaugural Ceremonies, arrives on t...
 President Barack Obama arrives on the West Front of the Capitol in Washington, Monday, Jan. 21, 2013, for the Presidential Barack Obama's ceremonial ...

King Holiday Inauguration

FILE - In this combination of file photos, the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. speaks at a peace rally in New York on April 15, 1967, left, and President...

Inaugural Swearing In Biden

Vice President Joe Biden shakes hands with US Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor after taking the oath of office during the 57th Presidential Inau...

Inaugural Swearing In Biden

Vice President Joseph Biden, Jr. takes the oath of office, administered by Associate Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor in the residence of the Vi...

APTOPIX Inaugural Swearing In Obama

President Barack Obama is officially sworn-in by Chief Justice John Roberts in the Blue Room of the White House during the 57th Presidential Inaugura...

Inaugural Swearing In Obama

President Barack Obama is officially sworn-in by Chief Justice John Roberts in the Blue Room of the White House during the 57th Presidential Inaugura...

Inaugural Swearing In Obama

President Barack Obama embraces daughter Malia as first lady Michelle Obama and daughter Sasha, right, and Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts,...

Inaugural Swearing In Obama

President Barack Obama is officially sworn-in by Chief Justice John Roberts in the Blue Room of the White House during the 57th Presidential Inaugura...

Inaugural Swearing In Obama

Chief Justice John Roberts arrives in the Blue Room of the White House during the 57th Presidential Inauguration in Washington, Sunday, Jan. 20, 2013...

APTOPIX Inaugural Swearing In Biden

Vice President Joe Biden, left, places his hand on the Biden Family Bible held by his wife Jill Biden, center, as he takes the oath of office from Su...

Inaugural Swearing In Obama

President Barack Obama is officially sworn-in by Chief Justice John Roberts, not pictured, in the Blue Room of the White House during the 57th Presid...

Inaugural Swearing In Obama

President Barack Obama waves after being officially sworn-in by Chief Justice John Roberts in the Blue Room of the White House during the 57th Presid...

Inaugural Swearing In Obama

President Barack Obama gets a kiss from first lady Michelle Obama as daughter Malia watches after Obama was officially sworn-in by Chief Justice John...

Inaugural Obama

President Barack Obama and first lady Michelle Obama arrive to speak to supporters and donors at an inaugural reception for the 57th Presidential Ina...

Inaugural Obama

President Barack Obama kisses first lady Michelle Obama as they speak to supporters and donors at an inaugural reception for the 57th Presidential In...

Inaugural Obama

President Barack Obama and first lady Michelle Obama, Vice President Joe Biden and Jill Biden, speak to supporters and donors at an inaugural recepti...

Inaugural Obama

President Barack Obama and first lady Michelle Obama speak to supporters and donors at an inaugural reception for the 57th Presidential Inauguration ...

Inaugural Obama

President Barack Obama and first lady Michelle Obama greet Vice President Joe Biden and Jill Biden before they speak to supporters and donors at an i...

Inaugural Swearing In Biden

Vice President Joe Biden hugs his wife Jill Biden after taking the oath of office during and official ceremony at the Naval Observatory, Sunday, Jan....

Inaugural Obama Arlington

President Barack Obama pauses after placing a wreath at Arlington Cemetery in Arlington, Va., Sunday, Jan. 20, 2013. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)

Inaugural Obama

President Barack Obama smiles as he arrives at St. John's Church in Washington, Monday, Jan. 21, 2013, for a church service during the 57th President...

Inaugural Obama

President Barack Obama, accompanied by his daughters Sasha and Malia, first lady Michelle Obama and mother-in-law Marian Robinson, waves as they arri...

Inaugural Swearing In

A ceremonial Coast Guard honor guard stands in front of the U.S. Capitol before the ceremonial swearing-in of President Barack Obama during the 57th ...

Inaugural National Mall

President Barack Obama supporters wave American flags on the National Mall in Washington, Monday, Jan. 21, 2013, prior to the start of President Bar...

Inaugural Swearing In

Flanked by Sen. Charles Schumer, D-N.Y., President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden arrive at the ceremonial swearing-in at the U.S. Capitol...

Inaugural Obama

President Barack Obama and first lady Michelle Obama react as they watch their daughters as the first family arrives at St. John's Church in Washingt...

Inaugural Obama

President Barack Obama, followed by Sen. Charles Schumer, D-N.Y., chairman of the Joint Congressional Committee on Inaugural Ceremonies, arrives on t...

Inaugural Obama

President Barack Obama arrives on the West Front of the Capitol in Washington, Monday, Jan. 21, 2013, for the Presidential Barack Obama's ceremonial ...

President Barack Obama declared on Monday that a decade of war was ending, the nation's economy was recovering and "America's possibilities are limitless" as he launched into a second term before a flag-waving crowd of hundreds of thousands.
Laying out a massive program for his coming four years, the president used his inaugural address to urge the country to join him in tackling a vast array of problems, from slowing climate change to honoring the dignity of men, women and children around the globe.
"My fellow Americans, we are made for this moment, and we will seize it, so long as we seize it together," Obama said. He also marked a new direction in foreign policy as the U.S. prepares to pull troops from Afghanistan, ending the country's longest war.
"We, the people, still believe that enduring security and lasting peace do not require perpetual war," the president said outside the Capitol, looking out across a huge crowd of people jammed should to shoulder on the National Mall below.
Obama's address touched on the broad gifts that bring the country together, and it pointed to the work ahead, "the realities of our time."
He said the country must make hard choices to reduce the massive 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," he said.
While he was officially sworn in Sunday, as required by law, the glitter of Inauguration Day _ the parade down Pennsylvania Avenue toward the White House, the night of balls, the ceremonial beginning of a new four-year presidential term _ still enlivened staid Washington. The celebration was pushed to Monday because Jan. 20 fell on a Sunday this year. That placed the grand ceremony on the U.S. holiday marking the birthday of revered civil rights leader Martin Luther King.
Obama, the politician who rose improbably from a history as a community organizer in Chicago and a professor of constitutional law to the pinnacle of power, faces a nation riven by partisan disunity, a still-weak economy and an array of challenges abroad.
The president also faces a less charmed standing on the world stage, where expectations for him had been so high four years ago that he was given the Nobel Peace Prize just months into his presidency. "Only very rarely has a person to the same extent as Obama captured the world's attention and given its people hope for a better future," the Nobel announcement in 2009 read.
Monday's events had less of the effervescence of four years ago, when the 1.8 million people packed into central Washington knew they were witnessing history. Obama is now older, grayer and more entrenched in the politics he once tried rise above. Officials said crowds were about half what they were four years ago.
As he enters his second term, Americans increasingly see Obama as a strong leader, someone who stands up for his beliefs and is able to get things done, according to a survey by the Pew Research Center for the People & the Press. The survey shows him with a 52 percent job approval rating, among the highest rankings since early in his presidency. His personal favorability, 59 percent, has rebounded from a low of 50 percent in the 2012 campaign against Republican Mitt Romney.
When the partying is done on Monday, it's back to business for a president who is leading a nation that is, perhaps, as divided as at any time since the Civil War 150 years ago. That conflict put down a rebellion by southern states and ended slavery.
In light of the nation's troubled racial history, Obama's election to the White House in 2008 as the first black president was seen by many as a turning point. In his first inaugural address, Obama vowed to moderate the partisan anger engulfing the country, but the nation is only more divided four years on.
Obama guided the country through many crushing challenges after taking office in 2009: ending the Iraq war, putting the Afghan war on a course toward U.S. withdrawal and saving the collapsing economy. He won approval for a sweeping health care overhaul.
Yet onerous problems remain, and his success in resolving them will define his place in history.


Updated : 2020-12-05 18:58 GMT+08:00