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January 21, 2013

Term II: U.S. must help poor, elderly, Obama says

(Continued)

WASHINGTON —

 
"Not only with the votes we cast, but with the voices we lift in defense of our most ancient values and enduring ideals," Obama said.
 
Moments earlier, Obama placed his hand on two Bibles — one used by the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. and the other by Abraham Lincoln — and recited the brief oath of office. Michelle Obama held the Bibles, one on top of the other, as daughters Malia and Sasha looked on.
 
Vice President Joe Biden was sworn in for his second term as the nation's second in command.
 
Monday's oaths were purely ceremonial. The Constitution stipulates that presidents begin their new terms at noon on Jan. 20, and in keeping with that requirement, Obama was sworn in Sunday in a small ceremony at the White House. Because inaugural celebrations are historically not held on Sundays, organizers pushed the public events to Monday, the same day the nation marked the late civil rights leader King's birthday.
 
Following his address, Obama headed into the Capitol for a lunch with lawmakers and to sign nominations for several Cabinet members. Then it was off for the traditional inaugural parade down Pennsylvania Avenue and two glitzy evening inaugural balls.
 
After a stunning sunrise, the weather for the swearing-in and parade was chilly — upper 30s rising into the lower 40s — and overcast.
 
Once the celebrations subside, Obama will be confronted with an array of pressing priorities: an economy still struggling to fully a recover, the fiscal fights with a divided Congress, and new threats of terrorism in North Africa. The president has also pledged to tackle immigration reform and stricter gun laws in the wake of the school shootings in Newtown, Conn., — sweeping domestic reforms that will require help from reluctant lawmakers.
 
Obama is also facing fresh concerns about terrorism in North Africa. In the midst of the inaugural celebrations, a U.S. official said two more Americans died in Algeria, bringing the U.S. death toll from a four-day siege at a natural gas plant to three. Seven Americans survived, the official said.

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