Obama says 'America's possibilities are limitless'

Monday, January 21, 2013 | 11:38 a.m. CST; updated 12:08 p.m. CST, Monday, January 21, 2013
Thousands of people gathered in Washington, D.C., for the 57th Presidential Inauguration on Monday.

WASHINGTON — Asserting "America's possibilities are limitless," President Barack Obama declared on Monday that a decade of war is ending and the nation's economy is recovering as he launched into a second term before a flag-waving crowd of hundreds of thousands on the National Mall.

"My fellow Americans, we are made for this moment, and we will seize it, so long as we seize it together," Obama said, moments after taking the oath of office on a crisp day in the nation's capital.

The president didn't dwell on any first-term accomplishments but looked to hard work ahead in a country still grappling with a sluggish economy.

"We must make the hard choices to reduce the cost of health care and the size of our deficit," he said. 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."

Hundreds of thousands of people fanned out across the Mall, and millions more watched on television, as Obama took the oath of office to begin his second term.

Sandwiched between the bruising presidential campaign and looming fiscal fights, Monday's inaugural celebrations marked a brief respite from the partisan gridlock that has consumed the past two years.

Standing in front of the flag-bedecked Capitol, he implored Washington to find common ground over his next four years. And seeking to build on the public support that catapulted him to the White House twice, the president said the public has "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," Obama said.

Looking ahead to his second-term agenda, the president said the nation must "respond to the threat of climate change" and tackle the comprehensive immigration reform that has eluded Washington for years.

"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," he said.

Moments earlier, Obama placed his hand on two Bibles — one used by the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. and the other used 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 also 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 term at noon on Jan. 20, and in keeping with that requirement, Obama was sworn in Sunday in a small ceremony at the White House.

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Derrick Fogle January 21, 2013 | 7:45 p.m.

Obama has been inaugurated to a 2nd term. Obama 51.1%, to Romney's deeply ironic final tally of 47.2%.

I had every expectation Obama would continue his path of a muddling centrist, but his inauguration speech indicates he may be willing to go for a long shot or two in his 2nd term. I would accept that as good news.

The exciting part is that the President and I both share a firm belief in America: Yes, this can be done!

(Report Comment)
Jimmy Bearfield January 22, 2013 | 9:25 a.m.

"Yes, this can be done!"

Not when nearly half of the population isn't paying federal income taxes.

(Report Comment)
hank ottinger January 22, 2013 | 9:59 a.m.

Mr. Bearffield repeats the crusty canard about the 47% who pay no taxes, the assumption being, that these are low-income free riders. A study by the Tax Policy Center, however, provides a more nuanced view: the earned-income tax credit (under Ford's administration and expanded by President Reagan and the increased child credit write-off under G.W. Bush) contributed to the ranks of those who pay no federal tax. In fact, 78,000 people with incomes between 211K and 532K paid no federal tax, and 24,000 between 533K and 2.2 million dollars likewise paid no tax. And while we're at it, how many billions never get paid because of fraud, dodging, and the like?

(Report Comment)
Michael Williams January 22, 2013 | 10:49 a.m.

Hank: Yes, you provided a more nuanced view, but that view actually said little about the accuracy of JimmyB's statement. You chose 102,000 people (78000 + 24000) out of the entire United States (310M folks) that pay no-or-little taxes and use it to say JimmyB's comment is incorrect?

Fair enough. I'm going to agree with you.

Jimmy? You need to take these folks into account in your calculations and change your number to 46.934%.

There. Now it's not a crusty canard anymore, and we can all agree.

PS: I note a few sheriffs around the country are flipping the bird at the President's executive gun orders...if those sheriffs believe any particular order is unconstitutional. I thought this would happen, said so herein, and I believe this will escalate in certain red states and counties. On an individual level, noncompliance will be rampant and can only be dealt with punitively, but not up front.

What are ya gonna do? Roll in the tanks? Given their general conservativism and voting patterns and probable personal arms at home, a military and national guard and state police just might be inclined to flip that same bird.

Will be interesting, to be sure.....

(Report Comment)
Jimmy Bearfield January 22, 2013 | 11:02 a.m.

Hank, if you go into my profile and go through my old posts, you'll find a link to IRS data showing that 1) those who make less than $50K get the lion's share of government spending and 2) the vast majority of those who pay no federal income tax make less than $50K. And don't try to use the red herring of "Well, those people still pay FICA" because as Christopher Foote and others have posted numerous times, the payroll tax funds only about one-third of federal spending.

Sure, there are millionaires who pay no federal income tax. Ariana Huffington is one. But the vast majority of freeloaders don't make anywhere near six figures. How is that possible? Besides the EITC, there are a gazillion other loopholes, credits and deductions (e.g., mortgage, kids) that the middle and lower classes routinely take advantage of. In fact, many of those breaks aren't available to people who make more than $100K.

(Report Comment)
frank christian January 22, 2013 | 12:00 p.m.

I doubt Mr. Ottinger is reading either one of you. Too busy looking for another liberal "study" and wondering "where is Chris Foote, when one needs him?"

I asked Tax Policy Center if: "Tax cuts increase revenues for government" and got "No documents match the query."

(Report Comment)

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