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President Obama Begins Second Term

Posted at: 01/21/2013 7:34 AM
Updated at: 01/21/2013 1:40 PM

WASHINGTON (AP) - President Barack Obama has begun his second term by declaring that the nation's "possibilities are limitless."
    
Speaking before a flag-waving crowd of hundreds of thousands on the National Mall, Obama said, "We are made for this moment, and we will seize it, so long as we seize it together."
    
In his second inaugural address, Obama didn't dwell on any first-term accomplishments, but instead looked to hard work ahead in a country still grappling with a sluggish economy. And he urged Washington to find common ground over his next four years.
    
Obama earlier placed his hand on two Bibles -- one that was used by Martin Luther King and the other used by Abraham Lincoln -- and recited the oath of office. Vice President Joe Biden was also sworn in for his second term.
    
ON THE DECADE OF WAR:

President Barack Obama says that a decade of war is now ending and an economic recovery has begun.
    
America's possibilities are limitless, the president said in his inaugural address. He said we will seize this moment if we seize it together.
    
Obama said that America can't succeed when only a few at the top do well and a growing many can barely make it. The country's prosperity must rest on a rising middle class, he said.
    
Obama spoke after taking the public oath of office Monday for his second term.
    
ON THE DEFICIT:    

President Barack Obama says the nation must make the "hard choices" to reduce the cost of health care and the size of the deficit.
    
But the president said every citizen deserves a basic measure of security and dignity, and he held up Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security as commitments that strengthen America.
    
Speaking in his inaugural address at the U.S. Capitol Monday, Obama said he rejected the belief that the country must choose between caring for the generation that built the country - or investing in the generation that will build the future.
    
Struggles with Republicans over reducing the deficit and paring back costly entitlement programs loom for Obama in his second term.
    
ON GUNS:
    
President Barack Obama is pointing to the recent deadly shootings in Newtown, Connecticut, as he says the nation's children must be protected from harm.
    
In an inaugural address in which he provided a broad outline of his goals for a second term, Obama said, "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."
    
Obama's second term promises a battle with Congress over the sweeping gun control measures the president outlined last week in response to the elementary school massacre in Connecticut.
    
ON PROTESTS/SECURITY:
 
Authorities in Washington are reporting no major problems with security or crowd control, before or during today's inauguration ceremony at the U.S. Capitol.
    
Police have been stationed in rail stations and on street corners. National Guard Humvees are blocking some intersections downtown. And spectators have shuffled through security checkpoints to be screened for prohibited items, including balloons and glass containers.
    
Flight restrictions are in place in the skies above Washington.
    
Even though the crowds this year haven't matched the record-breaking turnout of four years ago, there have been sporadic reports of slow-moving security lines. A checkpoint between Union Station and the U.S. Capitol came to a halt so a motorcade could pass and barriers could be repositioned. Stuck spectators vented on Twitter that the line didn't move for at least a half hour.
    
Still, many of those who were there four years ago said this year was a lot easier.
    
A smattering of protest groups occupied spots along the parade route -- but the demonstrations were largely directed at long-running national and international concerns, rather than policies specific to the Obama administration. A few dozen protesters with a social justice coalition gathered near the White House to honor Martin Luther King's legacy and call for jobs, not war.
    
ON CABINET NOMINATIONS:


President Barack Obama has signed documents officially submitting top administration nominations to the Senate.
    
In a traditional inauguration signing ceremony in the U.S. Capitol after he took the oath of office, Obama affirmed the nominations of John Brennan to be director of the CIA, former Sen. Chuck Hagel for secretary of defense, Sen. John Kerry to be secretary of state and Jack Lew for Treasury secretary.
    
Obama also signed a proclamation to commemorate the inauguration. The proclamation is entitled "National Day of Hope and Resolve, 2013."
    
President Ronald Reagan established the tradition of visiting the Capitol's President's Room after taking the oath to sign documents and pose for photographs.