Originally Posted Online: Jan. 21, 2013, 10:04 am
Last Updated: Jan. 21, 2013, 10:36 pm

Obama tells country, 'possibilities are limitless'

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Photo: Todd Mizener
Augustana College associate professor Michael Zemek and his daughters Karenna and Annika sit in Carlsson Evald Great Hall watching President Barack Obama's inauguration in Washington, Monday, Jan. 21, 2013. Mr. Zemek and his daughters joined about 30 people to watch the ceremony. "They (his daughters) got to participate in what it means to be an American by watching this event and we got to do it together, which is cool," Mr. Zemek.
More photos from this shoot
Photo: Todd Mizener
Augustana College professor of music John Hildreth watches President Barack Obama's speech while seated in the college's Carlsson Evald Great Hall, Monday, Jan. 21, 2013. Prof. Hildreth was among about 25 students and faculty who gathered to watch the ceremonial swearing-in of President Obama during the 57th Presidential Inauguration in Washington. "I think he recognized the challenges ahead. And we the people have to do it together and we need to stop all of this division, all of the name calling and the obstruction and all of the other things that have made the task even more difficult," said prof. Hildreth. 'I think he (President Obama) was hoping to over come that and bring people along to understand that we are all in this together.'
Photo: Associated Press
President Barack Obama speaks at his ceremonial swearing-in at the U.S. Capitol during the 57th Presidential Inauguration in Washington, Monday, Jan. 21, 2013.
Photo: Associated Press
President Barack Obama is sworn by Chief Justice John Roberts at the ceremonial swearing-in at the U.S. Capitol during the 57th Presidential Inauguration in Washington, Monday, Jan. 21, 2013.
Photo: Associated Press
President Barack Obama, with daughter Sasha, waves as they leave St. John's Church in Washington, Monday, Jan. 21, 2013, followed by first lady Michelle Obama, talking with Rev. Luis Leon, after attending a church service during the 57th Presidential Inauguration.

WASHINGTON (AP) — 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 oats 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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