President Obama will be sworn in for a second term with fanfare at noon Monday, but the official swearing in was Sunday. Obama's second inauguration is a smaller affair than four years ago. But hundreds of thousands of people have come to Washington, D.C. nonetheless.
A second term for Barack Obama, of course, always means four more years in the spotlight for his wife Michelle. The first lady's time in the White House has involved work focused on children and military families, as well as plenty of focus on her fashion, which was evidenced over the last few days with the reaction to her new hairdo, which included bangs.
President Obama is the third president in a row to face the challenges of a second term, on the heels of George W. Bush and Bill Clinton. The last time there were three in a row, their names were Jefferson, Madison and Monroe. In the modern era, second terms have become notorious for getting derailed.
To find out what history may teach President Obama about navigating the next four years, we reached presidential historian Michael Beschloss. Welcome.
One of the chief expectations of those who voted for President Obama is that he moves assertively to pass climate change legislation, whatever the political climate in Washington.
"We have a bipartisan common interest in moving away from fossil fuels towards clean energy," says Michael Brune, the executive director of the Sierra Club. "The sooner that members of both parties in Congress realize that and develop solutions, the better off we'll all be."
A recently-published menu for Abraham Lincoln's lavish second inaugural ball in 1865 provides an interesting look at how different the nation celebrated its new president just seven score and eight years ago.
Smoked tongue en geleé and blancmange (a firm custard) shared room on the buffet table with roast turkey and burnt almond ice cream.
As Yale food historian Paul Freedman told Smithsonian Magazine writer Megan Gambino, the cuisine could best be described as "French via England, with some American ingredients."
Originally published on Sun January 20, 2013 11:04 am
President Obama's second term officially begins Sunday: He took the oath of office in an intimate ceremony at the White House, fulfilling the constitutional requirement to take the oath before noon on Jan. 20.
NPR's Ari Shaprio reported on the swearing-in for our Newscast unit. Here's what he said:
"Family and a few close friends gathered in the Blue Room of the White House. The president placed his hand on a family Bible and recited the oath with Chief Justice John Roberts.
Originally published on Tue January 22, 2013 10:28 am
1) Why Monday?
Inaugural events are sprinkled over three days, with the most important one actually taking place out of the public eye on Sunday. That's when the official oath of office will be administered at the White House, on the date and time (noon on Jan. 20) specified by the Constitution. But because the 20th falls on a Sunday this year, the public festivities, including another oath taking, all happen Monday.
Originally published on Mon January 21, 2013 1:56 pm
Every president gets sworn in once, but it's a smaller club of presidents who manage to get there twice. Here's a look at some recent presidents who served two terms. See who changed the most (or the least) in four years.
Copyright 2013 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.
Host Rachel Martin speaks with NPR correspondents Ari Shapiro, Scott Horsley and Michele Kelemen about President Obama's likely second-term agenda, from handling debt and the deficit to gun control and next steps in the country's relationship with Iran.
Among the sentiments of love of country and national unity, presidential inaugurations also have a religious element. Host Rachel Martin talks with Stephen Prothero, professor of American religion at Boston University, about how the role of faith in inauguration ceremonies has changed over the years.
President Obama takes the oath of office for a second term on Sunday and Monday. By the time he is through Monday, he and President Franklin D. Roosevelt will be the only two presidents to have taken the presidential oath four times — Roosevelt because he was elected four times, and Obama because he will have taken the oath twice the first time and twice the second.
Obama took the oath twice in 2009 because he and Chief Justice John Roberts messed it up a bit the first time and redid it a second time in private to quell any questions about Obama being president.
Originally published on Tue January 22, 2013 9:19 am
Editor's note: NPR's Corey Dade recently traveled to New York to interview the Rev. Al Sharpton about the unusual arc of his checkered career, from pugnacious street fighter for racial justice to savvy insider with ties to CEOs, a successful television show and the the ear of a soon-to-be second-term president.
Every four years, we elect a president. And every term, the president is joined in the White House by his Cabinet and staff — and followed by a press pool intent on documenting the presidency. For those photographers, portraying the true personality and actions of a leader so protected can be difficult.
In 1921, a group was formed to help make access easier. The White House News Photographers Association (WHNPA) was started by 17 camera and motion-picture photographers who covered the daily activities of the White House.
The presidential inauguration is a solemn and important occasion, of course, steeped in history and pomp. But it's also a time for parades and balls — and, sometimes, a bit of tomfoolery. As we prepare for President Obama's second inauguration on Monday, a look back at a few funny and unusual moments:
Like everyone else in Washington, D.C., right now, we're gearing up for the long inaugural weekend, bracing ourselves for various events and balls around town that can be thrilling, patriotic, touristy and traffic-jamming, all at the same time.
As we prepare for President Obama's second inauguration on Monday, we've been looking back through our coverage of inaugurations past. (And it's reminded us that a lot has changed, even from just four years ago.) Along the way, we ran across a few memorable features that we thought worth revisiting.
President Obama says he's willing to use "whatever power his office holds" to stop gun violence, but the fate of many of his White House proposals will rest in no small part with one man: the chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee.
Host Scott Simon talks with NPR's Mara Liasson about whether the Obama administration and Congressional Republicans can find some common ground and overcome the political gridlock that characterized much of the president's first term.
A presidential inauguration is an event defined by huge, sweeping optics: the National Mall full of cheering Americans; a grandiose platform in front of the Capitol building; the parade down Pennsylvania Avenue. And the centerpiece: a speech.
On Monday, President Obama will give his second inaugural address — and he faces a challenge in crafting a speech for this moment.
In a move that could head off another bruising battle over increasing the nation's debt ceiling, GOP leaders in the House plan to approve a three-month increase in the nation's borrowing authority next week, NPR's S.V. Date reports.
But, he tells our Newscast Desk, Republicans want to tie a longer-term increase to the passage of a budget that cuts spending.
His report continues:
"The plan comes from Majority Leader Eric Cantor as House Republicans wrap up a retreat in Southern Virginia.
Former New Orleans mayor Ray Nagin has been indicted on 21 counts of bribery and other corruption charges by a federal grand jury. When he became the city's mayor in 2002, Nagin, a former cable TV executive, promised to revive New Orleans' economy, and its trust in the city's government.
We are hoping your best dress is ready and your tux is pressed because President Barack Obama will be sworn in for a second term on Monday. But even if you don't plan to attend any of the events, you can dress up and watch at home.
And here to get us ready is Kenneth C. Davis. He is the author of the best-selling "'Don't Know Much About" series of books. His latest is "Don't Know Much About the American Presidents." And he's with us now.
Originally published on Sat January 19, 2013 4:29 am
May the eagles of democracy soar above the covenant that binds our great nation in an era of new beginning ... or something.
Have you ever watched an inaugural address and wondered: How DO those guys (because they're always guys) do it? Well, we've prepared this handy guide so you, too, can give a speech like the chief executive.
Our instructions are based on a century of recorded footage. William McKinley's address was the first to be recorded by a "motion picture camera" (in 1897). Calvin Coolidge was the first to be broadcast over the radio (in 1925).