Oath-taking puts partisan duels on pause
By TOM RAUM
President Barack Obama took the ceremonial oath of office for four more years on a chilly day under overcast skies.
But temperatures will surely rise again soon once clashes over his second-term agenda resume between him and congressional Republicans.
Temperatures hovered Monday around 40 degrees.
That was much warmer than during his 2009 inauguration and far better than 1985, when it was so frigid that Ronald Reagan’s second-term inauguration was moved inside.
In 1961, John F. Kennedy took the oath without a hat or overcoat in sub-freezing temperatures after an 8-inch snowstorm.
A lectern caught fire. And famed poet Robert Frost, blinded by the sun’s glare on the snow-covered Capitol grounds, couldn’t read the poem he’d prepared.
Instead, he recited one from memory: “The Gift Outright.”
“The land was ours before we were the land’s,” it began.
Facing Obama and a divided Congress are battles over the federal debt ceiling, automatic federal spending cuts, immigration overhaul and gun control.
None was singled out specifically by Obama, although he mentioned a need for making hard choices “to reduce the cost of health care and the size of our deficit.”
He called on the nation “to move forward together” and said:
“Progress does not compel us to settle centuries-long debates about the role of government for all time - but it does require us to act in our time. For now decisions are upon us, and we cannot afford delay,”
For one day, the nation came together. Tomorrow is another day.
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