President Barack H. Obama was sworn in for a second term on Monday, using his second inaugural address to call for renewed efforts to fight climate change, invest in education and ensure equal rights for gays, the Washington Post reports.
Obama, 51, took his oath at 11:51 a.m. on a gray and chilly day in Washington as roars rolled through a crowd that extended down the National Mall. The ceremony was held on Martin Luther King Jr. Day, and the second inauguration for an African American president was weighted with reminders of the blood and sacrifice that had come before it.
Myrlie Evers-Williams, whose husband was slain civil rights activist Medgar Evers, spoke in her invocation of “witnesses — unseen by the naked eye, but all around us — thankful that their living was not in vain.”
After his oath, Obama gave a 19-minute address that, at times, had the itemized, politicized feel of a State of the Union speech. He mentioned tax reform, Medicare, Social Security, and Newtown, Conn., where December’s shooting rampage spurred Obama’s new push for stronger gun laws.
Obama also invoked a theme from his re-election campaign: that of patience exhausted. The president said that the gridlocked capital–and, implicitly, the Republicans who have fought his ideas — was moving too slow in an urgent moment.