Steve, thanks very much. Now let's go just beyond the capital building, into the National Mall. That's where NPR's Ailsa Chang is. And she's between the Capitol, as I understand it, Ailsa, and the Washington Monument, right there in the thick of things.
Well, from the studio, I'm going to go out again to talk to NPR's Linda Wertheimer. She is at a place that has a very good view of the activities there on the Mall. That happens to be the Canadian embassy. And just one thing: the West Front of the Capitol is decorated in red, white and blue. That is the backdrop for President Obama's second Inauguration. And Linda has seen every Inauguration since the second time President Richard Nixon was sworn into office, his second inaugural. Good morning.
Yeah. And let's bring one more voice into the conversation, here. Michele Flournoy is a former undersecretary of defense for policy in the Obama administration, was mentioned at one time as a possible secretary of defense in a second term. Ms. Flournoy, where are you this morning?
MICHELE FLOURNOY: We are on our way from Bethesda, downtown.
Besides President Obama's oath and address, Monday's festivities will include an invocation by Myrlie Evers-Williams, Vice President Joe Biden's oath and poet Richard Blanco. Looking ahead to Obama's second term, politics in Washington seems as broken and gridlocked as ever.
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Calling on Americans to "answer the call of history, and carry into an uncertain future that precious light of freedom," President Obama used his second inaugural address to push for action on the nation's problems and to say that partisan politics should not get in the way of pragmatism.
See what NPR users want President Obama to remember in his second term — then send us your own thoughts. And chat with NPR reporters about the day's events and the issues looming in Obama's second term.
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Originally published on Mon January 21, 2013 12:41 pm
Feelings of hope and change have mostly faded.
The country is in better shape than it was when Barack Obama became president four years ago. The economy is no longer in free fall, and the nation has for the most part extricated itself from seemingly endless wars abroad.
Yet as Obama prepares to enter his second term, there seems to be less optimism about his ability to address the nation's problems than was the case when he first entered the White House.