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Obamas attend inaugural gala

Jan. 20, 2013 at 11:17 PM   |   Comments

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WASHINGTON, Jan. 20 (UPI) -- Newly sworn in to a second term, U.S. President Obama and his wife Michelle attended an inaugural gala in the nation's capital.

The hundreds of Obama supporters at the National Building Museum were entertained by Stevie Wonder, The Source and the U.S. Navy Sea Chanters, along with a little Bruce Springsteen piped in over the sound system. Obama offered those at the soiree a warm "thank you."

"I'm delivering another speech tomorrow so tonight I'm going to be pretty brief," he said, joking, "there are a limited amount of good lines" and he didn't want to use them all up.

More seriously, Obama repeatedly said the re-election campaign was about something bigger than him and that his supporters "have inspired me throughout."

"One of the things that made this campaign unique was the degree of investment and ownership people had in this common project of ours, because you understood this was not just about a candidate; it was not just about Joe Biden or Barack Obama," he said. "This was about us, who we are as a nation, what values we cherish, how hard we're willing to fight to make sure that those values live not just for today but for future generations.

"All of you here understood and were committed to the basic notion that when we put our shoulders to the wheel of history, it moves. It moves. It moves forward."

Jill Biden, wife of Vice President Joe Biden, said she "couldn't think of a better man than my husband" to help Obama lead the country for the next four years.

Biden, who introduced himself as "Jill Biden's husband," drew applause when he ran down the administration's first-term accomplishments.

Speaking of Obama, Biden said, "He's just getting started."

"In the weeks and months ahead, we're going to reduce gun violence here in America," Biden said. "We're going to pass comprehensive immigration reform. And we're going to put this nation's economy on a sustainable path to the future."

Michelle Obama thanked the crowd for its support.

"Let's keep working and fighting and pushing forward, forward ...," she said.

Obama was sworn in earlier in the day by Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts with his younger daughter noting he "didn't mess up."

The private ceremony was held in the Blue Room of the White House with several of the Obamas' closest relatives on hand and Roberts' wife Jane among the witnesses for the official swearing-in. Obama and Biden will take their public oaths Monday in front of the Capitol before a crowd on the National Mall in Washington.

Unlike the president's 2009 inaugural oath, Obama spoke clearly and without stumbling over the words.

The first lady and daughters Sasha and Malia stood by Obama's side during the oath.

At the conclusion, Roberts said, "Congratulations, Mr. President."

Obama said "Thank you, Mr. Chief Justice. Thank you so much."

The president then embraced his family, telling Michelle, "Thank you, sweetie" after she congratulated him. Malia appeared to tell her father, "I'm so happy, yay" and Sasha told him "Good job, Dad." And when he replied, "I did it," she responded, "You didn't mess up."

Obama then thanked everyone and exited the room with his family.

Obama was sworn in using the Robinson family Bible, which was held by the first lady.

"The bible was a gift from the first lady's father, Fraser Robinson III, to his mother, LaVaughn Delores Robinson, on Mother's Day in 1958. Mrs. Robinson was the first African-American woman manager of a Moody Bible Institute's bookstore; this was the only Bible she ever used," the presidential inaugural committee media guide said.

Earlier, Obama and his family attended a pre-inaugural church service in which his re-election theme of moving forward was related to the story of Moses.

The Rev. Ronald E. Braxton of the Metropolitan African Methodist Episcopal Church read from the book of Exodus Sunday. He urged Obama to not let obstacles interfere "where forward is the only option."

"I'm a witness that the God of Moses , with miraculous power, still moves on behalf of humankind," Braxton said. "Forward was the only option."

© 2013 United Press International, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Any reproduction, republication, redistribution and/or modification of any UPI content is expressly prohibited without UPI's prior written consent.
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