President Obama’s Inaugural Speech Shows He Doesn’t Plan to Lower Expectations for Second Term

My reaction to President Obama’s inaugural speech — it struck the right tone with progressives and shows he has no intention of lowering expectations. His coalition is extraordinary and he will be working from strength — politically — and that allows him to be magnanimous. President Obama issued a stinging and direct rebuke against Paul Ryan’s labeling some Americans as “takers” when he singled out Social Security, during his speech, essentially attacking the callousness and coldness from Republicans.

President Obama reminded us that his taking the oath isn’t a “you’re on your own” but we are all in it together. President Obama may ultimately change American politics by calling on “We the People” to take an active role into what happens in government. Change isn’t going to come from Washington. It has to come from the people. He may be on to something with his newly retooled Obama for America outfit, now known as Organizing for Action. President Obama’s speech was Lincolnesque and was a call to action.

More reaction from other pundits:

Andrew Sullivan: “If you have long believed, as I have, that this man could easily become the liberal Reagan by the end of his second term… then this speech will not have surprised you.”

James Fallows: “I was expecting an anodyne tone-poem about healing national wounds, surmounting partisanship, and so on. As has often been the case, Obama confounded expectations — mine, at least. Four years ago, when people were expecting a barn-burner, the newly inaugurated president Obama gave a deliberately downbeat, sober-toned presentation about the long challenges ahead. Now — well, it’s almost as if he has won re-election and knows he will never have to run again and hears the clock ticking on his last chance to say what he cares about. If anyone were wondering whether Obama wanted to lower expectations for his second term … no, he apparently does not.”

Ezra Klein: “In his first term, Obama changed policy. In his second, he wants to change minds.”

Chris Cillizza: “This was a speech that could only be given by someone who knew that he would never have to run for re-election again… This was Obama unbound. Distill Obama’s speech to a single sentence and that sentence is: ‘I’m the president, deal with it.'”

Ta-Nehisi Coates: “There was a time when merely stating the ideas Obama put forth would have gotten you killed.”

Organizing for America:

Photo of the Day: President Barack Obama at His Second Inauguration

Photo of the Day:  “Our journey is not complete.” — President Barack Obama taking oath at his second inauguration, Jan. 21, 2013.

President Obama inauguration 2013

President Obama takes the ceremonial oath of office at 2nd Inauguration. (White House)

President Obama Taking One Last Look at Inauguration Crowd: “I’ll Never See This Again”

President Obama inauguration 2013

President Obama Taking One Last Look at Inauguration Crowd: “I’ll Never See This Again” (Photo credit: White House)

#inaug2013:  President Obama, as he departed the West Front of the U.S. Capitol, after delivering his second inaugural address Monday, said, as he took one last glance at the thousands of people gathered to celebrate his second term, “I want to take a look one more time. I’ll never see this again.”

President Obama’s Inaugural Ceremonies Theme Announced: “Faith in America’s Future”

obama inaugural ceremonies

President Obama’s Inaugural Ceremonies Theme Announced: “Faith in America’s Future”

The theme of President Obama’s inaugural ceremonies will be “Faith in America’s Future,” said Sen. Charles Schumer, chairman of the Joint Congressional Committee on Inaugural Ceremonies, in a release Thursday:

“Our nation has faced countless challenges throughout its history, and each time we have come together as Americans and moved forward with renewed strength. During the 57th Presidential Inauguration, Americans from across the country will gather beneath the Capitol Dome to celebrate our history, take measure of how far we have come, and look towards our future with hope and determination.”


S. Con. Res. 35 established the date of the 2013 Inauguration as Monday, January 21, 2013, since January 20, 2013 falls on a Sunday.  This is the seventh time in U.S. history that the constitutionally mandated Inauguration date has fallen on a Sunday. The last time was President Ronald Reagan’s second Inauguration in 1985. When this occurs, the public ceremonies traditionally are held on Monday.

In addition, January 21, 2013 is Martin Luther King, Jr. Day. It will be the second time that this federal holiday has coincided with a Presidential Inauguration. The first was President William J. Clinton’s second Inauguration in 1997.