It is the first of two swearing-in events.
It's official. Barack Obama is now embarking on his second term as president. Accompanied by his family, he was sworn in by Chief Justice John Roberts in a small private ceremony in the White House Blue Room. The event will be followed by a reception hosted by the president and Vice President Joe Biden.
With First Lady Michelle Obama and daughters Malia and Sasha standing at his side, the president took his oath using the Robinson family bible held by the first lady. The bible was a gift from her father, Fraser Robinson III, to her mother LaVaughn Delores Robinson on Mother's Day in 1958.
Obama was sworn in on Sunday to comply with the Jan. 20 date mandated by the U.S. Constitution. He is the seventh president-elect to have his swearing-in fall on a Sunday. Obama and Biden will also be sworn in during a public ceremony on Monday, which is Martin Luther King Jr. Day.
It also was the second time that Roberts has sworn in Obama at the White House. After stumbling over the words of the oath in 2008, he re-administered it in the Map Room the following day. After the public event, the nation's first African-American president will be just the second commander-in-chief to have been sworn in four times.
All of the pomp and pageantry will take place on Jan. 21, when approximately 600,000 to 800,000 people are expected to pack the nation's capital. The festivities will be on a smaller scale in recognition of a still struggling economy, but will still be rather grand.
Beyoncé Knowles, American Idol winner Kelly Clarkson and veteran musician James Taylor will, respectively, sing the national anthem, "My Country 'Tis of Thee" and "America the Beautiful" at the inauguration ceremony.
After the public ceremony, the Obamas and Bidens will attend a traditional luncheon hosted by congressional lawmakers inside the Capitol. There also will be a parade that includes a 90-piece U.S. Air Force Band, 142 horses and groups and organizations from around the nation.
Later, approximately 40,000 people are expected to dance the night away at two inaugural balls held at the Washington Convention Center. The inauguration festivities will end Tuesday morning with a prayer service attended by Obama and Biden at the National Cathedral.
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(Photo: REUTERS/Larry Downing)