Four More Years Begin Today

Dennis Brack/Bloomberg News

By MICHAEL FALCONE ( @michaelpfalcone )


  • WHAT OBAMA WILL SAY: President Obama will use the first major speech of his second term to try to reset the tone of debate in the country and turn the page on the political battles of the past, hoping for something of a fresh start, ABC's Devin Dwyer notes. He will "talk about the challenges that face us and what unites us as Americans," Obama campaign manager Jim Messina told ABC News. "Monday is an American moment: the swearing-in of the President of the United States - everyone's president," Messina said. "You're going to see a president who wants to work across party lines to get things done, that's what the country wants." He will acknowledge that we won't "settle every debate or resolve every difference" but that we "have an obligation to work together," said a senior administration official, who asked to remain anonymous in order to speak freely about the speech. Obama will not discuss specific policy prescriptions in his address, though he may broadly allude to issues of war, immigration, climate change and environment, and gun control, officials said. The details will be saved for the State of the Union address on Feb. 12.
  • WHAT'S ON HIS MIND? Obama has been working on his inaugural address since mid-December, officials said, working through drafts of the text on yellow legal pads that he's been spotted carrying through the West Wing. He also hosted a dinner with presidential historians at the White House last week, looking for insights on how to make his speech memorable and impactful. In a video message to his supporters reflecting on the moment, Obama said two historical figures would be especially on his mind today: Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., and President Abraham Lincoln. "Their actions, the movements they represented are the only reason it's possible for me to be inaugurated," Obama said. "It's also a reminder for me that this country has gone through very tough times before, but we always come out on the other side." For the ceremonial oath-taking, Obama will place his left hand on the stacked personal Bibles of Lincoln and King.
  • OPPORTUNITY AND OBSTACLES: ABC News Political Analysts Matthew Dowd and Donna Brazile spoke with George Stephanopoulos on "Good Morning America" this morning about what President Obama is likely to say in his second inaugural address and what's ahead for the next four years. WATCH:


ABC'S RICK KLEIN: An inauguration is a moment for, yes, hope. The fact that that's a change in this post-reelection period - that this is the first moment where those on either side of the political arguments of the day can even catch their breath - speaks to the stakes today for President Obama. The sense of optimism that surrounded the president's first election was broken not long after that bitter cold afternoon four years ago yesterday. Today, he seeks to restore some poetry to his mission, while bringing the public on board in new ways. The expectations and possibilities of his first term will take this second term to play out - if they're feasible at all. If they're not, well, today will be just words.

ABC's MICHAEL FALCONE: At a pre-inaugural reception at the National Building Museum last night, both President Obama and Vice President Joe Biden took a moment to express their appreciation to supporters who, as the president said, "invested so much heart, soul, time, money, energy" to put him in the White House for another four years. But the vice president reminded everyone that after the last champagne cork is popped at the inaugural balls tonight, all that will be left is a towering workload. "In the weeks and months ahead, we're going to reduce gun violence here in America. 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." That's no small order, especially at a moment of deep political division. But President Obama's parting words last night remind us that, regardless of party, it's also a moment for new beginnings: "After we celebrate," he said, "let's make sure to work as hard as we can to pass on an America that is worthy not only of our past but also of our future."

ABC's DEVIN DWYER: After a bruising campaign, and unusually contentious post-election period, Barack Obama wants his second Inauguration Day to be a brief respite from the storm, a moment to take a breather and celebrate "our shared history." It's also for him a personally "gratifying moment," one administration official said, marking the final oath after the final campaign. But with his address from the Capitol's west front, Obama has much work to do to rekindle broad enthusiasm for his leadership and confidence he can deliver more than words. In 2009, two operative elements commanded attention to his speech - the history-making of the nation's first black president, and a growing alarm over chaos in the U.S. economy. Today, those novelties are all but gone, raising the stakes - and an opportunity - for Obama and his rhetoric to break through the din.

ABC'S SHUSHANNAH WALSHE: Inauguration Day, a time when Americans from all over the country come to the nation's capitol to, at times, see the peaceful transfer of power and on other occasions (like today) to mark the second term of a president. Perhaps on this day members of Congress from both sides of the aisle can remember how unique this country is, and how lucky we are to live here, and make a pledge to work with their political opponents. Working together, compromise, and bipartisanship can only make this country better and there is a long list of things that need to get done.

ABC NEWS' SPECIAL COVERAGE OF THE INAUGURATION. ABC News will provide extensive coverage of the second Presidential Inauguration of Barack Obama on the ABC Television Network, its digital platforms including and ABC's mobile apps, Yahoo!, and radio.

-At 9:30 a.m., ET Diane Sawyer and George Stephanopoulos will anchor special coverage of Barack Obama's second Inauguration on the ABC Television Network from the Newseum on Pennsylvania Avenue. Coverage will include all events from the swearing-in ceremony and Obama's Inaugural Address to the Inaugural Procession as well as reaction from around the nation. Plus, Sawyer and Stephanopoulos will speak with former Secretary of State Colin Powell. Sawyer and Stephanopoulos will be joined by a team of ABC News anchors, correspondents, and analysts throughout the day.

-Coverage will continue on Monday evening with a special edition of "World News" from the Newseum at 6:30 p.m., ET. A special edition of "Nightline" will look back on the events of the day and will take viewers inside the Inaugural Balls. "Nightline" airs at 12:35 a.m. ET.

-ABC News Digital and Yahoo! News will jointly produce live-streamed coverage of the 2013 Presidential Inauguration on Monday from 9:30a.m. - 5:00p.m. ET. Coverage will be anchored by ABC News' Dan Harris along with Yahoo! News reporter Olivier Knox. Evening coverage will continue with a live feed from both inaugural balls. ABC News and Yahoo! News will also stream a special post-inaugural show "After: The Second Inauguration of President Barack Obama" on Tuesday at 10:00a.m.ET, anchored by ABC News' Dan Kloeffler and Yahoo! News' Phoebe Connelly.

-ABC News Radio will provide live coverage of the inaugural ceremony anchored by Aaron Katersky between 11:00 a.m. and 1:00 p.m., ET. ABC News Radio's team of correspondents including Ann Compton, Vic Ratner, Steven Portnoy and Andy Field will contribute on-the-ground-reporting and analysis of the Inaugural ceremony and parade; Sam Donaldson will report on the swearing-in of Barack Obama from the steps of Capitol Hill; and Trey Hardin and Steve Roberts will provide insight from ABC News Headquarters in Washington, D.C.

VIDEO OF THE DAY: TAILOR TO THE PRESIDENTS. Tailor Georges de Paris is a Washington legend, a charismatic Frenchman with long, flowing gray hair who works out of a cramped shop two blocks from the White House. And he has tailored suits for every president since Lyndon B. Johnson. After all these years, he still uses the same scissors and thimble, notes ABC's Jonathan Karl who interviewed de Paris for the latest installment of "Power Players: Politics Confidential." The sartorial giant has tailored many an inaugural suit, but when asked if he is doing the next one, for President Obama on Monday, de Paris remains coy. "Well, we'll work for that," says de Paris. Photos of de Paris with all the presidents adorn the shop. Obama wore his suit to deliver his State of the Union address. Ford was buried in a brown, three-piece Georges de Paris suit. De Paris even made the suit Reagan wore when he was shot, had in fact hand-delivered it the day before. Later, Reagan told Larry King that one of his memories of that day was waking up on the hospital gurney, horrified that the doctors where cutting off his brand-new suit. Yet the pint-sized tailor remains humble and unfazed by the stature of his clients, saying he has been doing bespoke suits for 61 years and does not get nervous. Talking to the president while taking his measurements at the White House, says de Paris, is "no different than I talk to you now."

A VISION FOR THE NEXT FOUR YEARS WITH JIM MESSINA AND VALERIE JARRETT. President Obama's 2012 campaign manager JIM MESSINA talks to ABC Chief White House Correspondent Jonathan Karl about the transformation of the president's campaign apparatus into a new group called Organizing for Action. WATCH:

And top Obama adviser and confidante VALERIE JARRETT sits down with ABC's Ann Compton to reflect on the accomplishments of the president's first term and the administration's goals for the next four years: "I think we are all more experienced. Isn't that what you say when you get older? It's just experience? A little grayer. We are all a little grayer," she said, laughing heartily during an interview in the West Wing. "The president's gray hair is very funny. Mine, not so much. And we are wiser. We're wiser." Jarrett said there have been lessons even in those small issues that were hard to settle during the first term. "On his desk he has a little plaque that says, 'Hard things are hard,'" she said of Obama. "You know what? They are." WATCH:


A PRAYER FOR THE PRESIDENT. When the Rev. Dr. Luis León delivers the benediction today at President Obama's inauguration, his message will focus on uniting a divided nation. "My sense is that as a country we're not talking to each other," León told ABC News' Reena Ninan. "We don't trust each other. We've forgotten that we have more that binds us together than separates us. My prayer is that we capture that sense of being one nation." León, an Episcopal priest at St. John's Church across from the White House in Washington, will do double duty on Inauguration Day. Leon will host President Obama for a prayer service before the inauguration, as well as giving the benediction. St. John's has held prayer services for U.S. presidents on Inauguration Day 11 times. Franklin Roosevelt started the tradition. "It doesn't get old," León said. "We've never had any bloodletting as one government passes the baton except maybe during the Civil War after Lincoln was elected."

OBAMA APPROVES OF MICHELLE'S NEW 'DO. President Obama used the first public remarks of his second term to address what he called the "most significant" event of this weekend: his wife's much-talked-about new haircut. "I love her bangs," Obama told supporters at an inaugural reception at the National Building Museum last night, ABC's Mary Bruce reports."She looks good. She always looks good." First lady Michelle Obama, wearing a black sequined cocktail dress and showcasing her new hairdo, also heaped compliments on her husband. "Let me tell you, it has just been a true thrill to watch this handsome, charming individual grow into the man and the president that he is," she said, as she reached out to playfully touch the president's face, sparking laughter from the crowd. Praising his compassion and courage, the first lady introduced the president as the "love of her life." Obama, who was sworn in for a second term in a small White House ceremony on Sunday, kept his remarks short, noting he has another big speech to deliver today. "There are a limited amount of good lines and you don't want to use them all up tonight," he joked.

POTUS HAS POLLING ON HIS SIDE. Polls show Obama begins his second term with soaring popularity - the highest job approval rating in years - and strong backing on some of his top legislative priorities, notes ABC's Devin Dwyer. Fifty-five percent of Americans in the latest ABC News/Washington Post poll approve of Obama's job performance overall, the most since November 2009, with a small exception for the 56 percent spike shortly after the death of Osama bin Laden in 2011. Majorities in the survey also broadly favor Obama's position on the debt ceiling, gun control measures, and reforms for the immigration system.

OBAMA ALREADY SWORN IN: 'I DID IT.' ABC's Mary Bruce and Devin Dwyer report: President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden on Sunday officially embarked on their second term, taking the Constitutionally mandated oath of office in two separate private ceremonies inside their homes. Shortly before noon in the Blue Room of the White House, Obama raised his right hand, with his left on a family Bible, reciting the oath administrated by Chief Justice John Roberts. He was surrounded by immediate family members, including first lady Michelle Obama and daughters, Malia and Sasha. As he hugged his wife and daughters, Sasha said, "Good job, Daddy." "I did it," he said. "You didn't mess up," she answered. … Because Jan. 20 - the official date for a new presidential term - falls on a Sunday this year, organizers delayed by one day the traditional public inauguration ceremony and parade down Pennsylvania Avenue.

PHOTO: OBAMAS AT HISTORIC BLACK CHURCH. Without announcing their stop to the press ahead of time, the Obamas visited a historically black church in Washington, D.C. on Martin Luther King, Jr. Day weekend, ABC's Ann Compton reports. PHOTO:

THE 5 BEST AND 2 WORST INAUGURAL ADDRESSES. Some presidents have it, and some don't. Inaugural addresses usually aren't very good, historians say, but a few have gone down as the most memorable speeches in American history. Lincoln and FDR earn high marks from the experts, as do Kennedy and Reagan; Harrison and Washington rank among the worst. See the full list:

STATES ON GUN CONTROL: SOME OFFER NEW LAWS, OTHERS RESIST THE FEDS. ABC's Shushannah Walshe has a comprehensive list of where states stand: If you're thinking about the many ways this country is divided, look no further than the issue of guns. Since the president laid out his gun control proposals some states are proposing stricter laws while others say they won't enforce federal laws or the president's executive orders. Some are going a step further, aiming to make it a crime for a federal agent to try and enforce the law in their states.

INAUGURAL PARTY GUIDE. ABC's Arlette Saenz writes: The Presidential Inaugural Committee is hosting just two official inaugural balls this year, compared to the 10 official balls in 2009. The two balls, which will be held at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center on Monday, will be the fewest balls held by a president since Dwight Eisenhower's inauguration in 1953. One official celebration is the Commander-In-Chief's Ball to honor members of the military and their families. Tickets for the military ball, a tradition started by President George W. Bush in 2005, are free for invited attendees, which will include an estimated 4,000 active duty and service members, Medal of Honor recipients, and wounded warriors and their spouses. But the giant fete of Monday night will be the Inaugural Ball, which is expected to host an estimated 35,000 people across the 700,000-square-foot convention center, according to The Associated Press.


-DAVID PLOUFFE: REVENUE DEBATE NOT OVER. White House senior adviser David Plouffe told ABC's George Stephanopoulos that despite recent agreement on taxes, the White House still wants revenue to be part of the deficit-reduction solution. "We are goiing to require some more revenues," Plouffe said. "John Boehner himself said he thought there was $800 billion in revenue from closing loopholes. We've dealt with the tax rate issue. Now it's about loopholes."

-EVA LONGORIA: IMMIGRATION SYSTEM IS 'BROKEN.' The actress, who served as co-chair of President Obama's reelection campaign, had this to say about immigration: "When people say, 'Oh, get in the back of the line and you didn't get in the back of the line,' people don't realize there's a hundred lines to get into, and if you're in that line, then you weren't supposed to be in that line, you got to go in that-I mean, it's a very broken system."

-SANTORUM: OBAMA IS A 'SORE WINNER.' Former GOP presidential candidate Rick Santorum appeared on our "This Week" roundtable, criticizing how President Obama has handled himself after the election: "That's the problem with this administration. They don't-they're not very gracious winners. And I always said, you know, there's one thing worse than a sore loser, and that's a sore winner. And the president's a sore winner," Santorum said.

-GEORGE WILL: NATIONALS ARE BEST NATIONAL LEAGUE TEAM 'ON PAPER.' In a "This Week" web exclusive, the veteran columnist and renowned baseball fan sized up the Washington Nationals' World Series chances in an interview with ABC's Kaye Foley: "Well, particularly with the new trades and acquisitions, and re-signing [Adam] LaRoche, great first baseman who was probably their most valuable player last year, the Nationals are on paper the best team in the National League. Unfortunately, they don't play the game on paper, they play it on grass and dirt. But even there the Nationals should be even better than last year. They'll play in October." WATCH:


-HOUSE SPEAKER JOHN BOEHNER ON MLK DAY. House Speaker John Boehner issued the following statement in honor of Martin Luther King, Jr. Day: "Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr. showed how much good a single life could do in a short period. Indeed, time itself was one of the many barriers he and his followers confronted. Dr. King said that time, if not seized upon as a fleeting gift, becomes 'an ally of the primitive forces of social stagnation.' He taught that overcoming such inertia and comfort requires 'the persistent work of dedicated individuals who are willing to be co-workers with God.' So it is appropriate that on the day we celebrate Dr. King, we gather from all walks at our Capitol, which welcomes visitors with the words 'In God We Trust.' No American proclaimed this truth more boldly, and lived it more deeply, than Martin Luther King Jr. Because he tapped into the capacity of love and the dignity of the human spirit, the path of opportunity and tranquility is wider, and we have the chance to widen it even further. Let us all take a moment today to bow our heads and pray for the courage to heed Dr. King's teachings and make the most of this moment God has given us."


@GStephanopoulos: Historic day-first time since FDR president has taken oath of office 4 times. On @GMA then joining @DianeSawyer for #Inaug2013coverage

@BeschlossDC: Lincoln's handwritten second Inaugural address, 1865:

@nytjim: In their words… thoughts for a 2nd-term president. Nice audio feature:

@davidaxelrod: Inspiring to see people streaming to the Capitol on this brisk, sunny Inaugural, as Americans have done for generations.

@mckaycoppins: On this inauguration morning, read @rubycramer's profile of Jim Messina, the man who got Obama here. …

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