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Presidential Inauguration 2013

Obama Defends Compassionate Gov’t

The president uses his inaugural address to take a veiled shot at Romney, declaring that Americans receiving aid aren’t “takers.” Howard Kurtz on a thematic speech that stuck to generalities.
Justin Sullivan/Getty

President Barack Obama, declaring that “our country cannot succeed when a shrinking few do very well and a growing many barely make it,” used his second inaugural address to make an impassioned appeal to defend the social safety net that was at the heart of his reelection campaign.

A Very Different President

The nation saw a very different Obama yesterday, says Paul Begala.
Pool photo by Jonathan Ernst

Back in November more than 60 million Americans thought they were voting to reelect the man who has served as our president for the past four years. Little did we know that a very different man would place his hand on the Bibles of President Lincoln and Dr.

Michelle Wears Jason Wu—Again

The first lady put Jason Wu on the map when she wore his one-shoulder gown to the 2009 inaugural balls. On Monday night, she shocked the Twitterverse by picking him a second time. Isabel Wilkinson reports.
Jacquelyn Martin/AP

Michelle Obama’s done it again. She’s worn a Jason Wu dress for a second round of inaugural balls.By the time the president took the stage at the Commander-in-Chief’s Ball to greet the audience and to introduce the first lady—“I have a date”—the Twitterverse was hyperventilating over which designer she would choose.

Obama's Unsung Army

While the attention is focused on the president and first lady and their glamorous guests at the inaugural balls, it is the unsung volunteers, most of them black, who keep the festivities humming.
Andre Chung/Getty

Inside the bowels of the Washington Convention Center, where President Obama and his wife would soon dance in front of a well-heeled crowd of supporters, Rosemary Weaver was holding court over a boxed sandwich-and-cookie lunch.

Inside the Inaugural Balls

The first lady debuts a second inaugural Jason Wu gown, the first couple dances to Jennifer Hudson, and more scenes from inauguration night's big parties.
Justin Sullivan/Getty

The first lady’s Jason Wu gown, the Obamas’ first dance, and more from inauguration night’s big parties.

8 Best Moments from the Inauguration

From President Obama’s climate-change challenge to Beyoncé’s booming rendition of the national anthem, watch the best moments from the inauguration.
Jim Watson/aFP/Getty

George Stephanopoulos Confuses Bill Russell for Morgan FreemanOn Martin Luther King Jr. Day. That happened.Biden’s InaugurationSupreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor became the first Hispanic person to administer a presidential or vice-presidential oath of office Monday, guiding Vice President Joe Biden through the ceremony.

Time for Obama to Praise the Market

The Inaugural Address is the president’s chance to offer private businesses some overdue full-throated praise, says David Frum.

President Obama will from time to time describe himself as a strong believer in the free-enterprise system. Yet these avowals are often expressed in a defensive tone or as preambles to a follow-up clause carrying an implicit “however.

Obama’s Historic Inauguration Poet

Hispanic, openly gay, and the youngest inauguration poet ever, Richard Blanco made a mark on Monday’s inauguration ceremony with his poem ‘One Today.’ David Freedlander on why it soared.
Win McNamee/Getty

In terms of star wattage on the day, it ranked well below President Barack Obama’s address, Kelly Clarkson’s “My Country Tis of Thee,” and Beyoncé’s national anthem. Heck, it probably even generated more  cellphone checks and minds wandering than the Brooklyn Tabernacle Choir or Chuck Schumer’s schticky emceeing.

Obama’s Progressive Manifesto

John Avlon breaks down the president’s audacious political speech, which took aim at conservatives’ claim to represent American exceptionalism.
Jewel Samad/AFP/Getty

“To form a more perfect union” has always been the core idea animating President Obama’s career, an attempt to bridge old divides, blending the personal and the political.The president used his second inaugural address to try to demolish the false dichotomies that have defined the overheated political debates of the past four years, implicitly making the case that his Democratic Party’s agenda is squarely in the mainstream of American history—expanding individual freedom through collective action.

How Obama Can Become Our Era’s Reagan

The president wants nothing less than to change the default assumptions of our society. Here’s how he can do it.
Saul Loeb/AFP/Getty

Barack Obama’s speech was elegantly pugnacious, a fine articulation of civic-republican liberalism and a very clear statement of a political agenda, with its specific mentions of climate change and inequality and other concerns.

Why Inaugural Speeches Fail

My CNN column explains why President Obama's inaugural address is likely to fail.The inaugural addresses of the presidents are, for the most part, a wasteland of howling rhetoric and dried-out inspiration.History has little noted, nor has it long remembered, more than a handful of them.

Will Obama Answer the Call?

To get to “we,” Obama’s speech needs to avoid “I” and “they,” writes Mark McKinnon.
Mario Tama/Getty

Here’s what I don’t want to hear in President Obama’s inaugural address:The word “I.” A recap of his first term. How hard things have been. No straw men. No references to “they.” As in, “They said we couldn’t, or shouldn’t take on .

Obama Should Defend Government

The best inaugurals make an argument for a particular idea. Today, says Peter Beinart, Obama should explain why activist government doesn’t always threaten freedom.
Pablo Martinez Monsivais

Every inaugural address is part Hallmark card to America: liberty, greatness, unity, democracy, yadda yadda. What people remember (when they do, which is rare) are the phrases that capture the national mood at a particular moment in time.

What Obama Should Say on Monday

Crafting an inaugural in an age of cheap partisanship is no easy task. Paul Begala on how the president can rise to the challenge.
Chris Maddaloni/Getty

“History will be kind to me,” Winston Churchill once said. “I intend to write it.”So it will likely be for President Obama. While criticized by some for fictionalized accounts and composite characters, his autobiography is as literate and lyrical as any presidential writing.

Be Tough, Mr. President

Inaugurals are supposed to be high-minded and conciliatory, right? Wrong, says Michael Tomasky. Obama should send a message to Republicans with a combative address.
Carolyn Kaster/AP

Barack Obama starts his second term Monday. Or Sunday, technically. That in itself makes this a good week. And while I know I should be thinking about higher-plane issues like the great arcs of history and liberalism and whether Gunnar Myrdal or William Julius Wilson had it right all along, as I watch him take the oath (which I trust John Roberts has been practicing this time), I’m going to be thinking chiefly about two things.

Obama's First Term In 120 Seconds

Have you been living under a rock for the past four years? Well, if you have, here is everything you missed during President Obama's first term. In 120 seconds.

  1. Michael Tomasky On The Next Four Years Play

    Michael Tomasky On The Next Four Years

  2. Who Cares About The Second Inauguration? Play

    Who Cares About The Second Inauguration?

  3. Miss America On Inauguration Play

    Miss America On Inauguration



25 Fun Facts From Inaugurations Past

25 Fun Facts From Inaugurations Past

Botched oaths, a lassoing cowboy, $4 inaugural-ball tickets, and more iconic inaugural moments.


Presidential Address

The Second Inaugural Curse

The Second Inaugural Curse

As the nation watches, Barack Obama has a chance to use his Inaugural Address to set the narrative for his second term, writes John Avlon.

Big Money

Who Paid for This Inauguration?

Who Paid for This Inauguration?

Lauren Streib on who’s footing the inauguration bill.



Michelle’s Hair: The Inside Story

Michelle’s Hair: The Inside Story

Allison Samuels talks to Michelle Obama’s former hairstylist.

Are You Watching?

Send Us Your Inauguration Photos!

Send Us Your Inauguration Photos!

Email us your pictures from the Mall on Monday—or just from your setup at the office or at home.


The Daily Beast's Brunch

Inaugural Brunch’s Bipartisan Spirit

Inaugural Brunch’s Bipartisan Spirit

Howard Kurtz sets the scene at a brunch that drew everyone from Harvey Weinstein to Grover Norquist, David Axelrod to Eva Longoria. The Daily Beast’s bipartisan brunch, in partnership with Credit Suisse at Georgetown’s Cafe Milano, was co-hosted by editor in chief Tina Brown, Credit Suisse’s Pamela Thomas-Graham, Mark McKinnon, Longoria, and Weinstein.


Bipartisan Schmoozefest

Party Time

‘Let’s Get Great Things Done for Americans’