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Obama takes oath amid new threats

21 January, 2013

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WASHINGTON: President Barack Obama took the oath of office on Sunday to begin a second term threatened by strife at home and abroad and amid inaugural rituals lacking the hope and historic promise of 2009.

Obama, with a slight smile, took the oath at an intimate, private ceremony in the Blue Room of the White House lasting less than a minute, raising his right arm and placing his left hand on a family Bible.

The president solemnly swore to "faithfully execute the office of President of the United States" and to "preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States, so help me God."

Chief Justice Roberts, who stumbled when swearing in Obama to open his first term in 2009, read each line of the oath out loud, before the president repeated words first intoned by George Washington, 224 years ago. After a ceremony lasting less than a minute, Obama hugged his wife, and children Malia, 14 and Sasha, 11 before quipping: "I did it" to his youngest daughter.

Obama will take the oath of office for a second time at a time-honoured outdoor public ceremony at the US Capitol on Monday. Vice President Joe Biden was sworn in before his boss at an early morning ceremony at his official residence.

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