WASHINGTON (AP) - Stepping into his second term, President Barack Obama took the oath of office today in an intimate swearing-in ceremony at the White House, the leader of a nation no longer in the throes of the recession he inherited four years ago, but still deeply divided.
The president, surrounded by family in the ornate White House Blue Room, was administered the oath by Chief Justice John Roberts. With Obama's hand resting on a Bible used for years by Michelle Obama's family, the president vowed "to support and defend the Constitution of the United States," echoing the same words spoken by the 43 men who held the office before him.
"I did it," Obama whispered to his youngest daughter, Sasha, as he wrapped her in a hug moments later.
President Barack Obama is officially sworn-in today by Chief Justice John Roberts in the Blue Room of the White House during the 57th Presidential Inauguration in Washington, as first lady Michelle Obama, holds the Robinson Family Bible.
The president said the oath in just minutes before noon on Jan. 20, the time at which the Constitution says new presidential terms begin. There was little pomp and circumstance today - Obama walked into the room flanked by his family and exited almost immediately after finishing the oath.
He'll repeat the swearing-in ritual again Monday on the west front of the Capitol before a crowd of up to 800,000 people.