Quick hits and other moments from Obama inaugural

WASHINGTON - A wistful moment for President Barack Obama came shortly after his public swearing-in ceremony.

As he began walking off the inaugural platform to go into the U.S. Capitol for the traditional luncheon with lawmakers and other dignitaries, Obama stopped and turned around to look at the scene on the National Mall, filled with hundreds of thousands of people who braved chilly weather to be part of the day.

"I want to take a look, one more time," he said. "I'm not going to see this again."


In a nod to their increasing political clout, three Latinos played important roles in Barack Obama's public inauguration ceremony.

First, Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor administered the oath of office to Vice President Joe Biden. Nominated by Obama, Sotomayor is the first Latina justice.

Richard Blanco delivered the inaugural poem, "One Today." He's the first Hispanic and the first openly gay person to serve in the role. At 44, he's also the youngest inaugural poet.

Finally, the Rev. Luis Leon, rector of St. John's Episcopal Church near the White House, delivered the closing prayer. Obama attended a worship service at the church before heading to the Capitol.

Latinos voted 7-to-1 for Obama in November's elections.


It didn't all go off without a hitch.

Some folks bailed when the trek to the National Mall became too long.

Cheryl Tate, 52, of Flint, Mich., and her friend Karen Pugh, 43, gave up after a long walk from RFK stadium, where their tour bus had parked. They instead turned around in hopes of finding a nearby restaurant to watch Obama on television.

Near the Washington Monument, people milled through the crowd of thousands to get a glimpse of the inauguration - only to find that the Jumbotron was cutting in and out and they couldn't hear the speakers. Some booed.

Moses Ashford of Columbia, S.C., didn't have regrets. "I'm happy. I'm smiling, and I see smiles on many of the people here."


Among the throngs visiting Washington for the ceremonial swearing-in of President Barack Obama was David Richardson, 45, of Atlanta, with his children, Camille, 5, and Miles, 8 - all bundled up in hats, scarves and mittens. Richardson said he wanted his children to "see history" firsthand and "witness that anything is possible through hard work."

Vicki Lyons, 51, from Lakewood, Colo., who describes herself as "mostly Republican," said she didn't vote for Obama but called the inaugural experience "surreal" and "like standing in the middle of history."

Said Lyons: "No matter who the president is, everybody needs to do this at least once."


A first, of sorts, at this inaugural.

For the first time in more than three decades, there was neither a Clinton nor a Bush on either the departing or the incoming presidential ticket. Since 1981, every year until now has seen someone from one of the two famous political families front-and-center on the inaugural platform.

In 1981 and 1985, it was George H.W. Bush as vice president to Ronald Reagan, followed four years later by Bush as president. In 1993, with Bush looking on, Bill Clinton took the oath as president and again four years later in 1997. Then, a departing Clinton took to the inaugural platform in 2001 as George W. Bush was sworn in. Bush had a second inauguration in 2005, and then witnessed the inauguration four years later, in 2009, of Barack Obama.

While Bill Clinton may not have been in the front row during Obama's second inaugural on Monday, Clinton and his wife, Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, did join lawmakers and other dignitaries on the inaugural platform. Former President Jimmy Carter and his wife, Rosalynn, also attended the ceremonies at the Capitol's west front.


And, how about those bangs?

President Barack Obama rendered his opinion on what he called the most significant event of inaugural weekend: his wife's new haircut.

"I love her bangs. She looks good. She always looks good," the president said Sunday night at a reception in Washington.

First lady Michelle Obama unveiled the new hair-do in a White House photo released Thursday, her 49th birthday.


Associated Press writers Nancy Benac, Alan Fram, Stacy A. Anderson, Kevin Freking and Jessica Gresko contributed to this report.

Print this article Back to Top