LIVE: Barack Obama's inauguration

Written By Unknown on Senin, 21 Januari 2013 | 23.45

With his wife Michelle at his shoulder, President Barack Obama waves to crowds gather for his ceremonial swearing-in at the U.S. Capitol. Source: AP

US PRESIDENT Barack Obama is set for his second inauguration and will begin a second term that he hopes will help unite America.

Mr Obama will take the oath again before the crowd early on Tuesday morning Australia time (live here from 3am AEDT) and is expected to follow the recent tradition of walking at least part of the way back to the White House, surrounded by cheers.

Barack Hussein Obama will raise his right hand and place his left on Bibles once owned by Martin Luther King and Abraham Lincoln and swear the oath of office before mustering for four years threatened by strife at home and abroad

The 44th US president, and the first African American to hold the office, launched his second term with a private swearing-in ceremony on Sunday, before basking in the full pomp of his office with public celebrations today.

People wave American flags as people gather near the US Capitol building on the National Mall for the Inauguration ceremony.

Mr Obama and his family are beginning inauguration day by attending services at St John's Episcopal Church near the White House.

The presidential motorcade arrived shortly after 830am local time (12.30am AEDT) under crisp, cold skies outside the sanctuary. The president and first lady Michelle Obama emerged to pose briefly for photos with their daughters Sasha and Malia before entering the church. The first family sometimes attends Sunday worship at the church, which is across Lafayette Park from the White House.

Vice President Joe Biden and his family also attended.

Mr Obama began inauguration day listening to a church pastor counsel him to use his power to benefit others, and the nation.

Jay-Z and Beyonce arrive at the presidential inauguration on the West Front of the U.S. Capitol.

Inside, R&B singer Ledisi, a favourite of Mrs. Obama's, sang a solo titled I Feel Like Goin' On.

The sermon was delivered by Pastor Andy Stanley of North Point Community Church in Alpharetta, Georgia, who asked what one does when they realise they're the most powerful person in that room. "You leverage that power for the benefit of other people in the room," Stanley said.

To the president, he said: "Mr. President, you have an awfully big room. It's as big as our nation."

Mr Obama stood for a blessing from Bishop Vashti McKenzie of the Tenth Episcopal District, African Methodist Episcopal Church. She prayed for the president to be a "soothing presence in the White House when the stress and strain of leadership seeks a resting place."

A vendor sells newspapers at the 57th Presidential Inauguration.

Mrs Obama is wearing a navy Thom Browne coat and dress for her husband's inauguration.

The fabric for the first lady's Inauguration Day attire was developed based on the style of a man's silk tie. The belt she is wearing is from J.Crew and her necklace was designed by Cathy Waterman. She is also wearing J.Crew shoes.

Her daughter Malia is also wearing a J.Crew ensemble. Sasha Obama is wearing a Kate Spade coat and dress.

Mr Obama will set the rhetorical tone for the remainder of his presidency with an inaugural address to a crowd expected to reach half a million, will headline a parade and then waltz with the first lady at glittering inaugural balls.

Musicians John Mayer and Katy Perry attend the presidential inauguration on the West Front of the U.S. Capitol.

Bundled-up Obama supporters trekked into town to join snaking lines for Secret Service checkpoints guarding the entry to a steel-fenced secure zone around the White House and the inaugural parade route.

Armoured military vehicles and parked buses blocked major roads, as part of a tight security vice which included air and river exclusion zones, road closures and a heavy presence of police and National Guard reserve troops.

The white domed US Capitol building, draped with huge Stars and Stripes, where Mr Obama was set to take the oath of office at just before 4am AEDT, was etched against the dark pre-dawn sky with spotlights.

Temperatures were forecast for a somewhat comfortable 3 to 4 degrees Celsius, much warmer than the bitter chill that has had crowds shivering at some previous inaugurations.

A woman carries a cardboard cut out of US President Barack Obama as she attends the 57th Presidential Inauguration.

Though the mood was festive, as revellers crammed into coffee shops and subway trains heading downtown, Mr Obama's second inauguration lacks the sense of historic promise and hope that greeted his first term in 2009.

His political brand has been damaged by an exhausting first term battling the worst economic storm in decades and brutal partisan warfare with his Republican rivals, notably over taxes and spending.

Yet Mr Obama, 51, has a legacy to defend, including a historic health care law and a retrenchment from draining wars abroad, and he is vowing to make good on the promise of a fairer economy, which anchored his re-election win.

He signalled late Sunday, at a reception for supporters, that he would dwell on the "common good" and the "goodness, the resilience, neighbourliness, the patriotism," of Americans in his address.

Eva Longoria arrives at the ceremonial swearing-in for President Barack Obama.

"What we are celebrating is not the election or the swearing in of the president, what we are doing is celebrating each other and celebrating this incredible nation that we call home," Mr Obama said.

"And after we celebrate, 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. "

Mr Obama's senior advisor David Plouffe said on Sunday that the president will ask Americans in his inaugural address to remember what unites them, rather than political divisions which have split the country down the middle.

"He is going to talk about how our founding principles and values can still guide us in today's modern and changing world," Mr Plouffe said on US network ABC's This Week.

People crowd the National Mall as they gather to attend the 57th Presidential Inauguration.

"He is going to say that our political system does not require us to resolve all of our differences or settle all of our disputes, but it is absolutely imperative that our leaders try and seek common ground."

In the briefest of ceremonies on Sunday, with family gathered in the White House, Mr Obama took the oath of office shortly before noon, as required by law. With his left hand on a family bible held by first lady Michelle Obama, the 44th president raised his right hand and repeated the time-honored words read out by Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts.

Gallery: White House ceremony

The intimate swearing-in met the legal requirement that presidents officially take office on January 20. Because that date fell on a Sunday this year, the traditional public ceremonies surrounding the start of a president's term were put off to Monday, which coincides this year with the birthday of revered civil rights leader Martin Luther King.

President Barack Obama, is greeted by Rev. Luis Leon, as he and his family arrives at St. John's Church in Washington.

Mr Obama, with a slight smile, took the oath on Sunday in a private ceremony in the Blue Room of the White House.

Justice Roberts, who stumbled when swearing in Mr Obama to open his first term in 2009, slowly read each line of the oath out loud, before the president repeated phrases first intoned by George Washington, 224 years ago.

Mr Obama hugged his wife and children Malia, 14, and Sasha, 11, before quipping: "I did it" to his youngest daughter.

The cheeky Sasha shot back: "You didn't mess up!"

Lisa Hogue wears pins as she and others gather near the US Capitol.

Michelle Obama later sent a personal tweet saying: "Barack just took the official oath at the @WhiteHouse & used my grandma's bible for the ceremony. I'm so proud of him. -- mo."

The Constitution states that US presidential terms end at noon on January 20. When that date falls on a Sunday, there is a private swearing-in ceremony before public celebrations and a second oath taking the next day.

Four years on, Mr Obama's status as the first black president in a nation born on a racial fault line almost seems like an afterthought now -- perhaps a sign of progress.

But poignantly, Mr Obama will takes his second, second term oath of office on the federal holiday marking civil rights pioneer King's birthday.

Workers and the press prepare for Barack Obama's second inauguration. AFP PHOTO / Saul LOEB

In another historic echo, Mr Obama will become the second president to be sworn in four times - thanks to the Justice Roberts stumble in 2009 and his double oath duty this year, joining Democratic icon Franklin Roosevelt.

Mr Obama faces several boiling foreign crises likely to shape his legacy.

'Lone wolf' security fear

As he enters his second term, Americans increasingly see Mr Obama as a strong leader, someone who stands up for his beliefs and is able to get things done, according to a survey by the Pew Research Centre for the People & the Press. The survey shows him with a 52 percent job approval rating, among the highest rankings since early in his presidency. His personal favorability, 59 percent, has rebounded from a low of 50 percent in the 2012 campaign against Republican Mitt Romney.

Crowds are gathering in Washington, DC as President Obama begins his second term in a private White House ceremony. Deborah Lutterbeck reports.

When the partying is done, it's back to business for a president who is leading a nation that is, perhaps, as divided as at any time since the Civil War 150 years ago. That conflict put down a rebellion by southern states and ended slavery.

In light of the nation's troubled racial history, Mr Obama's election to the White House in 2008 as the first black president was seen by many as a turning point. In his first inaugural address, he vowed to moderate the partisan anger engulfing the country, but the nation is only more divided four years on.

While Mr Obama convincingly won a second term, the jubilation that surrounded him four years ago is subdued this time around - a reality for second-term presidents. He guided the country through many crushing challenges after taking office in 2009: ending the Iraq war, putting the Afghan war on a course toward US withdrawal and saving the collapsing economy. He won approval for a sweeping health care overhaul. Yet onerous problems remain, and his success in resolving them will define his place in history.

- with AP and AFP

President Barack Obama is officially sworn-in by Chief Justice John Roberts in the Blue Room of the White House alongside his wife Michelle and daughters Malia and Sasha.

Souvenirs are displayed for sale at a sidewalk stand near the US Capitol building during preparations for U.S. President Barack Obama's second inauguration. John Moore/Getty Images/AFP

US President Barack Obama has taken the oath of office to begin a second term threatened by strife.

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