- The Washington Times - Thursday, January 20, 2005

The lights in the White House clicked on well before dawn on Inauguration Day.

President Bush rose at 5:30 a.m., refreshed from getting to bed earlier than scheduled after making the rounds to several evening balls, Chief of Staff Andrew H. Card Jr. said yesterday.

After breakfast with his father, former President George Bush, and other family and friends, “He was in the Oval Office before 7,” Mr. Card said.

On the first morning of his second term, the president was “a little more chatty than usual,” Mr. Card said, but he got down to work.

“He gave me his list of tasks, as he always does,” the chief of staff said. The commander in chief also told Mr. Card exactly what passage he would have the Bible open to when he took the oath of office: Isaiah 40:31 — “But they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint.”

For the president, Day 1 of Term 2 was much like the previous day. He held daily briefings with heads of the CIA and the FBI. The agency directors presented the “threat matrix,” a top-secret daily report that details every sign of a threat, from intercepted e-mail to satellite photos to terrorist “chatter.”

With that somber news in mind, Mr. Bush headed out of the White House to attend his second inauguration, a feat he says he did not accomplish the first time around. Nearly 150 members of his extended family were in town to help him soak in the celebration, including his parents and his brothers — Jeb, Marvin and Neil — and his sister, Doro Koch.

More than 20 family members, including the president’s twin daughters, Jenna and Barbara, piled into vans before 9 a.m. for the two-minute, three-block motorcade from the White House to St. John’s Episcopal Church.

Long before he faced a group of protesters that lined Pennsylvania Avenue on his way to the Capitol, the president listened to a somewhat stern sermon by the church’s rector, the Rev. Luis Leon, who spoke at one point about “the lessons of humility.”

“You can set the tone … by word and example and action,” Mr. Leon said. “I hope you will invite us to be a better people … beyond the confines of red and blue states.”

After taking the oath of office and delivering his second inaugural speech on the Capitol steps, Mr. Bush with first lady Laura Bush embarked on the pomp of the day: a luncheon at the Capitol followed by the 1.7-mile procession along Pennsylvania Avenue in a new armored limousine.

The license plates read: USA 1.

He joined a VIP group of family and friends in a heated viewing stand outside the front lawn of the White House as marching bands and floats passed by. For more than an hour, Mr. Bush waved to the marchers from behind bulletproof glass.

By evening, the first couple was off again to drop by nine formal balls. Although he wasn’t supposed to reach the last ball until nearly 11 p.m., he arrived more than an hour early, made some brief comments, took a spin on the dance floor and was gone.

Today, as always, he was expected to rise before dawn and be at his desk by 7 a.m. to begin the first full day of his second term.

And Vice President Dick Cheney, who also made an evening appearance at the Commander in Chief Ball, knows it enough to joke about it.

“I need to get home because the president’s going to be in the office bright and early in the morning.”

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