A ‘limitless’ vision: Obama lays out liberal agenda for second term

Vows to protect gay rights, climate

  • President Barack Obama is sworn in for his second term on the West Lawn of the U.S. Capitol Building at the 57th Presidential Inauguration Ceremony, Washington, D.C., Monday, January 21, 2013. (Andrew Harnik/The Washington Times)President Barack Obama is sworn in for his second term on the West Lawn of the U.S. Capitol Building at the 57th Presidential Inauguration Ceremony, Washington, D.C., Monday, January 21, 2013. (Andrew Harnik/The Washington Times)
  • The sunrises early in the morning before the ceremonial swearing-in of President Barack Obama at the U.S. Capitol during the 57th Presidential Inauguration in Washington, Monday, Jan. 21, 2013. (AP Photo/Scott Andrews, Pool) The sunrises early in the morning before the ceremonial swearing-in of President Barack Obama at the U.S. Capitol during the 57th Presidential Inauguration in Washington, Monday, Jan. 21, 2013. (AP Photo/Scott Andrews, Pool)
  • Members of the military stand on hand on the West Lawn of the U.S. Capitol Building before President Barack Obama is sworn in for his second term at the 57th Presidential Inauguration Ceremony, Washington, D.C., Monday, January 21, 2013. (Andrew Harnik/The Washington Times)Members of the military stand on hand on the West Lawn of the U.S. Capitol Building before President Barack Obama is sworn in for his second term at the 57th Presidential Inauguration Ceremony, Washington, D.C., Monday, January 21, 2013. (Andrew Harnik/The Washington Times)
  • Placemarks are set for the Obama and Biden families before the presidential inauguration on the West Front of the U.S. Capitol January 21, 2013 in Washington, DC.   Barack Obama was re-elected for a second term as President of the United States.  (Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images)Placemarks are set for the Obama and Biden families before the presidential inauguration on the West Front of the U.S. Capitol January 21, 2013 in Washington, DC. Barack Obama was re-elected for a second term as President of the United States. (Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images)
  • Media outlets set up live shots near the U.S. Capitol Building before President Barack Obama is sworn in for his second term at the 57th Presidential Inauguration Ceremony, Washington, D.C., Monday, January 21, 2013. (Andrew Harnik/The Washington Times)Media outlets set up live shots near the U.S. Capitol Building before President Barack Obama is sworn in for his second term at the 57th Presidential Inauguration Ceremony, Washington, D.C., Monday, January 21, 2013. (Andrew Harnik/The Washington Times)
  • U.S. Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Martin Dempsey and wife Deanie arrive before the presidential inauguration on the West Front of the U.S. Capitol January 21, 2013 in Washington, DC.   Barack Obama was re-elected for a second term as President of the United States.  (Photo by POOL Win McNamee/Getty Images)U.S. Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Martin Dempsey and wife Deanie arrive before the presidential inauguration on the West Front of the U.S. Capitol January 21, 2013 in Washington, DC. Barack Obama was re-elected for a second term as President of the United States. (Photo by POOL Win McNamee/Getty Images)
  • Visitors to the West Lawn of the U.S. Capitol Building take photographs and call out to celebrity Nick Cannon as he walks by before President Barack Obama is sworn in for his second term at the 57th Presidential Inauguration Ceremony, Washington, D.C., Monday, January 21, 2013. (Andrew Harnik/The Washington Times)Visitors to the West Lawn of the U.S. Capitol Building take photographs and call out to celebrity Nick Cannon as he walks by before President Barack Obama is sworn in for his second term at the 57th Presidential Inauguration Ceremony, Washington, D.C., Monday, January 21, 2013. (Andrew Harnik/The Washington Times)
  • Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel and wife Amy Rule arrive before the presidential inauguration on the West Front of the U.S. Capitol January 21, 2013 in Washington, DC.   Barack Obama was re-elected for a second term as President of the United States.  (Photo by POOL Win McNamee/Getty Images)Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel and wife Amy Rule arrive before the presidential inauguration on the West Front of the U.S. Capitol January 21, 2013 in Washington, DC. Barack Obama was re-elected for a second term as President of the United States. (Photo by POOL Win McNamee/Getty Images)
  • U.S. Senator John McCain (R-AZ) (L) and U.S. Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) gesture to U.S. Rep. Peter King before the presidential inauguration on the West Front of the U.S. Capitol January 21, 2013 in Washington, DC.   Barack Obama was re-elected for a second term as President of the United States.  (Photo by POOL Win McNamee/Getty Images)U.S. Senator John McCain (R-AZ) (L) and U.S. Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) gesture to U.S. Rep. Peter King before the presidential inauguration on the West Front of the U.S. Capitol January 21, 2013 in Washington, DC. Barack Obama was re-elected for a second term as President of the United States. (Photo by POOL Win McNamee/Getty Images)
  • Thousands gather on the National Mall before President Barack Obama is sworn in for his second term on the West Lawn of the U.S. Capitol Building at the 57th Presidential Inauguration Ceremony, Washington, D.C., Monday, January 21, 2013. (Andrew Harnik/The Washington Times)Thousands gather on the National Mall before President Barack Obama is sworn in for his second term on the West Lawn of the U.S. Capitol Building at the 57th Presidential Inauguration Ceremony, Washington, D.C., Monday, January 21, 2013. (Andrew Harnik/The Washington Times)
  • ** FILE ** Rep. Paul Ryan, Wisconsin Republican, arrives for the President Obama's inauguration on the West Front of the U.S. Capitol on Monday, Jan. 21, 2013, in Washington. (Win McNamee/Getty Images, Pool)** FILE ** Rep. Paul Ryan, Wisconsin Republican, arrives for the President Obama's inauguration on the West Front of the U.S. Capitol on Monday, Jan. 21, 2013, in Washington. (Win McNamee/Getty Images, Pool)
  • A young girl poses for a photo with an American flag in her hair before President Barack Obama is sworn in for his second term on the West Lawn of the U.S. Capitol Building at the 57th Presidential Inauguration Ceremony, Washington, D.C., Monday, January 21, 2013. (Andrew Harnik/The Washington Times)A young girl poses for a photo with an American flag in her hair before President Barack Obama is sworn in for his second term on the West Lawn of the U.S. Capitol Building at the 57th Presidential Inauguration Ceremony, Washington, D.C., Monday, January 21, 2013. (Andrew Harnik/The Washington Times)
  • Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich and wife Callista Gingrich arrive for the presidential inauguration on the West Front of the U.S. Capitol January 21, 2013 in Washington, DC.   Barack Obama was re-elected for a second term as President of the United States.  (Photo by POOL Win McNamee/Getty Images)Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich and wife Callista Gingrich arrive for the presidential inauguration on the West Front of the U.S. Capitol January 21, 2013 in Washington, DC. Barack Obama was re-elected for a second term as President of the United States. (Photo by POOL Win McNamee/Getty Images)
  • Crowd members sit on top of portable toilets before President Barack Obama is sworn in for his second term on the West Lawn of the U.S. Capitol Building at the 57th Presidential Inauguration Ceremony, Washington, D.C., Monday, January 21, 2013. (Andrew Harnik/The Washington Times)Crowd members sit on top of portable toilets before President Barack Obama is sworn in for his second term on the West Lawn of the U.S. Capitol Building at the 57th Presidential Inauguration Ceremony, Washington, D.C., Monday, January 21, 2013. (Andrew Harnik/The Washington Times)
  • U.S. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta arrives at the presidential inauguration on the West Front of the U.S. Capitol January 21, 2013 in Washington, DC.   Barack Obama was re-elected for a second term as President of the United States.  (Photo by POOL Win McNamee/Getty Images)U.S. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta arrives at the presidential inauguration on the West Front of the U.S. Capitol January 21, 2013 in Washington, DC. Barack Obama was re-elected for a second term as President of the United States. (Photo by POOL Win McNamee/Getty Images)
  • Beyonce and Jay-Z arrive at the ceremonial swearing-in for President Barack Obama at the U.S. Capitol during the 57th Presidential Inauguration in Washington, Monday, Jan. 21, 2013. (AP Photo/Scott Andrews, Pool) Beyonce and Jay-Z arrive at the ceremonial swearing-in for President Barack Obama at the U.S. Capitol during the 57th Presidential Inauguration in Washington, Monday, Jan. 21, 2013. (AP Photo/Scott Andrews, Pool)
  • Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts arrives during the presidential inauguration on the West Front of the U.S. Capitol January 21, 2013 in Washington, DC.   Barack Obama was re-elected for a second term as President of the United States.  (Photo by POOL Win McNamee/Getty Images)Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts arrives during the presidential inauguration on the West Front of the U.S. Capitol January 21, 2013 in Washington, DC. Barack Obama was re-elected for a second term as President of the United States. (Photo by POOL Win McNamee/Getty Images)
  • U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and former U.S. President Bill Clinton arrive during the presidential inauguration on the West Front of the U.S. Capitol January 21, 2013 in Washington, DC.   Barack Obama was re-elected for a second term as President of the United States.  (Photo by POOL Win McNamee/Getty Images)U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and former U.S. President Bill Clinton arrive during the presidential inauguration on the West Front of the U.S. Capitol January 21, 2013 in Washington, DC. Barack Obama was re-elected for a second term as President of the United States. (Photo by POOL Win McNamee/Getty Images)
  • Former U.S. President Jimmy Carter and wife Rosalynn Carter arrive during the presidential inauguration on the West Front of the U.S. Capitol January 21, 2013 in Washington, DC.   Barack Obama was re-elected for a second term as President of the United States.  (Photo by POOL Win McNamee/Getty Images)Former U.S. President Jimmy Carter and wife Rosalynn Carter arrive during the presidential inauguration on the West Front of the U.S. Capitol January 21, 2013 in Washington, DC. Barack Obama was re-elected for a second term as President of the United States. (Photo by POOL Win McNamee/Getty Images)
  • First lady Michelle Obama arrives during the presidential inauguration on the West Front of the U.S. Capitol January 21, 2013 in Washington, DC.   Barack Obama was re-elected for a second term as President of the United States.  (Photo by POOL Win McNamee/Getty Images)First lady Michelle Obama arrives during the presidential inauguration on the West Front of the U.S. Capitol January 21, 2013 in Washington, DC. Barack Obama was re-elected for a second term as President of the United States. (Photo by POOL Win McNamee/Getty Images)
  • A man in the crowds waves before President Barack Obama is sworn in for his second term on the West Lawn of the U.S. Capitol Building at the 57th Presidential Inauguration Ceremony, Washington, D.C., Monday, January 21, 2013. (Andrew Harnik/The Washington Times)A man in the crowds waves before President Barack Obama is sworn in for his second term on the West Lawn of the U.S. Capitol Building at the 57th Presidential Inauguration Ceremony, Washington, D.C., Monday, January 21, 2013. (Andrew Harnik/The Washington Times)
  • U.S. Vice President Joe Biden arrives during the presidential inauguration on the West Front of the U.S. Capitol January 21, 2013 in Washington, DC.   Barack Obama was re-elected for a second term as President of the United States.  (Photo by POOL Win McNamee/Getty Images)U.S. Vice President Joe Biden arrives during the presidential inauguration on the West Front of the U.S. Capitol January 21, 2013 in Washington, DC. Barack Obama was re-elected for a second term as President of the United States. (Photo by POOL Win McNamee/Getty Images)
  • House Minority Leader Sen. Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) arrives during the presidential inauguration on the West Front of the U.S. Capitol January 21, 2013 in Washington, DC.   Barack Obama was re-elected for a second term as President of the United States.  (Photo by POOL Win McNamee/Getty Images)House Minority Leader Sen. Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) arrives during the presidential inauguration on the West Front of the U.S. Capitol January 21, 2013 in Washington, DC. Barack Obama was re-elected for a second term as President of the United States. (Photo by POOL Win McNamee/Getty Images)
  • U.S. President Barack Obama (C) pauses with his escorts before walking through the Lower West Terrace Door of the U.S. Capitol to begin swearing-in ceremonies in Washington, January 21, 2013. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst  U.S. President Barack Obama (C) pauses with his escorts before walking through the Lower West Terrace Door of the U.S. Capitol to begin swearing-in ceremonies in Washington, January 21, 2013. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst
  • U.S. President Barack Obama arrives during the presidential inauguration on the West Front of the U.S. Capitol January 21, 2013 in Washington, DC.   Barack Obama was re-elected for a second term as President of the United States.  (Photo by POOL Win McNamee/Getty Images)U.S. President Barack Obama arrives during the presidential inauguration on the West Front of the U.S. Capitol January 21, 2013 in Washington, DC. Barack Obama was re-elected for a second term as President of the United States. (Photo by POOL Win McNamee/Getty Images)
  • U.S. President Barack Obama greets Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and former president Bill Clinton during the presidential inauguration on the West Front of the U.S. Capitol January 21, 2013 in Washington, DC.   Barack Obama was re-elected for a second term as President of the United States.  (Photo by POOL Win McNamee/Getty Images)U.S. President Barack Obama greets Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and former president Bill Clinton during the presidential inauguration on the West Front of the U.S. Capitol January 21, 2013 in Washington, DC. Barack Obama was re-elected for a second term as President of the United States. (Photo by POOL Win McNamee/Getty Images)
  • U.S. President Barack Obama (R) and U.S. Vice President Joe Biden sit during the presidential inauguration on the West Front of the U.S. Capitol January 21, 2013 in Washington, DC.   Barack Obama was re-elected for a second term as President of the United States.  (Photo by POOL Win McNamee/Getty Images)U.S. President Barack Obama (R) and U.S. Vice President Joe Biden sit during the presidential inauguration on the West Front of the U.S. Capitol January 21, 2013 in Washington, DC. Barack Obama was re-elected for a second term as President of the United States. (Photo by POOL Win McNamee/Getty Images)
  • (L-R) U.S. President Barack Obama, First lady Michelle Obama and U.S. Sen. Charles Schumer (D-NY) clap during the presidential inauguration on the West Front of the U.S. Capitol January 21, 2013 in Washington, DC.   Barack Obama was re-elected for a second term as President of the United States.  (Photo by POOL Win McNamee/Getty Images)(L-R) U.S. President Barack Obama, First lady Michelle Obama and U.S. Sen. Charles Schumer (D-NY) clap during the presidential inauguration on the West Front of the U.S. Capitol January 21, 2013 in Washington, DC. Barack Obama was re-elected for a second term as President of the United States. (Photo by POOL Win McNamee/Getty Images)
  • Vice President Joe Bidden is sworn in for his second term on the West Lawn of the U.S. Capitol Building at the 57th Presidential Inauguration Ceremony, Washington, D.C., Monday, January 21, 2013. (Andrew Harnik/The Washington Times)Vice President Joe Bidden is sworn in for his second term on the West Lawn of the U.S. Capitol Building at the 57th Presidential Inauguration Ceremony, Washington, D.C., Monday, January 21, 2013. (Andrew Harnik/The Washington Times)
  • Vice President Joe Biden hugs his wife, Jill Biden after being sworn in for his second term on the West Lawn of the U.S. Capitol Building at the 57th Presidential Inauguration Ceremony, Washington, D.C., Monday, January 21, 2013. (Andrew Harnik/The Washington Times)Vice President Joe Biden hugs his wife, Jill Biden after being sworn in for his second term on the West Lawn of the U.S. Capitol Building at the 57th Presidential Inauguration Ceremony, Washington, D.C., Monday, January 21, 2013. (Andrew Harnik/The Washington Times)
  • President Barack Obama arrives before being sworn in for his second term on the West Lawn of the U.S. Capitol Building at the 57th Presidential Inauguration Ceremony, Washington, D.C., Monday, January 21, 2013. (Andrew Harnik/The Washington Times)President Barack Obama arrives before being sworn in for his second term on the West Lawn of the U.S. Capitol Building at the 57th Presidential Inauguration Ceremony, Washington, D.C., Monday, January 21, 2013. (Andrew Harnik/The Washington Times)
  • President Barack Obama arrives before being sworn in for his second term on the West Lawn of the U.S. Capitol Building at the 57th Presidential Inauguration Ceremony, Washington, D.C., Monday, January 21, 2013. (Andrew Harnik/The Washington Times)President Barack Obama arrives before being sworn in for his second term on the West Lawn of the U.S. Capitol Building at the 57th Presidential Inauguration Ceremony, Washington, D.C., Monday, January 21, 2013. (Andrew Harnik/The Washington Times)
  • President Barack Obama talks with Sen. Charles E. Schumer (D-N.Y.) before being sworn in for his second term on the West Lawn of the U.S. Capitol Building at the 57th Presidential Inauguration Ceremony, Washington, D.C., Monday, January 21, 2013. (Andrew Harnik/The Washington Times)President Barack Obama talks with Sen. Charles E. Schumer (D-N.Y.) before being sworn in for his second term on the West Lawn of the U.S. Capitol Building at the 57th Presidential Inauguration Ceremony, Washington, D.C., Monday, January 21, 2013. (Andrew Harnik/The Washington Times)
  • U.S. President Barack Obama shakes hands with U.S. Vice President Joe Biden during the public ceremonial inauguration on the West Front of the U.S. Capitol January 21, 2013 in Washington, DC.   Barack Obama was re-elected for a second term as President of the United States.  (Photo by Rob Carr-Pool/Getty Images)U.S. President Barack Obama shakes hands with U.S. Vice President Joe Biden during the public ceremonial inauguration on the West Front of the U.S. Capitol January 21, 2013 in Washington, DC. Barack Obama was re-elected for a second term as President of the United States. (Photo by Rob Carr-Pool/Getty Images)
  • Beau Biden and U.S. President Barack Obama after U.S. Vice President Joe Biden is sworn in during the public ceremonial inauguration on the West Front of the U.S. Capitol January 21, 2013 in Washington, DC.   Barack Obama was re-elected for a second term as President of the United States.  (Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images)Beau Biden and U.S. President Barack Obama after U.S. Vice President Joe Biden is sworn in during the public ceremonial inauguration on the West Front of the U.S. Capitol January 21, 2013 in Washington, DC. Barack Obama was re-elected for a second term as President of the United States. (Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images)
  • President Barack Obama takes the oath of office from Chief Justice John Roberts at the ceremonial swearing-in at the U.S. Capitol during the 57th Presidential Inauguration in Washington, Monday, Jan. 21, 2013. (AP Photo/Scott Andrews, Pool) President Barack Obama takes the oath of office from Chief Justice John Roberts at the ceremonial swearing-in at the U.S. Capitol during the 57th Presidential Inauguration in Washington, Monday, Jan. 21, 2013. (AP Photo/Scott Andrews, Pool)
  • President Barack Obama is sworn in for his second term on the West Lawn of the U.S. Capitol Building at the 57th Presidential Inauguration Ceremony, Washington, D.C., Monday, January 21, 2013. (Andrew Harnik/The Washington Times)President Barack Obama is sworn in for his second term on the West Lawn of the U.S. Capitol Building at the 57th Presidential Inauguration Ceremony, Washington, D.C., Monday, January 21, 2013. (Andrew Harnik/The Washington Times)
  • President Barack Obama speaks after being sworn in for his second term on the West Lawn of the U.S. Capitol Building at the 57th Presidential Inauguration Ceremony, Washington, D.C., Monday, January 21, 2013. (Andrew Harnik/The Washington Times)President Barack Obama speaks after being sworn in for his second term on the West Lawn of the U.S. Capitol Building at the 57th Presidential Inauguration Ceremony, Washington, D.C., Monday, January 21, 2013. (Andrew Harnik/The Washington Times)
  • U.S. President Barack Obama waves after being sworn in by Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts as First lady Michelle Obama looks on during the public ceremonial inauguration on the West Front of the U.S. Capitol January 21, 2013 in Washington, DC.   Barack Obama was re-elected for a second term as President of the United States.  (Photo by POOL Win McNamee/Getty Images)U.S. President Barack Obama waves after being sworn in by Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts as First lady Michelle Obama looks on during the public ceremonial inauguration on the West Front of the U.S. Capitol January 21, 2013 in Washington, DC. Barack Obama was re-elected for a second term as President of the United States. (Photo by POOL Win McNamee/Getty Images)
  • U.S. President Barack Obama waves during the public ceremonial inauguration on the West Front of the U.S. Capitol January 21, 2013 in Washington, DC.   Barack Obama was re-elected for a second term as President of the United States.  (Photo by POOL Win McNamee/Getty Images)U.S. President Barack Obama waves during the public ceremonial inauguration on the West Front of the U.S. Capitol January 21, 2013 in Washington, DC. Barack Obama was re-elected for a second term as President of the United States. (Photo by POOL Win McNamee/Getty Images)
  • Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and former president Bill Clinton look on during the public ceremonial inauguration on the West Front of the U.S. Capitol January 21, 2013 in Washington, DC.   Barack Obama was re-elected for a second term as President of the United States.  (Photo by POOL Win McNamee/Getty Images)Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and former president Bill Clinton look on during the public ceremonial inauguration on the West Front of the U.S. Capitol January 21, 2013 in Washington, DC. Barack Obama was re-elected for a second term as President of the United States. (Photo by POOL Win McNamee/Getty Images)
  • U.S. President Barack Obama greets singer Beyonce after she performs the National Anthem during the public ceremonial inauguration on the West Front of the U.S. Capitol January 21, 2013 in Washington, DC.   Barack Obama was re-elected for a second term as President of the United States.  (Photo by POOL Win McNamee/Getty Images)U.S. President Barack Obama greets singer Beyonce after she performs the National Anthem during the public ceremonial inauguration on the West Front of the U.S. Capitol January 21, 2013 in Washington, DC. Barack Obama was re-elected for a second term as President of the United States. (Photo by POOL Win McNamee/Getty Images)
  • President Barack Obama and the first family leaves after the ceremonial swearing-in at the U.S. Capitol during the 57th Presidential Inauguration in Washington, Monday, Jan. 21, 2013. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci, Pool) President Barack Obama and the first family leaves after the ceremonial swearing-in at the U.S. Capitol during the 57th Presidential Inauguration in Washington, Monday, Jan. 21, 2013. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci, Pool)
  • Members of the crowd wait for President Barack Obama to be sworn in for his second term on the West Lawn of the U.S. Capitol Building at the 57th Presidential Inauguration Ceremony, Washington, D.C., Monday, January 21, 2013. (Andrew Harnik/The Washington Times)Members of the crowd wait for President Barack Obama to be sworn in for his second term on the West Lawn of the U.S. Capitol Building at the 57th Presidential Inauguration Ceremony, Washington, D.C., Monday, January 21, 2013. (Andrew Harnik/The Washington Times)
  • Members of the crowd wait for President Barack Obama to be sworn in for his second term on the West Lawn of the U.S. Capitol Building at the 57th Presidential Inauguration Ceremony, Washington, D.C., Monday, January 21, 2013. (Andrew Harnik/The Washington Times)Members of the crowd wait for President Barack Obama to be sworn in for his second term on the West Lawn of the U.S. Capitol Building at the 57th Presidential Inauguration Ceremony, Washington, D.C., Monday, January 21, 2013. (Andrew Harnik/The Washington Times)
  • U.S. President Barack Obama (R) greets House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) (L) as he arrives at the senate carriage entrance for swearing-in ceremonies at the U.S Capitol in Washington, January 21, 2013.   REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst   U.S. President Barack Obama (R) greets House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) (L) as he arrives at the senate carriage entrance for swearing-in ceremonies at the U.S Capitol in Washington, January 21, 2013. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst
  • U.S. President Barack Obama (C) is directed as he arrives at the senate carriage entrance for swearing-in ceremonies at the U.S Capitol in Washington, January 21, 2013.   REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst   U.S. President Barack Obama (C) is directed as he arrives at the senate carriage entrance for swearing-in ceremonies at the U.S Capitol in Washington, January 21, 2013. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst
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Forging into the latter half of his historic presidency, Barack Obama urged the nation at his second inauguration Monday to work together on a liberal agenda of America’s “limitless possibilities,” such as reversing climate change, advancing gay rights and strengthening the social safety net.

On a chilly and overcast Monday, Mr. Obama laid out the broad themes for his second term, in which he is winding down the war in Afghanistan and is renewing his push for programs to help the middle class. While the audience on the Mall was noticeably smaller than four years ago, his speech was a robust defense of his big-spending first term and a road map to his next set of priorities, on issues such as gun control and immigration reform.

“My fellow Americans, we are made for this moment, and we will seize it — so long as we seize it together,” Mr. Obama said in a relatively brief inaugural address that lasted less than 20 minutes. “We, the people, still believe that our obligations as Americans are not just to ourselves, but to all posterity.”

Mr. Obama began the day by commenting on his Twitter account while attending a church service that he was “honored and grateful that we have a chance to finish what we started.”

“Our work begins today. Let’s go. -bo,” he tweeted.

Pomp and pageantry

The ceremony at the Capitol was a flag-draped, celebrity-studded celebration of democracy with scant constitutional significance. Mr. Obama was officially sworn in by Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. on Sunday, the date mandated by the Constitution, in a private ceremony at the White House. But as with President Reagan’s second inauguration in 1985, which also fell on a Sunday, the public event and related pageantries were saved for Monday.

The oath was administered again by Chief Justice Roberts, and this time Mr. Obama stumbled a bit as he pronounced “United States.” Four years ago, the chief justice got the words in the wrong sequence, so they repeated the oath a day later at the White House.

The crowd, estimated at up to 800,000, was less than half the size of Mr. Obama’s first inauguration in 2009, when about 1.8 million people jammed the Mall to witness the historic occasion of the nation’s first black president taking the oath of office.

But the enthusiasm of Mr. Obama’s supporters was fully on display Monday across the Mall and at the Capitol, with people sporting ubiquitous Obama jackets and shirts as they navigated heavy security that left most of the monumental capital closed to vehicles. Jumbo TV screens positioned along the Mall gave the throngs that stretched beyond the Washington Monument a view of the platform.

Agenda items

Perhaps the most surprising passage of Mr. Obama’s speech was his emphasis on the need to address climate change, an initiative that he ignored in his re-election campaign after failing in his first term to advance a “cap and trade” plan for controlling greenhouse gas emissions. The president used the example of Superstorm Sandy, which devastated portions of the East Coast in late October, to revive his call to combat climate change.

“We will respond to the threat of climate change, knowing that the failure to do so would betray our children and future generations,” Mr. Obama said. “Some may still deny the overwhelming judgment of science, but none can avoid the devastating impact of raging fires and crippling drought and more powerful storms. The path towards sustainable energy sources will be long and sometimes difficult. But America cannot resist this transition; we must lead it.”

The president, faced with an imminent fight in Congress over cutting spending and limiting the nation’s borrowing, focused almost exclusively on his plans to fight for domestic social programs.

“We reject the belief that America must choose between caring for the generation that built this country and investing in the generation that will build its future,” Mr. Obama said. “The commitments we make to each other — through Medicare and Medicaid and Social Security — these things do not sap our initiative; they strengthen us. They do not make us a nation of takers; they free us to take the risks that make this country great.”

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