TWT chronicles Obama’s big day
11:02 a.m. — Metro officials report that downtown travel Monday morning is significantly smoother than four years ago, with ridership at 266,000 as of 10 a.m. — just more than half of what it was on Mr. Obama’s first inaugural celebration in 2009. Several parking garages filled early. Metro officials by midmorning said no spaces were available at the Greenbelt, Fort Totten, Rhode Island Avenue, Vienna, Van Dorn Street, Franconia-Springfield and East Falls Church stations.
Checkpoints at the Capitol are jammed, and some visitors find themselves still blocked from the Mall viewing areas when Mr. Obama begins speaking.
11:22 a.m. — After dignitaries take their seats, Mr. Obama arrives at the West Front stand where he will publicly mark the beginning of his second term.
The Obama women are all dressed in tasteful subdued tones, with the first lady wearing a navy, checkered-patterned coat and gray dress by designer Thom Browne. The rest of her Inauguration Day outfit included a belt from J.Crew, necklace by Cathy Waterman and a cardigan by Reed Krakoff, whose ensemble she also wore to Sunday’s intimate, indoor swearing-in ceremony, according to The Associated Press.
Malia had on a plum-colored J.Crew coat with the hemline of an electric-blue dress peeking out and a burgundy-colored scarf, and her younger sister, Sasha, had on a Kate Spade coat and dress in a purple shade.
After administering the oath, Justice Sotomayor offers congratulations to the vice president. The justice, appointed by Mr. Obama and the first Hispanic woman to serve on the high court, receives a loud cheer when she is introduced. As with Mr. Obama, the oath is a public replay of the official ceremony held Sunday, as set out under the Constitution.
11:51 a.m. — Mr. Obama is sworn in for a second term on the West Front of the Capitol.
Unlike four years ago, Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. and Mr. Obama perform the presidential oath of office nearly flawlessly, although the president appears to stumble slightly when saying “the United States.” The 2009 ceremony was marred by mistakes, requiring a private do-over the next day at the White House.
12:31 p.m. — Invoking a diverse nation living under a single sky, poet Richard Blanco delivers an inaugural poem intended to celebrate America’s diversity.
The 44-year-old poet invokes scenes from the hearth to the heavens, from the Appalachians to the Rockies in his unrhymed verse titled “One Today,” delivered just before pop superstar Beyonce leads the enthusiastic crowd in the singing of the national anthem. He also works in references to his own immigrant experience growing up as an exile from Fidel Castro’s Cuba in New York and Miami.
12:45 p.m. — Just minutes after completing his inaugural address, Mr. Obama signs a string of documents officially submitting some of his top personnel picks for his second term to Congress. The signing ceremony is a traditional Inauguration Day chore for the president, first established by President Reagan shortly after he took the oath of office.
Among the nominations Mr. Obama submits: John O. Brennan to be CIA director; former Sen. Chuck Hagel to be secretary of defense; Sen. John F. Kerry to be secretary of state; and Jack Lew to be secretary of the Treasury.