Quick hits and other moments from Obama inaugural

  • Posted: Monday, January 21, 2013 11:54 p.m.
AP photo
President Barack Obama and first lady Michelle Obama review the troops on the East Front of the U.S. Captiol following Obama’s ceremonial swearing-in during the 57th Presidential Inauguration at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C., on Monday.
AP photo President Barack Obama and first lady Michelle Obama review the troops on the East Front of the U.S. Captiol following Obama’s ceremonial swearing-in during the 57th Presidential Inauguration at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C., on Monday.

WASHINGTON, D.C. — 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.”

Latinos

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.

Visitors

Among the throngs visiting Washington for the ceremonial swearing-in of 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.”

Celebrities

Plenty of celebrities were on hand for Barack Obama’s inauguration.

Beyonce belted out an impressive rendition of the national anthem, and then returned to her spot on the inaugural platform with Jay-Z.

James Taylor sang “America the Beautiful” and Kelly Clarkson followed with “My Country ‘Tis of Thee.”

Other celebs spotted: Katy Perry and John Mayer, who sat side-by-side, as well as Actress Eva Longoria and former Boston Celtics great Bill Russell.

‘Dis-inauguration’

Not everyone was waving an American flag and cheering “Obama” at the inaugural ceremonies on Monday.

John Diamond of Arlington, Va., handed out flyers inviting people to a “dis-inauguration ball” later in the day.

“Not my president,” said his flyer, with the classic Obama “O” logo part of the word “not.”

Diamond, who didn’t vote in this election, said he wants to encourage peace and non-violence.

Other voices of dissent could be heard during the president’s swearing-in ceremony. Even during prayers, a steady stream of “What about the babies?” wafted from the southwest of the U.S. Capitol.

A first, of sorts

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.

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

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