Obama took the oath of office officially for a second term shortly before noon at a low-key ceremony in the White House Blue Room, as required by the constitution. U.S. Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts swore him in at the official ceremony, and will do it again at a ceremonial swearing-in on today.
As the date fell on a Sunday, Obama will be sworn in again at the public inauguration ceremony Monday noon.
Four years ago, Obama had to read the oath again the day after the Inauguration Day, since the two men flubbed the 35-word oath at the inauguration ceremony. Thus, he will become a president taking the oath for four times on Monday's public swearing-in, second only to Franklin Roosevelt, yet who had been through four terms.
Earlier in the Monday morning, Vice President Joe Biden was sworn in to a second term by Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotamayor at a private ceremony at the Naval Observatory, the vice presidential residence.
This marks the seventh time that a U.S. president will take the oath ceremonially on Monday following an Inauguration Day that fell on a Sunday, and also the second time the ceremonial swearing- in falls on the Martin Luther King Day.
Today, Obama will place his hand on two Bibles, one owned by President Abraham Lincoln, the other by Dr. Martin Luther King, and recite the presidential oath. Obama will also deliver his inaugural address at the ceremonial swearing-in.
An estimated 800,000 people may attend Monday's inauguration and parade, almost half of the crowd who flooded to the capital four years ago to watch the historic inauguration of the first African American President.
"I think it's going to be a hopeful speech," said David Plouffe, a senior White House adviser on Sunday.
Speaking on CNN's "State of the Union," Plouffe said Obama is going to lay out "his vision for his second term and where he thinks the country needs to go in the years ahead" in his inaugural address.
But he acknowledged that many of the old challenges the president has faced in the first term still hang around now. The economy, an issue that nearly 70 percent of Americans give top priority to in a latest poll, is still "too weak."
Fierce fights over fiscal problems and immigrations reforms are also looming for the early months of Obama's second term. The president's newly announced gun control agenda is well expected to meet resistance on Capitol Hill.
By Guylain Gustave Moke