INAUGURATION WATCH: Call for unity _ and strength

Associated Press
President Barack Obama gestures as he gives his inauguration address during a ceremonial swearing-in ceremony during the 57th Presidential Inauguration, Monday, Jan. 21, 2013  on the West Front of the Capitol in Washington.  (AP Photo/Win McNamee, Pool)
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WASHINGTON (AP) — AP journalists are fanning out across the capital to cover Inauguration Day as part of a running feed of content and analysis. Here are their reports, which will be updated through the day.

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FROM THE GOP:

Sentiments of bipartisanship and an interest in working together: That's what Republicans are offering as President Barack Obama starts his second term.

Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky says the day shows that "our major political parties can disagree with civility and mutual respect." He wishes Obama well on the next four years.

McConnell says the second term represents a "fresh start when it comes to dealing with the great challenges of our day," including federal spending and debt. He said Republicans believed that "divided government provides the perfect opportunity to do so."

Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wis., GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney's running mate, notes that he and Obama were "political opponents" and had "strong disagreements over the direction of the country — as we still do now." But Ryan says that on Inauguration Day, "we put those disagreements aside" and "remember what we share in common."

Tennessee Sen. Lamar Alexander, speaking shortly before Obama's address, invoked Alex Haley, the author of "Roots," who lived by the motto, "Find the good and praise it." Alexander says that when America's government transfers or reaffirms power, "we do this in a peaceful, orderly way. There is no mob, no coup, no insurrection."

—Ken Thomas — Twitter http://twitter.com/AP_Ken_Thomas

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A TIGHT EDIT

President Barack Obama's speech clocked in at 18 minutes — a relatively tight and short inaugural address.

— Darlene Superville — Twitter http://twitter.com/dsupervilleap

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OBAMA: GOVT AS (PARTIAL) SOLUTION?

More analysis from Michael Oreskes, AP's senior managing editor for U.S. news and co-author of a book on the Constitution's role in American life:

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From the same podium where President Obama stood today, Ronald Reagan famously said that in the present crisis government is not the solution, government is the problem. Three decades on, emerging from another, even deeper crisis, Obama said government is, at least part of the solution.

Americans remain skeptical of central authority and have never succumbed to the fiction that government is the total solution, he said.

"But we have always understood that when times change, so must we; that fidelity to our founding principles requires new responses to new challenges; that preserving our individual freedoms ultimately requires collective action," Obama said.

"For the American people can no more meet the demands of today's world by acting alone than American soldiers could have met the forces of fascism or communism with muskets and militias. No single person can train all the math and science teachers we'll need to equip our children for the future, or build the roads and networks and research labs that will bring new jobs and businesses to our shores. Now, more than ever, we must do these things together, as one nation, and one people."

Perhaps it is the ultimate sign of the end of the Reagan era that a president who uses a phrase like "collective action" could be re-elected.

— Michael Oreskes — Twitter http://twitter.com/MichaelOreskes

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CIVIL RIGHTS, INVOKED

President Barack Obama emphasized three prongs of civil rights, declaring, "We, the people, declare today that the most evident of truths — that all of us are created equal — is the star that guides us still."

He went further, with direct mentions of equality regardless of race, gender and sexual orientation. He referenced both Selma and Stonewall — landmark events for black and gay Americans, respectively — and talked of our country finally seeing its wives and mothers earning an "equal living" for the work that they do.

"It is our generation's task to carry on what those pioneers began," he said on this day, which is also Martin Luther King Day in the United States.

—Liz Sidoti — Twitter http://twitter.com/lsidoti

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WE JUST DISAGREE

"Being true to our founding documents does not require us to agree on every contour of life; it does not mean we will all define liberty in exactly the same way, or follow the same precise path to happiness." — Barack Obama, in his second inaugural address.

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QUICKQUOTE: PAST AND FUTURE

"We remember the lessons of our past ... we do not believe in this country that freedom is reserved for the lucky or happiness for the few," Barack Obama said. "We the people still believe that our obligations as Americans are not just to ourselves but to all posterity."

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CALLING FOR UNITY

After a bitterly partisan election and lame-duck session, Barack Obama is using his speech to call for a divided nation to come together to right the nation's course.

"Now more than ever we should do this as one nation," Obama says, adding that Americans are made for this moment and can succeed "so long as we seize it together."

It's a signal that he heard the message of the center of the American electorate, which voted for no change in power in November and told its lawmakers to work together to start fixing what ails the nation.

—Liz Sidoti — Twitter http://twitter.com/lsidoti

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SELF-EVIDENT

"History tells us that while these truths may be self-evident, they've never been self-executing." — Barack Obama, after quoting the "unalienable" American rights of "life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness" outlined in the Declaration of Independence.

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VENERABLE WORDS

President Barack Obama is starting his second inaugural address with a lot of quotations from — and invocations of — the nation's founding documents. It's an interesting approach, one keyed to a dominant question in the national conversation these days: Where is this republic headed, and is it the right direction? Obama is starting by re-invoking the foundational principles of the republic — and asking people to hear him.

— Ted Anthony — Twitter http://twitter.com/anthonyted

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BIDEN NEXT?

The nation's No. 2 was sworn in a second time, for a second term.

Like President Barack Obama, Vice President Joe Biden took his oath of office during a private ceremony on Sunday. This one was for the masses.

Biden, a former Delaware senator, has attended a bunch of inaugural festivities.

The next one he attends may be his own if he decides to run for president in 2016 — and wins. He's certainly keeping the door open to a future presidential run.

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OBAMA: OATH TAKEN

Barack Hussein Obama has just been sworn in before the nation for his second term as president.

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BIDEN SWORN IN

Joe Biden has been sworn in before the nation and the inauguration crowds, a day after he did it officially in a private ceremony.

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'NO MOB'

"There is no mob, no coup, no insurrection. This is a moment when millions stop and watch."— Sen. Lamar Alexander, R-Tenn., co-chair of the inaugural committee.

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THE SPEECH

AP National Political Editor Liz Sidoti's pre-speech take on the inaugural:

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President Barack Obama will be in his element when he steps to the podium to deliver his second inaugural address. He plans to lay out a broad vision for the country's future. These speeches are traditionally heavier on prose than on policy, and devoid of many details. And Obama is expected to keep with that formula, focusing on America's founding values and their importance to the country of today.

Don't expect a partisan pitch. But make no mistake: this speech — like so many others before it — will be political, to a certain degree.

The president will be speaking to an America whose citizens are divided, and who fear their nation is in a perpetual — if not irreversible — state of decline. He will be speaking at a time of political paralysis, deep polarization and a resounding lack of faith in the institution of government. And he will be speaking at the start of a period in which he hopes to tackle a slew of thorny issues — taxes, guns, immigration and other issues — even as Republicans control the House.

So, expect Obama to do what he's been known for since he burst onto the national stage — pepper his remarks with strong notes of resolve and the notion of a can-do America.

With the country's grim backdrop and knowing what we know about Obama, it's hard to see how the president doesn't take advantage of the platform he has to issue an urgent call to action for Americans and their political leaders to come together to try to break Washington's gridlock and solve the country's big looming problems.

—Liz Sidoti — Twitter http://twitter.com/lsidoti

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SO AMERICAN

Some thoughts from Sally Buzbee, Washington bureau chief for The Associated Press:

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There's something so inherently American about seeing sedate, totally non-glamorous political figures like former President Jimmy Carter and Supreme Court justice Stephen Breyer — both dressed formally (in a dark coat in one case and a dark robe in the other) — next to the flash and glamour of American celebrities like Beyonce and her husband Jay-Z.

Beyonce, of course, was dressed more sedately than she normally is — for reasons of weather if nothing else — but that mane of big, gold hair gave her away. The singer superstar can't help but ooze glamour even on a cold day in the nation's capital.

The mix of people on the podium during an inaugural is always a celebration of America's diversity. In this case: from the staid, wonky and serious to the flamboyant and celebrated.

— Sally Buzbee

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QUICKQUOTE: MYRLIE EVERS

"Blessings upon all who contribute to the essence of the American spirit, the American Dream." — Myrlie Evers, activist and widow of slain civil rights activist Medgar Evers.

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QUICKQUOTE: SCHUMER

"In 2013, far too many doubt the future of this great nation." — Sen. Charles Schumer, D-N.Y., starting off the inaugural program.

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ON STAGE

President Barack Obama is on the podium, greeting supporters and colleagues, and ready to be inaugurated for his second term — or, at least, "inaugurated," since the official ceremony was conducted Sunday indoors. Today's ceremony is the public version.

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A SEA, NOT AN OCEAN

So, just how many people are on the National Mall for President Barack Obama's second inaugural ceremony?

A lot — but probably not the roughly 1.8 million who jammed it four years ago.

In hours before Obama's public swearing-in, the crowd extends from the Capitol and beyond the Washington Monument to around the reflecting pool in front of the Lincoln Memorial.

But, though the crowd has grown thicker this morning — especially beyond the ticketed section — it doesn't seem as packed as in 2008.

The Presidential Inaugural Committee has announced that the non-ticketed public viewing areas on the National Mall east of 7th Street are full and now closed.

— Donna Cassata and Mary Clare Jalonick— Twitter http://twitter.com/DonnaCassataAP and http://twitter.com/mcjalonick

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COOPERATE, PLEASE

"I hope the people in the Capitol can work together so we can get some things accomplished." — Lolita Allen, 50, from Detroit, who said she and some friends made a last-minute decision on Friday to drive to Washington for the inauguration.

— Sam Hananel — Twitter http://twitter.com/SHananelAP

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'MORE THAN THE HERE AND NOW'

"It's really important for her to understand that her potential is endless. You have so much to live and look forward to, for yourself personally, for our country — just to see that there's more than the here and now." — Kenya Strong, a 37-year-old financial analyst, on her daughter's attendance at the 2013 inauguration.

— David Dishneau — Twitter http://twitter.com/ddishneau

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Follow AP reporters contributing to Inauguration Watch on their Twitter handles, listed throughout the text.

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