Story Summary

Presidential Inauguration

President Barack Obama will be sworn-in to his second term on Sunday, January 20.

The public ceremony will be held on Monday, January 21.

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WGN political analyst Paul Lisnek talks second Obama inauguration.

Jason Desanto, Senior Lecturer in the Northwestern School of Law and a speechwriter in national and state politics

Inauguration Day 2013 coincides with the celebration of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr’s birthday.

Beneath the statue of Martin Luther King Jr in Washington D.C., celebrities and civil rights leaders stood side by side Sunday at a special ceremony honoring Kind.

Revered Jesse Jackson and Martin Luther King III spoke about the importance of the MLK monument and their excitement about the second inauguration of President Barack Obama.

Actor and singer Jamie Foxx shared and inspirational song and comedian Chris Tucker gave an impromptu impression.

Reverend Jackson brought a more serious tone, looking forward to inauguration day, but reminding the audience about the problems in America everyday.

“Lest we forget there is a Chicago, (where) 506 killed last year,” he said.  “We must stop the killing everywhere.”

Reverend Jackson added that the Civil Rights movement wasn’t just about racial equality. He says until all Americans have equal access to education, healthcare and economic opportunity, even with a black president, Martin Luther King’s dream is not fulfilled.

Barack Obama was sworn into office Sunday morning during a private ceremony.

Chief Justice John Roberts delivered the oath at the White House to President Obama for a second term.

Just prior, Justice Sonia Sotomayor swore in Joe Biden to another four years as vice president, becoming the first Latina jurist to administer an inaugural oath.

Biden was instrumental in Sotomayor’s vetting and ultimate selection by Obama for the high court and said it was an “incredible honor” for him to have her deliver the oath.

The justice told CNN’s Soledad O’Brien on Friday that she was not feeling anxious about the inaugural duties, but rather viewing the responsibilities as “surreal.”

“I was thinking just a couple of days ago, if I think back when I was a kid which of the two would seem more improbable to me I realized each one was so far fetched that I couldn’t have imagine either,” she said—sitting on the Supreme Court “and swearing in the vice president in front of the nation and the world.”

Sunday’s vice presidential inauguration at the Naval Observatory, where Biden lives, was moved up to accommodate Sotomayor’s scheduling conflict.

“I want to explain to you what a wonderful honor it was and how much out of her way the justice had to go,” Biden said. “She is due in New York. She has to leave right now, so I apologize.”

Sotomayor then headed out to catch a train to the Big Apple for a book signing for her new autobiography, “My Beloved World.”

The swearing in went off without a hitch, which Sotomayor said was a result of careful planning on her part.

“When you read my book, you realize I practice everything I do over and over again,” she told CNN.

Like Roberts, Sotomayor had the oath written on a small card.

After delivering it, she offered a simple “congratulations.”

She will be back in Washington for Monday’s public swearing in at the Capitol where she will administer the oath to Biden again. Roberts will do the same for Obama.

The Constitution requires executive officers, including the president, as well as members of Congress and federal judges, to “be bound by oath or affirmation.”

But nothing mandates a Supreme Court justice administer it. When it comes to the presidential inauguration, they just have done so most of the time.

There was no Supreme Court formed when George Washington took the first oath of office in 1789, so New York’s highest ranking judge did the honors at Federal Hall on Wall Street.

Four years later, Associate Justice William Cushing swore in Washington for a second term, beginning the Supreme Court tradition.

Early inaugurals were usually conducted in the House or Senate chamber.

The 1817 inaugural was held outdoors for the first time when James Monroe took the oath in front of the Old Brick Capitol, where Congress met temporarily after the original Capitol was burned by British troops in the War of 1812.

The Monroe swearing-in site is now the Supreme Court building.

The man who handled the duties 196 years ago was John Marshall, widely acknowledged as the most influential chief justice in U.S. history. He participated in a record nine swear-ins, from Thomas Jefferson to Andrew Jackson.

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President Obama enters his second term facing a tough job market and an economy recovering more slowly than most people would like.
His national approval rating may be at 52 percent and as WGN’s Randi Belisomo found out, his Hyde Park neighbors still believe in his message of “hope and change.”

Local News

President Obama sworn in Sunday

President Barack Obama will take the oath of office Sunday surrounded by family in a private inauguration at the White House.

The ceremony is required by the Constitution, which says presidents automatically begin their new terms at noon on Jan. 20.

But, because it falls on a Sunday, organizers scheduled a second public swearing-in for Monday.

A crowd of up to 800,000 people is expected to gather on the National Mall to witness that event.

Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts will swear the president in both days.

Vice President Joe Biden was sworn in Sunday morning in a small ceremony at his residence, the Naval Observatory.

It has been a beautiful day in the nation’s capital. Excited visitors, as far as the eye can see, pouring into the district from all over the world. Saturday—preparations all around were in high gear for Monday and the nation’s 57th Presidential Inauguration.

A busy day as well for the first family– Saturday was designated a National Day of Service leading up to the Martin Luther King Junior holiday and the president and Michele Obama were out taking part in that, as they’ve urged others to– lending a hand in renovating a local school.

A Chicago mother and son joining the first family– learning about life-saving CPR and the importance of public service.

We’re running into all sorts of high-profile Chicagoans like local rapper and actor ‘Common’ who told us how important he feels it is to be here.

As for the Illinois Inaugural Delegation– they have events Saturday and Sunday and of course, expect to figure prominently in the president’s Inaugural Ball Monday night.

Barack Obama will be re-upped as president officially Sunday. A January 20th swearing-in is constitutionally required. But as it’s a Sunday, we get a ceremonial swearing-in Monday in front of the hundreds of thousands of people who will pack the area around us here at the national mall.

Many Chicago-area students are heading to the nation’s capitol to celebrate President Obama’s second inauguration. 


After last-minute rehearsals Friday night, 54 young people representing the South Shore Drill Team hit the road. The group was selected to perform in the Presidential Inaugural Parade.


 The $45,000 trip almost did not happen, but people all over the city opened their wallets to support the trip. 


“It means everything, ” said team member, Tamisha Dorsey. “I don’t know how to explain it. I’m so happy.”

On tonight’s WGN News at Five, I spent the morning at Alcott Elementary in Lincoln Park. A group of 17 students, along with their social studies teacher Jennifer Vincent, will be heading to Washington D.C. this weekend for President Obama’s second Inauguration celebration.

It’s part of a travel program the teacher has implemented. Another group of her students traveled to Washington last year. My feature on how they’re getting there and what it means for the students will be posted above after it airs.

A dress rehearsal was held Sunday in the Nation’s capitol with stand-ins for the President, First Lady, and daughters Sasha and Malia.

This year’s ceremony is not expecting as many people as four years ago, but numbers could range from 600,000 to 800,000 people in attendance.

Nearly 2 million people were present for President Obama’s inauguration in 2009.

The president will actually be sworn-in on Sunday at The White House, but the large-scale oath-taking ceremony takes place the next day.

Mr. Obama will be using two bible during his swearing in, the first President Abraham Lincoln’s personal bible as well as Dr. Martin Luther King’s traveling bible.