Formally embarking on his second term, President Barack Obama took the oath of office Sunday surrounded by family in an intimate inauguration at the White House, 24 hours before re-enacting the ceremony before a crowd of hundreds of thousands outdoors at the Capitol.
Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts, who famously flubbed the oath of office that Obama took in 2009, presided over the ceremony without a hitch shortly before noon in the White House Blue Room, an oval space with majestic views of the South Lawn and the Washington Monument.
Obama was joined for the ceremony by First Lady Michelle Obama and their daughters Sasha and Malia. After the recitation of the oath - which took only 51 seconds - the President embraced his wife and daughters Malia and Sasha, saying, "I did it."
He told the first lady, "Thank you, sweetie." His youngest daughter, Sasha, could be heard saying, "Good job, Daddy."
A small group of reporters were also in the room to witness the event.
The subdued swearing-in was a function of the calendar and the Constitution, which says presidents automatically begin their new terms at noon on Jan. 20. Because that date fell this year on a Sunday - a day on which inaugural ceremonies historically are not held - organizers scheduled a second, public swearing-in for Monday. This is the third time that a Presidential inauguration has fallen on a Sunday since the swearing-in date was moved to January 20 in 1937. The others were Dwight Eisenhower's second inauguration in 1957 and Ronald Reagan's second inauguration in 1985.
A crowd of up to 800,000 people is expected to gather on the National Mall to witness Monday's event, which will take place on the Capitol's red, white and blue bunting-draped west front.
Vice President Joe Biden was sworn in at 8:21 a.m. Sunday in a small ceremony at the Naval Observatory, his official residence. Justice Sonia Sotomayor, who was appointed by Obama during his first term, administered the oath of office to the vice president.
Biden then joined President Obama at Arlington National Cemetary for a wreath-laying ceremony at the Tomb of the Unknowns. Placing their hands over their hearts, the two leaders stood solemnly as a bugle played "Taps.''
From there, Obama joined his family at Metropolitan African Methodist Episcopal Church in downtown Washington for a service celebrating Martin Luther King Jr. The president's public swearing-in on Monday coincides with the national holiday marking the fallen civil rights leader's birthday, and Obama has invoked King's memory throughout the lead-up to the inauguration.
Later Sunday, Obama and Biden will speak at an inaugural reception attended by supporters.
Once the celebrations are over, Obama will plunge into a second-term agenda still dominated by the economy, which slowly churned out of recession during his first four years in office. The president will also seek to cement his legacy with sweeping domestic changes, pledging to achieve both an immigration overhaul and stricter gun laws despite opposition from a divided Congress.
But for one weekend at least, Washington was putting politics aside. Obama called the nation's inaugural traditions "a symbol of how our democracy works and how we peacefully transfer power.''
"But it should also be an affirmation that we're all in this together,'' he said Saturday, as he opened a weekend of inaugural activities at a Washington elementary school.
But the president will save his most expansive remarks for Monday, when he delivers his second inaugural address to the crowd gathered on the Mall and millions more watching across the country and the world. Obama started working on the speech in early December and was still tinkering with it into the weekend, aides said.
The president's address will set the stage for the policy objectives he seeks to achieve in his second term, including speeding up the economic recovery, passing comprehensive immigration and gun control measures and ending the war in Afghanistan. However, aides said Obama would save the specifics of those agenda items for his Feb. 12 State of the Union address.