Obama 2.0: ‘Shoulders to the Wheel of History’

Photograph by Brendan Smialowski/AFP via Getty Images

President Barack Obama and partners, First Lady Michelle Obama and Vice President Joe Biden. Photo by Brendan Smialowski/AFP via Getty Images.


At the National Building Museum, one of Washington’s great public spaces, a freshly inaugurated President Barack Obama greeted supporters at the start of his second term last night, at one of many receptions and balls surrounding today’s official ceremony on the National Mall.

He opened with a note about the first lady’s new hair-do.

“I love her bangs,” the president said of his wife’s cut.

Presidents make a lot of decisions, he said — one of the most important being who will serve as a partner during the course of the presidency — and no, he wasn’t talking about his wife this time.

“I could not have a better partner than Joe Biden,” Obama said.

And in the spirit of dancing with` the one who brung ya,’ he gave a nod, of course, to Stevie Wonder, whose “Signed, Sealed and Delivered” has brought Obama to a couple rounds of inaugural balls.

“One of the things that made this campaign unique was the degree of investment and ownership people had in this common project of ours, because you understood this was not just about a candidate; it was not just about Joe Biden or Barack Obama,” the president told his audience. “This was about us, who we are as a nation, what values we cherish, how hard we’re willing to fight to make sure that those values live not just for today but for future generations.”

“All of you here understood and were committed to the basic notion that when we put our shoulders to the wheel of history, it moves,” he said. “It moves.  It moves forward.  And that’s part of what we celebrate when we come together for inauguration.”

“Make sure you know that what we’re celebrating is not the election or swearing-in of a president,” he said in closing last night. “What we’re doing is celebrating each other, and celebrating this incredible nation that we call home. ”

 

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