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Low-key start to second term for Obama

08 december 2012, 14:05
President Barack Obama will begin his second term in low-key fashion, with a small private swearing-in ceremony on January 20 before he takes the oath of office before the eyes of the world the next day, AFP reports.

The double ceremony is necessary because the US Constitution states that presidential terms end at noon on January 20, but the pageantry of inauguration ceremonies traditionally are not held when that day falls on a Sunday.

Obama will then re-take the oath of office in the traditional spot, on a platform erected at the west front of the US Capitol Building, on Monday, January 21, on a day of parades and glittering inaugural balls.

It will not be the first time that Obama has had to undergo two separate swearing-in ceremonies.

In 2009, Chief Justice John Roberts stumbled over the script of the oath when he swore Obama in at the Capitol, and was called to the White House to repeat the oath over what officials said was "an abundance of caution."

This year's events will likely lack the historic echoes of Obama's first inaugural, when more than two million people crowded onto the National Mall to watch him formally become America's first black president.

The committee said Obama would hold a national day of service before his inauguration, as he did in 2009, and would take part in events with his wife Michelle and cabinet members to honor civil rights icon Martin Luther King.

It also said that the four living former presidents -- George W. Bush, Bill Clinton, George Bush and Jimmy Carter -- would serve as honorary co-chairs of the Presidential Inaugural Committee.

"Desperate Housewives" actress Eva Longoria, an Obama supporter who helped the president reach out to the electorally crucial Hispanic community, will serve as one of the co-chairs of the committee.

Organization for the 57th presidential inauguration will be overseen by key Obama political operatives, including his 2012 campaign manager Jim Messina and senior communications aide Stephanie Cutter.

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