See what NPR users want President Obama to remember in his second term — then send us your own thoughts. And chat with NPR reporters about the day's events and the issues looming in Obama's second term.
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Calling on Americans to "answer the call of history, and carry into an uncertain future that precious light of freedom," President Obama used his second inaugural address to push for action on the nation's problems and to say that partisan politics should not get in the way of pragmatism.
Originally published on Mon January 21, 2013 2:41 pm
Feelings of hope and change have mostly faded.
The country is in better shape than it was when Barack Obama became president four years ago. The economy is no longer in free fall, and the nation has for the most part extricated itself from seemingly endless wars abroad.
Yet as Obama prepares to enter his second term, there seems to be less optimism about his ability to address the nation's problems than was the case when he first entered the White House.
Vice President Joe Biden first ran for president in the 1980s, an up and coming young pol who was knocked out of the race. He tried again in 2008 before becoming President Obama's running mate. Now, he starts another term still number two. But at a weekend inaugural event, he declared, I'm proud to be president of the United States. His son corrected him, though one persistent question is whether the vice president may try one more run in 2016.
President Obama will be sworn in for a second term with fanfare at noon Monday, but the official swearing in was Sunday. Obama's second inauguration is a smaller affair than four years ago. But hundreds of thousands of people have come to Washington, D.C. nonetheless.
A second term for Barack Obama, of course, always means four more years in the spotlight for his wife Michelle. The first lady's time in the White House has involved work focused on children and military families, as well as plenty of focus on her fashion, which was evidenced over the last few days with the reaction to her new hairdo, which included bangs.
President Obama is the third president in a row to face the challenges of a second term, on the heels of George W. Bush and Bill Clinton. The last time there were three in a row, their names were Jefferson, Madison and Monroe. In the modern era, second terms have become notorious for getting derailed.
To find out what history may teach President Obama about navigating the next four years, we reached presidential historian Michael Beschloss. Welcome.