*(Via Yahoo News) – President Barack Obama delivered a full-throated defense of the nation’s safety net programs and vowed to tackle the problem of climate change and gay rights in his second inaugural address Monday afternoon.
“We reject that Americans must choose between caring for the generation that built this country and investing in the generation that will build its future,” Obama told the crowd of hundreds of thousands of spectators who descended on the National Mall Monday morning. “The commitments we make to each other–through Medicare, and Medicaid and Social Security–these things do not sap our initiative; they strengthen us. They do not make us a nation of takers; they free us to take the risks that make this country great.”
The president also warned in the 2,000 word speech that the country cannot succeed if a “shrinking few” succeed economically while the middle class suffers.
The festivities are more muted than four years ago, when nearly two million people showed up.
Chief Justice John Roberts administered the oath to Obama shortly before noon in front of a cheering, American flag-waving crowd from the steps of the Capitol.
In her invocation, civil rights activist and journalist Myrlie Evers-Williams prayed for strength for the nation to face the challenges ahead. A former chairperson of the NAACP and the widow of slain civil rights leader Medgar Evers, she said, “One hundred and fifty years after the emancipation proclamation and 50 years after the March on Washington, we celebrate the spirit of our ancestors.”
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