During his 18-minute inaugural speech on Martin Luther King Jr. Day, President Barack Obama used the platform of his swearing in ceremony to frame his second-term agenda.
The president also laid out an ambitious vision for the future regarding the advancement of gay rights, tolerance toward illegal immigrants, preserving social welfare programs, and stopping climate change. This morning Peter Sprigg, a senior fellow at the Family Research Council, joins “Starting Point” to weigh in on the inaugural address.
Sprigg says he liked that President Obama began his speech with a quote from the Declaration of Independence, “and was attempting to root it in the principles of our nations founding.” On the other hand, Sprigg says he was not sure Obama “went on to correctly interpret what those principles mean for today.”
Sprigg adds that social conservatives like himself “do not agree with the president’s attempt to link the modern homosexual movement with the women’s right’s movement or the civil rights movement for African-Americans.” He says “homosexuals already have all the same civil rights as anyone else – but the fact that all people are created equal as individuals does not mean all sexual behavior is equal or that all personal relationships have an equal value to society at large.”
“America's Got Talent” host Nick Cannon helped kick the party off this weekend in Washington, D.C. with the Kids’ Inaugural Ball on Saturday alongside pop stars Katy Perry, Usher and the cast of “Glee.” The concert was for the children of military families and schools in the area. It stood in contrast to the lengthy speeches and ceremony of the rest of the weekend. This morning Cannon joins Soledad O’Brien in Washington to discuss the inauguration festivities.
Cannon says the inauguration weekend has “been outstanding.”
"One of the most exciting things for me was to be able to host the inaugural ball for the youth as well as the military families," Cannon says. On being called by First Lady Michelle Obama, Cannon adds, “anytime she calls I’m going to say yes.”
On the topic of the inaugural address, Cannon says hopefully President Obama’s second term is an “opportunity for us to fulfill a lot of those promises that came across the first time.” He adds, “I expected to hear a lot of the same things we heard the first time around but this time we’re in progress to making those things happen.”
As hundreds of thousands gather on the National Mall to witness the public inauguration of President Obama, many are also celebrating Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Day. During the ceremony the president is expected to use a bible once owned by Martin Luther King Jr. as well as a bible that belonged to President Abraham Lincoln.
“I don’t think there is a better way to celebrate” Martin Luther King Jr. Day, Cannon says. “A lot of people have been saying this is a dream fulfilled but I feel its recognizing a dream in progress and beyond...to be able to have Dr. King’s presence through his bible and for the president to actually continue his mission is one of those things where you just feel like it’s the right place at the right time.”
On Monday, an estimated 800,000 people are expected to gather on the National Mall to witness the second inauguration of President Barack Obama. It will be President Obama's second time taking the oath in 24 hours and his fourth time as president. Early yesterday the president made good on a constitutional requirement, that he be sworn in on January 20th. Vice President Joe Biden also made good on that promise when he was sworn in by Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor. Sotomayor made history as the first Latina to swear in a Vice President. This morning, freshman Congressman Joaquin Castro (D-TX) joins “Starting Point” to discuss the inaugural plans.
As the masses wait to hear the president’s inaugural address, Castro says it should be “inspirational and also aspirational. It will map out not too specifically but I think in broad strokes where the president intends to take the nation in the next for years.”
He adds, “I would expect him to talk about some of the hot button issues of the day whether it’s gun safety, immigration reform, of course dealing with our fiscal situation – all of those I think he’ll touch upon but also do it in a way that uplifts the American spirit.” On whether or not those very issues with the addition of several more can all be tackled in the president’s second term Castro says, “I think we will be able to do most if not all of those things and certainly attempt to do all of them.” He adds, “All of them are important issues. I think all of them are things the president cares deeply about that many members of Congress care deeply about. But most importantly they’re things the American people care deeply about so with that momentum going forward, we’ll try to tackle them.”
For just the second time, the inauguration intersects with Martin Luther King Jr. day. A number of events will be commemorating the civil rights icon through the day.
This morning on "Starting Point," Soledad O'Brien talks with Bernice King, daughter of Martin Luther King Jr. She explains why it will be especially poignant when President Obama takes the oath for his second term on her father's bible today.
Heading into his second term in office, President Obama has vowed to press for an overhaul of the nation's immigration policies and to tackle gun control, two key issues that put him at odds with many Republican lawmakers.
Newark Mayor Cory Booker weighs in on the president's ability to pass legislation on these issues on Starting Point this morning, stressing that he thinks there is "a lot of consensus in the country despite the divisive issues."
"Nothing worthwhile is easy and the president has to gain every inch of ground but he has a lot of wind at his back right now, " Booker says. "He has been able to do a lot in his first term and I think the second term will be a good one."
Booker also weighs in on Obama's inaugural address and explains what he thinks Americans can expect to hear from the president today.
"This is a president I've heard talk about the importance of Americans stepping up. Democracy is not a spectator sport and all of us need to step up and play a role in the destiny of our country," Booker says. "At the end of the day, this is one of the greatest speakers were have seen in my generation and I'm confident that he won't only lift us up, but challenge us as a country as well."
Between 800,000 and 900,000 people are expected to crowd onto the National Mall today to watch President Obama recite the oath of office, a day after formally beginning his second term.
According to a recent CNN/ORC poll, 54% of Americans have above average expectations for the president's second term, whereas 41% describe their outlook as poor or below average.
One of the key issues Obama has said that he hopes to address in his second term is immigration, and Sen. John Barrasso talks with John King on Starting Point this morning about the GOP's willingness to tackle the important issue.
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