January 29, 2015 20:21 UTC

USA

Barack Obama Begins 2nd Term as President

Read, listen and learn English with this story. Double-click on any word to find the definition in the Merriam-Webster Learner's Dictionary.

President Barack Obama receives the oath of office from Chief Justice John Roberts at the ceremonial swearing-in at the U.S. Capitol during the 57th Presidential Inauguration in Washington, Monday, Jan. 21, 2013.
President Barack Obama receives the oath of office from Chief Justice John Roberts at the ceremonial swearing-in at the U.S. Capitol during the 57th Presidential Inauguration in Washington, Monday, Jan. 21, 2013.

Multimedia

Play or download an MP3 of this story
From VOA Learning English, this is IN THE NEWS in Special English.
 
This week, Barack Obama began his second term as president of the United States. The public swearing-in ceremony took place on Monday at the Capitol building in Washington.
 
In a speech, Mr. Obama read from parts of the United States Constitution and the Declaration of Independence. 
 
“What makes us exceptional, what makes us American is our allegiance to an idea articulated in a declaration made more than two centuries ago.  We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal.”    
 
Officials estimated that over one million people gathered on Washington’s “National Mall” for the inaugural ceremonies. Some came for the musical performances. But others wanted to hear how President Obama would define goals for the next four years. 
 
In his speech, Mr. Obama said he will make climate change one of his top goals. He said that failing to deal with the threat from rising temperatures would betray the world’s children. 
 
Environmental groups welcomed the president’s desire to act on climate change. The Sierra Club called his comments ‘heartening.’  It said global warming is an urgent issue for the whole world. But many opponents of Mr. Obama’s policies disagree. They say it would cost too much for the American economy to move away from using oil and other fossil fuels.
 
The president raised other issues of disagreement between the Republican and Democratic Parties. For example, he made it clear that now is the time to re-examine American immigration policies. The president predicted that some immigrants could one day become the country’s technological leaders.
 
After the speech, political leaders were quick to comment on the ceremonies. Senator Johnny Isakson, a Republican, thought the event was great. 
 
"I thought it was a great program, an uplifting program. I thought the music was fantastic, the poem was fantastic. The president's speech was thoughtful. I thought it was another testament to our constitution and our democracy."
 
Democratic Congressman John Conyers praised the inaugural address. He said he thinks President Obama will make his second term even more powerful than the first.  
 
Mr. Obama said that with 10 years of war coming to an end, and the economy recovering, now is the time for America to unite. But, Republican Senator John McCain found the speech lacking. He said it failed to improve cooperation between the two parties. Yet Senator Robert Casey, a Democrat, noted that inaugural addresses are important. 
 
"I know there are cynics who say that speeches do not matter and nothing will cut through the cynicism and partisanship. But I disagree. I think all of us at our core share some basic values as Americans. And we need to be reminded of it."  
 
Mr. Obama took the oath of office on two historic Bibles. One book had been used by President Abraham Lincoln in his 1861 inauguration. The other Bible belonged to the civil rights leader Martin Luther King, Junior. People across the United States observed the Martin Luther King federal holiday on Monday.
This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: BIJU.P.Y. from: SOUTH INDIA
01/26/2013 5:00 PM
The president's speech was, as far as we heard it, will bring about drastic changes in the world's enviornment. If America leads the way, others will follow suit. I wish his heroic dream may come true. He has a burning desire to do something for our posterity. More or less, what we are enjoying today are the outcome of our ancestors' dreams come true. Cynicism doesn't matter. The dog may bark and bark but the carvan will and must pass. I wish his inagural address may be a stepping stone to his future actions. Our great Gandhiji once said; 'Work as if you were to die tomorrow and Learn as if you would live forever'. Thank you.


by: sovath from: Cambodia
01/26/2013 8:15 AM
It's a great inaugural remark that the president desire to take action on climate change for the next four year in his 2nd term as president of the United States.

Learn with The News

  • Video Zoo Animals Show Their Artistic Sides

    Can animals be artistic? Some experts think so. Painting and music are part of efforts to keep animals happy at the Smithsonian Institution’s National Zoo in Washington, D.C. Zookeepers there believe that animals need enrichment just like people do. Their unique pieces of art are popular items. More

  • Burning vehicles are seen near the village of Ghajar on Israel's border with Lebanon, Jan. 28, 2015.

    Audio Israeli Soldiers Killed in Exchange of Gunfire with Hezbollah

    Two Israeli soldiers and a UN peacekeeping soldier were killed Wednesday along the border between Israel and Lebanon. Jordan to trade jailed suspected terrorist for hostage with IS. Afghan cabinet nominees rejected. New Greek government holds first meeting. Democratic ideals are under threat More

  • Audio Lebanese Women Make Peace One Meal at a Time

    War in Lebanon continues. Women from the opposing sides are coming together to cook – thanks to a non-profit called Ruwwad al Tanmeya-Lebanon. Experienced chefs helped the women complete training. Now they are selling their food to organizations such as the Red Cross. More

  • Audio Rights Group Accuses Ethiopia of Suppressing Media

    Human Rights Watch says Ethiopian officials are taking steps against independent media and journalists who have different opinions than the government. The report shows how the Ethiopian government has restricted independent reporting and 22 journalists have been charged with crimes. More

  • NASA

    Video NASA Keeping Watch on the Earth’s Health

    The past year has been the busiest 12-month period for the American space agency in more than 10 years. The National Aeronautics and Space Administration, NASA, launched three missions in 2014. It began a fourth project earlier this month. A fifth launch is set for this January 29. More

Featured Stories

  • NYC subway art

    Video New York's 'Underground Museum' Pleases Passerby

    For the past thirty years, artists have been asked to create works of art for New York’s huge subway and train system. The works often relate to city life or to the neighborhood of a station. Some people call it New York’s “underground art museum," with over 250 pieces of original artwork. More

  • agridrone

    Video French Farmers Are Using Drones to Examine Their Crops

    It used to be mostly the military that used small, unpiloted aircraft, called “drones.” The little planes were very costly. But as they have dropped in price more people have begun to use them. Rescue workers and farmers are among the new users. The drones save money and time. More

  • Video Is There a Better Way to Track Passenger Planes?

    New technology could help to more closely follow passenger airplanes, and find them when they crash; international group to meet next month to discuss changes. Airline industry leaders and regulators want to improve airplane safety. They want better, more dependable tracking devices. More

  • Obama

    Audio Has Obama Set the Message for the 2016 Campaign?

    “I have no more campaigns to run … I know because I won both of them.” Mr. Obama cannot run for president again – U.S. presidents may serve only two terms. But some observers say his most recent State of the Union message on the middle class sounded like a campaign speech. More

  • American Sniper

    Video With Oscar Nomination, 'American Sniper' Stirs Debate

    The movie is based on a book by Navy SEAL Chris Kyle. He is considered the deadliest marksman in the history of the United States military. The film explores how war can affect a soldier's mental and emotional health and stirs a debate on social media over its message. More

Practice Your Writing

Confessions of an English Learner blog
Confessions of an English Learner blog

 

 

 

Tell us About Our Programs