July 03, 2015 07:55 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 Japanese-Americans Remember End of World War II

    VOA goes to a gathering of old men who served in the American military during the war. They fought against Japan while their families were being detained in internment camps in the US. “I…felt very strongly that we needed to show that we were patriotic Americans.” | As It Is More

  • Audio Chinese Children Seeking a Happy Ending

    Repeated cases of child abuse in China have shocked the country. They also have led to more protection of children’s rights. But child welfare activists say the government and private groups need to do more to stop neglect and violence against children. More

  • Tunisia Attack

    Audio Tunisia Detains 12 in Connection with Hotel Attacks

    Also in the news today, an Afghan court is canceling death sentences given to four men for a mob killing of a woman; At least 36 dead in Philippines boat accident, and dozens remain missing; and the United States and Japan will face each other again in the Women’s World Cup final this Sunday. More

  • President Barack Obama, accompanied by Vice President Joe Biden, speaks in the Rose Garden of the White House in Washington, July 1, 2015.

    Audio U.S. and Cuba to Reopen Embassies

    Sec. of State John Kerry will travel to Havana to raise the U.S. flag over the first American embassy there in 50 years. Also in the news, Islamic State group claims attacks in Egypt’s Sinai; Liberian president calls new Ebola case “disturbing”; U.S. advances to Women's World Cup final. More

  • Audio Clash Reported at Border of Vietnam, Cambodia

    Cambodian and Vietnamese social media have been reporting on a clash along the border between the two countries. The fighting happened Sunday. Hundreds of Cambodians and Vietnamese were involved. At least 10 people were reported injured. More

Featured Stories

  • South Korea Film Terminator Genisys

    Video Demons, Male Dancers and Dinosaurs at Theaters Everywhere

    Arnold Schwarzenegger returns as the Terminator and Channing Tatum reprises his role as stripper Magic Mike. But there are also scary movies about demon children, comedies with a talking teddy bear and a marijuana-smoking secret agent; and a documentary about the late British singer Amy Winehouse. More

  • Audio Sweet Potatoes as Medicine

    Researchers have helped to reduce a major health problem with a simple food – the orange sweet potato. A program created to help farmers grow the crop has unexpected and healthy results. Some reports say this is the first time an agricultural program has had a major effect on health. More

  • Video Robots Ready to Work in Restaurants

    For many years, machines have been doing work that people once did, including some difficult jobs. Search and rescue operations employ high technology robots. But there is another area that may soon take jobs traditionally held by human beings: the restaurant industry. More

  • Audio More American Fathers Stay Home to Raise Kids

    More and more fathers in the United States are trading in the traditional role of breadwinner -- the person earning money -- for the role of stay-at-home dad. Meet two fathers who have been on this road for the past decade. You can also learn some great words such as "clique" and "masculinity." More

  • Audio Don't Be Caught With Your Pants Down

    Are you too big for your boots? Do you often fly by the seat of your pants? Learn what these clothing expressions mean and so many others. You may be excited to get started but keep your shirt on! Be patient. All you have to do is click on this episode of Words and Their Stories. More

Practice Your Writing

Confessions of an English Learner
Confessions of an English Learner blog

Tell us About Our Programs