Second Term Inaugural Message

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

President Obama's 2nd inaugural speech was a call to action on climate change, immigration, women's rights, and other issues. Clarence Page, syndicated columnist for the Chicago Tribune, Newsday and other national publications, talks about the inauguration, the speech, and the president's second term agenda.


Clarence Page

Comments [46]

Brenda Mobley from

President Obama, we got your back keep doing what you're doing. And for those few, I repeat few who dont. Get over it. Times are changing.

Jan. 23 2013 05:03 PM
tag from new jersey

If they had their heart in the right place, they would dispense with a second inauguration festivities. It is a waste of money and resources. Save the money for the poor.

Jan. 22 2013 02:14 PM

Oh my...

Jan. 22 2013 11:51 AM
Louis from Brooklyn

Obama's speech did nothing to inspire anything. He has a Robin Hood/Welfare mentality: tax the rich and keep the poor on welfare in order to exploit them for votes. In his mind this is how someone logically rebuilds the economy. Then again, Obama believes the economy is back on track. I guess rising poverty levels, decrease in paychecks, and no new job creation is considered success.

Jan. 22 2013 11:47 AM
Edward from Washington Heights AKA pretentious Hudson Heights

Whitney Houstons singing, to me, sounds like an air raid siren.

Jan. 22 2013 11:28 AM
Ed from New Jersey

The Presidents speech laid out the most liberal agenda that any President has ever done. That is his right as the President. The second term of most Presidents have to do with legasey and their place in history. President Obama is in tune with the social direction of the country and has said the right things for the majority of people.
That being said this President has shown no ability to compromise on issues of economics and a lack of understanding on how to help improve the economy for the middle class and elderly. The United States now has the highest corporate taxes in the world, payroll taxes on everyone went up Jan. 1st and the politicians want raise federal taxes on everyone without any disscussion on controlling spending.

Jan. 22 2013 11:23 AM
DJ Heinze from New Jersey

I am dismayed by the number of comments that are about the "music" and
not about the speech, or other parts of this exciting day in America. I agree with the analysis of David Brooks on the News Hour (PBS)
last night. Obama presented in no uncertain terms HIS focus on the direction the US should take in the next four years. We may not agree, but
the stage has been set for a debate. His comments about CITIZENS taking part in governing will probably will go unoticed.
Blanco's well spoken poem made the day for me, but not one comment here about it!

Jan. 22 2013 11:01 AM
The Truth from Becky

Michael B - I saw two country western groups perform the star spangled banner this weekend at sporting events, lots of embellishing in those runs, high notes et al, so there goes your "R&B" conspiracy theory...smdh

Jan. 22 2013 10:50 AM

The remarks of the last caller leads me to believe the POTUS is nothing more than a talking head. He just basically repeats what's on the teleprompter. ARRRGH! This woman called in with an axe to grind. What a hater?!

Does it make President Obama's speech less sincere or meaningful b/c he has speech writers to help him compose his speeches. Keep in mind ALL politicians make promises to get elected. Unlike his last term the rose colored glasses off at least that's what I felt from yesterday's speech.

Jan. 22 2013 10:41 AM
Bob from Huntington

In the context of its time, the Vietnam War era, Jimi Hendrix's version with its sonic recreation of the bombs bursting in air, was absolutely brilliant. Let's not forget that Hendrix was a veteran who had strong feelings about his military compatriots. So while his version could be taken by anti-war listeners as a recreation of the horrors of war, it could also be a tribute to those in combat must endure.

Jan. 22 2013 10:40 AM
fuva from harlemworld

So, MichaelB, what -- we can't be wonky AND musical enthusiasts? Keep your one note to your self.
And Whitney's and Marvin's were none of that...

Jan. 22 2013 10:40 AM
Steve from East Village, NY

Marvin Gaye's rendition of the Star Spangled Banner that Mr. Page was referring to was performed at NBA All-Star Game at the L.A. Forum in 1983, definitely one of the best, and my personal favorite! Mr. Page, you're a great journalist--you can't mess that up!

Jan. 22 2013 10:39 AM
Steve from Manhattan

Marvin Gaye's rendition of the Star Spangled Banner that Mr. Page was referring to was performed at NBA All-Star Game at the L.A. Forum in 1983, definitely one of the best, and my personal favorite! Mr. Page, you're a great journalist--you can't mess that up!

Jan. 22 2013 10:36 AM
Fred Plotkin from New York City

While Whitney Houston was not my favorite singer for all things, her 1991 Super Bowl performance of the Star Spangled Banner just at the start of the first Gulf War was intensely musical, dramatic and of the moment. About yesterday's inaugural: someone needs to tell Justice Antonin Scalia that Aretha Franklin wants her hat back.

Jan. 22 2013 10:35 AM
cheryl clarke from Jersey City

President Obama: why is the little girl "born into the bleakest of poverty"?

Jan. 22 2013 10:35 AM
MichaelB from Morningside Heights

Now we're doing music criticism? OK, how's this?

The Star Spangled Banner has become just another cliched, schlock, over-the-top R&B number, the way it is consistently performed at big events, completely losing the historical significance of the song in the process. We don't hear that part of it, only the vocal histrionics.

It's the equivalent of how holidays have become co-opted by commercial interests -- the important original meanings are drowned out.

And for the most part, these musical interpretations aren't even interesting musically -- they have little musicality and less subtlety.

I now await perdition from the supporters of these renditions.

Jan. 22 2013 10:34 AM
Vlad Lojko from Central, NJ

Here's a more "traditional" version of the National Anthem I heard during a Globetrotters game....

Jan. 22 2013 10:33 AM

I think the old adage applies here:

ACTION speaks a WHOLE lot louder than words!!

Can we really tolerate four more years of missed opportunity and half measures??

If we do, at least it will be without Timothy "Buddy of Blankfein" Geithner.

Jan. 22 2013 10:32 AM
A Rodman from North Jersey

The best national anthem performance --- No question here, the late, Whitney Houston. I still get goosebumps when I hear it today!

Jan. 22 2013 10:32 AM
antonio from baySide

The country, media etc. conflate common sense with liberalism.
Take fracking. It's harmful to the environment, it's a fact.
As yourself this question...
Would Teddy Roosevelt be for fracking?

Jan. 22 2013 10:31 AM
hicoachrich from Murray Hill

Beyonce wouldn't make my Top 10...if you watch sports you have seen MANY great ones...but it was nice

Jan. 22 2013 10:31 AM
Steve from Manhattan

Favorite version of 'The Star Spangled Banner'? Whitney Houston's. Hands down.

Jan. 22 2013 10:31 AM
Bobby G from East Village

Who is rubbing whose face in it? Maybe Obama is defending those Americans who the Republicans called "the takers." I disagree with Brian Lehrer's "political analysis." Sounds like Rick Santorum to me.

Jan. 22 2013 10:30 AM
fuva from harlemworld

Whitney, Marvin.

Jan. 22 2013 10:30 AM
fuva from harlemworld

Beyonce wasn't bad. No hate, but she's no Whitney Houston or Marvin Gaye.

Jan. 22 2013 10:29 AM
gene from Manhattan

But it wasn't just Romney who characterized 47% of the population as 'taker's'. That term has been used continuously by the political right to denigrate people who are on Social Security, in armed conflict, or poorer, to delegitimize them and their programs. It is quite reasonable for the President of the United States to publicly state that he believes these programs are critical to a well-ordered society.

Jan. 22 2013 10:28 AM
hicoachrich from Murray Hill

Also disagree with 'rubbing noses' in it analysis...more of courageous statement of beliefs and values without wishy-washy language typically used too often to appease the opposition...Prgressives need to be proud of their values and beliefs and stop apologizing for them---POTUS 44 did that gloriously yesterday

Jan. 22 2013 10:27 AM
Brian from Red Bank, NJ


If there is a political strategy at play in Obama's speech it seems to be one more of joining with the people against business interest groups not beating up on the GOP. I think Obama sees the GOP as having set him up perfectly to harness populist energy and any damage he does to Republicans is simply collateral damage at this point.


Jan. 22 2013 10:27 AM
fuva from harlemworld

The writing of the speeches is besides the point, unless you judge a president/ politician based on his/her writing skills. Whoever writes it, the speech ultimately reflects the politician's perspective, which is what really matters...

Jan. 22 2013 10:24 AM
margaret fell from Queens

It's funny-- as Obama was delivering his inaugural address I told my husband that it sounded more like a state of the union speech, and when it ended, Bob Schieffer said the same thing. I also commented that he was throwing down the gauntlet before the Republicans. One Republican member of congress complained that the speech was not conciliatory. Well, in his first inauguration he held out the olive branch to that party, and they tossed it back in his face, so what do they expect? He has learned that he does better when he stiffens his spine and stands tall, and firm. Let the other side deal with it.

Jan. 22 2013 10:21 AM
steve from new york

Obama - a liberal progressive? Boehner - a moderate? Who is this guy? Is he so sadly misinformed, or purposely misinforming?

Jan. 22 2013 10:21 AM

...has he sprouted a pair, finally??

I really hope so.

Jan. 22 2013 10:20 AM
Gene from Manhattan

I question the use of the term 'rubbing their nose in it" and similar phrases, used to caricature sine if President Obama's speech yesterday. It is insulting and I don't think there is any reason to be insulting.

If he disagrees with what some Republican's said and some positions they held, how is that 'rubbing their noses in it'? It's just his declaration that he holds these very specific different positions,he firmly disagrees with statements such as calling people 'taker's, and he intends to forward his positions.

He has only so much opportunities to let the American public know his positions

Jan. 22 2013 10:20 AM
Mireille from Brooklyn, NY

Obama is one of the few Presidents who is so involved in his own speeches.

Jan. 22 2013 10:18 AM
Edith Smtih from Manhattan

I'm glad that the President pointed out that the legacy we leave our children includes, not only any debt,but what we do about climate change and the environment. I hope he begins to argue that we also need to leave them adequate infrastructure and a decent education system.

Jan. 22 2013 10:17 AM
The Truth from Becky

What an idiot caller Kat? - the President writes his OWN speeches, he is an AUTHOR numbskull - and even if he didn't why would he say what he doesn't believe in??? You and I must have been listening to two different President's.

Jan. 22 2013 10:17 AM

Really? I find it hard to believe that Obama writes his own speeches, given the reliance on the teleprompter.

Jan. 22 2013 10:16 AM
Sheldon from Brookyn

Yes, Obama's speech was a bit "political" but nobody wanted to hear "hope & change part 2."

Not sure it was the best place for him to take put shots at the GOP.

Obama is 4 years too late in "evolving" on gays rights and climate change.

Jan. 22 2013 10:16 AM

6:43am "Martin"???

You really need to get a life.

Jan. 22 2013 10:15 AM
Rudy from queens

With full respect to the President and to Justice Sotomayor, Brian, you seem to have missed today's most urgent news: Today is a one-day opportunity for the Democratic majority to return to a simple-majority "speaking filibuster" that would help restore functionality to the US Senate. NY Times editorial today says that the rules revision would pass with a simple majority (this being technically the first day of the session), except that some Dem Senators need persuasion.

Jan. 22 2013 10:15 AM
fuva from harlemworld

What is this preoccupation with his "tone" and so-called "digs" against Republicans? "Rubbing their noses in it"? To reference language used in current discourse to express your opinions on the issues at hand is somehow inappropriate? Please. The speech simply came across as a President expressing his perspective and agenda.

Jan. 22 2013 10:15 AM

Clarence!! Wait a minute... Boehner??? Moderate???


Jan. 22 2013 10:14 AM
john from office

It was a great day, the VICTOR spoke. So sit down.

May GOD bless OBAMA and this great nation.

To his distractors, try winning an elections before you tear him down.

Jan. 22 2013 10:14 AM

As usual, Martin, you're commenting before the interview even begins. How about this? Get out from behind your pseudonym and call in with your comments.

Jan. 22 2013 09:40 AM
Martin Chuzzlewit from Manhattan

Today's NYT has the best assessment of BarrySpeak on its front page-

Representative Pete Sessions of Texas(R)said that from the opening prayer to the closing benediction, “It was apparent our country’s in chaos and what our great president has brought us is upheaval.” He added, “We’re now managing America’s demise, not America’s great future.”

Jan. 22 2013 06:43 AM
Ed from Larchmont

It was appropriate that President Obama's inauguration took place the day before January 22nd, the 40th anniversary of Roe. President Obama campaigned on protecting abortion and contraception. And that's where he gets a lot of his funding.

Jan. 22 2013 05:42 AM

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