What You Missed While Not Watching Yesterday’s Presidential Inauguration

America's 57th presidential inaugural featured poetry, patriotism, and pop stars, plus a whole lot of Chuck Schumer

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Brooks Kraft / Corbis for TIME

Beyoncé sings the national anthem at the ceremonial swearing-in of President Barack Obama at the U.S. Capitol in Washington on Jan. 12, 2013.

11:26 a.m. Barack Obama is already President — again. The oath was administered on Sunday. But now comes the fun part, the public display. Left unexplained is Charles Schumer, the senior Senator from New York, who is now standing on the Capitol steps, before hundreds of thousands, giving what sounds like an inaugural address of his own. “Far too many doubt the great future of this nation,” he says. “Americans have always been and still are a practical, optimistic, problem-solving people.”

11:28 a.m. Mystery solved. Schumer is apparently the day’s M.C., as chairman of something called the Joint Congressional Committee on Inaugural Ceremonies, one of those nifty congressional creations with unspeakable acronyms. And who can deny him his moment in the spotlight, what with all these years in the shadow of majority leader Harry Reid, wrestling with Illinois’ Dick Durbin for cable-news bookings?

11:33 a.m. Myrlie Evers-Williams, the widow of civil-rights leader Medgar Evers, gives the invocation. Her husband was assassinated in 1963 and is buried at Arlington as a veteran. “Approximately four miles from where we are assembled, the hallowed remains of men and women rest in Arlington Cemetery, they who believed, fought and died for this country,” she says. “May their spirit infuse our being to work together with respect, enabling us to continue to build this nation.”

(VIDEO: Obama’s Speech, in 180 Seconds)

11:35 a.m. An antiabortion protester has climbed a tree on the Capitol grounds and started yelling. He won’t stop. And the police won’t stop him. But he can be heard at the podium.

11:38 a.m. Evers-Williams is followed by the Brooklyn Tabernacle Choir, which is clearly the work of Schumer. Who knew that Brooklyn had a tabernacle choir? But they tear it up, with a soaring rendition of “The Battle Hymn of the Republic.”

11:43 a.m. Tennessee’s Lamar Alexander, a Republican Senator, comes to the podium to point out how nice it is that the United States handles power transfers without mob, coup or insurrection. He quotes Alex Haley, the author of Roots, who said, “Find the good and praise it.” “Today we praise the American tradition of transferring or reaffirming immense power,” he says. It’s classy. It also suggests he had to look beyond Obama to find the good.

11:45 a.m. Biden gets fake sworn in on the Biden family Bible, which is five inches thick, like the letter S in the Encyclopaedia Britannica. (Biden’s real oath ceremony also happened Sunday.) He trips on the word support but recovers. Afterward, the band plays a march that sounds like “The Itsy-Bitsy Spider.”

11:48 a.m. James Taylor, who long ago became the Democratic Party’s official troubadour, sings “America the Beautiful.” Somewhere, this must please Mitt Romney. Or not at all.

(Interactive Panorama: Obama’s Inauguration 2013)

11:50 a.m. Now it’s time for Obama’s fake oath of office. He uses a Bible from Lincoln and a Bible from Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Chief Justice John Roberts outperforms his own record at this kind of thing. The crowd cheers.

11:53 a.m. Obama starts his speech, quoting the Constitution. But this is not one of those let’s-all-come-together-and-rise-above kind of speeches. It’s a storm-the-castle kind of speech. “We, the people” are doing the storming. And they are demanding equality for gays and women, immigration reform, the preservation of entitlements and a reckoning of the reality of climate change. The whole thing is first person plural. “We cannot mistake absolutism for principle, or substitute spectacle for politics, or treat name-calling as reasoned debate,” he says. It’s a warning to his foes.

12:12 p.m. He is done. Lots of cheers. Then Kelly Clarkson, who was a big Ron Paul fan in the Republican primaries, takes the stage, giggling like a teenager at the prom, with platinum hair. Libertarian American Idol singers, apparently, can really sing.

12:16 p.m. The Inaugural poet, Richard Blanco, reads his poem “One Today,” which is elegantly bare, constructed of simple sentences meant as a sensory montage of the country and what binds it together. It ends, “All of us, facing the stars hope, a new Constitution waiting for us to map it, waiting for us to name it together.”

12:26 p.m. The Rev. Luis León ends with a prayer. He says, “Brown, black or white, male or female, first generation or immigrant American, or daughter of the American Revolution, gay or straight, rich or poor” are created in God’s image. This is notable because León was a last-minute replacement for another pastor, Louie Giglio, who lost the gig after it was revealed that he said decades ago that homosexuality was a sin.

(PHOTOS: Inauguration Day Photo Album: An Inside View of the Pageantry and Parade)

12:28 p.m. One word: Beyoncé.

12:32 p.m. The ceremony over, Obama walks up the stairs to leave but won’t go inside the Capitol. He turns around to look over the crowd. “I want to take a look one more time,” he says to someone nearby, words that are picked up by a television microphone. “I’m not going to see this again.” For a moment, he looks alone, with several hundred thousand people before him and the whole world watching.

12:43 p.m. Inside the Capitol, Obama is surrounded by the congressional leadership, signing some nominations with ceremonial pens. Senate majority leader Reid wants a pen, but Schumer tries to head him off. “Are we supposed to take them?” Schumer asks his boss, “Harry.” Obama perks up. “Are you trying to steal the pens?” the President asks. Obama solves the problem by giving Reid a pen from his jacket pocket. Reid looks pleased.

12:50 p.m. About 250 VIPs are invited to the traditional postceremony lunch in the Capitol. The guest list ranges from Senators to former Presidents to Jill Biden’s sister. An announcer asks them to take their seats. Nearly no one does. These people sit when they feel like it. The announcer appears to learn this after the second time he asks, 10 minutes later. They still don’t sit.

1:15 p.m. Schumer welcomes everyone to the lunch, talks about the statues in the room and the food everyone will eat. The wine, he says, is from New York. This is a bit like saying the lobster is from the Napa Valley.

2:35 p.m. Biden stands to give a toast. “I raise my glass to a man who never never, never operates out of fear. Always operates out of confidence.” He’s not talking about Obama. “I’m toasting you, Chuck.” Lots of laughter. The jig is up. Schumer is the next President of the United States. Time for a parade.

With reporting by Katy Steinmetz and Elizabeth Dias.

MORE: 9 Things You Probably Didn’t Know About the Inauguration

88 comments
RonSmith
RonSmith

where was Blind Melon Chitlin?  I enjoyed his racially charged clueless 1969 style speech from last time.


You would think he would learn the old school Black Panthers dont tone it down over the years they simply start churches like Reverend Wright

deconstructiva
deconstructiva

12:28 pm (am, whatever): Two words: Beyonce. Lip-synched.

FIFY.


sacredh
sacredh

"11:35 a.m. An antiabortion protester has climbed a tree on the Capitol grounds and started yelling. He won’t stop. And the police won’t stop him. But he can be heard at the podium."

.

I wonder how many people saw him thought "He's why abortions should be legal"?



 

PedroMeyer
PedroMeyer

Michael, if you thought you were funny or intelligent, you come across as neither 

AnnMarie
AnnMarie

Richard Blanco's poem did not say "a new constitution waiting for us to map it" -  (that wouldn't make any sense in context) - it says

" all of us—
facing the stars
hope—a new constellation
waiting for us to map it,
waiting for us to name it—together."

kathy
kathy

Love your summary as I always do, Michael.  I also thought "Oh no, Schumer's going to give an inaugural>"


I think the speech was not a storm the castle speech.  I think it was "This is what the liberal vision is of the constitutional creed."  I didn't think these were so much promises of what the agenda is, as a defense of the liberal point of view. But this is quibbling.  The specific agenda will surely get laid out in the SOTU.

bgrayesq
bgrayesq

I hope that "gig" is up is the result of bad editing of your intended JIG is up. In other words, the game is over. The gig is up doesn't mean anything that I'm aware of.

MehrganHD
MehrganHD

One million attended this clown exhibition and just 14 missed work.

Welcome to sinecure America

superlogi
superlogi

I missed what I thought I would miss, leftist politician moving even further to his left.  In short, no news and no surprises.

krw1943
krw1943

Every point you list makes me feel better I did not waste my time watching. It might as well been a wake for the country. A very sad day. It highlighted the absurdity of the Left and the abysmal ignorance of too many of our citizens.

fitty_three
fitty_three

@kathy  

I think he was using it to draw a clear distinction between his view of America, and cast it in terms of it's "self evident" qualities in contrast to what the GOP championed. 

I think he was describing the issues of our time, laying out what he was going to do about them.

kathy
kathy

@bgrayesq Michael has a longstanding problem with homophones.  Doesn't catch them. Spell check doesn't catch them because there are actual words spelled that way.

bobell
bobell

Consider that it might have been an attempt at a pun.

autumnpulstar
autumnpulstar

You DO realize that it as a Federal Holiday and just about everyone in DC had the day off?

mantisdragon91
mantisdragon91

@MehrganHD And one clown showed up and posted on here. Thanks for adding nothing of value as usual

bobell
bobell

@MehrganHD It was a holiday. You know, in honor of that Colored preacher, the one who wanted us all to love and care for our fellow humans.  Milk of human kindness, that sorta stuff.  Real big among the 47 percent.

You're really not going to enjoy the next four years, are you?  Good.

nflfoghorn
nflfoghorn

si·ne·cure [ snə kyr ]   

  1. paid job requiring little work: a job or position that provides a regular income, but requires little or no work
  2. paid church office without duties: a church office whose holder is paid, but is not required to do pastoral work

...Really??

Here's a third definition that fits the first two:

3. Ritt Momney. 

jabberwolf
jabberwolf

@nflfoghorn 
No just his intent is fake.
His lies are real as the bibles are as well.
Just because you swear on one, doesnt make you any smarter, any more just, or help anyone else more.

Obama is a failure - but not as much a failure as those like you that voted for him.

sacredh
sacredh

Obama put his hand on the Bible and didn't burst into flames. Personally, I only get blisters.

fitty_three
fitty_three

@nflfoghorn  

Let me guess -- nah.  I thought it was Hutch.  Oh, well.

Who in HELL is Mark Driscoll and where the HELL is Mars Hill.

I live here FYI...

HubSch
HubSch

Probably a question of your personal political location - from your perspective on the far right, even McCain looks like a leftist - right?

bbsnews
bbsnews

@krw1943 It was such an uplifting speech there was not a dry eye in the house, or across much of the country I'd wager. So feel free to make light of it. That's worked out for the GOP so well so far...

LibelFreeZone
LibelFreeZone

@krw1943  A very VERY sad day, indeed.  Low information voters is the only reason Owebama is still president.

nflfoghorn
nflfoghorn

Poor baby.  I didn't watch that much either but it wasn't because I'm sad for the country.  I think the train has left the station and you were left off.  Next time get on schedule!

nflfoghorn
nflfoghorn

Yesterday's crowd:

We came unarmed.  Every time.

nflfoghorn
nflfoghorn

'Sounds to me like he's insinecure.

jabberwolf
jabberwolf

@nflfoghorn Mitt actually works and produces jobs.

Obama simply takes from everyone else and creates hack and temporary jobs.

nflfoghorn
nflfoghorn

@jabberwolf @nflfoghorn Had Momney been sworn in he coulda used TWO books - a Bible and the Book o' Mormon, his professed co-holy book.  Swearing on those, a Qu'ran, a Talmud, Mein Kampf, the Code of Hammurabi and My Pet Goat combined doesn't make the swearer any more or less of a believer so on that point I agree totally.  But swearing on a Bible has been a presidential tradition forever and you have made the conscious decision to diss our president on doing so because you, quite frankly, have no other reason to do so other than you just hate his guts.  

I swear you guys don't know when you're beat.


Robbert5
Robbert5

I completely support and second your idea: no more swearing in on a bible!  Let's have real separation of church and state just like the founders imagined.

bbsnews
bbsnews

@@jabber He's such a "failure" jabber that you are not fit to polish his boots...

President Obama is one of the finest US Presidents in modern times. The 'bagger controlled GOP will be taught about in schools in the future in the same way that McCarthyism is. A dark time for America because of an ill-informed batch of racists who for a time, got control of the House of Representatives, and nearly brought this country to ruin.

Then you lost lost lost. Even your gerrymandering won't protect you in the midterms...

Sue_N
Sue_N

@sacredh He also mentioned God and didn't choke. This guy is good.

nflfoghorn
nflfoghorn

Didn't mean to scoop you, Fitty!

superlogi
superlogi

@nflfoghorn And, that's the real problem, foghorn.  Because you should be sad for the country.

nflfoghorn
nflfoghorn

LibelFreeZone

...see also NewFreedomBlog, Freeinpa, DealWelcher....

fitty_three
fitty_three

BTW, I thought this was funny.  An excepted portion of their slogan:

[...Mars Hill Church exists to make disciples and plant churches...] 

Sort of a factory/agriculture thing?

superlogi
superlogi

@bbsnews @jabberwolf Barry Obama is a communist.  I fought a war in the late 60s's against communists.  I still feel the same way about communists today.  Does that suffice?


PS  The communist system has alway failed in every instance.  Trying to revive it under the Obama system won't change it's success.  With regard to proof, you only need to look into any history book that is assuming you can read.

superlogi
superlogi

@nflfoghorn @superlogi This country was built on the notion that you could be whatever you wanted to be, not because you had to pay for what someone else wanted to be.  That's all changed for the next four years.

superlogi
superlogi

@jabberwolf @nflfoghorn What would a fool like you know about economics?  The fact is, you haven't the foggiest notion what I believe.  Seriously, you are stupid.

bbsnews
bbsnews

@jabberwolfYour moniker is appropriate. Because what you write is nonsense, or pure jabber. I especially love your amazing grasp of economics when you write about the only way to pay down the debt and you leave out growth...

In any case, you have already shown your amazing grasp of economics... So I would like you to prove, based upon source documentation and first person accounts that President Obama "didnt [sic] take simple economics" or what is obviously your implication, that he does not know about economics.

Okay, prove it. You are writing utter nonsense. How do you expect anyone to take you seriously when you write such drivel? What drives your hatred of President Obama? I can guess, since he's been one of the best US Presidents in modern times how that might make a partisan such as yourself seethe with jealousy but why sit around and write lies defining your hatred and your self-imposed ignorance?

Please tell me the blog page over at the White House blog where you have outlined for the President the _solutions_ that you are proposing with your vast knowledge of economics? What's the link? It's really time you and that sock-puppet superlogi should have to stand up for what you write and back it up with some facts...

nflfoghorn
nflfoghorn

@superlogi @nflfoghorn Who said anything about being "economically equal"? You assume way too much.  

There are profound differences in cultures, races, and levels of income.  And yet, despite such gaps between the haves and have-nots, we still get a chance to elect our leaders in spite of truth-spinning, super PACs and billionaires trying to buy our influence. 

jabberwolf
jabberwolf

@nflfoghorn 
You asked so lets go through the numbers:
7.8 % unemployment (yes down but at an increase from 9 to 16 trillion in debt)
There are many more that are "under employed" thats not taken into consideration.
The debt we have now is insanely high, is SHORT TERM, which means that when interest rates rise, so will our ability to pay JUST THE INTEREST on the debt>

The future means LESS government services because we simply wont be able to afford them AT ALL, but our dollar will be devalued along with your income and everything you own because the dollar will have hit high inflation (the only way to pay debt down left to us). Businesses will have left because the USA will not make economic sense to invest in, the taxes higher, and revenue less.

This and all because idiots like Obama and larger idiots like you who follow him didnt take simple economics and decided it was easier to cheer a slogan then look up historical economic facts and errors. Errors that you and Obama believe in still.

outsider
outsider

@53_3 @superlogi 


He really does confuse his opinion with facts. 


So much so, that he can't be bothered to link to anything backing up what he says. 


fitty_three
fitty_three

@superlogi

You confuse your opinion with facts.

Face it, you're a social Darwinist and no one's buying.

superlogi
superlogi

@nflfoghorn No, just your definition of it does.  The fact is, it isn't the government's job to make us all economically equal.  Unfortunately, that's what most progressives including your messiah thinks it means.

superlogi
superlogi

@kbanginmotown @nflfoghorn And, about 8.5 million of been destroyed.  With regard to the DOW, its remarkable what you can do with less if you need to.  Unfortunately, that only works if someone is buying your product or service.

superlogi
superlogi

@nflfoghorn And with it a brand new era of progressive policies which will kill two birds with one stone.  It will continue the inexorable destruction of not only what once was the strongest economy in the world, but the freest country in the world.  And, you voted for it to happen, all in the name of the equity of wealth redistribution and social equality.  

kbanginmotown
kbanginmotown

@nflfoghorn And another 8,000 US jobs were created, and the Dow's up another 50 points since Friday morning...

nflfoghorn
nflfoghorn

Explain why I should then.  You didn't like the election result, fine.  The sun still rose this morning.