Bush Takes Oath of Office

Published January 21, 2005

| FoxNews.com

President George W. Bush took the oath of office Thursday for a second term as the nation's 43rd president, pledging to spread freedom to "break the reign of hatred and resentment."

In his inaugural speech, Bush said America's well-being depends on progress elsewhere in the world.

"In a world moving toward liberty, we are determined to show the meaning and promise of liberty," he said. "No one is fit to be a master and no one deserves to be a slave."

During the oath of office, Bush rested his hand on the same Bible he used in 2001, at the start of his first term. Supreme Court Chief Justice William H. Rehnquist (search), who is recovering from thyroid cancer treatments, administered the oath.

Rehnquist entered the stage with the help of a walking cane. A breathing tube or device to help him speak was visible beneath his scarf, and his voice was raspy as he asked the president to repeat after him.

"I, George Walker Bush, do solemnly swear that I will faithfully execute the office of the president of the United States and will to the best of my ability preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States, so help me God," Bush swore.

After Bush delivered a 20-minute inaugural speech, congressional leaders and about 200 other invited guests joined Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney for a luncheon in Statuary Hall, where the guests of honor were given an official framed photo of the swearing-in ceremony, flags that flew over the U.S. Capitol during the ceremony and lead crystal hurricane lamps produced by Lenox Inc.

The inaugural lunch also celebrated the bicentennial of the Lewis and Clark expedition to the Pacific and the 100th anniversary of Theodore Roosevelt's inaugural at the Capitol.

In brief remarks that made no mention of specific legislative battles ahead on Social Security and tax reforms, judicial confirmations and other measures, Bush said he was "looking forward to putting my heart and soul into this job for four more years."

"We're ready to go to work," replied Sen. Trent Lott, R-Miss., chairman of the Joint Congressional Committee on Inaugural Ceremonies.

The 1.7-mile inaugural parade featuring 11,000 people, floats, vehicles and horses was late in beginning as the luncheon took longer than the time budgeted for it.

The inauguration festivities ran deep into the night, as Bush and the first lady attended 10 black-tie balls before heading back to the White House.

'Serve a Cause Larger Than Yourself'

In attendance at Thursday's ceremony were friends and foes, including three former presidents, Bill Clinton, George H.W. Bush and Jimmy Carter, as well as Bush's November rival, Massachusetts Sen. John Kerry. The U.S. Diplomatic Corps, U.S. Supreme Court justices, members of Congress and the administration and the Joint Chiefs of Staff also attended.

House Speaker Dennis Hastert, R-Ill., administered the oath of office to Cheney, who solemnly swore to "support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic, that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same, that I take this obligation freely without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion and I will well and faithfully discharge the duties of the office on which I am about to enter, so help me God."

Lott delivered the call to order and welcoming remarks.

Accompanied by tunes performed by the U.S. Marine Band, Bush was all smiles as he descended down the steps on the west side of the Capitol building. After the oaths, the band performed "Hail to the Chief" in honor of the president and "Ruffles and Flourishes" for Cheney.

Bush spoke to the higher calling of the United States — to help the "peoples of the world who now live in tyranny and hopelessness.

"The United States will not ignore your oppression, or excuse your oppressors. When you stand for your liberty, we will stand with you," he said.

Bush also said efforts to help other nations achieve liberty need not always involve the use of weapons, but added that it was his first duty to defend the United States. He said the United States must live up to the pledges it seeks from others.

"We cannot carry the message of freedom and the baggage of bigotry at the same time," he said.

Bush also asked America's youth to invest in the ideals of American democracy.

"You have seen duty and allegiance in the determined faces of our soldiers. You have seen that life is fragile, and evil is real, and courage triumphs. Make the choice to serve in a cause larger than your wants, larger than yourself — and in your days you will add not just to the wealth of our country, but to its character," he said, spinning off of previous inauguration speeches that have asked the public to think beyond themselves and to the welfare of the nation.

Bush also asked the American public, which divided so starkly during the election, to put aside differences that would prevent the United States from moving forward in achieving great purposes. He invoked the unity experienced by the nation after the Sept. 11, 2001, terror attacks as an objective to seek.

"We felt the unity and fellowship of our nation when freedom came under attack, and our response came like a single hand over a single heart. And we can feel that same unity and pride whenever America acts for good, and the victims of disaster are given hope, and the unjust encounter justice, and the captives are set free," he said.

Bush expressed confidence in the eventual spread of freedom "because freedom is the permanent hope of mankind, the hunger in dark places, the longing of the soul.

"America, in this young century, proclaims liberty throughout all the world, and to all the inhabitants thereof. Renewed in our strength, tested but not weary, we are ready for the greatest achievements in the history of freedom," he said.

Starting With a Prayer

Bush started his day at St. John's Church, located across the White House, for a traditional pre-inauguration service.

Rev. Luis Leon gave a sweeping inaugural sermon, discussing post-Sept. 11 fears and the general "goodness" of people. Leon said his and his wife's friendship with Bush had grown over the last four years.

Invoking the famed John Winthrop phrase used by the late President Reagan about "a city on the hill," Leon said he hoped the nation could again claim the sense of community that those words inspired.

"I hope we can become better people," Leon said. As a servant of God, he told the president, he hoped he could invite everyone to be good people, better people, whether black, brown, rich, poor, gay or straight.

"We are one," the reverend said, adding that he prayed for the president to help the nation overcome fear brought on by terrorism.

"Do not let our fear overcome our faithfulness," he urged.

Leon also delivered the invocation for the ceremony, and Pastor Kribyjon Caldwell performed the benediction.

Parades and Protests

During the parade, the Senate convened and approved by voice vote Bush's new nominees for the Departments of Agriculture and Education — Nebraska Gov. Mike Johanns and Bush adviser Margaret Spellings, respectively. Both were approved by Senate committees on Wednesday. National security adviser Condoleezza Rice (search) was also confirmed by the Senate Foreign Relations Committee to take the post of secretary of state, replacing retiring Secretary Colin Powell, but Democrats demanded that her confirmation be held up a week so they can review her answers from two days of hearings that ended Wednesday morning.

Gaining access to the area around the presidential inauguration and parade route was very difficult. More than 100 city blocks are shut down, manhole covers have been welded shut and concrete barriers and security fences will restrict pedestrians. A 120-person high-tech monitoring team will have cameras at key sites. Anyone planning on attending the inauguration ceremony or parade will have to pass through some type of security.

Still, protesters given space along Fourth Street and Pennsylvania Avenue on the parade route made their views known loudly throughout the day. The anti-war group International ANSWER (search) assembled bleachers and a stage for protesters to come up and vent their various frustrations. As protesters awaited for sympathizer Rep. Cynthia McKinney, D-Ga., to join them, Michael Berg, father of Nicholas Berg, who was beheaded last year by terrorists in Iraq, blamed Bush for his son's death. Other demonstrations were planned throughout the downtown area.

To close out the week of activities, a national prayer service will be held from 10 a.m. to 11 a.m. at the National Cathedral in Washington on Friday.

FOX News' Sharon Kehnemui Liss and Liza Porteus and The Associated Press contributed to this report.

URL

http://www.foxnews.com/story/2005/01/21/bush-takes-oath-office