WASHINGTON – President Bush (search) kicked off the first full day of his second term Friday by bowing his head in prayer.
The Reverend Billy Graham prayed that God would give the president and Vice President Cheney "a clear mind, a warm heart" and "calmness in the midst of turmoil" as they continue to lead the country.
"Their next four years are hidden from us, but they are not hidden from you," said the 86-year-old evangelist, whom Bush credits with inspiring him to reaffirm his faith and give up drinking at age 40.
The hourlong National Prayer Service (search) is a tradition set by George Washington. About 3,200 invited family, dignitaries, administration officials and other guests filled the majestic Gothic-style sanctuary of the Washington National Cathedral for the occasion.
The service also included readings from the New and Old Testaments, prayers led by Christian and Jewish clerics, and the hymn "God of Our Fathers: "Renew our vision, restore our faith and rekindle our desire to love and to serve all humanity."
Bush did not speak at the service and was met by protesters to and from the Cathedral.
While Friday was not packed with activities — giving the president a little rest after an exhausting week of inaugural receptions, meals, balls and, of course, an oath to uphold the office of the president — Bush has a long and ambitious to-do list ahead of him, which he outlined in Thursday's inaugural speech.
The president begins his second term with a dramatically changed world view, owing largely to the Sept. 11 attacks. Bush, who dismissed the idea of "nation-building" when he ran for office in 2000, has now come to see America's security as linked to freedom and liberty in the rest of the world, particularly the turbulent Middle East.
But the ambitious and scope of the goals laid out in the president's inaugural speech were alarming to some, enough so that the State Department attempted to clarify his positions on Friday.
Bush "made clear it was not something preceded by force of arms, " State Department spokesman Richard Boucher said of Bush's pledge to spread democracy and end tyranny.
"I think you'll see him carry a new level of, shall we say, support for democratic forces in various countries," Boucher said. "It doesn't mean we abandon our friends. But many of our friends realize it's time for them to change anyway."
As for his domestic agenda, Bush will embark on a yearslong mission to transform Social Security. As lawmakers laid down their knives this week to honor Bush's inauguration, Republicans vowed to see their agenda through, while Democrats — who strongly oppose any privatization of Social Security and are critical of the mission in Iraq — were eager to assume the role of the opposition again.
One issue guaranteed to quickly re-divide lawmakers was abortion: activists on both sides planned to mark the anniversary of Roe v. Wade on Saturday. Though Chief Justice William Rehnquist administered the oath of office to Bush on Thursday, his age and battle against cancer has been a concern to Supreme Court watchers. Bush, who is anti-abortion, was scheduled to speak to an anti-abortion rally in Washington by telephone Monday.
Bush was staying in Washington to attend a black-tie dinner Saturday night. On Sunday he was flying to the presidential retreat at Camp David in Maryland's Catoctin Mountains, where he would remain until Monday afternoon.
Next week, Bush will travel to Cleveland on Thursday to discuss health care initiatives. On Friday, he will take part in a Republican congressional retreat at the Greenbrier resort in White Sulphur Springs, W.Va.
Getting Back to Work
On Thursday, Bush told congressional members, the Diplomatic Corps (search), Supreme Court justices and others attending his post-swearing in luncheon that he was ready to get started on a wide array of objectives for his second term.
"We have a solemn duty to protect our people and to win the War on Terror, and we will. We've other vital duties, and we will strive to achieve results on behalf of the people. I'm eager for the work. I'm looking forward to it, and I hope you are, as well," he said.
The Senate got off to a good start in that direction on Thursday, confirming two of Bush's Cabinet nominees: Mike Johanns, who is now the agriculture secretary, and Margaret Spellings, the new secretary of education.
But with Congress out until Monday, it won't get to the laborious work ahead in any speedy fashion. Even when it does return, several competing goals will be fighting for floor space. First up is likely to be the confirmation of two key positions in the Bush Cabinet: attorney general and secretary of state.
Alberto Gonzales, who served as the president's counsel in his first term, was expected to be confirmed as attorney general in the Senate Judiciary Committee this week. Sen. Ted Kennedy, D-Mass., held up the vote for a week after he expressed dissatisfaction with Gonzales' written responses to several questions posed to him during his confirmation hearing two weeks ago.
National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice was expected to be confirmed by the Senate Thursday afternoon for the secretary of state post, but Democrats requested that Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist reschedule so they could have time to review her remarks from two days of hearings this week. Rice's nomination passed out of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee by a 16-2 vote on Wednesday.
When they are confirmed, as they are both expected to be, they will face extreme pressures relating to the War on Terror. Gonzales will be responsible for creating a consistent and durable policy on the treatment of captured terror suspects. Rice will go about strengthening the relations established by her predecessor Colin Powell. She will also face the task of bringing new allies into the U.S. sphere of influence.
Elsewhere, the president said he wants to encourage Americans to become less dependent on government programs and thereby freer and more prosperous.
"To give every American a stake in the promise and future of our country, we will bring the highest standards to our schools, and build an ownership society. We will widen the ownership of homes and businesses, retirement savings and health insurance — preparing our people for the challenges of life in a free society," he said during his inauguration speech on Thursday.
"The president stated that he will 'bring the highest standards to our schools and build an ownership society.' I encourage the president to do all he can to uphold that promise," Rep. Elijah Cummings, D-Md., said.
But Cummings, former chairman of the Congressional Black Caucus, and many other Democrats have differing views from Bush on how to solve domestic matters, including raising American wages and improving performance at schools.
The president has said he wants to increase testing among high school students and improve education at vocational establishments. Cummings and others have demanded more federal money to institute fully the programs proposed in the No Child Left Behind Law, which was signed into law in 2002. Both sides agree better education will lead to better incomes.
FOX News' Jim Angle and Sharon Kehnemui Liss contributed to this report.