“I did it,” Obama said as he hugged his wife, Michelle, and daughters Sasha and Malia. “Thank you, sweetie,” he told Michelle when she congratulated him. “Good job, Dad. You didn’t mess up,” 11-year-old Sasha Obama told her father.
It was a low-key start to the first African-American U.S. president’s second term, which is likely to be dominated – at least at the start – by budget fights with Republicans and attempts to reform gun control and immigration laws.
Obama, 51, will be sworn in publicly on Monday outside the West Front of the Capitol overlooking the National Mall in front of as many as 800,000 people, a much bigger ceremony replete with a major address and a parade.
Downtown Washington was all but locked down with heavy security. Many streets were closed, lined with barricades. Police sirens blared. Outside the White House on Pennsylvania Avenue, an elaborate presidential viewing stand encased in bullet-proof glass was set up for Obama and other VIPs to watch the parade.