Beyond the cheering and the ceremonies lie some serious challenges and major divisions in the US. One of the highlights of Obama’s inaugural address on Monday was a fitting theme: diversity.
A ceremonial swearing in for the 44th president of the United States, who is mindful of the historic moment
Obama said, "We, the people, declare today that the most evident of truths, that all of us are created equal, is the star that guides us still."
President Barack Obama made it clear he will use his second term to find a balance between cutting the nation’s 16 trillion dollar debt, and spending on entitlement programs for the poor and elderly.
Obama said, "Medicare, and Medicaid, and Social Security-these things do not sap our initiative. They strengthen us. They do not make us a nation of takers. They free us to take the risks that make this country great."
The top Senate Republican who has supported cuts to entitlement spending responded, calling "the transcendent challenge of unsustainable federal spending and debt" one of the nation’s greatest challenges ahead.
In contrast to his 2009 inaugural speech, Obama made combatting climate change a priority and said Americans must lead the search for renewable energy.
Obama said, "We cannot cede to other nations the technology that will power new jobs and new industries we must claim its promise."
He lauded the fulfillment of twin campaign promises-ending the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and visibly turned American foreign policy - Eastward.
Obama said, "We will support democracy from Asia to Africa from the Americas to the Middle East, because our interests and our conscience compel us to act on behalf of those who long for freedom."
Jimmy Carter, former US president, said, "I just got back from China and my concern is that there is an element of antagonism that is building between the United States and China, which could generate into a very serious confrontation. I hope that will change."
On the UN-fulfilled campaign promise of immigration reform, he struck a compromising tone, arguing that international students educated in the US should be granted visas to work for American employers. Currently Chinese students are the largest group studying in the United States.