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President Obama lays out agenda issues for the next four years

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)
January 21st, 2013
Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

In the 57th American presidential inaugural address, President Barack Obama unveiled a plan to protect vulnerable Americans and to fight for the rights of women, minorities and gay couples. Obama called upon Americans to help fulfill his agenda on the steps of the Capitol, before hundreds of thousands gathered on the National Mall.

LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - Obama suggested that Washington put asidewhat he called the partisan battles that came to define so much of his first term.

"We cannot mistake absolutism for principle, or substitute spectacle for politics, or treat name-calling as reasoned debate," he said. "We must act, knowing that our work will be imperfect."

Obama exhorted that Americans seize the nation's potential by working with "common effort and common purpose."

The president's 15-minute address was devoted to policy positions held by many Democrats such as protecting Social Security and Medicare, welcoming immigrants, securing equal rights for gays and lesbians and equal pay for women, along with promoting sustainable energy sources.

Significantly, the president invoked "Seneca Falls and Selma and Stonewall," key moments of the fights for equality for women, African-Americans and gays and lesbians. This was the first inaugural address to mention place the homosexual political movement explicitly, placing it on an equal footing with civil rights movements.

On the sensitive topic of gun control, the president made an oblique reference to the coming congressional fight. Obama said that the nation must protect all of its children, including those on the "quiet lanes of Newtown," the Connecticut town where 20 children and six adults were killed by a lone gunman at the Sandy Hook Elementary School last month.

Another referenced the nation's striving for economic success. "Our country cannot succeed when a shrinking few do very well and a growing many barely make it," he said to cheers. "We believe that America's prosperity must rest upon the broad shoulders of a rising middle class."

Criticism of Republicans in the address was veiled, as when he said Medicare and Social Security "do not make us a nation of takers," which appeared to be a subtle reference to rival Mitt Romney's dismissal of those who rely on government programs.

Obama vowed to preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States, taking the oath of office by using his full name. He quoted the Declaration of Independence's promise that "all men are created equal," -- but said it was up to Americans to make good on those ideals.

"America's possibilities are limitless, for we possess all the qualities that this world without boundaries demands," he said.

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