President Barack Hussein Obama delivered an inaugural address that touched on some of the populist themes that carried him to re-election, Bloomberg reported. 

After taking a ceremonial oath of office before dignitaries and thousands of cheering onlookers at the U.S. Capitol, Obama called on the nation to return to unity of purpose, recognize the vulnerability of middle-income Americans and make sure rules are in place to ensure competition and fair play in the marketplace.

 

"We do not believe that in this country, freedom is reserved for the lucky, or happiness for the few," he said. "We cannot mistake absolutism for principle, or substitute spectacle for politics, or treat name-calling as reasoned debate."

Against a backdrop of red, white and blue bunting and American flags, with his family looking on, Obama, 51, was sworn in by U.S. Chief Justice John Roberts.

 

The nation's first black president took his official oath yesterday -- a 30-second affair also administered by Roberts during a small ceremony at the White House -- to meet the constitutional requirement that the president be sworn in by noon on Jan. 20. Read more.