WASHINGTON—On a sunny but chill winter day, in a capital city filled with celebrants, heavily armed police and barricaded streets, George W. Bush swore for the second time to discharge the duties of the presidency and then proclaimed an ambitious new foreign-policy doctrine as America's global mission.
Bush told tens of thousands of spectators before the west front of the U.S. Capitol that a "day of fire"—a veiled reference to Sept. 11, 2001—had proved that oceans and borders are no longer enough to ensure America's safety. Now, he said, the nation must work to expand freedom and end tyranny everywhere if our own liberties are to survive.
"We are led, by events and common sense, to one conclusion: The survival of liberty in our land increasingly depends on the success of liberty in other lands. The best hope for peace in our world is the expansion of freedom in all the world," the president said. "Advancing these ideals is the mission that created our nation. ... Now it is the urgent requirement of our nation's security, and the calling of our time."
Bush took care to stress that his expand-freedom doctrine doesn't mean that America will impose its will on other nations by military might. He also reached out to U.S. allies angered by his pre-emptive war against Iraq. "We honor your friendship, we rely on your counsel and we depend on your help," he said.
But he left no doubt about the global reach of his new doctrine, which echoed John F. Kennedy's 1961 inaugural vow to "pay any price" to counter communism at the height of the Cold War.
"So it is the policy of the United States to seek and support the growth of democratic movements and institutions in every nation and culture, with the ultimate goal of ending tyranny in our world," Bush said.
The president's second inaugural address highlighted a wintry day of celebration and protest amidst unprecedented security, reflecting that it was the first inauguration since the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.
Downtown Washington became a maze of concrete barriers and city buses parked sideways to block streets and control access to the inaugural ceremonies. More than 6,000 law enforcement officers, 2,500 military personnel and countless Secret Service officers controlled the day.
Police sharpshooters perched on office building rooftops. Bomb-sniffing dogs patrolled the streets and subway tunnels. Capitol Hill police cradled assault rifles. Helicopters whirred overhead. Two blocks from the parade route, at the corner of 7th and D Streets Northwest, a small group of apparent anarchists threw sticks, oranges and other objects at police. One man there was arrested for assault and police waded into the group firing pepper spray.
Enthusiastic Bush supporters, many in fur coats and other finery, braved cold weather to line up early at security checkpoints, hoping to get viewing sites for the inauguration and along the 1.7-mile parade route from the Capitol to the White House.
They were joined by chanting protesters, even during the swearing-in ceremony. As the president approached the end of his speech, a handful of protesters stood up. One large man in a brown overcoat began to boo loudly in a booming baritone. His voice was clearly audible to Bush. In response, the pro-Bush crowd chanted "U-S-A, U-S-A." Police then moved in, pinned the protester's arms behind him and took him away.
The incident appeared to unsettle the president slightly, but he ended his speech without a flaw amid growing applause.
Bush honored tradition by beginning his day at a prayer service at St. John's Episcopal Church across Lafayette Square from the White House, where every president since James Madison has worshiped. There the Rev. Luis Leon seemingly set the tone for Bush's later inaugural comments when he said America had "lost its known world" in the aftermath of Sept. 11.
"I want to invite you today ... (to) exercise your ministry and your vocation ... to help us overcome our fears," Leon said.
Bush's 18-vehicle motorcade rolled to Capitol Hill after the service. There the president—clad in a dark suit and light blue tie—stood ramrod straight as a frail-looking Supreme Court Chief Justice William H. Rehnquist administered the 35-word oath of office. Rehnquist, 80, has thyroid cancer and hasn't appeared in public since October. He walked to the inaugural platform with the help of a cane, and administered the oath with a raspy but strong voice.
Later, at an inauguration luncheon in the Capitol's Statuary Hall, the president thanked the ailing justice for his effort.
"I want you to know how touched I was that chief justice came to administer the oath," he said. "That was an incredibly moving part of the ceremony."
Among the many lawmakers attending the inauguration was Sen. John Kerry, D-Mass., who came within 60,000 votes in Ohio of winning the presidency in November. Thursday, he stood about 50 feet away from the rostrum waiting for the ceremonies to begin and displayed an almost wistful smile as Bush took the oath.
The president managed to keep his emotions in check this time, unlike at his 2001 inauguration. Then both he and his father, former President George H.W. Bush, wept. The two men, who affectionately call themselves "41" and "43" for their places in the presidential lineup, simply shook hands Thursday.
The day's ceremonies were very much a Bush family affair. The president's parents, his wife Laura, his twin daughters Jenna and Barbara and his brother Jeb, the governor of Florida, were among the large family clan that escorted the president to church.
The elder Bush and former first lady Barbara Bush could be seen nodding approvingly as their son delivered his speech. Laura Bush, clad in a form-fitting winter white coat and matching dress, waved and walked by her husband's side after they got out of their bulletproof limousine and strolled down a portion of Pennsylvania Avenue near the White House.
Upon reaching the executive mansion, the Bush family retreated to a glass-enclosed viewing stand, where they watched the parade, waved at well-wishers and chatted amiably among themselves and with their guests.
More than 70 marching bands, 14 giant floats and an estimated 10,000 people paraded past the president in celebration of his second term, and of America's democratic ritual.
In his address, while Bush didn't mention Iraq specifically, he did boast that "tens of millions have achieved their freedom" because "we have acted"—a clear reference to his view of the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, though strife remains dominant in both nations and their future is uncertain.
As is traditional in inaugural addresses, the president salted his speech with religious references. He invoked Jewish and Christian scriptures and cited the Quran, the Muslim holy book, to emphasize that America's ideal of freedom relies "on integrity, and tolerance towards others, and the rule of conscience in our own lives."
He stretched his theme of expanding freedom to wrap it around his ambitious domestic agenda, which he said would help Americans achieve "economic independence" and "build an ownership society. Bush hopes to overhaul Social Security by adding private investment accounts, to revamp the federal income tax and to extend his No Child Left Behind education program to high schools.
"By making every citizen an agent of his or her own destiny, we will give our fellow Americans greater freedom from want and fear, and make our society more prosperous and just and equal," he said.
The president told lawmakers at their luncheon that he is ready to begin his second term.
"I'm eager for the work," he said. "I'm looking forward to it, and I hope you are, as well. I'm looking forward to putting my heart and soul into this job for four more years."
(c) 2005, Knight Ridder/Tribune Information Services.
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