Washington: Barack Hussein Obama will be sworn in as America’s 44th and first black president on Tuesday, bringing a message of hope to a nation hungry for change after eight years of George W. Bush regime.
The 47-year-old first African-American to enter the White House, Obama would be sworn in by the US Supreme Court chief justice John Roberts at noon on Tuesday (2230 IST) at the Capitol Hill.
Braving severe cold, an estimated two million people from all over the country have thronged Washington to be a witness to the historic occasion, when a black would become the US President.
Obama won the 4 November presidential elections defeating the Republican candidate John McCain. At a dinner hosted for McCain last evening, Obama showered praise on his one-time rival.
The inaugural ceremony, to be attended by hundreds and thousands of people, is being held under an unprecedented security cover. Thousands of security personnel from more than a dozen security agencies and sharp shooters in plain clothes have been deployed in and around the Capitol.
The actual inaugural ceremony itself would begin at 11am on Tuesday, US time (2130 IST) on the West Front of the US Capitol with musical selections by the US States Marine Band, followed by the San Francisco Body Chorus and the San Francisco Girls Chorus.
The Democratic Senator from California Dianne Feinstein in the capacity as the Joint Congressional Committee on Inaugural Ceremonies would deliver the welcome address and call the function to order. This would be followed by an invocation by Dr. Rick Warren.
Thereafter, Joe Biden would be administered oath of office to vice president by Supreme Court associate justice John Paul Stevens. Following musical selection by composer John Williams, the US Supreme Court chief justice would administer the oath of office of US Presidency to Obama.
Earlier in the morning, the outgoing President George W. Bush would welcome his successor Obama and his wife Michelle Obama at the North Portico of the White House some two hours before the swearing in ceremony.
Thereafter, Bush along with his wife would have coffee with the incoming first family along with the vice president- elect Biden and members of the Joint Congressional Committee.
It is at 10.45am (2115 IST) that Bush would depart the White House en route to the Capitol to participate in the swearing in ceremony.
In television interviews over the weekend and at his last press conference, Bush said he is looking forward to have Obama as the president.
Obama, who was a bitter critic of Bush during the election campaign days, now believes that his predecessor is a “good man”. Obama told this to CNN in an interview.
Soon after the inaugural ceremony is over, Obama would host a departure ceremony for Bush, who would leave for his new home in Midland Texas from the Andrews Air Force Base.
Obama and his deputy Biden would proceed towards the historic Statuary Hall at US Capitol for a luncheon hosted by Joint Congressional Committee on Inaugural Ceremonies. The inaugural parade would start at 2.30pm (0100 IST Wednesday) from the US Capitol to White House.
Later, several dozen inaugural balls are scheduled for Obama with the Presidential Inaugural Committee itself hosting as many as ten inaugural balls including the Commander-in- Chief’s Ball, the Youth Ball and the President Obama Home State Ball. Obama is expected to appear in the Commander-in- Chief’s Ball at the National Building Museum.