Last updated: February 20. 2013 2:58AM - 189 Views

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WASHINGTON -- President Barack Obama was sworn in for a second term Sunday in a small private ceremony at the White House.

Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. administered the oath to the 44th president in the company of only a few family members.

Obama will participate in the public swearing-in on the steps of the U.S. Capitol today, following the lead of his predecessors whose first day in office fell on a Sunday.

Obama will give his inauguration address today at around 11:50 a.m.

Meanwhile, U.S. Sen. Robert Casey, D-Scranton, was present for an earlier swearing-in ceremony for Vice President Joe Biden, who has ties to same city.

Obama begins his second four-year term with ambitions to overhaul the nation's tax code, rewrite immigration laws, tighten gun regulations and combat global warming.

But he faces a fractured political climate as he confronts such challenges as boosting a lagging economy and winding down the war in Afghanistan.

On Sunday, there was little fanfare-or acknowledgement of the daunting tasks that lay ahead-at the brief ceremony.

There were no speeches, no parades, no balls.

Obama, wearing a suit and blue tie, was joined by his wife, Michelle, and their daughters, Sasha, 11, and Malia, 14, just before noon in the small, oval-shaped Blue Room on the first floor that boasts views of the Washington Monument. Obama's half-sister and Mrs. Obama's brother were also in attendance.

I do solemnly swear that I will faithfully execute the office of president of the United States, and will to the best of my ability, preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States so help me God, Obama recited.

As he uttered the words, Obama placed his left hand on a Bible held by his wife and used by the first lady's grandmother, LaVaughn Delores Robinson, the first African-American woman manager of the bookstore at Moody Bible Institute in Chicago. Afterward, he hugged his wife and children. I did it, he said to his youngest daughter.

Obama followed presidential precedent in choosing the chief justice – a man he did not support for the Supreme Court and who, in 2009, botched the oath, requiring a do-over the next day.

A small group of reporters and photographers was present in the room to witness the proceedings. Millions of people worldwide watched on television or on the Internet. It is the seventh time that inauguration day has fallen on a Sunday, and the first since Ronald Reagan's second term began in 1985.

Nearly four hours earlier Sunday, Biden was sworn in for a second term at his official residence, the U.S. Naval Observatory, by Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor. The ceremony was moved up so Sotomayor could attend a book signing in New York.

I want to explain to you what a wonderful honor it was, and how much out of her way the justice had to go. She is due in New York. She has to leave right now, Biden said after taking the oath. So I apologize: We're gonna walk out. Her car's waiting so she can catch a train I hope I haven't caused her to miss.

Biden's wife, Jill, children and grandchildren gathered for the brief ceremony. About 120 family members and friends attended.

The crowd included a smattering of elected officials from states that would be important if Biden decides to run for president in 2016 , including Maggie Hassan, the governor of New Hampshire, which hosts the nation's first presidential primary. Other guests include Reps. Jim Clyburn of South Carolina, Debbie Wasserman Schultz of Florida, Sen. Tim Kaine of Virginia and Casey.

I've known Joe Biden for over 25 years and to witness his private swearing in with his friends, close friends and family, with Justice Sonia Sotomayor, I don't think it gets any better, Democratic strategist Donna Brazile said.

Inauguration events

8:45 a.m. — The Obamas and Bidens attend a church service at St. John's Episcopal Church.

11:20 a.m. — Ceremonial swearing-in at the Capitol.

11:50 a.m. — Obama gives the inaugural address.

1:05 p.m. — Obama, Biden and their wives attend the inaugural luncheon.

2:40 p.m. — Inaugural parade begins along Pennsylvania Avenue.

6 p.m. — The Commander in Chief's Inaugural Ball at the Washington Convention Center. The gala honors service members and their families.

6:30 p.m. — The Inaugural Ball at the Washington Convention Center.

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