"We must make the hard choices to reduce the cost of health care and the size of our deficit," Obama said, speaking to the hundreds of thousands of people fanned out across the National Mall. "But we reject the belief that America must choose between caring for the generation that built this country and investing in the generation that will build its future."
Obama also plans to soon unveil proposals for a comprehensive overhaul of U.S. immigration laws, which is expected to be a central topic in Obama's Feb. 12 State of the Union address. The president also will be seeking congressional support for the far-reaching package of gun-control proposals he unveiled last week, including an assault weapons ban and universal background checks for gun purchasers.
Obama also paid special attention to climate change during his inaugural address, an issue he spent little time on during his first term.
"Some may still deny the overwhelming judgment of science, but none can avoid the devastating impact of raging fires and crippling drought and more powerful storms," he said.
Still, it was unclear how much effort Obama would put into climate change legislation this year — or how much political capital he would have left to spend on the issue after tackling his other priorities.
The looming question over Obama's entire second term is whether he can find a way to quell his confrontations with a divided Congress. Seeking to start off on a better foot, the president invited a bipartisan group of lawmakers to the White House ahead of his inaugural address Monday, including the Republican leaders with whom he has frequently been at odds: House Speaker John Boehner of Ohio, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky and House Majority Leader Eric Cantor of Virginia.