Entries in Vice President Biden (21)


President Obama, Vice President Biden Sworn in for Second Term 

Michael Reynolds-Pool/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden on Sunday officially embarked on their second term, taking the Constitutionally-mandated oath of office in two separate private ceremonies inside their Washington, D.C., homes.

Shortly before noon in the Blue Room of the White House, Obama raised his right hand, with his left on a family Bible, reciting the oath administrated by Chief Justice John Roberts. He was surrounded by immediate family members, including First Lady Michelle Obama and daughters, Malia and Sasha.

Biden was sworn in earlier Sunday by Justice Sonia Sotomayor, the first Hispanic to administer a presidential oath, in a ceremony at his official residence at the U.S. Naval Observatory. He was joined by more than 120 guests, including cabinet members, extended family and wife, Dr. Jill Biden.

Because Jan. 20 – the official date for a new presidential term – falls on a Sunday this year, organizers delayed by one day the traditional public inauguration ceremony and parade down Pennsylvania Avenue.

Obama and Biden will each repeat the oath again on Monday on the west front of the U.S. Capitol surrounded by hundreds of dignitaries and members of Congress. An estimated 800,000 people are expected to gather on the National Mall to witness the moment and inaugural parade to follow.

Sunday's official inaugural activities also included moments of prayer and remembrance that marked the solemnity of the day.

Obama and Biden rendezvoused at Arlington National Cemetery for a brief morning ceremony to place a wreath on the Tomb of the Unknowns, honoring military service members who served and sacrificed. Both men stood shoulder to shoulder, bowing their heads as a bugler played "Taps."

Biden, who is Catholic, began the day with a private family mass at his residence. The President and First Family attended church services at Metropolitan African Methodist Episcopal Church, a historically black church and site of two pre-inaugural prayer services for former President Bill Clinton and Vice President Al Gore and their families.

The Obamas and Bidens will participate in a church service on Monday morning at St. John's Episcopal, across Lafayette Park from the White House. They will also attend a National Prayer Service on Tuesday at the National Cathedral.

Later on Sunday evening, the newly-inaugurated leaders will attend a candlelight reception at the National Building Museum. The president and vice president are expected to deliver brief remarks to their supporters.

The official inaugural weekend festivities began Saturday in Washington with a National Day of Service led by President Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama. The Obamas joined volunteers at a local D.C. elementary school, where they helped with renovation projects.

Organizers said thousands of Americans participated in service events in conjunction with the inauguration across all 50 states. More than 13,000 people attended a so-called Service Summit on the National Mall.

Mrs. Obama and Dr. Biden on Saturday also hosted a Kids Inaugural ball, a tradition started in 2009. The event was geared toward children of military families as part of Obama's "Joining Forces" initiative. A concert included performances by Usher, the cast of "Glee," and Katy Perry.

The stars will be out in force across Washington again on Monday, with performances at the inaugural cermony at the Capitol and at the official inaugural balls later in the evening.

At the ceremony, Beyoncé will sing the National Anthem, Kelly Clarkson will perform "My Country Tis of Thee," and James Taylor will sing "America the Beautiful." The balls will include performances by Marc Anthony, Jennifer Hudson, Alicia Keys, John Legend, Stevie Wonder, and Smokey Robinson. Officials have not yet revealed who will perform for the president and first lady's inaugural dance.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio


Inauguration 2013: President Obama, Vice President Biden Swearing In Ceremonies

President Barack Obama is given the Oath of Office for a second time by Chief Justice John G. Roberts, Jr. in the Map Room of the White House 1/21/09. Official White House photo by Pete Souza(WASHINGTON) -- While an estimated 800,000 people are expected to gather in Washington D.C.  Monday to watch President Obama be sworn in for a second term, his second term officially begins Sunday. He will take his oath of office in a private ceremony. Vice President Joe Biden was sworn in on Sunday morning at the Naval Observatory.


–Obama will take the oath of office for a second term in a small ceremony in the Blue Room of the White House at 11:55 am. Chief Justice John Roberts will administer the oath.

–Obama will be sworn in using a Bible that belonged to First Lady Michelle Obama’s grandmother, LaVaughn Delores Robinson. The Robinson family Bible was a present from the first lady’s father to his mother on Mother’s Day in 1958, six years before Michelle’s birth.

–Due to constitutionally-mandated scheduling, President Obama is set to become the second president in U.S. history to have four swearing-in ceremonies. Sunday will be his third. Obama was sworn in twice in 2008 out of an abundance of caution after Chief Justice John Roberts flubbed the oath of office.

Here is video of Obama’s first swearing in by Roberts:

–Franklin Roosevelt was also sworn-in four times but, unlike Obama, he was elected four times.

–This year will mark the seventh time a president has taken the oath on a Sunday and then again on Monday for ceremonial purposes. Reagan last took the oath on a Sunday in 1985.

–Vice President Biden was sworn-in at the Vice President’s residence at the Naval Observatory, surrounded by his family and close friends.

–Biden personally selected Associate Justice Sotomayor, who will be the first Hispanic and fourth female judge to administer an oath of office.

–Three women have previously sworn-in presidents and vice presidents: Judge Sarah T. Hughes swore-in President Johnson in 1963; Justice Sandra Day O’Connor swore-in Vice President Dan Quayle in 1989; and Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg swore-in Vice President Al Gore in 1997.

–On Sunday and Monday, Vice President Biden will be sworn in using the Biden Family Bible, which is five inches thick, has a Celtic cross on the cover and has been in the Biden family since 1893. He used it every time he was sworn in as a US Senator and when he was sworn in as Vice President in 2009. His son Beau used it when he was sworn in as Delaware’s attorney general.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio


Justice Sotomayor Says Swearing In VP Biden Will Be ‘Surreal’

(WASHINGTON) -- Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor says that one of the most significant moments of her life will take place this week during President Obama's second inauguration.

Sotomayor, born in the Bronx to Puerto Rican parents, said in an interview with ABC News/Univision's Jorge Ramos that her role administering the oath of office to Biden is "enormously important" to her, almost as much as being named to the high court.

"It will be one among many, but a second very important improbable event happening in my life," she said. "As a child I never imagined being a Supreme Court justice. I never imagined swearing in a vice president either. It's going to feel a little surreal."

Sotomayor became the first Hispanic person to serve on the Supreme Court in 2009. And this month she was selected to be the first Hispanic person to administer an inaugural oath of office.

The justice has recently opened up about her past with the release of her new memoir My Beloved Life. In it, she tells the journey of growing up poor in the Bronx to attending Princeton University and Yale Law School and credits affirmative action policies changed the course of her life.

But while she recognizes the value of having more women and minorities in positions of power, she told Ramos that more women on the bench would not necessarily change how the court decides controversial cases on issues like abortion and gun rights.

"You know, you can't ever tell because that is generalizing or stereotyping believing that every women is going to vote the same way in every case or that every women feels the same about societal issues," she said. "We are all different whether we are women or men, and so I think our decisions are going to be made on our views of what the law says they should be, not our views but what our vote should be."

Sotomayor has declined to comment on an upcoming case that challenges affirmative action policies at the University of Texas and likewise, she refused to detail her views on gun laws as President Obama and Congress begin to consider new gun-control measures in the wake of the Newtown, Conn. shooting.

"Those are the questions the court is going to look at; and for me to give a personal opinion is going to suggest to the public that I have made up my mind. I haven't," she said. "I have to see what the law is, I have to read what the parties argue about the law, I have to study the history and then I decide."

At the end of the interview, Justice Sotomayor agreed to show Jorge Ramos her salsa dancing skills. Not only can the news anchor ask tough questions, but he's the only one who could ask a Supreme Court Justice to dance on national television.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio


Biden Likens Occupy Wall Street Protests to Tea Party

EMMANUEL DUNAND/AFP/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- Vice President Joe Biden today likened the Occupy Wall Street protests to expressions of grassroots frustration by members of the Tea Party.

“Let’s be honest with one another,” Biden told an audience on camera at the Washington Ideas Forum. “What is the core of that protest? The core is: The bargain has been breached. The core is the American people do not think the system is fair, or on the level. That is the core is what you’re seeing with Wall Street," Biden claimed.

“There’s a lot in common with the Tea Party,” he said. “The Tea Party started, why? TARP. They thought it was unfair.”

Biden's statement comes despite the fact that the Tea Party movement espouses conservative values, while the patische of motivations from the Occupy Wall Street protests -- wealth redistribution, universal health care, and the like -- are hallmarks of many on the opposite side of the political fence.

Biden cited Bank of America’s recent decision to impose a $5 monthly fee on some debit card users as an example of new perceived unfairness related to the banking sector that has fueled more popular frustration.

“The middle class folks, these guys with the debit cards, are on their back. And [banks] are going to charge them $5 to use the cards? At minimum, they are totally tone-deaf,” Biden said.

This week, Frank Keating, CEO of American Bankers Association, blamed Senator Dick Durbin, the Illinois Democrat, for mandating the hikes.  "As a direct result of the Durbin Amendment," Keating told ABC News in am email, "consumers have started paying for financial services they previously enjoyed free of charge. Unfortunately, this proves that whenever government tries to control pricing of a product or service, consumers lose."

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


9/11 Flashback: Biden Called for Resilience as Country Braced for Attacks

Then Senate Foreign Relations Chairman Joseph R. Biden Jr. and Senate Armed Services ranking Republican John Warner, R-Va., talk to media outside U.S. Capitol Police Headquarters in the early afternoon of September 11, 2001. Scott J. Ferrell/Congressional Quarterly/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- On the afternoon of 9/11 as the country reeled from the terrorist attacks and the anxiety about what might be coming next, then Sen. Joe Biden said America was too resilient to crumble even after the horror of seeing the World Trade Center towers crumble to dust.

In an interview with ABC News just hours after the attacks, Biden praised President Bush for returning to Washington and warned about not curbing civil liberties in the war America had been thrown into.

“I think we should be meeting tomorrow morning, let the American people understand that these thugs that have done this incredible thing to the United States have not, in any fundamental way, altered our ability to do business,” Biden said.

“We have to show that we’re up, we’re ready, we’re ready to move. We are, in fact -- nothing has fundamentally altered this government,” he said.  “And the tragedy that occurred to these thousands of people is one that we must, in fact, follow through and find out who is responsible for. But in the meantime … we should be calm and cool and collected about going about our business as a nation. Terrorism wins when, in fact, they alter our civil liberties or shut down our institutions. We have to demonstrate neither of those things have happened.”

Discussing how the attacks had transformed our county into a war-zone and his concern about the future and civil liberties Biden said, “We’ve come face to face with a new reality, a reality that we knew existed and knew was possible, a reality that has happened in varying degrees to other countries. But if, in fact, in order to respond to that reality we have to alter our civil liberties, change the way we function, then we’ve truly lost the war.”

Douglass, who earlier in the day had been rapidly evacuated from the Capitol, later saw Biden, who was then chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, and led him to the top of a building at 400 North Capitol Street where ABC News had a camera position established in case the Capitol was attacked. Douglass and Biden climbed a ladder to the roof of the building where he was interviewed.

Biden said that government officials needed remain calm as they figured out how to respond to the tragedy and how to move forward. Biden also praised Bush for his determination to return to Washington.

“The first thing is what the president is doing. He called for calm. He’s getting in the airplane, he’s coming back to Washington, D.C., and I applaud him for that,” he said.

While acknowledging the devastation caused by the attacks, Biden said the nation’s resilience would come through.

“This nation is too big, too strong, too united, too much a power in terms of our cohesion and our values to let this break us apart,” he said. “And it won’t happen.”

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Bill Daley: President Obama Still Wants a 'Big Deal' on Deficit Reduction

LUKE FRAZZA/AFP/Getty Images(WASHINGTON, D.C.) -- White House chief of staff Bill Daley maintains that President Obama will attempt to reach a "big deal" with Republicans in budget negotiations continuing at the White House today, despite Saturday's statement from Speaker John Boehner saying a smaller agreement is the best course.

"It's rather unfortunate that the speaker has made the comments he has," Daley told "This Week" anchor Chistiane Amanpour in an exclusive interview. "The president is still very committed to solving this deficit problem for the future of America. He's looking forward to the meeting today to lay out once again his case."

Speaker Boehner said in a statement released Saturday night that a larger agreement could not be reached because of differences over tax revenues, and that he would seek a smaller deal on deficit reduction as part of bipartisan negotiations on raising the debt limit.

"I believe the best approach may be to focus on producing a smaller measure, based on the cuts identified in the Biden-led negotiations, that still meets our call for spending reforms and cuts greater than the amount of any debt limit increase," Boehner said in the statement.

But Daley maintains that President Obama is still committed to larger agreement closer to $4 trillion in budget reductions, and that "this is the time to do it."

Daley does believe that an agreement will be reached before an early August deadline when the U.S. would begin defaulting on its debt obligations.

"By the 2nd of August there is no question in my mind that the leaders of America will not allow the first default in the history of the country to occur," Daley said. "I'm confident of that."

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Budget Deal? Not So Fast, Says Boehner

ABC News(WASHINGTON) -- House Speaker John Boehner disagreed Thursday with Democratic leaders who claimed that lawmakers had settled on a total number of spending cuts in a budget deal to keep the government running for the rest of the fiscal year.

On Wednesday night, both parties had settled on the same dollar amount -- $33 billion, a number confirmed by Vice President Biden when he emerged from a meeting with Senate Democrats. But he also cautioned that the composition of those cuts was still up for discussion and “there’s no deal until there’s a total deal.”

On Thursday morning, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid reiterated that lawmakers had reached an agreement on the number of spending cuts.

“Democrats and Republicans have agreed upon a number on which to base our budget cuts,” Reid said on the Senate floor. “That number is $73 billion below the president’s budget proposal. Now we have to figure out how to get to that 73 number.”

Not so fast, Boehner later countered.

“There’s no agreement on numbers and nothing has been agreed to until everything has been agreed to,” Boehner said at a news conference.

He vowed that Republicans will continue to fight for the spending cuts in the GOP’s controversial House-passed bill.

“It’s our position and we’re going to continue to fight for everything that’s in it,” he said.

Outside the Capitol on Thursday, the Tea Party planned a rally to urge Congress to go far beyond the $33 billion in spending cuts, an effort that Boehner said he welcomed.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Biden: 'Good Progress' on Budget Talks, Parties Working Off 'Same Number'

ABC News (WASHINGTON) -- Vice President Joe Biden emerged from a closed-door meeting with Senate Democrats Wednesday evening to report that lawmakers are making “good progress” on the budget talks and are now “working off the same number” of spending cuts, but that the composition of those cuts still is being discussed.  

“I think we’re making good progress. We’re all working off the same number now, $73 billion,” Biden told reporters on Capitol Hill.

If both parties cannot agree on a deal to fund the government for the remainder of the current fiscal year, the government will shut down at the end of next Friday, April 8, but Biden said it should not come to that.

“There is no reason why, with all that’s going on in the world and with the state of the economy, we can’t reach an agreement and avoid a government shutdown, because the bottom line here is we’re working off the same number now -- it’s about how,” he said.

“The Democrats are in full agreement on what we don’t want to do in that number," he added. "We don’t want to eviscerate the ability of the economy to grow, so we’re going to have a real debate and the negotiation between the appropriators is going on. I’m not going to get into any detail of that.”

Biden declined to go into any detail on what type of policy riders might be in the final budget deal.

The vice president emphasized that while lawmakers have now agreed on the total number of spending cuts, there is no final deal until they agree on what, precisely, those spending cuts are.

Biden was on Capitol Hill for more than an hour in a closed-door meeting with top Senate Democrats. Sens. Harry Reid, Dick Durbin, Chuck Schumer, Patty Murray and Daniel Inouye all took part in the meeting. The $73 billion in spending cuts that Biden cited to reporters uses President Obama’s budget request for the current fiscal year, a budget request that was never enacted by Congress.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


White House Unveils 'Tools' to Boost College Graduation Rates

Comstock/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- After falling dramatically behind other countries in college completion rates, President Obama is eager for the U.S. to catch up and reclaim the number one spot by adding an additional eight million college graduates in the next eight years. The White House unveiled new competitive grants Tuesday and a set of strategies, or “tools,” to help states reach the president’s 2020 deadline.

“Right now we’ve got an education system that works like a funnel when we need it to work like a pipeline,” Vice President Joe Biden said at a “Grad Nation” summit in Washington where he unveiled the “College Completion Tool Kit,” a 23-page document that offers seven strategies for boosting college completion.

The suggestions in the “tool kit” include aligning high school standards with college entrance requirements, making it easier for students to transfer between colleges, and targeting adults that have completed some college level courses, but never received a degree.

To implement these strategies, which Biden described as “no-cost and low-cost suggestions,” the administration is calling on all governors to hold college completion summits.

The administration is also offering a new “Comprehensive Grant Program,” which will provide $20 million to colleges to implement plans to increase graduation rates.

In addition, the administration proposed $173 million in competitive funds as part of its 2012 budget. The $123 million “First in the World” initiative would support programs that increase completion rates, hold down tuition and accelerate learning. States can also apply for the $50 million “College Completion Incentive Grants” which would reward states for reforms that produce more college graduates.

Currently, the U.S. ranks ninth in the world in a four-way tie for college completion and only 42 percent of young adults in the U.S., ages 25 to 34, have a college degree. To reach the president’s goal by 2020, 60 percent of young adults will need to complete college, meaning the U.S. will have to add an additional eight million college graduates in the next eight years.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Biden to Lead First Meeting on Bipartisan Spending Negotiations

Photo Courtesy - Joe Raedle/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- Vice President Biden will be on Capitol Hill Thursday to start negotiations between Congressional Democrats and Republicans on a long-term spending deal.

Now that Congress passed a stop-gap bill earlier this week, lawmakers have until March 18 to strike a deal that will fund the government through the rest of this fiscal year and avert a federal shutdown.

The Senate's top Republican, Mitch McConnell, said he will attend Thursday's meeting, signaling a new willingness on the part of the GOP to sit down at the negotiating table.  But that doesn't mean he has high expectations regarding cooperation across the aisle for the talks: "We're happy to go to the meeting, but putting a meeting on the schedule doesn't change the fact that neither the White House nor a single Democrat in Congress has proposed a plan that would allow the government to remain open and that would respond to the voters by reining in spending," McConnell said on the Senate floor Thursday morning. "All we get is talk."

"If the president's measure of success as he said is a plan that makes sure we live within our means the way most people do, count on me showing up early," he added.  "Unfortunately, I suspect the president is once again just saying things people want to hear.  The fact is if Democrats had a plan of their own that would cut one dollar in spending, I think we would have seen it by now.  But we haven't."

Republicans have expressed reluctance to start negotiations on a long-term deal, saying that Senate Democrats should either come up with a plan of their own that cuts spending or simply take up the House-passed bill with $61 billion in cuts.

On Wednesday, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid called that GOP stance "shallow" and "foolish," while the Senate's number-two Democrat, Dick Durbin, remarked that it would take "a superhuman effort" from both sides to reach a long-term deal.

Also attending Thursday's meeting will be House Speaker John Boehner, the leading House Democrat Nancy Pelosi, and Reid.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

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