Diamond, who didn't vote in this past election, says he wants to encourage peace and opposes the drone attacks the president has authorized.
"We're just out here celebrating freedom," Diamond said, "and trying to get people to think about the fact that we don't need violence to control people or dictate the behaviors of other people and we should start looking for alternatives."
— Jessica Gresko — Twitter http://twitter.com/jessicagresko
MANY PATHS TO HAPPINESS
Sally Buzbee, AP's Washington bureau chief, unpacks one piece of President Barack Obama's inaugural address.
I'm not like you. You're not like her. She's not like him. Yeah, so what? We can — must — still find common ground.
That was the point of the somewhat subtle argument used today by President Barack Obama to make a basic point: Government officials shoulder a responsibility to take action and solve problems, even if they disagree on some basic beliefs.
"Being true to our founding documents does not require us to agree on every contour of life," the president asserted in his inaugural address. "It does not mean we all define liberty in exactly the same way, or follow the same precise path to happiness."
But, he said, even if Americans can't settle "centuries-long debates about the role of government for all time," officials do have the responsibility to take action to try to make progress on the immediate problems the country faces.
The idea that liberty can be defined in different ways and that there are different paths to happiness has particular resonance, of course, in a country that is becoming ever more diverse. Polls show that increasing diversity makes some Americans uncomfortable.
But beyond that sweeping philosophical point, the president's argument also had a clear, pragmatic — and more immediate — political purpose: to unite people who are deeply dug in on their beliefs and harness their energy to seek common ground and practical solutions.
"For now, decisions are upon us and we cannot afford delay. We cannot mistake absolutism for principle," the president said. It's a highly relevant point for a president who must will spend the next several years trying to seek compromise with politicians who believe things quite different than he does.
— By Sally Buzbee
HALF A LOAF
President Barack Obama is fond of saying: "We cannot let the perfect be the enemy of the good." His point: sometimes we have to settle for half a loaf.
Well, that's what he got in Washington today during his second inauguration — in attendance, that is.
Turnout was "definitely above 800,000" and possibly up to 1 million people, according to Chris Geldart, who directs the District of Columbia's homeland security and emergency management agency. That estimate is based on aerial views of how the crowd filled sections of the mall.
That's about half of the 1.8 million people who showed up for Obama's first inauguration in 2009.
— Liz Sidoti — Twitter http://twitter.com/lsidoti
A look at the issues that those who govern the country will face during Barack Obama's second term. Up now: the climate.
President Barack Obama is picking a fresh fight on climate change, saying in his inaugural address that a failure to act to curb it would betray future generations. He's hoping to tackle the issue — and live up to his prediction during the 2008 campaign that he would. But addressing the matter will be difficult.
The president has acknowledged that climate change was pushed to the back burner during his first term while he dealt with wrenching economic challenges and spent much of his political capital on reforming health care. But now he appears to be trying to make the case for action by pointing to the destruction of Hurricane Sandy, annual wildfires and droughts rivaling the Dust Bowl.