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Time to act



US President Barack Obama waves to the crowd as he and wife Michelle walk along Pennsylvania Avenue yesterday.

WASHINGTON — Barack Obama has told the American people to “seize the moment”, in a speech in Washington DC inaugurating his second term as US president.

He issued a plea for political unity while embracing liberal causes such as immigration reform, gay rights and the fight against climate change.

Obama, 51, who is the 44th US president, was sworn in for his second term by Chief Justice John Roberts.

Hundreds of thousands of people crammed the ceremony on the National Mall.

Former Presidents Bill Clinton and Jimmy Carter, along with dozens of senators, congressional leaders and other dignitaries, attended the event at the US Capitol.

Possibilities limitless

“This generation of Americans has been tested by crises that steeled our resolve and proved our resilience,” he said. “A decade of war is now ending. An economic recovery has begun. America’s possibilities are limitless.”

He added: “My fellow Americans, we are made for this moment, and we will seize it – so long as we seize it together.”

In a roughly 18-minute, 2,100-word speech, Obama called for “collective action” to preserve American freedom, which he linked to social and economic equality.

“We, the people, understand that our country cannot succeed when a shrinking few do very well and a growing many barely make it,” he said.

The president said Americans must make hard choices to reduce the deficit and debt. (BBC)

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