Sen. Lamar Alexander, R-Tenn.
Approximately 10 minutes before President Obama took the oath office for the second time, U.S. Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) spoke briefly and introduced Associate Justice Sonia Sotomayor, who administered the oath of office to Vice President Obama. Alexander is vice-chairman of the Joint Congressional Committee on Inaugural Ceremonies.
The text of Alexander's speech is as follows:
"The late Alex Haley, the author of Roots, lived his life by these six words: Find the Good and Praise It.
"Today we praise the American tradition of transferring or reaffirming immense power as we inaugurate the President of the United States.
"We do this in a peaceful, orderly way.
"There is no mob, no coup, no insurrection.
"This is a moment when millions stop and watch.
"A moment most of us always will remember.
"A moment that is the most conspicuous and enduring symbol of our democracy.
"How remarkable that this has survived for so long in such a complex country with so much power at stake-this freedom to vote for our leaders and the restraint to respect the results.
"Last year, a tour guide at Mt. Vernon told me that our first president, George Washington, posed this question: 'What is most important of this grand experiment, the United States?'
"And then Washington gave this answer: 'Not the election of the first president, but the election of its second president. The peaceful transition of power is what will separate this country from every other country in the world.'
"Today we celebrate, because this is the 57th inauguration of the American President.
"Find the Good and Praise It.
"Now, it is my honor to introduce Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States, Sonia Sotomayor, who will administer the oath of office to the Vice President.
"Everyone please stand."
Today belongs to President Obama, but there will be at least one Republican who'll get his say when inauguration festivities get underway.
Sen. Lamar Alexander of Tennessee, who twice ran for president, will be on stage at the U.S. Capitol when Obama recites his oath of office publicly.
As vice chairman of the Joint Congressional Committee on Inaugural Ceremonies, Alexander has the job of introducing Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor, who will administer the oath to Vice President Biden.
Alexander will talk about the "American tradition" of "reaffirming immense power" at the 57th inauguration of an American president.
"We do this in a peaceful, orderly way," he will say, according to excerpts of his remarks released by his office. "There is no mob, no coup, no insurrection."
As USA TODAY's Jackie Kucinich reported, there won't be many Republicans out in force during Obama's second inauguration - unless, like Alexander, they have some sort of role in the ceremonies. Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wis., the GOP's vice presidential nominee, says he'll be in attendance out of "obligation" as a member of Congress.
U.S. Sen. Lamar Alexander will speak briefly at the inauguration
today, about 10 minutes before the oath is administered to President
Alexander will introduce Supreme Court Justice Sonia
Sotomayor, who will administer the oath of office to Vice President Joe
Biden, at approximately 11:35 a.m.
His prepared remarks will touch on the significance of the democratic torch-passing.
Alexander is vice-chairman of the Joint Congressional Committee on Inaugural Ceremonies.