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Smaller crowds but same excitement for Obama’s second time around

Schoolteacher Patricia Cooper gazed out at the many hundreds of thousands of people lining the National Mall, moments after Barack Obama had been sworn in for the second time as president. “The media kept saying there were going to be so many fewer people,” said Cooper, 51, from Upper Marlboro, Md. “But look out there!” she beamed. “We still have a pretty big crowd.” True, the crowd was roughly half that of Obama’s momentous inauguration in 2009, and the sense of history, and pure excitement, far less potent. But despite a more sober national mood, there was plenty of enthusiasm
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Worldwide, public trust in government, business at all-time low

Public trust in business, government and media leaders has fallen in the wake of financial and political scandals, according to a new global survey. Heads of financial institutions did particularly poorly, mainly in richer countries that have suffered financial crises and fined banks for, among other things, manipulating markets and facilitating money-laundering. The 2013 edition of the annual Edelman Trust Barometer found “a very significant crisis of leadership,” said Richard Edelman, president and CEO of Chicago-based public relations firm Edelman. “Leaders are just not seen as leading.” A big problem is that people think their leaders “just can’t get around
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With second swearing in, Obama kicks off another term

His second term already under way, President Barack Obama aims to set an optimistic tone when he takes the oath again to lead a divided nation seeking solutions to economic woes at home and conflict overseas. Hundreds of thousands are expected to gather on the National Mall to witness Obama’s swearing in and inaugural address Monday. The celebrations will extend across the nation’s capital, including the traditional inaugural parade and a pair of glitzy formal balls. In his inaugural address to the crowd in Washington and millions more watching on television, Obama will urge lawmakers to find common ground when
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Senate Democrats promise something rare: An actual federal budget

Democrats are looking to make new revenue part of the Senate’s first budget in almost four years, which will be released soon after the start of President Barack Obama’s second term. Obama has pushed for a “balanced approach” to solving the nation’s financial woes, including more tax revenue. Republicans for years have complained bitterly that Senate Democrats last produced a comprehensive budget in 2009 and say that, if Obama and fellow Democrats want to borrow more money, they’ll have to outline a spending plan. Senate Democrats announced Sunday that they will oblige and produce a budget — but warned it
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The ‘ace of cakes’ cooks up something special for Obama

Baltimore celebrity baker Duff Goldman says the cake he’s baking for President Barack Obama’s inaugural ball is going to be more elegant than crazy, full of stars and stripes and a whole lot of glitter. Goldman says the staff at his Charm City Cakes bakery, which had its extreme cakes featured in the Food Network show “Ace of Cakes,” began Friday to decorate the details to put on the cake. They’ll start baking the cake itself on Sunday, the day before the inauguration and the Commander in Chief’s Ball where the cake will be served. The finished product will stand
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Obama facing an unusual two-day inaugural

President Barack Obama will take the official oath of office in a small, private ceremony at the White House on Sunday, setting a more subdued tone for his second inauguration than his historic swearing-in four years ago. Obama will still be sworn in publicly outside the U.S. Capitol on Monday with all the traditional pomp, but that event will be mostly for show. Technically, Sunday is the only one that really counts according to the Constitution, which mandates that the president be sworn in on January 20. Compared to the momentous atmosphere of Obama’s first inauguration, the mood will be
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New Republican House marked more for weakness than power

Celebration doesn’t seem to be high on the agenda as House Republicans, their majority renewed by the voters last fall, lay the groundwork for another challenge to President Barack Obama over federal spending. And no wonder. Their annual retreat this past week in Williamsburg had scarcely begun when they were told that disapproval ratings for Republicans in Congress had climbed to 64 percent in a poll completed a few days earlier. Only 27 percent of the public viewed them favorably in the survey, taken by David Winston, a respected Republican pollster. A previous sounding by Winston at the very end
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Cardinals star Stan ‘the man’ Musial dead at 92

No last name necessary. A slew of batting titles. Corkscrew stance. Humble. A gentleman. All-around good guy. Stan the Man. Stanley Frank Musial, the St. Louis Cardinals star who was one of the greatest players in the history of baseball, died Saturday. He was 92. ”I never heard anybody say a bad word about him – ever,” Willie Mays said in a statement released by the Hall of Fame. The Cardinals announced Musial’s death in a news release and said he died at his home in Ladue, a St. Louis suburb, surrounded by family. The team said Musial’s son-in-law, Dave
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New Miss America may be a no show at Obama inaugural

Mallory Hagan says her first week as Miss America has been amazing, but she’s not sure she’s going to Inauguration Day because of the weather. Hagan said in an interview Saturday that it may be too cold to attend President Barack Obama’s public swearing in ceremony Monday. She says she has a ticket and is “in the middle of deciding if she’ll go” because “it’s going to be freezing.” Hagan spoke at an event for OurTime.org, which featured will.i.am and John Legend. Hagan won the Miss America title last week. The 23-year-old was born in Alabama, but moved to New
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Obama kicks off a whirlwind weekend

President Barack Obama is heading up a National Day of Service at the start of a whirlwind weekend of inaugural events that mark the end of his historic first term and the start of his second. Obama, joined by first lady Michelle Obama, will seek to set the tone for the weekend with a service event on Saturday. Vice President Joe Biden and his wife, Jill, will also volunteer in the Washington area. Obama added a day of service projects to the inaugural schedule in 2009, and he’s hoping the event becomes a tradition for future presidents. On Monday, there
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