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Saturday, 20 January, 2001, 21:37 GMT
President Bush sworn in
George W Bush takes the oath surrounded by his family
Changing the guard: George W Bush is sworn in
George W Bush has taken the oath of office on Capitol Hill in Washington to become the 43rd president of the United States.

In his inauguration address Mr Bush pledged to "work to build a single nation of justice and opportunity".

The enemies of liberty and our country should make no mistake. America remains engaged in the world, by history and by choice, shaping a balance of power that favours freedom
President George W Bush
The last formality of the day was a inaugural parade along a rain-soaked Pennsylvania Avenue.

Along with the well-wishers were anti-Bush demonstrators. Police in riot gear lined the route of the parade five deep.

One protester threw an egg at the new president's motorcade.

Mr Bush delighted supporters by getting out of his limousine and walked the last block of the parade, holding hands with his wife Laura.

Bill Clinton looks on as Chief Justice Rehnquist administers the oath
In his speech after taking the oath Mr Bush outlined his main policy priorities, which include tax cuts and increased defence spending.

"We will build our defences beyond challenge," he declared.

"The enemies of liberty and our country should make no mistake, America remains engaged in the world, by history and by choice, shaping a balance of power that favours freedom."

The ceremony, with the same 18th Century King James bible that was used to swear in first US President George Washington, took place outside Congress at noon (1700 GMT).

Under overcast skies, a chilly wind and steady drizzle, thousands of spectators watched the ceremony.

Minutes before Mr Bush took the oath, his vice-president, Dick Cheney, was sworn in.

Beside Mr Bush were his family, including his father, former President George Bush.

Standing close by was outgoing President Bill Clinton and Senator Hillary Clinton.

Greenpeace demonstration
Environmental protesters welcome the new president
Demonstrators angry at the way Mr Bush was elected and the policies he is expected to follow protested in Washington - where there were a number of arrests - and in Florida.

Some protesters booed Mr Bush as he arrived at the Capitol Building.

A big security operation had been ordered and, for the first time, checkpoints were set up through which people attending inaugural events had to pass.

Mr Bush used his 15-minute inauguration address to appeal to those who have not accepted his presidency.

Mr Bush called on Americans to be "citizens not spectators" and to become more involved in the service of their communities and nation.

"I will live and lead by these principles: To advance my convictions with civility, to pursue the public interest with courage, to speak for greater justice and compassion, to call for responsibility and try to live it as well," Mr Bush declared.

White House welcome

Mr Bush began his day with a prayer meeting at St John's Church opposite the White House.

Confirmed cabinet members
Colin Powell, Secretary of State
Paul O, Neill, Treasury
Donald Rumsfeld, Defence
Rod Paige, Education
Spencer Abraham, Energy
Donald Evans, Commerce
Ann Veneman, Agriculture
After being received at the White House by the Clintons, the incoming and outgoing presidential parties set off together by motorcade to Capitol Hill for the swearing in.

After the inauguration, Mr Bush had lunch with members of Congress and later headed the inaugural parade down Pennsylvania Avenue towards the White House.

Early in the afternoon, the Senate confirmed seven of Mr Bush's 13 cabinet appointments in a session that lasted less than a quarter of an hour.

The nominees approved on Saturday are among the least controversial, such as Colin Powell for Secretary of State.

More controversial nominations, as is Mr Bush's choice for attorney-general, John Ashcroft, will have to wait until at least next week.

Emotional goodbye

Mr Clinton returned to his house in New York State aboard what is normally Air Force One, but which is renamed Special Air Mission, for the last flight of the outgoing President.

Bill and Hillary Clinton
"We did a lot of good": The Clintons head for New York
Mr Clinton said an emotional goodbye in a hangar at Andrews Air Force Base.

"You gave me the ride of my life and I tried to give as good as I got," he told a crowd of devoted supporters.

He described his final moments in the White House to the crowd, which included former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright and former Attorney-General Janet Reno, as well as his family.

"We did a lot of good," Mr Clinton told the crowd, which gave him a standing ovation.

He leaves office with poll ratings higher than any other modern president.


Police in Washington said they had arrested a number of protesters demonstrating against Mr Bush's inauguration.

Washington protests
The thousands of demonstrators failed to interrupt the swearing in
But the thousands of demonstrators failed to interrupt the swearing in ceremony.

Protestors carried banners reading "Hail to the thief", "Bush a loser", "Supreme Injustice", "Selected, not elected", and one showing a picture of the White House and the words "Sold Again."

One protester set fire to a small American flag.

Minutes after Mr Bush was sworn in, demonstrators streaming on to the inaugural parade route along Pennsylvania Avenue were allowed through a checkpoint and filled a stand reserved for ticketed guests.

About 5,000 predominantly black demonstrators marched in Florida protesting that they had been disenfranchised by irregularities in the vote in the state that effectively decided the presidency.

The BBC's Stephen Sackur, in Washington
"The new President has promised to bring Americans together"
US President George W Bush's
inauguration speech


Bush presidency:


Texts and transcripts:


See also:

21 Jan 01 | Americas
US media: Unity amid divisions
20 Jan 01 | UK Politics
'No change' in US-UK relations
19 Jan 01 | Americas
Clinton escapes Lewinsky charges
20 Jan 01 | Americas
Doubts remain about Florida vote
19 Jan 01 | Americas
Bush promises fresh start
14 Jan 01 | Americas
The Clinton years
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