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BEGINNING OF THE END

Monday - 1/21/2013, 8:55am  ET

President Barack Obama is officially sworn-in by Chief Justice John Roberts, not pictured, in the Blue Room of the White House during the 57th Presidential Inauguration in Washington, Sunday, Jan. 20, 2013. (AP Photo/Larry Downing, Pool)

The Associated Press

A bit of analysis about today's events from AP National Political Editor Liz Sidoti, who has covered presidential politics for more than a decade:

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Here's the backstory to the celebrating that we'll be seeing today: It's not just a beginning of a second term. It's the beginning of the end of Barack and Michelle Obama's time in the White House.

Yes, four years is a long time, particularly in today's politics. But consider this: Soon, the Obamas will have spent more time in the White House than they have left to spend. And with no next political step to take. This, for a couple who has always had their eyes focused on moving forward, from his days as a Senate candidate in Illinois to his first presidential swearing-in four years ago.

The "last time" moments begin today. They'll start with him placing his hand on a Bible to swear his presidential oath -- for the last time. And with him marching down Pennsylvania Ave. during the inaugural parade -- for the last time. And with him dancing with his wife at his inaugural balls -- for the last time.

Through those moments, expect to see a subtle current of wistfulness.

That's what happened as the campaign wound down last fall. In fact, the bittersweet feelings of finality were even more overt. The president and his staff grew emotional in the last days of the campaign, and the final weekend felt like a reunion of sorts with all the big names of his political career joining him on the trail for what they all knew would be the last time he'd campaign for the presidency, win or lose.

--Liz Sidoti -- Twitter http://twitter.com/lsidoti

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Inauguration Watch follows the events of President Barack Obama's second inaugural. Look for short items and photos throughout the day.


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