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Hatch, NAACP give favorable report of inaugural address

By Richard Piatt | Posted - Jan 21st, 2013 @ 6:31pm


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SALT LAKE CITY — As hundreds of thousands of people jammed into Washington's National Mall for President Barack Obama's inauguration ceremony, many in Utah watched from afar.

President Obama placed his hand on bibles used by President Lincoln and Martin Luther King Jr. during his oath. Later, in his address, the president urged unification and action on solving the deficit, global warming and keeping kids safe.

Utah's Senator Orrin Hatch joined the thousands watching the ceremony and the call for cooperation.

"I didn't agree with everything he said, but I have to say the majority of it was a call for us to get together. And if he'll lead and help us to get together, we can do it and we've got to," Hatch said.

The president's Inauguration Day was significant for people attending the Martin Luther King Jr. Salt Lake NAACP branch luncheon.

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Many of them never thought they would see an African-American man taking his second oath of office in their lifetimes.

"I didn't think I would see it, but I think it's amazing and about time, and I hope it's not the last one," said Jeanetta Williams, president of the Salt Lake NAACP branch.

"I recall as a youngster, visiting Charlotte, NC and sitting at the back of the bus," said retired Academic Vice President of Salt Lake Community College David Richardson. "Now I can sit in the front of the bus."

And when it comes to civil rights, the president pushed the envelope, setting goals for equal pay for women, and marriage equality for gays and lesbians.

There seemed to be a truce in Washington, a truce when it comes to the partisan bickering.

"Our journey is not complete until our wives, our mothers and daughters can earn a living equal to their efforts," Obama said. "Our journey is not complete until our gay brothers and sisters are treated like anyone else under the law — for if we are truly created equal, then surely the love we commit to one another must be equal as well."

In Salt Lake, his message went over well with those at the NAACP luncheon.

"It's wonderful to see how this country has evolved; how it has come from its beginnings to where it is now — how it is inclusive of all peoples," Richardson said.

There seemed to be a truce in Washington, a truce when it comes to the partisan bickering. From Hatch, a pledge of cooperation — with limits.

"I think we need to be open to whatever the president thinks we ought be doing. But there's a limit to that too," Hatch said. "We're there for a very important reason."

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