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Inside Politics

Bush attends National Prayer Service

Inaugural address focuses on 'ending tyranny in our world'


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President Bush and Laura attend Friday's prayer service.
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WASHINGTON (CNN) -- President Bush attended the National Prayer Service on Friday, after a whirlwind Inauguration Day on which he outlined a U.S. policy "with the ultimate goal of ending tyranny in our world."

Friday's prayer service, a presidential tradition, was held at Washington National Cathedral. Vice President Dick Cheney and his wife, Lynne, also attended the ceremony.

Acclaimed tenor Ronan Tynan opened the ceremony with the hymn "How Great Thou Art."

Evangelist Billy Graham spoke at the service, and he shook hands with Bush when the president and first lady entered the church.

Graham said it was fitting that inauguration week culminated in a church service.

He thanked God for "divine help" in the selection of presidents throughout history.

"We believe that in your province you have granted a second term to our president, George W. Bush, and our vice president, Richard Cheney," the 86-year-old Graham said.

"Their next four years are hidden from us, but they are not hidden from you," Graham said. "You know the challenges and opportunities they will face. Give them a clear mind, a warm heart, calmness in the midst of turmoil, reassurance in times of discouragement and your presence always."

Thursday, more than 100,000 people gathered outside the Capitol in chilly weather as the traditional pomp and ceremony of the quadrennial presidential inauguration took place under unprecedented security.

After he and Cheney were sworn in just before noon, the president gave an address emphasizing freedom and a vision of spreading democracy worldwide.

Bush called on the "force of human freedom" to "break the reign of hatred" and "expose the pretensions of tyrants" in the world.

After Bush's inaugural address, a poll found Americans skeptical -- but hopeful -- of the president's goals. (Full story)

Abroad, Bush's closest political allies -- Great Britain, Australia and Japan -- moved to congratulate him. (Full story)

The president and first lady Laura Bush capped off the day by making the rounds to a series of formal inaugural balls, delighting crowds with brief spins on the dance floor. The Bushes attended nine black-tie events, including one for military personnel who have served in Afghanistan or Iraq. (Full story)

'Ending tyranny in our world'

During the first wartime inauguration ceremony in decades, Bush indirectly referred to the Iraq war, saying that "because we have acted in the great liberating tradition of this nation, tens of millions have achieved their freedom. And as hope kindles hope, millions more will find it."

"We are led, by events and common sense, to one conclusion: The survival of liberty in our land increasingly depends on the success of liberty in other lands. The best hope for peace in our world is the expansion of freedom in all the world," Bush said. (Speech analysis | Transcript)

"So it is the policy of the United States," he said, "to seek and support the growth of democratic movements and institutions in every nation and culture, with the ultimate goal of ending tyranny in our world."

After his address, Bush attended a special luncheon in the Capitol and then boarded a limousine to lead the inaugural parade down Pennsylvania Avenue to the White House.

Near the executive mansion, the president and first lady exited the limousine to walk the final stretch of the route. They waved to the crowd while accompanied by a phalanx of Secret Service agents on their way to watch the festivities from a reviewing stand.

Featuring 120 entrants, the parade included military troops, color guards, marching bands, floats, drill teams and equestrian units. (Full story)

Protesters lined the parade route along with well-wishers. (Full story)

Domestic matters

During his speech, Bush also touched on domestic matters.

He called for Americans to "look after a neighbor and surround the lost with love," and to abandon racism and bigotry.

"We have known divisions, which must be healed to move forward in great purposes -- and I will strive in good faith to heal them," Bush said.

"Yet those divisions do not define America. We felt the unity and fellowship of our nation when freedom came under attack, and our response came like a single hand over a single heart."

Bush was sworn in by Chief Justice William Rehnquist, who made his first official appearance since beginning treatment for thyroid cancer in October. (Full story)

The chief justice administered the oath in a clear, raspy voice, shook hands with the president and left the stage before Bush delivered his inaugural address.

Democratic Sen. John Kerry, who lost the election to Bush, stood a few feet behind the president as he was sworn in.

Cheney took his oath from House Speaker Dennis Hastert, marking just the fourth time in U.S. history that the speaker has been called on to perform that task.

Security at all-time high

In a vivid demonstration of how much the world has changed since Bush's first inauguration four years ago, security was "at the highest levels of any inauguration," Homeland Security Secretary Tom Ridge said.

About 6,000 officers from dozens of law enforcement agencies were on patrol throughout the city, along with 2,500 military troops involved in security operations.

Streets around federal facilities in central Washington were blocked off to keep vehicles away from inaugural activities, and subway closings affected four Metro rail stations at various times of the day. (Full story)

CNN's Dana Bash, Jeanne Meserve, Elaine Quijano, Brian Todd, Judy Woodruff, Kathy Benz, Mike Ahlers and Jim Spellman contributed to this report.


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