Barack Obama made an emotional tribute to wife Michelle last night as America’s first couple held each other close and danced at the inauguration balls to celebrate the beginning of the President’s second term.
The Obamas appeared on stage at the Washington Convention Center to wild cheering and thunderous applause from thousands of people. First Lady Michelle’s choice of dress was finally revealed – a dramatic, red chiffon and velvet gown by Jason Wu. The designer had also created her dress for the 2008 ball.
Obama paid tribute to his wife saying that although he was often criticized as President, ‘nobody disputes the quality of the First Lady’. The couple then danced as Jennifer Hudson sang Al Green’s Let’s Stay Together.
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Glamor: President Obama paid a glowing tribute to First Lady Michelle on Monday evening as she wowed in a striking red dress by designer Jason Wu
Enduring love: President Obama and wife Michelle danced closely at the first of two Inauguration Balls
Honored: Barack and Michelle dance with service members during the ball to celebrate his second term
Hold me close: The Obamas slow dance to the Al Green classic as sung by Jennifer Hudson at the Inauguration Ball
Ravishing: Michelle Obama looked radiant in another gown by Jason Wu who also designed the dress she wore at the 2008 inauguration ball
The Obamas were scheduled to attend two glitzy occasions on Monday evening. That’s far fewer than the ten they attended after the 2009 inauguration, though this year’s events are still expected to draw around 40,000 people.
The President spoke briefly and offered his deep gratitude to the military, saying: ‘I have no greater honor than being your commander-in-chief’.
He then spoke to troops in Afghanistan via video-link, telling them: ‘You will be on our minds tonight and every single night until our mission in Afghanistan is completed.” He promised them they would get the equipment and support they need.’
Obama then turned his focus to Michelle to whom he paid glowing tribute as First Lady and his wife.
Four more years: The Obamas celebrate the beginning of a second term in the White House in front of thousands of supporters
Diva: Jennifer Hudson looked slender in a tight-fitting black gown with draped neckline as she sang Al Green’s Let’s Stay Together while the Obamas danced
He continued: ‘I’ve got a date with me here. She inspires me every day. She makes me a better man and a better president. The fact that she is so devoted to taking care of our troops and our military families is just one more sign of her extraordinary love and grace and strength. I’m just lucky to have her.’
The First Lady’s choice of the same dress designer surprised many as she had returned to Wu, whose career was made by her decision four years ago. She teamed the red gown with shoes by Jimmy Choo and a diamond ring by Kimberly McDonald.
Wu told Women’s Wear Daily that he was completely surprised by the First Lady’s decision to wear another of his designs. He said: ‘Mrs Obama likes to keep her secrets. She fooled me again.’
The Inaugural Ball saw performances from Alicia Keys, Black Violin, Brad Paisley, Far East Movement, FUN., members of the Glee cast, John Legend, Katy Perry, Maná, Smokey Robinson, Soundgarden, Stevie Wonder and Usher.
Stunning: Jill Biden looked fabulous in a blue silk creation by Vera Wang alongside a dapper VP Joe
Applause: VP Biden thanks Jamie Foxx after he sang at the Inaugural Ball on Monday night
Warm words: President Obama and Vice-President Joe Biden spoke briefly at the Inauguration ball and offered their deep gratitude to American troops
The Commander-In-Chief’s ball for members of the Armed Forces were entertained by Alicia Keys, Brad Paisley, Chris Cornell, Jamie Foxx, Jennifer Hudson and Marc Anthony.
The President’s second inauguration sees the lowest number of official balls in 60 years. Obama cut back this year’s festivities to two balls and a concert honoring military families as an effort to reduce government spending in line with current economic conditions.
Alicia Keys took to the stage in a backless, floor-length, sequined gown where she sang an altered version of her hit Girl On Fire for President Obama. Her performance was followed by Mexican band Mana.
Jennifer Hudson who sang Al Green classic Let’s Stay Together to the first couple looked slender and glamorous in a form-fitting black gown with plunging neckline and sparkling platforms.
Star attraction: Alicia Keys performs at the Inaugural Ball in front of tens of thousands
Hitting the right keys: Alicia Keys performs during The Inaugural Ball at the Washington Convention Center during the 57th Presidential Inauguration in Washington
Vice-President Joe Biden appeared with his wife Jill who was glamorous in a blue silk dress by Vera Wang. The couple danced as Jamie Foxx sang the Ray Charles’ song I Can’t Stop Loving You before pairing off with young members of the military.
Earlier today, President Obama urged Americans to stand together to secure prosperity and freedom for the entire nation as he was sworn in to his second term as president at his spectacular inauguration ceremony in Washington D.C.
Canons fired and hundreds of thousands of elated supporters cheered after Obama was sworn into office by Chief Justice John G. Roberts as the president’s proud wife Michelle and two daughters, 11-year-old Sasha and 14-year-old Malia, looked on.
And as he left the celebrations, Obama was seen turning back towards the crowds and taking a moment to reflect on the vast sea of people before him.
Time for country: Singer Brad Paisley was one of the first performers at the Commander-In-Chief’s ball in Washington
‘I want to look out one more time because I’m not going to see this again,’ he said to someone next to him as he took in the spectacular view.
The president appeared just as grateful for the support as he walked hand-in-hand with his wife along Pennsylvania Avenue, waving to the crowds as part of the Inauguration Parade as it snaked through the streets after the ceremony.
The walkabout came after Obama addressed the crowd of supporters in an impassioned speech and urged the country to work together.
‘Our individual freedoms requires collective action,’ he said. ‘We do not believe that in this country, freedom is reserved for the lucky, or happiness for the few… We must act together, as one nation and one people.’