President Reagan took the oath of office for a second term yesterday in a subdued White House ceremony with family, friends, the Cabinet and congressional leaders, a prelude to his inaugural address today that will focus on a theme of "American renewal."
The city was engulfed in icy winds as the 40th president took the oath in the warm elegance of the White House, standing at the foot of the marble Grand Staircase as 94 invited guests and a national television audience looked on.
Chief Justice Warren E. Burger administered the oath three minutes before noon as Reagan, at 73 the nation's oldest president, raised his right hand and placed his left on his mother's Bible, held by his wife, Nancy. Vice President Bush, 60, was sworn in moments earlier by retired Associate Justice Potter Stewart, a long-time friend.
Reagan, the 14th president given a chance to shape history with a second term, then stepped briefly into the brisk winter chill with Bush for a picture-taking session, without overcoats, on the North Portico of the White House, facing Pennsylvania Avenue.
When a reporter shouted a question about his hopes for a second term, Reagan responded with a smile, "I hope it will be warmer." Asked if the second would be better than the first, he said, "Always is." Asked if he had a message for the American people, he said he would give that answer in "just a little while" at the swearing-in today.
Outgoing White House chief of staff James A. Baker III said Reagan's address will strike an "overall theme of American renewal," what he described as "a new call to arms" emphasizing "growth and opportunity and the creation of jobs." These were the themes of Reagan's reelection campaign last year.
Reagan will reenact the swearing-in at the Capitol today. Yesterday's ceremony was held because the Constitution sets Jan. 20 for the oath-taking.
The ceremony began as the U.S. Marine Orchestra played "America." Reagan and Bush were standing out of sight at the top of the stairs, and, according to White House aide Mark Weinberg, they sang along.
Then, to the strains of "Hail America" by composer Henry Hadley, the president, vice president and their wives descended the 40 stairs, shoulder-to-shoulder, the Reagans holding hands. They passed a portrait of Franklin D. Roosevelt, whom Reagan admired as a youth but whose legacy of expanded government he has tried to reverse.
They were seated near a portrait of Dwight D. Eisenhower, whose presidency Reagan has sought to emulate in many ways.
The invocation was delivered by the Rev. Donn Moomaw of the Bel Air (Calif.) Presbyterian Church, which Reagan used to attend. Moomaw prayed for "a splendid new time of commitment and dedication" in Reagan's second term.
Bush then took his oath as his wife, Barbara, in a blue jacket and black dress, held a Bible open to the Book of Ecclesiastes and one of its most famous passages: "For everything there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven . . . . "
With the oath completed, Bush kissed his wife.
Reagan then was sworn in as Mrs. Reagan, in a red wool dress, held the New Indexed Bible, King James Version, that belonged to his mother, Nelle Reagan. The Bible was opened to 11 Chronicles 7:14: "If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal the land."
The president then took the oath: "I, Ronald Reagan, do solemnly swear that I will faithfully execute the office of president of the United States and will, to the best of my ability, preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States, so help me God."
As the president finished, Burger congratulated him, and Reagan kissed his wife.
Seated in three front rows were members of the Reagan and Bush families, including the president's daughter, Maureen, and her husband, Dennis Revell; his son Michael and his wife, Colleen, and their son, Cameron (their 20-month-old daughter, Ashley, was with a babysitter elsewhere); his son Ron and his wife, Doria; the president's brother, Neil Reagan, and his wife, Bess, and Nancy Reagan's step-brother, Dr. Richard Davis, and his wife, Patricia, among others.
Reagan's daughter Patti Davis was not present. She was to arrive at the White House last night.
Others there yesterday included Reagan's top White House aides from the first term and their wives: Baker, counselor Edwin Meese III, National Security Affairs Adviser Robert C. McFarlane, and deputy chief of staff Michael K. Deaver, who has been suffering from flu but came for the ceremony.
All Cabinet members attended the ceremony except for Health and Human Services Secretary Margaret M. Heckler. For security reasons, one Cabinet member is designated to stay away from such gatherings, to provide an orderly succession in case of disaster.
After the ceremony, Reagan hosted an expanded reception for 180 guests. White House officials provided the menu -- pasta carbonara, vegetable salad, spinach salad -- but refused to identify the guests.
Reagan, Bush and their families began the day with worship services at the National Cathedral. Reagan ended the day with a nationally televised coin toss to determine the kickoff for Super Bowl XIX in Palo Alto, Calif. The president then was to dine with family members; Michael Reagan had invited friends into the Family Theatre to watch the football game.
After the oath-taking, Reagan assistants gave a series of television interviews.
Treasury Secretary Donald T. Regan, the incoming White House chief of staff, said the White House will fight any attempt to trim defense spending further from the proposed budget because "that's what the president wants us to do."
Baker, the treasury secretary-designate, said it will be difficult to get a tax-simplification plan through Congress this year, and that there "undoubtedly will be some changes" before it is enacted.