AP National Political Editor Liz Sidoti's pre-speech take on the inaugural:
President Barack Obama will be in his element when he steps to the podium to deliver his second inaugural address. He plans to lay out a broad vision for the country's future. These speeches are traditionally heavier on prose than on policy, and devoid of many details. And Obama is expected to keep with that formula, focusing on America's founding values and their importance to the country of today.
Don't expect a partisan pitch. But make no mistake: this speech — like so many others before it — will be political, to a certain degree.
The president will be speaking to an America whose citizens are divided, and who fear their nation is in a perpetual — if not irreversible — state of decline. He will be speaking at a time of political paralysis, deep polarization and a resounding lack of faith in the institution of government. And he will be speaking at the start of a period in which he hopes to tackle a slew of thorny issues — taxes, guns, immigration and other issues — even as Republicans control the House.
So, expect Obama to do what he's been known for since he burst onto the national stage — pepper his remarks with strong notes of resolve and the notion of a can-do America.
With the country's grim backdrop and knowing what we know about Obama, it's hard to see how the president doesn't take advantage of the platform he has to issue an urgent call to action for Americans and their political leaders to come together to try to break Washington's gridlock and solve the country's big looming problems.
—Liz Sidoti — Twitter http://twitter.com/lsidoti
Inauguration Watch follows the events of President Barack Obama's second inaugural. Look for short items and photos throughout the day.