President Barack Obama made an emotional tribute to First Lady Michelle Obama last night as they danced at the inauguration balls to celebrate the beginning of his 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 Obama’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.
Barack 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.
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.
Barack Obama spoke briefly and offered his deep gratitude to the military, saying: “I have no greater honor than being your commander-in-chief.”
The president 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.
Barack Obama then turned his focus to Michelle to whom he paid glowing tribute as First Lady and his wife.
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 Jason 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.
Jason Wu told Women’s Wear Daily that he was completely surprised by Michelle Obama’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.
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.
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 Barack 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.