Washington DC is preparing as hundreds of thousands get set to witness President Barack Obama take an oath to “protect and defend” the US Constitution, a day after officially affirming the duties of president in a private White House ceremony. Monday’s ceremony, which will consist of parades and fancy dress balls will mark the beginning of Obama’s second four-year term as US president. After taking oath, Obama is expected to follow the recent tradition of walking at least part of the way back to the White House, surrounded by cheers. In a brief ceremony on Sunday, with family gathered in the White House, Obama took the oath of office shortly before noon, as required by law. With his left hand on a family bible held by first lady Michelle Obama, the 44th president raised his right hand and repeated the time-honoured words read out by Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts.