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Monday January 22, 2001

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Bush takes office as 43rd president

By Anastasia Ching

Arizona Daily Wildcat

De Republican promises unity, promotes citizenship

spite the cold, wet weather and sea of protesters, George W. Bush was sworn in as the 43rd President of the United States Saturday, asking Americans to "be citizens."

Bush's call to "be citizens: citizens, not spectators; citizens, not subjects; responsible citizens, building communities of service and a nation of character" came amidst 30-degree temperatures and protests against results of the 36-day ballot recount battle that culminated in Bush's election to the presidency.

Protesters wielding signs proclaiming "Hail to the Thief" and "Bush was appointed, not elected" did not stop the 50-minute inauguration ceremony, in which the title of chief executive was handed from former President Bill Clinton to Bush.

Manuel Espinoza, president of the University of Arizona's College Republicans and a political science junior, attended the ceremony in Washington, D.C. and was most impressed by the simple exchange of power.

"It pains me to see the political conflict in places like Kosovo," Espinoza said. "We're so lucky to have a system of government that allows for a peaceful transfer of power."

Jim Todd, a senior lecturer in the UA political science department, agrees that the peaceful transfer of power is impressive, especially given the circumstances of this election.

"It's a tribute to the strength of our institution that we can have such a normal transition after such an abnormal election," Todd said.

While the transfer of power was peaceful, protests against the inauguration were not only confined to Washington, D.C.

Morgan Philbrick, an undeclared freshman, experienced the repercussions of inauguration protests on a Saturday shopping trip to Scottsdale's Fashion Square mall.

"I walked into the mall and this guy told me to leave because there had been a bomb threat," Philbrick said. "I spoke to the general manager, and he told me that somebody had sent an e-mail threatening a terrorist attack because of Bush taking office."

Although the threat turned out to be phony, Philbrick said she was left with a bad taste.

"All this protesting - especially threats of violence - just causes more problems," Philbrick said. "These people against Bush need to just accept the fact that he's president."

Even as protesters made known their opposition to the inauguration, Bush emphasized unity.

"Our unity, our union, is the serious work of leaders and citizens in every generation," Bush said. "And this is my solemn pledge: I will work to build a single nation of justice and opportunity."