Inauguration January 20, 2009

Written by  //  January 22, 2009  //  Bert Revenaz, Media, Politics, U.S.  //  No comments

President Obama Vows Era of Responsibility
“Let it be said by our children’s children that when we were tested
we refused to let this journey end, that we did not turn back.”

Obama Is Sworn In as the 44th President

He spoke for about 20 minutes, after taking the oath of office on the same Bible used by Abraham Lincoln at his first inaugural in 1861, emphasizing his determination to unite Americans in confronting both the economic challenges facing him and the continuing fight against terrorism.
Because the ceremony ran slightly long, Mr. Obama officially became president at noon, before he was administered the oath. And there was an awkward moment when Justice Roberts and Mr. Obama, who is famed for his elocution, mixed up their words slightly. ** [Oath of Office Is Administered Again: Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. re-administered the oath to Mr. Obama on Wednesday evening, one day after the two men stumbled over each other’s words during the inauguration ceremony at the Capitol.]
In his speech, Mr. Obama promised to take “bold and swift” action to restore the economy by creating jobs through public works projects, improving education, promoting alternative energy and relying on new technology.
The parsing by speechwriters began almost as soon as the Address was over.  Whatever the opinion of the speech [the Bush camp is NOT happy; seeOn the plane to Texas], William Gavin summed up its import: “The setting — the first African-American standing there in the bright winter sunshine as our new president — had an eloquence all its own. I think we will remember this occasion more for the man who gave it than for the words he said. He could have stood there for 20 minutes of silence and still communicated great things about America.” [A later – but certainly not last – analysis, Barack Obama’s prose style, suggests that the speech is better read than heard: It is as if the speech, rather than being a sustained performance with a cumulative power, was a framework on which a succession of verbal ornaments were hung, and we were being invited not to move forward but to stop and ponder significances only hinted at.]
Jonathan Raban of the Guardian offers a very perceptive and original analysis of the Address in The Golden Trumpet
(TIME) Innauguration Photo Gallery  (NYT) Pictures from around the world
(BBC) Obama vows to meet US challenges
(CBC) Barack Obama sworn in as U.S. president, calls for ‘remaking of America’
(Al Jazeera) Obama sworn in as US president
At least one million people pack Washington DC to see inauguration of nation’s first African-American president.
(All Africa) Obama Pledges to ‘Extend a Hand’ to Other Nations
(IPS) Obama Offers Internationalist Vision
WASHINGTON – Speaking before a record crowd estimated at between two and three million people at his inauguration here Tuesday, U.S. President Barack Obama promised a foreign policy of “humility and restraint” and “greater cooperation and understanding between nations”.
Ted Kennedy Suffers Seizure at Inaugural Festivities

Said a hopeful [Senator Chris] Dodd: “The good news is he’s going to be fine.” Recalling Kennedy’s tone of voice before he was driven to the hospital, Dodd said, “When he bellows, he is usually in pretty good shape.”
Dick Cheney in a Wheelchair—Blofeld, Strangelove, or Potter?
Confirmation Update
By unanimous consent, the Senate has just confirmed Steven Chu, Secretary of Energy; Arne Duncan, Secretary of Education; Janet Napolitano, for Homeland Security, Peter Orszag as Director of the office of Management and Budget; Ken Salazar as Secretary of the Interior; Eric K. Shinseki as Secretary of Veterans Affairs; and Tom Vilsack as Secretary of Agriculture.
The most high-profile person whose confirmation has been delayed by at least a day was Senator Hillary Clinton’s. She wouldn’t comment when asked about it earlier, but Republicans have expressed concerns about potential conflicts of interest posed by possible foreign donors to her husband’s foundation.

The evolution of the president’s party
(Politico) Since George Washington stood on the balcony of New York City’s Federal Hall in 1789, all presidential terms have begun with one sentence enshrined in the Constitution: “I do solemnly swear [or affirm] that I will faithfully execute the office of the President of the United States and will, to the best of my ability, preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States.”
Obama Inauguration Schedule

A peek at Obama’s inaugural [address] plan
(Politico) A competitive man by nature, Obama seems acutely aware that he’s stepping into the ring with history itself Tuesday — squaring off against not only the public’s expectations for a voice-of-God moment, but also against the addresses that came before his, the formidable and the forgettable.
*** Will Barack Obama top the soaring rhetoric of his election campaign? Boy-wonder speechwriter, Jon Favreau, 27, is toiling day and night [it seems that Obama is writing his own] to make sure that Tuesday’s inauguration address cements his master’s place in history. If he’s searching for inspiration, Favreau could do worse than visit www.speechwars.com . It has archived every inaugural speech, and can create graphs that illustrate how presidential “buzzwords” have changed since 1789.
They show how “xenophobia” (a favourite of early inhabitants of the White House) has been replaced with “globalism”. “Union” peaked in 1845, with 25 mentions, but is now obsolete. “Freedom” is on the rise, getting 25 of its 175 mentions in George Bush’s last address. Meanwhile “change” was used 10 times by John F Kennedy, and nine times by Bill Clinton – but pretty much ignored by everyone else.***
(HuffPost) As part of the Pre-Inaugural Ball HuffPost is throwing tonight at the Newseum in Washington, we will, just before midnight, have a Countdown to a New Era. It’s a new era not just because the Bush Years will officially be over, and not just because Barack Obama will be president, but because taking on the challenges America is facing will require a new era of citizen responsibility and engagement.

Countdown to Obama presidency as King remembered

(Reuters) In crafting one of the most eagerly awaited inaugural addresses ever, Obama will try to reassure recession-weary Americans they can rebound from hard times, and he will signal to the world his desire to fix a battered U.S. image overseas.
But Obama, elected on a promise of change after eight years under Republican President George W. Bush, will also be mindful that if he sets expectations too high, he could risk disappointment.
Barack Obama entre en scène pour l’Histoire
(Le Figaro) Les festivités entamées samedi, qui culmineront mardi avec la prestation de serment, promettent de pulvériser tous les records d’affluence, de dépenses, de glamour. Et d’inconfort.
Comme l’a dit Malia Obama la semaine dernière à son père, son discours a plutôt intérêt d’être bon.
Newspapers to Cash in on Obama Inauguration Demand
18 January
Obama Joins Crowd on Mall for Free Concert
“What gives me hope is what I see when I look out across this Mall,” Obama said. “Not the stone and marble that surrounds us but what fills the spaces in between. It is you, Americans of every race and every station, who came here because you believe in what America can be . . . and you want to help us get there. As I prepare to assume the presidency, yours are the voices I will take with me.”
The program of music and inspirational speeches included mega-rock stars like Bruce Springsteen, Shakira, Bono and Stevie Wonder, sometimes jamming together and sometimes backed up backed up by choirs. It closed with a mass singalong of “This Land is Your Land,” led by Bob Dylan and an aging Pete Seeger, and by Beyoncé’s soulful rendition of “America the Beautiful.”
Wednesday Nighter, Bert Revenaz contributes to the greening of the Inauguration festivities Calculating the hot air of Obamafest
Green website lets inauguration pilgrims tote up carbon effects
17 January
Thousands fete Obama on slow train to Washington
(NST Online) Cheered Saturday by thousands thronging embankments and awash in history’s echoes, Barack Obama vowed to lift America out of crisis as he trundled by train to Washington to claim the White House. Three days before he is sworn in as America’s first black president, Obama stood on the step of a vintage caboose, waving to jubilant trackside crowds on a route taken a century-and-a-half ago by his hero president Abraham Lincoln.
(ABC Extensive coverage) Obama Meets Warm Reception in Baltimore
Obama invokes spirit of American Revolution in train ride to Washington
(CBC) President-elect calls for ‘new declaration of independence from ideology and small thinking’
Newspapers to Cash in on Obama Inauguration Demand
Jan. 16 (Bloomberg) — Newspapers that scrambled to print extra issues after Barack Obama’s election are ramping up presses to ensure they don’t miss out on an inauguration day windfall.
For Obama’s swearing-in as U.S. president on Jan. 20, publishers of the New York Times, Washington Post and newspapers across the country are planning to sell millions of extra copies, special editions, books and other memorabilia. That’s after Nov. 5 newspapers attracted bids of almost $100 apiece on EBay.
The Inaugural Inspiration
By Alidor Aucoin on January 15, 2009
Unlike a Speech from the Throne in Canada, or a State of the Union Address in the United States, an inaugural speech is meant to have substance.
(The Metropolitain) All US presidents eventually reveal their flaws, but the ones who are remembered in spite of their flaws are those who inspire Americans – and by extension all free people – to serve and make a difference.
Barack Obama, it has been said, won the presidency on just one speech – the one he delivered at the Democratic Convention in 2004 and now he will be expected to top that flash of inspiration with his inaugural address. It will be the 56th such speech in American history, and will be the first on YouTube.
The best leaders, as John Stuart Mill wrote are the ones who can articulate that, “the worth of the state, in the long run, is the worth of the individuals composing it.” Or as Jill LePore writes in the latest issue of the New Yorker, “Presidential rhetoric is worth keeping an eye on. …a rhetorical presidency begins to look a lot better after some years of a dumfounded one.”
What presidents say when they are sworn often sets the stage for what is to come. Inagural speechmaking serves four purposes, according to Karlyn Kohrs Campbell and Kathleen Hall Jameison, in their book, Presidents Creating the Presidency: reunite the country after a divisive election campaign, emphasize shared and inherited values, set forth policies, and inspire people to envision a better future.
Renewing America
George Bush has left a dismal legacy, but Barack Obama can do much to repair the damage

(The Economist) SHORTLY after midday on January 20th, Barack Obama will sit for the first time at the desk where the buck stops. The American presidency is always the world’s hardest and most consequential job, but it seems particularly so this month. A global recession of a severity not seen for perhaps 80 years; a new war in the Middle East and old ones in Africa; missions very far from accomplished in Iraq and Afghanistan; a prickly Russia and a rising China. These international challenges must jostle for the president’s attention alongside noisy domestic concerns like rocketing unemployment, the desperate need for a better health-care system, exploding deficits and failing cities. The burdens, surely, are too many for one man to bear.
Huddled masses
But fewer than first forecast

SINCE November 5th Washington has been bracing for an invasion of zealous Obamaites eager to see their man take the oath of office. Congressmen with only a couple of hundred tickets to hand out have been swamped with thousands of requests each. The city has furiously concocted crowd-control measures and warned residents that going downtown on inauguration day will be nearly impossible. Driving will be a wasted effort: the city centre will be filled with tour buses on the streets that are open, and many won’t be. Neither will the bridges crossing the Potomac river, which connect the District of Columbia to its suburbs in Virginia. But something happened as would-be visitors were refused tickets and word of vast, unruly crowds got out: interest waned a bit. Read article

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