Barack Obama is now the 44th President of the United States

Barack Obama is inaugurated as the 44th President of the United States in Washington, D.C.

Barack Obama was sworn in as the 44th President of the United States in front of a record breaking crowd of hundreds of thousands of supporters and well wishers on the mall in Washington, DC early this afternoon. Obama addressed the nation and the world in a heartfelt, moving, historic speech that lasted 18 minutes. He emphasized diplomacy, service, cooperation, perseverance, hard work, and personal responsibility. I sat rapt listening to Obama and feeling great pride to be an American and to be witnessing this moment in history. He made some clear references to how he would veer from Bush’s policy, saying that leaders will be judged for what they build and not for what they break, and that he wanted to embrace other nations and work with them, but he was very respectful and forward-thinking. Obama’s speech today will go down as one of the most significant moments in Presidential history:

“My fellow citizens: I stand here today humbled by the task before us, grateful for the trust you have bestowed, mindful of the sacrifices borne by our ancestors.

“I thank President Bush for his service to our nation, as well as the generosity and cooperation he has shown throughout this transition.

“Forty-four Americans have now taken the presidential oath. The words have been spoken during rising tides of prosperity and the still waters of peace. Yet, every so often the oath is taken amidst gathering clouds and raging storms.

“At these moments, America has carried on not simply because of the skill or vision of those in high office, but because We the People have remained faithful to the ideals of our forbearers, and true to our founding documents. So it has been. So it must be with this generation of Americans.

“That we are in the midst of crisis is now well understood. Our nation is at war, against a far-reaching network of violence and hatred. Our economy is badly weakened, a consequence of greed and irresponsibility on the part of some, but also our collective failure to make hard choices and prepare the nation for a new age.

“Homes have been lost; jobs shed; businesses shuttered. Our health care is too costly; our schools fail too many; and each day brings further evidence that the ways we use energy strengthen our adversaries and threaten our planet.

“These are the indicators of crisis, subject to data and statistics. Less measurable but no less profound is a sapping of confidence across our land – a nagging fear that America’s decline is inevitable, and that the next generation must lower its sights.

“Today I say to you that the challenges we face are real. They are serious and they are many. They will not be met easily or in a short span of time. But know this, America – they will be met.

“On this day, we gather because we have chosen hope over fear, unity of purpose over conflict and discord. On this day, we come to proclaim an end to the petty grievances and false promises, the recriminations and worn out dogmas, that for far too long have strangled our politics.

“We remain a young nation, but in the words of Scripture, the time has come to set aside childish things. The time has come to reaffirm our enduring spirit; to choose our better history; to carry forward that precious gift, that noble idea, passed on from generation to generation: the God-given promise that all are equal, all are free, and all deserve a chance to pursue their full measure of happiness.

“In reaffirming the greatness of our nation, we understand that greatness is never a given. It must be earned. Our journey has never been one of short-cuts or settling for less. It has not been the path for the faint-hearted – for those who prefer leisure over work, or seek only the pleasures of riches and fame. Rather, it has been the risk-takers, the doers, the makers of things – some celebrated but more often men and women obscure in their labor, who have carried us up the long, rugged path towards prosperity and freedom.

“For us, they packed up their few worldly possessions and traveled across oceans in search of a new life. For us, they toiled in sweatshops and settled the West; endured the lash of the whip and plowed the hard earth. For us, they fought and died, in places like Concord and Gettysburg; Normandy and Khe Sahn.

“Time and again these men and women struggled and sacrificed and worked till their hands were raw so that we might live a better life. They saw America as bigger than the sum of our individual ambitions; greater than all the differences of birth or wealth or faction. This is the journey we continue today.

“We remain the most prosperous, powerful nation on Earth. Our workers are no less productive than when this crisis began. Our minds are no less inventive, our goods and services no less needed than they were last week or last month or last year. Our capacity remains undiminished. But our time of standing pat, of protecting narrow interests and putting off unpleasant decisions – that time has surely passed.

“Starting today, we must pick ourselves up, dust ourselves off, and begin again the work of remaking America. For everywhere we look, there is work to be done. The state of the economy calls for action, bold and swift, and we will act – not only to create new jobs, but to lay a new foundation for growth. We will build the roads and bridges, the electric grids and digital lines that feed our commerce and bind us together.

“We will restore science to its rightful place, and wield technology’s wonders to raise health care’s quality and lower its cost. We will harness the sun and the winds and the soil to fuel our cars and run our factories. And we will transform our schools and colleges and universities to meet the demands of a new age. All this we can do. And all this we will do.

“Now, there are some who question the scale of our ambitions – who suggest that our system cannot tolerate too many big plans. Their memories are short.

“For they have forgotten what this country has already done; what free men and women can achieve when imagination is joined to common purpose, and necessity to courage.

“What the cynics fail to understand is that the ground has shifted beneath them – that the stale political arguments that have consumed us for so long no longer apply.

“The question we ask today is not whether our government is too big or too small, but whether it works – whether it helps families find jobs at a decent wage, care they can afford, a retirement that is dignified.

“Where the answer is yes, we intend to move forward. Where the answer is no, programs will end. And those of us who manage the public’s dollars will be held to account – to spend wisely, reform bad habits, and do our business in the light of day – because only then can we restore the vital trust between a people and their government. Nor is the question before us whether the market is a force for good or ill. Its power to generate wealth and expand freedom is unmatched, but this crisis has reminded us that without a watchful eye, the market can spin out of control – and that a nation cannot prosper long when it favors only the prosperous.

“The success of our economy has always depended not just on the size of our Gross Domestic Product, but on the reach of our prosperity; on our ability to extend opportunity to every willing heart – not out of charity, but because it is the surest route to our common good.

“As for our common defense, we reject as false the choice between our safety and our ideals. Our Founding Fathers, faced with perils we can scarcely imagine, drafted a charter to assure the rule of law and the rights of man, a charter expanded by the blood of generations. Those ideals still light the world, and we will not give them up for expedience’s sake.

“And so to all other peoples and governments who are watching today, from the grandest capitals to the small village where my father was born: know that America is a friend of each nation and every man, woman, and child who seeks a future of peace and dignity, and that we are ready to lead once more.

“Recall that earlier generations faced down fascism and communism not just with missiles and tanks, but with sturdy alliances and enduring convictions. They understood that our power alone cannot protect us, nor does it entitle us to do as we please.

“Instead, they knew that our power grows through its prudent use; our security emanates from the justness of our cause, the force of our example, the tempering qualities of humility and restraint.

“We are the keepers of this legacy. Guided by these principles once more, we can meet those new threats that demand even greater effort – even greater cooperation and understanding between nations. We will begin to responsibly leave Iraq to its people, and forge a hard-earned peace in Afghanistan. With old friends and former foes, we will work tirelessly to lessen the nuclear threat, and roll back the specter of a warming planet.

“We will not apologize for our way of life, nor will we waver in its defense, and for those who seek to advance their aims by inducing terror and slaughtering innocents, we say to you now that our spirit is stronger and cannot be broken; you cannot outlast us, and we will defeat you.

“For we know that our patchwork heritage is a strength, not a weakness. We are a nation of Christians and Muslims, Jews and Hindus – and non-believers. We are shaped by every language and culture, drawn from every end of this Earth; and because we have tasted the bitter swill of civil war and segregation, and emerged from that dark chapter stronger and more united, we cannot help but believe that the old hatreds shall someday pass; that the lines of tribe shall soon dissolve; that as the world grows smaller, our common humanity shall reveal itself; and that America must play its role in ushering in a new era of peace.

“To the Muslim world, we seek a new way forward, based on mutual interest and mutual respect. To those leaders around the globe who seek to sow conflict, or blame their society’s ills on the West – know that your people will judge you on what you can build, not what you destroy. To those who cling to power through corruption and deceit and the silencing of dissent, know that you are on the wrong side of history; but that we will extend a hand if you are willing to unclench your fist.

“To the people of poor nations, we pledge to work alongside you to make your farms flourish and let clean waters flow; to nourish starved bodies and feed hungry minds. And to those nations like ours that enjoy relative plenty, we say we can no longer afford indifference to suffering outside our borders; nor can we consume the world’s resources without regard to effect. For the world has changed, and we must change with it.

“As we consider the road that unfolds before us, we remember with humble gratitude those brave Americans who, at this very hour, patrol far-off deserts and distant mountains. They have something to tell us today, just as the fallen heroes who lie in Arlington whisper through the ages. We honor them not only because they are guardians of our liberty, but because they embody the spirit of service; a willingness to find meaning in something greater than themselves.

“And yet, at this moment – a moment that will define a generation – it is precisely this spirit that must inhabit us all.

“For as much as government can do and must do, it is ultimately the faith and determination of the American people upon which this nation relies. It is the kindness to take in a stranger when the levees break, the selflessness of workers who would rather cut their hours than see a friend lose their job which sees us through our darkest hours.

“It is the firefighter’s courage to storm a stairway filled with smoke, but also a parent’s willingness to nurture a child, that finally decides our fate.

“Our challenges may be new. The instruments with which we meet them may be new. But those values upon which our success depends – hard work and honesty, courage and fair play, tolerance and curiosity, loyalty and patriotism – these things are old. These things are true. They have been the quiet force of progress throughout our history. What is demanded then is a return to these truths. What is required of us now is a new era of responsibility – a recognition, on the part of every American, that we have duties to ourselves, our nation, and the world, duties that we do not grudgingly accept but rather seize gladly, firm in the knowledge that there is nothing so satisfying to the spirit, so defining of our character, than giving our all to a difficult task.

“This is the price and the promise of citizenship. This is the source of our confidence – the knowledge that God calls on us to shape an uncertain destiny. This is the meaning of our liberty and our creed – why men and women and children of every race and every faith can join in celebration across this magnificent mall, and why a man whose father less than sixty years ago might not have been served at a local restaurant can now stand before you to take a most sacred oath.

“So let us mark this day with remembrance, of who we are and how far we have traveled. In the year of America’s birth, in the coldest of months, a small band of patriots huddled by dying campfires on the shores of an icy river. The capital was abandoned. The enemy was advancing. The snow was stained with blood.

“At a moment when the outcome of our revolution was most in doubt, the father of our nation ordered these words be read to the people: “Let it be told to the future world…that in the depth of winter, when nothing but hope and virtue could survive…that the city and the country, alarmed at one common danger, came forth to meet [it].” America. In the face of our common dangers, in this winter of our hardship, let us remember these timeless words.

“With hope and virtue, let us brave once more the icy currents, and endure what storms may come. 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 nor did we falter; and with eyes fixed on the horizon and God’s grace upon us, we carried forth that great gift of freedom and delivered it safely to future generations.”

[Transcript of Obama’s inauguration speech, 1/20/09, via US Weekly]

After Obama’s speech the inaugural poet, Elizabeth Alexander, read a piece that echoed Obama’s core values. The most amusing moment came during the ending benediction, from the Reverend Joseph Lowery of Alabama. He said that he would pray for the day when “when black will not be asked to get back, brown can stick around, yellow will be mellow, the red man can get ahead, man, and white will embrace what is right.” It looks like that day has come.

Barack Obama’s team has already replaced the White House’s website with a new front page and all the content about his policies. Given what we’ve seen so far, we wouldn’t expect anything less from them.

Barack Obama becomes the 44th President of the United States

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52 Responses to “Barack Obama is now the 44th President of the United States”

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  1. Syko says:

    The Big Boss here is a rabid Republican, so we had to sneak a little, but my immediate boss and I planned our lunch and sat in the downstairs restaurant near the TV and watched rapt, with tears in our eyes. It’s a great day for this country!

  2. Observer says:

    This white, middle-aged, middle-class American woman is still weeping for joy.


  3. cakes says:

    Congratulations president obama. I have faith in you. I hope you don’t let us down.
    I am so proud of America. And I am cautiously optimistic about our future.

  4. Diva says:

    I am on the west coast, so the events happened early here. I stayed home from work, and kept my 15-year old sister home from school for the morning. She doesn’t quite understand what she was forced to watch yet, lol, but someday, she will.

    I am happy, I am proud, and I am hopeful. It’s a relief.

  5. Anni says:

    The speech was great, but unfortunately it was translated here and the translator made some big mistakes…anyways, i tried to listen to the speech and phase out the translator.

  6. breederina says:

    This is a great day. Looking forward to getting outside in the city and sharing the happiness. When President Obama took office people were honking their car horns! I am so happy and proud and hopefull !

  7. Ron says:

    YEAH!!!!!!! Now for a new course and getting to the work at hand.

  8. Jess says:

    There is such an incredible energy that surrounds all this–it’s wonderful!

    I am just so riveted by the way Obama speaks. He is just beyond eloquent. It’s really ashame what we were subjected to the last eight years with that cokehead who couldn’t formulate a coherent sentence.

    It is a new day in America, indeed! Change has come!!

  9. vdantev says:

    Praise !

  10. MonicaBee says:

    There are reports on CNN that Teddy Kennedy collapsed at the luncheon…

    Barack just made mention of it during his speech too…

  11. MonicaBee says:

    Seems as if Senator Kennedy had a very long lasting seizure, and also that Senator Robert Byrd had some health issues as well…

  12. xiaoecho says:

    For the first time I actually get the Kennedy thing. I could never understand why America fell in love with Kennedy but watching the inauguration speech put me in mind of Kennedy – he inspires hope in people, and it seems that no President has done that since Kennedy – and the fact that Obama, like Kennedy is just so damn sexy!

    A big part of the joy must also be relief at getting rid of Bush – not only America but the whole world is relieved to see the back of him

  13. JJ says:

    Let’s have some class as President Bush exits. I didn’t vote for Obama, but I refuse to do to him what many libs did to Bush. Let’s stand by him pray for him and support him. Lets not stoop so low.

  14. Syko says:

    Any disrespect shown to Bush is of his own making. That man did this country and every citizen in it so much harm in his eight year frat party that we may never fully recover. Does anyone even remember what it was like before he slithered his way into the oval office?

    I like Obama’s idea of governing with hope rather than fear. About time.

  15. xiaoecho says:

    Er, the J F Kennedy thing

    Not Teddy

    Just to make that clear

  16. Cheeke Munkey says:

    Syko, just to clarify, Bush didn’t ‘slither’ into office – he was voted in… TWICE… by the American public. *sigh*

    Has change come? If it has, a good place to start would be taking responsibility for previous choices.

  17. CC says:

    JJ- I thought it was so tacky when the crowd started singing Hey Hey goodbye as President Bush walked down the steps. It was covered instead of the entrance of Michelle Obama. Its just like everything else in life you dont make fun of people or insult them to their face. I thought it was very tasteless

  18. vdantev says:

    Yeah it’s better to insult them behind their backs like a little chicken coward.

  19. CC says:

    its about respect not cowardness. i know he wasnt the best president but you should still so him and everyone else respect. Thats whats wrong with this country. People dont have class anymore.

  20. daisy424 says:

    @CC, I missed hearing that while I was watching, I am disgusted to learn of it.

    The occasion is the Inauguration of our 44th President not a sports event. The office should be respected.
    Tacky, very tacky.

  21. CiCi says:

    I agree. The lack of class being shown by some is totally astounding to me, and completely sad. If nothing else, these people should realize that their focusing on Bush bashing is only taking away from their celebration of Obama’s “historic moment.” Why not just focus on the historic moment. SIGH.

  22. Annie says:

    I thought his speech was beautiful and moving and dammit, I admit it. I cried.

  23. NotBlonde says:

    I was watching with the boyfriend who is black and both of us were just so incredibly overwhelmed with joy watching Barack and Michelle Obama walking along.

    And not only because they are a loving black couple (same as us :P) but because President Obama is so hopeful and mellow and seems kind and intellectual. He didn’t say anything about fear or being scared of anything. He’s hopeful and that is just wonderful.

  24. Kaiser says:

    I actually agree, Daisy. I f-king hate Bush, but it’s about the office, not the man. And it was disrespectful to the office, not the man. I wish the crowd had shown their dislike with just silence – no applause, no booing, just silence as Bush appeared.

  25. NotBlonde says:

    OH, and I didn’t hear about or see that classless display that some people were doing. They didn’t show it on CBS but that is just ridiculous. Leave the man be. He just left office with the lowest popularity rating ever in the history of such polls. I think that is enough. Today was about Obama not Bush.

  26. vdantev says:

    Respect is earned and never should be given away like a carny prize or simply because of tradition and must be based on performance of the person.

    Just sayin’. Carry on.

  27. doodahs says:

    Today we were eloquently shown that anything is possible. When President Obama made reference to the fact that 60 years ago, his own father would not have been able to sit in a restaurant and yet here he was being sworn is as President
    # 44, I felt proud to be part of a nation that has embraced such far reaching change.

  28. daisy424 says:

    @Kaiser, well said, I think the silence would have spoken volumes.

    @Dante, I agree that respect is earned. But I still firmly believe, the office should be respected. The heckling was in bad form.

  29. NotBlonde says:

    And just to anyone who wants to know: Senator Kennedy is apparently awake and talking and laughing with his family.

  30. kate says:

    somewhere in texas a village has regained its idiot.

  31. CB Rawks says:

    @ Cheeke “..just to clarify, Bush didn’t ’slither’ into office – he was voted in… TWICE… by the American public. *sigh*”

    Not true. Only the second time, and only because people were afraid to change horses mid cluster-fuck.

    I am so SO happy today. Everyone is wearing smiles of joy, pride and hope.

  32. Courtney H says:

    to everyone talking about “respecting the office,” what about respecting the principles of our country? bush authorized torture and caused many young men and women to die in an unnecessary war. he’ll get over some people singing a silly song on his way out– the families whose loved ones died in the iraq war will never get over their loss.

  33. Me2 says:

    I was moved by the ceremony, but Lowery’s racist clsoing comment soured it.

    It’s too bad he had to piss on what was otherwise a lovely day by embracing everyone except “white” who needs to embrace “right”.
    Like ALL white people have always done wrong. That kind of divisive commentary was an unfortunate blight on the inauguration, IMO.

    Shameful, but luckily not enough to ruin this great day entirely.

  34. Me2 says:

    What happened to my posting about Lowery’s closing comment of the benediction?

    That was incredibly poor form, and really tainted what was otherwise a perfect day.

  35. Emily says:

    I watched it in France where they broadcast it live. It was kind of annoying having translators talk over the people. I speak English and French fluently and was trying to ignore the French and understand the English… and so therefore I understood nothing. However the translators did shut up when Obama repeated the inauguration lines. However they talked over him during his speech (and did a really bad job at translating). Oh well, at least I can rewatch it online!

  36. rottenkitty says:

    I never thought I’d see this day in my lifetime. Rarely have I been so proud of my country. It was a beautiful inauguration. Obama’s speech was somber, befitting the momumental road before us. I just hope we have the strength and courage to follow where he leads us.

  37. Lala says:

    and personally am hoping that somebody can give this generation of apathetic children and blaming adults the will and drive to change the world…

    his speech was awesome — at times i had chills…

    I may just be an Obama Mama….but finally somebody is inspiring people and somebody is calling for people to make a difference…

    uh I LOVE IT!!!!

  38. Bobby the K says:


    Cheney/Bush diminished the status of the office of the President long before anyone singing ‘hey, hey say goodbye’ did.


  39. NotBlonde says:

    Calm down Me2. To everyone who is colored, like myself, it was a funny little joke basically about how white people (not ALL, obviously) haven’t exactly had the best track record when it came to dealing with folks who didn’t look like them.

    Besides, he’s an older black gentleman who had to deal with all kinds of terrible nonsense at the hands of whites, so leave him be.

  40. Lala says:

    @Nonblonde – I agree I think we have to recognize where people are coming from..

  41. Me2 says:

    I think we’ve covered this– I am black, NotBlonde, and my long-time partner is white. Every black person got the not-so-subtle subtext.

    It was inappropriate given the situation, and a very public attempt to further a private agenda preached from pulpits across America. I thought we dispensed w/this w/the Reverend Wright. I am sad we did not.

  42. Cheyenne says:

    You can’t separate the office of the presidency from the person who occupies it.

    I had zero respect for the office while Bush occupied it.

    I feel like today we finally took our country back.

  43. Aspen says:

    There are going to be a lot of people who behave utterly without class, without respect for tradition, manners, or formality, and without any modicum of self-control. These people are going to commit jackassery on both sides of the aisle.

    The true measure of a person’s ability to see clearly in all this mess will be whether or not they can ADMIT when the people they agree with politically are being the jackasses.

    I take comfort in knowing that I’m far more interested in how the people in charge behave. Old men tend to be racist, in my experience…no matter the skin color. I ignore comments like the one Me2 mentioned the same way I ignore the racially motivated snarking of old white men. It’s irrelevant to the events of today.

  44. Cheyenne says:

    I wouldn’t say booing him was totally inappropriate after he gave us and our Constitution the finger for eight whole years.

  45. Kim says:

    What a beautiful day and a beatiful moment. Sigh. I will remember it forever.

  46. NotBlonde says:

    lala, well then doesn’t Me2 also have to see where I and Reverend Joseph Lawry are coming from as well?

    Me2 you are acting as though he said “HA HA WHITEY!! YOU OUT, WE IN!” which he no where near said. I thought his actual comment was funny and appropriate considering the occasion i.e. whites finally decided that the content of a black man’s character had more credence than the color of his skin.

    I don’t know if you remember, but a lot of people were laughing when he made that statement and share my sentiment. I’m not some weirdo alone in this.

    I don’t know what “private agenda” you are talking about. It seems to me that the “private agenda” both Reverend Wright and Reverend Lawry seem to be pushing is that black people should never forget the wrongs done to them by white people and a hope that white people in this country can finally get past their racism.

    The point is that I have my point of view and you have yours. Both of us have a right to say them and explain them.

    I’m not one of those black people who only wants to deal with black people. I had a boyfriend for 3 years who was half white half black and one for a year and a half who was white. I just understand where older black people are coming from when they talk about how distrustful they are of white people considering how they’ve been treated almost all of their lives. Remember, it’s only been about 20-odd years since the blatant, legal racism was thoroughly abolished. My mom, who is half white half black, told me stories of how she wasn’t allowed to work at certain Gas Company sites in 1981 and they weren’t even afraid to tell her it was because it was in a whiter area and they didn’t want her there.

    What did you think “we” dispensed of? What is the “agenda” that you don’t like that Reverend Wright was trying to get across?

  47. Me2 says:

    NetBlonde, you seem to be trying too hard to convince yourself and others that what we all know is not true.
    It was a sweeping generalization, a statement from the past that Lowery applied to the present future on the very day it was disproved.
    Just as I find it offensive when someone says “blacks need to stop smoking crack, get jobs and take care of their illegitimate kids”, I also take umbrage at anyone who paints such an underserved broad stroke against another group.
    And if I really have to explain to you the agenda of the black pulpit, you are simply not being honest in your posting or with yourself.

  48. Mandy says:

    If anyone deserves to be scolded for lack of respect of the office of President of the United States, it’s George W. Bush! The main duties of any President are to uphold the laws of the land, and to protect our rights. The Bush administration constantly broke those laws, and then changed them to cover their asses once the public caught on to them. They exploited one of the most devastating tragedies in our nation’s history, and frightened millions of Americans into giving up their civil liberties in exchange for a false sense of security, and even got many to believe that torture was acceptable. When Congress voted to give him the power to use military force as a LAST RESORT, Bush ran with it and started a preemptive war in Iraq, abandoning the far worthier (and attainable) goal of democratizing Afghanistan and finding bin Laden.

    I apologize for the long rant, but Bush had so little respect for our country and our troops that I don’t think he deserves anything but our scorn. After what he’s done in the past 8 years, he’s damn lucky that all the crowd did was sing.

  49. sparkle1 says:

    @Me2 — well, I’m black American and my husband is white European and I thought Lowery’s prayer was awesome. In fact I thought that he spoke some of the most poignant words of the day and I agree with Notblonde that his words at the end were a lighthearted and spirited evocation of words and imagery from the past. Clearly he meant no offense when talking about black, white yellow, red. I think that he was playing on an old black saying but changing it up for modern times to suit the occassion and I thought he was being inclusive, not divisive. I think taking offense at that is reaching.

  50. Me2 says:

    It was a quote from a song from 1951, it wasn’t updated and it wasn’t inclusive, it was EXclusive.

    I agree there is absolutely a time and a place for such jocularity, but President Obama’s inauguration was neither.

  51. NotBlonde says:

    I don’t go to church so I have no idea what kind of “agenda” the black church has.

    Please enlighten me or point me to a neutral non-partisan website or book or newspaper article that will enlighten me.

  52. Me2 says:

    It’s not a partisan issue, NotBlonde, it’s racial/theological one. Do your own research and we can have an informed discussion at a later time.