It’s official: Barack Obama is the 44th President of the United States

January 20, 2009

In his inaugural address today, President Barack Obama issued a call for personal responsibility, and offered eloquent examples and reminders of the core values that have shaped America’s enduring and greatest triumphs: hard work and honesty, courage and fair play, tolerance and curiosity, loyalty and patriotism. With our nation at war and facing an economic crisis, and much tough work ahead to solve domestic and foreign challenges, Obama urged Americans to come together and “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.”

The full text of the speech – eloquent, moving, forceful when needed — is here. But for sheer nuts-and-bolts pragmatism on the inner workings of government, this section stood out:

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.

Here’s the video of his remarks:

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