Obama - Inagural Speech Video

Barack Obama - Inaguration Speech

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.

Thank you, God bless you and God bless the United States of America.

All you need to know the US President - Barack Obama

All you needed to know about US President Barack Obama.... Family: Barack Obama was born to a Kenyan father and a white American mother. His father, Barack Obama Sr., married his mother, Ann Dunham, while studying at the University of Hawaii. The couple separated two years after Obama was born. His father ultimately returned to Kenya, where he became a noted economist. He died in a car accident in 1982. Obama's mother's second marriage was to an Indonesian man named Lolo Soetoro. The family moved to Indonesia and Obama remained there until he was 10 when he moved back to Hawaii and lived with his grandparents while studying on a scholarship at the elite Punahou Academy. He has seven half brothers and sisters in Kenya from his father's other marriages, and a half-sister, Maya Soetoro-Ng, from his mother's second marriage.

In this Jan. 3, 2008 file photo, Democratic presidential hopeful Sen. Barack Obama, D-Ill., with his wife Michelle and daughters Malia, left, and Sasha, center, at an after caucus rally at the Hy-Vee Center after winning the Iowa democratic presidential caucus in Des Moines, Iowa. (AP Photo) Career: After finishing college in 1983, Obama worked for a New York financial consultancy and a consumer organization. He landed a job in Chicago in 1985 as an organizer for Developing Communities Project, a church-based group seeking to improve living conditions in poor neighborhoods. Three years later, Obama left to go to Harvard Law School, where he became the first black president of the law review. He worked as a summer associate at the Sidley Austin law firm in Chicago, where he met his future wife. After graduation from Harvard in 1991, Obama practiced civil rights law at a small firm in Chicago, then became a lecturer in constitutional law at the University of Chicago in 1993.

In photo: U. S. Sen. Barack Obama, D-Ill., receives an honorary Doctor of Laws degree during the commencement program at Xavier University of Louisiana in New Orleans on Saturday, Aug. 12, 2006. (AP Photo)

Elective office: Obama won a seat in the Illinois state Senate in 1996. During his time in the Legislature, he worked on welfare and ethics legislation, as well as a measure requiring electronic recording of police interrogations and confessions in homicide investigations. Obama won a heavily contested U.S. Senate seat in 2004, carrying 53 percent of the Democratic primary vote in an eight-candidate race. He easily won the general election as well. In the U.S. Senate he compiled a liberal voting record, but was one of the few Democrats to back a measure on class-action lawsuits. He opposed the appointment of Chief Justice John Roberts and Justice Samuel Alito to the U.S. Supreme Court.

The nonpartisan National Journal ranked him as the most liberal member of the U.S. Senate early this year based on his voting record in 2007. He was ranked 10th most liberal in 2006 and 16th most liberal in 2005. Presidential campaign: Obama announced his presidential candidacy on Feb. 10, 2007. Though New York Sen. Sen. Barack Obama, D-Ill. pauses prior to a meeting in Tel Aviv, Israel, in this file photo from Jan. 10, 2006. Obama chastised fellow Democrats on Wednesday June 28, 2006. (AP Photo) Hillary Clinton was initially seen as the front-runner for the Democratic nomination, Obama quickly showed an ability to raise large amounts of money and draw record-breaking crowds who were attracted to his rhetorical skill, his opposition to the Iraq war, and his promise to move beyond the divisive politics of the past 40 years.

In photo: President-elect Barack Obama, left, stands with his choice to be secretary of state, Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton, D-N.Y., right, at a news conference in Chicago, Monday, Dec. 1, 2008. (AP Photo) Obama won the first contest of the Democratic primary in Iowa in January 2008, but did not clinch the nomination until the last states had cast their ballots in June. During the protracted battle with Clinton, Obama had to explain away a disparaging comment about rural voters and distance himself from a former preacher's incendiary remarks. His campaign developed new ways to mobilize voters through the Internet.

Sen. Barack Obama, D-Ill. acknowledges the crowd at the state Democratic election celebration party in Manchester, N.H. in this Dec. 10, 2006 file photo. CNN apologized Tuesday Jan. 2, 2006 for mistakenly promoting a story on the search for Osama bin Laden with the headline "Where's Obama?" A spokesman for Obama said the apology was accepted. (AP Photo)

After accepting the Democratic nomination in Denver in August, Obama faced Republican John McCain in the general election. McCain initially led in opinion polls after he picked Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin to be his running mate, but his support eroded amid a souring economy and concern about Palin's qualifications.

Senator Barak Obama, D-Ill., listens to academy awarding-winning actor George Clooney speaking to the media at the National Press Club in Washignton Thursday, April 27, 2006, to call attention to the critical situation in the Darfur region of Sudan. In his latest album, "Living With War," Neil Young mentions Obama in the song "Lookin' for a Leader." In it, Young sings of the nation's need for a new leader, singing, "Yeah maybe it's Obama, but he thinks that he's too young." (AP Photo)

Obama won 53 percent of the popular vote on Election Day, Nov. 4.
In this Aug. 28, 2008 file photo, then Democratic presidential candidate, Sen. Barack Obama, D-Ill., hugs his wife, Michelle Obama, after giving his acceptance speech at the Democratic National Convention at Invesco Field at Mile High in Denver.

Know more about Barack Obama

All you needed to know about US President Barack Obama.... Family: Barack Obama was born to a Kenyan father and a white American mother. His father, Barack Obama Sr., married his mother, Ann Dunham, while studying at the University of Hawaii. The couple separated two years after Obama was born. His father ultimately returned to Kenya, where he became a noted economist. He died in a car accident in 1982. Obama's mother's second marriage was to an Indonesian man named Lolo Soetoro. The family moved to Indonesia and Obama remained there until he was 10 when he moved back to Hawaii and lived with his grandparents while studying on a scholarship at the elite Punahou Academy. He has seven half brothers and sisters in Kenya from his father's other marriages, and a half-sister, Maya Soetoro-Ng, from his mother's second marriage. In this Jan. 3, 2008 file photo, Democratic presidential hopeful Sen. Barack Obama, D-Ill., with his wife Michelle and daughters Malia, left, and Sasha, center, at an after caucus rally at the Hy-Vee Center after winning the Iowa democratic presidential caucus in Des Moines, Iowa. (AP Photo)

Career: After finishing college in 1983, Obama worked for a New York financial consultancy and a consumer organization. He landed a job in Chicago in 1985 as an organizer for Developing Communities Project, a church-based group seeking to improve living conditions in poor neighborhoods. Three years later, Obama left to go to Harvard Law School, where he became the first black president of the law review. He worked as a summer associate at the Sidley Austin law firm in Chicago, where he met his future wife. After graduation from Harvard in 1991, Obama practiced civil rights law at a small firm in Chicago, then became a lecturer in constitutional law at the University of Chicago in 1993. Elective office: Obama won a seat in the Illinois state Senate in 1996. During his time in the Legislature, he worked on welfare and ethics legislation, as well as a measure requiring electronic recording of police interrogations and confessions in homicide investigations.

Obama won a heavily contested U.S. Senate seat in 2004, carrying 53 percent of the Democratic primary vote in an eight-candidate race. He easily won the general election as well. In the U.S. Senate he compiled a liberal voting record, but was one of the few Democrats to back a measure on class-action lawsuits. He opposed the appointment of Chief Justice John Roberts and Justice Samuel Alito to the U.S. Supreme Court.
The nonpartisan National Journal ranked him as the most liberal member of the U.S. Senate early this year based on his voting record in 2007. He was ranked 10th most liberal in 2006 and 16th most liberal in 2005. Presidential campaign: Obama announced his presidential candidacy on Feb. 10, 2007. Though New York Sen.

Hillary Clinton was initially seen as the front-runner for the Democratic nomination, Obama quickly showed an ability to raise large amounts of money and draw record-breaking crowds who were attracted to his rhetorical skill, his opposition to the Iraq war, and his promise to move beyond the divisive politics of the past 40 years. Obama won the first contest of the Democratic primary in Iowa in January 2008, but did not clinch the nomination until the last states had cast their ballots in June. During the protracted battle with Clinton, Obama had to explain away a disparaging comment about rural voters and distance himself from a former preacher's incendiary remarks. His campaign developed new ways to mobilize voters through the Internet. After accepting the Democratic nomination in Denver in August, Obama faced Republican John McCain in the general election. McCain initially led in opinion polls after he picked Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin to be his running mate, but his support eroded amid a souring economy and concern about Palin's qualifications.
Senator Barak Obama, D-Ill., listens to academy awarding-winning actor George Clooney speaking to the media at the National Press Club in Washignton Thursday, April 27, 2006, to call attention to the critical situation in the Darfur region of Sudan. In his latest album, "Living With War," Neil Young mentions Obama in the song "Lookin' for a Leader." In it, Young sings of the nation's need for a new leader, singing, "Yeah maybe it's Obama, but he thinks that he's too young."

Obama won 53 percent of the popular vote on Election Day, Nov. 4.

Barack Obama - The First Speech as President

Barack Obama's campaign began with lofty appeals to idealism, as he called upon supporters to build a movement that could change the way we relate to each other. It ended with a series of concrete, pedestrian promises, as Obama vowed to deliver jobs, health care, and lower prices at the pump.

But tonight in Chicago, standing before a crowd of cheering throngs in Grant Park, Obama rediscovered his former self. Conjuring up the old language of idealism, and reaching out to his vanquished opponent, Obama renewed his plea for unity and common purpose. "So let us summon a new spirit of patriotism," Obama said, "of service and responsibility where each of us resolves to pitch in and work harder and look after not only ourselves, but each other." Then Obama invoked Lincoln:

Let us resist the temptation to fall back on the same partisanship and pettiness and immaturity that has poisoned our politics for so long. Let us remember that it was a man from this state who first carried the banner of the Republican Party to the White House–a party founded on the values of self-reliance, individual liberty, and national unity. Those are values we all share, and while the Democratic Party has won a great victory tonight, we do so with a measure of humility and determination to heal the divides that have held back our progress. As Lincoln said to a nation far more divided than ours, “We are not enemies, but friends…though passion may have strained it must not break our bonds of affection.” And to those Americans whose support I have yet to earn–I may not have won your vote, but I hear your voices, I need your help, and I will be your President too.

The heart of the speech--the passage, I suspect, that people will long remember--was a solliloquy that recounted the story of a 106-year-old African American woman named Ann Nixon Cooper. Obama talked about her journey through history--through the Great Depression, World War II, the Civil Rights Moment, and the Cold War--punctutating each passage with his signature refrain, "Yes we can."

It was the first time in a long time that Obama had dwelled on the subject of race and the historical significance of his election. He did so delicately, and by proxy, but the meaning was altogether clear: "This year, in this election, she touched her finger to a screen, and cast her vote, because after 106 years in America, through the best of times and the darkest of hours, she knows how America can change. Yes we can."

But I suspect the point of using Cooper as a vehicle for revisiting America's past--and, you might say, the whole point of Obama's candidacy--was not to appropriate the evening for one group of people. It was to suggest that the African-American story was really the American story, one from which all people living here could draw hope and inspiration. As Obama said near the end of his adderss,

America, we have come so far. We have seen so much. But there is so much more to do. So tonight, let us ask ourselves–if our children should live to see the next century; if my daughters should be so lucky to live as long as Ann Nixon Cooper, what change will they see? What progress will we have made?

This is our time–to put our people back to work and open doors of opportunity for our kids; to restore prosperity and promote the cause of peace; to reclaim the American Dream and reaffirm that fundamental truth–that out of many, we are one; that while we breathe, we hope, and where we are met with cynicism, and doubt, and those who tell us that we can’t, we will respond with that timeless creed that sums up the spirit of a people: Yes We Can.