Obama: Challenges real, but ‘they will be met’ – WASHINGTON (CNN)

January 20th, 2009 Print Print Email Email

Barack Obama delivered a sobering assessment of where America stands and a hopeful vision of what it can become as he gave his inaugural address as the nation’s 44th president.


Barack Obama delivered a sobering assessment of where America stands and a hopeful vision of what it can become as he gave his inaugural address as the nation’s 44th president.

“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,” Obama told hundreds of thousands of people gathered on the National Mall in front of the Capitol.

“But know this, America — they will be met,” he said.

He also vowed to end the divisiveness and partisanship he said was rampant through Washington.

“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,” he said. VideoWatch Obama say Americans chose hope »

In another allusion to Washington’s shortcomings, Obama promised to hold accountable anyone who handles taxpayer dollars.

“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.”

The new president, who hugged civil rights stalwart Rep. John Lewis, D-Georgia, on the inaugural stage Tuesday, also hailed the civil rights movement.

“This is the meaning of [America's] 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 60 years ago, might not have been served at a local restaurant can now stand before you to take a most sacred oath,” Obama said. VideoWatch Sen. Dianne Feinstein open the swearing-in ceremony »

The address touched on other themes, including a warning to terrorists.

“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,” the president stated.

Wearing a navy suit and red tie, Obama was sworn in using the same Bible that was used in President Abraham Lincoln’s inauguration.

The jubilant crowd became quiet as Obama began his address, with only an occasional “That’s right” or “Amen” and scattered applause from the hundreds of thousands in front of him.

Saddleback Church founder Rick Warren delivered the invocation, applauding what he called “a hinge-point in history.” Civil rights veteran the Rev. Joseph Lowery gave the benediction.

Aretha Franklin sang “My Country ‘Tis of Thee” before Joe Biden was sworn in as vice president. VideoWatch Obama’s grand entrance »

Hundreds of thousands of people gathered on the National Mall — dancing, singing and vigorously shaking flags — before Tuesday’s swearing-in.

“This is America happening,” said Evadey Minott of Brooklyn, New York. “It was prophesized by King that we would have a day when everyone would come together. This is that day. I am excited. I am joyful. It brings tears to my eyes.”

Minott was at Lafayette Square near the White House, where Obama and his wife, Michelle, had coffee with President Bush and first lady Laura Bush before heading to Capitol Hill.

The Obamas attended a prayer service earlier at St. John’s Episcopal Church to kick off the day of events surrounding Obama’s inauguration. VideoWatch the Bushes greet the Obamas »

As many as 2 million people were expected to crowd into the area between the Capitol, the White House and the Lincoln Memorial.

Gerrard Coles of Norwalk, Connecticut, had staked out a position in front of St. John’s.

“Everyone’s down here — hopefully to catch a glimpse of Barack, just for a split second,” he said. “I think this was a beautiful thing. It’s something I always wanted to do. It’s not every day that you get to be a part of history. Rather than just watch it on TV, you actually get to partake in it and you have a story to tell your kids.”

Nine-year-old Laura Bruggerman also hoped to catch a glimpse of the soon-to-be president. She waited with her mother, Wendy, and father, Jeff, of Bethesda, Maryland, amid an affable crowd that tried to let shorter onlookers and children to the front for better views.

“I want to see Obama. I think that would be really cool. I could tell all of my friends that I got to see him,” the youngster said.

Some spectators were more than a mile from the swearing-in ceremony, watching on giant TV screens erected along the National Mall.

The historic event has drawn myriad celebrities and politicians, including actors Dustin Hoffman and Denzel Washington, director Steven Spielberg and former vice presidents Dan Quayle, Al Gore and Walter Mondale.

Former Presidents Clinton, Carter and George H.W. Bush also were in attendance. Clinton and Bush shared an embrace.

Oprah Winfrey and actor Samuel L. Jackson sat on the same row. Winfrey hugged Senate hopeful Caroline Kennedy and later said of the inauguration, “It’s behind the dream. We’re just here feeling it with the throngs of people. It’s amazing grace personified.”

After a formal farewell to President Bush and lunch with congressional leaders, Obama will head up Pennsylvania Avenue to the White House, where he and his family will watch the inauguration parade from a reviewing stand. The parade begins at 3:45 p.m. ET. VideoWatch the final preparations for Inauguration Day »

Organizers have said about 280,000 people can fit into the secure zones around the Capitol and roughly 300,000 into the area around the parade. A mere 28,000 seats are available on Capitol grounds.

The new president and first lady will close the night by attending 10 official inaugural balls.

While Secret Service Director Mark Sullivan said Monday there was “no credible threat” to the inauguration events, a security cordon has been put in place around the city’s core, turning much of downtown Washington into a pedestrian-only zone.

In addition to Secret Service, the security effort will involve 8,000 police officers from the District of Columbia and other jurisdictions, 10,000 National Guard troops, about 1,000 FBI personnel, and hundreds of others from the Department of Homeland Security, the National Park Service and U.S. Capitol Police.

  1. Menlik
    | #1


    The regime had no Ethiopian agenda President Isaias’. Its narrow mentality has been observed wrangling from time to time and after it seized power in 1991 the real challenge in its political thinking and governance emerged. The regime, in order to stay in power, pursued the philosophy of divide and rule. The so-called Federal Administration adopted in 1995 and other political versions of the regime are not deviated from its narrow mentality. Hence, when we evaluate the nature of the regime, we should take into account these fundamental issues. The TPLF’s way of thinking is that, “if you want to stay in power the Ethiopian people should be divided along the lines of ethnicity and nationality”. If we ask ourselves, what is the power and capacity of the TPLF regime, on whom is it depending to stay in power? With every parameter, the regime has no power and capacity. The only way that it could survive is when the Ethiopian people are divided and in conflict with one another. The formation of a political system based on nationality and the rights of ethnic groups and nationalities is only for propaganda consumption. The very fanciful constitution which states the rights of nationalities and allows for the rights to self-determination up to secession may appear as a democratic political system for those onlookers. In reality, however, this is not the case. What the regime has been doing in its 18 years in power in terms of institutionalizing the concept of political formation based on nationalities has never been seen in the history of that country. The design is simply to divide and rule Ethiopia. All the devious political maneuvers of the regime are only shortening the days of its stay in power. The tangible evidence is that when the Ethiopian people became aware of the regime’s nature and political agenda, they disclaimed it during the 2005 elections. At that time, the opposition of the Ethiopian people reached its highest peak. The TPLF regime was saved from the turmoil not by its internal capacity but due to the support of external forces. The regime then resorted to crashing the opposition through sheer force. Crashing popular uprising through means of force is not, however, long lasting. The popular uprising and opposition is ongoing and evidently it is pushing the regime to demise. When you talk about the prevailing situation in Ethiopia, we should not forget the Tigrayan people. It is a wrong conception to mix up the people of Tigray with the TPLF regime. Seizing power as a result of the Tigrayan people’s struggle, the TPLF did not look out for the interest of the Tigrayans. As a result of the TPLF’s brutality and narrow mind, they have been forced to live in constant fear and face animosity on the part of the other sections of the Ethiopian people. The constant fear of the Tigrayan people has been the creation of the TPLF regime expecting that the people could support it in order to relieve itself from its state of mind. The people of Tigray have gained no benefit in the past years; on the contrary they have fared worse. What we have practically observed is that by putting the people into the worst situation of fear and doubt and eventually to use it as a sanctuary. The people of Tigray have nothing to benefit from this regime. The survival of the internal political situation of the TPLF over the last couple of years has been through subsidy from outside quarters. This might look prolonging the stay in power of the regime, but through time its existence is diminishing. What is currently happening in the Oromiya, Ogaden, Afar, Amhara and Tigray regions is the result of hatred and isolation of the people towards the TPLF regime. The regime in its history has never thought and worked considering itself as an Ethiopian entity. Moreover, the TPLF, in order to stay in power, has perused the policy of alignment with foreign forces. Not only the current situation in Ethiopia but in every country where governments or regimes that lack popular support from their people have to seek someone that could stand beside them so that they could stay in power repressing their own people. As we have witnessed in the past 18 years especially the past 8 years, the regime can only survive by relying on external support. That is where the US Administration comes in. Domestically it has no chance of surviving with the ever mounting opposition of the Ethiopian people. The TPLF regime in order to get external support has to offer itself for sale. And to get the highest bidder it has to serve the interest of the buyer because there is no support for free. That is exactly what we observed in the last 8 years. In recent years, the bond between the US and the TPLF regime has been deepening as the regime is serving as a proxy for American interest in the region in the name of terrorism. The TPLF regime’s invasion of Somalia and the border crisis are examples of the regime’s servitude of American interest. What does the regime benefited from this? What it expected to benefit is survival in Ethiopia. This might seem working for the time being. If we look at the last days of the Bush Administration with the unrealistic measures sought to be taken against Eritrea fading out, there were some activities underway to use the TPLF regime as a proxy in the region. On the other side they have come also to realize that the capacity of the regime was not as they expected it to be. Washington officials have been questioning for some time that they could remain without a substitute servant. Because with all the funding and support the TPLF regime was getting was not found to fulfill the mission as expected. If we observe the political situation of the TPLF regime from within and outside, we can draw the conclusion that its profile is being exposed to the world. The current political situation the TPLF regime is in foretells the long-term outcome of the regime’s future. The regime is stalling for the time of its downfall. And what does one do to stall for time? One would concern oneself with security. Strengthening the security system within the organization and on the other hand trying to control the economy. The opposition of the Ethiopian people, especially since 2005, the discharge of personnel within the Army or other individuals in different posts who are thought to pose a threat – all these indicate the growing weakening and eventual collapse of the TPLF regime. In some instances, the regime might have delayed the discharge of Army members so as to make use of them for purposes of border aggression. The TPLF is using the Army as a means of prolonging its stay in power. The Army is considered as the last card that will protect the regime from any challenges the regime might face. The developments witnessed in 2005 have also influenced the Army members and in realization of that, the TPLF has suppressed any opposition that may arise within the armed forces. Some incidents might be cited specifically meant for publicity purposes, but everything is falling apart for the regime. However, due to the rising threats now and then, the Ethiopian Amy has been kept as an insurance and for serving the regime’s interests. For instance, as regards the Somali issue, the TPLF has been appearing as if it has the might and many times it has tried to oppress the opposition within through force. If we should ask whether this stance has changed anything at all, I think the reality on the ground tells it all. The force that protects the TPLF political organization has been weakening from time to time despite the subsidies it gets from abroad. To strengthen this force, a number of attempts have been made, including the training program in collaboration with US Army. Sometimes they try to give explanations for this, saying the training is aimed at preparing troops for service in UN peacekeeping force. It’s like being sent on a fool’s errand, just to prepare the Army for the life of servitude just like the TPLF itself. If we see the instruments the TPLF used to crash the popular opposition in 2005, it is all Washington’s scheme. Following this, the TPLF regime has been
    announcing that it will send so-called peacekeeping force to Sudan and Burundi. The adventurism that we have been witnessing in Somalia also confirms this fact. We might read about that but to someone who reads between the lines, it sends out clear message that all this is being orchestrated for political purposes. If we should observe what has been done one by one both within the country or outside, if we ask what developments it have brought about, it indicates one thing, and that is that the TPLF is falling apart. There might arise some economic and lateral questions here, the Somali situation, the border dispute, and the TPLF regime’s interference in the regional issues – it all sums up to be a failed mission. If we take a glance at the 11-year old border issue, all the ploys the TPLF has been applying have resulted in utter failure; the delaying tactics on the part of the regime under the guise of ‘negotiations’ and other ploys have all failed, despite the collaboration of the US Administration with the regime. It is true that sovereign Eritrean territories still remains under occupation. The TPLF regime has invaded our sovereign territories, but this is another topic. In any case, the TPLF regime has been totally defeated legally as far as the border issue is concerned. Despite the regime’s continuous futile schemes and tactics designed to delay the implementation of the EEBC ruling, we have not faltered even for a second in our stance. Looking at the issue from both political and legal standpoint, we have firmly established that our sovereignty is legally guaranteed. The TPLF regime’s ploys in the region are proving more and more futile. It could also be asserted that the current political, economic and security crisis which the US Administration is facing has an impact on the regime. This crisis by itself is a big loss. So taking all this into account we can conclude that the TPLF regime is in search of rescue from its current desperate situation.

  2. tola
    | #2

    It is not new to kill each other American did it during the civil war.But they are enjoing its fruit today

  3. wow
    | #3

    hey Menlik did u foeget this is america. you wrote a lot than the reporter don’t u have something else to do?

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