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Archive for Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Obama tells crowd that we ‘must choose hope over fear’

Says it’s time to being rebuilding America

President Barack Obama gives his inaugural address at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, Tuesday, Jan. 20, 2009, after being sworn in as the president of the United States.

President Barack Obama gives his inaugural address at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, Tuesday, Jan. 20, 2009, after being sworn in as the president of the United States.

January 20, 2009, 9:40 a.m. Updated January 20, 2009, 1:32 p.m.

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Obama takes presidential oath

President Barack Obama takes the oath of office from Chief Justice John Roberts at the U.S. Capitol in Washington on Tuesday. Enlarge video

Obama’s inauguration

Barack Obama will become the 44th President of the United States on January 20, 2009 — the first African-American elected to the position. Many locals will make the trip to Washington, D.C., to watch the historic event. Others will watch from here in Kansas.

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— A vast, excited crowd of more than 1 million bore witness Tuesday to a transfer of American power like none before it. The blare of regal trumpets and thunder of cannon were familiar. The transition from Republican to Democrat, and gray hair to dark, had happened before.

But this was white to black, a shattering of racial barriers finally made complete when Barack Obama made it through a bumbled oath-taking, delivered a momentous-by-definition speech and got back to being his unflappable self.

The Democrat who charged onto the national scene saying this was not a nation of red states and blue states, but the United States, became president while wearing a red tie, the Republican color.

Republican George W. Bush, president no more, wore a blue tie, the Democratic color. They embraced at the Capitol and walked out together.

The racial milestone lent a deeply personal dimension for many in the crowd as well as a historical landmark for all.

“I’ve been real emotional all morning thinking about my grandmother and the heroes whose shoulders we stand on,” said Lyshundria Houston, 34, here from Memphis, Tenn., after more than 20 hours of travel. Houston, who is black, said: “They’d be so proud.”

Coming from the city where Martin Luther King Jr. was assassinated, she reflected on the civil rights movement on her way to the parade, and said: “Sometimes that makes the cold go away.”

Energized by the moment, hordes clogged the scene, enduring below-freezing temperatures. Starting before dawn, with the Capitol bathed in lights, they streamed from jammed subway stations and thronged past parked buses, emergency vehicles and street vendors to Pennsylvania Avenue and the National Mall.

Ticket holders approaching the inaugural site filed through security sweeps in lines coiled like cinnamon rolls.

They cheered dignitaries as they came on to the inaugural stand at the Capitol. Obama walked quietly and with the merest stirring of a smile through the halls to his position on the stand and his place in history.

The crowd erupted in jubilation as he strode out.

Former Presidents Bill Clinton and George H.W. Bush, the latter walking haltingly with a cane, embraced.

The grace notes of the day were not shared by all. A wave of boos greeted the introduction of Bush and his outgoing vice president, Dick Cheney, who was in a wheelchair. “Na na na na, hey hey, goodbye,” some people chanted.

Nor did everything go off without a hitch on the stand.

Chief Justice John Roberts got a phrase out of order when leading Obama in the Constitution’s 35-word oath. That prompted a pregnant pause from Obama at the very brink of becoming president. The two men caught up with each other later at the congressional lunch and chatted, smiling.

Bush and his wife, Laura, were soon out of town. At Andrews Air Force Base, they boarded a plane — no longer called Air Force One because he is no longer president — waved and took off for Texas.

The White House Web site switched to Obama from Bush before the new president had concluded his inaugural address.

“Change has come to WhiteHouse.gov,” said the first blog of the Obama team.

At the Capitol, a protective Plexiglas shield extended about two feet up from the balustrade around the speaker’s platform for Obama’s speech.

Muhammad Ali took his seat on the platform, as did actor John Cusack and director Stephen Spielberg. A huge cheer rose from the Mall as the image of Sen. Edward M. Kennedy flashed on jumbo TV screens showing the veteran Massachusetts Democrat, who is fighting brain cancer, heading toward his seat on the inauguration stand.

The district fire department responded to dozens of calls from people falling down or complaining of the being cold, D.C. fire and EMS department spokesman Alan Etter said. About two dozen were hospitalized.

Etter said medical personnel were having trouble getting to people quickly around the mall because of the throngs of people, but he added that everyone who needed help has eventually received treatment.

“Obviously the crush of people downtown is making it very challenging,” Etter said. “We’re doing the best we can.”

By 4 a.m., lines of riders had already formed in suburban parking lots for the Metro transit system, which opened early and put on extra trains for the expected rush. Many parking lots filled up and had to be closed.

Streets around the Capitol quickly filled with people, and security checkpoints were mobbed. The cold registered at a frosty 25 degrees at late morning, rising to 28 at the time of the swearing-in.

Warming tents and other facilities on the Mall were late opening because traffic and crowds delayed staffers from reaching them. At one spot, 150 people waited to buy a cup of coffee.

A flea-market atmosphere prevailed on downtown streets, with white tents set up to sell Obama T-shirts and mugs as well as food, bottled water, snacks, scarves and footwarmers. The scent of grilled sausages and steaming Chinese food greeted those who walked toward the parade route, more than six hours before Obama would pass by.

As the first waves of people began moving through security screenings, they scrambled for prime viewing spots along Pennsylvania Avenue — sitting on the curb, staking out plots of grass, or clambering on to cold metal benches.

Real estate appraiser Denise Grandberry of St. Louis stood on the mall with her niece Murphy and daughter Nikki and talked about all the foreclosed homes she’s seen in her work. “I’ve seen the remnants of peoples’ lives,” she said. “I have hope now and I think the nation has hope.”

Some 410,000 people had entered Washington’s Metro transit system by 9 a.m., an extraordinary number, transit officials said. “God Bless them, they came out in this weather,” said Robyn Ahlstrom, a volunteer with the Presidential Inaugural Committee.

Medical personnel struggled because of the crush of the crowd. One officer, with a patient he described as having had a seizure, tried to find out when an ambulance would arrive and couldn’t. “She’s been here nearly an hour,” the officer radioed. “She really needs to get to the hospital.”

The joyous mood of many was tempered for some by delays and dashed expectations.

Alice Williams, a 51-year-old teacher of gifted children from Kansas City, Mo., had the coveted purple ticket that would place her in front of the Capitol, but got caught in the crowd bottleneck and was stuck a half mile away.

“We got blocked off; there was too much traffic and no guidance,” she said forlornly. “I’ve been walking for an hour and a half. All I want to do is see my president sworn in.”

The cold was also taking its toll.

Shelton Iddeen, 57, of Greensboro, N.C., arrived at the Mall at 4 a.m. and huddled in front of an ambulance to warm up.

“My hands feel really bad; you can’t feel your toes,” he said. “I’m more concerned about other people, the elderly and the young. I’ve seen a lot of people here really suffering.”

Others were unfazed.

Faosat Idowu of Lagos, Nigeria, had tickets for the inauguration but couldn’t get through the crowds at five different entrances between the White House and Capitol Hill. She ended up walking in a highway tunnel that normally carries Interstate 395 under the Capitol grounds, closed for this one day to all but pedestrians. She wore a bright red scarf and hat adorned with dozens of green patches bearing Obama’s face and the words, “Africans for Obama.”

“It’s part of the excitement,” Idowu said. “I don’t mind it at all.”

Onjali Bodrul flew from London to see a man whose career she and her friends have followed since she was a political science student at Oxford four years ago. “He’s the first man in politics in a long time we don’t hate,” she said. “It’s like a football match, it’s so exciting.”

Comments

Flap Doodle 5 years, 7 months ago

There's a what born every minute?

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ImagineThat 5 years, 7 months ago

I voted for the Arab .............

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kmat 5 years, 7 months ago

These comments are so disappointing. You would hope you sore republican losers could unite with everyone else and try to bring some needed change to this country and think about your country first. But of course, you can't be bothered with trying to make your country better.As the younger generations take over, you crabby, old fashioned, living in the past folks will fade away. Change has come.How anyone couldn't be moved by seeing John Lewis on that stage watching a black man take the oath is beyond me. Lewis still has the scars from the struggles of the civil rights movement. What a wonderful day that finally a majority of this country was able to see past race and make a decision based on character. GObama!

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Calliope877 5 years, 7 months ago

kmat,Here, here!The baby boomers will be dying off in droves soon...and that is kind of a good thing.

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Alia Ahmed 5 years, 7 months ago

11/06/08 Tom said Mr_Nancy_Boy_To_You (Tom Shewmon) says… Serious post here. Everyone needs to calm down and give Obama a chance. I will not listen to Fox news anymore if every single night, they are trying to stir up trouble–or any other source. This is what the left did for eight years and I think it's time the right at least tries to set a good example for once in this psychotic “gotta have it NOW” nation.Now, that being said, he needs to be held accountable for what he's doing (and Ried and Pelosi and congress). I hope that the mainstream media big boys will not be on a daily mission of sugar coating what goes in the capitol bldg and the whitehouse.Alia says.... Tom, did you have your fingers crossed when you wrote this or now that he's been president for an hour, your wait and see attitude is gone. Of course, I'm joking because almost every comment you've posted since the above one on 11/6/08 has been negative and hateful, which is what we've come to expect from you, snap, invictus, etc. Always gracious in defeat.

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bondmen 5 years, 7 months ago

And the Reverend Joseph Lowery's Benediction at Obama's inauguration said in part:'Lord, in the memory of all the saints who from their labors rest, and in the joy of a new beginning, we ask you to help us work for that day when black will not be asked to get in back, when brown can stick around... when the red man can get ahead, man; and when white will embrace what is right. That all those who do justice and love mercy say Amen. Say Amen'...

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just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 5 years, 7 months ago

Those who profess not to understand the importance of Obama's being the first black president demonstrate a remarkable (willful?) ignorance of several centuries of racial history on this continent. If this were all ancient history, that'd be one thing, but within living memory, blacks were still being held in slavery in this country, prevented from marrying who they wanted, living in the neighborhood of their choice, even from eating in most restaurants, and most importantly of all, prevented from even voting for president, much less running for the office.

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Shane Garrett 5 years, 7 months ago

I am pleased that the O'dude is for tax cuts. Displeased that Pelosi has already cut his tax cuts by a million. I think Logan 72 has some valid points.

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Alia Ahmed 5 years, 7 months ago

Mr_Nancy_Boy_To_You (Tom Shewmon) says… As I said in another post, things have already changed since then. The media has become more shrill to W and more than ever, BO can do no wrong. It's actually beyond sickening and I fully believe the Gang of Three and all the far-left Dems are going to sink us this time.Alia says..... Tom, I hope you enjoy your vacation and have a margarita for me. I've really been fairly scarce on the boards until today because I truly agree that people with such differing political views are probably wired differently from each other and no amount of discussion, name-calling, or cajoling will change the other one's mind. Adios!

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Alia Ahmed 5 years, 7 months ago

Invictus,There are plenty of examples of institutional racism and sexism alive and well today. Ask any black male about being pulled over by the police for DWB (Driving while Black) or the discrepancy in minorities on death row versus whites. Have you ever been pulled over because you're a white male? Have you ever been followed about a store or a mall because you are white male? When you constantly spew racist statements such as the ones below, no one is going to buy your reverse racism argument. 19 January 2009at 4:40 p.m. invictus (Anonymous) says… everyone knows work is for white people.19 January 2009at 4:30 p.m. invictus (Anonymous) says… Why don’t they just do what usually do, move into a nice neighborhood make it unlivable with crime and violence and buy the homes at a cut rate?

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Kyle Reed 5 years, 7 months ago

There is no such thing as reverse racism. Something either is, or isn't racist.

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saoirseglen 5 years, 7 months ago

Logan72, you were not speaking to me, but here I quote you so I can contextualize what I am about to write: "Have you ever been pulled over because you're a white male? Have you ever been followed about a store or a mall because you are white male?"Yes, I have been pulled over because I am white just so a highway patrol officer could have another token white guy for his monthly racial profiling statistics and thus prove he was not targeting disproportionately any other ethnicity. He told me as such when he was running my registration and license.I have also been followed about a store because I was a white male and someone thought I looked suspicious more than once. Perhaps it was my age when I was in high school and also when I was in college. I guess if you are young and white you just look suspicious to store employees.When it comes to strangers, I have equal distrust for all simply because I am situationally aware. If someone acts in a way, regardless of skin tone, that seems atypical then I give that person more distance or extra scrutiny while doing what I need to do. That is just being smart.

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denak 5 years, 7 months ago

The hatred of some of the posters is just disheartening but not unexpected.For what it is worth, and I believe it is worth more than the vitriole being spewed by some people, I enjoyed the innaguration. I thought the President did a great job with his speech. It was very moving. I think that he very diplomatically but unequivocably made it clear that the current state of the U.S. is not acceptable and that things must change both here and abroad. An innaguration speech isn't suppose to get into specifics about foreign policy or the like, it is suppose to give hope to the American people and I believe that President Obama's speech did that.DenaP.S. I was watching channel 8 and did not hear anyone boo President Bush. I thought the members of Congress and past Presidents and their wives were very civil to each other. In fact, they were downright chummy. All that air kissing. And I did not see one instance were the "left" or anyone else for that matter was acting "classless."

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denak 5 years, 7 months ago

"......He did not make as much history as you think. Just a white man with black DNA......" Wow, and here I thought he had human DNA. Funny. "....When will we repeal the racist affirmative action legislation?....Well, lookie here. Invictus and President Obama have something in common. I bet Invictus just wants to choke about now. Putting aside whether or not Affirmative Action is racist (which is arguable since the number one group of individuals benefiting from it is White Women), President Obama has stated that he thinks there should be a shift from race based policies to policies that look at class. He has said that his daughters will have more opportunities in life because they have grown up wealthy unlike children who have grown up poor and therefore with less opportunites. So even though he realizes race still plays a role in a person's life, he believes that one's class plays an even more important role and the problems facing low to middle income people and their (in)ability to obtain the American Dream needs to be addressed.

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Alia Ahmed 5 years, 7 months ago

saoirseglen (Anonymous) says… Yes, I have been pulled over because I am white just so a highway patrol officer could have another token white guy for his monthly racial profiling statistics and thus prove he was not targeting disproportionately any other ethnicity. He told me as such when he was running my registration and license.I have also been followed about a store because I was a white male and someone thought I looked suspicious more than once. Perhaps it was my age when I was in high school and also when I was in college. I guess if you are young and white you just look suspicious to store employees.Alia says ......do you get pulled over several times a week for driving while white and do you constantly get followed around in a store because your white? Black males have this happen on a very routine basis. Just as you had a cop tell you he was really only trying to show he is not racial profiling, I know of cops who brag about pulling over black males just to harass them. Even in your example, the officer admitted to you that he was pulling you over not because he wanted to harass you, instead he wanted you to feel sorry for him or hate black males for causing him to falsify his records. Noble officer, no doubt.

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womanwarrior 5 years, 7 months ago

This forum does not represent Lawrence. They voted against Obama. They voted against the T. They can't get away from the computer long enough to join their community and do something for their community. They don't do anything unless it's for themselves, so they really just don't count. They aren't part of the community.

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womanwarrior 5 years, 7 months ago

If you really care about this country, you'll heed Obama's call to come together, whether you agree with him or not, and be a part of the solution, not part of the problem. Do you have the guts to do that?

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Kyle Reed 5 years, 7 months ago

Your call to "have the guts" may be taken more seriously and have better results if you weren't asking the same people you derided and put down less that 2 minutes prior in your first post.It can be hard to take the high road and the low road at the same time. Just a thought.On a side note, who are you talking to in that first post? The associated press?

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verity 5 years, 7 months ago

womanwarrior (Anonymous) says…"If you really care about this country, you'll heed Obama's call to come together, whether you agree with him or not, and be a part of the solution, not part of the problem. Do you have the guts to do that?"Hear, hear!Both sides, this trash talk is getting really old. Use your energy to do something positive, please.

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Kyle Reed 5 years, 7 months ago

Not to nit pick but Bush's final approval rating is noted at 34%. That would seem to make it 66% that would be "glad" to see he's gone.It should be noted of course that even those that approve or disapprove may or may not be glad he's gone since that's not what was polled.

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Jim Phillips 5 years, 7 months ago

Wow! You people on the left can say whatever you want about Bush and expect the right to sit there and take it, The right says anything negative about Obama and you hit the roof! You say the right is nothing but a bunch of whiney losers, Well, we had eight years to learn from your example. I can hear it now; "But Bush...! But Bush...!"

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Flap Doodle 5 years, 7 months ago

"Both sides, this trash talk is getting really old. Use your energy to do something positive, please."It's been getting old since 2001. The folks on the sinister side of the aisle have poisoned the well of public discourse for the foreseeable future.

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verity 5 years, 7 months ago

Snap, if I recall correctly, you have been doing your share of trashing the the folks who don't agree with you. You really can't call innocence now. Both sides on these forums are just as guilty as the other. I don't know when these forums started, but it started in our country way before 2001.It's time to pull together. All our futures depend on it.

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ifyournot 5 years, 7 months ago

For the really smart people on this post.KMAT,Calliope,Logan72,I ask you all, have you really thought about this at all before you open your mouths.here you sit ,with out thought! If Obama gets assassinated (I wish that on no one) can you all think about the CHAOS between race's.I beleive the next civil war will start.GANG's ,Murder,Drug's Prostitution. Rodney King riot's,Watt's riot's. Obama just another white man with (some) black skin that has you all Fooled.

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Flap Doodle 5 years, 7 months ago

"“This man is Jesus,” shouted one man, spilling his Guinness as Barack Obama began his inaugural address. "http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/world/us_and_americas/us_elections/article5556295.ece

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jengaman 5 years, 7 months ago

That's what he said? Sounded like "we must choose beer over dope" or was it "dope over beer?" Hell, who can afford either right about now.

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