THE HISTORIC OBAMA INUAGURATION: DAILY UPDATES

President-Elect Barack Obama Weekly Address

As the holiday season comes to end, we are thankful for family and friends and all the blessings that make life worth living. But as we mark the beginning of a new year, we also know that America faces great and growing challenges – challenges that threaten our nation’s economy and our dreams for the future. Nearly two million Americans have lost their jobs this past year – and millions more are working harder in jobs that pay less and come with fewer benefits.

For too many families, this new year brings new unease and uncertainty as bills pile up, debts continue to mount and parents worry that their children won’t have the same opportunities they had.

However we got here, the problems we face today are not Democratic problems or Republican problems. The dreams of putting a child through college, or staying in your home, or retiring with dignity and security know no boundaries of party or ideology.

These are America’s problems, and we must come together as Americans to meet them with the urgency this moment demands. Economists from across the political spectrum agree that if we don’t act swiftly and boldly, we could see a much deeper economic downturn that could lead to double digit unemployment and the American Dream slipping further and further out of reach.

That’s why we need an American Recovery and Reinvestment Plan that not only creates jobs in the short-term but spurs economic growth and competitiveness in the long-term. And this plan must be designed in a new way – we can’t just fall into the old Washington habit of throwing money at the problem. We must make strategic investments that will serve as a down payment on our long-term economic future.

We must demand vigorous oversight and strict accountability for achieving results. And we must restore fiscal responsibility and make the tough choices so that as the economy recovers, the deficit starts to come down. That is how we will achieve the number one goal of my plan – which is to create three million new jobs, more than eighty percent of them in the private sector.

To put people back to work today and reduce our dependence on foreign oil tomorrow, we will double renewable energy production and renovate public buildings to make them more energy efficient. To build a 21st century economy, we must engage contractors across the nation to create jobs rebuilding our crumbling roads, bridges, and schools. To save not only jobs, but money and lives, we will update and computerize our health care system to cut red tape, prevent medical mistakes, and help reduce health care costs by billions of dollars each year. To make America, and our children, a success in this new global economy, we will build 21st century classrooms, labs, and libraries. And to put more money into the pockets of hardworking families, we will provide direct tax relief to 95 percent of American workers.

I look forward to meeting next week in Washington with leaders from both parties to discuss this plan. I am optimistic that if we come together to seek solutions that advance not the interests of any party, or the agenda of any one group, but the aspirations of all Americans, then we will meet the challenges of our time just as previous generations have met the challenges of theirs.

There is no reason we can’t do this. We are a people of boundless industry and ingenuity. We are innovators and entrepreneurs and have the most dedicated and productive workers in the world. And we have always triumphed in moments of trial by drawing on that great American spirit – that perseverance, determination and unyielding commitment to opportunity on which our nation was founded. In this new year, let us resolve to do so once more.

Thank you.

President-Elect Obama to be Sworn in Using the Lincoln Bible

Washington, D.C. – On January 20th, President-elect Barack Obama will take the oath of office using the same Bible upon which President Lincoln was sworn in at his first inauguration. The Bible is currently part of the collections of the Library of Congress.

Though there is no constitutional requirement for the use of a Bible during the swearing-in, Presidents have traditionally used Bibles for the ceremony, choosing a volume with personal or historical significance.

President-elect Obama will be the first President sworn in using the Lincoln Bible since its initial use in 1861.

“President-elect Obama is deeply honored that the Library of Congress has made the Lincoln Bible available for use during his swearing-in,” said Presidential Inaugural Committee Executive Director Emmett Beliveau. “The President-elect is committed to holding an Inauguration that celebrates America’s unity, and the use of this historic Bible will provide a powerful connection to our common past and common heritage.”

The Lincoln family Bible, which is also in the Library of Congress’s collection, was unavailable for the ceremony because it was packed away with the First Family’s belongings, still en route from Springfield, IL, to their new home at the White House.

The Bible itself is bound in burgundy velvet with a gold-washed white metal rim around the three outside edges of both covers. All its edges are heavily gilded. In the center of the top cover is a shield of gold wash over white metal with the words “Holy Bible” chased into it. The book is 15 cm long, 10 cm wide, and 4.5 cm deep when closed. The 1,280-page Bible was published in 1853 by the Oxford University Press.

Annotated in the back of the volume, along with the Seal of the Supreme Court, is the following: “I, William Thomas Carroll, clerk of the said court do hereby certify that the preceding copy of the Holy Bible is that upon which the Honble. R. B. Taney, Chief Justice of the said Court, administered to His Excellency, Abraham Lincoln, the oath of office as President of the United States …”

The Lincoln Inaugural Bible will be on display at the Library of Congress February 12th to May 9th, 2009, as part of an exhibition titled “With Malice Toward None: The Abraham Lincoln Bicentennial Exhibition.” The exhibit will then travel to five other American cities.

The Library is planning several other events and programming in commemoration of the bicentennial of the birth of the nation’s 16th president, who was born on February 12th, 1809.

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Barack Obama has been elected the nation’s first black president Tuesday night in a historic triumph that overcame racial barriers as old as America itself.

The 47-year-old Democratic senator from Illinois sealed his victory by defeating Republican Sen. John McCain in a string of wins in hard-fought battleground states – Ohio, Florida, Virginia and Iowa. michelle A huge crowd thronged Grant Park in Chicago to cheer Obama’s improbable triumph and await his first public speech as president-elect.

Obama and his running mate, Sen. Joseph Biden of Delaware, will take their oaths of office as president and vice president on Jan. 20, 2009. As the 44th president, Obama will move into the Oval Office as leader of a country that is almost certainly in recession, and fighting two long wars, one in Iraq, the other in Afghanistan.

The popular vote was close, but not the count in the Electoral College, where it counted. There, Obama’s audacious decision to contest McCain in states that hadn’t gone Democratic in years paid rich dividends. Fellow Democrats rode his coattails to gains in both houses of Congress, toppling Republican incumbents and winning open seats alike.

Obama has said his first order of presidential business will be to tackle the economy. He has also pledged to withdraw most U.S. combat troops from Iraq within 16 months.

Source-AP

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