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Tuesday, January 20, 2009

BARACK OBAMA INAUGURATION SPEECH Took 2 days to prepare and is longer than Lincoln's Second INAUGURATION SPEECH

Well aware that expectations are high and people world over, not only in the US, are looking forward to his inaugural speech, Barack Obama spent two full days over the weekend preparing for, what his aide says, a truly historic INAUGURAL ADDRESS TO THE NATION.
"Well, I know that he had us clear his schedule last weekend, and he spent two full days just getting thoughts out of his head and onto paper," White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs told the Fox News channel.

In an interview to CNN last week, Barack Obamahad himself said he was aware of the expectations. He had said his inaugural speech would certainly be longer than that the second inaugural speech of Abraham Lincoln.

Gibbs told the CNN that the BARACK OBAMA'S inaugural speech is expected to last about 20 minutes.

Obama had also told the CNN that his daughters wanted him to be good in this speech. "First African President! Better be Good," his daughters told Obama, according to him, when he took them to the Lincoln Memorial one night recently.

Gibbs said Barack Obama would talk about the challenges and the problems the country is facing, "but how as Americans we always work together as one country and one people to make our lives better and to pass on to the next generation a better place to live," he said.

Some 10 days ago, U.S. president Barack Obama and his family made an impromptu visit to Abraham Lincoln's memorial.

The significance of the location, which honours the American president credited with ending slavery in the U.S., wasn't lost on the Obama girls.

Recalling the visit, Barack Obama told CNN that seven-year-old Sasha read an engraving of Lincoln's second inaugural address and noted it seemed a bit too long.

"I said, 'Actually, that one's pretty short. Mine may even be a little longer," Barack Obama said.

"At which point, Malia turns to me and says, 'first African-American president? Better be good.'"

Indeed, Malia isn't the only one putting pressure on the incoming president to deliver a speech that will resonate in the U.S., globally, and through history.

"(Tuesday's) speech will be a very important one, one that's watched by the whole world. It will set the tone in a time of crisis. Generally when a president is sworn in bad times, those are the speeches that get the most attention," says David Frum, the Canadian-born speechwriter credited with helping formulate the notorious "axis of evil" phrase in President George Bush's 2002 State of the Union address.

Political strategist Peter Fenn, whose communications company has worked on Democratic campaigns going back to the 1980s, says the expectations for Obama's inaugural speech couldn't be higher.

"I think people are going to look for very much what (John) Kennedy gave them in 1961. They are going to look for a rhetorical flourishing -- and look for inspiration," Fenn says.

"I think you'll find this speech, like all his speeches, very strong in theme and message. He's going to talk a great deal about personal responsibility, about the country binding together, (and) about how we have serious problems we've got to solve together."

Obama has hinted at the broad tone his speech may take, telling ABC News he wants it to capture the "moment we are in." The newly elected president laid the groundwork for high expectations in 2004 when he mesmerized the audience at the 2004 Democratic convention.

The speech's call for a united America not tethered by partisanship catapulted the virtually unknown local politician into a national spotlight that hasn't dimmed since. His speeches during this year's primary season, particularly after the Iowa caucuses, were pivotal to his success.

But critics have also feared Obama's rhetoric may be merely that -- words without substance.

Frum, the one time White House insider, warned his former boss's successor not to overreach during Tuesday's inauguration.

Barack Obama has already demonstrated his ability as a master orator, and many observers are looking for the new president's address to equal the great speeches by presidents Roosevelt, John F. Kennedy and Reagan.

"He's got to give that great, soaring speech," CNN contributor David Gergen said. "I think the pressure is really on because of the historic nature of this presidency and also because of the extraordinary moment in which we find ourselves with this terrible recession."

"That is a lot to do in a single speech but, you know, because he has such a high reputation for giving excellent speeches ... the expectations for this one are just -- well, they're soaring," Gergen added.

But beyond the nation's immediate economic concerns, Obama's inauguration speech with also mark a national milestone: the inauguration of the first African-American president.

In his previous speeches, Obama has referred to another great African-American orator: the Rev. King, who made a historic speech on the other end of the Mall. Barack Obama is likely to refer to King and the dramatic struggles African-Americans have fought as they emerged from slavery and fought for full civil rights. Video Watch what Barack Obama's presidency means to African-Americans »

"If you think about the journey that this country has made, then it can't help but stir your heart," Obama told CNN's John King during an interview Friday. "The notion that I now will be standing there and sworn in as the 44th president, I think, is something that, hopefully, our children take for granted, but our grandparents, I think, are still stunned by, and it's a remarkable moment."

The pressure on Barack Obama to produce a INAUGURAL SPEECH for the ages not is limited to the public, Barack Obama said.

After a family visit to the Lincoln Memorial, which has Lincoln's second inaugural address inscribed on its walls, Barack Obama's 10-year-old daughter, Malia, turned her father and said, "First African-American president -- better be good."

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