A Look Back At Barack Obama's First Inaugural Address

Tyler Durden's picture

With a few short hours left until Barack Obama's second inaugural address, it is prudent to review the remarks, statements and promises from his first inaugural address delivered on January 20 2009. Various key sections have been highlighted.

Inaugural Address
By President Barack Hussein Obama

My fellow citizens:  I stand here today humbled by the task before us, grateful for the trust you've bestowed, mindful of the sacrifices borne by our ancestors.

I thank President Bush for his service to our nation -- (applause) -- 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 forebears 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, 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.  (Applause.)

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.  (Applause.)

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 that prefer leisure over work, or seek only the pleasures of riches and fameRather, 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.  (Applause.)

For everywhere we look, there is work to be done.  The state of our economy calls for action, bold and swift.  And we will act, not only to create new jobs, but to lay a new foundation for growthWe will build the roads and bridges, the electric grids and digital lines that feed our commerce and bind us together.  We'll 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.  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.  The 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 the ability to extend opportunity to every willing heart -- not out of charity, but because it is the surest route to our common good.  (Applause.)

As for our common defense, we reject as false the choice between our safety and our ideals.  Our Founding Fathers -- (applause) -- our Founding Fathers, faced with perils that 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 sake.  (Applause.)

And so, to all the 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 we are ready to lead once more.  (Applause.)

Recall that earlier generations faced down fascism and communism not just with missiles and tanks, but with the 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'll 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.  (Applause.)

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.  (Applause.) 

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.  (Applause.)

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 the 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 role 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, just as the fallen heroes who lie in Arlington whisper through the ages.

We honor them not only because they are the 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 -- honesty and hard work, 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 60 years ago might not have been served in a local restaurant can now stand before you to take a most sacred oath.  (Applause.)

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 the moment when the outcome of our revolution was most in doubt, the father of our nation ordered these words to 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. (Applause.)

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Kaiser Sousa's picture


nuff said...................

GetZeeGold's picture



...........and the waters receded.....not.

Raymond K Hessel's picture

Watching Morning Joe since CNBC is not on... I can't believe how far the progressives have talked themselves into a paradigm of division.  They seem ready to dismiss anyone who disagrees with them.  

In fact, they feel that they have the right to rule over the whole country.  I'm truly flabbergasted.  As much as Fox News is horrible, this is like watching Fascism TV.  

If Mussolini were alive today and we lived in Fascist Italy, this is exactly the kind of TV I'd expect to see.  

Seriously, did I get warped into a bizarro universe where Fascism is the norm and Liberty is wacky?  

MillionDollarBonus_'s picture

President Obama's Inaugural speech brought a tear to my eye. I am so happy that president Obama was able to overcome the viciously hurtful and outright abusive attacks from the right. This nation has voted for another four years of change and progress. This IS the progressive revolution, and there's NOTHING right-wing reactionaries can do to stop it. 

max2205's picture

He lied right from the get go

nmewn's picture

Here's a good one...

"When the Affordable Care Act passed in early 2010, many in academia—faculty and students alike—cheered on. But now that its provisions are going into effect, some of these same people are learning firsthand that Obamacare has some nasty side effects.

A new piece in the Wall Street Journal reports that many colleges are cutting back on the number of hours worked by adjunct professors, in order to avoid new requirements that they provide healthcare to anyone working over 30 hours per week. This is terrible news for a lot of people; 70 percent of professors work as adjuncts and many will now have to cope with a major pay cut just as requirements that they buy their own health insurance go into effect..."


Fucking dumbasses.

Bendromeda Strain's picture

All Hail Resident Obama! For More Tears! For More Tears!

brewing's picture

At the inauguration ball tonight, I hope Lady Gaga's outrageous assault rifle bra doesn't distract us from her incredible musical talent and captivating facial beauty...

Milestones's picture

O'blah blah,more blah blah blah. You and Biden get a very large F; as in flunked.      Milestones

Husk-Erzulie's picture

Husk lives in New England and is pretty sure that if his neighbors could see this image, they would be after him with pitchforks and Prozak I.V.s

Husk is getting his morning jollies (and avoiding work) thinking about their reactions (and OMG the Facebook posts).  Sometimes it's hard living in blue state lala land.  LOL

MassDecep's picture

MDB, I am somewhat satisfied that you are getting what YOU wish for. In fact, I would love to be the bystander watching your demise at the point of whatever torment they WILL impose. I, on the otherhand will most likely,be at peace in my grave by then; just not serving wickedness like you enjoy. 

fockewulf190's picture

Obama will be prematurely full gray by the end of 2016...along with tens of millions of Americans with him because of his policies.  Bullish on Grecian Formula 16.

Jethro's picture

I appreciate MDB's posts.  It's like he can unfailingly channel the "progressive" mindset, day after day, year after year.  I know sometimes it has to be utterly painful to put himself in those shoes, and spew the rhetoric he does, but it's generally humorous.  Hats off to you MDB.  I can only bear to alter my mindset, and see what the other side is thinking for only so long.  As Nietzsche said, "Battle not with monsters, lest ye become a monster, and if you gaze into the abyss, the abyss gazes also into you."  Tread lightly my friend....

Boozer's picture

I hope you get your cabinet post or ambassadorship MDB.  Shill's like you should be rewarded.

Blano's picture

Come on people, you can't down arrow great trolling!!  

Raymond K Hessel's picture

MDB brings artistry, a true talent, to trolling.  

GetZeeGold's picture



In fact, they feel that they have the right to rule over the whole country. I'm truly flabbergasted.


It started when they realized how much smarter they were than you.

TuesdayBen's picture

It is freaky to witness, ain't it. Lefties have 0.00% doubt, and 0.00% interest in contemplating opposing views. They are scared of the religious right. I find the left far more disturbing.

Richard Chesler's picture

“fools and fanatics so certain of themselves, but wiser people so full of doubts.”

Ignatius's picture

Percentages are mentioned and it made me recall the 2003 Iraq/WMD meme and fraud.

Hans Blix had the audacity to state that it is "impossible to be 100% certain of Iraqi WMD while being 0% certain of their location!"

Rumsfeld:  "Of course we know where they are, they're in the area North, South, East and West of Bahgdad."

I imagine in my perfect world that everyone stops and looks, and that Rummy et al would be shamed into silence....

But like any competent snake-oil salesman, he just gives a look, rolls his shoulders, adjusts the sleaves and points back to the bottle.

Obummer has his own version.  I hate politics and politicians even more.


Bendromeda Strain's picture

Of course he does - haven't you heard? Syria might have WMDs!

mayhem_korner's picture

They are scared of the religious right.


They are scared of the TRUTH, whereas the the faithful seek it.

GetZeeGold's picture



Hell of a good point......mind if I use it?

mayhem_korner's picture



My royalty rate is 2 pre-1965 quarters per quote.  :)

Sudden Debt's picture

I guess that's why he's got his hands on a Koran in the picture...

dwdollar's picture

Let the new english and commiefornians squawk. The more they do, the less secession is laughed at in the rest of the country.

BadKiTTy's picture

"The Matrix is a system, Neo. That system is our enemy. But when you're inside, you look around, what do you see? Businessmen, teachers, lawyers, carpenters. The very minds of the people we are trying to save. But until we do, these people are still a part of that system and that makes them our enemy. You have to understand, most of these people are not ready to be unplugged. And many of them are so inured, so hopelessly dependent on the system, that they will fight to protect it" 


TerminalDebt's picture

"I hereby pledge to spend like there's no tomorrow"

spankfish's picture

Why would I look back?  FORWARD SOVIET!!!

Dr. Engali's picture

Thank you. God bless you. And God bless the Divided States of America. (Applause.)

Now give me all your guns.

Zero_Sum's picture

...I'd have given him a little more credit if he'd at least have had the balls to try to pass gun control legislation while he still had to worry about re-election. After all, the only real difference between Newtown and Aurora... was an election in between. Of course, he NEEDS to confiscate guns before his third term starts.


duo's picture

Aurora didn't elicit the response that was desired, hence Newtown?

Buckaroo Banzai's picture

Try finding the official police report for the Newtown shootings. Oh wait-- you can't. Because it STILL hasn't been made public.

And why did Eric Holder make a special trip to Newtown just to have a closed-door meeting with the first responders the week after the shooting? What "special message" did he have for them, I wonder?

Sandy Hoax.

Dr. Engali's picture

“I just want you to know that we are working on it,” Brady recalled the president telling them. “We have to go through a few processes, but under the radar.”

Barry Soetoro

retiringteach's picture

i have an idea-do you have kids, mother/father, man you love?let's sandy hoax them-then you--scum!

markar's picture

They needed younger victims. Kindergardeners did the trick

duo's picture

Exactly.  Holder probably put the kabosh on shooting up the materity ward at a hospital.

IIRC, there are multiple grades at an elementary school, why just shoot the youngest?

Buckaroo Banzai's picture

"After the election, I'll have more flexibility"... to sell out the constitution, and commit treason on behalf of america's enemies-- both foreign AND domestic.

holdbuysell's picture

Exactly, watch what they do, not what they say. From 2008:


GetZeeGold's picture



I'd like to play poker with him. Everytime he starts out with I, I, I,......you know what's coming next is total BS.

Zero_Sum's picture

And immediately afterwards he signed an executive order to close the prison at Guantanamo. How did that work out again? After all, the greatest leaders in history are remembered for breaking their VERY FIRST PROMISE ON THEIR VERY FIRST DAY in power.

machineh's picture

'true to our founding documents'

... which are now classified 'top secret.'

Ignorance of secret laws is no defense.

Rot-10's picture

How about the part where he gives the oath to "Preserve, Protect, and Defend the Constitution" to which he actually meant "discredit, dismantle, and replace with executive order, lies, and other dictatorial methods."  Douche


Buckaroo Banzai's picture

Obama treats the US Constitution exactly the same way Stalin treated the Soviet constitution. Here's a few choice selections from the Soviet Union constitution of 1936. Enjoy!

ARTICLE 125. In conformity with the interests of the working people, and in order to strengthen the socialist system, the citizens of the U.S.S.R. are guaranteed by law:

  1. freedom of speech;
  2. freedom of the press;
  3. freedom of assembly, including the holding of mass meetings;
  4. reedom of street processions and demonstrations.
These civil rights are ensured by placing at the disposal of the working people and their organizations printing presses, stocks of paper, public buildings, the streets, communications facilities and other material requisites for the exercise of these rights.

ARTICLE 126. In conformity with the interests of the working people, and in order to develop the organizational initiative and political activity of the masses of the people, citizens of the U.S.S.R. are ensured the right to unite in public organizations--trade unions, cooperative associations, youth organizations,' sport and defense organizations, cultural, technical and scientific societies; and the most active and politically most conscious citizens in the ranks of the working class and other sections of the working people unite in the Communist Party of the Soviet Union (Bolsheviks), which is the vanguard of the working people in their struggle to strengthen and develop the socialist system and is the leading core of all organizations of the working people, both public and state.

ARTICLE 127. Citizens of the U.S.S.R. are guaranteed inviolability of the person. No person may be placed under arrest except by decision of a court or with the sanction of a procurator.

ARTICLE 128. The inviolability of the homes of citizens and privacy of correspondence are protected by law.


Totentänzerlied's picture

Another worthless piece of paper that was proven totally, entirely, mind-bogglingly useless against tyranny and oppression.

"Keep counting on those legal systems, pathetic humans, surely, some day soon, they will be worth as much as the fancy parchment paper they are codified on!" - Your Masters

Bad Attitude's picture

The thought police will find you! Dissent against Dear Leader will not be tolerated.