January 17th, 2009
10:21 PM ET

Obama inauguration speech to decry 'anything-goes' mentality

Jessica Yellin

President-elect Barack Obama's inauguration speech on Tuesday will be a call to action that diagnoses what he'll call a troublesome "anything-goes" mentality in the nation, a transition source said Saturday.

The speech, which the source said currently runs about 20 minutes, will call on industries and individuals to behave responsibly, saying it was that mentality, in part, that led to the harsh economic times the nation now faces. But he'll say that no problem is too big to be solved using the valuesthat have always defined Americans, the source said.

It also will seek to "define the moment we're in," for Americans, with two foreign wars ongoing and a financial crisis at home. The speech will not go into the details of Obama's agenda - keeping with the historical nature of inaugural addresses. According to the source, Obama has been working on the speech "in earnest" for the past week and will continue fine-tuning it after Saturday's train ride from Philadelphia to Washington.

Filed under: Barack Obama • Inauguration • Jessica Yellin
soundoff (17 Responses)
  1. John

    I'm so disappointed,that HBO denied us the privilage of wittinesing the great event at Lincon Memorial.It is sad that the people who don't afford HBO has no chance to be part of the life concert.Thanks to CNN we are able to see the glims on Lary King.


    January 18, 2009 at 10:37 pm |
  2. Lovelene jean M

    President Obama My Name Is Lovelene Jean-Marie I am Twelve Years Old. My Dad has been laid off since january of 2008 and its january of 2009, I heard on tv that Bush created a program for people out side of the United States to work for Five Dollars an hour. But may dad has lived here for over 30 years and still cant't find a job. Are you gonna keep this going or oare you going to stop it?
    Ps. I heard this all by myself and nobody told me nor did my parents tell me to do this i think kids should be able to speak their minds and it will mean alot if you, Mr.Obama if you could reply back to my message

    January 18, 2009 at 9:13 pm |
  3. Joanne, Solvay, NY

    Anything goes... for the rich! We , the people, have been subjected to criminal banking practices, business gone wild riddled with outrageous sums of money garnered by top CEOs, and detached from reality of Main Street economics,. As well as a huge dose of ignorance regarding the environment!

    January 18, 2009 at 8:46 pm |
  4. Caroline Kochman

    The American people have been sacrificed for personal, financial and political agendas. We as a people need desperately to be able to trust in our leaders again. Before we will follow we need an unwavering committment to "the people". If I could ask Barack Obama for one thing in his inauguration speech. . . please ask the members of the House and the Senate to committ to asking themselves one simple question at the end of each day "What good did I do for the country today? and if they aren't doing anything. . .step aside.

    January 18, 2009 at 8:12 pm |
  5. KIm

    Think about the primary until now ? Wow ! An enlightening of political world perspective with the coverage of CNN as the journey unfolds and anything goes. Innovative possibilities for the nation. The hope of change,unity and one nation down a path of promise as the noise of democracy sets sail. Storms of challenges in America for Obama to prevail. Determination ! We the people will be there !

    January 18, 2009 at 7:12 pm |
  6. Gene Penszynski from Vermont

    Can't wait to hear the speech. I'd like ot think that what President-elect Obama means bt 'anything goes' refers to the 'Laissez Faire' business mentality that existed in the G W Bush administration and the rubber stamp Republican congress that let G W Bush get us into two disasterous conflicts and then allowed him to mismanage both to extreme while not even voicing one iota of opposition.

    It's clear that the Democrat Controlled congress is gearing up to closley look at everything Mr. Obama does as they rightfully should have been doing over the last eight years with G W Bush. I am confident that Mr. Obama and Congress are now well up to the task of taking each other on for the public good. No more Neo-con and Christian Fundamentalist nonsense and no more rubber stamp approvals with out even analizing all the facts and looking at alternative views. The decade of the anti-intellectual narrowly educated myopic Red Neck Christian Fundamentalist and/or neo-con is over. Thank God ! It should be buried forever in the ashes of the human suffering and death and the hatred that it fostered along with the FAILED administration and 'leadership' of G W Bush and his 'legacy' of right wing evangelical dogmatic lunacy.

    G W Bush and company aren't even worthy of the 'Wanted Dead or Alive' and 'Bring It On' infantile jingoism that they preached regardless of the dead wrongs of their Murderous reign. They have now become much too irrelevant for even those moronic words of theirs. A new breeze is blowing into Washington. One of hope and balance and intelligence and openmindedness and fairness. One that respects international law and human rights. We're finally on our way to a brighter better
    America people after eight long years of what often appeared to be closer to the Dark Ages than the 21st century.

    January 18, 2009 at 3:55 pm |
  7. tom behr

    Exactly, Jen. "Anything goes" is the belief that one has the right, under "freedom of speech," to say anything – without regard for the impact on others. As Justice Holmes put it: "The most stringent protection of free speech would not protect a man in falsely shouting fire in a theater and causing a panic."

    "Anything goes" applies to other American "freedoms," and "rights," such as when people pursue the "right" to "happiness" by defrauding millions of others in order to advance their own financial well being. There's a lot of that going around these days. I hope President Obama acts as a leader in helping us remember that there are no "rights" without equal "responsibilities."

    January 18, 2009 at 3:11 pm |
  8. darla berkowitz

    Barack inspires us as a nation: The conflicts our country faces seem small by comparison to the immense unity our country is now experiencing. The newly renewed faith in our government far exceeds the fear and reality we are presently facing as a nation. The negativity of "trickling down" that Barack so fervently refereed to in the past, as taken on a new meaning. We are now experiencing a "trickling down" of a positive nature, a genuine caring and compassion we feel for one another regardless of any
    pre-dispositions. We now, for the first time in history, have the amazing opportunity to transcend all barriers and move ahead together as one nation under God, indivisible as it is proclimated, to address the needs of every single american......period! This is a perfect example of Barack's positive posture, his philosophical view to look forward and capitalize on bipartisan efforts to work together to address the needs of each and every american and to restore our position, as we work in concert with global efforts to improve the world for all humanity. The love for my country as well as for the people of this great world has always been so very near and dear to my heart. I am so proud and so relieved to know, for the first time, in a very long time, our country and consequently, the world is in good hands....our hands...... with, potentially, the greatest leader the world has ever known, at the helm. Congratulations to Barack Obama and welcome!

    January 18, 2009 at 12:56 pm |
  9. ashok choudhury

    Yes, its time foe Americans to introspect. If the 'any thing goes ' mentality has caused what we see today. May be ,a change of mentality is the first thing required to effectively kick start the 'change' now desired.
    I see elements of indiscipline, complacency, nonseriousness and a bit of carelessness in the 'any thing goes' mentality. This mentality, to some extent is 'now centric' and ofetn leads to impulse based decisions without caring a hoot for what 'tomorrow 'has in store.
    Devoid of serious insight and foresight , this mentality is expected to bring 'undesirable' consequences of 'previous' actions or reactions.
    The today's state of affairs whether in economy, business or foreign affairs could well be ascribed to this mentality even if to some extent.
    Obama 's diagnosis seems to be right. May be the prescriptions is expected to be as right too.
    Good. Practical thinking from the 'no drama Obama' already generates hope.

    January 18, 2009 at 11:16 am |
  10. Susan Goodenough

    Why is everyone focused on the fact that the President elect is black.Did he not just bury his white Grandmother.I believe his mother was white also.Has he turned his back on that side of his race.
    Seems to me that concentrating on him being African American keeps people segragated.
    Why not focus on the man.and not the color of his skin.Or his origin.He is much white as he is black,or maybe I missed something.

    January 18, 2009 at 10:24 am |
  11. Dave Eisley from Aurora IL

    You mean like "Anything Goes", such as a $150 million inaugaration party, or an unnecessary basketball court, or $100,000 in White House Renovations? Hmmm......that money would have helped A LOT of distressed homeowners. Oh well...anything goes.

    January 18, 2009 at 10:21 am |
  12. Jen

    So he is decrying what he will actually be allowing in his own administration? He is the "anything-goes" president; not the previous administration, since he is the one for promoting homosexual rights and abortion.

    January 18, 2009 at 8:01 am |
  13. EJ (USA)

    Jen, as I understand it – it means socially and economically and just in general. "Anything goes" without consideration for what the consequences will be and without consideration for how it will affect other people and America as a whole.

    January 18, 2009 at 4:31 am |
  14. Andre

    Why would you characterize the expression "anything goes" as a curtailment on the freedom of speech if not to be merely adversarial and divisive? Enough already! The expression refers to the pursuit of personal gain without the mitigating influence of integrity or the concepts of restraint or consequence. Wall Street, corporate America, our society as a whole has succumbed to the quest for gain without sacrifice, comfort without regard of cost. To overcome our current difficulties and prepare for our future and that of our children, it is quite sage to be reminded that every citizen, President, representative, or common man, must choose the hard right over the easy left. Robert A. Heinlein said it best. "TANSTAAFL"-There ain't no such thing as a free lunch!

    January 18, 2009 at 2:33 am |
  15. Amanda Walton

    I take the 'anything goes' mentality he speaks of as people or business who don't take responsibility for their actions and don't think of future consequences. The 'anything goes' if it seems to work let's just do it without any thought of the future.

    This is my interpretation of what he means but I'm sure he will explain it more in detail on Tuesday as the world watches and hangs on to every word he speaks.

    January 18, 2009 at 2:27 am |
  16. JC-Los Angeles

    An anything goes mentality sounds about right when describing the eight years of the Bush administration and their lack of oversight at all levels of government and industry.

    It's as if our nation spent eight years in the finest restaurant, ordered everything on the menu including the finest bottles of wine and then didn't expect to pay the tab.

    January 18, 2009 at 12:02 am |
  17. Jen

    What the heck is "anything goes"? You mean like freedom of speech?

    January 17, 2009 at 11:13 pm |