January 19th, 2009
04:04 PM ET

Monumental expectations for Obama's inauguration address

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/POLITICS/01/18/obama.sunday/art.obama.lincoln.memorial.cnn.jpg caption="President-elect Barack Obama addresses a roaring crowd in front of the Lincoln Memorial on Sunday."]

President-elect Barack Obama's inaugural address is one of the most anticipated speeches in decades, with many expecting his words to be chiseled into marble some day.

Obama has said he has been studying previous inaugural addresses - including President Abraham Lincoln's and the speeches President Franklin D. Roosevelt gave as he took office amid the Great Depression.

Given the nation's current economic crisis, Errol Lewis, a columnist for the New York Daily News, was looking for Obama to echo Roosevelt's famous 1933 inauguration address when he said, "The only thing we have to fear is fear itself."

"He's got to calm the nation. I think he's got to reassure the nation and let people know that we are in it for the long haul. If you look at that 1933 speech, that is pretty much what FDR did," Lewis said. Watch a preview of inauguration events »

"He wants to lift us up ... and all the aspirations we have, all the hope," Lewis said. "But at the same time, he has some very practical problems that start at 12:01 p.m., and he starts to own them at high noon. There are no easy answers."

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 Ronald 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."


Filed under: Barack Obama • Raw Politics
soundoff (7 Responses)
  1. Political Skeptic

    Am I the only one not buying into the hype? Yes, I recognize the symbolic importance of electing the first African-American President. But, this does not mean that he will represent change in any fundamental sense of the term or that he can remedy the catastrophic damage Bush & Co. inflicted upon the United States. Barack Obama's interest in ending the Iraq War seems to have diminished greatly. Barack Obama has no experience dealing with financial matters at a time when the US economy is entering a Depression, and his economic team is replete with many of the ideologues who destroyed our country's financial regulations in the 1990s.

    My advice to Obama supporters is to lap it up at the inauguration. Believe me, it will be their last chance....

    January 19, 2009 at 6:52 pm |
  2. JC-Los Angeles

    As a registered Independent who voted for Obama, it would be wonderful to see Obama deliver a shortened version of his speech and conclude by saying he had to leave because there was much work to be done.

    Barack Obama has proven to be a great orator, author and speech giver, however, he's quite light on accomplishments.

    If Obama can transition from a face man to a man of action; from someone who argues both sides to someone who takes a firm position; and from someone who doesn't just talk of ethics reform but someone who demands it, he will be off to a great start.

    January 19, 2009 at 5:35 pm |
  3. earle,florida

    Please, somebody stop the alarmist clarion,and get back to reality. For starters we don't have 60% unemployment ,and no social network programs to fall back on. Today is quite different, as matter of fact, if it weren't for the corruptability in our banking system' we would be half way thru this mess. The housing crises was inevitable ,long foreseen by the financial guru's,and somewhat dealt with yerars ago. So let's stop with the "Great Speeches"'rhetoric and get back to plain old honest speeches that can be half fulfilled,...

    January 19, 2009 at 5:33 pm |
  4. Mardy

    Is it true that 2/3ds of inauguration is paid by taxpayers? Is this the start we want so we all can "chip in, work together, pull ourselves up by our bootstraps, etc." This is the second disappointment, the first being bailout money for Banks and wallstreet again without knowing where the first half went.

    January 19, 2009 at 5:21 pm |
  5. Charlie

    I've perused the blogs but have been unable to locate the name of the teen shelter that servives the Washing D C area. I'm interested in helping to raise funds to help those teens. If anyone has the information, can they post it?? Thank you

    January 19, 2009 at 4:26 pm |
  6. Patrick

    Im sure the speech will be spectacular, I voted for Barack Obama because I felt he was the best for the position,to lead this country, and to get us out of this huge hole that the Bush administration put the country in. Im just hoping that instead of misleading the american people about "being the first black president" he comes foward in his speech and tells us that he didnt forget about being only part black...he did have a "white"mom didnt he? from Kansas I believe? So, I feel that it would make him more of a stronger man if he just came out and admitted that " fact ". Im not a racist by far...I voted for him, But it is my understanding that to be a certain race, both your parents had to be that race. Maybe its just me. I just dont want the American people being misled. Thank you

    January 19, 2009 at 4:21 pm |
  7. Dennis Barker

    I stand with Barack Obama 100%. I believe he will break his back for this Country.
    President elect Obama said that “if someone has some better ideas on how to better stimulate the economy, then I want to hear it”. Alright I have one, however I don’t know how to get my idea to him. Since I was awarded the SEMA 2005 International, Best New Product trophy, I have come up with a Power Source design where I could convert hybirds and all electric cars where they would be able to run until the tires wear out without needing any fuel or needing to be plugged in. With my design these cars would be totally self sustaining, and would run completely on their own power. I believe a lot of good jobs would be created if I could develop my product. I don’t want a hand out, I need a federal grant.

    January 19, 2009 at 4:17 pm |