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  • >>Roberts: Are you prepared to take the Oath, Senator?

  • >>Obama: I am.

  • >>Roberts: I, Barack Hussein Obama, do solemnly swear

  • >>Obama: I, Barack Hussein Obama, do solemnly swear

  • >>Roberts: that I will execute the office of President

  • to the United States faithfully

  • >>Obama: that I will execute ...

  • >>Roberts: faithfully the office

  • of President of the United States

  • >>Obama: the office of the President

  • of the United States faithfully

  • >>Roberts: and will, to the best of my ability

  • >>Obama: and will, to the best of my ability

  • >>Roberts: preserve, protect

  • and defend the Constitution of the United States

  • >>Obama: preserve, protect

  • and defend the Constitution of the United States

  • >>Roberts: so help you, God.

  • >>Obama: so help me, God.

  • >>Roberts: Congratulations, Mr. President.

  • [cheers]

  • All the best wishes to you.

  • [cheers]

  • ["Hail to the Chief" music and 21 gun salute]

  • >>Feinstein: It is my great personal honor

  • to present the 44th President

  • of these United States, Barack Obama.

  • [cheers and applause]

  • >>Obama: Thank you. Thank you.

  • My fellow citizens.

  • I stand here today humbled by the task before us,

  • grateful for the trust you have bestowed,

  • mindful of the sacrifices borne by our ancestors.

  • I thank President Bush for his service to our nation,

  • 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 forbearers, 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,

  • and 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.

  • 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.

  • 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 who prefer leisure over work,

  • or seek only the pleasures of riches and fame.

  • Rather, 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 until 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.

  • 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 growth.

  • We will build the roads and bridges, the electric grids

  • and digital lines that feed our commerce and bind us together.

  • We will 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.

  • And 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.

  • As for our common defense, we reject as false the choice

  • between our safety and our ideals.

  • 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's sake.

  • 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 will 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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 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 road 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 -