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Barack Obama: First Inaugural Address by Barack Obama

Barack Obama: First Inaugural Address

by Barack Obama


Title Details

Audio Original
Running Time
22 Min.
User Rating
  4.0  Stars Based on 13 ratings
Listen to President Barack Obama's Inaugural Address which he delivered today, January 20, 2009. In this speech President Obama sets forth the challenges that America faces and his confidence in the American people to rise to meet these challenges. He clearly states his intention to usher forth a new political era where politicians can "set aside childish things." This 22-minute speech is available on MP3 download and streaming audio & video through American Rhetoric.

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Reviews & Ratings
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Nothing to blame
Reviewer Easter Innocent
 March 13, 2010
Hooray to the black lion

Smoke and mirros masquerading as inspiration.
Reviewer dockuhn
 December 05, 2009
Yada, yada, yada. Nothing new here, keep on moving.

A great introduction to a new presidency
Reviewer derryver
 January 22, 2009
I do not know why someone would insist that the "details" were missing in a first inaugural address that is supposed to last only 5-10 minutes. Did someone ever realistically expect an hour long sermon on why we're were we are at and a breakdown of the Specific steps the president is going to take to turn things around? Such a thing to ask is just silliness. Obama's speech touches upon the subjects he plans to work on and gives just enough information on each to let the people know that he is determined to make a change in the way Government does it's job. It was elegant and full of promise, much like the nature of the American dream. Attacking it would only serve to show the ignorance of a person who could be doing something more productive.

Typically Lofty Rhetoric, Short on Specifics
Reviewer librariancb
 January 22, 2009
"Where's the beef?" The Wendy's advertising line fits with most of Obama's speeches, and this is another one. It's all very inspiring, and like a fuzzy horoscope describing a personality, you can pretty much find what you want to find in it. It's difficult to be offended, but it's also difficult to digest and condense into any meaningful message.

Where are the core political beliefs? Where are the specifics? Where does he stand? What is the plan?

I did not know the title of the speech at the time I heard it, and I could never have assigned a title to it. The title is: "What is Required: The Price and the Promise of Citizenship." Where is that topic expressed in the speech? Well, finally, about four fifths of the way through, he concludes, "This is the price and the promise of citizenship." Until then, I heard nothing about citizenship. Immediately before this statement is a demand to return to basic American values and a call to do our duty. Are those the price and promise to which he is referring? It's a stretch, but if they are, it's the one and only time I see any relationship to the title.

The introduction to the speech Obama recalls that we Americans have "remained faithful to the ideals of our forbearers, and true to our founding documents." Is he promising fidelity to conservative principles? I doubt it, but both liberals and conservatives can hear whatever they want to hear in those words. Everyone is inspired.

Next, the assorted crises we face are listed and there is a proclamation that we have "chosen hope" and "unity of purpose." By doing what? Electing him? Furthermore, "petty grievances and false promises, the recriminations and worn out dogmas" will end. How does that fit in to citizenship?

What follows is an analysis of the greatness of our nation, won by risk-takers and hard workers. Again, who can argue with that? But I doubt that they "struggled and sacrificed so that we might live a better life." They were concerned with survival and providing for their families. Maybe he meant that we should be grateful for their sacrifices, because they built a great nation, but that's not the way he described it. The thought was weakly communicated.

Obama next lists challenges that must be met and everything that is still wrong with our country and our "system." Everything will improve, but how? What are his priorities? What are the solutions?

First, Obama says we are going to "reject as false the choice between our safety and our ideals." What does that mean exactly? Does it mean that we can always be safe without committing immoral acts? Is he saying that the means never justify the ends? Should we never kill to protect others from being killed or to defend our nation? This idea can be taken many directions, but he leaves it hanging, on purpose.

Continuing on, he states 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." These are noble sentiments to be sure, but tell me how that's going to work with terrorists who do not value life, even their own? Again, we are left hanging.

No matter. All will be well, because of "greater cooperation and understanding between nations." He is sure that "old hatreds will someday pass." Eventually, "our common humanity shall reveal itself." We will "seek a new way forward" with the Muslim world. And all because we will "extend a hand" to the corrupt if they "are willing to unclench [their] fist." That's hope with a capital H. But I want more. How will he succeed using these new attitudes? And what does it have to do with citizenship? There should be more.

Members of the armed services and fallen heroes are to be honored for being "willing to find meaning in something greater than themselves," (a nod to McCain) and "this spirit must inhabit us all." Faith, determination, selflessness, courage, and nurturing children will make all the difference. Aren't we doing that already? Again, is this what citizenship calls for? Tell us.

Obama promises that we can be confident in accomplishing these goals because we know that "God calls on us to shape an uncertain destiny." What? How can we be confident about reaching goals that are not even defined?

A glorious finish to the speech includes recollection of the dire straits we faced in the Revolutionary War and the War of 1812, topped by an inspiring quote from George Washington. Yes, we are in trouble, but I don't think the survival of our country is at stake, like it was in those circumstances. There are threats from abroad, but we've been going about our business safely here at home for the 7 1/2 years since the terrorist attacks. And I don't see soup lines or thousands of homeless people on the street. It's as if in order to appear more like our valiant rescuer, he must exaggerate the depth of our present circumstances.

Let's face the fact that it is difficult, if not impossible, to find a logical progression to the flow of Obama's ideas. The themes wander all over the place, but it sure sounds good. Take a few words, a phrase, even a paragraph, and they sound so enlightening, so passionate, and so authoritative - like the Gospel! It's absolutely glorious, like a preacher in his element. But looking at the entire speech, I can find no strong purpose or promise. Maybe it was not the time or place to lay it all out and convince us of his views or proposals with facts and sound principles. But Obama has used this approach to get elected, and he wants everyone to like him, even if it's not election time. This is his style, and it's doubtful that he will change it.

I'm reminded of the driver lamenting that he doesn't know where he is going. Fortunately, he sure is getting there fast.

Reviewer Lutek
 January 22, 2009
Barack Obama Address

energetically loving decisiveness
Reviewer M.A. Messelink
 January 21, 2009
energetically loving decisiveness

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  • LearnOutLoud.com Product ID: B029751
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