Belfast Telegraph

Friday 26 December 2014

Party over now Obama begins the job of remaking America

President Barack Obama and first lady Michelle Obama dance together at the Obama Home States Inaugural Ball in Washington, Tuesday, Jan. 20, 2009.
President Barack Obama and first lady Michelle Obama dance together at the Obama Home States Inaugural Ball in Washington, Tuesday, Jan. 20, 2009.
So much can change in two years- flashback to Obama's inauguration ........Barack Obama and wife, Michelle, examine the Bible used for his swearing-in ceremony as the 44th president of the United States as their daughters Malia and Sasha (with the aid of a box) look on
US President Barack Obama waves alongside his wife, Michelle, and US Vice President Joe Biden and his wife, Jill, as former US President George W. Bush and his wife, Laura, leave the US Capitol on the presidential helicopter after Obama was sworn in as the 44th US president in Washington, DC, on January 20, 2009.
Chief of Staff Rahm Emmanuel makes a funny gesture at the inauguration of Barack Obama as the 44th President of the United States of America on the West Front of the Capitol January 20, 2009 in Washington, DC
Barack Obama, left, takes the oath of office from Chief Justice John Roberts to become the 44th president of the United States at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, Tuesday, Jan. 20, 2009. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)
Shaine Martin of New Orleans, La., is photographed as she waits on National Mall for the inauguration of President-elect Barack Obama in Washington, Tuesday, Jan. 20, 2009. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)
People dance along the inauguration parade route as they wait to see President-elect Barack Obama on Tuesday, January 20, 2009 in Washington. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)
President Bush, right, walks out with President-elect Barack Obama, left, on the North Portico of the White House before sharing the Presidential limousine enroute to Capitol Hill for inauguration in Washington, Tuesday, Jan. 20, 2009.(AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)
Robin Mitchell of Upper Marlboro, Md., cheers on the National Mall for the in anticipation of the inauguration of President-elect Barack Obama in Washington, Tuesday, Jan. 20, 2009. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)
The limousine carrying President Bush and President-elect Barack Obama is driven along Pennsylvania Avenue toward the U.S. Capitol for the presidential inauguration, Tuesday, Jan. 20, 2009, in Washington. (AP Photo/Haraz N. Ghanbari)
Sen. Arlin Specter, R-Pa., takes a picture as he arrives at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, Tuesday, Jan. 20, 2009, for the swearing-in of President-elect Barack Obama and Vice President-elect Joe Biden. (AP Photo/Ron Edmonds)
Vice President Dick Cheney arrives in a wheelchair at the U.S. Capitol for the inauguration of Barack Obama as the 44th president in Washington, Tuesday, Jan 20, 2009. (AP Photo/Saul Loeb, Pool)
A sailor salutes as the limousine carrying President George W. Bush and President-elect Barack Obama leave the White House in Washington, Tuesday, Jan. 20, 2009. (AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall)
The limousine carrying President Bush and President-elect Barack Obama is driven along Pennsylvania Avenue toward the U.S. Capitol for the presidential inauguration, Tuesday, Jan. 20, 2009, in Washington. (AP Photo/Haraz N. Ghanbari)
** RETRANSMITTED FOR ALTERNATE CROP ** In this picture taken by a remote camera on a tethered balloon people crowd the National Mall during the swearing-in ceremonies of President-elect Barack Obama, Tuesday January 20, 2009. (airphotoslive.com via AP) **RESTRICTIONS, EDITORS NOTE: TO USE THIS IMAGE IN AN EDITORIAL MAGAZINE, PLEASE CONTACT YOUR AP IMAGES LICENSING REPRESENTATIVE. SPECIAL RATES APPLY. **
Former President George H.W. Bush and wife, Barbara, arrive at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, Tuesday, Jan. 20, 2009, for the swearing-in of President-elect Barack Obama and Vice President-elect Joe Biden. (AP Photo/Ron Edmonds)
President Bush blows a kiss as he leave the White House for the final time as president with President-elect Barack Obama en route to Capitol Hill for inauguration in Washington, Tuesday, Jan. 20, 2009.(AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)
Secretary of State nominee Hillary Rodham Clinton and husband, former President Bill Clinton, are greeted as they arrive at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, Tuesday, Jan. 20, 2009, for the swearing-in of President-elect Barack Obama and Vice President-elect Joe Biden. (AP Photo/Ron Edmonds)
Former President Jimmy Carter and wife, Rosalynn, arrive at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, Tuesday, Jan. 20, 2009, for the swearing-in of President-elect Barack Obama and Vice President-elect Joe Biden. (AP Photo/Ron Edmonds)
Sen John McCain, R-Ariz., right, talks with Sen. Carl Levin, D-Mich., as they arrive at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, Tuesday, Jan. 20, 2009, for the swearing-in of President-elect Barack Obama and Vice President-elect Joe Biden. (AP Photo/Ron Edmonds)
Jay-Z, Beyonce and Solange Knowles, left, stop for a photo as they try to find their seats as they arrive for the inauguration ceremony at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, Tuesday, Jan. 20, 2009. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)
U.S. Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., finds his seat as he arrives for the inauguration ceremony at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, Tuesday, Jan. 20, 2009. (AP Photo/Jeff Christensen)
Jay-Z and Beyonce try to find their seats as they arrive for the inauguration ceremony at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, Tuesday, Jan. 20, 2009. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)
Sen. Roland Burris, D-Ill., arrives at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, Tuesday, Jan. 20, 2009, for the swearing-in of President-elect Barack Obama and Vice President-elect Joe Biden. (AP Photo/Ron Edmonds)
Diddy talks to a friends as he arrives at the U.S. Capitol for the inauguration ceremny in Washington, Tuesday, Jan. 20, 2009. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)
President-elect Barack Obama and Michelle Obama are welcomed to the North Portico of the White House by President George W. Bush and first lady Laura Bushin Washington, Tuesday, Jan. 20, 2009. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)
Bxoning promoter Don King holds up his flags before the inauguration ceremony at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, Tuesday, Jan. 20, 2009. (AP Photo/Jeff Christensen)
Das Stoked of Providence, R. I., waves a flag with the image of President-elect Barack Obama on the National Mall looking towards the U.S. Capitol in Washington, Tuesday, Jan. 20, 2009. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)
President Bush, right, walks out with President-elect Barack Obama, left, on the North Portico of the White House before sharing the Presidential limousine enroute to Capitol Hill for the inauguration of the President-elect in Washington, Tuesday, Jan. 20, 2009.(AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)
Bundled people pack the National Mall for the inauguration of President-elect Barack Obama in Washington, Tuesday, Jan. 20, 2009. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)
Sen. Edward Kennedy, D-Mass., right, arrives at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, Tuesday, Jan. 20, 2009, for the swearing-in of President-elect Barack Obama and Vice President-elect Joe Biden. (AP Photo/Ron Edmonds)
Shareef Harrison, 9, left, and Cheryl Odom, right, show off their decorated flags during an inauguration ceremony at the Harlem Armory Tuesday, Jan. 20, 2009 in New York prior to the inauguration of President-elect Barack Obama. (AP Photo/Frank Franklin II)
Actors Samuel L. Jackson, right, and Dustin Hoffman greet each other as they arrive for the inauguration ceremonyat the U.S. Capitol in Washington, Tuesday, Jan. 20, 2009. (AP Photo/Jeff Christensen)
This undated image provided by UKFineArts Tuesday Jan. 20 2009, shows a micro sculpture by Willard Wigan showing U.S, President elect Barrack Obama and his family in the eye of a needle. Barack Obama will be inaugurated as the 44th U.S. president in Washington on Tuesday. (AP Photo/ UKFineArts,HO) ** NO SALES EDITORIAL USE ONLY **
U.S. Sen John McCain, R-Ariz., finds his seat as he arrives for the inauguration ceremony at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, Tuesday, Jan. 20, 2009. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)
Retired Gen. Colin Powell, left, and Elie Wiesel stand on the inaugural stage ahead of the inauguration of Barack Obama as the 44th President of the United States of America on the West Front of the U.S. Capitol Tuesday, Jan. 20, 2009, in Washington. (AP Photo/Win McNamee, Pool)
Jay-Z and Beyonce try to find their seats as they arrive for the inauguration ceremony at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, Tuesday, Jan. 20, 2009. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)
Shareef Harrison, 9, left, and Cheryl Odom, right, show off their decorated flags during an inauguration ceremony at the Harlem Armory Tuesday, Jan. 20, 2009 in New York. Thousands are gathering to celebrate the inauguration of U.S. President-elect Barack Obama. (AP Photo/Frank Franklin II)
President Bush, right, walks out with President-elect Barack Obama, left, on the North Portico of the White House before sharing the Presidential limousine enroute to Capitol Hill for the inauguration of the President-elect in Washington, Tuesday, Jan. 20, 2009. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)
Shaine Martin of New Orleans, La., cheers as she waits on National Mall for the inauguration of President-elect Barack Obama in Washington, Tuesday, Jan. 20, 2009. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)
Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., left, and Sen. Chris Dodd, D-Conn., arrive at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, Tuesday, Jan. 20, 2009, for the swearing-in of President-elect Barack Obama and Vice President-elect Joe Biden. (AP Photo/Ron Edmonds)
President Bush, right, walks out with President-elect Barack Obama, left, on the North Portico of the White House before sharing the Presidential limousine en route to Capitol Hill for inauguration in Washington, Tuesday, Jan. 20, 2009.(AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)
San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom, left, and California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger arrive at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, Tuesday, Jan. 20, 2009, for the swearing-in of President-elect Barack Obama and Vice President-elect Joe Biden. (AP Photo/Ron Edmonds)
Oprah Winfrey, center, is joined by companion Steadman Graham, left, as she arrives for the inauguration of Barack Obama and Joe Biden at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, Tuesday, Jan. 20, 2009. (AP Photo/Elise Amendola)
Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke and his wife Anna find their seats as they arrive for the inauguration ceremony at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, Tuesday, Jan. 20, 2009. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)
U.S. Sen. Edward Kennedy, D-Mass., arrives for the inauguration ceremony at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, Tuesday, Jan. 20, 2009. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)
Bundled people pack the National Mall in Washington for the Inauguration of President-elect Barack Obama Tuesday, Jan. 20, 2009. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)
Jacob Washington, 8, of Hopkinsville, Ken., sleeps at his parents feet as they wait on the National Mall for the Inauguration of President-elect Barack Obama in Washington, Tuesday, Jan. 20, 2009. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)
Bundled people pack the National Mall for the Inauguration of President-elect Barack Obama in Washington, Tuesday, Jan. 20, 2009. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)
Sen. Roland Burris, D-Ill., gives thumbs-up as he arrives the U.S. Capitol in Washington, Tuesday, Jan. 20, 2009, for the swearing-in of President-elect Barack Obama and Vice President-elect Joe Biden. (AP Photo/Ron Edmonds)
The U.S. Capitol in Washington is seen lit up early Tuesday morning, Jan. 20, 2009, before the swearing-in ceremony of President-elect Barack Obama. (AP Photo/Ron Edmonds)
Shareef Harrison, 9, left, shows off his decorated flag as Cheryl Odom, right, watches during an inauguration ceremony at the Harlem Armory Tuesday, Jan. 20, 2009 in New York. Thousands are gathering to celebrate the inauguration of U.S. President-elect Barack Obama. (AP Photo/Frank Franklin II)
President-elect Barack Obama and Michelle Obama are welcomed by Rev. Luis Leon as the arrive for church service at St. John's Episcopal Church across from the White House in Washington, Tuesday, Jan. 20, 2009. (AP Photo/Charles Dharapak)
President-elect Barack Obama and Michelle Obama leave the Blair House before going to a church service at St. John's Episcopal Church across from the White House in Washington, Tuesday, Jan. 20, 2009. (AP Photo/Charles Dharapak)
Orquenitta Donely of Chicago, Ill., right, and Eve Julien of New York City, left, wait pushed up against a gate at a security check point to enter and attend the the inauguration of President-elect Barack Obama in Washington, Tuesday, Jan. 20, 2009. They said they had both been there since 2:00 a.m. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)
People wear Obama paraphernalia as they wait in New York's Pennsylvania Station to board an Amtrak train to Washington, D.C., to attend the inauguration of President-elect Barack Obama, Tuesday morning, Jan. 20, 2009. (AP Photo/Richard Drew)
A woman wears Obama paraphernali in New York's Pennsylvania Station as she waits to board an Amtrak train to Washington, D.C., to attend the inauguration of President-elect Barack Obama, Tuesday morning Jan. 20, 2009. (AP Photo/Richard Drew)
Dawn Appleby, left, from London, England, and her brother Daniel Appleby, from New York, read newspapers in New York's Pennsylvania Station as they wait to board an Amtrak train to Washington, D.C., to attend the inauguration of President-elect Barack Obama, Tuesday morning Jan. 20, 2009. (AP Photo/Richard Drew)
The sun rises on the U.S. Capitol and the already crowded National Mall on Inauguration Day as people continue to gather in anticipation of the swearing-in of President-elect Barack Obama on Tuesday, Jan. 20, 2009 in Washington.
Matryoshkas, traditional Russian nesting dolls made of wood, depicting U.S. President-elect Barack Obama, at left, and Russian President Dmitry Medvedev, second from right, and Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin, right, are seen in Moscow, Tuesday, Jan. 20, 2009. Barack Obama strides to the pinnacle of American power Tuesday, taking the oath as the 44th U.S. president and shattering racial barriers as the first black leader of a country gripped by profound economic troubles and at war in two distant lands. (AP Photo/Misha Japaridze)
A child with Obama's name painted on her face seen at a mock inauguration party, held in Kisumu, Kenya, Tuesday Jan. 20, 2009 to celebrate the inauguration of American President elect Barack Obama in Washington DC.The election of a black American president stands as a powerful symbol of unity on this continent, where many countries are still riven between competing ethnic groups and the older generations still remember the injustices of colonialism.(AP Photo/Riccardo Gangale)
A street vendor demonstrates a Matryoshka, traditional Russian nesting dolls made of wood, depicting U.S. President-elect Barack Obama, as it is displayed for sale in Moscow, Tuesday, Jan. 20, 2009. Barack Obama strides to the pinnacle of American power Tuesday, taking the oath as the 44th U.S. president and shattering racial barriers as the first black leader of a country gripped by profound economic troubles and at war in two distant lands. (AP Photo/Misha Japaridze)
People wait in line for access to the inaugural parade route prior to the swearing-in of President-elect Barack Obama, Tuesday, Jan. 20, 2009, in Washington. (AP Photo/Rob Carr)
Crowds gather on the National Mall in Washington for the swearing-in ceremony of President-elect Barack Obama on Tuesday, Jan. 20, 2009. (AP Photo/Ron Edmonds)
More people arrive on the already crowded National Mall on Inauguration Day in anticipation of the swearing-in of President-elect Barack Obama on Tuesday, Jan. 20, 2009 in Washington. (AP Photo/Kevin Wolf)
Artist Darla Nageswara Rao gives finishing touches to a portrait of U.S. President-elect Barack Obama, made with 33,265 colored stickers in Hyderabad, India, Tuesday, Jan. 20, 2009. (AP Photo/Mahesh Kumar A)
Bundled people wait before dawn at a security check point to attend the inauguration of President-elect Barack Obama in Washington, Tuesday, Jan. 20, 2009. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)
U.S. President-elect Barack Obama's sand sculpture made by an Indian artist Sudarshan Pattnaik, is seen at the golden sea beach in Puri, 67 kilometers (41 miles) away from Bhubaneswar, India, Tuesday, Jan. 20, 2009. (AP Photo/Biswaranjan Rout)
Actor Denzel Washington is among the early arrivals for the inauguration of Barack Obama and Joe Biden at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, Tuesday, Jan. 20, 2009. (AP Photo/Elise Amendola)
Crowds gather on the National Mall in Washington for the swearing-in ceremony of President-elect Barack Obama on Tuesday, Jan. 20, 2009. (AP Photo/Ron Edmonds)
Crowds gather on the National Mall in Washington for the swearing-in ceremony of President-elect Barack Obama on Tuesday, Jan. 20, 2009.(AP Photo/Ron Edmonds)
People wait on the National Mall in Washington early Tuesday, Jan. 20, 2009, before the swearing-in ceremony of President-elect Barack Obama. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke)
Crowds gather early on the National Mall by the Washington Monument for the swearing-in ceremony for President-elect Barack Obama in Washington, Tuesday, Jan. 20, 2009. (AP Photo/Ron Edmonds)
Crowds gather early on the National Mall for the swearing-in ceremony for President-elect Barack Obama in Washington, Tuesday, Jan. 20, 2009. (AP Photo/Ron Edmonds)
Stand-ins for President-elect Barack Obama, his wife Michelle Obama and Chief Justice John Roberts rehearse the swearing in ceremony for the inauguration on the West Front of the U.S. Capitol, Monday, Jan. 19, 2009 in Washington. Obama will take the oath of office as the 44th President on Tuesday. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)
U.S. Sen. Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., takes a photo from the podium outside the U.S. Capitol in Washington, Monday, Jan. 19, 2009, a day before the swearing-in ceremony of President-elect Barack Obama. (AP Photo/Ron Edmonds)
Yo-Yo Ma rehearses for the swearing-in ceremony for the inauguration on the West Front of the U.S. Capitol, Monday, Jan. 19, 2008 in Washington. President-elect Barack Obama will take the oath of office as the 44th President on Tuesday. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)
Crowds gather in the National Mall as they wait for the inauguration ceremony at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, early Tuesday, Jan. 20, 2009. (AP Photo/Elise Amendola)
Michelle Obama wife of President-elect Barack Obama walks to the stage to be greeted by Vice President-elect Joe Biden's wife Jill, center, and her grandchildren during the "Kids' Inaugural: We Are The Future Concert" in Washington, Monday, Jan. 19, 2009. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke)
Jill Biden, wife of Vice President-elect Joe Biden, left, and her grandchildren greet Michelle Obama, wife of President-elect Barack Obama, during the "Kids' Inaugural: We Are The Future Concert" in Washington, Monday, Jan. 19, 2009. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke)
Inauguration merchandise is shown as campers register at Cherry Hill Park, an RV park and campground in College Park, Md., outside of Washington, Monday, Jan. 19, 2009. A majority of the guests staying at the park are attending Tuesday's inauguration in Washington. (AP Photo/Rob Carr)
A President-elect Barack Obama hand puppet being sold in Washington, Monday, Jan. 19, 2009. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)
Carol Williams from Brooklyn, N.Y., holds an American flag on the National Mall in Washington Monday, Jan. 19, 2009, in anticipation of the swearing-in of President-elect Barack Obama Tuesday. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)
Vietnam war veteran Harry Thompson of Fort Worth, Texas, carries a flag with the image of President-elect Barack Obama as he stands in front of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington, Monday, Jan. 19, 2009. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke)
Billy Johnson, far left, of Charlotte, N.C., photographs General Mealer, right, with his grandsons Daryll Mealer, 7, second from left, and Jason Mealer, 6, with a cardboard cutout of President-elect Barack Obama on the National Mall in Washington, Monday, Jan. 19, 2009. The Mealers are from Carry, N.C. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)
Paul Locke of Richmond, Va., sells inauguration buttons with the images of President-elect Barack Obama for five dollars a piece in Washington, Monday, Jan. 19, 2009. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)
People cross 17th Street on the National Mal carrying an inaugural shopping bag with the image of President-elect Barack Obama in Washington, Monday, Jan. 19, 2009. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)
Miley Cyrus and Billy Ray Cyrus perform during "Kids' Inaugural: We Are The Future Concert" in Washington, Monday, Jan. 19, 2009. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke)
The sun rises on the already crowded National Mall on Inauguration Day as people continue to gather in anticipation of the swearing-in of President-elect Barack Obama on Tuesday, Jan. 20, 2009 in Washington. (AP Photo/Kevin Wolf)
Barack Hussein Obama
Stephanie Casillas takes a picture of Maya Landry, 3, in a John McCain mask and Alex Vincelette, 3, in an Obama mask while their preschool class visits the Arroyo Vista Park polling place in Moorpark, Calif., Tuesday, Nov. 4, 2008. (AP Photo/The Ventura County Star, James Glover II)
President-elect Barack Obama, left, his wife Michelle Obama, right, and two daughters, Malia, and Sasha, center left, wave to the crowd at the election night rally in Chicago, Tuesday, Nov. 4, 2008. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)
President-elect Barack Obama kisses wife, Michelle, after his acceptance speech at his election night party at Grant Park in Chicago, Tuesday night, Nov. 4, 2008. (AP Photo/Morry Gash)
Democratic presidential candidate, Sen. Barack Obama, D-Ill., addresses supporters at a rally in Manassas, Va., Monday, Nov. 3, 2008. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)
*** CORRECTS NAME OF PHOTOGRAPHER *** University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign students celebrate on the Alma Mater after Obama was announced the president-elect early Wednesday morning, Nov. 5, 2008 in Champaign, Ill. (AP Photo/The Daily Illini - Ramzi Dreessen)
Supporters of President-elect Barack Obama cheer in the streets in downtown Chicago on Tuesday, Nov. 4, 2008. (AP Photo/Stacie Freudnberg)
Dennis Caudill, of Crown Point, Indiana, places a sign supporting Republican presidential candidate Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) and vice presidential candidate and Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin on the mantle at the home of Palin friends Brad and Kristan Cole, Tuesday, Nov. 4, 2008, in Wasilla, Alaska. Caudill was part of a group of McCain supporters and friends from across the country gathered to watch election returns in Wasilla. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren)
Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., right, is joined by Gov. Sarah Palin, R-Alaska, during a rally with supporters on election night in Phoenix, Tuesday, Nov. 4, 2008. (AP Photo/Chris Carlson)
Joan Crecca kisses a life size cutout of presidential candidate John McCain at the Republican election party in Bellevue, Wash on Tuesday, Nov. 4, 2008. Crecca's husband Joe was a POW in Viet Nam at the same time as McCain. (AP Photo/John Froschauer)
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After months of preparation and a super-sized inauguration spectacle, replete with days of rock and pop star performances and swirling gaggles of Hollywood’s glitterati, Barack Hussein Obama now resides in the White House as the 44th president of the United States.

According to official estimates, about 1.8 million people braved bitterly cold temperatures to attend the inauguration, although the vast majority was far too distant to actually see the event on anything other than the huge TV monitors sprinkled across the National Mall.

This Oval Office transition period has been like no other in US history. Battered by staggering job losses and relentlessly bad economic news streaming from their television sets, radios, computers and newspapers, Americans are being warned that things will only get worse in the near term, and that there are no quick fixes.

Into this deeply unsettled terrain rides Barack Obama, a man whose story-book rise from a broken home to the most prestigious domicile on the planet has inspired millions across the globe.

Delivering what was in many ways a more low-key address than his electrifying acceptance speech at the Democratic national convention last August, Obama nonetheless hit all the right notes for the adoring crowd hungry for his promise of “change”.

With past presidents Jimmy Carter, George Bush Sr, Bill Clinton and George W Bush seated behind him, Obama said that, amidst the current economic crisis, Washington’s legendary partisan rancor must now fade away.

“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,” said Obama.

“Starting today, we must pick ourselves up, dust ourselves off, and begin again the work of remaking America,” he added.

Although he alluded to George Bush’s controversial ‘war on terror’ tactics — by saying “we reject as false the choice between our safety and our ideals” — Obama took the high road and avoided any direct criticisms of his predecessor.

Some people in the crowd weren’t so generous.

When Bush’s name was announced as he arrived, many broke into chants of “na na na na, goodbye bye.”

Former vice president Dick Cheney fared no better.

Long lambasted by the left and TV comedians alike for his disdain of constitutional restraints on executive power, Cheney was the Bush administration’s chief proponent of using “deep interrogation” techniques on terrorist suspects.

He attended yesterday’s inauguration in a wheelchair because he had hurt his back while loading moving boxes on Monday.

Did Cheney’s frailty win him any sympathy? Not a chance.

When his image flashed on the huge TV screens, widespread boos and catcalls erupted throughout the crowd.

But, at the end of the day, however unpopular they are, Bush and Cheney leave with the last laughs of sorts.

Before inflation adjustments, the 69-year-old Cheney will be pulling down about $135,000 annually in US federal pension money until he dies.

The far younger and more fit George Bush (53) will rake in a yearly federal pension of over $200,000 in taxpayer money for the rest of his days.

In Video: inauguration highlights



Opening prayer

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