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On that day in Washington—Inauguration Day, January 20, 2009—the blustery chill penetrated every coat, yet the discomfort was no impediment to joy. People had come to be with other people, to mark an unusual thing: a historical event that was elective, not befallen.The police estimated that more than a million and a half people had crowded onto the Mall, making this the largest public gathering in the history of the capital. Just after noon, Barack Hussein Obama, the forty-seven-year-old son of a white Kansan and a black Kenyan, an uncommonly talented if modestly credentialled legislator from Illinois, took the oath of office as the forty-fourth President of the United States.Banks as large as Lehman Brothers were dead, and other banks were foundering.
The political and moral damage of Bush’s duplicitous rush to war rivalled the conflict’s price in blood and treasure.
America’s standing in the world was further compromised by the torture of prisoners and by illegal surveillance at home.
Lowery, a civil-rights comrade of Martin Luther King, Jr.,’s, read a benediction that began with “Lift Every Voice and Sing,” the segregation-era lamentation of American realities and celebration of American ideals.
Yo-Yo Ma urged his frozen fingers to play the cello, and the Reverend Joseph E.
The satirical paper Barack Obama began his Presidency devoted to the idea of post-partisanship.
His rhetoric, starting with his “Red State, Blue State” Convention speech, in 2004, and his 2006 book, “The Audacity of Hope,” was imbued with that idea.
The President has achieved a run of ambitious legislative, social, and foreign-policy successes that relieved a large measure of the human suffering and national shame inflicted by the Bush Administration.
Obama has renewed the honor of the office he holds.
The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009—the 7-billion stimulus package—was well short of what some economists, including Joseph Stiglitz and Paul Krugman, thought the crisis demanded.
But it was larger in real dollars than any one of Franklin D. It reversed the job-loss trend—according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, as many as 3.6 million private-sector jobs have been created since June, 2009—and helped reset the course of the economy.