Barack Hussein Obama, 44th President of the United States, is the first black president of the country. His inauguration into office took place in Washington yesterday (20 January).
At his inauguration he spoke for around 20minutes, describing his coming into office as a triumph in interracial relations.
Over a million people, the biggest crowd ever, watched the inauguration ceremony at which Obama swore on Abraham Lincoln's bible to "preserve, protect and defend the constitution".
Economic crisis a real issue for many US citizens
47-year-old Obama is the youngest president ever. He frequently referred to the economic crisis in his speech, describing the financial worries that ordinary citizens face and promising accountability of government.
Because of the crisis, 11 million workers in the USA have lost their jobs. At 7.2 percent, the unemployment rate stands at a 16-year high. One in every ten home owners cannot pay their mortgages or loans.
The new president promised a country in which all different voices would be heard.
Message of peace
Obama sent a message of peace to his international audience, saying:
“And so to all 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 that we are ready to lead once more.”
The inaugural ceremony was accompanied by music by singer Aretha Franklin, violinist Itzhak Perlman, cellist Yo-Yo Ma and clarinetist Anthony McGill.
Farewell to Bush
Following the ceremony, Obama and his wife Michelle bid previous president George Bush and his wife Laura farewell from the Congress building.
It is said that Obama will spend his first working day in the White House working on a plan to withdraw US troops from Iraq. (TK/AG)
* Click here for Obama's inaugural address.
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