Long Journey is Crowned: President Barack H. Obama, 44th President of the U.S.

Long Journey is Crowned: President Barack H. Obama, 44th President of the U.S

Witnessed by an elated, celebratory crowd of more than a million admirers, Barack Hussein Obama marked his place in history as America’s first African-American president. President Obama called for a disheartened country to unite in hope against the “gathering clouds and raging storms” of war and economic woe. At this extraordinary moment in the life of America, people of all colors and ages waited in freezing cold weather for hours on Tuesday to witness a young African-Americn man with a foreign-sounding name take command of a nation founded by slaveholders. It was a ceremonial event watched in fascination by many millions, perhaps even billions of people, around the world.

For the previous three days of pre-inaugural celebrations, President Obama had been cheerful and relaxed. But he was very solemn as he stood on the Capitol steps, placed his left hand on the Bible used by Abraham Lincoln and repeated the inaugural oath “to preserve, protect and defend” a Constitution that had originally defined blacks as only three-fifths of a person. At that moment, deafening cheers went up.

In his Inaugural Address, President Obama remarked that, “We gather because we have chosen hope over fear, unity of purpose over conflict and discord.” But he stated that in our present discouraging economic and political climate, “What is required of us now is a new era of responsibility, a recognition, on the part of every American, that we have duties to ourselves, our nation, and the world, duties that we do not grudgingly accept but rather seize gladly….This is the price and the promise of citizenship.”

President Barack H. Obama’s Inaugural Address

The Obamas Leave Their Limo and Walk the Inaugural Parade Route

Music Video: Yes We Can!

Music Audio/The Late Mahalia Jackson Sings Amazing Grace:

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Long Journey is Crowned: President Barack H. Obama

Extensive coverage of President Barack Obama’s Inauguration is provided in The Huffington Post, The New York Times and The Washington Post.

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Live-Blogging 2008 Democratic Convention: Obama Wins Historic Presidential Nomination

Barack Obama Wins Historic Presidential Nomination

On Wednesday afternoon, Senator Barack Obama was officially named the Presidential Nominee of the Democratic Party, crowning his historic meteoric rise from a little-known Illinois state senator to becoming the first African-American ever to win a major-party’s presidential nomination.

Initially, there had been an element of dramatic suspense about just how the nomination process actually would unfold. However, before the roll call was taken Senator Clinton had released her delegates to vote for Mr. Obama and announced that she was voting for Obama and his running mate, Senator Joseph Biden of Delaware. The roll call proceeded alphabetically, and when New Mexico’s turn came, it yielded the floor to the state of Illinois, Obama’s home state; Illinois, in turn, ceded its position to New York.

At the urging of Senator Clinton, the New York delegation cast all of its votes for Senator Obama, and at 4:48 p.m. local time, Clinton made a motion to end the roll call and to nominate Barack Obama by acclamation. Her motion was passed unanimously by the convention delegates; Nancy Pelosi, Permanent Chair of the Democratic National Convention, then named Barack Obama the official Democratic nominee for President of the United States.

On Thursday night, the National Democratic Convention is moving to Invesco Field so that more Americans can take part in of the fourth night of the Convention, where Barack Obama will accept the Democratic nomination for President. Invesco Field’s doors will open at around 5:00 p.m. (local time), and the event will end at 9:00 p.m. (local time). A crowd that is now estimated to be larger than 80,000 people is expected to attend the final convention assembly to hear Obama’s acceptance speech.

A number of acclaimed musicians are scheduled to perform during the event. Sheryl Crow, Stevie Wonder and Will.i.am of the Black Eyed Peas will be performing. Jon Bon Jovi is flying in to perform two acoustic songs before Sen. Barack Obama gives his acceptance speech, and the Oscar-winning actress Jennifer Hudson (from Chicago) will sing the National Anthem near speech time. After Obama’s acceptance speech, Bruce Springsteen will perform to close out the evening.

Al Gore is scheduled to be the first speaker of the evening. Then at 8:00 p.m. (local time) Senator Richard Durbin from Illinois will present a biographical video of Obama, directed by Davis Guggenheim, the Oscar-winning director of An Inconvenient Truth and afterwards Durbin will introduce Senator Obama.

Obama’s acceptance speech is being held on the 45th anniversary of Martin Luther King Jr.’s I Have a Dream speech. It was on August 28th, 1963, that King, the most revered civil rights leader in the nation’s history, proclaimed on the steps of Washington’s Lincoln Memorial: “I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: ‘We hold these truths to be self-evident: that all men are created equal.’ “

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Marking a Historic Day: Yes We Can

Live-Blogging: Obama Wins Presidential Nomination

Barack Obama Wins the Democratic Presidential Nomination

Music Audio: The O’Jays/Love Train

Obama Wins Historic Presidential Nomination

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Live-Blogging Day-Two of the 2008 DNC: The Hillary Kerfuffle

Live-Blogging Day-Two of the 2008 DNC: The Hillary Kerfuffle

Comments On Michelle Obama’s Speech Last Night: So That’s What Brave Looks Like….

A reader wrote to Andrew Sullivan at The Atlantic Magazine:

“I am a 36 year old African American woman. I have two girls ages 10 and 8. The country does not get the full import of this moment. My daughters and I sat together along with my husband to watch Michelle Obama tonight. Mr. Sullivan, we were all in tears. This is a day that cannot be fully described. This country has systematically oppressed Black women for centuries. My ancestors were slaves and my great, great, great, grandmothers raped and treated as property. My daughters have very few Black women to look up to in popular culture as role models. They do not feel seen, they are not held up as the standards of American beauty. We shed tears tonight as a family because Michelle (with her elegance and grace) is holding all of us up with her. You don’t understand the burden that she bears.”

And Dahlia Lithwick wrote in Salon:

“I loved best about Michelle Obama’s speech tonight was that it was fearless, but in a very different way from the fearlessness modeled by Hillary Clinton and Nancy Pelosi. Here is a woman with a degree from Harvard Law School, who could have talked about law and policy and poverty, and yet she talked about her kids, her husband, and her family. And she didn’t do that merely to show us that smart women are soft and cuddly on the inside. She did what everyone else in this campaign is terrified to do: She risked looking sappy and credulous and optimistic when almost everyone has abandoned “hope” and “change” for coughing up hairballs of outrage. Every Democrat in America seems to be of the view that optimism is so totally last February; that now’s the time to hunker down and panic real hard. Good for Michelle for reminding us that to “strive for the world as it should be” is still cool, and for being so passionate about that fact that she looked to be near tears. Good for her for speaking from the heart when everyone else seems to be speaking from the root cellar. And if that doesn’t persuade you the woman is a warrior, let me just add that true bravery is letting your 7-year-old turn the first night of the Democratic Convention into open-mic night with the big screen and the party frock. Think any man alive would have done that? Me neither.”

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Celebrity Music Video: Yes We Can

Live-Blogging Day-Two of the 2008 DNC: The Hillary Kerfuffle

Hillary Clinton: To Damn Obama with Faint Praise

The Clintons are masters in the dramatic art of pointing at themselves and saying “attention must be paid to us!” Tuesday night, Hillary Clinton put on a good show of supporting Obama, but it was expressed as having been left with little recourse but to convey support for him, or else having to deal with something even worse, McCain and the Republicans. Watching her gave me the freaky chills, made feel glad that I’m still free enough from any obsession with the Clintons to still be able to peek under their rocks and see what kind of bugs are creeping around underneath.

In Hillary’s speech at the Democratic Convention on Tuesday night, she gave the appearance of momentarily overcoming the narcissistic conviction of personal and political entitlement that has been a long-time congenital characteristic of both Clintons. Feigning to say the right things, Clinton made an “intellectual” case for supporting Obama. Strategically aware that her own short-term political future is inextricably bound to his, she explained in somewhat clinical terms why she supports him, and indicated to her diehard supporters that they should also do so (for the time being).

But Clinton obviously still wants to be president. Hillary’s speech hardly concealed the clear subtext that it is really she who should be giving the major convention speech on Thursday night. Clinton’s performance on the podium Tuesday evening was a calculated theatrical work that directed America to look at what has been lost by her not being the Democratic nominee.

Further, it continues to be clear that Hillary obviously doesn’t like Barack Obama, and that she’s plainly not eager about the prospect of him being elected president. After all the time that she spent during her speech tracing the course of women’s suffrage and talking about what a world-historical figure she was, she failed to make any mention about Obama being a similarly important figure of history.

As a plausible, but much less noteworthy approach, she might have attempted to say something, just anything, about a specifically admirable individual characteristic that Obama might display. Even here, Clinton’s reservations were obvious. While she had open personal praise for Joe Biden and John McCain, she could not bring herself to say anything positive about Obama as a person.

The reasons that Hillary gave for supporting Obama were all ways of saying that Obama is a Democrat. She managed to say some nice “words” about Obama in her speech (she was proud to support him), but subsequently she immediately launched into a litany of the many important issues for which she’d fought and sang out with a paean to all the people who had placed their faith in her.

In the end, it came down to being all about her.

Hillary Clinton: Well, It’s Mostly About Me

Music Audio: Josh Groban/You Lift Me Up


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Obama Makes Clean Sweep: Solid Wins in All Democratic Contests

A Katrina Survivor Cries While Listening to Obama in New Orleans

Barack Obama won landslide victories in the Nebraska and Washington state caucuses, as well as in the Louisiana primary Saturday night, adding more delegates in his historic race for the Democratic presidential nomination. He won with a 2-1 margin in Nebraska, Washington and Louisiana. Senator Obama also won the caucuses in the Virgin Islands. In all, the three states, plus caucuses in the Virgin Islands, offered 161 delegates.

While Senator Obama had been expected to win the contests on Saturday, the margin of victories were surprising, particularly in Nebraska and Washington, which offered the day’s biggest trove of delegates. In both states, he captured 68 percent of the vote in caucuses, compared with Clinton’s roughly 32 percent. Obama celebrated his victories in a rousing speech to his supporters at the the Jefferson-Jackson Dinner in Richmond, Virginia. “We won in Louisiana, we won in Nebraska, we won in Washington state,” Mr. Obama proclaimed. “We won North, we won South, we won in between. And I believe that we can win in Virginia on Tuesday if you’re ready to stand for change.”

Earlier on Saturday, with the contest seeming to be so close, excitement ran high, as did turnout. In Nebraska, The Omaha World-Herald reported that organizers at two caucus sites had been so overrun by crowds that they abandoned traditional caucusing and asked voters to drop makeshift scrap-paper ballots into a box instead. In Sarpy County, a suburb of Omaha, traffic was backed up on Highway 370 when thousands of voters showed up at a precinct where organizers had only planned for hundreds. In Washington, the Democratic party reported record-breaking numbers of caucus-goers, with early totals suggesting that the turnout would be nearly double what it was in 2004, itself a record year, when 100,000 Democrats caucused.

Obama is now going into a month when the Democratic nominating contests are expected to favor him. The presidential campaign is turning to important primaries in Virginia, Maryland and the District of Columbia. Senator Obama is considered to be well positioned in all of those states. Further, Obama’s stunning victories came just as he is building a strong advantage over Clinton in raising money, providing important additional fuel for the nominating contests ahead.

Obama’s Rousing Speech at the 2008 Jefferson Jackson Dinner

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The Celebrity Music Video: “Yes We Can”

Josh Groban: You Raise Me Up

Obama Sweeps to Victory in February 9th Contests

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“Yes We Can”: An Emotional Song for Change

It’s a multi-cultural, viral moment that began riding the wave of Obama excitement right on time for Super Tuesday, an acoustic guitar, black-and-white footage, rapper will.i.am sporting a fedora and looking thoughtful, crooning softly against a backdrop of Barack Obama’s rousing concession speech on primary night in New Hampshire. Then, add in a diverse group of celebrities, which included John Legend, Herbie Hancock, Scarlett Johansson, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, echoing key Obama phrases in English, Spanish and Hebrew.

The music video featured faces and voices chanting “Yes, We Can” in an emotional crescendo. It was designed to uplift, indirectly calling up comparisons to Martin Luther King Jr. and César Chávez as Legend throws his arms wide and sings, “A King who took us to the mountaintop and pointed us to the promised land” and CSI: Miami actor Adam Rodriguez recites, “Sí, se puede!

The people who made the video say that Obama’s campaign had nothing to do with the video. “The intention,” the filmmaker Jesse Dylan (the son of Bob Dylan) said, “was to make a really simple thing. . . . It was like, ‘Super Tuesday’s coming, let’s try and get this up, maybe it can help a bit.’ We weren’t doing it for the campaign. We were doing it for what Obama said in his speech. . . . I believe the words he had to say.”

Obama’s New Hampshire concession speech had nothing to do with losing. Will.i.am, the frontman for the Black Eyed Peas, said that the speech shoved him off the fence and inspired him to make the video. “That speech made me think of Martin Luther King . . . Kennedy . . . and Lincoln . . . and all the others that have fought for what we have today,” he said. Its creators say that the video was an inspired creation, and that they recorded it in just two days. Will.i.am, a onetime John Kerry supporter, called filmmakers Mike Jurkovac and Jesse Dylan on Sunday, Jan. 27th, and told them he had an idea. By that Wednesday, they were packed into a recording studio in Los Angeles, collecting friends and whomever they could recruit along the way. After the video was recorded, they uploaded to YouTube and promoted it on ABC News’s What’s the Buzz on Friday.

When you create a look and feel for a piece visually that’s based on this black-and-white footage, it gives it this historical connotation,” Jurkovac said. “What’s moving people are the same themes: ‘Ask not what your country can do for you but what you can do for your country’ or ‘I have a dream.’ If there’s a swell of a movement among young people, that’s what they’re reacting to. Even if they never lived through it.”

Yes We Can: An Emotional Song for Change

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