CHIEF JUSTICE ROBERTS: — do solemnly swear.
PRESIDENT BARACK HUSSEIN OBAMA: I Barack Hussein Obama do solemnly swear.
CHIEF JUSTICE ROBERTS: Faithfully the office of president of the United States.
PRESIDENT BARACK HUSSEIN OBAMA: The office of president of the United States faithfully.
CHIEF JUSTICE ROBERTS: Preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States.
PRESIDENT BARACK HUSSEIN OBAMA: Reserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States.
PRESIDENT BARACK HUSSEIN OBAMA: So help me God.
RUSH: Is that what I thought I heard?
CHIEF JUSTICE ROBERTS: Congratulations, Mr. President.
RUSH: There it is, folks. There it is. History in the making, with a botched oath. Where is the teleprompter when you really need it? The crowd teeming with people, showed up overnight in their broken-down Plymouths to be a part of history. Military acts being committed in front of the new president, big guns are being fired, but they are Democrat guns now, so it’s okay. (crowd yelling, ‘Change is here, Change is here’)
SENATOR DIANNE FEINSTEIN: It is my great personal honor to present the 44th president of these United States, Barack Obama.
RUSH: That is the crowd you’re hearing, not static. The crowd about the same size the last time the Philadelphia Flyers won the Stanley Cup. (crowd chanting ‘Obama, Obama, Obama’)
PRESIDENT BARACK HUSSEIN OBAMA: Thank you. My fellow citizens, I stand here today humbled by the task before us, grateful for the trust you have bestowed, mindful of the sacrifices borne by our ancestors. I thank President Bush for his service to our nation —
RUSH: Now get lost.
PRESIDENT BARACK HUSSEIN OBAMA: — as well as the generosity and cooperation he has shown throughout this transition. Forty-four Americans have now taken the presidential oath. The words have been spoken during rising tides of prosperity and the still waters of peace. Yet, every so often the oath is taken amidst gathering clouds and raging storms.
RUSH: It’s a clear day in Washington.
PRESIDENT BARACK HUSSEIN OBAMA: At these moments, America has carried on not simply because of the skill or vision of those in high office, but because We the People have remained faithful to the ideals of our forebearers, and true to our founding documents.
RUSH: We have?
PRESIDENT BARACK HUSSEIN OBAMA: So it has been, so it must be with this generation of Americans.
RUSH: That’s a tough one.
PRESIDENT BARACK HUSSEIN OBAMA: That we are in the midst of crisis is now well understood. Our nation is at war against a far-reaching network of violence and hatred.
PRESIDENT BARACK HUSSEIN OBAMA: Our economy is badly weakened, a consequence of greed and irresponsibility on the part of some, but also our collective failure to make hard choices —
RUSH: Criticize Congress here.
PRESIDENT BARACK HUSSEIN OBAMA: — and prepare the nation for a new age. Homes have been lost; jobs shed; businesses shuttered. Our health care is too costly; our schools fail too many; and each day brings further evidence that the ways we use energy strengthen our adversaries and threaten our planet.
RUSH: Oh, oh, jeez.
PRESIDENT BARACK HUSSEIN OBAMA: These are the indicators of crisis, subject to data and statistics. Less measurable but no less profound is a sapping of confidence across our land, a nagging fear that America’s decline is inevitable, and that the next generation must lower its sights.
RUSH: That’s what you’ve been telling us!
PRESIDENT BARACK HUSSEIN OBAMA: Today I say to you that the challenges we face are real. They are serious and they are many. They will not be met easily or in a short span of time. But know this, America — they will be met. (cheers and applause.)
RUSH: Lowering expectations.
PRESIDENT BARACK HUSSEIN OBAMA: On this day, we gather because we have chosen hope over fear, unity of purpose over conflict and discord. 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. We remain a young nation, but in the words of Scripture, the time has come to set aside childish things. The time has come to reaffirm our enduring spirit; to choose our better history; to carry forward that precious gift, that noble idea, passed on from generation to generation: the God-given promise that all are equal, all are free, and all deserve a chance to pursue their full measure of happiness. In reaffirming the greatness of our nation, we understand that greatness is never a given. It must be earned. Our journey has never been one of short-cuts or settling for less. It has not been the path for the faint-hearted, for those who prefer leisure over work, or seek only the pleasures of riches and fame. Rather, it has been the risk-takers, the doers, the makers of things — some celebrated but more often men and women obscure in their labor who have carried us up the long, rugged path towards prosperity and freedom.
For us, they packed up their few worldly possessions and traveled across oceans in search of a new life. For us, they toiled in sweatshops and settled the West; endured the lash of the whip and plowed the hard earth. For us, they fought and died, in places like Concord and Gettysburg; Normandy and Khe Sahn. Time and again these men and women struggled and sacrificed and worked till their hands were raw so that we might live a better life. They saw America as bigger than the sum of our individual ambitions; greater than all the differences of birth or wealth or faction. This is the journey we continue today. We remain the most prosperous, powerful nation on Earth. Our workers are no less productive than when this crisis began. Our minds are no less inventive, our goods and services no less needed than they were last week or last month or last year. Our capacity remains undiminished. But our time of standing pat, of protecting narrow interests and putting off unpleasant decisions — that time has surely passed. Starting today, we must pick ourselves up, dust ourselves off, and begin again the work of remaking America. (cheers and applause)
For everywhere we look, there is work to be done. The state of our economy calls for action bold and swift, and we will act, not only to create new jobs, but to lay a new foundation for growth. We will build the roads and bridges, the electric grids and digital lines that feed our commerce and bind us together. We will restore science to its rightful place, and wield technology’s wonders to raise health care’s quality and lower its cost. We will harness the sun and the winds and the soil to fuel our cars and run our factories. And we will transform our schools and colleges and universities to meet the demands of a new age. All this we can do. All this we will do. Now, there are some who question the scale of our ambitions, who suggest that our system cannot tolerate too many big plans. Their memories are short. For they have forgotten what this country has already done; what free men and women can achieve when imagination is joined to common purpose, and necessity to courage. What the cynics fail to understand is that the ground has shifted beneath them, that the stale political arguments that have consumed us for so long no longer apply.
The question we ask today is not whether our government is too big or too small, but whether it works, whether it helps families find jobs at a decent wage, care they can afford, a retirement that is dignified. Where the answer is yes, we intend to move forward. Where the answer is no, programs will end. And those of us who manage the public’s dollars will be held to account to spend wisely, reform bad habits, and do our business in the light of day, because only then can we restore the vital trust between a people and their government. Nor is the question before us whether the market is a force for good or ill. Its power to generate wealth and expand freedom is unmatched, but this crisis has reminded us that without a watchful eye, the market can spin out of control. The nation cannot prosper long when it favors only the prosperous. The success of our economy has always depended not just on the size of our Gross Domestic Product, but on the reach of our prosperity; on the ability to extend opportunity to every willing heart, not out of charity, but because it is the surest route to our common good. (applause)
RUSH: I’m stunned here, folks. I am stunned.
PRESIDENT BARACK HUSSEIN OBAMA: As for our common defense, we reject as false the choice between our safety and our ideals. Our Founding Fathers, faced with perils that we can scarcely imagine, drafted a charter to assure the rule of law and the rights of man, a charter expanded by the blood of generations. Those ideals still light the world, and we will not give them up for expedience’s sake.
RUSH: The crowd is puzzled here.
PRESIDENT BARACK HUSSEIN OBAMA: 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 we are ready to lead once more. (cheers and applause).
RUSH: They’re cheering the platitudes. The specifics they don’t understand, they don’t like. It’s a campaign speech, it sounds like.
PRESIDENT BARACK HUSSEIN OBAMA: Recall that earlier generations faced down fascism and communism not just with missiles and tanks, but with sturdy alliances and enduring convictions. They understood that our power alone cannot protect us, nor does it entitle us to do as we please. Instead, they knew 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.
PRESIDENT BARACK HUSSEIN OBAMA: We are the keepers of this legacy. Guided by these principles once more, we can meet those new threats that demand even greater effort, even greater cooperation and understanding between nations. We will begin to responsibly leave Iraq to its people, and forge a hard-earned peace in Afghanistan. With old friends and former foes, we will work tirelessly to lessen the nuclear threat, and roll back the specter of a warming planet. We will not apologize for our way of life, nor will we waver in its defense —
RUSH: You have been.
PRESIDENT BARACK HUSSEIN OBAMA: — and for those who seek to advance their aims by inducing terror and slaughtering innocents, we say to you now that our spirit is stronger and cannot be broken; you cannot outlast us, and we will defeat you. (cheers and applause).
RUSH: Sounds like George W. Bush.
PRESIDENT BARACK HUSSEIN OBAMA: For we know that our patchwork heritage is a strength, not a weakness. We are a nation of Christians and Muslims, Jews and Hindus — and non-believers.
PRESIDENT BARACK HUSSEIN OBAMA: We are shaped by every language and culture —
PRESIDENT BARACK HUSSEIN OBAMA: — drawn from every end of this Earth; and because we have tasted the bitter swill of civil war and segregation, and emerged from that dark chapter stronger and more united, we cannot help but believe that the old hatreds shall someday pass; that the lines of tribe shall soon dissolve; that as the world grows smaller, our common humanity shall reveal itself; and that America must play its role in ushering in a new era of peace. To the Muslim world, we seek a new way forward, based on mutual interest and mutual respect. To those leaders around the globe who seek to sow conflict, or blame their society’s ills on the West, know that your people will judge you on what you can build, not what you destroy.
RUSH: They don’t have that freedom.
PRESIDENT BARACK HUSSEIN OBAMA: To those who cling to power through corruption and deceit and the silencing of dissent, know that you are on the wrong side of history; but that we will extend a hand if you are willing to unclench your fist. To the people of poor nations, we pledge to work alongside you to make your farms flourish and let clean waters flow; to nourish starved bodies and feed hungry minds. And to those nations like ours that enjoy relative plenty, we say we can no longer afford indifference to the suffering outside our borders; nor can we consume the world’s resources without regard to effect.
PRESIDENT BARACK HUSSEIN OBAMA: For the world has changed, and we must change with it. As we consider the road that unfolds before us, we remember with humble gratitude those brave Americans who, at this very hour, patrol far-off deserts and distant mountains. They have something to tell us, just as the fallen heroes who lie in Arlington whisper through the ages. We honor them not only because they are guardians of our liberty, but because they embody the spirit of service; a willingness to find meaning in something greater than themselves. And yet, at this moment — a moment that will define a generation — it is precisely this spirit that must inhabit us all. For as much as government can do and must do, it is ultimately the faith and determination of the American people upon which this nation relies. It is the kindness to take in a stranger when the levees break, the selflessness of workers who would rather cut their hours than see a friend lose their job which sees us through our darkest hours. It is the firefighter’s courage to storm a stairway filled with smoke, but also a parent’s willingness to nurture a child, that finally decides our fate.
RUSH: When the levees break?
PRESIDENT BARACK HUSSEIN OBAMA: Our challenges may be new. The instruments with which we meet them may be new. But those values upon which our success depends — honesty and hard work, courage and fair play, tolerance and curiosity, loyalty and patriotism — these things are old. These things are true. They have been the quiet force of progress throughout our history.
RUSH: You can hear a pin drop.
PRESIDENT BARACK HUSSEIN OBAMA: What is demanded then is a return to these truths. What is required of us now is a new era of responsibility —
RUSH: Oh, goody.
PRESIDENT BARACK HUSSEIN OBAMA: — a recognition, on the part of every American, that we have duties to ourselves, our nation, and the world —
RUSH: This wasn’t part of —
PRESIDENT BARACK HUSSEIN OBAMA: — duties that we do not grudgingly accept but rather seize gladly, firm in the knowledge that there is nothing so satisfying to the spirit, so defining of our character, than giving our all to a difficult task. This is the price and the promise of citizenship. This is the source of our confidence — the knowledge that God calls on us to shape an uncertain destiny. This is the meaning of our liberty and our creed, why men and women and children of every race and every faith can join in celebration across this magnificent mall, and why a man whose father less than sixty years ago might not have been served at a local restaurant can now stand before you to take a most sacred oath. (applause)
RUSH: The crowd somewhat comes alive.
PRESIDENT BARACK HUSSEIN OBAMA: So let us mark this day with remembrance, of who we are and how far we have traveled. In the year of America’s birth, in the coldest of months, a small band of patriots huddled by dying campfires on the shores of an icy river. The capital was abandoned. The enemy was advancing. The snow was stained with blood. At a moment when the outcome of our revolution was most in doubt, the father of our nation ordered these words be read to the people: ‘Let it be told to the future world…that in the depth of winter, when nothing but hope and virtue could survive…that the city and the country, alarmed at one common danger, came forth to meet [it].’ America. In the face of our common dangers, in this winter of our hardship, let us remember these timeless words. With hope and virtue, let us brave once more the icy currents, and endure what storms may come. Let it be said by our children’s children that when we were tested we refused to let this journey end, that we did not turn back nor did we falter; and with eyes fixed on the horizon and God’s grace upon us, we carried forth that great gift of freedom and delivered it safely to future generations.
RUSH: He quoted him.
PRESIDENT BARACK HUSSEIN OBAMA: God bless you, and God bless the United States of America. (cheers and applause.)
RUSH: He quoted a slave owner in there. I’m waiting for the guy with the chisel to start chiseling these words into the marble somewhere. I just don’t know which words are going to get chiseled. I think a lot of his voters say, ‘What’s the deal here, era of responsibility?’ All the problems are supposed to be over now. The applause should still be going on given the hype of all this.
SENATOR DIANNE FEINSTEIN: I have the distinct pleasure of introducing an American poet.
RUSH: Oh, good.
SENATOR DIANNE FEINSTEIN: Elizabeth Alexander.
RUSH: Da river, da rock, and da tree.
ALEXANDER: Praise song for the day. Each day we go about our business, walking past each other, catching each other’s eyes, or not —
RUSH: Not in New York.
ALEXANDER: — about to speak or speaking.
RUSH: You don’t make eye contact in New York.
ALEXANDER: All about us is noise. All about us is noise and bramble, thorn and din. Each one of our ancestors on our tongues.
RUSH: Where’s Puff Daddy?
ALEXANDER: Someone is stitching up a hem, darning a hole in a uniform, patching a tire, repairing the things in need of repair. Someone is trying to make music somewhere with a pair of wooden spoons on an oil drum, with cello, boom box, harmonica, voice. A woman and her son wait for the bus. A farmer considers the changing sky. A teacher says, ‘Take out your pencils, begin.’ We encounter each other in words, words spiny or smooth, whispered or declaimed, words to consider, reconsider. We cross dirt roads and highways that mark the will of someone and then others who said, ‘I need to see what’s on the other side. I know there’s something better down the road.’ We need to find a place where we are safe, we walk into that which we cannot yet see.
RUSH: Maybe she knows.
ALEXANDER: Say it plain.
RUSH: Which came first —
ALEXANDER: That many have died for this day.
RUSH: — the chicken or the egg?
ALEXANDER: Seeing the names of the dead who brought us here, who laid the train tracks, raised the bridges.
RUSH: That are broken.
ALEXANDER: Picked the cotton and the lettuce, built brick by brick the glittering edifices they would then keep clean and work inside of.
RUSH: Never end a sentence on a preposition. That’s…
ALEXANDER: Praise song for struggle. Praise song for the day. Praise song for every hand-lettered sign, the figuring in on at kitchen tables. Some live by, ‘Love thy neighbor as thyself.’ Others by, ‘First, do no harm,’ or, ‘Take no more than you need. ‘ What if the mightiest word is love? Love beyond marital, filial, national.
ALEXANDER: Love that casts a widening pool of light. Love with no need to preempt grievance. In today’s sharp sparkle, this winter air, anything can be made, any sentence begun. On the brink, on the brim, on the cusp, praise song for walking forward in that light.
RUSH: I’m still waiting for a rhyme here. It’s a poem. (applause)
SENATOR DIANNE FEINSTEIN: And now it’s my privilege to introduce the Reverend Dr. Joseph E. Lowery to deliver the benediction.
RUSH: I don’t think the crowd knew the poem was over.
LOWERY: God of our weary years. God of our silent tears. Thou who hath brought us thus far along the way. Thou who has by night led us into the light, keep us forever in the path, we pray; lest our feet stray from the places, our God, where we met Thee; lest our hearts, drunk with the wine of the world, we forget Thee. Shadowed beneath our hand, may we forever stand, true to Thee, O God, and true to our native land. We truly give thanks for the glorious experience we’ve shared this day. We pray now, O Lord for Your blessing upon thy servant, Barack Obama, the 44th president of these United States, his family, and his administration. He has come to this high office at a low moment in a national and indeed the global fiscal climate. But because we know You got the whole world in Your hand —
RUSH: (singing) Got the whole world, in His hand…
LOWERY: — we pray for not only our nation but for the community of nations. Our faith does not shrink, though pressed by the flood of mortal ills. For we know that, Lord, You are able and you’re willing to work through faithful leadership, to restore stability, mend our brokenness, heal our wounds, and deliver us from the exploitation of the poor, of the least of these, and from favoritism toward the rich, the elite of these. We thank you for the empowering of our servant, our 44th president, to inspire our nation to believe that ‘yes, we can’ work together to achieve a more perfect union. And while we have sown the seeds of greed, the wind of greed and corruption, and even as we reap the of social and economic disruption, we seek forgiveness and we come to the spirit of unity and solidarity to commit our support to our president by our willingness to make sacrifices to respect Your creation, to turn to each other and not on each other. And then, Lord, in the complex arena of human relations, help us to make choices on the side of love, not hate. On the side of inclusion, not exclusion. Tolerance, not intolerance. And as we leave this mountaintop, help us to hold on to the spirit of fellowship and the oneness of our family. Let us take that power back to our homes, our workplaces, our churches, our temples, our mosques, wherever we seek Your will. Bless President Barack, first lady Michelle. Look over angels Sasha and Malia. We go now to walk together, children, pledging that we won’t get weary in the difficult days ahead. We know you will not leave us alone with Your hands of power and Your heart of love. Help us then, now, Lord to work for that day when nation shall not lift up sword against nation, when tanks will be beaten into tractors, when every man, every woman shall sit under his or her own vine and fig tree, and none shall be afraid.
RUSH: Remember, folks.
LOWERY: When justice will roll down like waters and righteousness as a mighty stream. Lord, in the memory of all the saints who from their neighbors rest, and in the joy of a new beginning, we ask You to help us work for that day when black will not be asked to get back —
RUSH: This is a prayer, folks.
LOWERY: — and brown can stick around; when yellow will be mellow; when the red man can get ahead, man; and when white would embrace what is right. Let all those who do justice and love mercy, say amen.
LOWERY: Say amen.
LOWERY: And amen.
RUSH: ‘When white will embrace what is right’? (interruption) Of course, I’m offended. He actually said that? It was a prayer!
SENATOR DIANNE FEINSTEIN: Please rise for the singing of our National Anthem by the United States Navy Sea Chanters Chorus. Follow the Anthem, please remain in place while the presidential party exits the platform. Thank you very much.
RUSH: The crowd is already leaving, folks.
CHORUS: O! say can you see by the dawn’s early light / What so proudly we hailed at the twilight’s last gleaming. / Whose broad stripes and bright stars through the perilous fight, / O’er the ramparts we watched were so gallantly streaming. / And the rockets’ red glare, the bombs bursting in air, / Gave proof through the night that our flag was still there. / Oh, say does that star-spangled banner yet wave / O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave? / On the shore, dimly seen through the mists of the deep, / Where the foe’s haughty host in dread silence reposes, / What is that which the breeze, o’er the towering steep, / As it fitfully blows, half conceals, half discloses? / Now it catches the gleam of the morning’s first beam, / In full glory reflected now shines in the stream: / ‘Tis the star-spangled banner! Oh long may it wave / O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave!
(playing of Stars and Stripes Forever)
RUSH: Remember, folks: An empty barrel makes the most noise.
RUSH: I love this: Stars and Stripes Forever. We’ll stick with this as the crowd no doubt wondering what just happened.
RUSH: I am Rush Limbaugh, ladies and gentlemen. It’s great to have you with us as I, and many Americans, now embrace what is right.
(playing of My City Was Gone, the Rush Limbaugh opening theme song)
RUSH: The 44th president of the United States, Barack Hussein Obama is now inaugurated, and the crowd is now disbursing. The crowd began to disburse, ladies and gentlemen, before the Reverend Lowery finished his speech, slash, prayer; which went almost as long as President Obama’s acceptance speech. We’re going to go to a quick commercial time-out here. We’ll come back and get to your phone calls quickly. I know people want to weigh in on their thoughts. 1-800-282-2882 is the number, if you want to be on the program. The e-mail address is ElRushbo@eibnet.com. I’ll give you my thoughts when we come back, and I want to hear yours as well, but the first thought I have is that they overhyped this. I mean, the audience didn’t know the applause lines. It started a bad. I think the classical music thing is fine for a certain group, but it set the tone here. The whole thing was a downer here today, and yet all the hype had led us to believe… A new era of responsibility, call to action, America is great. All those things were said, but not with a whole lot of believability because we essentially got another campaign speech here, which I’m not surprised about because I think that the Obama campaign will continue that as he’s governing. Just like the Clinton administration was a constant campaign, so I think will this be, but there’s plenty of time here to discuss this. We will have audio sound bites of the speech. We’ll chop it up, and try to determine which words will be chiseled into stone from this speech, and we’ll be eagerly awaiting Drive-By commentary from the various media outlets who had led the public to believe this would be one of the greatest inaugural addresses ever. I’m still trying to figure out, and maybe you can help me, what he said. I heard it; I listened. But I don’t know quite what he said here, other than what he has said throughout the campaign. I do know that Ann Compton of ABC News reported that the sun glistened off Obama’s lapel pin. But I think it fell flat. The crowd’s dispersing rapidly. The health care plan, finally figured it out: He’s going to heal us one person at a time, just by touching us. These are just my initial reactions.