Mr. Obama read the note left to him by his predecessor, former President Bush. The note was contained in an envelope marked "To: #44, From: #43."
Rahm Emanuel, the White House Chief of Staff, entered the Oval Office at 8:45 to discuss the day's events. Roughly 25 minutes later, first lady Michelle Obama entered the room.
At 10:00, Mr. Obama attended the National Prayer Service, which lasted an hour and a half.
The White House press office says the president "used this opportunity on his first day in office to communicate his commitment to active engagement in pursuit of Arab-Israeli peace from the beginning of his term, and to express his hope for their continued cooperation and leadership."
"In the aftermath of the Gaza conflict, he emphasized his determination to work to help consolidate the ceasefire by establishing an effective anti-smuggling regime to prevent Hamas from rearming, and facilitating in partnership with the Palestinian Authority a major reconstruction effort for Palestinians in Gaza," Gibbs said. "He pledged that the United States would do its part to make these efforts successful, working closely with the international community and these partners as they fulfill their responsibilities as well. The President appreciated the spirit of partnership and warm nature of these calls."
Around 3:15, the president will be briefed on the economy by National Economic Director Lawrence Summers, Office of Management and Budget Director Peter Orszag, White House Policy Council Director Melody Barnes and White House coordinator of energy and climate policy Carol Browner.
An hour later, he will hold a meeting on Iraq with Vice President Joe Biden, Secretary of Defense Robert Gates, Emanuel, National Security Advisor General James Jones, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Admiral Mullen, General David Petraeus and others.