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The Clinton-Obama Parallels

The dynamic young president, whom so many people had thought would never, ever, in a million years, be standing in that place at that time, delivered his Inauguration Address in the chill of the Washington winter. Hundreds of thousands of people, full of hope for a new day, came to see him to speak and to whoop it up. Tens of millions of Americans—maybe hundreds of millions-- watched around the world. President Bush was leaving office, after all, and change was in the air.

"We know we have to face hard truths and take strong steps, the affable, charming president said just minutes after being sworn into office. "But we have not done so. Instead, we have drifted and that drifting has eroded our resources, fractured our economy, and shaken our confidence." The eloquent man on the podium then called upon his fellow Americans to sacrifice and to renew their commitments to one another, all for the sake of change.

"Though our challenges are fearsome," the man in the black coat said to his family, his friends, Washington's powerful and the masses, "so are our strengths. And Americans have ever been a restless, questing, hopeful people. We must bring to our task today the vision and the will of those who came before us." The crowd, black and whites together, cheered these words and pledged to dig in for their new leader. Their claps muffled by the gloves they wore.

"The American people have summoned the change we celebrate today," the new President told the nation and the world in a strong voice. "You have raised your voices in an unmistakable chorus. You have cast your votes in historic numbers. And you have changed the face of Congress, the presidency and the political process itself. Yes, you, my fellow Americans have forced the spring. Now, we must do the work the season demands."

Barack Obama on January 20, 2009? No. Bill Clinton on January 20, 1993. You can look it up.

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