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The Hamilton Spectator
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Saturday January 17, 2009
For pomp and circumstance, few events rival the inauguration of a new U.S. president, the colonies' answer to the coronation of a British monarch. Estimates of the anticipated attendance vary, but the swearing in of Barack Hussein Obama Jr. the name the soon-to-be 44th U.S. president he has chosen for the occasion Tuesday, after "Hussein" was used as an epithet against him during his election campaign is certain to top the record 1.5 million Americans who took in Lyndon Johnson's 1965 inaugural.

There will be trumpets blown, cannons fired across the Washington Mall from nearby Arlington Cemetery, the delicious irony of the president-elect taking the oath of office from a U.S. chief justice, John Roberts, whose nomination Obama voted against as a U.S. senator, and a plethora of earnest and corny fun-seekers on parade (though not the Lawn Chair Precision Drill Team of January 1993, a nod to the Li'l Abner roots of President-elect Bill Clinton).

Expectations will naturally run high for a soaring call to American renewal from Obama, one of the most eloquent presidents-elect in memory. Yet the inaugural addresses of U.S. presidents are seldom memorable.

Obama's inauguration is especially anticlimactic given that his "first 100 days" began, not by tradition with his swearing-in, but on his Nov. 4 election, given the severity of America's economic crisis.

There's no mystery about what this new president needs to do. And Obama, vowing transparency in his campaign, has left little doubt about his intended means of lifting his country out of the mire, starting with an economic stimulus package that will likely exceed $1 trillion (U.S.) by the time Congress is finished with it.

Second thoughts on the Obama inauguration
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