Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Welcome Obama | The Obamas' First Dance!

After a day in which ceremony and historical significance took precedence, President Barack Obama is now confronted with the realities of office.

With the eyes of the world upon him, the 47-year-old former senator was sworn in on Tuesday as the first black president of the United States.

Aides have suggested that he will now waste no time in getting on with the job, with a raft of policy announcements expected by the end of the week.

During his inaugural speech in Washington, Mr Obama alluded to the task before him. In an address which impressed rather than wowed, given its speaker's known oratory skills, the president vowed to address the challenges that faced America, a country in "the midst of crisis", he said.

Laying out the problems, Mr Obama said the country had a "badly weakened" economy and was at war against "a far-reaching network of violence and hatred". He said: "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."

He spoke in front of a Washington audience, estimated to be more than a million people. Many, many more were listening around the world to the new president's words.

After all the ceremony of the inauguration the president and his wife had to twirl their way through 10 official dances. They are traditionally held to give as many people as possible the chance to rub shoulders with the new leader.

The Obamas were the star attraction at the first dance, the Neighbourhood Ball, which is held for people who live in the Washington area.

With the president dressed in a white tie tuxedo and his wife in a shimmering white floor-length gown, the couple took to the stage for the first dance with Beyonce singing the Etta James' classic At Last in the background.

The crowd cheered as the president pulled his wife close and they danced a slow two-step, and once more after Mr Obama spun the first lady playfully around. At their second ball, the president pulled his wife much closer, at one point, wrapping both arms around her waist

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