Obama invokes Paine, ignores Lincoln, King in inaugural speech | world | Hindustan Times
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Obama invokes Paine, ignores Lincoln, King in inaugural speech

world Updated: Jan 21, 2009 16:07 IST
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US President Barack Obama's sober inaugural address was devoid of mantras like 'Yes We Can' and he also did not invoke citations from his idols, Abraham Lincoln and Martin Luther King Jr, both of whom he quoted when he triumphed in the November 4 polls.

Obama, 47, who captured the White House in a campaign marked by soaring rhetoric, delivered a restrained, sober inaugural address yesterday.

Gone were the mantras like 'Yes We Can' chanted by supporters, which Obama invoked as a refrain right through his victory speech on Election Night.

Largely absent, too, were citations from Lincoln and King Jr, both of whom he quoted on the night he triumphed over his Republican rival, John McCain.

But other than mentioning "the lash of the whip," an echo of Lincoln's towering second inaugural address, and "gathering clouds and raging storms," Obama did not seem to quote the 16th American president, CNN reported.

And, perhaps thinking that the simple fact of an African-American being sworn in as president was sufficiently drenched with significance, he made only the most glancing reference to King, it noted.

"We are a nation of Christians and Muslims, Jews and Hindus -- and non-believers," Obama said, a contemporary variation on King's hope that "Jews and Gentiles, Protestants and Catholics" would one day join hands and sing.

"In fact, if Obama's speech could be said to have an animating spirit, it was that of Thomas Paine, the great 18th -century pamphleteer who played a key role in the American and French revolutions," the report analysed.

Obama referred to "the rights of man," the title of a book Paine wrote in praise of the French Revolution.