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Obama ready for his date with destiny

world Updated: Jan 19, 2009 13:44 IST

Barack Obama writes a new chapter into US history on Tuesday becoming the nation’s first African-American president, capping a stunning rise which in four short years has propelled him into the Oval Office.

Invested early on with the mantles of late icons, civil rights leader Martin Luther King and beloved president John F Kennedy, the 47-year-old Democrat ignited his country and the world with his message of hope, unity and change.

It was a message that persuaded Americans faced with the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression, and two wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, that he is the man to guide them and restore the nation’s pride.

“He’s really dropped at a moment in history when his philosophy coincides with what a lot of experts are calling for: a government that is more proactive in trying to jumpstart the economy,” his biographer David Mendell told AFP.

“He’s entered politics with a genuine sense of mission, to make life better for most people in the middle class,” he said, adding Obama “believes that government can provide solutions for the people.”

When Obama launched what he called his “improbable quest” for the White House on the steps of the old state capitol in Springfield, Illinois, in February 2007, he was seen as the rank outsider. But rest is history.