WASHINGTON (CNN) - The call to unity is very much Obama’s trademark –- reaching across barriers, ending "the recriminations and worn-out dogmas." That’s what he means by changing politics in Washington. And right away, he addresses some clear departures from the Bush approach.
A man holds a flag as he watches the inauguration of Barack Obama as the 44th President of the United States of America.
The choice between safety and ideals is false, he says. Without a watchful eye, the market can spin out of control. There's a clear acknowledgment of the global warming crisis ("the way we use energy strengthen our adversaries and threaten our planet.")
He's one of the few modern Presidents who has reached out to "non-believers" as well as Christians, Muslims, Jews and Hindus.
"The world has changed, and we must change with it." His theme of "change" carried him through the campaign. Voters saw it as change from Bush. Now he is using it to call for big policy changes, calling this "a moment that will define a generation" - very much like Kennedy in 1961.
"Remaking America" - no small ambition, starting with the literal reconstruction of our infrastructure. He has "big plans" –- and a big crisis that can help him carry them through.
But still, there's an overriding realism. His answer to the old partisan debate: "The question is not whether our government is too big or small, but whether it works." It’s the pragmatist’s answer. Does it work?