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Oprah Winfrey, Caroline Kennedy share Obama inauguration thoughts with Lynn Sweet

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(photo by Lynn Sweet)

WASHINGTON--"It means everything." That's what Oprah Winfrey--sitting down the row from Caroline Kennedy-- told me when we chatted about attending the inauguration of President Obama just before the ceremony.

One of the hottest VIP sections at the presidential inauguration was just below the West Capitol steps, with Winfrey, Caroline Kennedy, Denzel Washington, Jennifer Lewis and the Rev. Jesse L. Jackson, among others.

I asked Winfrey what it meant for her to be at the inauguration. During the Democrat primary last year Winfrey jumped into partisan politics by fund-raising for and stumping with Obama and wife Michelle.

"It means everything. It means everything and more and everything. It's like no moment I ever expected to experience.

"I can't say anything that hasn't already been said. It's beyond. It's sacred. You know I feel both celebrative and like celebratory and also very sobered by it. That's how I feel."

I asked Kennedy--who may land inside the Capitol in a matter of days if New York Gov. Dave Patterson taps her to replace Secretary of State Designate Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton--about witinessing the inauguration. Kennedy jumped into the public political arena big time last year when she started campaigning for Obama during the Democratic primary.

"It's so exciting for everyone." Kennedy said. "I am thrilled to be here. I can't wait to see and hear his speech. It's such a wonderful day."

10 Comments

Obama is a great speaker - and the people of this country are gullible enough to buy into his slick words and the influence of Oprah and the Hollywood far left. However, the Obama clock has started - time to see where he really stands on the issues. People are going to find out that Obama can not walk on water like the media perceives and presents him to be.

I appreciate that there are some who may view President Obama's oratory with cynicism. But it is his speech that can galvanize individuals to action that can change the course of the world's history. I am not gullible, nor do I believe that Obama can walk on water. What I do believe is that Obama is a true leader. The cynics may find themselves left behind as the American people reassert their right to a transparent, responsible government. I am proud to be an American today.

Obama's speech was not coherent. Obama has to stop sounding so alarming. We know economy is bad, he said it million time and we know it will take time. He is the president now and not a candidate and he sole responsibility to assure people and give them uplifting message. But he does not have to be so downer. I did not find his speech uplifting. the "responsibility" theme was tried by other president, and I just hope he will hold his treasury nominee responsible for not paying his taxes!

I watched the entire inauguration from India.It is not the ceremony but the apparent sincerity of Barack Obama's words that really should be important. I already feel that new winds of positive energy and change are blowing across the world. May he succeed in bringing peace to the war torn and terror stricken world.We are witnessing History in making. Best wishes to all Americans.

I do not believe that President Obama can walk on water but he represents for many a change that will bring transparency and peace, stability and values that have somehow been lost on the way.
We need to turn to God and ask that HE gives wisdom to this man who sincerely seems to want to bring a change for the better.
Hi speech inspires all to want to be better and his life story encourages others to strive a bit more and reap rewards...what is wrong with that?

I watched the inauguration from my home in England and felt a sense of relief as we now have someone in power in America who represents the people of America and around the world. And as i gazed into the eyes of my 7 month old girl i actually believed that he is the man to make this world better for my little girl to grow up in. This is not just by his actions, but by the way he inspires others to behave. His hope for change is something we all hold close and want to see happen, he makes us believe that it is achievable. America should be proud today for making this happen. Best wishes to everyone and good luck President Obama-you are the role model for us all.

Unfortunately I wasnt able to watch the innauguration as I am in the school preparing for my exam. I content myself by just looking at the pictures and reading part of the speech he deliver in internet.

From the beginning of his candidacy I am watching him speak and answer the questions thrown to him. My admiration is with him though I also admire Hillary Clinton very much.

I am not an American, I am a Filipino, but I know that in so many ways American government unmeasurably help my country, Honestly I started to loose my faith wiht American government (though not that much) sometime but with the sincerity I felt and saw with Obama, I felt that my trust and confidence in American governance is back.

I do acknowledge that US is the key player almost in every major step the world needs to take although I am not expecting a miracle to happen overnight I pray and hope that with his leadership things will go back to its normalcy and world will be at peace once again.

Best wishes to all Americans, best wishes to the whole humankind. God Bless You President Barack Obama

Wow, Mr Baker, proud to be an American "TODAY"? I've never NOT been proud to be an American. What a slap in the face to my father and brother that fought in wars for your freedom. Shame on you.

WHY ARE YOU AFRAID TO HEAR THE TRUTH, WHEN A
PERSON SAYS THEY ARE PROUD, THEY MEAN IT FROM
THE HEART, THAT'S WHY CONSERVATISM CAN CAUSE A
PERSON TO NEVER FEEL PROUD OF THEIR COUNTRY,
BECAUSE UNLESS YOU WERE BORN WITH A SILVER SPOON
IN YOUR MOUTH, SOME PEOPLE HAVE NOT BEEN PROUD
OF AMERICA, UNTIL PRESIDENT OBAMA WAS SWORN IN,
YOU MIGHT NOT BELIEVE THIS INFO, BUT IT IS THE
TRUTH, AND THE TRUTH WILL SET YOU FREE!
BENJAMIN FRANKLIN SAID TELL ME, I FORGOT
TEACH ME AND I REMEMBER!
THESE ARE WORDS TO LIVE BY!
PLEASE LISTEN TO THE CRIES OF THE PEOPLE,
NOBODY IS TRYING TO SLAP YOUR FATHER AND BROTHER
IN THE FACE!

I admired Obama for acknowledging the nations who acknowldeged his Victory but ignoring our president and playing like Coy during our recent president visit to US was really unpleasant and very dissppointing. Not acknowledging the presence of our president is a big slap to Filipino community considering that we are one of US great allies. Hope this would be cleared soon. As a Filipino I felt so Furious!

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Lynn Sweet

Lynn Sweet is a columnist and the Washington Bureau Chief for the Chicago Sun-Times.

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About this Entry

This page contains a single entry by Lynn Sweet published on January 20, 2009 1:29 PM.

Rev. Lowery Inauguration benediction. Transcript. was the previous entry in this blog.

Elizabeth Alexander Inagural poem. Transcript is the next entry in this blog.

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