There was a little trouble with the wording between Chief Justice John Roberts and President Barack Obama. And Senator Kennedy collapsed at a luncheon. He's OK. He's in a hospital. But aside from that, the rest of this historic day flowed pretty well.

The major proceedings began with the symbolic handover of power from President Bush to President Obama. Then, Vice President Joe Biden was sworn in. Then, President Obama put his hand on Abraham Lincoln's Bible.

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BARACK OBAMA: I, Barack Hussein Obama, do solemnly swear.

CHIEF JUSTICE JOHN ROBERTS: That I will execute the office of president to the United States faithfully.

OBAMA: That I will execute…

ROBERTS: ...faithfully the office of president of the United States.

OBAMA: ...the office of the United States faithfully.

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All right. A little trouble there, but that's OK. As millions watched in 25 degree weather, President Obama stepped into the history books and delivered his first address as the chief executive.

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OBAMA: Today I say to you that 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.

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Well, the speech was earnest, and designed to tamp down expectations. Instead of soaring rhetoric, President Obama concentrated on sobering reality.

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OBAMA: That we are in the midst of crisis is now well understood. Our nation is at war against a far-reaching network of violence and hatred. Our economy is badly weakened, a consequence of greed and irresponsibility on the part of some, but also our collective failure to make hard choices and prepare the nation for a new age.

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That preparation, Obama said, will begin with a concentrated effort to change to alternative energy. That was one of the few specifics the president emphasized. He also promised to provide effective oversight to the financial markets.

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OBAMA: This crisis has reminded us that without a watchful eye, the market can spin out of control. The nation cannot prosper long when it favors only the prosperous.

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And then President Obama turned to the terror situation.

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OBAMA: We will not apologize for our way of life, nor will we waiver in its defense. And for those who seek to advance their aims by inducing terror and slaughtering innocence, we say to you now that our spirit is stronger and cannot be broken. You cannot outlast us, and we will defeat you.

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Excellent. And the president went on to call for Muslim nations to stop blaming the West for their problems and to work with the USA.

Finally, there were five references to God and one reference to the Scripture in President Obama's speech, which should greatly annoy the secular progressives who are hoping for a Godless administration.

In the end, Barack Obama delivered his message straight up. Bad times require smart policy and sacrifice, and he is a traditional kind of leader. We shall see. But so far, the president's vision seems to be a good one.

And that's "The Memo."

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