Sat, 17 Jan 2009 22:29:22 +0000 – By Dan GainorVice President Business Media Institute
President-elect Barack Obama continues to invoke the Lincoln legacy -- this time by riding the train from Philadelphia to Baltimore to Washington, reminiscent of a much longer rail journey taken by Abraham Lincoln. Unlike Lincoln, however, Obama actually stopped in Baltimore and spoke. Lincoln, warned of a potential attack, snuck through the city late at night as his security people changed the travel schedule.
But the president-elect stayed with the historical theme by talking about how the city had been the place where the new nation was first tested and how it held up to an assault from the mightiest navy in the world. That attack led to the penning of "The Star-Spangled Banner" and Baltimore history was secured.
Next, Obama goes to Washington where the Lincoln theme will be more obvious and appropriate. The incoming president will take the oath of office using the same Bible used to swear in Lincoln, another Illinois president. The Lincoln connection is an obvious theme since the 16th president also freed African-American slaves and won the Civil War.
But the memorial has much deeper meaning than that to African-Americans and is an ideal location to mark the inauguration since it was also the same place Martin Luther King Jr. made his famous "I Have a Dream" speech.
Other than history, Obama's trip is notable in another key way. Maryland Democrats Gov. Martin O'Malley and Rep. Elijah Cummings began the speech in Baltimore. A notable absentee was Baltimore Mayor Sheila Dixon, recently indicted "with 12 counts of felony theft, perjury, fraud and misconduct in office, becoming the city's first sitting mayor to be criminally indicted."
Dan Gainor is The Boone Pickens Fellow and Vice President of the Media Research Center's Business Media Institute.