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« Obama hits Ohio to boost renewable energy, economic plan | Blog Home Page | Strategy Memo: Bush's Last Day »

Traveling to DC, Obama Invokes America's Unfinished Revolution

President-elect Barack Obama has arrived in Washington with a bit of a whimper -- no fanfare after an 8-hour train ride that marked the official kick-off of his inaugural festivities.

An estimated 50,000 people greeted him along the way, at events in Philadelphia, Wilmington and Baltimore, as well as a couple "slow-rolls" along the Amtrak route. Joined by his wife (who celebrated her birthday today) and some so-called "ordinary Americans," the day was a throwback to Abraham Lincoln's arrival in Washington a century and a half ago.

But it was the spirit of the American Revolution that Obama referred to in remarks at each stop today, saying in Philadelphia that the war that founded the nation "was -- and remains -- an ongoing struggle in the minds and hearts of the people."

In Delaware, Obama picked up Vice President-elect Joe Biden -- someone he said has already "changed Washington" -- and noted that the state was the first to ratify the Constitution. And then he came to Baltimore, where he said the nation "faced its first true test" in 1812.

"We recognize that such enormous challenges as the ones we face now will not be solved quickly," he said to a crowd of over 30,000 there, the largest of the day. "There will be false starts and setbacks, frustrations and disappointments. I will make some mistakes. But we will be called to show patience even as we act with fierce urgency."

Today's events may have been an opportunity for the president-elect to test some themes for his inaugural address in three days, though he'd likely use new language. According to a pool report from the trip, Michelle Obama told some of the "ordinary Americans" during the ride that her husband would give a good speech. "That's not what you're supposed to say in front of the press!" Obama said to her. "You're supposed to say it'll be alright!"