In it, but not of it. TPM DC

It's ebullient here. Was just walking through Georgetown which is crowded with happy revelers but if you've looked at the markets you know the Dow is off about 4 percent at 3:30 and even if it were to recover, it's shows how much deep despair there is about the banking system despite the cappucino, Red Bull and amphetamines that have been applied to the system. A few weeks ago, Bank of America, with its takeover of Merrill Lynch looked like one of the few stable survivors, along with JP Morgan Chase, of this era. Now the Charlotte-based behemoth is in free fall, down nearly 25 percent this afternoon.

All of this strengthens Obama's already very strong hand with Congress. From the western steps of the Capitol, the 535 members saw the power of that crowd spread across the mall. Churlish Republicans may be able to dis Obama, but it's hard to think of any Democrat who is going to screw with him at this point. Power waxes and wanes but the combination of DC-based adulation and Wall Street woes, gives Obama an incredible boost going into his first day at the office.

Ted Kennedy has been taken to the hospital, the news networks have reported, after he suffered a seizure a short time ago at the inaugural lunch on Capitol Hill.

A few minutes ago, Fox News showed Kennedy being taken away in an ambulance as John Kerry, Chris Dodd, Orrin Hatch and others looked on.

Speaking to reporters just now, Walter Mondale said that Kennedy and others at the table were telling old stories to each other, "and then it just stopped." Mondale added that he's heard second-hand that Kennedy is doing better.

Robert Byrd was also seen leaving the event early, being escorted out in his wheelchair, but at this point it does not appear that his symptoms were as serious as Kennedy's.

Late Update: Byrd's spokesman told the local NBC affiliate in West Virginia that Byrd was not hospitalized. Instead, Byrd left the room because he was upset over Ted Kennedy's difficulties.

Late Late Update: The Associated Press reports that officials at Washington Hospital Center say Kennedy is awake and answering questions.

A stunning moment, a great speech. I don't think any single line will enter the lexicon like Kennedy's "ask not" or FDR's "the only thing we have to fear is fear itself." Obama's "age of responsibility" seemed flat, forgettable. But the moments that punctuated it like the call for the end of "childish things" gave it a momentum that made it greater than the sum of its parts.

There was a liberal, JFK hawkishness about the speech that I found compelling. There was the martial memory of Valley Forge, but also "we will defeat you" and we "will not apologize for our way of life." There was the expected outstretched hand to the Muslim world--made all the more powerful by the once verboten word Hussein echoing across the Mall. But the stern words about terrorism were more extensive and explicit and impressive than I would have expected. I loved his challenge "to those leaders around the globe who seek to sow conflict, or blame their society's ills on the West"--the West, there's a phrase you don't hear a lot anymore. It was a shot at the like of Hugo Chavez. He used the word "war" and promised our enemies "defeat." The explicit defense of the market and capitalism was unexpected and refreshing. Kind of wish he'd mentioned Fallujah along with Normandy and Khe Sahn. (If you think Iraq and Vietnam were the wrong wars, then Fallujah belongs in that line as much as Khe Sahn, since he was discussing service not policy.)

The linkages with the past, the "for us", rhetorical device gave it the historical lift. Has the word "swill" ever been used in an inaugural?

That said, I thought the dis of Bush-era interrogation measures and civil liberties shortcuts was also stronger and more explicit than I would have thought. It was a pretty bald shot at his predecessor.

And the Joe Lowery's finish, humorous and poignant, was a incredible finish, far better than having, say, Obama invoking King by name. If there's any better living witness to the King years, it's hard to think of one. Mercifully, the phrase "yes, we can"--powerful but now hammered to death--was left in the campaign file.

By the way, on the oath flub, someone who works with Roberts told me that he had practiced the oath extensively. It seemed to me that Roberts flubbed and not Obama, but I'll leave that to the replays.

In his inaugural address, President Barack Obama sought to lay out two separate but very much complementary messages. Part of the address was expressed in terms of what it his administration will not be -- the Bush years. Beyond that, and more importantly, he laid out an extensive positive vision of what he believes America and indeed the whole world can be, motivated by a faith in American culture .

Obama acknowledged the troubles facing the country at home and abroad -- but assured the country that we will succeed:

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.

On this day, we gather because we have chosen hope over fear, unity of purpose over conflict and discord.


Obama spoke of America as a country that has throughout its history expanded the reaches of freedom and prosperity, and reminded the country that we enjoy our quality of life today because of the work of others who came before us:

For us, they packed up their few worldly possessions and traveled across oceans in search of a new life.

For us, they toiled in sweatshops and settled the West; endured the lash of the whip and plowed the hard earth.

For us, they fought and died, in places like Concord and Gettysburg; Normandy and Khe Sahn.

Time and again these men and women struggled and sacrificed and worked till their hands were raw so that we might live a better life. They saw America as bigger than the sum of our individual ambitions; greater than all the differences of birth or wealth or faction.

This is the journey we continue today.

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The following is the full prepared text of President Barack Obama's inaugural address.

My fellow citizens:

I stand here today humbled by the task before us, grateful for the trust you have bestowed, mindful of the sacrifices borne by our ancestors. I thank President Bush for his service to our nation, as well as the generosity and cooperation he has shown throughout this transition.

Forty-four Americans have now taken the presidential oath. The words have been spoken during rising tides of prosperity and the still waters of peace. Yet, every so often the oath is taken amidst gathering clouds and raging storms. At these moments, America has carried on not simply because of the skill or vision of those in high office, but because We the People have remained faithful to the ideals of our forbearers, and true to our founding documents.

So it has been. So it must be with this generation of Americans.

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Will join the deluge of those using Twitter to discuss the inaugural. You can follow me today and everyday at @TPMMatt.

See below.

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I braved three parties last night and each said something about this moment we find ourselves in.

The first was Bipartisan Policy Center, founded by the likes of Tom Daschle and Bob Dole, and promotes bipartisan policies. My old boss, Walter Isaacson, spoke, as did Ron Brownstein, whose Second Civil War does an excellent job of chronicling how our politics became so divided. Amidst the plates of hummus and baba ganoush, there was a feeling that Obama really could bridge partisan divides.

Scene change: Went over to MoveON/SEIU party which was groovy. It was held at a Georgetown art gallery displaying dozens of Obama related pieces of art as part of the Manifest Hope project. Aside from the Belvedere Vodka, there were plenty of hipsters in black, no members of Congress as best I could tell, and Moby and Michael Stipe.

It's telling of the moment that MoveOn is as enthused as any group of avowed bipartisans. The grassroots organization will continue to play a major role in organizing and, as one person involved in progressive politics told me at the party, "giving Obama the political space to do what he needs to do and to say things in a plausibly deniable way" that a Democratic Party or White House organization couldn't. I take it seriously. If any group presaged the Obama organization, it's MoveOn. (The irony of it is having begun as an anti-Clinton-impeachment group--Move On meant move on from the Starr-era investigations--it became such a bane of Hillary Clinton's during the primaries.)

The mother of all fetes was the Huffington Post soiree at the Newseum, the massively impressive homage to journalism built by ailing news organizations. (So that's where the money went!)

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Obama Becomes President Today Barack Obama will take the oath of office at 12 p.m. ET, officially becoming President of the United States. After the inauguration ceremony, he will then head to the Capitol to officially sign the certificates of nomination for his cabinet officers.

Obama Praises McCain As An "American Hero" Barack Obama paid tribute to his former political rival at a dinner last night in Washington. "And there are few Americans who understand this need for common purpose and common effort better than John McCain," said Obama. "It is what he has strived for and achieved throughout his life. It is built into the very content of his character."

Poll: Public Approves Rick Warren Pick For Invocation A new ABC/Washington Post poll shows that 61% of Americans approve of Barack Obama's selection of conservative preacher Rick Warren to deliver the invocation at his inauguration. Approval spread broadly across partisan self-identification, with 66% of Democrats and 60% of both Republicans an independents saying they supported it.

Cheney Injures Himself, Will Attend Inauguration In Wheelchair Dick Cheney pulled a back muscle yesterday while moving boxes into his new home in Virginia, the White House said yesterday. He will be attending tomorrow's inauguration in a wheelchair, which he will be using for the next few days.

GOP Looking On The Bright Side Roll Call reports that Republicans are looking at the silver linings of today's big event. "I think that this is a milestone on civil rights," said Sen. Arlen Specter (R-PA), "something I've always been concerned about as a member of a minority religion, and a great believer in the Constitution and equal protection."

Durbin: We Are All The Land Of Lincoln Now Sen. Dick Durbin (D-IL) has a new guest op-ed in The Hill, celebrating Barack Obama's election and its place as a new milestone in American history. "We are proud in Illinois to call our state the Land of Lincoln," Durbin writes. "But on Nov. 4, all of America became the Land of Lincoln."

Obama To Spend First Full Day In Office On Foreign Policy The Washington Post reports that Barack Obama will dive headlong into foreign policy on his first full day in office tomorrow, no longer having to honor the convention of a president-elect not interfering with a lame-duck president's authority. Among other things, Obama will appoint George Mitchell as his envoy to the Middle East, will convene a meeting of the National Security Council, and by the end of the week will issue his executive order to begin the process of closing the Guantanamo Bay prison camp.

AP: 9/11 Victims' Families Object To Closing Gitmo In an indication that there will be no such thing as a political free lunch, the Associated Press reports that some relatives of 9/11 victims are vocally objecting to closing Gitmo. "Though the wheels are grinding, they are turning here and this place must remain open and justice must be served," said Andrew Arias, whose brother was killed in the attacks.

I'll be Twittering from some inaugural festivities tonight. You can follow my tweets below the fold.

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