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Weight of world rests on Obama’s shoulders

By The Associated Press Published: November 6, 2008

photo - President-elect Barack Obama smiles Tuesday night after his acceptance speech in Chicago.
President-elect Barack Obama smiles Tuesday night after his acceptance speech in Chicago.
WASHINGTON — Over and over, Barack Obama told voters if they stuck with him "we will change this country and change the world.” They did, and now their expectations for him to deliver are firmly planted on his shoulders.

Many supporters greeted his victory with euphoria. Impatient for a new era and overcome by a black man’s historic ascension to the White House, they took his achievement for their own.

But campaign rhetoric soon collides with the gritty duties of governing, and hard realities stand in Obama’s way.

Global challenges

Atop Obama’s challenge list is the global and domestic turmoil that he inherits. None of it is his own making, but it will shape his presidency before he lifts one finger.

The worst financial crisis since the Great Depression. Two wars in unstable lands. Other foreign hot spots such as Pakistan and Congo, nuclear standoffs with North Korea and Iran. A warming planet.

Then there are high health care and energy costs, sunken home values, wiped-out retirement and investment accounts.

Obama begins building team

President-elect Barack Obama pivoted quickly to begin filling out his new administration on Wednesday, selecting hard-charging Illinois Rep. Rahm Emanuel, shown above, as White House chief of staff, while aides stepped up the pace of transition work. Several Democrats confirmed that Emanuel had been offered the job.

Quiet first day

On the morning after making history, Obama had breakfast with his family, went to a nearby gym and visited his downtown offices. Aides said he planned no public appearances until later in the week, when he has promised to hold a news conference.


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