The inauguration of Barack Obama as president of the United States will be observed intently by billions of people around the world. A gifted writer and speaker, Obama has been compared to past Presidents Abraham Lincoln and John F. Kennedy. How did Obama’s inaugural address measure up? What clues did it provide to his future governing approach and foreign policies?
On January 21, the Brookings Institution and Australia’s Lowy Institute for International Policy hosted a panel discussion on the inaugural address, featuring observations from former presidential speechwriters and foreign policy analysts. The panelists examined the new president’s speech, analyzing its style and its implications for America’s relations with the world.
Carlos Pascual, vice president and director of Foreign Policy at Brookings, provided introductory remarks and moderated the discussion. Pascual was joined by Michael Gerson, former head of speechwriting for President George W. Bush; Vinca LaFleur, former foreign policy speechwriter for President Bill Clinton; and Michael Fullilove, Brookings visiting fellow and program director for global issues at the Lowy Institute. After the program, panelists took audience questions.