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Obama Becomes 44th US President


Barack Obama has taken office as president with a call for Americans to work together to overcome the nation's challenges at a time of economic crisis and two long-running wars.

Mr. Obama addressed a crowd of well over one million people on the National Mall in Washington (Tuesday) after being sworn in as the nation's 44th president.

He is the first African American to hold the country's highest office.

Mr. Obama said the U.S. economy has been badly weakened by greed and a collective failure to make hard choices. He said Americans should put aside political arguments and take swift, bold action to create new jobs and growth.

On foreign policy, Mr. Obama pledged to responsibly leave Iraq to its people and forge peace in Afghanistan. He said the United States seeks a new way forward in the Muslim world based on mutual interest and respect.

He also pledged to defeat terrorists, saying Americans' spirit is strong and cannot be broken.

Mr. Obama -- a Democrat -- ends eight years of Republican control of the White House under George Bush.

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