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Obama calls for commitment to public service

Obama calls for commitment to public service

Obama calls for commitment to public service

Agence France-Presse
Wednesday, January 21, 2009 8:30 AM (Washington)

US President Barack Obama took his first steps in the White House since taking office and was likely to spend some time in the Oval Office he inherited from George W Bush.

In his first official act since taking the oath of office on Tuesday, Obama issued a proclamation decreeing his inauguration day to be a “National Day of Renewal and Reconciliation” and calling for a national commitment to public service.

The first black US president walked into the White House hours after being sworn in at the US Capitol and walking part of the way to the presidential mansion, borne by adoring cheers from thousands of well-wishers.

Obama, the 44th US president, was expected to take his first steps in the Oval Office, the heart of power in the White House, but not take any major actions on his first day, according to press secretary Robert Gibbs.

“We anticipate that he will, after he watches some of the parade, probably go in there for a few minutes,” Gibbs said during his first informal question-and-answer session with reporters in the White House.

Former president George W Bush said at his final press conference last week that, “the minute he walks in the Oval Office” Obama will feel “the responsibilities of the president land squarely on his shoulders.”

Gibbs signalled that the moving-in process was making progress, with some officials able to get settled even as painters still worked in the West Wing, but said he was having some computer trouble.

“Now we just have to figure out how to log on our computers,” he said, before joking about the small number of “W” keys that went missing in a January 2001 prank when Bush took office.

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