Reid, Feinstein toast Biden, Obama

Jan. 20, 2009 at 5:21 PM
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WASHINGTON, Jan. 20 (UPI) -- Millions of Americans demonstrate the "depth of the moment" of his inauguration, President Barack Obama said Tuesday during a congressional lunch.

Along with Obama, Vice President Joe Biden and their families, the guest list at the lunch in the Statutory Hall included two former presidents, three former vice presidents and three unsuccessful presidential nominees.

Several gifts and the official photograph were presented to the Obamas and the Bidens before Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and Sen. Dianne Feinstein, chairwoman of the Joint Congressional Committee on Inaugural Ceremonies offered toasts and Obama offered a few observations.

In toasting Biden, Reid said the former senator from Delaware set an example as "a person who was a teammate first of all, a counselor, an advocate, a friend, an exemplar."

"So it's my toast that this will continue, Mr. Vice President, that you continue being what you have been to our new president. Barack Obama, Joe Biden, the dream team."

In her toast to Obama, Feinstein said there was a sense in the room that the nation was in good hands.

"May those hands remain stable and steady," she said. "And may we in government be your partner in the future of this great country. "

Obama said what happened Tuesday "is not about me. It is about the American people."

And just as Americans are demonstrating "the readiness to answer history's call and to step up," Obama asked congressional leaders to do the same.

"Now it falls to us, the people's representatives, to give our fullest measure of devotion to the cause of freedom and liberty and justice, decency and dignity" he said, asking that all attending the lunch "rededicate ourselves to fulfilling the sacred charge the American people have given to us."

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