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Please feel free to use this diary to talk about the tour, and the coverage if you want.

I'll also update with pics as they come in.

You can watch live coverage on TV: CNN, MSNBC, CSPAN, and if you like to torture yourself FOX (I don't know if they are doing all day coverage).

Online at cnn.com

Here's today's schedule

[10:20 AM]: President-Elect Obama is speaking now at the beginning of the WhistleStop tour in Philly. Full Transcript over the jump.

Remarks of President-Elect Barack Obama - As prepared for delivery
Inaugural Whistle Stop Tour
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
January 17, 2009

We are here to mark the beginning of our journey to Washington. This is fitting because it was here, in this city, that our American journey began. It was here that a group of farmers and lawyers, merchants and soldiers, gathered to declare their independence and lay claim to a destiny that they were being denied.

It was a risky thing, meeting as they did in that summer of 1776. There was no guarantee that their fragile experiment would find success. More than once in those early years did the odds seem insurmountable. More than once did the fishermen, laborers, and craftsmen who called themselves an army face the prospect of defeat.

And yet, they were willing to put all they were and all they had on the line - their lives, their fortunes, and their sacred honor - for a set of ideals that continue to light the world. That we are equal. That our rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness come not from our laws, but from our maker. And that a government of, by, and for the people can endure. It was these ideals that led us to declare independence, and craft our constitution, producing documents that were imperfect but had within them, like our nation itself, the capacity to be made more perfect.

We are here today not simply to pay tribute to our first patriots but to take up the work that they began. The trials we face are very different now, but severe in their own right. Only a handful of times in our history has a generation been confronted with challenges so vast. An economy that is faltering. Two wars, one that needs to be ended responsibly, one that needs to be waged wisely. A planet that is warming from our unsustainable dependence on oil.

And yet while our problems may be new, what is required to overcome them is not. What is required is the same perseverance and idealism that our founders displayed. What is required is a new declaration of independence, not just in our nation, but in our own lives - from ideology and small thinking, prejudice and bigotry - an appeal not to our easy instincts but to our better angels.

That is the reason I launched my campaign for the presidency nearly two years ago. I did so in the belief that the most fundamental American ideal, that a better life is in store for all those willing to work for it, was slipping out of reach. That Washington was serving the interests of the few, not the many. And that our politics had grown too small for the scale of the challenges we faced.

But I also believed something else. I believed that our future is our choice, and that if we could just recognize ourselves in one another and bring everyone together - Democrats, Republicans, and Independents, north, south, east and west, black, white, Latino, Asian, and Native American, gay and straight, disabled and not - then not only would we restore hope and opportunity in places that yearned for both, but maybe, just maybe, we might perfect our union in the process.

This is what I believed, but you made this belief real. You proved once more that people who love this country can change it. And as I prepare to leave for Washington on a trip that you made possible, know that I will not be traveling alone. I will be taking with me some of the men and women I met along the way, Americans from every corner of this country, whose hopes and heartaches were the core of our cause; whose dreams and struggles have become my own.

Theirs are the voices I will carry with me every day in the White House. Theirs are the stories I will be thinking of when we deliver the changes you elected me to make. When Americans are returning to work and sleeping easier at night knowing their jobs are secure, I will be thinking of people like Mark Dowell, who's worried his job at Ford will be the next one cut, a devastating prospect with the teenage daughters he has back home.

When affordable health care is no longer something we hope for, but something we can count on, I will be thinking of working moms like Shandra Jackson, who was diagnosed with an illness, and is now burdened with higher medical bills on top of child care for her eleven year-old son.

When we are welcoming back our loved ones from a war in Iraq that we've brought to an end, I will be thinking of our brave servicemen and women sacrificing around the world, of veterans like Tony Fischer, who served two tours in Iraq, and all those returning home, unable to find a job.

These are the stories that will drive me in the days ahead. They are different stories, told by men and women whose journeys may seem separate. And yet, what you showed me time and again is that no matter who we are or what we look like, no matter where we come from or what faith we practice, we are a people of common hopes and common dreams, who ask only for what was promised us as Americans - that we might make of our lives what we will and see our children climb higher than we did.

We recognize that such enormous challenges will not be solved quickly. There will be false starts and setbacks, frustrations and disappointments. And we will be called to show patience even as we act with fierce urgency.

But we should never forget that we are the heirs of that first band of patriots, ordinary men and women who refused to give up when it all seemed so improbable; and who somehow believed that they had the power to make the world anew. That is the spirit that we must reclaim today.

For the American Revolution did not end when British guns fell silent. It was never something to be won only on a battlefield or fulfilled only in our founding documents. It was not simply a struggle to break free from empire and declare independence. The American Revolution was - and remains - an ongoing struggle "in the minds and hearts of the people" to live up to our founding creed.

Starting now, let's take up in our own lives the work of perfecting our union.

Let's build a government that is responsible to the people, and accept our own responsibilities as citizens to hold our government accountable.

Let's all of us do our part to rebuild this country.

Let's make sure this election is not the end of what we do to change America, but the beginning.

Join me in this effort. Join one another in this effort. And together, mindful of our proud history, hopeful for the future, let's seek a better world in our time. Thank you.

I'll post the video when I get it

[UPDATE: 10:27 AM]: Right now the President Elect is leaving the building after sticking around to shake hands with the people in the room. I thought it was cute that the lady who introduced him introduced him as "my president" and had to remember to throw "elect" in there. LOL.

[UPDATE: 10:29 AM]: If you don't want to listen to talking heads, CSPAN is taking callers right now (it's always fun to listen to that). But the guy that just called said Obama is a terrorist and he hates him on the Republican line, and the host actually reprimanded him (which I've never heard on CSPAN)

Also, here's a video of the final Saturday address as President-Elect:


Link to transcript for video

What channels are you guys watching?

[UPDATE 10:52 AM]: Pictures are coming in, I'll do a slideshow when there are more, but here are a couple:

This is the lady that introduced him. Still hunting for video :o)

[UPDATE 11:03 AM]: Here's some fun trivia. The inauguration will feature the most port-a-potties ever assembled in one place. LOL

and in a TOTALLY un-related note, HAPPY BIRTHDAY MICHELLE!!!!!!!!!!

[UPDATE 11:23 AM]: Here's a short video I found on cnn.com, still looking for full video.

[UPDATE 11:44 AM]:

Pics from Philly:

[UPDATE 11:47 AM]: The Train is on the way to pick up "Joe the Biden" :o)

[UPDATE 11:53 AM]: The first slow roll is coming up, and here are a couple of pics of people waiting for them in Delaware:

[UPDATE 12:14 PM]: Here's a nice story about one of the groups in the parade:

BRANDON can’t stop drumming.

After rehearsal, when his drum and sticks are packed away, he uses his hands — on the table, on the floor, on the walls.

He drums in his room. He drums at meals. He drums with chunky fingers flying against his desk, even if the teacher shoots him a stern look. Brandon drums because on Tuesday he will march down Pennsylvania Avenue in Washington, in the parade following the inauguration of President Barack Obama.

"That’s such a big thing, to march and be there to see the first black president. Seriously. I’m a little nervous, but practicing will make me better," Brandon, 17, said the other day, with three rehearsals to go. "I see us doing great. People will like us."

It’s an unbelievable, unlikely, undreamed-of honor for a boy like him and the 15 others who will be marching alongside him. They are residents of the Bonnie Brae Residential Treatment Center, a rural campus here housing 98 boys ages 8 to 18 who cannot live in the community at large because of what the state calls "psychiatric and behavioral challenges." Nearly 80 percent were abused, neglected or abandoned, and failed to adjust to traditional foster care. Fifteen percent do not have homes in the traditional sense and are wards of the state. Some ended up at Bonnie Brae because they got in trouble with the law. They stay an average of 16 months.

Others might not have considered the Bonnie Brae Knights ready for national exposure, but the Presidential Inaugural committee chose them to march in the historic event, and millions of people will be watching. It’s a Cinderella story, about a ragtag group of kids who loved making noise, but didn’t have a clue about precision or style.

You should really read the entire article, it's really good.

[Update 12:24 PM]: I can't do MSNBC embeds, but here's a link to the video

[Update 12:29 PM]: The Train has stopped in Wilmington!! CSPAN picked up it's live coverage again on TV if you're sick of talking heads.

[Update 12:36 PM]: CSPAN has the best coverage, this is what I just saw:

Joe on seeing Michelle: Happy Birthday Kiddo!

and Joe to Barack: You look sharp buddy

Barack to Joe: So do you

Isn't is nice to have a Pres and VP that LIKE each other?

[Update 12:41 PM]: Joe Biden is getting ready to speak now, being introduced by Amtrack worker (that's fitting).

[Update 12:51 PM]: Barack and Michelle are coming out now, Barack is getting ready to speak, and the crowd (which is clearly damn near frozen) goes wild!!

[Update 1:03 PM]: Speeches are over, playing Ray Charles' version of "America", some of the crowd is singing along, and Barack, Michelle, Joe, and Jill are shaking hands. This is the first time all day my eyes are getting a little watery. . .  I think it's the song. . .

[Update 1:05 PM]: Also, the crowd sang "Happy Birthday" to Michelle twice before the speeches started, it was cute. If I find links to the prepared remarks from this stop, I'll add the links to the diary :o) Barack's speech was really a tribute to Joe Biden, I love that everything doesn't always have to be about "Barack" in that relationship. This is going to be a great administration, I can feel it!

[Update 1:13 PM]: Delaware pics are coming in faster, here they are on the way, and greeting Joe at the station:

[Update 1:27 PM]: If you missed it this morning, CSPAN is showing the ENTIRE event (including the introduction) from Philly right now.

[Update 1:29 PM]: Here's a cute story from Wilmington:

Wilmington arrival: VP-elect Biden and his wife, Jill, met the train on the platform. Biden walked up and opened the back door of the blue Pullman on the end of the train. He closed it quickly and flashed a grin. "They're not ready yet," he said of the Obamas.




[Update 2:19 PM]: Getting ready for the next roll through. . .

[Update 2:37 PM]: On the way to Baltimore Now, I think they should be there in about an hour and a half. Here are a couple more pics of them in/leaving Delaware:

CNN is reporting 100,000 people waiting for him in Baltimore already, and they are getting ready for the next slow roll

[Update 2:55 PM]: The train is there! And the crowd goes NUTS! I love this :o)

[Update 3:03 PM]: Slow roll is over, I loved the crowd chanting "no more Bush." CSPAN is showing the Baltimore crowd where people are dancing to stay warm, I think they just had some workout people on the stage getting the crowd to dance around a bit so they could stay warm. The crowd looks hype :o)

[Update 3:22 PM]: The first inside the train pic I've seen:

They look like they are having fun, don't they? Reports say Obama has been pulling the whistle a couple of times on the train, he's cleary having a great time.

[Update 3:27 PM]: If you like Gospel Music, CSPAN is showing Baltimore, and they have a gospel choir performing right now. . .

[Update 3:31 PM]: CSPAN replaying the Wilmington Rally in case you missed it (you can see the beginning where the Bidens meet the Obamas)

[Update 3:35 PM]:Another train pic:

[Update 3:40 PM]: From the Comments:

How big is this event in Baltimore?

Channel 2, the ABC affiliate here, just bumped an ACC basketball game, featuring two undefeated teams, to one of it's digital subchannels.

Yeah, that's pretty big. Also, I updated the slideshow from Wilmington, so if you haven't refreshed do it :o)

[Update 4:02 PM]: Invocation at the rally happening now, which means the rally will be starting soon. Also, the Huffington Post has a very nice story about Joe Biden up. Biden is awesome in his own right, I wish the media would recognize that more.  Watch CSPAN to see everything.

[Update 4:08 PM]: The Baltimore Rally is starting now. I think this is gonna be great! I strongly recommend watching on CSPAN so you can see everything :o)

[Update 4:20 PM]: Obama's speaking now, I don't think Joe will be speaking this time. Obama still doesn't have on a hat, but at least he's wearing gloves this time. Apparently Pelosi is there too. . . go figure.

[Update 4:24 PM]: Better late than never, here are Obama's remarks from Wilmington. Here's an excerpt:

It was just under five months ago that Joe Biden stood beside me on the steps of the Old State Capitol in Springfield to accept my invitation to run for Vice President of the United States of America.

I chose Joe because I knew where he came from, even if I hadn't spent much time here - because you can learn a lot about a person's hometown through the deeds that they've done. Joe has always fought for the middle class, while forging the consensus to get things done. He has supported the cops and firefighters and families who form the backbone of our communities, while emerging as a statesman in the community of nations. And for thirty-six years, Delaware has sent Joe Biden to change Washington, and Washington hasn't changed him. Instead, Joe Biden has changed Washington.

The people of Delaware know this better than anyone. Because Joe is still the scrappy kid from Scranton whose family moved here - to Wilmington - in search of a new beginning. They'd known their share of hardships, and they would come to know more. They didn't have much money. But Joe Senior taught his son about the values that stretched longer than the dollar: the dignity of a hard day's work; the primacy of family; the dream that anyone should be able to make it if they try; and the simple lesson that when we Americans get knocked down, we always - always - get back up on our feet.

Those are values that the American people hold in common. They are shared by Irish Catholics from Wilmington and African Americans from the South Side of Chicago, and by Hispanics and Asians and Native Americans all across this great land. They form a foundation for our success, and lift us up when we face adversity.

Those are values that Joe carried with him to the Senate. You sent him there when he was just thirty, and that's when tragedy struck. Suddenly, this man who had a limitless future before him had lost more than most of us could ever imagine. That's when Joe Biden got back up on his feet.

He didn't move away from Delaware. Instead, day after day, month after month, year after year, he came here - to this station - and boarded the train to our nation's capital.  And then, night after night, month after month, year after year, he rode that train back home in the evening to raise his boys and a beautiful family alongside his wife Jill.

He would be the first to tell you that he didn't do it alone - he had the people of this city and this state with him every step of the way. Now, Delaware, I'm asking Joe Biden to take one more ride to Washington.

Together, we know that there is work to be done. Together, we know that America faces its own crossroads - a nation at war, an economy in turmoil, an American Dream that feels like its slipping way. Together, we know that the American people are facing adversity, and that the time has come to pick ourselves up once again.

[Update 4:34 PM]: That was an awesome speech, I'll post the full transcript when I find it. Right now they are once again shaking hands to Ray Charles' "America." That song gets me every time, I'm not even looking at the TV as I type this, and my eyes are welling up. Someone pointed out in the comments how amazing it is that Ray Charles could put that much feeling into that song, about a country which largely (and legally) considered him to be inferior. But I refuse to let a tear drop! LOL

[Update 4:41 PM]: Baltimore was the last public stop. I'll update with speeches and pics, but there will be no more live shows. If you missed something, check out cspan.org, and the actual TV channel because CSPAN tends to replay things in full.

Thanks for participating in the live blog, and I hope you all enjoyed yourselves!

[Update 5:26 PM]: The Baltimore Speech, Part I in Grey Part II in Blue:

[Update 5:39 PM]: Full Transcript of Baltimore Speech:

Remarks of President-Elect Barack Obama - As prepared for delivery Inaugural Whistle Stop Tour Baltimore, Maryland January 17, 2009

We began this train trip in Philadelphia earlier today. It is fitting that we did so - because it was there that our American journey began. It was there that a group of farmers and lawyers, merchants and soldiers, gathered to declare their independence and lay claim to a destiny that they were being denied.

It was a risky thing, meeting as they did in that summer of 1776. There was no guarantee that their fragile experiment would find success. More than once in those early years did the odds seem insurmountable. More than once did the fishermen, laborers, and craftsmen who called themselves an army face the prospect of defeat.

And yet, they were willing to put all they were and all they had on the line - their lives, their fortunes, and their sacred honor - for a set of ideals that continue to light the world. That we are equal. That our rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness come not from our laws, but from our maker. And that a government of, by, and for the people can endure. It was these ideals that led us to declare independence, and craft our constitution, producing documents that were imperfect but had within them, like our nation itself, the capacity to be made more perfect.

A few decades after the framers met in Philadelphia, our new union faced its first true test. The White House was in flames, and the British were advancing on Baltimore. That's when the fate of our nation fell to the troops at Fort McHenry. They were a varied lot, these troops: sailors, militiamen, and even a runaway slave. But on one long and rainy night, they beat back the greatest navy that the world had ever known. And when that night was over, they raised a flag in triumph, inspiring an onlooker to compose a poem that became the Star-Spangled Banner.

We are here today not simply to pay tribute to those patriots who founded our nation in Philadelphia or defended it in Baltimore, but to take up the cause for which they gave so much. The trials we face are very different now, but severe in their own right. Only a handful of times in our history has a generation been confronted with challenges so vast. An economy that is faltering. Two wars, one that needs to be ended responsibly, one that needs to be waged wisely. A planet that is warming from our unsustainable dependence on oil.

And yet while our problems may be new, what is required to overcome them is not. What is required is the same perseverance and idealism that those first patriots displayed. What is required is a new declaration of independence, not just in our nation, but in our own lives - from ideology and small thinking, prejudice and bigotry - an appeal not to our easy instincts but to our better angels.

That is the reason I launched my campaign for the presidency nearly two years ago. I did so in the belief that the most fundamental American ideal, that a better life is in store for all those willing to work for it, was slipping out of reach. That Washington was serving the interests of the few, not the many. And that our politics had grown too small for the scale of the challenges we faced.

But I also believed something else. I believed that our future is our choice, and that if we could just recognize ourselves in one another and bring everyone together - Democrats, Republicans, and Independents, north, south, east and west, black, white, Latino, Asian, and Native American, gay and straight, disabled and not - then not only would we restore hope and opportunity in places that yearned for both, but maybe, just maybe, we might perfect our union in the process.

This is what I believed, but you made this belief real. You proved once more that people who love this country can change it. And as I prepare to leave for Washington on a trip that you made possible, know that I will not be traveling alone. I will be taking with me some of the men and women I met along the way, Americans from every corner of this country, whose hopes and heartaches were the core of our cause; whose dreams and struggles have become my own.

Theirs are the voices I will carry with me every day in the White House. Theirs are the stories I will be thinking of when we deliver the changes you elected me to make. When we are seeing new jobs created that pay more to those who work them, I will be thinking of people like Kevin and Kirsten Meehan, who can't afford to turn on the heat or pay rent, and are tapping into Kevin's 401k to help support their two young children.

When our children are graduating from newer, better schools that prepare them to be good citizens and sought-after workers, I will be thinking of middle school teachers like Rosa Mendoza, who is giving her students the chance to fulfill their God-given potential.

When quality health care is no longer something we hope for, but something we can count on, I will be thinking of people like Patricia Stiles, who was diagnosed with a serious illness just as her husband lost his pension and her kids' tuitions were coming due.

These are the stories that will drive me in the days ahead. They are different stories, told by men and women whose journeys may seem separate. And yet, what you showed me time and again is that no matter who we are or what we look like, no matter where we come from or what faith we practice, we are a people of common hopes and common dreams, who ask only for what was promised us as Americans - that we might make of our lives what we will and see our children climb higher than we did.

We recognize that such enormous challenges will not be solved quickly. There will be false starts and setbacks, frustrations and disappointments. And we will be called to show patience even as we act with fierce urgency.

But we should never forget that we are the heirs of those early patriots, ordinary men and women who refused to give up when it all seemed so improbable; and who somehow believed that they had the power to make the world anew. That is the spirit that we must reclaim today.

For the American Revolution did not end when British guns fell silent. It was never something to be won only on a battlefield or fulfilled only in our founding documents. It was not simply a struggle to break free from empire and declare independence. The American Revolution was - and remains - an ongoing struggle "in the minds and hearts of the people" to live up to our founding creed.

Starting now, let's take up in our own lives the work of perfecting our union.

Let's build a government that is responsible to the people, and accept our own responsibilities as citizens to hold our government accountable.

Let's all of us do our part to rebuild this country.

Let's make sure this election is not the end of what we do to change America, but the beginning.

Join me in this effort. Join one another in this effort. And together, mindful of our proud history, hopeful for the future, let's seek a better world in our time. Thank you.







Tips, Recs, and comments are welcome.

New Thread to continue the discussion Here

Originally posted to Muzikal203 on Sat Jan 17, 2009 at 07:21 AM PST.

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