Obama Prepares for Big Duties

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Washington, D.C. has been buzzing with activity as it prepares for the inauguration of President-elect Barack Obama on Jan. 20.

Obama's presidency will be historic the moment he's sworn in. He's the first African American to attain the highest post in the land.

Click play for more insight onthe job ahead for incoming-President Obama from CBN News Reporters David Brody and Gary Lane.

But the challenges he faces both at home and abroad are also historic, starting with an economic crisis that's devastating the U.S. economy.

"This is really unique in many ways because he is inheriting a recession at its peak," explained Faiz Shakir of the Center for American Progress.

The unemployment rate is at 7.2 percent, its highest level in 16 years, and major industries like auto manufacturers are struggling to survive.

Heavy spending on bailouts for the banking industry and an economic stimulus package could endanger Obama's plans to reform health care, education and the energy sector.

An even greater danger to Obama's domestic agenda could be the huge foreign policy challenges he inherits.

"President-elect Obama is facing perhaps the most difficult national security transition since Roosevelt took over from Hoover, possibly since Lincoln took over from Buchanan," foreign policy analyst Jim Miller claimed.

The Middle East conflict is once again on the front burner as Israel wages war on Hamas in Gaza.

Obama has voiced support for Israel's right to defend itself.

"I don't even care if i'm a politician, if someone was sending rockets into my house where my two daughters sleep at night, i'm going to do everything in my power to stop it," he said.

Obama also has two wars in the Middle East to manage-- overseeing a cautious draw back of troops in Iraq and stepping up the fight in Afghanistan, as well as discouraging Iran and North Korea from making nuclear weapons, and protecting America from a terrorist attack.

Then there's the war on the home front-- the fight over cultural issues that matter deeply to evangelical Christians, especially gay marriage.

During the presidential campaign Obama said he opposed gay marriage, but this week documents surfaced from 1996 where he says he supports gay marriage.

That's a position evangelical leaders would rally the troops to oppose.

"This is a very important aspect of being President of all the people, that you protect traditional marriage," Bishop Harry Jackson said.

Meantime, Obama seems to be looking for help from a higher power to face these challenges.

He's asked chief justice John Roberts to add the words 'so help me God' to the oath of office.

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CBN News
David Brody

David Brody

CBN News Sr. National Correspondent

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