Obama Rebukes Bush, Assures World in Speech

Rejects policies, advocates diplomacy, warns enemies
By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 20, 2009 12:44 PM CST
President Obama stands with his wife, Michelle, and Vice-President Joe Biden salutes with his wife, Jill, as former President George W. Bush and his wife, Laura, leave the Capitol.   (AP Photo/Saul Loeb, Pool)
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(Newser) – Barack Obama offered a clear rebuke of George Bush's policies and signaled a sharp break with his predecessor's strategy abroad in his inaugural address today. “We reject as false the choice between our safety and our ideals,” the new president said, referring obviously to torture of detainees and violation of Americans' civil rights in the name of the war on terror. “Those ideals still light the world, and we will not give them up for expedience’s sake.”

Though Obama said America is still the most powerful nation on Earth, he added that “power alone cannot protect us, nor does it entitle us to do as we please.” In a swipe at Bush's unilateral approach to the exercise of power, he vowed to display “the tempering qualities of humility and restraint.” But to America’s enemies he declared, “Our spirit is stronger and cannot be broken; you cannot outlast us, and we will defeat you.”