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The Clock Is Ticking

"President Obama moved swiftly on Wednesday to impose new rules on government transparency and ethics, using his first full day in office to freeze the salaries of his senior aides, mandate new limits on lobbyists and demand that the government disclose more information," the NYT reports.

"Mr. Obama called the moves, which overturned two policies of his predecessor, 'a clean break from business as usual.' Coupled with Tuesday's Inaugural Address, which repudiated the Bush administration's decisions on everything from science policy to fighting terrorism, the actions were another sign of the new president's effort to emphasize an across-the-board shift in priorities, values and tone."

Adds the LAT: "The new president signaled his desire to wade into the Mideast conflict, conferring by telephone with the leaders of Israel, Egypt, Jordan and the Palestinian Authority. He also laid the groundwork for fulfilling his campaign pledge to close the U.S. military prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba."

And the do-over:

"Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. got it right on the second try.

"In the White House last night, Roberts privately readministered the presidential oath of office to Barack Obama," the Boston Globe says. "In public, in front of a worldwide audience on Tuesday, Roberts flubbed the oath a little, causing Obama to repeat the wording differently than is prescribed in the Constitution."

Or as the New York Post put it, "Oaf of Office." Why didn't Roberts faithfully execute his job by just bringing the 35 words with him?

And talk about image management: The Obama team allows Time to shoot behind-the-scenes inaugural photos.

Obama: Good for the right? National Review's Jonah Goldberg gives the new president his due:

"I am proud of and excited by the fact that we have inaugurated the first black president of the United States. He wasn't my first choice, but he is nonetheless my president. And if ever there were a wonderful consolation prize in politics, shattering the race barrier in the White House is surely it. Conservatives who try too hard to belittle the importance of this milestone are mistaken on several fronts. First, this is simply a wonderful -- and wonderfully American -- story. Any political movement that is joyless about what this represents risks succumbing to bitter political crankery. . . .

"Yes, yes, Obama's a passionate defender of affirmative action and the like, but the symbolism of his presidency cannot be contained within narrow liberal agendas. . . .

"He has voiced an admirable disdain for the notion that academic excellence is nothing more than 'acting white.' His famous Father's Day speech in 2008 showed that Obama was willing to lend his voice to the effort to fight black illegitimacy and absentee fatherhood. This puts Obama behind the two most important ingredients for black success, at least according to most conservatives: a rededication to the importance of education at an individual level, and the restoration of the black nuclear family."

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