WASHINGTON (CNN) -- Barack Obama delivered a sobering assessment of where America stands and a hopeful vision of what it can become as he gave his inaugural address as the nation's 44th president.
President Barack Obama told a crowd at the National Mall that America's challenges are real.
"Today I say to you that the challenges we face are real. They are serious and they are many. They will not be met easily or in a short span of time," Obama told hundreds of thousands of people gathered on the National Mall in front of the Capitol.
"But know this, America -- they will be met," he said.
He also vowed to end the divisiveness and partisanship he said was rampant through Washington.
"We come to proclaim an end to the petty grievances and false promises, the recriminations and worn-out dogmas that for far too long have strangled our politics," he said.
In another allusion to Washington's shortcomings, Obama promised to hold accountable anyone who handles taxpayer dollars.
"And those of us who manage the public's dollars will be held to account -- to spend wisely, reform bad habits, and do our business in the light of day -- because only then can we restore the vital trust between a people and their government."
The new president, who hugged civil rights stalwart Rep. John Lewis, D-Georgia, on the inaugural stage Tuesday, also hailed the civil rights movement.
"This is the meaning of [America's] liberty and our creed -- why men and women and children of every race and every faith can join in celebration across this magnificent mall, and why a man whose father, less than 60 years ago, might not have been served at a local restaurant can now stand before you to take a most sacred oath," Obama said.
The address touched on other themes, including a warning to terrorists.
"With old friends and former foes, we will work tirelessly to lessen the nuclear threat, and roll back the specter of a warming planet. We will not apologize for our way of life, nor will we waver in its defense, and for those who seek to advance their aims by inducing terror and slaughtering innocents, we say to you now that our spirit is stronger and cannot be broken; you cannot outlast us, and we will defeat you," the president stated.
Obama: Challenges real, but 'they will be met' - CNN.com