Tuesday, 20 January, 2009
With news of tonight's Newsnight from Washington, here's Jeremy:
As I write, President-elect Obama is still that, he takes the oath of office shortly. So much for the immediacy of cyberspace. Anyway, how to describe the mood in Washington? The words to describe the crowds all seem rather hackneyed. Excited, happy, expectant. And very cold. It's way below freezing and many of them have been standing around outside since five or six this morning.
But the overwhelming feeling here, I think, is a sense of joy, a combination of pride in the spectacle of democracy at work, and the anticipation that things will get better.
Of course, history is littered with the ruins of careers which began in promise and ended in tears. But right now those cautionary tales mean nothing, for today there are no hard decisions to take, just a speech to make and a moment to be savoured. The hard work, on this country's two overseas wars and its battered economy, to say nothing of little matters like the future of the planet, starts tomorrow.
On tonight's extended show we'll have plenty of atmosphere, the highlights of the speech and the parade, and lots of thoughts about how this carnival of expectations is likely to turn out.
I'll be joined by - among others - Harold Evans, Christopher Hitchens, Ted Sorenson (who wrote JFK's inaugural speech) and Simon Schama.
Do join us for a special extended programme at 22:30 tonight.