What to Expect in 'Most Important Inaugural Speech Since Lincoln'

Themes will be unity, recovery at noon, aides say
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 20, 2021 2:40 AM CST
Biden's Inaugural Speech the 'Most Important' One 'Since Lincoln'
President-elect Joe Biden speaks at the Major Joseph R. "Beau" Biden III National Guard/Reserve Center, Tuesday, Jan. 19, 2021, in New Castle, Del.   (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

Joe Biden becomes president on Wednesday, and Sen. Chris Coons, one of his close allies, says the speech he gives on the occasion will be "the most important inaugural speech since Lincoln." Biden has the daunting task of attempting to unite the country after a divisive election and garner bipartisan support for his aggressive early agenda, and as Politico notes, even before his inaugural address, Biden proved a challenge to write speeches for. He's known for spending lots of time on revisions, up until the last minute, getting upset if he's not happy with what's been written, and rehearsing obsessively. As for this particular speech, the Wall Street Journal reports it will focus on unity and recovery and will last 20 to 30 minutes. Aides tell CNN he's been working on it ever since victory was declared.

He will "speak about the need to bring the country together during an unprecedented moment of crisis," his advisers said Tuesday, offering a "forward-looking vision for his presidency" in which he promises to be a president for everyone, even those who voted against him. However, aides think he's not likely to mention President Trump, who won't be there, by name, though he may acknowledge VP Mike Pence, who will be in attendance. Beyond that, not much has been specifically revealed, which media outlets note is likely because it won't be finalized until close to the moment it's given. CBS News offers a guide to Inauguration Day events, the schedule, and what to expect; NBC News has its own version, including how to watch at home. (More Joe Biden stories.)

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