Barack Obama will call on Americans to replace the “anything goes” culture of recent years with a new “era of responsibility” in his inaugural address.
Aides said the President-Elect’s first words as president would hark back to John F Kennedy’s plea to “ask not what your country can do for you – ask what you can do for your country”.
Rahm Emanuel, who will be chief of staff in the new White House, said: “We need that culture of responsibility, not just to be asked of the American people, but its leaders must also lead by example.”
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The address was mostly written a week ago, according to new press secretary Robert Gibbs, and will be “heavily infused with this notion of responsibility and getting our country back on track”.
The climax to Mr Obama’s remarkable two-year ascent from a little known Illinois politician to be the first black US president is expected to draw millions to the US capital.