High expectations for Inaugural speech

January 19, 2009 8:53:51 PM PST
The expectations are high; President-elect Barack Obama has not yet delivered his inauguration speech and already people are talking about how it could be among the greatest in United States history.

In 1933 Franklin Delano Roosevelt famously said, "the only thing we have to fear is fear itself."

It was 1961 when John F. Kennedy said, "Ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country."

And there is no question that Abraham Lincoln's second inaugural address was an outstanding one, when he said, "with malice towards none, with charity for all."

"The presidential inaugural that are good are generally short, punchy with a line that you truly remember," KGO Radio host and presidential historian John Rothman said.

Obama warmed up Monday, speaking at a Washington D.C.-area high school.

"I am not going to make a long speech, I'm going to save all my best lines for tomorrow," he said.

Although not much is known about his speech for Tuesday, it is expected to be short -- about 15-20 minutes, and at least one of the theme is one that Obama has touched on before -- responsibility.

"If we're waiting for somebody else to do something it never gets done, we're going to have to take responsibility all of us," Obama said Monday.

"Well, Barack Obama has talked about responsibility from the very beginning of his campaign, it's a theme that he has hit home for families for parents and for citizens and I think that is something that he is likely to do again tomorrow," ABC News political commentator Cokie Roberts said.

Whatever Obama chooses to say, the words he delivers to the millions listening on the Washington Mall Tuesday will forever be linked to another unforgettable Washington speech -- as he will be making a bit of Martin Luther King Jr.'s dream come true.