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This is Governor John Baldacci.

In the coming days, we will all be witness to history.

I remember well Sen. Barack Obama’s surprise victory in the Iowa caucuses – a win that began his steady march toward the White House.

The odds, seemingly, were stacked against this relative newcomer to national politics.

But Barack Obama captured the imagination of a country ready to turn the page on the divisions of the past.

He delivered an honest message of hope and renewal that spread across the country, drawing hundreds of thousands who were anxious to hear his words.

The primary season officially came to a close in August when more than 38 million Americans watched Barack Obama deliver his acceptance speech from Denver, Colorado at the Democratic National Convention.

Then, later on, in the fall, more than 71 million people watched history unfold on election night, as he was officially declared President-elect of the United States of America.

This man, of Chicago and of the world, has excited a nation.

And he will make history on Tuesday when he takes the oath of office in Washington.

This week, Democrats, Republicans and independents across the country and around the world will watch with pride as Barack Obama is sworn-in as our nation’s 44th President of the United States and our first African-American President.

Politics aside, the inauguration represents a turning point in our country.

And it is appropriate that the ceremony is happening within days of what would have been Martin Luther King Jr.’s 80th birthday.

Dr. King fought during his lifetime to breakdown the prejudices that tore at the soul of America.

The struggle cost him his life, but his dream of a more just nation lived on, inspiring countless men and women to take up his cause.

And in 1963, more than 200,000 people converged on the Lincoln Memorial and heard Dr. King utter some of the most famous words ever spoken when he said that he had “a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: We hold these truths to be self-evident: That all men are created equal.”

And on Tuesday, perhaps as many as 2 million people will brave the chill of the winter to see Barack Obama take the Oath of Office and deliver his first words as President of the United States of America.

No doubt, many of them will stand on the same piece of ground where a generation before crowds gathered to hear Dr. King.

Untold millions will watch on TV and listen on the radio as the words will ring to the Lincoln Memorial, where over 100 years ago President Abraham Lincoln united a nation during the Civil War.

And we will all watch and tell our children and grandchildren, and their children what we saw and what we heard.

With this new president and this new administration, we have a new partner for this and every State in our country.

Within a month of being elected, President-elect Obama called an unprecedented meeting with the nation’s Governors.

Never before had governors been invited to meet with an incoming administration so quickly.

President-elect Obama told us that the deep challenges will require that we put all party lines and divisions aside.

He extended a hand of friendship to Democrats and Republicans alike, and offered to be a partner to the States.

Governors, he said, wouldn’t be just asked to implement his plan or follow his lead, but he was seeking our advice and counsel in creating an economic recovery plan for our nation.

President-elect Obama understands that in order to rebuild America, every state must be engaged and involved in the process if it is going to work.

We face a national economic crisis. And we need a robust, national response.

We need to recognize that we are also part of the solution, requiring all of us in communities, families and businesses throughout the State of Maine and the country, we all need to work together and pull together. And through this we will become stronger, better, and find more opportunities for our children and grandchildren in the future.

At the beginning, all things seem possible.

Those are the feelings that transcend party lines and political labels.

And President-elect Barack Obama understands that the spirit of America is a spirit which lives for generations and will continue to grow and prosper, not only here, but around the world.

Thanks for listening – and have a great weekend.

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