ABC News’ Lauren Sher reports: In an exclusive interview with ABC News, President Barack Obama said that on opening day as the nation’s first black president, he will remember the American people above all else.
“I think it is just the way that the American people have made this about more than just an election," Obama told ABC News’ Robin Roberts at the Neighborhood Ball at the Washington Convention Center. "You get a sense that kids are rethinking their priorities, neighbors are starting to think about each other differently, and that kind of spirit.”
The president said that, in his inaugural speech, he hoped to convey that the American spirit is what will guide the nation through rough times.
“Government is going to work, we’re going to make it work,” Obama said. “But it’s ultimately the American people coming together that is going to determine what we accomplish and how we get through some very difficult challenges.”
From a private church service this morning to his inaugural address and the balls this evening, Obama said he is “going to soak in the atmosphere” before he hits the ground running tomorrow. He says the economy will top his “To Do” list.
“Fortunately, we’ve seen Congress immediately start working on the economic recovery package — getting that passed and putting people back to work — that’s going to be the thing we’ll be most focused on,” he said.
“We’ll be making a series of announcements both on domestic and foreign policy that I think will be critical for us to act swiftly on. We’re not going to be able to delay.”
As for the trip-up between Chief Justice John Roberts and the president while taking the oath of office, Obama waved it off.
“We were up there, we’ve got a lot of stuff on our minds. He actually, I think, helped me out on a couple of stanzas there,” the president said. “Overall, I think it went relatively smoothly and I’m very grateful to him.”