Sure, the inauguration is twelve days away, but Barack Obama's speech today was his most public declaration that he's in charge and (Lord help us all) knows the way out of the financial apocalypse.

The immediate political purpose of Obama's speech, given today at George Mason University, was to build the case for Congress to pass a stimulus package with virtually any price tag he asks. And the excerpts released to the media in advance were full of doom and gloom: "this recession could linger for years" ... “In short, a bad situation could become dramatically worse.”

You can read the whole speech over here, but in the clip above, Obama closes out on the hopeful, poetic note that he is known for, alluding to Langston Hughes ("more dreams will be deferred"), Winston Churchill ("And that is what we will do") and, of course, the last president to take over in such grim times, Franklin Roosevelt ("face down war, depression, and fear itself"), as well as his own contribution: "a new and hopeful beginning."