Obama pays public tribute to Lincoln's unifying legacy

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Barack Obama paid a visit to the Lincoln Memorial at the weekend, publicly honouring the man who inspired his career and whose legacy is to provide a major theme for the inauguration in eight days.

The President-elect took his family to the monument on Saturday night, where they admired the statue of the 16th President, before studying the inscriptions of his greatest speeches, including the Gettysburg Address.

It was the latest indication that Mr Obama intends to begin his presidency citing his hero, an opponent of slavery who led the abolitionist North during the Civil War of 1861-65.

He has decided to be sworn into office using Abraham Lincoln's bible, and will spend three days this week travelling by train from Philadelphia to Washington, following the final leg of an identical journey taken by Lincoln.

The theme of Mr Obama's inauguration week, "A New Birth of Freedom", was inspired by Lincoln's speeches, while the menu for the lunch following his swearing-in is a replica of the one enjoyed by his predecessor.

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