President-elect Barack Obama speaks to reporters in Chicago, Tuesday, Dec. 9, 2008.

AP Photo/Charles Dharapak

President-elect Barack Obama’s face and featured interview appeared
prominently on the top front page of the Chicago Tribune today which
was attention-grabbing……before the reader unfolded the full paper to
see the disgraced governor’s story just below it.

However, the Tribune and Obama found it timely to do this interview, to change the subject from schemes to plans.

Barack Obama says his presidency is an opportunity for
the U.S. to renovate its relations with the Muslim world, starting the
day of his inauguration and continuing with a speech he plans to
deliver in an Islamic capital.

And when he takes the oath of office Jan. 20, he plans to be sworn
in like every other president, using his full name: Barack Hussein
Obama.

“I think we’ve got a unique opportunity to reboot America’s image
around the world and also in the Muslim world in particular,'’ Obama
said Tuesday, promising an “unrelenting” desire to “create a
relationship of mutual respect and partnership in countries and with
peoples of good will who want their citizens and ours to prosper
together.”

The world, he said, “is ready for that message.”

And what will it take?

Obama said the country must take advantage of a unique
chance to recalibrate relations around the globe, through a new
diplomacy that emphasizes inclusiveness and tolerance

(what does that mean?)…

as well as an unflinching stand against terrorism.

“The message I want to send is that we will be unyielding in
stamping out the terrorist extremism we saw in Mumbai,” Obama said,
adding that he plans to give a major address in an Islamic capital as
part of his global outreach.

That’s news. The world will certainly be watching that one.

Over the next several paragraphs, Obama artfully dodged most of the
questions the Trib staff raised, from controversial appointments to
race relations to religion. He hasn’t chosen a spiritual adviser in
recent months. However…

“I’m reliant on the pastors who are friends of mine, and who I talk to for support, and my own prayer life at home,” he said.

It would serve us all well to pray for him, and those who are advising him. 

Sheila Liaugminas

Sheila Liaugminas is an Emmy award-winning Chicago-based journalist in print and broadcast media. Her writing and broadcasting covers matters of faith, culture, politics and the media....