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Barack Obama visits with American troops in Afghanistan

On 20 January, Barack Obama formally takes over as President of the United States.

As well as ceremony and speeches, his inaugeration day will be filled with symbolism: of new beginnings, rites of passage, of change.

It's the president's opportunity to declare his administration's intent as he faces a time of economic crisis.

Radio New Zealand's Morning Report producer, Phil Pennington travelled to Washington to cover Mr Obama's election and examines the challenges ahead for the new President.

First broadcast on 16 November 2008

Picture: Barack Obama meets American troops in Afghanistan. (source:Illinois Senate Office)