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Obama agenda: Boldly progressive.

James Fallows calls Obama’s speech “the most sustainedly ‘progressive’ statement Barack Obama has made in his decade on the national stage.”

David Remnick: “Barack Obama without apology—a liberal emboldened by political victory and a desire to enter the history books with a progressive agenda. His rhetoric was not high-flown, but it was muscular, clear. Gone is the primacy of compromise, which marked Obama’s days as president of the Harvard Law Review and even his first years in office. He no longer seems determined to transcend ideology or partisanship; experience has led him toward an engagement with politics in a tougher, clearer way.”

More: “The speech was no match for the two greatest moments of oratory ever heard in Washington—Lincoln’s second Inaugural and Martin Luther King, Jr.,’s address, nearly a century later, at the Lincoln Memorial—but, if it is followed by action, it will be counted among the most important American political addresses of the modern era.”

Andrew Sullivan: "If you have long believed, as I have, that this man could easily become the liberal Reagan by the end of his second term,… then this speech will not have surprised you.” More: “It was, in some ways, then a final rejoinder to Ronald Reagan's critical qualifier to his declaration of government as the problem in January 1981. … It was to say that Reagan's solutions may have been right then but they are not right now.” Sullivan also calls it the first “self-confident center-left speech … in my adult lifetime.”

But he adds, “The first big disappointment is his not being honest with us about the entitlement state.”

Politico’s Harris and Martin call it “the most ideologically ambitious speech since Ronald Reagan’s first inaugural address a generation and a half ago.”

Politico’s Thrush calls it “the most liberal speech he has delivered as president — a blunt summons to wage war on poverty, defend entitlements for the middle class, end ‘perpetual war’ overseas and move past the calibrated progressive agenda of his first term. Gone were the pleas for bipartisanship of his first inaugural, vaporized by years of partisan battle and Obama’s own sense of a new mandate — achieving bipartisan results through force, not conciliation.”

The Boston Globe: “President Obama on Monday used his second inaugural address to call for a new spirit of unity to solve the nation’s challenges, from economic disparity to gay rights to climate change, urging a recommitment to the country’s founding principles of equality.”

Jill Lawrence: “At least 10 times during his second inaugural address, President Obama made unmistakable allusions to Republican ideas that he rejects and wants the country to reject – even as he wrapped the critiques in a call for togetherness. … Every one of these issues fractures Republicans. The speech, devoid as it was of olive branches, played into the emerging Republican consensus that Obama is trying to divide and destroy the GOP. They are right about the division part, though likely mistaken when they impute a motive to destroy.”

Despite all that, Ron Fournier was unimpressed: “If there was a sentence or sentiment that will be carved in marble and remembered by history, it was not evident Monday. President Obama's second inaugural address was hampered by the fact that he governs in one of American history’s most divided moments, grounded by the memory of promises he made four years ago to reform Washington.” More: “Whether this was a moment for the ages will depend on Obama's ability to persuade both his rivals and allies to accept the difference between absolutism and principle.”

AP: “Obama stands his ground on fiscal debates.”

Politico: “President Barack Obama insisted four years ago that the nation must make ‘hard decisions’ to preserve entitlement programs. But on Monday, the ‘hard choices’ he spoke of on health care and the deficit came with a major caveat: He’s not willing to give up much.”

“As crowds descended and the inauguration unfolded, a few museum curators in Washington kept watch for symbols and messages that would make history,” AP writes. “The Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History and Culture will open during President Barack Obama’s second term, and one section will feature a large display about the first black president. Curators have been working since 2008 to gather objects, documents and images that capture his place in history.”

“Environmental groups hailed President Barack Obama’s warning Monday about climate change, but said the president’s words will soon be tested as he decides whether to approve the Keystone XL oil pipeline from Canada to the Gulf Coast,” AP writes.

Peter Alexander reported that Romney was home and likely not watching the inaugural. Dan Amira of New York magazine “notes it's the first time since 1997 that a presidential runner-up didn't attend his opponent's inauguration ceremony.” (H/T: Political Wire.)