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Obama's big win, and now, big embrace

Tough times call for the new president to rally even his foes.

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Barack Obama once told a journalist that the one book he would bring to the White House – besides the Bible – would be a bestseller about President Lincoln’s inclusive leadership style, titled “Team of Rivals.”

The book's author, presidential historian Doris Kearns Goodwin, makes the case that by bringing political opponents into his cabinet , Lincoln was able to solicit dissenting voices, make his enemies his allies, and lead the country through its greatest crisis.

As bad as the economy may appear in the US right now, Americans are not warring with each other -- though it has sometimes felt that way in these years of political polarization.

Still, an historic election that delivered America’s first African-American president coincides with a historic period of severe challenges. These times require teamwork between the parties.

Given the gains by Democrats in Congress and their recapture of the White House after eight years, it might be tempting for the victors to say “my turn,” and then plow ahead without regard to the other side.

But the national sacrifice needed to meet the challenges of today and not-so-distant tomorrow will not be small, and will affect all Americans. Thus, the leadership to steer through these crises will have to embrace all Americans.

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