When Obama took office, he inherited a global economic recession, two ongoing foreign wars and the lowest-ever international favorability rating for the United States. He campaigned on an ambitious agenda of financial reform, alternative energy and reinventing education and health care—all while bringing down the national debt. Because these issues were intertwined with the economic well-being of the nation, he believed all would have to be undertaken simultaneously. During his inauguration speech, Obama summarized the situation by saying, "Today I say to you that the challenges we face are real. They are serious and they are many. They will not be met easily or in a short span of time. But know this, America: They will be met."
In a 2006 interview, Obama highlighted the diversity of his extended family : "It's like a little mini-United Nations", he said. "I've got relatives who look like Bernie Mac , and I've got relatives who look like Margaret Thatcher ."  Obama has a half-sister with whom he was raised ( Maya Soetoro-Ng , the daughter of his mother and her Indonesian second husband) and seven half-siblings from his Kenyan father's family—six of them living.  Obama's mother was survived by her Kansas-born mother, Madelyn Dunham,  until her death on November 2, 2008,  two days before his election to the Presidency. Obama also has roots in Ireland; he met with his Irish cousins in Moneygall in May 2011.  In Dreams from My Father , Obama ties his mother's family history to possible Native American ancestors and distant relatives of Jefferson Davis , President of the Confederate States of America during the American Civil War .