ALBANY—State Senator Bill Perkins was the first prominent elected official in New York to endorse Barack Obama's candidacy during the presidential primary.
Speaking by phone from the Mall in Washington today, he told me he is more than pleased.
"I couldn't ask for more. In fact, I got more than I asked for," Perkins just said. "He's obviously fulfilled my expectations in being the best choice for the country, and for the world for that matter, and at the right time. I have never, in my years, seen such a cross-section of folk wanting to be united."
I asked him what struck him about Obama's speech, which touched on the challenges facing his new administration.
"I thought it was a very inspiring yet sober speech that obviously laid out the legacy upon which this founded, and the optimism about our ability to overcome what are clearly dangerous waters, so to speak. And the reality of having to be able to work with the rest of the world."
And here's what Perkins had to say about watching the first African-American sworn in to the presidency:
"It comes with a whole lot of meaning considering we're doing this in the atmosphere in which we're celebrating Dr. Martin Luther King. The fact of the matter is he has fulfilled, significantly, that aspect of the dream and it speaks importantly to how our democracy has evolved and grown and that is wonderful thing. But it also tells us at the same time that there's still work to be done," he said. "We can make change and we can make a big difference, and I think that is inspiring us to keep the faith and keep on going."