Our challenges may be new. The instruments with which we meet them may be new. But those values upon which our success depends - hard work and honesty, courage and fair play, tolerance and curiosity, loyalty and patriotism - these things are old.
He did two things here. He managed expectations by invoking the values of hard work and courage. But he also very successfully combined his vision of "change" with the older "values" of loyalty, fair play and patriotism. Obama's a master communicator, and with these two sentences, he brought together the old and the new way of doing politics (according to him -- I'm not sure the "new" way is all that different from the old).
He also didn't shy away from religion. I especially like these two sentences:
For we know that our patchwork heritage is a strength, not a weakness. We are a nation of Christians and Muslims, Jews and Hindus - and non-believers.
That "patchwork heritage" can only be an asset if we can recognize the value in other ways of life. If tensions still exist that will cause disputes or violence, the asset turns into a liability. But I think the fact that we elected a man of darker skin color than ever before shows that we're willing to try a new way of life in that respect. Differences as an asset. I hope it can work.
Overall, I think the new president did a great job. I hope he can make the positive changes that he was elected to make.