President-elect Barack Obama went to see an old friend Saturday night.
Obama made an unannounced visit with his family to see the Lincoln Memorial, paying tribute to a former president he frequently invokes as an inspiration.
Obama arrived in his motorcade shortly after 7 p.m. He stepped out with his wife Michelle and daughters Malia and Sasha and walked up the steps into the memorial.
Once inside, Obama and his family had the opportunity to gaze at the nearly 20-foot statue of the 16th president and see the carved inscriptions of Lincoln's Second Inaugural Address and his Gettysburg Address on the walls.
After touring the memorial briefly, including the lower part of memorial that houses some exhibits, the Obamas walked out, facing the reflective pool and Washington Monument. He waved to some onlookers standing around the memorial's lower steps.
Obama frequently invokes the memory of Lincoln. He announced he was running for president in Springfield, Ill, at the steps of the Old Capitol, where Lincoln was a legislator.
He even plans to use the same Bible at his inauguration that Abraham Lincoln used for his swearing in. Obama will be the first president since Lincoln to use that Bible, part of the collection of the Library of Congress.
On Inauguration Day, the luncheon that will be served in Congress's Statuary Hall to the president-elect and vice president-elect and their families -- as well as congressional leaders, justices of the Supreme Court and pending members of the Obama Cabinet -- will include foods that Lincoln enjoyed.
The president-elect will be back at the Lincoln Memorial soon. He plans to trace the train route that Lincoln took and hold a welcome event at the Memorial ahead of his Jan. 20 inauguration.