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ANDERSON COOPER 360 DEGREES
Obama's White House Call; What's Next for Sarah Palin
Aired November 10, 2008 - 23:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: Tonight President-elect Obama's historic house call, face to face with President Bush at the White House. Along with remarkable pictures, we've got details on the mood and what was discussed as well as new reporting on how Mr. Obama is conducting his transition to power.
Also tonight, Big Bang; new information about how quickly the Obama administration may try and move to fix the economy and take on other campaign promises. Will the Republicans cooperate? Will the president's fellow Democrats?
And later, Palin's push back; home in Alaska, cooking moose chili, literally stewing about her treatment on the trail and even now, stirring the pot. She's speaking out to "360's" Gary Tuchman about charges she was a no-nothing diva; charges coming from inside her own campaign.
We begin tonight though with striking images of democracy in action and history being written; President-elect Barack Obama and his wife visiting President Bush and the First Lady at the White House, a major step in the transfer of presidential power which began last Tuesday. Unremarkable because this is something that has occurred with each new administration. But remarkable because Barack Obama is the country's first African-American president and his new residence, the White House, was originally built in part by slaves.
More from Ed Henry.
ED HENRY, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: President Bush had predicted a stirring sight when the first African-American president- elect arrived at the White House and he was right as both men appear committed to heal any lingering tension from the sometimes bitter campaign.
DAVID GERGEN, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: They're being gracious about it. And I think you're going to see an unusual degree of good spirit.
HENRY: So much excitement that people literally pressed their noses up to the gate to try and get a glimpse, hours before the two leaders took the walk alone for the future president's first ever visit to the Oval Office which lasted more than an hour as they discussed the financial crisis and national security.
DANA PERINO, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: I don't think any of us can understand what it's like for two people who are now going to be in a very small club, who understand what it's like to be the commander-in-chief.
HENRY: An unlikely alliance but the two men formed some sort of a bond at their first White House meeting in 2005 at a reception for freshmen senators. The president warned Obama to get ready for the increased scrutiny, advice that proved prescient. And now the two men have an incentive to work together.
GERGEN: Automobile sales are down to the worst level in a quarter of a century. This is very serious stuff and I think you'll see Bush and Obama working well together in the next few weeks.
HENRY: They also want to cooperate because this is the first handoff since 9/11 and both men know there were terror attacks in Spain and Scotland during transfers of power.
PERINO: We really want to make sure that we work with him through joint exercises, to providing briefings so that when we hand the baton to them they're able to move forward and continue to protect the country.
COOPER: Ed, at the White House tonight -- there's a mystery about another meeting that Obama held today, where was it and when was it?
HENRY: As soon as he left the White House this afternoon, he headed over to Reagan National Airport. And while his jet was waiting, he went to the firehouse at the national airport for a long meeting with either a mystery person or persons. A lot of speculation tonight maybe had to do with first responders since it was in a fire house. Maybe it was a meeting with a potential Secretary of Homeland Security.
But I have been e-mailing Obama advisers tonight; they're all in lockdown saying they can't talk about it. But I've been assured that there's not going to be a cabinet announce this week. They say there could be some more White House staff announcements this week but cabinet secretaries are not likely to come until next week -- Anderson.
COOPER: All right, Ed Henry thanks.
President Bush showed the president-elect around while First Lady Laura Bush took Michelle Obama on a tour of the living quarters. Now it's our turn to show you a little of what they saw because even though the White House has its secrets, it is your house too and most of the truly fascinating facts are right there if you know how to find them.
"360's" Tom Foreman does and joins us now with the inside into it -- Tom.
TOM FOREMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Anderson, the Obamas will face quite a change in lifestyle as all First Families do because of their new address. So let's see what the president-elect saw.
FOREMAN: Starting with the seat of power, the Oval Office, former presidents have told me they never lost the sense of awe every single day walking up to their desks here. Just down the hall, the cabinet room, president-elect Obama is trying to decide who should fill all the chairs around this table, knowing that some of his most important discussions will take place right here.
This is the diplomatic room, where world leaders will come to pay their respects and where FDR held his famous fire side chats. The blue room, President Martin Van Buren painted it that color and no president has changed it. The red room, famous for its ornate furniture and receptions by Dolly Madison.
And speaking of First Ladies, look at some of what Michelle Obama probably saw. Planning a party? With five full-time chefs, you can use the state dining room to have 140 guests for a sit down dinner or 1,000 for hors d'oeuvres.
For a smaller gathering she might consider the map room; the map on the wall drawn by Thomas Jefferson's father, and so many other spectacular settings. The White House has 132 rooms, 35 bathrooms, 412 doors, eight staircases and three elevators.
FOREMAN: It is an immense place, although we should note that the family's actual living quarters are much smaller, only about 16 rooms, although they do include they own wonders, among them the Lincoln bedroom. The family gets $100,000 for redecorating and maintaining the White House during his term and the first daughters can choose their own bedroom decor; a nice place to come home to at the end of a long campaign.
And Anderson I have to say, as much as these pictures today were dazzling to see -- and people keep noting that he was the first African-American to be in that position -- I must say I'm dazzled by the youth of this family. We haven't seen a family so young in quite some time and it brings a certain energy to the White House whether you're for him or against him politically.
Quite an amazing picture to see and you can't help but imagine what it's going to be like for this family to live in this most famous address in the world.
COOPER: And to just have two young kids running around the White House, that is going to be something we haven't seen since Jimmy Carter with Amy Carter.
FOREMAN: It will be an interesting four years, no matter how you look at it.
COOPER: And on the money they get $100,000 basically to redecorate or refurnish things they want? That's not a lot if they have 16 rooms to take care of. In the kind of grand style of the White House, I don't think $100,000 goes very far.
FOREMAN: Yes, it's not a whole lot. They can bring their own furniture in if they want to, that can cut down on the cost if they want. But they also, when you talk about historic public places, actually any changes they would make there, they would do with historians, people to make sure they change a certain way to make things happen.
I mean, good heavens, this is a residence that really does belong to the people of the country. And yet, this family has to find a way to live in the middle of this extraordinary hubbub and try to maintain something of a private life, something of a real family life.
It's a very hard trick to pull off as many First Families have found. But they're going to make a good stab at it I'm sure.
COOPER: That's the Lincoln bedroom right there.
Tom thanks very much.
We're going to have a lot more of what Barack Obama and Michelle Obama saw inside the White House today. Later in the program, Randi Kaye is going to tell us about that.
But today was not Obama's first one-on-one encounter with President Bush. Actually, in his second book, "The Audacity of Hope," Mr. Obama writes about a visit in 2005 along with other newly-elected lawmakers. In fact, because the book is available in audio form, we have his impressions of the moment in his own words and his own voice.
(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)
SEN. BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT-ELECT OF THE UNITED STATES: "Obama!" the president said, shaking my hand, "Come here and meet Laura. Laura, you remember Obama, we saw him on TV during election night. Beautiful family and that wife of yours, that's one impressive lady."
"We both got better than we deserve, Mr. President," I said, shaking the First Lady's hand and hoping that I'd wiped any crumbs off my face. The president turned to an aide nearby who squirted a big dollop of hand sanitizer in the president's hand.
"Want some?" The president asked. "Good stuff. Keeps you from getting colds." Not wanting to seem unhygienic, I took a squirt.
"Come over here for a second." He said leading me off to one side of the room. "You know," he said quietly, "I hope you don't mind me giving you a piece of advice."
"Not at all," Mr. President. He nodded. "You've got a very bright future," he said, "very bright. But I've been in this town a while and, let me tell you, it can be tough. When you get a lot of attention like you've been getting, people start gunning for you and it won't necessarily be just coming from my side, you understand, from yours too. Everybody will be waiting for you to slip, know what I mean? So watch yourself."
(END AUDIO CLIP)
COOPER: Well, what a difference a couple of years make. As we said, more of Obama's White House tour later.
Let us know what you think of this historic-making day. Go to the live chat happening now at ac360.com. I'll be blogging there throughout the hour with you. And check out Randi Kaye's live web cast during the break tonight. Erica Hill is off.
Up next what the Obama administration will be facing from the get-go and how he plans to attack. Will it be a big bang approach as some people are calling it? We'll tell you what that means and if it's too risky.
Also tonight, Sarah Palin at home, speaking out.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GOV. SARAH PALIN, (R) ALASKA: This is Barack Obama's time right now. And this is an historic moment in our nation and this can be a shining moment for America in our history and look what we're talking about. Again we're talking about my shoes and belts and skirts and this is ridiculous.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: Sarah Palin settling a few scores with our Gary Tuchman. That's coming up.
But before we go to break the Obamas got a tour of the White House today, but how much do you know about the White House? Let's test your knowledge.
Here's the first question. What recreational facility did President Nixon have built in the White House. Was it A - a tennis court; B - a movie theater; C - a bowling alley; or D - a basketball court? The answer and Richard Nixon actually having fun, when we come back after the break.
COOPER: So, the question was, what recreational facility did President Nixon have built in the White House? And, no, it wasn't a prison weight room. Was it, A, a tennis court; B, a movie theater; C, a bowling alley; or D, a basketball court? The answer, C, a bowling alley, just a single lane in a wee workspace underneath the north portico.
President Nixon was an avid bowler -- there he is -- a very formal bowler, missing only a bowler hat, by the looks of it. But, wow, check out that wallpaper. Quite something. The new president, by his own admission, not much of a bowler; he rolled a 37 back on the trail in Pennsylvania. We're talking about Barack Obama. And, in any case, he will probably end doing a lot more juggling than bowling.
Mr. Obama starts his term with two wars, rogue states, failed states, and a global economic meltdown to deal with. And if a successful presidency is all about setting priorities, what do you do when just about everything looks like it ought to be job number one?
Let's dig deeper now on today's historic meeting and what lies ahead with "Time" magazine's Mark Halperin, CNN's Candy Crowley, and CNN's Joe Johns.
So, Candy, the meeting today between President Bush and President- elect Obama, are these meetings actually helpful to the incoming president, or is it kind of just a photo-op?
CANDY CROWLEY, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: I think it's both actually. I think it's a symbol to the nation, a sign to the nation, that that peaceful transfer of power is taking place. I think there are some logistical things. Obviously, they have never seen the home quarters of the White House there, certain things.
And I think, if we believe what we have been told about this meeting, that Barack Obama wanted to talk about the economy, wanted to talk about a stimulus plan, wanted to talk about extending unemployment benefits, both things that sort of need to be done immediately, and could and might be done while George Bush is still in office.
And we also know that President Bush wanted to talk about homeland security and threats from abroad. So, there seemed to me to be two very important areas that they could discuss and perhaps find some meeting of the minds if they could do something between now and the time Barack Obama takes office.
Mark, behind closed doors, do we know, did they meet with more than just each other? I mean, did -- President-elect Obama meet with also the staff of President Bush, or was it just these two men?
MARK HALPERIN, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: First, can I pay homage to your transitions, the bowling, the juggling?
COOPER: Well, hey, you...
HALPERIN: It was awesome.
COOPER: Well, it was written by Marshall (ph). So, I will pass it along.
HALPERIN: All right. But you read it very well.
COOPER: Well, that's the most important thing.
HALPERIN: As far as I know, he just met with the president and the first lady, and, as Candy suggested, the business side in the Oval Office. Pretty remarkable. A guy gets elected president of the United States, and his first trip to the Oval Office is as president- elect.
And, then, also, the personal side of the touring of the -- of the family quarters. But there was also meetings at the staff level, John Podesta, who is running the transition for Barack Obama, or helping with the transition meeting with the White House chief of staff. And then Robert Gibbs, who everyone expects will be the spokesperson for the -- for the face of the administration, meeting with his counterpart, Dana Perino.
So, there's a lot of contact going on. Much more -- much more has already taken place, not just at the level of president and president-elect, but at the staff level, than we saw eight years ago, when there was that bitter feeling.
I talked to some of the Clinton people from Clinton to Bush 43, and the transition there was cursory. It was -- it was fraught with a little bit of tension.
This is a model for our democracy of how, from a conservative Democrat to a liberal -- a conservative Republican to a liberal Democrat, the handoff needs to take place.
COOPER: And just the historic nature of the fact that -- I mean, Barack Obama entering this house as the first African-American president, this White House which was built in part, as we said earlier, by slaves, it's just -- it's one of those remarkable milestones.
Joe, we're hearing discussions that the president-elect might use this so-called big bang approach, attempting to -- you know, big strides to try to fix the economy, health care, education, other problems, all at once.
Does he risk biting off more than he can chew?
JOE JOHNS, CNN SENIOR CORRESPONDENT: Well, sure, trying to get that defined. You talk to some economists who say, this isn't going to improve without dramatic action, Anderson. And then you have those high expectations that Obama has been trying to manage.
But you say big bang, it sounds like you're trying to create the universe. I mean, that's a lot. And the thing you really want to avoid on Capitol Hill is those little land mines that sort of blow up in your face around the Congress from both parties.
Those are the things that Barack Obama has to worry about, no matter how big a picture or how small a thing he's trying to bite off.
COOPER: Candy, I guess, if he doesn't try a big bang, what is the alternative? And does that risk disappointing those who are waiting for change?
CROWLEY: Well, yes. And, certainly, he campaigned on big things, but there are ways to go about this. I mean, he has said: "I don't want to give anything up that I campaigned on. We need to look at the economy. We need to look at health care. We need to look at, obviously, the war in Iraq at this point. And we need to look at energy policy."
But he doesn't have to do the totality of what he has proposed all at once. For instance, we know they want another stimulus package. That was first on his agenda, according to the president- elect. They can take a part of the energy package and try to get that moving forward. They could do the first part of their health care plan, which is to get all children covered with some sort of health insurance.
So, it doesn't have to be all of these things in their totality. He could work on several fronts. It's still a big bite to chew, but this is a man who campaigned on big things.
COOPER: Mark, there's also a lot of talk about executive orders, president-elect -- about Obama, once he becomes president, using executive orders to try to reverse some Bush administration policies on some hot-button issues. Stem cell research has been mentioned.
What are some of the other ones we can expect? And how many executive orders are we talking about?
HALPERIN: Well, you will see some on abortion, maybe some on issues related to balancing national security and civil liberties. Those are important. They're substantive. And they -- and often, they help the base.
I think the two most important things, though, are to keep the congressional leadership, particularly the Democrats, invested in his agenda. Some of that is helped by the executive orders, but they want them obviously focused on legislating.
And the other thing is some early legislative wins. If you look at the last two Democratic presidents and why they did not get off to good starts, and, in the case of Carter, doomed the presidency right at the beginning, it was because they failed at the beginning. They let facts and events define their administration, and they didn't get a lot done.
So, I suspect, between these executive orders and some of the things Candy talked about, children's health and perhaps something on energy, and certainly stimulus, you will see a concerted attempt, both substantively and for P.R. purposes, to get some early wins to show momentum, to show change, and to show things are different than when George Bush was there, and to try to then build on that with some of the big bang things maybe a little bit later on in the first year.
COOPER: Joe, what about those middle-class tax cuts that he campaigned about? Any sense how soon and/or for sure will those go into effect? And what about the idea of raising taxes on those making more than $250,000?
JOHNS: Well, they're -- right now, they're making it sound like they're going to do it very soon.
And he could get pulled in every direction. Guys like the Tax Policy Center here say Obama might need to rethink the tax cuts for the middle class to get the budget in check. No sign he wants to do that. He want to delay, you know, perhaps, the tax increase on the top wage earners. We haven't heard anything about that.
He's really getting slammed on the right for that idea of not pushing down the deficit by reducing spending. So he could get hit on all sides if the opposition ever builds on this. This could be a very tough piece.
COOPER: No doubt about that. Joe Johns, Mark Halperin, Candy Crowley, thanks.
Just ahead tonight, breaking the code; the new presidential code names revealed. Don't worry it's not a security breach. We'll explain.
And later President-elect Dad taking Sasha and Malia to school in Chicago; something they'll all be leaving behind. Tonight we'll look at Obama's new lives in Chicago and what their lives in Washington will be like in their new home.
Plus Sarah Palin cooking and dishing to Gary Tuchman about her critics; her first interview since returning to Alaska.
That and more when "360" continues.
COOPER: A new string of bad economic news today, new layoffs and word that insurance giant AIG needs more money, another $70 billion -- taxpayer dollars or so, in addition to the $80 billion it's already burned through. One or another you are paying the price, we all are.
The question tonight, what happens when you need bailing out? Has all that money for AIG and for all the AIG's of the world suck the well dry? It's your, it's your future, and a new president has been making a lot of promises.
CNN's Ali Velshi joins us. Ali, Obama's laid out pretty ambitious plans, trying to fix the economy, helping individuals, talking about a second stimulus, health care reform, extending unemployment benefits, tax relief.
How much can he actually do and what does he have to do in order to begin to turn things around?
ALI VELSHI, CNN SENIOR BUSINESS CORRESPONDENT: Anderson, I was just listening to the discussion that you had a few minutes ago about what he has to do politically.
Let's talk about what has to happen economically or are the best things to happen to try and turn this economy around. The first one was really a mantra of John McCain's and also Barack Obama's during the campaign.
They want to cut taxes on people, cutting taxes on people or businesses generally speaking, leaves them with more money to either spend or expand and hire people. That'll lead to some more hiring.
Number two, fix the mortgage crisis. What exactly are we going to do to stop people from being evicted from their homes? Because fundamentally the more homes that are unsold, the lower the price of homes generally speaking are.
And number three, this is the big one, we talked about it all the time, create jobs. You know what a mess that we've been in, in terms of jobs in the last three months. We've lost 1.2 million jobs this year alone and many people think that buy the date of the inauguration we may have lost another 500,000 jobs.
And that feeds on itself, because people who aren't working aren't paying taxes. They're recipients of money from the system and they're not contributing to the economy otherwise. So that's the thing that has to be turned around most importantly -- Anderson.
COOPER: All right, the government needs to create jobs. You've said already that we have lost one million jobs this is year. How does Obama plan on creating the jobs? What plan should he do?
VELSHI: Real philosophical difference between the Republicans and the Democrats on this one. Barack Obama is going to have to do both of the -- take both approaches to create jobs.
Let me describe what they are. The first one is the one that we've been hearing about; this infrastructure program, this new green economy. So if you build infrastructure or energy projects, what happens is that the government hires contractors to build wind farms or electrical grids and things likes that. They hire contractors and those contractors hire people for those jobs.
That's one way that the government can spend money to create jobs.
The other way, which is favored by the Republicans but may have to be applied in this case anyway because we're so desperate for jobs is to lower taxes on businesses. The thinking is if you lower taxes, businesses have more money to spend in terms of hiring people, in terms of expanding. So what that does is it benefits the employers and those employers hire people and that creates jobs.
Two different philosophies of creating jobs, but that's how jobs are ultimately created. And that's the kind of thing that this administration, this new administration is going to have to think about -- Anderson.
COOPER: There's another story out there that I was kind of scratching my head about today, I want to ask you about. There's a report that the Federal Reserve is refusing to identify recipients of almost like $2 trillion in emergency loans to banks and other institutions. VELSHI: Yes.
COOPER: And when this was announced and everyone voted on it, there were all these promises about transparency, what happened to that?
VELSHI: Truly remarkable story. When you take all the programs, there are 15 of them now including the bailout that have been designed to give money to companies and banks, there has been more than $2 trillion given over so far. One of my colleagues over at Bloomberg News wanted to find out what the collateral is that these banks have been putting up for those loans, the Treasury and the Fed refused to answer.
Under the Freedom of Information Act, so they have Bloomberg has sued the Federal government to get that information. Believe it or not Anderson, after all of these, after all the taxpayer money that's gone into this, they are not telling us what the collateral is, that they're putting up for the loans.
Some people say it's academic at this point because we have approved it and we basically said whatever they put up, we're giving them the money anyway. But the fact that they won't answer to taxpayers goes against the spirit of what we thought was being discussed when that bailout was being debated -- Anderson.
COOPER: Yes, why should anybody trust them at this point? It's ridiculous. Ali thanks.
Just ahead, inside the White House, 16 bedrooms, a bowling alley and roomfuls of history awaiting the next First Family. What's been changed over the years? We'll take a look at that.
But first Randy Kaye joins us with a "360 News and Business Bulletin" -- Randi.
RANDI KAYE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Anderson, a 29-year-old Arizona man allegedly killed by his eight-year-old son was buried today as the third grader appeared in court in handcuffs. Police say the boy confessed to shooting his father and a man who rented a room in their house. He's been charged as a juvenile with two counts of murder.
William Balfour, the estranged husband of Jennifer Hudson's sister was denied released from prison today after a witness reported seeing him with a gun. Balfour has been questioned for the killings of Hudson's mother, brother and nephew, but has not been charged.
The global delivery company, DHL, said that it will cut 9,500 jobs and discontinue air and ground operations in the U.S. by end of January. The DHL Express will continue to operate between the U.S. and other countries.
And take a look at this. Could this be the next first dog?
COOPER: No way. KAYE: Oh, yes. Take a look. Peru has offered to donate a Peruvian hairless puppy to the Obama's, it's kind of cute. The National Dog of Peru is said to be hypoallergenic which President- elect Obama has said is a must for the puppy that he has promised his daughters because Anderson as you know --
COOPER: That's not going to be the dog.
KAYE: I don't know 10-year-old Malia is allergic. Their options might be limited; they might have to go with this one.
COOPER: No, there's plenty of other options, we're going to look at some of the other options tomorrow on "360." I'm telling you, no offense to Peru, I love the country, but I don't think that's going to be the dog in the White House. I don't know, call me crazy.
Up next, an amazing sight an up close encounter with an elephant, the largest land roaming animal on earth. Lisa Ling shows us what she faced during our "Planet in Peril" investigation.
COOPER: Not too long ago we showed you a little bit of Lisa Ling's report from Chad and the plight of elephants there. The animals live in the most volatile places on the earth. These warring factions in and around nearby Darfur use the elephant's ivory to partly fund their military campaign.
All of this is part of our worldwide investigation called "Planet in Peril: Battle Lines" which culminates in a two-hour documentary airing in a month on December 11th. Tonight, more from Lisa including a surprise encounter with the largest land animal on earth.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
LISA LING, CNN CORRESPONDENT: I have to say that it is an awesome sight to see these central African elephants just roaming in the wild. They're considered to be the largest land roaming animal on earth and this is only one of two places in Central Africa where they still roam freely.
Oh, God. Oh God.
We're with Mike Fay who is with Wildlife Conservation Society. And he says that one time there was tens of thousands of these elephants in the park. And in recent years that number has dwindled to, he thinks, fewer than a 1,000. And that's because poachers and rebels from Sudan have been coming here and attacking these elephants just for their tusks.
MIKE FAY, WILDLIFE CONSERVATION SOCIETY: We're talking you know a quarter of a million dollars, probably worth of ivory here.
LING: I have been here for the last week and had a really incredible experience on the one hand, but also a devastating experience in that I've seen these massive creatures just out there and it's a sight that I will never forget.
FAY: Oh, man, you can't even believe it.
LING: Oh, my God! Wow!
These animals are just the coolest animals I have ever seen. But by the same token, I've seen them shot and killed for their tusks while their body just lays there rotting.
God. Oh the smell is unbelievable and it is truly just a gruesome sight and we're going to take you directly into the battle to save the African elephant in Central Africa on "Planet in Peril" in December.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: That airs December 11th and see where humans and nature are colliding and what we all can do the stop the damage. Check out more on our web site, CNN.com/planet.
Up next, life after the election, a one-on-one interview with Sarah Palin. "360's" Gary Tuchman talked with her back home in Alaska. And what's in her future?
The "Raw Politics" when we continue.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
PALIN: I really liked her. One of her in-laws came to one of our rallies and met us backstage. They are pretty hardcore Republicans, the in-laws were. And she had told me. She was like, "Believe it or not, I'm from a family of Republicans."
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: In the kitchen with Sarah Palin as she talked about meeting Tina Fey's in-laws on the trail. This was the "Anchorage Daily News."
Back in her home in Wasilla, Alaska, the Governor spoke to reporters all while making moose chili and moose hot dogs.
Palin wasn't just cooking this weekend. According to her father, she was going through her family's wardrobe trying to find out what belongs to the Republican Party; the GOP having spent $150,000 on her clothing.
Far from stepping out of the spotlight since losing the election, Palin is moving further into the public eye.
She'll be the featured guest later this week at the Republican Governor's Association conference in Florida. And Palin also talked to "360's" Gary Tuchman in her office and the interview was candid and surprising. Gary has the "Raw Politics."
GARY TUCHMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: When Sarah Palin arrived back in frozen Alaska after an unpleasant election night in Phoenix, --
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Welcome home.
TUCHMAN: -- there was one message she kept hearing.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I will vote for you in 2012. You have to run, Sarah, we need you.
TUCHMAN: If the governor is thinking about being president, she's being coy.
PALIN: Plans for 2012 are to enroll Trig in kindergarten and you know, see where the kids are at that time in their life, they're going to come first and we'll see what happens.
TUCHMAN: The Sarah Palin I was with when she returned to her state and to her Governor's Office was a different person than she was on the campaign trail now that she is no longer under the thumb of McCain advisors.
PALIN: It was a little bit of a frustration that I didn't get to call more of those shots. And I guess that was the sort of the rogue criticism was she wants to talk to more than the media than perhaps some in the campaign wanted me to.
TUCHMAN: Unnamed McCain campaign sources have complained about her telling CNN and other news organizations that she didn't know for example what countries were in NAFTA and didn't know that Africa was a continent. That she enjoyed shopping too much.
She says those sources are wrong.
Governor, are you -- to put it in a blunt word are you P.O.'d by all this?
PALIN: Not P.O.'d by it; it's just very, very disappointing because this is Barack Obama's time right now. And this is an historic moment in our nation and this can be a shining moment for America and our history. And look at what we're talking about, again, we're talking about my shoes and belts and skirts.
TUCHMAN: The Governor told me the unnamed sources are cruel, mean-spirited jerks.
Do you think some of this criticism that's coming out now is sexist?
PALIN: There were double standards all along with -- throughout the campaign trail. I don't know if anybody's asking Barack Obama for instance, you know who did your makeup before you went on stage? But they've been asking me, and they've been reporting, you know, who powdered her nose before she went up on stage. I don't hear the guys being asked about that.
And you know who purchased the hair spray along the trail? We don't itemized what kind of hair spray Sarah Palin was using. And I don't hear the guys being asked. So that's a double standard and I'm not afraid or ashamed to admit that that is my feeling on this.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You're a great inspiration and a gutsy gal.
TUCHMAN: Only seven weeks ago, most non-Alaskans knew very little about her. Now her future is the topic of many a discussion.
COOPER: So did she give hints about her immediate future? I mean, clearly she's going to this Governor's meeting so that's a national stage.
TUCHMAN: Well, what's interesting about the meeting, Anderson, is she's speaking in a panel discussion about the Republican Party's future. So people will be listening very carefully to what she has to say.
But about her immediate future, well, you've got to keep in mind, the Alaska senior Senator Ted Stevens, is still in a tight race, one of the three races nationally that hasn't been determined yet. His opponent Democratic Anchorage Mayor, Mark Begich, Stevens is in front with about 50,000 absentee provisional ballots still to count.
If he wins, many people in the U.S. Senate say he will be expelled, he'll be kicked out. Then there has to be a special election. And Sarah Palin could run in it so we asked her if she would consider that.
She said, at this point she's not going to declare whether she is or she isn't, so she isn't making any commitment and that's probably a smart political move to make right now.
COOPER: What about Washington, D.C.? From schools and churches and shops and more that the First Family has a lot to consider when they relocate. We'll take on the insiders' tour next.
And also the Obama's in Chicago, that's the President-elect with his daughters. How their Chicago neighborhood has been transformed into a virtual fortress already. Coming up.
And when we return the answer to our White House quiz, who was the first president to call the White House home? Think you know? See if you're right, right after the break. Don't check Google.
COOPER: We're about to be answering our White House quiz. The question who is the first president to live in the White House? George Washington, John Adams, Thomas Jefferson or James Madison; the correct answer is B. John Adams.
I have gotten it wrong I thought it was Thomas Jefferson but anyway.
President-elect Barack Obama and Michelle Obama weren't just at the White House today. They had other stops in Washington. Michelle Obama reportedly visited private schools in the capital including one attended by Chelsea Clinton. The school search is just the start of a whole new way of life for the family.
And once again, here's Randi Kaye.
KAYE: The Obamas as aren't even packed, but their big move is big news in Washington D.C.
SALLY QUINN, WASHINGTON POST COLUMIST: This is the most electric place I can imagine being right now.
KAYE: "Washington Post" columnist, Sally Quinn has been part of the social scene here for decades. She offered some insight into the tone the First Family will set.
People are comparing them to Camelot and they are comparing them to the Kennedy's. What similarities do you see?
QUINN: The age, the youth of the First Family, that they have young children, so I think that that spirit of hope and optimism and idealism is very Kennedyesque.
KAYE: We dished with Sally over lunch at the Bombay Club just a stone's throw from the White House. Great for a power lunch but what about family time?
QUINN: This family, the Obama's really like Mexican food and there're several really good Mexican restaurants in Washington. And Mexican restaurants are much more family-oriented restaurants. We go to the Cactus Cantina all the time with our kids.
KAYE: You could see them going there?
QUINN: Yes, I can see them going there.
KAYE: For lunch with friends, the First Lady may try the Jockey Club.
QUINN: Jackie Kennedy lived at the Jockey Club and so it became the real hot spot in Washington. So that may end up being a place where she might go, she might feel comfortable.
KAYE: Where to send Sasha and Malia to school will be a big decision for the Obamas. In Chicago, they go to private schools and may do the same here. And one option, Sidwell Friends.
Chelsea Clinton and Al Gore's son went here, it's known for being very inclusive. Michelle Obama toured this school today. Sally expects Barack and Michelle Obama to embrace Washington's social scene as long as it doesn't interfere with their girls.
The Bushes apparently didn't entertain very much. In fact they held just six state dinners here at the White House in eight years. But given the warm reception Mr. Obama is receiving around the world he'll likely entertain world leaders a lot more.
QUINN: The world leaders will come and the world leaders will feel good about being invited to the White House and having someone who wants to reach out and wants to discuss things.
KAYE: And how will the new President work off all those state dinners?
The White House has a half court, but Obama may not be satisfied with that. Now he's never played basketball here at this luxurious Sports Club L.A., but it has one of the best courts in town, and it may be a place the family would join, it has a great kids program. The Bush twins used to work out here and Condoleezza Rice is a member, so the Secret Service is familiar with it.
Let the courting begin.
COOPER: We heard today what the Secret Service nicknames are for the Obamas. I was surprised that this information gets out there. But apparently it actually has nothing to do with their security function anymore.
So we're not giving away any some secrets?
KAYE: Right, no we're putting the new First Family at risk although we actually called the White House and the Secret Service makes these monikers as they called them public.
So we're not putting anybody at risk but we should tell you what they are. They are kind of interesting, for Barack Obama, his name by the Secret Service is Renegade, I guess because he has this campaign for change. And Michelle Obama will be called Renaissance; they consider her a renaissance woman apparently. Those two names are confirmed. And the two girls Malia and Sasha we don't have those confirmed. But it's been reported that Sasha will be Rose Bud, Sasha who is seven and Malia who is ten will be Radiance.
Apparently Anderson, they always use the same letter, in this case they are using the letter R for all the members of the First Family.
COOPER: Like Joe Biden is Celtic, his wife is Capri.
COOPER: She has an Italian background and so they say Capri.
COOPER: Anyway, interesting stuff.
KAYE: It is interesting.
COOPER: All right, Randi, thanks.
Of course, the big move is still weeks away. Today Barack Obama drops his kids off at school. We'll show you how their lives though, in Chicago have already changed as has their neighborhood.
COOPER: Taking the kids to school today, President-elect Obama this morning dropping off Sasha and Malia for class before he and Michelle Obama headed to Washington for their White House visit.
For the Obamas, life has changed forever. But it's also affected those living near them in Chicago's Hyde Park neighborhood. Their streets are clogged with tourists, TV cameras and, of course, Secret Service agents.
Chicago, you may know, is now the murder capital of the country, but now that it's known as Obama's town, many there hope that positive change is coming.
CNN's Jessica Yellin reports from Hyde Park.
JESSICA YELLIN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: This is the president-elect's house, and this is the president-elect's security, barricading his once quiet Hyde Street Park 24/7.
These days being Barack Obama's neighbor is a mixed blessing; new rules, more traffic.
AVI STOPPER, HYDE PARK RESIDENT: There are tons of police cars and Secret Service on every street, it seems. You have to kind of navigate through this labyrinth to get to where you want to go.
YELLIN: And odd new intrusions.
DREW THOMAS, HYDE PARK RESIDENT: The other it was three helicopters just hovering, I didn't know they could do that. I guess when they want -- start running out of gas, somebody else comes and takes their place.
YELLIN: The neighborhood is home to the University of Chicago, architectural landmarks and a diverse mix of people, including Rabbi Arnold Jacob Wolf, whose synagogue is across the street from the Obama home.
RABBI ARNOLD JACOB WOLF, CONGREGATION KAM ISAIAH ISRAEL: Prices went up. They may go down now because of all the security that prevents you from going to your own house or your own synagogue. YELLIN: His congregants have to show I.D. every time they come, all 1,000 of them. So how do they feel about their famous neighbor?
WOLF: Mostly a little excited, you know? Like this is the center of the world.
YELLIN: Most residents we spoke with say Obama's security is making the community safer, and they're hopeful his fame will bring tourists and money, perhaps, to the city of Chicago, as well.
This city has had its share of troubles. As the murder capital of the U.S., its reputation could use some burnishing.
Chicago has come to be known for its deep dish pizza, Al Capone and "Saturday Night Live" send-ups of its die-hard sports fans.
Oprah brought glamour, and now Barack Obama is bringing Chicago global prestige.
The eyes of the world were on the celebration at Grant Park last week. Chicago's Mayor Daley believes Obama will continue to draw attention this way.
MAYOR RICHARD DALEY, CHICAGO: His roots are her, you know, in the sense that his children were born here and his wife is from here. And he has many of his friends who are right from Chicago that are here.
YELLIN: He also believes Obama's Chicago roots could serve him as he develops policy in Washington.
DALEY: Just think it's the first time since John F. Kennedy we've had a president from an urban community like ours. So you don't have to educate himself and his staff all about urban issues.
YELLIN: The big question is, where will Obama make the western or Midwestern White House, maybe right here in the Windy City?
OBAMA: Hello, Chicago.
YELLIN: Jessica Yellin, CNN, Chicago.
COOPER: The presidential election is over. Now we need your help with another vote; choosing our CNN Hero of the Year. Time is running out, however; voting closes next week.
Over the next couple of days, we're going to be telling you more about our ten remarkable finalists. Your part is easy. In moment, we'll tell you how to vote for the hero that inspires you the most.
First, meet one of the finalists, Liz McCartney.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Katrina destroyed families, homes. We were normal red-blooded American family and one day it took to wipe us out. I was so beaten down that I was going to blow myself away.
LIZ MCCARTNEY, FINALIST, CNN HERO OF THE YEAR: When Katrina hit, I was living in Washington, D.C. I couldn't believe the pictures that I was looking at. I wanted to come down to New Orleans and volunteer.
I naively thought that six months later you would see all kinds of progress but St. Bernard Parish looked like the storm had just rolled through. We realized very quickly that we were going to move to New Orleans. It was just something that we felt like we had to do.
I'm Liz McCartney and I'm helping families rebuild in St. Bernard Parish. The St. Bernard Project can take a house that was gutted down the studs, hang the sheet rock, put in new floors. We do all of that work in about 12 weeks for about $12,000.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The St. Bernard Project, Liz and her group, have saved my life.
MCCARTNEY: Once you get one family back, other families are more confident and they're willing to come back as well.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Little by little, one house at a time, we'll be back. I feel it. I know it.
Vote now ... CNN.com/heroes.
COOPER: Voting for our CNN Hero of the Year closes on November 19th. As you just heard, go to cnn.com/heroes right now to vote. The winner will be honored at an all-star tribute hosted to by me on Thanksgiving night here on CNN.
That does it for this edition of "360." Thanks for watching.
"LARRY KING" starts right now.
I'll see you tomorrow night.