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CNN LIVE EVENT/SPECIAL
Inauguration Day Coverage
Aired January 20, 2009 - 12:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
WOLF BLITZER, CNN ANCHOR: And we just want to point out to our viewers, it's now past noon Eastern here in Washington, D.C. Barack Obama, even though he has not yet been administered the oath of office, he is now the president of the United States.
SEN. DIANNE FEINSTEIN (D), CALIFORNIA: It is my distinct honor to present the Chief Justice of the United States, the Honorable John G. Roberts Jr., who will administer the Presidential Oath of Office.
Everyone, please stand.
CHIEF JUSTICE JOHN G. ROBERTS, U.S. SUPREME COURT: Are you prepared to take the oath, Senator?
PRESIDENT BARACK H. OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I am.
ROBERTS: "I, Barack Hussein Obama..."
OBAMA: I, Barack...
ROBERTS: ... "do solemnly swear..."
OBAMA: ... do solemnly swear...
ROBERTS: ... "that I will execute the office of president to the United States faithfully."
OBAMA: ... that I will...
ROBERTS: ... "faithfully the office of president of the United States."
OBAMA: ... the office of the president of the United States faithfully...
ROBERTS: ... "and will, to the best of my ability..."
OBAMA: ... and will, to the best of my ability...
ROBERTS: ... "preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States." OBAMA: ... preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States.
ROBERTS: So help you God?
OBAMA: So help me God.
ROBERTS: Congratulations, Mr. President.
FEINSTEIN: It is my great personal honor to present the 44th president of these United States, Barack Obama.
OBAMA: Thank you. Thank you.
My fellow citizens, I stand here today humbled by the task before us, grateful for the trust you've bestowed, mindful of the sacrifices borne by our ancestors.
I thank President Bush for his service to our nation...
... as well as the generosity and cooperation he has shown throughout this transition.
Forty-four Americans have now taken the presidential oath. The words have been spoken during rising tides of prosperity and the still waters of peace. Yet, every so often, the oath is taken amidst gathering clouds and raging storms.
At these moments, America has carried on not simply because of the skill or vision of those in high office, but because we, the people, have remained faithful to the ideals of our forbearers and true to our founding documents. So it has been, so it must be with this generation of Americans, that we are in the midst of crisis is now well understood.
Our nation is at war against a far-reaching network of violence and hatred. Our economy is badly weakened, a consequence of greed and irresponsibility on the part of some, but also our collective failure to make hard choices and prepare the nation for a new age.
Homes have been lost, jobs shed, businesses shuttered. Our health care is too costly, our schools fail too many. And each day brings further evidence that the ways we use energy strengthen our adversaries and threaten our planet.
These are the indicators of crisis, subject to data and statistics. Less measurable, but no less profound is a sapping of confidence across our land, a nagging fear that America's decline is inevitable, that the next generation must lower its sights.
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.
On this day, we gather because we have chosen hope over fear, unity of purpose over conflict and discord. On this day, we come to proclaim an end to the petty grievances and false promises, the recriminations and worn-out dogmas that for far too long have strangled our politics.
We remain a young nation, but in the words of scripture, the time has come to set aside childish things. The time has come to reaffirm our enduring spirit, to choose our better history, to carry forward that precious gift, that noble idea based on from generation to generation, the God-given promise that all are equal, all are free, and all deserve a chance to pursue their full measure of happiness.
In reaffirming the greatness of our nation, we understand that greatness is never a given. It must be earned. Our journey has never been one of shortcuts or settling for less. It has not been the path for the feint-hearted, for those who prefer leisure over work or seek only the pleasures of riches and fame. Rather, it has been risk- takers, the doers, the makers of things, some celebrated, but more often, men and women obscure in their labor, who have carried us up the long rugged path towards prosperity and freedom.
For us, they packed up their few worldly possessions and traveled across oceans in search of a new life. For us, they toiled in sweat shops and settled the West, endured the lash of the whip, and plowed the hard earth. For us, they fought and died in places like Concord and Gettysburg, Normandy and Caisson.
Time and again, these men and women struggled and sacrificed and worked until their hands were raw so that we might live a better life. They saw America as bigger than the sum of our individual ambitions, greater than all the differences of birth or wealth or faction.
This is the journey we continue today.
We remain the most prosperous, powerful nation on earth. Our workers are no less productive than when this crisis began. Our minds are no less inventive. Our goods and services, no less needed than they were last week or last month or last year.
Our capacity remains undiminished. But our time of standing pat, of protecting narrow interests and putting off unpleasant decisions, that time has surely passed.
Starting today, we must pick ourselves up, dust ourselves off and begin again the work of remaking America.
For everywhere we look, there is work to be done. The state of our economy calls for action, bold and swift, and we will act not only to create new jobs, but to lay a new foundation for growth.
We will build the roads and bridges, the electric grids and digital lines that feed our commerce and bind us together. We will restore science to its rightful place and wield technologies wonders to raise health care's quality and lower its cost. We will harness the sun and the winds and the soil to fuel our cars and run our factories. And we will transform our schools and colleges and universities to meet the demands of a new age.
All this we can do. All this we will do.
Now, there are some who question the scale of our ambitions, who suggest that our system cannot tolerate too many big plans.
Their memories are short, for they have forgotten what this country has already done, what free men and women can achieve when imagination has joined a common purpose and necessity to courage. What the cynics fail to understand is that the ground has shifted beneath them, that the stale political arguments that have consumed us for so long no longer apply. The question we ask today is not whether our government is too big or too small, but whether it works, whether it helps families find jobs at a decent wage, care they can afford, a retirement that is dignified.
Where the answer is yes, we intend to move forward. Where the answer is no, programs will end. And those of us who manage the public's dollars will be held to account to spend wisely, reform bad habits, and do our business in the light of day, because only then can we restore the vital trust between a people and their government.
Nor is the question before us whether the market is a force for good or ill. Its power to generate wealth and expand freedom is unmatched. But this crisis has reminded us that without a watchful eye, the market can spin out of control. The nation cannot prosper along when it favors only the prosperous.
The success of our economy has always depended not just on the size of our gross domestic product, but on the reach of our prosperity, on the ability to extend opportunity to every willing heart. Not out of charity, but because it is the surest route to our common good.
As for our common defense, we reject as false the choice between our safety and our ideals. Our founding fathers...
Our founding fathers, faced with perils that we can scarcely imagine, drafted a charter to assure the rule of law and the rights of man, a charter expanded by the blood of generations. Those ideals still light the world, and we will not give them up for expedience sake.
And so to all the other peoples and governments who are watching today, from the grandest capitals to the small village where my father was born, know that America is a friend of each nation and every man, woman and child who seeks a future of peace and dignity, and we are ready to lead once more.
Recall that earlier generations faced down fascism and communism not just with missiles and tanks, but with the sturdy alliances and enduring convictions. They understood that our power alone cannot protect us, nor does it entitle us to do as we please. Instead, they knew that our power grows through its prudent use, our security emanates from the justness of our cause, the force of our example, the tempering qualities of humility and restraint.
We are the keepers of this legacy. Guided by these principles once more, we can meet those new threats that demand even greater effort, even greater cooperation and understanding between nations.
We will begin to responsibly leave Iraq to its people and forge a hard-earned peace in Afghanistan. With old friends and former foes, we will work tirelessly to lessen the nuclear threat and roll back the specter of a warming planet.
We will not apologize for our way of life, nor will we waiver in its defense. And for those who seek to advance their aims by inducing terror and slaughtering innocents, we say to you now that our spirit is stronger and cannot be broken. You cannot outlast us, and we will defeat you.
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. We are shaped by every language and culture, drawn from every end of this earth. And because we have tasted the bitter swell of civil war and segregation, and emerged from that dark chapter stronger and more united, we cannot help but believe that the old hatreds shall someday pass, that the lines of tribe shall soon dissolve, that as the world grows smaller, our common humanity shall reveal itself, and that America must play its role in ushering in a new era of peace.
To the Muslim world, we seek a new way forward based on mutual interest and mutual respect.
To those leaders around the globe who seek to sow conflict or blame their society's ills on the West, know that your people will judge you on what you can build, not what you destroy.
(APPLAUSE) To those who claim to power through corruption and deceit and the silencing of dissent, know that you are on the wrong side of history, but that we will extend a hand if you are willing to unclench your fist.
To the people of poor nations, we pledge to work alongside you to make your farms flourish and let clean waters flow, to nourish starved bodies and feed hungry minds.
And to those nations like ours that enjoy relative plenty, we say we can no longer afford indifference to the suffering outside our borders, nor can we consume the world's resources without regard to effect. For the world has changed, and we must change with it.
As we consider the road that unfolds before us, we remember with humble gratitude those brave Americans who at this very hour patrol far-off deserts and distant mountains. They have something to tell us, just as the fallen heroes who lie in Arlington whisper through the ages. We honor them not only because they are the guardians of our liberty, but because they embody the spirit of service, a willingness to find meaning in something greater than themselves.
And yet, at this moment, a moment that will define a generation, it is precisely this spirit that must inhabit us all, for as much as government can do, and must do, it is ultimately the face and determination of the American people upon which this nation relies. It is the kindness to take in a stranger when the levees break, the selflessness of workers who would rather cut their hours than see a friend lose their job which sees us through our darkest hours. It is the firefighter's courage to storm a stairway filled with smoke, but also a parent's willingness to nurture a child that finally decides our fate.
Our challenges may be new, the instruments with which we meet them may be new. But those values upon which our success depends, honesty and hard work, courage and fair play, tolerance and curiosity, loyalty and patriotism, these things are old. These things are true. They have been the quiet force of progress throughout our history.
What is demanded then is a return to these truths. What is required of us now is a new era of responsibility, a recognition on the part of every American that we have duties to ourselves, our nation and the world, duties that we do not grudgingly accept, but rather seize gladly, firm in the knowledge that there is nothing so satisfying to the spirit, so defining of our character, than giving our all to a difficult task.
This is the price and the promise of citizenship. This is the source of our confidence, the knowledge that God calls on us to shape an uncertain destiny. This is the meaning of our liberty and our creed, why men and women and children of every race and every faith can join in celebration across this magnificent Mall, and why a man whose father less than 60 years ago might not have been served at a local restaurant can now stand before you to take a most sacred oath.
(APPLAUSE) So let us mark this day in remembrance of who we are and how far we have traveled.
In the year of America's birth, in the coldest of months, a small band of patriots huddled by dying campfires on the shores of an icy river. The capital was abandoned, the enemy was advancing, the snow was stained with blood.
At a moment when the outcome of our revolution was most in doubt, the father of our nation ordered these words be read to the people. "Let it be told to the future world that the in the depth of winter, when nothing but hope and virtue could survive, that the city and the country, alarmed at one common danger, came forth to meet it."
America, in the face of our common dangers, in this winter of our hardship, let us remember these timeless words. With hope and virtue, let us brave once more the icy currents and endure what storms may come. Let it be said by our children's children that when we were tested, we refused to let this journey end, that we did not turn back, nor did we falter, and with eyes fixed on the horizon and God's grace upon us, we carried forth that great gift of freedom and delivered it safely to future generations.
Thank you. God bless you. And God bless the United States of America.
FEINSTEIN: I have the distinct pleasure of introducing an American poet, Elizabeth Alexander.
ELIZABETH ALEXANDER, POET: Praise song for the day. Each day we go about our business, walking past each other, catching each other's eyes, or not, about to speak or speaking, all about us is noise. All about us is noise and bramble, thorn and din. Each one of our ancestors on our tongues.
Someone is stitching up a hem, darning a hole in a uniform, patching a tire, repairing the things in need of repair. Someone is trying to make music somewhere with a pair of wooden spoons on an oil drum with cello, boombox, harmonica, voice.
A woman and her son wait for the bus. A farmer considers the changing sky. A teacher says, "Take out your pencils. Begin."
We encounter each other in words, words spiny or smooth, whispered or declaimed, words to consider, reconsider. We cross dirt roads and highways that mark the will of someone, and then others who said, "I need to see what's on the other side. I know there's something better down the road."
We need to find the place where we are safe. We walk into that which we cannot yet see.
Say it plain, that many have died for this day. Sing the names of the dead who brought us here, who laid the train tracks, raised the bridges, picked the cotton and the lettuce, built brick by brick the glittering edifices they would then keep clean and work inside of.
Praise song for struggle; praise song for the day. Praise song for every hand-lettered sign; The figuring it out at kitchen tables.
Some live by "Love thy neighbor as thy self." Others by first do no harm, or take no more than you need.
What if the mightiest word is love, love beyond marital, filial, national. Love that casts a widening pool of light. Love with no need to preempt grievance.
In today's sharp sparkle, this winter air, anything can be made, any sentence begun.
On the brink, on the brim, on the cusp -- praise song for walking forward in that light.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: And now it's my privilege to introduce the Reverend Dr. Joseph E. Lowery to deliver "The Benediction."
REV. JOSEPH E. LOWERY: God of our weary years, God of our silent tears, God who has brought us thus far along the way, thou who hast by thy might led us into the light, keep us forever in the path we pray. Lest our feet stray from the places, our God, where we met Thee. Lest our hearts, drunk with the wine of the world, we forget Thee. Shadowed beneath Thy hand, may we forever stand, true to our God, true to our native land.
We truly give thanks for the glorious experience we've shared this day. We pray now, O Lord, for your blessing upon thy servant, Barack Obama, the 44th president of these United States, his family and his administration. He has come to this high office at a low moment in the national and, indeed, the global fiscal climate. But because we know you got the whole world in your hand, we pray for not only our nation, but for the community of nations. Our faith does not shrink, though pressed by the flood of mortal ills.
For we know that, Lord, you're able and you're willing to work through faithful leadership to restore stability, mend our brokenness, heal our wounds and deliver us from the exploitation of the poor or the least of these and from favoritism toward the rich, the elite of these.
We thank you for the empowering of thy servant, our 44th president, to inspire our nation to believe that, yes, we can work together to achieve a more perfect union. And while we have sown the seeds of greed -- the wind of greed and corruption, and even as we reap the whirlwind of social and economic disruption, we seek forgiveness and we come in a spirit of unity and solidarity to commit our support to our president by our willingness to make sacrifices, to respect your creation, to turn to each other and not on each other. And now, Lord, in the complex arena of human relations, help us to make choices on the side of love, not hate; on the side of inclusion, not exclusion; tolerance, not intolerance.
And as we leave this mountaintop, help us to hold on to the spirit of fellowship and the oneness of our family. Let us take that power back to our homes, our workplaces, our churches, our temples, our mosques, or wherever we seek your will.
Bless President Barack, First Lady Michelle. Look over our little, angelic Sasha and Malia. We go now to walk together, children, pledging that we won't get weary in the difficult days ahead. We know you will not leave us alone, with your hands of power and your heart of love.
Help us then, now, Lord, to work for that day when nation shall not lift up sword against nation, when tanks will be beaten into tractors, when every man and every woman shall sit under his or her own vine and fig tree, and none shall be afraid; when justice will roll down like waters and righteousness as a mighty stream.
Lord, in the memory of all the saints who from their labors rest, and in the joy of a new beginning, we ask you to help us work for that day when black will not be asked to get back, when brown can stick around -- (LAUGHTER) -- when yellow will be mellow -- (LAUGHTER) -- when the red man can get ahead, man -- (LAUGHTER) -- and when white will embrace what is right.
Let all those who do justice and love mercy say amen.
REV. LOWERY: Say amen...
REV. LOWERY: ...and amen.
AUDIENCE: Amen! (CHEERS, APPLAUSE.)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Ladies and gentlemen, please rise for the singing of our national anthem by the United States Navy Sea Chanters Chorus. Following the anthem, please remain in place while the presidential party exits the platform. Thank you very much.
UNITED STATES NAVY SEA CHANTERS CHORUS (SINGING): O say, can you see by the dawn's early light what so proudly we hailed at the twilight's last gleaming? Whose broad stripes and bright stars through the perilous fight o'er the ramparts we watched were so gallantly streaming? And the rockets' red glare the bombs bursting in air gave proof through the night that our flag was still there. Oh, say, does that Star-Spangled Banner yet wave o'er the land of the free and the home of the brave?
AUDIENCE: (CHEERS, APPLAUSE.)
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: Roland Martin, standing by on Capitol Hill. Roland, Barack Obama is now the 44th president of the United States.
VOICE OF ROLAND MARTIN, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: He referenced his father not being able to be seated in a restaurant 60 years ago. But of course he had been sworn in. I looked at this whole moment in Washington. I thought about simply Jamie Foxx just the other day. He talked about what it was like being in the hull of a slave ship. How folks were packed so tight. And here we are, millions along this Mall, packed so tight to watch this historic moment.
You got to praise Reverend Joseph Lowery who recited the words of "Lift Every Voice and Sing" (INAUDIBLE) the Negro National Anthem by James Weldon Johnson, truly, an amazing day, Anderson.
COOPER: It is that. Soledad O'Brien watching as well. Reverend Lowery really harkening back to the civil rights movement.
SOLEDAD O'BRIEN, CNN SPECIAL CORRESPONDENT: Absolutely, when he said God of our weary years, God of our silent tears, believe me, every single person, black or white or Latino or Asian, who was part of the civil rights movement of the '60s knows the words to that song even though it is known as the "Negro National Anthem." It is really the anthem of people marching for freedom. So what a remarkable way to bring that into the speech just by speaking the words, not singing them.
COOPER: And even using some of the slogans from the movement there at the end. What is happening now, President Obama is now taking former President Bush to a helicopter which is on the other side of The Capitol. That helicopter will take him to Andrews Air Force Base and into retirement in Texas.
WOLF BLITZER, CNN ANCHOR: And the president of the United States, Barack Obama, will be going in to what's called the President's Room up on Capitol Hill, participate in a signing ceremony, sign some nomination papers at this time.
He'll walk over to the Statuary Hall in the rotunda in the U.S. Capitol. The Vice-President Joe Biden and their families, they will then attend a luncheon hosted by the Joint Congressional Committee on inaugural ceremonies. But I have to tell you, the 20-minute or so address that he delivered, obviously, every word carefully, carefully prepared, carefully scripted, included many major themes that he will want to --
COOPER: That's Captain Sully from the U.S. air jet, which crashed.
BLITZER: Sully Sullenberger, the pilot of the U.S. Airways, the plane that crashed on the Hudson River the other day. He was an invited guest. He's a genuine American hero now. They always invite real American heroes to these kinds of events.
COOPER: David Gergen, you were saying you thought something about that event really did correspond to what we were seeing.
DAVID GERGEN, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: Yes. It seemed to me that event coming just on the preclude to the inauguration weekend, really put a shine on this weekend. It restored quickly a sense of what we can do as Americans when we work together. This magnificent captain who came down and landed that plane so well. But also his crew and all the passengers.
Soledad and I were talking the other day, metaphorically, it is about leadership and the role that Barack Obama has now been called upon to play.
COOPER: Just minutes from now this extraordinary visual of the now-President Obama taking former President Bush to an awaiting helicopter. Campbell Brown is watching it as well.
Again, this is all about the transition of power and our constitution, Campbell.
CAMPBELL BROWN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: It is indeed, Anderson. And I wanted to bring our panel who's down here as well and get their thoughts on the speech as well. As everybody sort of had a moment here to think about what we just heard, and Paul Begala, go ahead.
PAUL BEGALA, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: Well, so much of today is about the continuity of government, the peaceful transition of power. And yet this new president, very boldly, very strongly broke with his predecessor in his inaugural address. More than tradition usually dictates. It was a very sharp break particularly on issues of national security, torture, human rights. He sent a very strong message that this is not just a transition, this is a transformation.
BROWN: Bill Bennett, do you agree with that?
BILL BENNETT, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: We shall see. What struck me is there's a hard edge to the speech. It was a hard speech, muscular speech. It was the old virtues about work, get up and go to work, don't complain, don't put down the United States, don't blame us for your difficulties. We will be very strong in this. A statement of some differences. We'll find out what it means tomorrow.
But I was very taken, I thought the parts of the speech that lifted the most, the metaphors and the references were marshal, they were to military, to our guys in the deserts and back to the revolutionary war, back to valley forge. This was an embrace, if you will, of the full panoply of American virtue the old-fashioned way.
JOHN KING, CNN CHIEF NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: I want to echo what Paul said and Bill about the strength of the words and how the words themselves signaled change. We reject as false the choice between our safety and our ideals. You will see within 48 hours the executive order closing Guantanamo Bay, ending torture, ending waterboarding, a big change there. But also the moment -- I was at the inauguration of Nelson Mandela. And there were tears in the streets. And even though you knew it was coming, only when you saw him take the oath, you saw jaws drop. Wow, this is really happening.
Now, there are big differences. South Africa is a majority of black nation. The rawness of apartheid was still, so evident then. But as people watched this moment today, and we've all seen it on the streets here and in the crowd, you see African-Americans, young and old, waving their campaign posters and their inauguration posters and tears of joy coming down their faces. That is very reminiscent of what I witnessed when Mandela was inaugurated. And what that means for the country is a question we can't answer today. We can just watch what's happening.
BROWN: And Anderson, we should mention, too. We're inside the news room. And a lot of people -- it is open to the public today. A lot of people have gathered in here and have been watching it on the big jumbo screen. And clearly, they're reacting, you know, in the same way that people outside are to what they're hearing.
But I mean, tears of joy, hugging in the crowd here when he actually took the oath and it became real for so many people, the same thing that you are seeing in the crowd. And interestingly, I thought, you know, booing when we saw Vice President Cheney wheeled out and George W. Bush as well. And I wonder, Tara and Bill, you know, how difficult is this moment for George W. Bush. I mean, so many of the things he stood for being repudiated.
BENNETT: Well, look. (INAUDIBLE) but booing is just kind of very bad taste, not called for. There wasn't a lot of it. There was some of it.
TARA WALL, CNN POLITICAL CONTRIBUTOR: Yes, at the same time we're talking about a tone of putting aside politics for the day. And conservatives and Republicans relishing in this moment, I think at the same time, there should be a tone.
There is -- there's been a tone of civility set by this incoming -- this new administration to the out coming administration. I will say that. I mean, there is no less than at least four or five times this week, alone last week that Barack Obama referred to the gracious hand, the cooperative hand of President Bush and his outgoing, and how he extended that hand of cooperation throughout the transition process.
And I think that to tone of civility I think -- I hope that tone of civility will rise up in all of us. Another thing, you know, that I noted, when he talked about our God-given promises to be free and equal and that's this tone -- you know, if it was reminiscent of what Martin Luther King -- he was moved, because of his faith. He was moved to action because of his faith. In the same way throughout this speech, you also heard Barack Obama make references to faith and freedom as a country, as a nation. And I think as a nation, we're seeing the beauty of America come together all faiths, creeds, religions, races, and I think that is the strength of our nation getting behind this president.
BROWN: Hilary, not to embarrass you, but I know you teared up. I was watching you as he took the oath.
VOICE OF HILLARY ROSEN, DEMOCRATIC STRATEGIST: I thought that it was an amazing moment, in particular because just every time we cut away to the faces of the crowd, I think I started crying more, because of the inspiration that he gives. And he's not saying this all changes overnight. I was struck in the speech that he said because we've tasted the bitter pill of segregation, some day old hatreds shall pass. He's not saying it's all over now. He's saying that we are on a path here, and this is one step forward.
BROWN: All right, Hillary.
Anderson and Wolf?
COOPER: Yes, I just want to give you a sense of what is happening. We're about to witness the transfer of power, President Obama taking former President Bush out the east side of the Capitol.
BLITZER: Right. They're going to be walking down over there. You saw the president of the United States, Barack Obama. We no longer call him the president-elect. He is the president of the United States. He's been president now for almost 50 minutes. He became president even before he was officially administered the oath of office by the chief justice, John Roberts, because exactly at noon eastern, according to the United States constitution, he becomes president of the united states, oath or not. And they were running a little bit behind schedule. That's why he became president even before he was formally sworn in.
COOPER: An interesting -- we're about to see them coming down the steps, heading toward the helicopter.
David Gergen, an interesting moment, though, which we have not yet talked about, but which will be much talked about in the hours ahead, the actual oath of office by John Roberts, Chief Justice Supreme Court, he messed it up.
GERGEN: He seemed to scramble the words there on about a second. First, I wasn't sure -- did Barack Obama scramble that or --
BLITZER: And you know, it's interesting, if Jeff Toobin is around, he's the authority on the United States Supreme Court. Jeff, as we await the departure of the former president, George Bush, he's going to board that helicopter, and head off eventually to Andrews Air Force Base and then Texas. What do you think, John Roberts had one job to do today and he sort of screwed up.
JEFFREY TOOBIN, CNN ANALYST: Wolf, I almost fell out of my chair. You know, it's only a 35-word oath. It's actually much shorter than the vice president's oath, and it's one of the most famous parts of the constitution. What Roberts did is he put the words faithfully -- faithfully execute the office of president, but he said execute the office of president faithfully. And you saw Obama almost start to chuckle because he knew the oath and they got it together. But as you pointed out, he was already president by that point.
BLITZER: Jeff, hold on. Hold on, Jeff. There's the shot of the president of the United States, Barack Obama, the former president of the United States, George W. Bush, they're walking down those stairs. He's escorting the former president to that Marine Corps helicopter that will be taking him off -- taking him over to Andrews Air Force Base. The Bushes have gone. They're gone from the White House, Anderson. No more stuff there. They're packed up. They're out of there. And they're moving back to Texas.
GERGEN: I can't remember a new president escorting the old president out to the helicopter and saying good-bye to him in this way.
BROWN: And that's the way it's been throughout the transition on both sides.
COOPER: This has not happened in --
GERGEN: I may be wrong, but I can't remember it unfolding quite this way. And I think it does show a personal respect. He sharply disagrees with policies, as Paul Begala just said. But coming out there to say good-bye is the right thing to do.
BLITZER: There's Dick Cheney, the former vice president of the United States. If you're just tuning in, you probably haven't heard. He had a back problem moving some boxes into his new home in MacLean, Virginia. His doctors said, you know what, get off your feet, just spend a couple of days or so in a wheelchair. And that's where he was.
COOPER: He'll be going in a motorcade to his new home after he departs, then former President Bush, former First Lady Laura Bush will head on to the ring core helicopter.
BLITZER: Yes. There they are. The new First Lady of the United States, Michelle Obama. People are going to be talking about her outfit, no doubt, about that. We'll leave it to others to make some commentary. But on this day, we saw her beaming and we saw those two sweet little girls, Sasha and Malia, how proud are they of their mom and dad?
BROWN: It was so great to see them smiling the entire time. And absolutely, you know, starting today -- and even before today, Michelle Obama's outfit will be the talk of the town.
ROSEN: What's so stunning about this is that in Barack Obama's speech, he called for nothing less than the remaking of America. And here he is standing with the outgoing president of the United States. It was a very sharp speech as Bill Bennett said. BLITZER: Yes. There were several implied criticisms of the eight years of the Bush administration, certainly laced throughout that speech.
COOPER: As for our common defense, we reject as false the choice between our safety and our ideals.
BROWN: Remember, he also reiterated the constitution where he said, you know, it was a God-given promise all are equal, all are free, all deserve a chance to pursue their full measure of happiness. And through this campaign he has come back to the constitutional right is for everybody.
COOPER: Let's watch.
George Bush Sr. is already on-board that chopper. So is Barbara Bush.
BLITZER: They'll be taking that Executive One U.S. Marine Corps helicopter. It's no longer called Marine One, because it is only Marine One once the president of the United States is flying aboard that helicopter. And he is now the former president of the United States.
They'll take it for a short ride, about ten minutes or so, to Andrews Air Force Base where they will board that huge 747, the one that we know is Air Force One. It won't be called Air Force One, once again, because that plane carrying him back to Texas will not carry the president, only the former president of the United States.
As David Gergen points out, a very gracious moment by Michelle and Barack Obama, the President and First Lady of the United States, as they meet up with Jill Biden and Joe Biden, the vice president of the United States. They will apparently wait to see that Executive One U.S. Marine Corps helicopter take off, head out to Andrews Air Force Base in Maryland for the journey back to Texas. It's all laced with enormous symbolism.
COOPER: This Capitol, this White House, it is now theirs.
BLITZER: Yes. And you know, he takes office --
GERGEN: And that helicopter.
BLITZER: When he's on the helicopter, it will be Marine One.
COOPER: I'm sure he asked the pilot how long it will be, because he wants it back.
BLITZER: By the way, as you know, it's not just one helicopter. He has a whole fleet of (INAUDIBLE).
(CROSSTALK) BLITZER: Whenever he wants to go to Camp David or anyplace else with a helicopter range, he's got that helicopter, then he's got that huge 747 Air Force One at his disposal as well.
COOPER: I can only imagine what is going through former President Bush's mind as he sees Barack Obama, a man who, you think about it, two, three years ago, relatively unknown. I mean, the thought that he could become president very few people would have said this would happen.
ROSEN: Very few people thought. George W. Bush thought that Hillary Clinton was going to be the nominee. And this is a tough moment for him, as he told us in his many good-bye interviews, that while it's been a tough job for him, he loved every minute of it, he said.
BLITZER: It's interesting, you know, they're about an half-hour behind the schedule that they had organized. But does it really make any difference, David Gergen? I don't think so. I think everybody is having a good time watching the celebration. It is a day for history to unfold. Tomorrow the president of the United States gets down to real business. He's got a series of meetings, as we know, and the enormous challenges facing him and the country on the foreign policy national security front and also on the economic front.
GERGEN: Yes, he does.
COOPER: The chopper now lifting all past the Capitol from our vantage point.
GERGEN: But by all indications, he relishes the chance to go into the Oval Office and get started. He wants to get moving.
BLITZER: He'll have lunch up on Capitol Hill, then he'll make that drive over to the White House. And you know what? Pretty soon he'll be in the Oval Office himself. He'll be signing papers, executive orders, making major decisions. Isn't that a great shot, Anderson?
COOPER: Actually, this is a --
BLITZER: Heading our way a little bit. I guess he's going to make a little tour, maybe he'll fly over the White House before he heads out to Andrews Air Force Base, which is actually the other way -- the other side of Capitol Hill. But I guess it would be symbolic and appropriate to fly over the north lawn -- south lawn of the White House.
COOPER: All along the parade route, you see people turning and waving to the helicopter as it passes overhead.
ROSEN: You know what, as Barack Obama said in his speech, he said this is a moment that will define a generation. I think it will.
BROWN: But notice in the speech, too, he also went back to the other moments that define our times. Hurricane Katrina. He talked about 9/11, those emotional touchstones for people. He weaved them through the speech as well because he was throwing it back to the American people. He said that line he always says, "It's not about me, it's about you," and what we remember most about those moments is the spirit of the American people.
BLITZER: And as we see this U.S. Marine Corps helicopter carrying the former President George Bush and the former First Lady Laura Bush off to Andrews Air Force Base to board a 747 U.S. Air Force aircraft to fly him back to Texas.
I want to point out -- and David, Gloria, Soledad and Anderson -- there was a mixed message, a double message he sent to the rest of the world. And viewers are watching in huge numbers, hundreds of millions of people all over the world, our broadcast on CNN and CNN International is being seen right now in 240 countries. I'd like to think, Anderson, we played a little bit of a role just broadcasting this to the world out there.
COOPER: Not to mention to see in Times Square, in Harlem, in California, all throughout the United States these JumboTrons which we've set up, people watching on CNN in Times Square. Times Square, we had scene two in the shot that we saw, (INAUDIBLE) with people seemed to have stopped.
O'BRIEN: They stopped. They stopped.
BLITZER: I think people were stopping. There was a hush all over the country, indeed much of the world at that moment when he was sworn in and then certainly during his speech.
I was going to make the point that to the rest of the world, especially to the Muslim world, he had a double message. He said this. He said, "For those who seek to advance their aims by inducing terror and slaughtering innocents, we say to you now that our spirit is stronger and cannot be broken. You cannot outlast us and we will defeat you." But then a couple of lines later he said this -- "To the Muslim world, we seek a new way forward, based on mutual interests and mutual respect."
I think that message, David, was a powerful message to send on this critically important day.
GERGEN: Yes, it's interesting. I do think there was a hard edge, as Bill Bennett said, to some of this speech. But there was also a different message, one that's very different from what we've been hearing from George W. Bush. And that is a very strong message. And I thought some of the most important words in the speech were to the message he wanted to send that America is a friend of each nation and every man, woman and child who seeks a future of peace and dignity, and we are ready to lead once more."
Those are the words that the world has been waiting to hear. They want to see America lead but they want to see us lead in a different way than what we've been doing. And I think what he was saying, it is very different -- the second inaugural of George W. Bush just four years ago was entirely -- the theme was a crusade for democracy. To remake the world as democratic nations.