Return to Transcripts main page
Keeping Tradition Alive at the Inauguration; Thousands of People Mark Day of Service; House GOP Will Extend Debt Limit; 30 States Reporting High Flu Levels; The President and His Speech; Earl Weaver Dies At 82; NHL Season Begins Today
Aired January 19, 2013 - 12:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
KATE BOLDUAN, CNN ANCHOR: Good morning, good afternoon, everyone. I'm Kate Bolduan. Welcome to our special coverage of the presidential inauguration weekend.
JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: I'm John Berman. Great to see you. You are looking at live pictures now of the first family marking today's national day of service. People all over the country are doing the same thing that the Obamas are doing right now, volunteering in their community on this Martin Luther King holiday weekend, this national day of service going on here on the National Mall where the president is -- it's an elementary school.
BOLDUAN: It is an elementary school here in Washington. I believe he's doing a little bit similar to his service project last time around four years ago because I believe he had a paint brush in his hand that time. But it looks like he's helping -- what I've seen so far, helping to complete an overhaul of a school in Washington, D.C. He has some very good volunteers. I believe they are with city year and they're working to, you know, maybe do a little painting, a little varnishing of a bookcase -- John.
BERMAN: It is the Burrville Elementary School in northeast Washington there. I have to say Mrs. Obama sporting a little more form than the president painting that bookcase.
BOLDUAN: She also has a pair of gloves. Maybe the president's worried about getting dirty. We lost the shot, but that's OK. We'll get back to that in just a few minutes. We're watching that and a lot going on today here in the nation's capital.
BERMAN: Of course, service events going on all over the city. With all the things going on, security here is extremely tight, some of it you can see, some of it not so obvious.
We want to talk to Chris Lawrence, who's covering this for us live on the National Mall. Chris, what's being done to secure all these inaugural sites?
CHRIS LAWRENCE, CNN PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT: Yes, John, basically, this is sort of an all hands on deck operation. Some of it is easy to see like mostly entire D.C. police force, as well as, 2,000 to 3,000 other officers that have been pulled in from around the country. There are about 6,000 National Guard troops also helping out, and that doesn't even count the federal agents, the FBI and of course, the Secret Service who is running this whole operation. But what you don't see are the cameras.
They have literally pulled in cameras from just about every agency that is around Washington, so many that federal officials tell us they couldn't even count. But it's a good bet that basically if you are anywhere in downtown Washington this weekend, there is a camera on you and you are being watched.
The FBI says they are trying to cover all the bases and right now it's all hands on deck.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DEBRA EVANS SMITH, ACTING ASSISTANT DIRECTOR IN CHARGE, FBI: We have our SWAT team, our -- pretty much all of our specialty teams will be available and on standby to include weapons of mass destruction, our dive team, our intelligence analysts will be working around the clock. Our hostage negotiators, our special agent bomb technicians will also be available to pretty much all of our special teams will be available.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LAWRENCE: Yes, obviously, a lot of those folks won't be needed. There were no major security incidents four years ago, but the key is to be prepared for everything -- John.
BERMAN: That's right. Everyone is on call. It is the highest security event that Washington does every four years. Chris Lawrence here on the mall with us. Nice to see you this morning.
BOLDUAN: It sure is a beautiful day in Washington. As you can see behind us, everyone waving. Crowds gathering in what will be an extremely busy inauguration weekend. It already is. A lot of preparations under way.
The president's public swearing-in and inaugural speech are Monday, but festivities are already under way. We're seeing service projects happening all over the nation's capital as well as all over the country.
Today the operative word is service. The national day of service is today. A service summit is being held here on the National Mall. That's where our Suzanne Malveaux is. Suzanne, you have a special guest with you this hour.
SUZANNE MALVEAUX, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Hi, John. We certainly do. When you think of service, you think of ultimate sacrifice. You have to think of Tammy Duckworth. I mean, this is somebody recently she won a congressional race in Illinois, but she's also an Iraq war vet. She was the first woman double amputee of the Iraq war.
She's joining us. You're an inspiration to so many people. I know you're going to be talking a little bit later this afternoon about the importance of service. Not everybody does what you do, but they can do something. You and I were talking about that earlier.
REPRESENTATIVE TAMMY DUCKWORTH (D), ILLINOIS: And we should all do something. Only one half of one percent of our population serves in uniform, but so many people serve. If you're going to volunteer at a soup kitchen, if you can squeeze in an extra hour at an event center, if you can do something, that's what's important about today is to encourage people to do something give back to this wonderful nation we live in.
MALVEAUX: There is a ball that is happening of course for the veterans, very important affair. I know you'll be there and many people, the president, the first lady. Give us a sense of whether or not you feel there is the kind of support, what that means today when they go out there. They're looking for jobs, a tough time this-in this country now.
DUCKWORTH: We can do a lot more. We have a real issue with homelessness among veterans. We have a real issue with our female veterans coming home. They are having a hard time finding jobs, dealing with trauma, both posttraumatic stress and sexual trauma.
So we can always do more, but we've done a lot under this president in the last four year and in fact, we've done more since he appointed the secretary of VA than we have in a lot of years prior to that. I'm so thrilled that the secretary is staying on to continue the great work.
MALVEAUX: A little news that's good. A little news for us there, a little bit of a nugget. You're very close to the president. What do you think going into the second administration he needs to do in terms of, A, getting the troops home from Afghanistan, and, B, providing the kinds of services that you talk about because the state of veterans is so tough and poor in this country today?
DUCKWORTH: It's really tough for all vets. I think we need to bring our troops home from Afghanistan as quickly as possible but in a way that we don't have to send them back. Then we need to have a good transition from the DOD to the VA so that when they leave the military they know where they're going.
They don't just go home and sit in their house. They know I'm going to go to school or I'm going to go into a job training program or they have a job lined up and maybe they're going to serve in some other way.
But we need to do a better job of providing that. What happens is if that's not there they can spiral into homelessness, they can't find a job, they're unemployed, they've run out of money and it just adds up.
MALVEAUX: Congresswoman, thank you to much for your time. It is great to see you. Of course, you are an inspiration for many of us looking to do something, to volunteer. Thanks again. Congratulations. Kate, back to you.
BOLDUAN: Thanks so much, Suzanne. We'll check in with you throughout the day, today the national day of service. We all be checking in on that. So let's talk more about the inauguration and the second term for President Obama.
For that I want to bring in my colleague, White House correspondent Dan Lothian. So Dan, let's talk about priorities for the president's second term, but first it's an interesting little nugget of history.
This is a historic day and also a historic inauguration for President Obama because he's going to match only FDR in getting two double swear-ins or four swearing-ins if you will. Why is that?
DAN LOTHIAN, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Well, first of all, look back to 2009 when Justice Roberts and the president kind of stepped on each other, the word "faithfully" was out of order. There was a question whether or not it was legitimate so, they had a second one in the private quarters of the White House.
This time around the constitution says you have to administer the oath before noon on the 20th. On Sunday is not typically when we have the inauguration, so they'll have a private ceremony in the blue room on Sunday and then on Monday, they'll have the official sort of public swearing-in for the president.
BOLDUAN: And the parade and pomp and circumstance we expect in an inauguration ceremony. So, Tuesday the pomp and circumstance Monday, Tuesday it's really back to work.
LOTHIAN: Real work.
BOLDUAN: Absolutely, so when we talk about the second term, what do you think are the major priorities for President Obama heading into the second term?
LOTHIAN: Well, you know, I think gun control obviously is a big one. Just think back before the shooting in Connecticut. Gun control was not even on the radar. Now this is something that both the president, the vice president, believe that you have to sort of seize the moment.
There's some bipartisan support for what the president is pushing, also bipartisan opposition. We see the NRA is promising to fight hard as well. But the administration feels good in that the public sentiment seems to be on their side, the majority of Americans believe there's some need for gun restrictions.
And so they're trying to seize this moment in order to try to curb the gun violence, what we've seen out there recently.
BOLDUAN: But clearly as you know, such an uphill battle for that as it always has been in the past because passions are so high on both sides on the gun control issue. Another issue where passions are so high on both sides when it comes to president and Congress is this debt ceiling fight.
LOTHIAN: That's right. Although now we're seeing some of the temperatures lower there because everyone was expecting for this to be like it was during the last time. Now Republicans are coming out and saying look, let's deal with this for the next three months. We'll deal with sort of a longer one later.
The White House encouraged -- they're encouraged by what they're hearing but clearly it's not going to be easy. But certainly I think not as contentious as we were thinking in the short term.
BOLDUAN: Yes, we'll see how that relationship develops if at all or devolve, you know, exactly throughout the next term. Dan Lothian, we'll check in you too. Thanks so much, Dan. All right, John has some of the other headlines making news this hour.
BERMAN: Including the Manti Te'o story. Twists and turns if that mysterious case of the Notre Dame linebacker and his fictitious girlfriend. Notre Dame linebacker says he was the victim of a cruel hoax.
He spoke off camera with ESPN's Jeremy Schaap and said as recently as last Wednesday he believed his girlfriend was real person even know he never met her. Schaap says he seemed believable and sincere throughout the whole interview.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JEREMY SCHAAP, ESPN: I can say the entire 2-1/2 hours that we spoke, he was completely composed, self-assured, he betrayed no nervousness. He had full command of the story suggests that it's a story rather than the truth, but he had a full command of everything that I posed.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BERMAN: Sources tell CNN that an investigation has uncovered the names of three people believed to have started that hoax.
Many words of contrition from Lance Armstrong in that sensational interview in which he admits that, in fact, he did cheat as a professional cyclist over the course of his entire career.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
LANCE ARMSTRONG, CYCLIST: Do I have remorse, absolutely. Will I continue to? Will it grow? Will I -- absolutely. This is -- for me this is just the first steps, and, again, these are my actions. I've been -- I'm paying the price, but I deserve it.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BERMAN: Armstrong's confession could unleash an avalanche of former sponsors and supporters who backed Armstrong when he swore repeatedly that he never used banned substances.
The chance of a federal government default in the next few weeks has dropped significantly. You heard Dan and Kate talking about it. That's because House Republican leaders have agreed to vote next week to extend the debt limit for months.
This is a big reversal from their earlier position to delay the debate, but there is a catch. Both the House and Senate must pass a budget before the extension expires. And if they don't, guess what? Congress won't get paid. That would be part of the bill.
Overseas now, major news happening in Algeria where seven hostages and 11 kidnappers are reported dead this morning as the hostage crisis enters its fourth day. Algerian Special Forces had been trying to secure the release of an unknown number of people, including Americans being held at this gas plant by an al Qaeda-linked terror group. Algerian state TV says the gunmen had been planning to take the hostages to Mali.
So the flu, we're still talking about the flu. The flu has now killed more than nine children in the past week. That makes 29 pediatric deaths this season. The number of elderly people hospitalized with flu-like illnesses has also spiked. That's according to the Centers for Disease Control.
Thirty states now report high levels of the flu. That's six more than last week and for the first time California is on that list. This season's flu vaccine is only about 62 percent effective, but experts say it is still the best option.
Go out and get that flu shot if you have not yet. Of course, here in Washington, where the temperatures are maybe chillier than people are used to, people are bundling up. They don't want to catch that.
BOLDUAN: I'll tell you though John and I are pretty darn warm right now.
BERMAN: There are really some nice heat lamps here.
BOLDUAN: Cannot complain. So coming up next, Martin Luther King III talks about his father's dream and how that's coming true -- how that process is coming true in 2013.
BERMAN: And we're going to talk to Robert Redford. That's right. Robert Redford about his famous Sundance festival and also some politics.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: 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.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BERMAN: The president of the United States about to make history again ahead of Monday's inauguration. The president is right now observing the Martin Luther King holiday with a service project. He and the first lady are volunteering at an elementary school in the Washington area.
BOLDUAN: They absolutely are. We'll be watching that very closely. Other stuff we're watching. Millions will be watching when President Obama is sworn in for his second term, but not all of them are happy he's in charge. Take a look at this.
BERMAN: A new CNN/"Time" magazine/ORC poll shows the president's approval rating is 55 percent, 43 percent disapprove of how he's doing. But take a look at this breakdown. It is staggering, well, 92 percent of Democrats approve, but only 13 percent of Republicans say the president is doing a good job. That is a huge gap.
So what does he do about it? How does the president reach out to those who do not support him right now? Clark Judge has some thoughts on that. He is the founder and managing director of the White House Writers group.
He was a speech writer in the Reagan White House. Clark, you say the president needs to talk about common purpose that everyone can relate to. He needs to transcend party lines in this speech. How does he do that?
CLARK JUDGE, OPINION JOURNALIST, "WALL STREET JOURNAL"/NYT.COM/"NATIONAL REVIEW": Well, he talks about the nation's heritage. He's going to invoke Lincoln with the Lincoln bible and Martin Luther King, both of whom are figures of great national unity and common national purpose.
He should pick up that kind of tone. He should take from Lincoln's second inaugural that sense that we're all fallen and we all are searching in a sense looking through a glass darkly to the future and trying as a common national purpose from different points of view to find the way for the nation. He should take that big-hearted, big sense of this great purpose of the nation and invoke it to the moment.
BOLDUAN: And, Clark, going into his second term, this being his second inaugural, how does that impact the approach to this speech versus, you know, when he was going into his first inauguration?
JUDGE: Well, most presidents when they reach their second inaugural have a certain amount of viewing with satisfaction, what they've achieved, what the nation has achieved, not they but invoking the nation as the achiever, and then looking to the future with a purpose, as I said.
Good models for this besides Lincoln would be both Reagan and Clinton, each of whom faced a Congress that was partially or entirely in the case of Clinton in the hands of the other party.
Each by invoking the common purpose was validating that the other party had a role this process and validating that the party was -- other party was made up of people of good will.
BERMAN: Both Reagan and Clinton literally in their speeches did bring up the split nature of the government. But there is another challenge for a president facing a second inaugural address is a strange animal because one person said it's like renewing your vows to your first husband. It's hard to get that level of excitement, isn't it?
JUDGE: Well, it's a different kind of excitement. I've been at first inaugurals and I've been at second inaugurals. It's very different. But in each case you've got the renewal of the nation, and it is the task of a president to give that sense of the nation once again being reborn through the whole electoral process.
Whether you were a loser or a winner that process, a partisan winner or loser, you're part of that greater national purpose and you've contributed to it. That is essential for the kind of speech that he -- and the kind of moment that he faces. Now, whether he does that or not is another matter.
BOLDUAN: And briefly, Clark, the kind of bar for the president in this speech, do you think it is the bar is set higher for the president's inauguration or lower? It seems a high bar to think that one speech will be able to bridge the divide between the White House and Congress going forward in the second term.
JUDGE: Well, the bridging the divide is a process.
JUDGE: That the inaugural speech is part of that process, the State of the Union speech is part of it, and so are his private conversations with the leaders of the other parties as well as the leaders of his party so if he wants to undertake that process. This is the moment in it, but it isn't the only moment.
BOLDUAN: All right, Clark Judge, thank you so much for your time. Speechwriter, you know the story very well when George H.W. Bush was holding office of vice president. Thank you so much for your time.
JUDGE: And President Reagan.
BOLDUAN: As well. Thank you.
BERMAN: It's so interesting to get that perspective from the inside, a speech a very big deal, a big opportunity for any president.
All right, outside of Washington, the Sundance Film Festival is packing them in, and politics is on everyone's mind.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: In a sense, it's not as much fun as it used to be.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You're not going to step away from it. This is still going to be your baby, yes?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BERMAN: Robert Redford talks about his role in the future of Sundance and what he would like to see in a second Obama presidency.
BERMAN: There is so much going on in Washington here for the inauguration, but it's not just the inauguration. It falls this year, as it does so often, on Martin Luther King Jr. weekend, the celebration of the great civil rights leader's life. Only fitting, then, that Martin Luther King III joins us now to talk act his father's dream and what it means today.
BOLDUAN: That's absolutely right. It was historic. Welcome. Thank you so much for joining us today. It was historic for the president, first African-American president to be sworn in as president of the United States, and now he'll have another swearing-in on the very day that honors your father. What does that mean?
MARTIN LUTHER KING III, PRESIDENT AND CEO, REALIZING THE DREAM: You know, what that means, first of all, after you get past the fact that the president of the United States has been sworn in and actually using a bible of my dad's.
BOLDUAN: Absolutely right.
KING: The hope is that it will inspire not just the president, because obviously he's already said that it does, but the Congress and the president to work together for the American people, and hopefully Americans will be inspired. Dad used this bible. He traveled around the nation using it to drive spiritual inspiration. He used it in his first sermon at Dexter Avenue Baptist Church.
BOLDUAN: It will be one of three bibles the president will be using and also a bible from the first lady's family as well as a Lincoln bible so a lot of history surrounding all of that.
BERMAN: And of course this mall here in Washington is the site where your father gave one of his most famous addresses, the "I have a dream" speech. What does this place mean to you and for the civil rights movement?
KING: Well, first of all, I should say today, of course, is part of the day of activities of service. Dad gave his life serving other, and millions, hopefully, of Americans will be engaged in service throughout this weekend. The hope, though, is that people will be engaged throughout the year.
Now, what it means, quite interestingly, is the fact that dad gave a speech as the Lincoln Memorial. The president is sworn in at the opposite end on the King holiday, I mean, you can't get any more. But we cannot forget about the fact that dad gave his life for the least of these God's children.
And the fact is in this nation there are millions of people living in poverty, and we've got a big challenge to figure out how to create a scenario to lift all volts for all Americans.
BOLDUAN: I wanted to ask you this because I did remember this when we knew that you're going to come to sit down with us. You spoke at the Democratic convention in 2008. During that speech you said, I'm paraphrasing, you said that your father would be very proud of the president, proud of the party that nominated him, as well as proud of the America that elected him.
And now as we're moving into a second term, I wanted to ask you, do you feel that same way? What do you think of the president's record in his first term?
KING: I think the president has done a beyond admirable job with a very difficult set of circumstances to first the bailout banks, the auto industry, to create now affordable -- well, not affordable yet but health care. It's going to be affordable, health care for all.
And I think there are many other initiatives that must be taken on. The fact he's taken on gun control is quite phenomenal. It's tragic that we had to lose 20 children and six adults for our nation finally to focus on this issue, but this is very important. Immigration policy is going to be very important and I think the president is doing what a president needs to be doing.
BERMAN: When you talk about service, what does that entail? What do you want people to do in their homes, in their own communities this weekend?
KING: I would hope -- I mean, there are any number of things that people can do. Some people are just cleaning up their communities, which is fine. There may be some who are working with seniors, which is positive. There may be some who are specifically working with tutoring children.
We've got so many issues in this society. We just want people to do something constructive and creative. This is a day on, not a day off. We don't want folks to sit back, relax, and barbecue. We want them to be engaged in service. That's what dad was about.
BOLDUAN: Absolutely. Martin Luther King III, thank you so much for joining us on this day as we all honor your iconic father and his service as well. Thank you.
KING: Thank you for the opportunity.
BOLDUAN: So volunteering, as we've been discussing just now, is a very big part of this year's inauguration weekend. Today thousands of people are marking a national day of service including the Obama family. We'll tell you what they've been up to, to mark the event.
BERMAN: Welcome back, everyone. I'm John Berman.
BOLDUAN: I'm Kate Bolduan. If you're just tuning, thank you so much for joining us. We're having a lot of fun this morning. We are in Washington, D.C., with CNN's special coverage of President Barack Obama's inauguration weekend. Thank you for joining us.
It's not just an inauguration weekend as we have been discussing. It's also the Martin Luther King holiday weekend. To mark that, thousands of people are taking part in a national day of service today, including the first family.
The Obamas are helping spruce up an elementary school here in Washington. There are a lot of people who want to volunteer in their communities, but don't know how to do it. So a service summit is being held on the national mall to give them good ideas of how to help out.
Suzanne Malveaux is there. People are there to get information, Suzanne, and also to check out some celebrities, I'm sure. So what are you seeing?
MALVEAUX: I have to admit, Kate, you know, I mean, a lot of people excited about volunteering, but there is also a certain star factor here that people are attracted to. They want to know who are the names, who are the celebrities, of course. Right now on stage Congresswoman Tammy Duckworth.
We just talked with her. She is an Iraq war vet. She is a superhero, really, double amputee, someone really committed to her country. She's addressing the crowd now. Before hand, we saw Eva Longoria. She talked about the need to push forward immigration reform to help serve the Latino community.
We saw Bo Biden, the vice president's son. He was out here talking about the need to give to veterans. He, of course, is serving as well. We saw as well Yolanda Adams, the gospel great, belting out a few of some of her favorite songs to really inspire people.
Chelsea Clinton is one of the co-chairs of this organization to really bring community service and make it popular, to bring it back. She had a very special message early this morning, and she related it directly to her father and what it has meant for their families to give back to the community. Here's how she put it -- Kate.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CHELSEA CLINTON, HONORARY CHAIRWOMAN, NATIONAL DAY OF SERVICE: One of the reasons I'm particularly proud of my father today is that 19 years ago he signed the bill that made Martin Luther King Day a national day of service.
And when he signed the bill, he reminded us of what Dr. King often called life's most persistent and urgent question -- what are you doing for others? And in my family, the only wrong answer to that question is -- nothing.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MALVEAUX: Kate, it was really special. It's kind of cute. This moment we saw Chelsea Clinton with 7-year-old Addison Rose. We had a chance to talk to Addison Rose. A service project that they did, there are many different booths are set up behind us. You have some of these celebrities and activists interacting in the community, talk to Addison.
The two of them were making a little card together for cards they'll send to kids who are in homeless shelters, kids who are in foster care, and Addison was absolutely thrilled, surprised, actually, had no idea that Chelsea Clinton was going to come up and sit right beside her making her little cards.
We had a chance to talk to her as well. It's a time this afternoon for a lot of families to get together, sign up, and to learn more about these service projects. We are going to hear and see additional celebrities as well. There's a performance.
Star Jones, Angela Bassett and D.J. Mell, I don't know if you've heard D.J. Mell, but he's pretty good too. So people are still coming out and very excited. If you want to get involved, hashtag iserve. There will be a lot of events going on throughout the weekend as well -- Kate.
BOLDUAN: All right, and you can see some of the booth behind you where people can get information on local and national service organizations. A lot you can see and also, as Suzanne, pointed out, a few celebrities you might run into as well.
Suzanne, we'll be checking in with you. Thank you so much. John Berman is with some other news of the day starting with the hostage situation in Algeria. John, this has been developing and not quite over yet.
BERMAN: No, something we're following closely overseas in Algeria, of course, where seven hostages and 11 kidnappers right now are reported dead this morning as this hostage crisis enters its fourth day.
Algerian Special Forces had been trying to secure the release of an unknown number of people, including Americans being held at this gas plant by an al Qaeda-linked terror group. Algerian state TV says the gunmen had been planning to take the hostages to Mali.
So the chance of a federal government default in the next few weeks has dropped significantly. That's because House Republican leaders have agreed to vote next week to extend the debt limit for three months.
It is their big reversal from their earlier position to delay the debate, but there is a catch. Both the House and Senate must pass a budget before the extension expires, and if they don't, this provision says that Congress will not get paid.
News in the baseball world, legendary manager, Earl Weaver has died. Weaver led the Baltimore Orioles to four pennants and the World Series in 1970. During his 17th season, he racked up 1,480 wins. The pugnacious hall of famer affectionately known as the earl of Baltimore was 82. People are saying wherever he is right now he is already fighting with someone.
The National Hockey League starts today after a more than 100-day lockout. The NHL players ratified a new collective bargaining agreement earlier this week. Now the games begin, 48 contests over 99 days if the fans are still here to watch.
BOLDUAN: I'll tell you though, my household's very excited that we're going to get some kind of hockey.
BERMAN: Waited a long time. There will still be the playoffs. In hockey it's the playoffs everybody wants to watch anyway.
BOLDUAN: Some of our crew guys were cheering. Yes. BERMAN: Finally.
BOLDUAN: All right, still ahead, President Barack Obama was the first president to come out to publicly openly support same-sex marriage, but not everyone is pleased with the pace of change. We're going to take a closer look at that coming up.
BOLDUAN: President Obama scored big points in the gay and lesbian community when he became the first president to openly support same- sex marriage. "Newsweek" even put him on the cover calling him "The First Gay President."
BERMAN: But there are more battles ahead, and some of the critics argue he hasn't acted decisively enough. Robin Brand is a political analyst on lesbian and gay issues. So Robin, let me start off by asking you this. How do you characterize his first term?
ROBIN BRAND, FORMER CAMPAIGN MANAGER FOR SENATOR MARIA CANTWELL: Overall, I think it was a very positive term for the gay and lesbian community. The list of accomplishments that President Obama was able to do in his first term was actually quite impressive. Among that list are signing the Matthew Shepherd/James Byrd hate crimes act in his first year in office.
He also obviously repealed the "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy, which is allowing service members to serve openly and honestly for the first time. He also was able to personally express his support for same-sex marriage, which really became a game-changer especially going into this election cycle where for the first time voters in three states decided to affirm the rights of gays and lesbians to have marriage equality in their states.
BOLDUAN: So when you call this first term for the gay and lesbian community a game changer, and it was a very big election for that, as well, what does that mean, then, do you think for the second term? We've been talking, you know, throughout the day about how the president has many major issues on his plate right now. Do you fear that the LGBT communities and the issues they care about will then be pushed to the back burner?
BRAND: There is that concern because there are a lot of issues on his plate. And although there are a lot of accomplishments in the first term, there's still a lot of work to be done to really make sure that gays and lesbians and their families are truly equal citizens in the United States.
There's, again, a long list of protections and rights that still need to be tackled. But on top of the agenda right now are several things. First the Supreme Court's going to be looking at the constitutionality of equal marriage this year.
We'd like to see the president ask the Justice Department to submit a friend of the court brief if in support of equal marriage for gay and lesbian couples, to show his support and the administration's support for repealing the law. Immigration reform is obviously a hot topic right now.
BRAND: We have nine states that now allow equal marriage, plus the District of Columbia. But there are also countries around the world that allow marriage equality. There are many, many bi-national couples across the country.
We want to make sure -- across the world, excuse me. But if you are in a same-sex couple and your partner is not a U.S. citizen, you can't get your partner near the United States legally. We want to make sure that bi-national couples are included in any type of immigration reform.
BERMAN: There's been some controversy during this presidential transition when it comes to gay issues. Of course, the president's first pick to lead a prayer of the nation was a pastor who received controversy remarks.
Chuck Hagel nominated to be secretary of defense made his own controversial remarks about the gay community, an ambassador -- nominated to be an ambassador some years ago. What do you make of this? Is this a sign of things to come, do you think?
BRAND: Well, it is. I mean, I think it's a sign of what has been happening also within the gay community. And Chuck Hagel is a great example. Chuck Hagel had a very bad record on gay and lesbian issues while he was in the U.S. Senate. He voted against the hate crimes act I just referred to.
He had a zero rating for three cycles by the human rights summit. And of course, he got a lot of attention for his very wrong and hurtful statements about Ambassador Hormel when he was speaking to his ambassadorship.
That said, Senator Hagel has evolved on the issue of how he feels about gays and lesbians and their families, and that's what we're seeing happening across the United States. And now we see a majority support for equal marriage across the country, and that has happened over the last 10 or 15 years.
And the success of our movement has been accepting people who have changed their opinion by getting to know gays and lesbians and their families and realizing that there are real injustices that need to be corrected.
BOLDUAN: All right, Robin Brand, thank you so much for your time. It appears the list of issues on the president's slate is no fewer that time around than it was during the first inauguration. Thank you.
BRAND: Thank you.
BERMAN: Of course, Monday, President Obama will be sworn in for a second term. So what can we expect the next four years? We're going to drill down and talk about some of these issues.
BERMAN: There is no doubt that our country has been divided on many issues, and finding common ground has not been easy. We'll see a new era of cooperation perhaps in President Obama's second term? Will we?
BOLDUAN: Big question mark on that one. Let's talk with this with few of our and my favorite CNN political contributors. I'm going to get a lot of heat.
ANA NAVARRO, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: You're our favorite anchor.
BOLDUAN: Thank you. Donna Brazile, Ana Navarro, famous, don't even need an introduction. So one of the president's plate to-do-list is huge, but one of the most pressing, most immediate issues is the fight over the debt ceiling.
Ana, we've seen some movement among Republicans. What's behind that? Is that purely a reality that they don't want to be caught seeing as on the wrong side of brinksmanship in the first go of this?
NAVARRO: You know, we've had a lot of drama already in the beginning of this year between the fiscal cliff, between the election of Speaker Boehner, I think people are realizing that the American people are a little tired of drama.
But that does not mean that Republicans are not committed to addressing the spending policies, addressing the holistic problem. We can't just do it in pieces. At some point the budge it has tot to be balanced as we all balance our budgets at home.
But I do think in politics things come in a pendulums. We've had a pendulum of instability, arguing, fighting. I think we'll see it come back to the middle sooner rather than later.
BOLDUAN: So do you think there will be no drama with the debt ceiling?
DONNA BRAZILE, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: Absolutely. We should have a little drama. We didn't get into this mess simply by spending our way into it. I think we have to look at it in a holistic way, look at in terms of revenues, look at in terms of spending cuts.
But, you know, the Republicans did the right thing in terms of making sure that the country doesn't default on its obligation. But we still have a sequester coming up. I mean, that is spending cuts across the board, you know, defense, a lot of important social justice programs.
You know, if Dr. King were alive today, he would march and stand up for education. He would march and stand up for children to make sure that they have their needs met.
I think it's important that President Obama approach this as he has, reaching out to the Republicans, but standing his ground on those principles that will make this country a good country in the 21st Century. BERMAN: But, Donna with the Republicans extending this olive branch, if you will, to extend the debt ceiling vote three months, do you see that as a good sign?
BRAZILE: Well, you know, I don't like to see anything with -- what do we call that with-in the grocery store when they want to attach something to it?
BOLDUAN: Two for one sale?
BRAZILE: It might be a two for one sale. Republicans want to increase their advantage being at the table with the sequester coming up weather the regular budget that's coming up.
Look, I understand the games the Republicans are playing, but the game the American people want them to play is to play fair, to make sure that the rich pay their fair share, but also the deep cuts do not disproportionately hurt those people still trying to stand up after the worst economic recession since the great depression.
BOLDUAN: All right, we'll have much more. Stay right there. We'll also show a very famous picture of Donna Brazile.
BRAZILE: In 1993, I was an inaugural official. How the mighty have fallen.
BOLDUAN: My goodness, stand by. Much more with Ana, Donna, John and I as we continue to talk politics as well as mark this presidential inauguration weekend.
BERMAN: Welcome back to our special coverage of this inauguration weekend. We are here on the National Mall.
BOLDUAN: With so many of our close friends.
BERMAN: I know. Ana Navarro joins us right now, Republican and Donna Brazile here also here. I have to tell everyone. Donna, a very famous Democrat, was getting a good deal of applause from all the people standing behind us, a celebrity among Democrats no doubt.
BOLDUAN: They're both celebrities in my mind.
NAVARRO: She's a diva among Democrats.
BERMAN: You're a celebrity among Republicans and you spent the last few days at the Republican House retreat talking to members of the House, the Republican members, about minority outreach and the issue of immigration. What was your message to them?
NAVARRO: My message is we need to do better. We're in bad shape, but it is doable to improve and it is something we must do. We cannot give up on Hispanic outreach. And immigration is a challenge, it's a complex issue, it's a controversial and divisive, emotional issue. But it's also an opportunity to change the tone, to do something, to come up with a constructive solution, to work in a bipartisan fashion, and show the country what they want to see from Republicans, show Hispanics that we care, get them back into our fold.
We can attract Hispanics. You know, eight years ago we were inaugurating a president, George W. Bush, who won 44 percent of the Hispanic vote. We've gone down almost 20 points in eight years. That's not acceptable. And not only is it not acceptable, it will not get us back in the White House ever.
I think they understood it. I was very encouraged by the response I got. I didn't mince words. I didn't sugar coat it. We're in bad shape, folks. I know that comes as a surprise to you. And, you know, there's a commitment -- I found a commitment among many of the important Republicans, the leadership, many of the rank-and-file, who want to do something on immigration.
There have been a lot of things happening behind the scenes. There's been a bipartisan group meeting in the Senate for the last several weeks. There's been bipartisan group meeting in the House. I think we are about to see some movement. And I think that's one issue where we might be able to get some bipartisan agreement.
BOLDUAN: But, Donna, from a purely policy kind of perspective and strategy, really, because this white house really folks on one singular issue when they really want to push it and they take their argue to the public. We hear the president talking about that all the time.
I need you American people to tell your lawmakers that you want this change to happen. But when you talk about immigration reform, the White House says they want to move quickly on it after the inauguration, but is that realistic when you've got gun control, the debt ceiling, budget battles ahead that are really pressing issues?
BRAZILE: Well, if you go back to the first term, the president had many of these important issues in his inbox, but he decided that the economy should have been the big focus. I think he can tackle gun safety laws, immigration, of course, continue to improve our economy so that we can get people back on their feet.
I think what Ana did this past weekend down in Williamsburg is very important. She was speaking to some of the most powerful Republicans in the country. But if they don't listen to her message, they're in trouble, but Democrats we're going to fight.
NAVARRO: Remember, Kate, we've been waiting for four years on immigration reform. It was a promise that President Obama made he was going do his first year. So we're hoping that it gets done first year second term.
BRAZILE: With the Republicans help, we can get it done.
BOLDUAN: We will see where if, where and when we see some bipartisan work not just here on this beautiful set, but back there in that building behind us.
NAVARRO: We're go have a bipartisan meal right after this.
BERMAN: That's bipartisanship.
BOLDUAN: Ladies, nice to see you. Thank you so much.
BERMAN: All right, this question, of course, when we come back, we'll be back a little later today. But up next, are your political leaders set to derail an economic recovery?
BOLDUAN: It a can't-miss edition of "YOUR MONEY" with Ali Velshi and it starts in just about 2 minutes.