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THE SITUATION ROOM
The Presidential Inauguration; First Lady at the Kid's Concert
Aired January 19, 2013 - 19:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
WOLF BLITZER, CNN ANCHOR: And happening now:
Festivities are in full swing. And this is the second term inauguration of the president of the United States.
We want to welcome our viewers in the United States and around the world. I'm Wolf Blitzer, with Kate Bolduan.
And you are in THE SITUATION ROOM.
BLITZER: The focus of the inaugural festivities right now, a wonderful concert for kids at the Washington Convention Center. It's a special member for a lot of families.
BOLDUAN: It is a very special moment for a lot of families. It's by invitation-only. We are showing -- they are showing a video. We are looking at live pictures of the event. They are showing a video.
It's invitation of families of service men and women to honor the service. The first daughters, Sasha and Malia are there.
And the highlight is still to come. The First Lady Michelle Obama will be introducing Katy Perry. And you guys have no idea how excited Wolf Blitzer is for that moment.
BLITZER: We are all excited. I know Hilary Rosen is excited. Dana Bash is excited. We're all excited.
Everybody in Washington is getting ready for the historic moment. We are watching what is going on.
Hilary, as we get ready for this, once again, set the scene. Why the first lady and Dr. Jill Biden, vice president's wife, they brought the kids and grandkids and 5,000 other families and kids for a cool, cool performance?
HILARY ROSEN, CNN POLITICAL CONTRIBUTOR: Well, it started with Obama's want to not have such a fancy inauguration ceremony, recognizing all sorts of issues with the times.
But the first lady and Dr. Biden have a very special role with the military, with supporting military families. And so, they decided that the best way to celebrate would be to have some of the artists who supported them during the campaign and over the years to come and perform for the military families and their kids.
BLITZER: It's a wonderful moment.
Let's go to the scene. CNN's Brooke Baldwin is outside the concert.
Tell us what's going on, Brooke, for our viewers who are just tuning in right now. What can we expect?
BROOKE BALDWIN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Hilary is right. It's all about these families of men and women in uniform and it is really tonight, they are calling it the kids' inaugural concert. This is all about the kids. I was just up there. It was just above my head here in the convention center here in Washington.
And I've got to tell you, when you walk in, I mean, there's not a soul seated in a chair. So, I walked in, the whole thing started. You have Nick Cannon who was invited by Dr. Biden and the first lady to come host the whole thing. He told me how he was a surrogate during the 2008 campaign and really, when Michelle Obama calls, you say yes.
And so, then, of course, Usher performed. Wolf, you were asking earlier, I hope you were listening, he opened with "Yeah." It's a huge hit for him.
And, you know, really, it's just a huge crowd. As you pointed out, though, we are waiting right now, let me look at the schedule of events. Next up on stage, the Soul Children of Chicago, with Black Violins, the kids choir. So, that's what we need to watch for. But, as you all pointed out, the first lady will be in there, the first daughters, Sasha and Malia in there, Dr. Biden and then the first lady will take to the stage and she introduces all of your favorite and mine, Katy Perry.
Soul children are on stage right now.
BLITZER: And we still don't know what she's going to be singing. That's going to be a big surprise, right?
BOLDUAN: He will be asking the question --
BALDWIN: That's the big surprise. That's the big surprise.
BOLDUAN: That will be the big surprise.
BALDWIN: I should also point out, though, let me -- quickly, in 2009, obviously, that was the first inauguration for President Obama, they had a similar event and you know, they say ahead of time, we are trying to get details, will there be surprises? What will Sasha and Malia be doing?
I know that, you know, back -- so should say this, a couple of years ago, the Jonas Brothers were kind of the jam, so they played at that show, and they actually invited Sasha and Malia up on the stage.
So I would not be surprised, you guys, if we see maybe some first daughters grooving on stage with Katy Perry. I don't know, I don't know if it will happen, but it's something to watch for.
BOLDUAN: Many, many surprises ahead. Brooke, we'll be coming back to you, and we'll be dipping in to all these live moments at the children inaugural concert as it continues to unfold, that is for sure.
This is also, we do want to say, of course, to remind you this is also the National Day of Service, encouraging volunteers across the country to help with local projects on the weekend of Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, the president and first lady took part, helping as you see there, to stain a bookcase in a elementary school here in Washington.
And the president talked about the meaning of the day.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Everybody here, adults to children understand the importance of giving back. And as we -- as we think about not so much inauguration, but we think about the fact that this is Dr. King's birthday that we're going to be celebrating this weekend, you know, I'm always reminded that he said, everybody wants to be first. Everyone wants to be a drum major. But if you are going to be a drum major be a drum major for service -- be a drum major for justice, for looking out for other people.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BLITZER: Vice President Joe Biden and members of his family also took part in the National Day of Service, helping to put together care packages for deployed troops at the National Guard armory right here in Washington.
BOLDUAN: It was President Clinton who signed the bill designating the National Day of Service every MLK weekend, his daughter is honorary chair woman this time around.
BLITZER: Chelsea is the honorary chairwoman.
BLITZER: There she is.
BOLDUAN: She earlier today.
BLITZER: She spoke beautifully, indeed.
Right, let's listen in a bit. You know what I wanted to do, Kate. I wanted to listen in a bit. This is the Soul Children of Chicago with Black Violins, the kids choir. You know what? They look like they are having fun.
BLITZER: Kids are excited getting ready for Katy Perry here at the kids inaugural concert. Right now, the Soul Children of Chicago with Black Violins, and the kids choir there performing. You know what? Let's listen in briefly.
BLITZER: All right. The kids choir there jumping up and down, they're having a great time here at the kids' inaugural concert coming up, Katy Perry. But we'll be all excited to hear that.
BOLDUAN: We will. We'll be dipping back in throughout the hour, of course.
But to continue, President Obama, he may want to recall all the fun and goodwill of the weekend as he gets into his second four years in office, because it may not be so fun and be filled with so much goodwill.
BLITZER: If history is a judge.
Let's bring in our chief political analyst Gloria Borger. Second term is very often turn out to be problematic.
GLORIA BORGER, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL ANALYST: Yes, they are tough. When you start your second term, you are thinking about your legacy. How the history books will look at you. And you always have as my mother used to say, big eyes, right?
BORGER: You want everything and when you look at some second term presidents. You know, they get bog down very often. Ronald Reagan had Iran/Contra, Bill Clinton had Monica Lewinsky. Those things keep them from doing what they want to do.
Now, if you look at President Obama, who wanted to be after all a transformational president, if you look at the first term, he did get health care reform. And that is a big issue that he will be remembered for one way or the other. If you look at the second term, I would have to say that immigration reform, which I think is something that is likely to happen, because Republicans need it to happen also. That's another big item.
So, if you were to take immigration and health care reform, you'd have to say that that legacy is looking pretty historic.
BOLDUAN: And is also part of what is difficult about a second term for a president, is that question of thinking about that legacy that they'll leave behind?
BORGER: Yes, I think it is, because you can't just say, OK, I want to do everything because I only have four years left. So, with President Obama, he wants to do gun control and immigration reform. He's got all the fiscal issues, before he even gets to those. He wants to do something on climate change.
So, the agenda is big and the problem that second term presidents have is that generally, after about 18 months in, you are sort of considered a lame duck. Members of your own party start saying, you know what? Who is coming next? How am I getting re-elected and what can you do to help me? If you're not an incumbent, and you are looking on your way out, you lose your power.
So whatever you're going to do, you have to try and get it done quickly.
BLITZER: So what you are saying is there's a narrow window, this year, for example, 2013, some of 2014, for him to really get his agenda done.
BORGER: Well, and the problem for this president is he has to get through the fiscal issues first. Those are big speed bumps in his way. If he can get through the fiscal issues, go on to immigration, I would argue that would be the thing he ought to do next. Try to get some part of gun control. That's a pretty good legacy there.
BLITZER: If he does economic issues, if he does guns and if he does comprehensive immigration reform, Hilary Rosen, that is an impressive second term if he gets that agenda done.
ROSEN: It would be and let's not forget that he was dealing with health care and other issues in his first term and the environment of the greatest economic problems since the depression, and moved through that. You know, the thing about these second term priorities though is that it's very clear from all sorts of polling and other things that those issues, doing something on gun control, doing something on climate, passing immigration, those are issues that the American people actually support. Actually independents and even represent are cans support much of that agenda as well.
I think that makes him not so wild eyed. I think that makes him have an opportunity to be sort of practical and forceful and build some coalitions in a way that maybe Republicans who do not want to see him get re-elected the first time have less to lose in helping this time.
BLITZER: Let's not forget, he has national security and foreign policy issues that could enter fear.
BORGER: He is ending two unpopular wars.
BLITZER: Iraq over with, we'll see what happens --
BOLDUAN: As we talk about all this, it will be interesting to see what he really hits on in the second inaugural address. Let's dip back in here.
BLITZER: Mindless Behavior performing right here, let's listen in a little bit.
BLITZER: Hilary Rosen, give us a little background. Mindless Behavior, there's a history here.
ROSEN: Mindless Behavior was a band not very well known, was performed at the White House Easter egg roll and was a huge favorite of the first daughters and the first lady. Then since they played at the White House Easter egg roll, they got famous and the Obamas specifically requested that they come back and perform at the inaugural, they are adorable. None of them are over the age of 17.
BOLDUAN: They absolutely look older than that age. When you think, Hillary, this is "My Girl," the song they are performing, 14 million views on YouTube. It shows the power of the Internet in the recording industry.
ROSEN: It's true and a lot of people say that you just -- stars are not created anymore in music. You know, they were not paying attention to you know, these people, and bands of teenagers stars are being created.
BOLDUAN: They sure are.
BLITZER: And they have a positive message they are trying to bring as well. I think that is why the first lady and the White House, they like this group a lot.
We'll take a quick break and listen to a little music as we go to the break.
BLITZER: Mindless behavior, still performing over there at the Washington Convention Center at the kids' inaugural concert, hosted by the first lady of the United States and Dr. Jill Biden, the vice president's wife, their kids, their grandkids. They are all having a great time.
BOLDUAN: Honoring military families.
BLITZER: And it's very important because about 5,000 people there, maybe 6,000, mostly kids of military families were invited guests.
BOLDUAN: Absolutely right. And some -- it's not only about kids concert, but also about covering politics.
Twelve-year-old Mallory Moore is a "National Geographic Kids" reporter who interviewed Michelle Obama and Jill Biden.
And then Hannah Prensky, also 12 years old, is covering the concert tonight for "Scholastic". She interviewed President Obama in September.
Quite a resume already ladies. Congratulations.
MALLORY MOORE, NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC KIDS REPORTER: Thank you.
BLITZER: Very impressive, Mallory. So yesterday, you spent time with the first lady and second lady of the United States?
MOORE: Yes, I did. BLITZER: How did that go?
MOORE: It was really nice to meet them. They were so -- they made you feel relaxed in the White House and I liked getting to know them and what they liked to read.
BLITZER: So, are you going write an article?
MOORE: Yes, I posted on the kids' blog page, a small paragraph about it.
BLITZER: What did you say?
MOORE: Well, I talked about joining forces, which is the important military program that supports the military families. And I find that important because it's not just supporting the people who were off at war, it's also supporting their families and their children.
BOLDUAN: And, Hannah, you are covering the kids' inaugural concert for "Scholastic", I think many people are saying, you two are impressive, but why do the kids actually care about the inauguration? Do they pay attention? And why should they?
HANNAH PRENSKY, SCHOLASTIC KID REPORTER: Well, I have been covering the election for the past couple of months and I found that I think that kids do care and they care about the process, and I mean, it's their future.
BLITZER: You interviewed the president of the United States last year as well. Tell us how that happened.
PRENSKY: Well, I have been a reporter for "Scholastic" since last year when I was 11. And I've gotten a lot of cool things. Among which was meeting the president. And I did it in the White House, in a room that the public was not -- it was not open to the public.
BLITZER: Do you remember the name of the room?
PRENSKY: It was the Diplomat Room, I think.
BLITZER: Yes, there's a picture. There you see it right there, we put the picture up for Twitter. You see it there?
BOLDUAN: See it right there.
So, Mallory, tell me about the interview with the first lady and Dr. Biden. What did you learn from them? What do you think was the most interesting thing that you picked up?
MOORE: Well, I liked learning about the Joining Forces Program, because I didn't know a lot about it beforehand, it was nice to know that children are included. And I also enjoyed learning about what they like to read because --
BOLDUAN: So, what do they like to read?
MOORE: The Obama family just finished reading "Life of Pi" all together and then they watch today movie, so that's going to be next on my list to read.
BOLDUAN: That's a good -- that's a very good choice.
Hannah, so you're covering this concert tonight. Have you met any of the stars? Did you get a chance to meet Sasha and Malia? What more are you learning about the concert?
PRENSKY: Actually, I was just there, and I left to come talk to you. I didn't get to meet them, no. But I did see them up on stage and I saw Nick Cannon right before I left.
BLITZER: Were you nervous when you spoke to the president of the United States?
PRENSKY: I was extremely nervous. He was just about as far as us two right now. And -- I mean, he is the president of the United States, he is a historic figure. I'll probably never be as nervous as I was.
BLITZER: Were you nervous interviewing the first lady of the United States?
MOORE: First, I was a bit nervous, but then they walked in and they were so comfortable. They just made you feel at home and relaxed. And then, it's just got easier. So --
BLITZER: Where are you from?
MOORE: I'm from Washington, D.C.
BLITZER: And where are you from?
PRENSKY: I'm from Frederick, Maryland.
BLITZER: So you live in this area. So it's not far for you to go over to the White House, maybe you will be a frequent guest over there. That would be cool, wouldn't it?
MOORE: Yes, I would definitely like do more of that.
BLITZER: Pretty exciting, how many kids your age get invited to interview the first lady or the president of the United States.
That's pretty good, isn't it?
BOLDUAN: That's pretty good. I think that is pretty good. Your friends were impressed with that, huh?
BLITZER: Do a good job now, you'll be joining us in CNN pretty soon. You want to join Kate and me on CNN?
MOORE: Sure, I'd love to.
BLITZER: Well, you're joining us right now.
This is what I want you to do. You see, we're going to take a quick break, this is what I want you to say. We'll take a quick break, much of our coverage right after this.
BOLDUAN: Say right in to that camera. You can both say it.
BLITZER: You can do it.
MOORE: We are taking a quick break and we'll be right back soon.
BLITZER: We have more coverage.
PRENSKY: With much more coverage.
BLITZER: Hey, guys. Congratulations. Thank you.
MOORE: Thank you.
BOLDUAN: We'll be right back.
BLITZER: The musical comedy television show, "Glee". They are performing right now, some of the performers. You know what? Kate, let's listen to them a little bit.
BLITZER: Very, very popular show, "Glee" on TV, they are performing right now, some members of the cast at the kids' inaugural concert that's hosted by the first lady.
BOLDUAN: The concert hosted by the first lady and Dr. Biden, "Glee" has really taken off. I mean, it's such a commercial success. It's so huge, Wolf, that they even have guest appearances from other huge stars. Carole Burnett has been on, Gwyneth Paltrow, I mean, the list goes on and on and on. It's a huge success, is it is in the fourth season? Yes, it's in the fourth season right now and it continues to be a hugely popular show with many.
BLITZER: If you work hard and play by the rules. Kate Bolduan, I know when you were in college, you performed and you could be on "Glee," I believe that.
BOLDUAN: I did. I used to sing.
BLITZER: You still sing.
BOLDUAN: Past tense. BLITZER: You still sing. You have a beautiful voice.
BOLDUAN: Only in the makeup room when we're there quietly.
BLITZER: Some day they will invite you. I predict.
BOLDUAN: Some day, maybe, I will make it.
BLITZER: I'm sensing it.
BOLDUAN: You're sensing. Hillary Rosen, "Glee."
HILLARY ROSEN, CNN ANCHOR: I am working on it.
BOLDUAN: Hillary's already calling people. Love it, love it.
BLITZER: Let's move in. Serious news we are watching. Right now, very serious. Visible security presence here in Washington, D.C. for this inauguration weekend as it should be. Joe Johns is working this part of the story for us. Security incredibly tight.
JOE JOHNS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Absolutely, Wolf. The good news is that we have been in contact with the law enforcement authorities all day long. They say there are no credible threats, no advisories going out. Everything seems to be on schedule. But if you feel like you are being watched right now. You are. There are cameras all over this place. And they are looking at everything that happens. A huge law enforcement presence here. We are talking about 4,000 D.C. police which are always here. 6,000 National Guards people. 2,000 law enforcement officers from other jurisdictions and those are the only ones we know about. There may be more than that.
All of this to keep people safe. The biggest thing of course here in Washington, D.C. right now is crowd control. Certainly authorities are expecting perhaps 800,000 people here in the mall. Much fewer than four years ago. Nonetheless, it's a huge number for them to deal with. So they have to deal with it in the metro systems. On the streets, both coming and going, all of it just a giant enterprise for Washington D.C. and all the law enforcement people that are present.
BOLDUAN: Is it a delicate balance that they have to strike to have the amount of security they want but to not completely shut down the city and make it look like it's some kind a military zone.
JOHNS: You hit the nail on the head. And they are very sensitive to that here in Washington, D.C.. We know from the other political conventions that have occurred here in Washington, D.C., just over the last year, the so-called National Special Security events that are run by the Secret Service but police and other officials are brought in from everywhere, you can have a situation where it looks like a police state.
Certainly they are trying to tone it down a bit and in fact, they are going have fewer authorities here than they did four years ago, because they are expecting fewer people.
BLITZER: So what you are saying is this entire area, there's closed circuit TV everywhere.
John: Closed circuit TV everywhere and that is just right now. At 3:00 in the morning on Monday morning, before the inauguration, that is when they really lock this down, this place down, it becomes a secure environment. And that is when it all goes in to effect.
BLITZER: You see some pictures from the command center as they are watching everything unfold and for good reason, we hope it stays very, very quiet, very calm on this historic presidential inauguration weekend. Joe Johns, thanks very much. We will take another quick break and we'll get back to the kids' inaugural concert. Lots more coming up, our special coverage continues right here in "The Situation Room."
BLITZER: They are performing some members, cast from "Glee," also some of the kids choir here, I believe, Darren Criss is performing right now, as well as we get ready to hear from Dr. Jill Biden, the first lady, Michelle Obama who will introduce Katy Perry here at this concert.
BOLDUAN: Finally, finally. Katy Perry.
We will be watching it until then, and let's talk more politics as we head into this inauguration weekend.
BLITZER: Good idea.
BOLDUAN: That does sound like a good idea. Joining us are CNN political contributors, Republican consultant Alex Castellanos as well as Van Jones, former Obama White House official. Hello again, gentlemen.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Good to be here.
BLITZER: Are the Republicans now on board, comprehensive immigration reform, it's a done deal this year?
ALEX CASTELLANOS, CNN CONTRIBUTOR; I think there's a very good chance that the republicans are going to support something big and important and try to get at least a start on a dressing to change in the electorate. The growing influence of Hispanics. Yes. Marco Rubio seems to be the leader of that movement, you know, a plan that says, if you are here and you're working and you're contributing, there's a path to legal status and eventually then of course to citizenship.
BOLDUAN: So Van, are Democrats ready to accept, are they ready to get on board with the Rubio plan?
VAN JONES, FORMER OBAMA WHITE HOUSE OFFICIAL: It's funny, it's almost just like the Obama plan. That's the great thing about it there's so much actual - I think when people readily decided to sit down and solve it. When people sit down to solve a problem the solutions are there. And I think on this issue, the Republicans have gotten themselves into a demographic cul-de-sac, and they know they cannot win another election with the base they have. They got to grow. But it's really shouldn't be just about politics, this is about real people. This is about people in this country. They care of our children. They do some of the hardest work in America and they deserve respect and dignity. And I think, you know, the political calculation and the moral calculation come together and both parties to get something done.
CASTELLANOS: And some of them even end up on CNN.
JONES: That's right.
CASTELLANOS: I don't want you to think that Republicans are lockstep on this. There's divisions in the party, this is going to be a tough one. When the boat is dead in the water and when the economy is not moving forward, it brings out the worst in folks. I'm running out of supplies and food, and you know, more for you means less for me. The Republican Party, this is going to be a struggle...
BLITZER: Because the biggest issues -
CASTELLANOS: But if economy gets going, if things get a little better and if the Republicans get a visionary leader like Rubio leading this that can get the boat moving forward a little bit, there's hope.
BLITZER: The key issue, Alex, amnesty, it's a sensitive issue. Of the 12 million undocumented workers in the United States, millions of them will qualify. Is that amnesty? If they are allowed a pathway to citizenship after fulfilling certain requirements.
CASTELLANOS: I think we're going to have to find a new word.
BOLDUAN: I was just going to say that. Who is going to try to find the new word.
CASTELLANOS: You know how politics really works.
I think the Rubio plan has found a way to say, look, if you are here, if you have committed a crime and you have done something that has taken from the country, instead of given to the country, then there's no place for you. But if you are contributing to the country. If you are a part of the fabric, if you came here because you want to add to something that is great. Then there's a way and so yes, they're going to find a way, but I'm not sure they are going to call it with the big scarlet A.
JONES: I think that, you know, first of all. I think President Obama has been extraordinarily courageous in trying to move this agenda forward. I also think that the African-American community which in the past has sometimes been pulled into the anti-immigrant camp has also been very patient. You have not seen a lot of African-Americans saying "Hey, what about my job." I think there's a sense that we're going to have to embrace everybody. And especially when you talk about young people and people who are working hard, we have the genius of all people in this country. We have the wisdom of all people in this country. We can tap that and we can have more jobs not less. I'm proud of the African -American community that actually supported the president on an issue that has been tough for us in the past.
BLITZER: You say the president has been courageous, he wanted to get something done his first year, as if four years really - it was not at the top of his agenda.
JONES: Well, I mean, he had to kind of save the country from the great depression. So that kind of took a priority but he also knew he did not have a partner on the other side. I am actually very glad there's going to be a partner on the other side. It's going to be tough for parts of the democratic base and parts of the Republican base, this is something that's going to get done and that we'll get done this year.
BLITZER: We know President Bush tried and failed even though he had Senator Kennedy. He had John McCain comprehensive immig - didn't work out at that time. Let's see if the math is different. Hillary Rosen stand by for a moment. I want to go to Brooke Baldwin. She's out where the kids' concert right now. Brooke, what's going on?
BROOKE BALDWIN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: OK. We need to have a little fun here. We are in Washington, it's a Saturday night. There's a huge crowd in the CC Convention Center in this building. You are looking at these live pictures. So, we have and I'm glancing over my shoulder to see everyone in the crowd here. All these kids. This is about the kids as we have been saying. This is a way, this is such a - this is so near and deer to the hearts of Dr. Jill Biden and the first lady of the United States. Right, this whole idea of honoring our men and women in uniform.
I've been in this hall where you are looking at these pictures and there's not a soul who is actually sitting in their chair. I mean everyone is on their feet rocking and rolling because we're waiting and this is why everyone is watching CNN. This is why you need to stay tuned in. Because we are waiting to see the first lady Michelle Obama will be taking the stage and then she will have a few words. I'm sure she will echo what Nick Cannon, the host, off the top, basically that this night is all about you, the kids of our men and women in uniform and then after Michelle Obama, she then tees up the big headliner. Katy Perry, I know you all have been talking about her. Katy Perry takes to the stage. And again, there could be surprises.
You know, Malia and Sasha are in the crowed, the first daughters, will they, might they get up on the stage? We have to wait and see. But this is so exciting. This is the place to be. Not on the national mall, all quiet. Right here, in the convention center.
BOLDUAN: We are having fun too. I assure you we're having fun.
ROSEN: We may rather be there though.
BLITZER: Brooke is having a lot more fun than we are, which is appropriate. Brooke, standby, we're going to come back to you. Take a quick break. The first lady of the United States and Katy Perry right after this.
JILL BIDEN, WIFE OF JOE BIDEN: (INAUDIBLE) see all of us. They're over there. And I want to thank you mom -
BLITZER: The second lady of the United States, Dr. Jill Biden is speaking right now. She will introduce the first lady who will then bring on Katy Perry. Let's listen to Dr. Jill Biden.
BIDEN: Thank you for your service and all that you continue to do for our military families. The first lady and I are so excited to be here with all these military kids. I want to give a special welcome to some very brave kids. From the Delaware Army National Guard, 153rd military police company.
Just a few weeks ago, I was with them when their moms or dads were deployed to Afghanistan. I want you all to know, that we are so proud of you. And we will be here for you when your moms and dads are away. The first lady and I knew from the start that we wanted to celebrate this strength and service of our military families. That is why we started joining forces, our efforts to encourage all Americans to find ways to honor and support our troops, veterans and military families.
Joining forces is especially important to me because I know something about being a military mom. Our son, Bo, is a major in the Delaware Army National Guard and he was deployed to Iraq for a year. Bo has two children, Natalie and Hunter. So, I know -
Thank you. So, I know first hand just how important it is for a child to have every one's support, their friends, their teachers and their entire community when mom or dad is away. So, we want tonight to be one special way that our country shows all of you just how much we appreciate everything that you are doing for our country. And we are so excited to be here with you tonight. Here with everyone.
Now I would like to introduce someone else who is so proud of you and excited to be here. She has been working so hard for military families, please welcome my great friend and partner. First lady Mitchell Obama.
MICHELLE OBAMA, FIRST LADY OF THE UNITED STATES: wow, thank you so much. Thank you, Jill, big hand, Jill, my partner.
How is everybody doing?
Are you guys having fun?
Are you excited to be here for the inauguration?
Well, we are all excited that you could join us tonight both here in Washington and from all across the country and around the world by video, we have got kids from Fort Hood that are here and folks that joined us from Joint Base Pearl Harbor Hiccum, they are in the house. We have folks from Wright Patterson Air Force Base here. We got folks from Camp (INAUDIBLE) who are here with us. And we've got Coast Guard Air Station Clearwater here as well.
Yes. And for the wonderful kids from Naval Air Station Siganela who led the pledge of allegiance. Yes. We have some very special guests that are here as well, your parents! Those are your parents. Let's give them a round of applause. We beamed them in. They're right there. Wave to them. They can see you.
Now, inauguration is a really big deal. You know, the president and the vice president are sworn in. There are all these inaugural balls. Everybody dresses up and dances. We had a wonderful day of services today. And hundreds of thousands of people come from all 50 states to join in the celebration. Let me tell you, I love every single minute of it. Every single minute. But I have to tell you that my very favorite part of this entire weekend is being right here with all of you. Absolutely.
Because for me, this is what inauguration is all about. It's about celebrating who we are as Americans and all the things that make this country so great. And when I think about who we are, when I think about what makes America great, I think about all of you, our men and women in uniform, our military spouses and our amazing military kids. And that's why Jill and I wanted to host this event. And we're not the only ones that wanted to pay tribute to all of you today. You see when we said we wanted to host a concert to honor our military kids, let me tell you, everyone wanted to be here. Usher wanted to be here. Katy Perry wanted to be here. Nick Cannon. The folks from "Glee" and all the other amazing performers, they wanted to be here too.
And let me tell you, they're not here for me. They're not here for Dr. Biden. They are here for all of you, because they know the kind of sacrifices you all make every single day. Let me just share something. Did you know that a military kid attends an average of six to nine schools by the time he or she graduates from high school? Just think about that. Just imagine how much courage it takes to always be the new kid. To walk through the doors of a new school every couple of years, to have to make new friends again and again. And did you know that our men and women in uniform often have to be away from their families for months. Sometimes years.
Now, just think about the level of maturity that is required from military kids during those times. Just think about that. Think about how they have to step up at home without even being asked. Taking out the trash when dad's not there. Helping brothers and sisters with their homework when mom is away. Think about how hard it is for military kids to be apart from the people they love most. How they miss their moms and dads every day and would do anything to have them back home. And that's just a glimpse of what it means to be a military kid.
It means always thinking about things that are so much bigger than yourself. It means growing up just a little faster and working just a little harder than other kids. And it means doing the greatest thing you can ever do with your life at such a young age. And that is to serve our country. So to America's military kids, let me tell you, make no mistake about it, you all are an important part of the greatest military on earth. By supporting your families, you all are helping to protect this country and keep every single one of us safe. You're doing that.
And Dr. Biden and I are so incredibly proud of you all. Every day we're proud of you. Let me tell you, our husbands are proud. The vice president, the president, they are proud of you. And in the coming years, as these wars draw to an end and we draw down our troops, I want you all to know, absolutely. But here's the thing. I want you to know, you and your families to know that we will not be drawing down our work to support you. We will be doing just the opposite. Because the fact is that today, we have a greater obligation to serve you than ever before. And we will do everything in our power, everything to meet that obligation, to make sure that our military families get the benefits that they've earned and the support and recognition that you all deserve.
So in the coming months and years, through joining forces, Dr. Biden and I, we will keep calling on Americans to translate the love and pride that we all feel into action that makes a real difference for you and your families. Every single one of us has a role to play here. And I encourage everyone watching tonight to go to joingforces.gov and find out how you can give back to our military families. Because we cannot rest, we cannot be satisfied until we are serving all of you as well as you've served this country. You all deserve nothing less.
And with that, there is someone else here tonight who would like to show her appreciation for you all. She's our final performer for this evening. Should we bring her out? Are you ready? Are you really ready? All right, then. It is now my pleasure to introduce the fabulous Katy Perry!
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Some see things as they are and say why. I dream things that never were and say why not. Dream, dream things. Dream, dream things. Dream things that never were and say why not.
KATY PERRY, SINGER: You guys want to have a little more fun?
BLITZER: That's it, unfortunately we've got to leave it right there. Katy Perry performing for the families of the United States military.
We'll see you tomorrow.