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CNN SATURDAY MORNING NEWS

Washington D.C. Prepares for President Obama's Second Inaugural; Hostage Crisis in Algeria Continues; Gun Control Measures Debated; Chelsea Clinton Speaks to Crowd in Washington D.C.; Interview with Fashion Photographer Nigel Barker; Charity Event Chefs' Ball Profiled

Aired January 19, 2013 - 10:00   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

CHIEF JUSTICE JOHN ROBERTS, U.S. SUPREME COURT: So help you God?

BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: So help me God.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

RANDI KAYE, CNN ANCHOR: Good morning, everyone, and welcome to this special edition of CNN SATURDAY MORNING. It is Saturday, January 19, I'm Randi Kaye coming to you from the national mall in Washington, D.C., as we gear up for the annual inauguration. All morning our CNN Political Team will be bringing you the very latest on preparations for the big day and the biggest challenges facing President Obama in his second term.

And today, by the way, is the national day of service. It was founded as a day to celebrate Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and to promote volunteerism. Coming up later this hour, we'll tag along with vice president Joe Biden and Jill Biden on their event. And next hour we'll see what the president and first lady are up to, as well.

We have already been out here for hours this morning. But there is much more to come. We have reporters bringing you all the angles of the inauguration. Our Shannon Travis is at the national day of service event where Vice President Biden is expected shortly.

Shannon, good morning to you. You're inside that big tent where organizers are meeting with the volunteers who will take part in today's communitywide events. Do you know what we can expect the vice president to be tackling this morning?

SHANNON TRAVIS, CNN POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: We can expect for the vice president to basically be joining in with this national call to service that hundreds of thousands potentially of other Americans across the country will be participating in, as well. This is a call to action for all 50 states. Again, organizers tell us that they have no firm number on how many people will be participating in these local communities but that they will be fanning out all across the country.

Here where I am now, this is sort of a nerve center here in Washington, D.C. where a lot of volunteers have gathered. The program is expected to kick off at any moment. It's going to feature Chelsea Clinton, obviously, the daughter of Bill and Hillary Clinton, Joe Biden, who I spoke with a few minutes ago. He talked about the importance of this day.

You know, Randi, that this tradition was started in 2009 by President Obama, and he hopes that future presidents will continue it. But going back to Biden, I asked the vice president's son how his father is feeling going into his second swearing-in. Take a listen.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BEAU BIDEN, VICE PRESIDENT'S SON: He's thrilled. I'm very -- I'm happy. He's looking forward to continuing to be the best vice president he could possibly be to President Barack Obama. He's doing a pretty good job, I think. Both of them are.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

TRAVIS: Now as we mentioned again, volunteers are starting to stream in. There's seven key themes that they're stressing for this national day to action. A few centered around education, honoring the nation's veterans, the environment, and another one is economic development. Randi?

KAYE: Shannon Travis, thank you very much for the update from there.

And now some news outside the beltway. Notre dame linebacker Manti Te'o spoke to ESPN last night. It's his first interviewer since he was swept up in the controversy over a fake online girlfriend. Now in that interviewer, he denied having any part in the fake girlfriend story except being the victim of a cruel hoax. Te'o spoke with ESPN off camera about the whole ordeal.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JEREMY SCHAAP, ESPN: I could say that in the entire two-and-a-half hours we spoke, he was completely composed, self-assured. He betrayed no nervousness. He had maybe 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)

KAYE: And of course Te'o told a man that -- a man named Ronaiah Tuiasosopo admitted to being behind the hoax. He showed them a tweet supposedly an apology from Ronaiah Tuiasosopo. CNN hasn't confirmed the tweet or Tuiasosopo's involvement. We went to his home actually in California, but the person there would not comment.

Staying with sports now and scandals. In a two-part interviewer, Lance Armstrong opened up to Oprah Winfrey in a stunning and frank discussion about his years of doping while he was a member of the U.S. postal service cycling team. When asked why he decided to come clean after a decade of denials, he told Oprah he did it for his 13-year-old son.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

LANCE ARMSTRONG, FORMER CYCLIST: When this all really started, I saw my son defending me and saying, "That's not true, what you're saying about my dad is not true." And it almost guess to the question of why now. He can't -- yes. That's when I knew I had to tell him.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KAYE: A more defiant Armstrong came through when he talked about his lifetime ban and his desire to return to racing.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ARMSTRONG: Do I want to compete again? The answer is hell yes. I'm a competitor. It's what I've done my whole life. I love to train. I love to race, I love it toe the line. If I was -- and I don't expect it to happen.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KAYE: And of course twitter has been on fire all week with reactions to Armstrong's confession. David Walsh, the journalist who actually first raised questions about Lance Armstrong back in 1999, has been tweeting up a storm. One of his tweets reads, "Oprah pressured him. The apology was, I thought, hesitantly promised. I didn't ask for it or expect it, but yes, if it's offered I accept."

T.J. Quinn of ESPN asked, "This is the emotion many were wanting to see. Here's my question -- do you feel like you've finally seen the real guy?" and comedians had a field day. Steve Martin is now even inspired to fess up to cheating himself. He says, "I'm ready to go Oprah to admit doping in 1968."

For an in-depth look at the disgraced cyclist, watch "The World According to Lance Armstrong" here on CNN tonight at 10:00 p.m. eastern time.

Fast-moving developments to tell you about in an ongoing hostage crisis in Algeria involving Americans and other westerners. There are reports the Algerian military has launched a final assault on Islamist militants holding people captive at a b besieged gas facility in the Sahara desert. We're hearing there are casualties.

Let's get to CNN senior international Correspondent Dan Rivers. He's in London to bring us the latest. Good morning. What can you tell us then about the reports of this final assault?

DAN RIVERS, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, this is being carried out by Algerian state-run television saying that seven further victims have been recovered and 11 militants. Now it's really difficult to grasp the total number of hostages that have been killed so far. We're trying to put it together, but they probably include Japanese, Brits, Malaysians, possibly some Norwegians and other nationalities. It's very difficult to know the final numbers. But adding up what we know it could be up to at least 32 missing and possibly up to 26 confirmed dead, although those numbers have been changing a lot. But that gives you a sense of the scale of this anyway.

Among those, at least one American, I'm afraid, confirmed dead, six Americans confirmed rescued, freed. And those details as I say, we're hoping to try and get more clarification in the coming hours.

KAYE: What is being said about this crisis there in Britain?

RIVERS: Well, William Hague, the British foreign secretary, has been chairing an emergency meeting again this morning. He's had to cut short a visit to Australia to come back and deal with this crisis. He gave a comment to U.K. media just a short time ago. Here's what he said.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

WILLIAM HAGUE, BRITISH FOREIGN SECRETARY: As you'll recall on Thursday, there were about 30 British nationals at risk. The prime minister explained yesterday that that number had been significantly reduced. As of now, there are fewer than ten British nationals at risk or unaccounted for. But that, of course, means that we must continue to prepare ourselves for bad news.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

RIVERS: In the last few minutes, we've had a comment from the French president, Francois Hollande. He says the operation is still underway, and he again confirmed hostages have been killed. So it's not over yet.

KAYE: Yes. It doesn't sound that way. And who claimed responsibility for the militant attack on the gas facility? What did they hope to gain out of this?

RIVERS: Well, it's been claimed that this group masked brig ad also known as the signers in blood are responsible, an attempt to put pressure on France to stop its military action in Mali far to the south.

We think that this group, the linchpin of this group is led by an Algerian jihadist who's been wanted in Algeria for many, many years. He used to fight the soviets in Afghanistan and fought in the Algerian civil war. He himself, we don't think, was at this facility, although he may well have been the mastermind behind it.

KAYE: Dan Rivers, appreciate your reporting there. Thank you very much.

Well, with President Obama about to begin his second term, many are wondering what his legacy will be. Could it be his new push for tighter gun laws or perhaps something else? We'll talk about that.

We've been taking a look -- Ronald Reagan's second inauguration remains the coldest on record, believe it or not, if you're keeping track. For that reason, they took it indoors. We'll be right back.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) WARREN BURGER, CHIEF JUSTICE: I, Ronald Reagan, do solemnly swear --

RONALD REAGAN, FORMER U.S. PRESIDENT: I, Ronald Reagan, do solemnly swear --

BURGER: That I will faithfully execute --

REAGAN: That I will faithfully executed --

BURGER: The office of president of the United States.

REAGAN: The office of president of the United States.

BURGER: And will to the best of my ability --

REAGAN: And will to the best of my ability --

BURGER: Preserve, protect, and defend --

REAGAN: Preserve, protect, and defend --

BURGER: The constitution of the United States.

REAGAN: The constitution of the United States.

BURGER: So help me God.

REAGAN: So help me God.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

KAYE: And good morning to Washington, D.C. Inauguration prep's underway as the national day of service event is unfolding. Live pictures there was Eva Longoria speaking now at that national day of service. A whole lot of celebrities here in Washington certainly trying to do their part to support the president. And, of course, the national day of service which has become a tradition here.

Hundreds of thousands of people starting to descend on Washington for President Obama's second inauguration. And there are sure to be parties and celebrations the next couple of days. Let's not forget the president faces some serious challenges in his second term, and one of the big issues topping the list -- the push for tougher gun laws, of course.

I'm joined now by CNN contributor and editor-in-chief of Redstate.com, Erick Erickson and CNN political analyst Roland Martin.

ROLAND MARTIN, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: Hey!

KAYE: Oh, boy.

MARTIN: What's happening? Erick, Where's your Stetson, man?

ERICK ERICKSON, EDITOR-IN-CHIEF, REDSTATE.COM: Not happening.

KAYE: You didn't bring your hat.

ERICKSON: No. No, I didn't.

MARTIN: The Texas conservatives are not happy now, Erick.

(LAUGHTER)

KAYE: He's already starting.

ERICKSON: I'm in Georgia --

KAYE: Already starting, wow.

All right, this week, Obama proposed sweeping laws intended to reduce gun violence. We've talked about the ban on the sale of assault weapons, instituting a background check on all gun sales. So the obvious question I guess is -- will these measures work? Roland, to you first.

MARTIN: This is the fundamental problem we've talked about several times. This should not be a gun control conversation. It should be a gun violence conversation. If you only focus on guns, if you only focus on laws, you're not dealing with one of the issues.

How many times have you heard mental illness brought up? How many times have you heard talk about the cuts when it comes to city, county, and state budgets? That's one of the issues, as well.

How do you deal with the anger management of people out there who decide to say I'm packing so, therefore, I'm going to shoot you because I don't like what's going on? That to me -- this is a one- dimensional conversation and this is going -- this is going to be the death if you will of a real substantive plan.

KAYE: He's already shaking his head.

ERICKSON: I'm going agree with some of that. I think it's worth pointing out that we had the assault weapons ban in the 1990s and most said it wasn't effective. Columbine happened after the assault weapons ban. If we're not going to deal with the violence in cities, gang violence, handgun violence, only 300 people, I think, in 2011 were killed with rifles. You had 6,000 killed with handguns. No one's even talking about handguns.

KAYE: Yes. Well, let's talk about this new CNN poll. We want to share it with the folks at home. Just 46 percent of Americans approve of how the president's handled gun policy. Why just 46 percent? I mean, is something wrong with what Obama has done? Erick?

MARTIN: No, it's the struggle --

KAYE: He's not going to let you go first.

ERICKSON: I'm used to it. MARTIN: It's the struggle between folks who say I should have the right to have a gun as opposed to what kind of measures you want to put in place and also how it's being framed. Again, that's the whole deal. I'm either going to take my weapon or keep it. It's more nuanced than that.

ERICKSON: It is more nuanced. Look, just don't -- I'm not in favor of getting rid of handguns, but it is a relevant part of the conversation people are having. People understand that the proposals that have been made thus far, they're not going to do any good. This desire to just do something doesn't necessarily make for effective policy.

MARTIN: I will say this, though -- what is being proposed is not the be-all-end-all. I do believe that you can have pieces, certain things that you can do to deal with the problem because it's much more holistic. The problem is when it is framed as, oh, this is going to be the answer. There's no such thing as the one answer. We must somehow accept that. That's part of the deal, as well, thinking, oh, this is one thing that's going to fix everything. It's not.

KAYE: But can any real changes be made?

ERICKSON: I actually don't think so. When you look at the Democrats up for re-election in the Senate, many are from southern states, pro-gun states. There's very little common ground when you're dealing with the right in the constitution.

MARTIN: This is the problem here when you put politics in it, you have too many people worried about getting reelected as opposed to worrying about the 10,000-plus folks who are killed every year when it comes to gun violence. They should put lives ahead of their jobs.

KAYE: Let me share another quote. "TIME" magazine/ORC poll shows that 56 percent support a ban on semiautomatic weapons. That is down from 62 percent in December. If a poll was taken right now, what do you think -- what do you think that would be?

ERICKSON: Oh, you know, I would be very interested to see it because of how you shape it. It's fascinating. We did a thing from our radio show, talking to people and showing pictures. They said, yes, ban that gun. It was a shotgun. It just had a pistol grip. People didn't understand. The problem with the assault weapons ban has always been it's a spooky looking gun ban. Some -- for example, the AR-15 --

KAYE: They were never defined well.

ERICKSON: If you take one piece off of it, it's not under the assault weapons ban.

MARTIN: Again, that's one thing. I think we talk about resources, when you deal with what's happening with anger management among young people in, all across this country, being able to deal with them, that's also a contributing factor to many inner city gun deaths because folks are simply flying off the handle. But again, that's a piece that's never part of the conversation because it's solely focused on the NRA versus the president. KAYE: What do you make of the huge jump in membership? Up 250,000 in the last month alone to the NRA.

ERICKSON: Look, I think people are worried -- for example, in 2012 we had the aurora, Colorado, shooting. The president's team didn't do a lot. The Democrats didn't make a big deal out of it. Unions ran flyers in swing states saying don't worry, the Democrats don't want to take your guns. Now this happened, there is a movement, and people are like, uh-oh, what happened, they're nervous.

KAYE: All right, Roland, you don't get the final word on this. Sorry.

MARTIN: Oh, Randi. Oh, Randi. Look at you.

KAYE: You're wearing the hat.

MARTIN: I'm not going to join the NRA even though I got a Texan-style hat. Ain't going to happen.

KAYE: Good to see you. Good discussion. Thank you, Roland Martin and Erick Erickson.

Inauguration prep is underway and so is the national day of service. So far Eva Longoria and Chelsea Clinton have spoken already. We'll have more from the event coming your way, next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

KAYE: Welcome back, everyone. We want to show you some live picture now of the national day of service event as we continue our special coverage of the inaugural address coming up here on Monday. This is some video we just got in of the national day of service. We have Beau Biden speaking. This is a tradition in Washington on inauguration weekend. Eva Longoria spoke earlier. Chelsea Clinton also took the stage. Let's hear just a little bit of what Chelsea had to say.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

CHELSEA CLINTON: What Eva had to say and seeing the enthusiasm in this room, it makes me even more excited and proud to be the honorary chair of the national day of service. And this day in particular has a lot of personal meaning for me. I am proud of my parents for countless reasons.

(APPLAUSE)

CHELSEA CLINTON: I'm glad that you feel the same way.

(LAUGHTER)

CHELSEA CLINTON: But 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.

(LAUGHTER) CHELSEA CLINTON: 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)

KAYE: Chelsea Clinton there speaking at the national day of service.

Monday isn't just inauguration day. It also happens to be Martin Luther King Jr. Day. And we'll hear from his daughter Bernice and find out why she says President Obama's second term is actually even more important than the first one.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: For 29-year-old Pushpa Basnet, 2013 begins on a high note. Basnet was named CNN hero of the year for her work providing a home for children of incarcerated parents in Nepal. I sat down with her after the big moment.

How do you feel? You've just won.

PUSHPA BASNET, CNN HERO: I think I'm dreaming. It's a big honor for me. I will never forget this night in my life.

COOPER: What was going through your mind when you were walking up on stage?

BASNET: We all are winners, definitely. I've seen my dream come true. Thank you very much. I'm still -- definitely this is going to you out of the prison. You're coming to my place.

(APPLAUSE)

BASNET: This is for my children. Thank you for everyone who believed in my dream.

COOPER: The kids call you --

BASNET: Mamu.

COOPER: What does that mean to you?

BASNET: It means a lot to me. The reality, I know I'm not the original mother. But I'm their so-called mother to give them a better life and better education. That's for sure.

COOPER: What was the inspiration?

BASNET: I'm really fortunate to be brought up in the family that I was. I had good parents. Until now they give me everything. But there are some children, you know, whose parents have done mistakes and they are suffering. I said that I should give it to them.

COOPER: Some of your kids were watching. What did you want to say to them?

BASNET: Your Mamu did it. And I'm sure you're proud of me whatever I'm doing.

COOPER: I'm proud of you, too.

BASNET: Thank you, Anderson. Thank you.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

KAYE: Welcome back, everyone, to our special edition of CNN SATURDAY MORNING. I'm Randi Kaye coming to you live this morning from the national mall here in Washington, D.C., as we look forward to the 57th presidential inauguration.

President Obama's second inaugural won't exactly have quite the historical glitter of the first one, but just as in 2009, the first family will be very busy this inaugural weekend. Nearly a million people are expected for the swearing-in and the parade on Monday.

And the activity has already gotten underway here. Today the president and vice president are taking part in a community volunteer project. By example, both urge Americans to give their time today and join the national day of service. We've been showing you some of that event throughout the morning.

Later on today, Michelle Obama and Jill Biden host a concert for American military families and their children. President Obama started the national day of service four years ago as a way to honor the spirit of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.'s work. And our Suzanne Malveaux is at the national service event on the national mall. Suzanne, good morning to you. What have you seen there so far this morning?

SUZANNE MALVEAUX, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Good morning. I guess I got a little lucky here. I was told I was going to be outdoors, but I'm inside this warm, beautiful tent. There are hundreds of people who are here gathered al to learn about community service.

In this tent right now you might be hearing or even able to see if you've got a camera craned on the gospel great Yolanda Adams who's performing now. She's one of many of the superstars who have gathered here to call awareness to the importance of volunteering.

Now earlier this morning we saw Eva Longoria. She talked about the need and her own foundation to give back to the Latino community. We Beau Biden talking about the importance of giving back to military families. And then of course one of the co-chairs of this event, Chelsea Clinton, a lot of people got very excited about her.

And she mentioned a couple of things. First of all, she said that she was so proud to be here because it was her father who was the one who actually signed the legislation, the bill that made MLK day a day of public service, a day to give back. She talked about her grandmother, Dorothy, as well. Somebody who in southern California was teaching farm workers how to speak English and how that community service was passed down through their family.

So a lot of people here just looking to sign up to volunteer for organizations in their own communities and have a good time, Randi, to take in the entertainment, the enthusiasm, and really looking forward to all the festivities of the weekend.

KAYE: Yes, great celebration, great reason to give back. Suzanne, you know, last hour I had the opportunity to talk with Clarence Jones. He actually helped draft the "I Have a Dream" speech. We were talking about the significance of the fact that the president will be using one of Dr. King's bibles at the inauguration. What does Dr. King's family think, do you know?

MALVEAUX: Absolutely. So I had a chance to talk to Bernice King, the youngest child of Dr. King. And she was so proud. I mean, they have this bible that is in a case. It was taken out of that case. It is being transported to the first family to be used on Monday. It is really an incredible source of pride for her and for the whole King family. We had a chance to talk about that, as well as a host of other issues about what it means to have the holiday, the celebration and inauguration day on the same day and the legacy of the Obama administration moving forward.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

BERNICE KING, DAUGHTER OF DR. MARTIN LUTHER KING JR.: Mrs. Obama will be -- will have the bible and then, you know, pull it out for her husband to put his hand on.

MALVEAUX: Bernice King took her father's bible from the enclosed case at the King center to bring to the president. She showed us the worn pages and her father's handwritten notes from 1954.

KING: I'm sure this travelled with him as he left Montgomery. That's on a Monday date. He would leave on Monday.

MALVEAUX: Yes.

KING: And fly back to Boston. He was studying and meditating.

MALVEAUX: Bernice King says the president's second term perhaps is even more important than the first.

KING: There's a lot of pain, there's a lot of hurt.

MALVEAUX: Absolutely.

KING: We went through a lot of tragedy last year, a lot of political divisiveness. And it's just time for that healing and reconciliation. And daddy's, you know, work represented that.

MALVEAUX: King says she believes President Obama in trying to reunite the country is striking the right tone.

KING: He could have after the election said, how do you like me now? You know what I'm saying?

(LAUGHTER)

KING: It's hard. I mean, some people can be sore losers. That's just the reality. The president sets a tone in the nation if nobody else does. I -- he's compassionate. And Dr. King was compassionate. And he's committed to the next generation.

MALVEAUX: So what does King's youngest think President Obama should do next?

KING: Right before he was assassinated, he was in Memphis, Tennessee, to bring attention to the work of the sanitation workers, those that were not receiving adequate wages and not being treated fairly. He was in the midst of planning this poor people's campaign. And I'd like to see more emphasis placed on poverty in our nation.

MALVEAUX: King specifically singles out the African-American and Latino communities.

KING: I know there's always been a concern about the African-American community not feeling, perhaps, that the issues related to our community have been addressed effectively. And I think there's some room for improvement in that regard.

MALVEAUX: I asked her where gay rights is the next civil rights battle.

KING: I don't like to speak for him on issues that back then he didn't have an opportunity to speak on. Then I'm injecting what he would do. I certainly think that my father -- first and foremost, he saw everybody as important, regardless of how you define yourself in whatever category you fit in, your person hood. And he felt that everybody deserves dignity and respect.

MALVEAUX: King is encouraging folks to use her father's holiday and the inauguration as an occasion to serve.

KING: Although we have come a long way, we still have to finish the work of Dr. King.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

MALVEAUX: One of the things that's going to happen is that her brother going to be here later today. Martin Luther King III will join Congresswoman Tammy Duckworth, an Iraq war veteran, actress Angela Bassett, Deejay Mel. I don't know if you know Deejay Mel, he's going to bring the house down.

There are a lot of folks very excited about entertainment but about the idea of what this day means to them, giving back to their communities. It is something I think that a lot of people feel passionate about.

And it is tied into the holiday, to the Martin Luther King holiday day of service. So you're going to see a lot of that throughout the weekend on the mall today, Sunday, and spilling interest Monday, as well.

KAYE: Yes. Suzanne, that was a great interviewer, by the way. I got chills just seeing his handwritten notes, Dr. King's handwritten notes inside his bible. That was something to see. Thank you very much --

MALVEAUX: It was unbelievable. Sure.

KAYE: Thank you very much.

MALVEAUX: Appreciate it. Thank you.

KAYE: Well, in about an hour from now, President Obama will attend the national day of service events. So be sure to stay with us. We'll bring it to you live here.

And coming up, we're expecting huge crowds here for the inauguration. So how hard is it to find a place to stay? Guess what, we made some calls, and we'll show you just how that went.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

KAYE: Some breaking news for you this morning. Big news certainly in this area where we are in the Washington/Baltimore area. Major League Baseball is reporting that baseball hall of famer Earl Weaver has died. The long-time Baltimore orioles manager was on a cruise in the Caribbean apparently when he collapsed. He went to the World Series four times during his career with the O's. Earl Weaver was 82 years old.

Now let's update you on the ongoing hostage crisis in the Algerian desert. Algerian radio reporting the country's military has launched a final assault on a remote gas facility where Islamic militants and an unknown number of hostages have been holed up for four days now. It says seven hostages and 11 militants have been killed. CNN has not independently confirmed that.

The militants attacked the facility on Wednesday, taking hundreds of people captive. About 650 managed to escape in the wake of another military operation on Thursday. But one American and 11 other hostages were killed.

The entire city of Washington, D.C., is getting ready for the big fiesta. The free tickets to the inauguration are going for as much as $7,500 apiece online. Yes, I did see free tickets going for thousands of dollars. And also in high demand, of course, hotel rooms. So we had our Nadia Bilchik check in with some of the best hotels around the city to try and find a room.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

NADIA BILCHIK, CNN CORRESPONDENT: I'm wondering how much a hotel room will be for Sunday night, the night before the inauguration? Oh, a three-night minimum stay. And how much is that per night? $1,532 per night. So that's a three-night minimum, $5,262 for the three nights, but it would have to be a three-night minimum. A view overlooking Pennsylvania Avenue, yes. And how much would that be? $1,665 per night, making it what for three nights, the grand total is $5,719. And I will call you back if we decide to take it. I'm wondering if I could speak to reservations, please? I'm going to make a reservation for this Sunday night.

You've got the 19th through the 22nd, and what would that be per night? $999 a night. So that's a minimum stay of 999 a night.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Reservations. (inaudible)

BILCHIK: And I wonder if you had any rooms left and what the price was?

You have a four-night minimum. King-sized bed, $1,145 a night and it's a four-night minimum. And if I want to upgrade to a premiere suite? A junior suite. Well, I'm curious to know how much your most expensive room is going for at this time? For the royal suite, it's $20,000 a night, four-night minimum. And has that been booked for the inauguration? It has been booked. Thank you so much.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

KAYE: And $20,000 for one night in a hotel.

She's dazzled us four years in this gown. So what will she wear to this year's inaugural ball? Everybody wants to know. A look at Michelle Obama's fashion through the years.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

KAYE: Welcome back to our special edition of CNN SATURDAY MORNING. I'm Randi Kaye. Glad you're with us.

First lady Michelle Obama is a champion of healthy eating, a tireless advocate for exercise, and a baroness of fashion. Who better to talk about that than fashion photographer Nigel Barker. You may know him when he was a judge on "America's Next Top Model." Now he's the host of "The Face," premiering February 12 at 9:00 p.m. on Oxygen.

Good morning, Nigel, nice to see you. Thanks for being here.

NIGEL BARKER, FASHION PHOTOGRAPHER: Thank you very much. Good morning.

KAYE: So let's talk fashion, shall we? I wanted to ask what you think about Michelle Obama's fashions overall. And they've certainly changed throughout the first term.

BARKER: They did. You know, she is the first lady of fashion. I mean, let's face it, there haven't been that many first ladies who have taken fashion so seriously. We have Nancy Reagan known for her red and Jacqueline Kennedy who pretty much defined an era. And Michelle Obama is such a modern lady. She's really taken fashion by the reins and worn it unabashedly and shown that, you know, you can really make a fashion statement. And at the same time be taken seriously. I think that's a very powerful and empowering take on fashion.

KAYE: Yes. She's not afraid of fashion, is she? She's certainly not afraid to take any risk.

BARKER: Color, stripes, she loves to, you know, mix it up. She's been called the mix and match master because she's take high fashion and mix it with high street browns. That's also very accessible. She's known for her accessibility which I think is obviously great as a member of the public. You can watch your first lady and then go out and buy her look the next day on line if you want. And wear exactly what she's wearing, which is genius.

KAYE: As we're talking here, we're looking at these incredible pictures of her wearing that Jason Wu gown from the first inauguration --

BARKER: Of course.

KAYE: -- night here in '09. What about her ball gown designer? Any ideas on who she might be wearing this time around?

BARKER: Well, you know, she made such a statement with that gown. I mean, to wear white certainly at that time of year, the bear shoulders. It was startling and, of course, put Jason Wu on the map. And -- but the economy, we've had a tough four years. And she's known for wearing her fashions over and over again. I wonder whether she'll make a fashion statement and wear a dress she's already worn.

KAYE: Now that would be a big statement because she certainly hasn't been afraid to do that before.

BARKER: Exactly.

KAYE: Let me ask you about something from back from 2008. She wore this lemongrass-colored outfit designed by a Cuban-American designer actually, Isabelle Toledo. Was that a good choice do you think? Is that a good dress for her?

BARKER: You know, it was funny, because a lot of people had a lot to say about this particular outfit. You know, it was her first term as first lady, as well. And you're out making a statement. Now, it was both conservative, yet the color was a little different. You know, it's not necessarily everybody's cup of tea. But the point is, she liked it. And I think that was the statement there, that she was saying I'm going to be wearing what I like to wear, what I'm comfortable in.

And that's what it's about. Fashion is about making a style statement that says "I'm in control here, I'm in power." And that's a very empowering thing to do. She's done that and done it the whole way through her whole -- the whole last term.

Of course, she's also -- her look over the past four years has also changed slightly. And she's got rid of all those accessories and sort of slimmed her whole look down. I think actually she's more serious now in this next -- I think you'll see a more serious look going through the next term.

KAYE: Well, she certainly can pull off all kinds of looks, no question about. That Nigel Barker, nice to see you, thank you very much.

BARKER: It's a pleasure. Thank you very much.

KAYE: All right, forget the pomp and the pageantry. We're about to talk inauguration food. Yes, food. That will be served at an event tonight. So stick around for the menu straight from one of the inauguration ball chefs whom you just might recognize.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

DR. SANJAY GUPTA, CNN CHIEF MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: Miss Montana surrounded by more than 50 other beauty queens on stage. All hoping to become Miss America. For most of her early life, Alexis Wineman spent her time alone.

ALEXIS WINEMAN: I was very quiet because I couldn't say anything right. I was picked on for the way I spoke. I really didn't have any friends.

GUPTA: Her parents knew there was something wrong, but their small town of Cutbank, Montana, didn't have the resources to figure out what it was. At age 11, after years and years of searching for answers, a doctor finally put a name to her condition -- pervasive development disorder, a mild form of autism. Typically children with autism are very intelligent but very quiet. Socially awkward, and they don't respond appropriately to interactions with other people. Typically they don't end up becoming beauty queens either. But Wineman says one day she simply decided not to let her condition define her.

WINEMAN: I longed to really accept myself and my autism. And I realized that my autism isn't what defines me. I define what is autism.

GUPTA: She entered the miss Montana pageants as a way to prove to herself she could do anything she set her mind to.

WINEMAN: I fell in love with the program. Good thing, too, because I won. I wasn't expecting to win, but it's funny how things work out sometimes.

GUPTA: That win put her on the national stage in Las Vegas.

WINEMAN: Miss Montana, Alexis Wineman!

GUPTA: Wineman made it as far as the top 15 and won the America's choice award for garnering the most online votes. She says the whole experience has been an amazing ride.

WINEMAN: It's been a challenge, but I've enjoyed it immensely. There are times when I do feel a bit overwhelmed, but those are going to happen in life anyway, whether you're going to be in miss America or not. So I'm willing to take all of that on.

GUPTA: Dr. Sanjay Gupta, CNN, reporting.

(END VIDEOTAPE) KAYE: Welcome back everyone to our special coverage this morning. There you have it, a live look at the Washington Monument where inauguration preps are already underway. As we swing out wide, you see our CNN set here on the national mall.

We've talked about inaugural fashion, crowds, transportation, and of course the next four years, and now one of my favorites, time to talk about food. Award-winning chefs Art Smith and Wes Morton of Art and Soul are hosting the inaugural chefs' ball with five other celebrity chefs all for charity, a great cause. You may recognize Art Smith from his appearances as a guest judge on bravo's "Top Chef" or as a contestant on "Top Chef Masters."

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ART SMITH, CHEF: What to see me what makes food what it is, it's your own personal experience, your interpretation, your inspiration. This is Thai Art Smith inspired.

I'm a southern American chef, OK, that is who I am. One of the things I learn sudden you've got to be true to yourself. I I'm not a Thai chef and I'm not going to be a Thai chef in four hours.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KAYE: How are you? He's cracking himself up over here, award-winning executive chef and co-owner of five restaurants, arts smith. Good morning. You think you're pretty funny, don't you?

SMITH: I was. I am a southern fried chicken chef. I'm telling ump.

KAYE: I know. What I love what you said, that you wanted to bring a little soul to the hill here. That's what you did.

SMITH: We sure did. Thank you, be president Barack Obama, and four more years! More fried chicken for everybody.

KAYE: Of course we're talking about your restaurant art and soul here close to Capitol Hill. Let's talk about your event tonight. The chefs' ball. Tell me briefly about that.

WES MORTON, CHEF, ART AND SOUL: What's wonderful about this occasion was -- and in harmony and celebration and philosophy with the first family is bringing chefs together for one wonderful common thread, that chefs can do great things.

Each chef is cooking their hearts out for something they believe in. Maybe it would be the Cambodian children's fund or it's the Jane Spirit Foundation or it's common threads which is our kids after- school cooking program. But what's wonderful is that we come together in unity and that the fact that food has the ability to do such great things. And it was just an idea, OK, let's have a chef ball. Well, after it sold out twice --

KAYE: You knew it was a good idea.

MORTON: It really was. And so -- let's face it, you know, at 11:00 at night, you get hungry.

KAYE: No kidding. What makes a memorable dish at a chefs ball or anywhere else?

MORTON: I think what makes a memorable dish is, one, it has to taste good. And two, you know, it got to have a good story. When you have these wonderful chefs there and, you know, you've got, you know, Isabella, who's a wonderful, wonderful chef. And Todd Gray, who I worked closely with the first lady's program, I mean, they'll have these amazing stories. And people know their stories and it's -- it makes it taste that much better.

KAYE: Yes. Speaking of cooking, you actually -- you've cooked for the president.

MORTON: Yes, many times.

KAYE: What have you made? What does he like?

MORTON: Well, you know, we only are a block and a half away from each other in Hyde Park --

KAYE: Chicago.

MORTON: Yes, exactly. Being --

KAYE: You don't sound like you're from Chicago.

MORTON: Honey child, I am -- I'm not from Chicago. I'm from jasper, Florida. But they claim me, too. But you know, he loves fish. You know, and particularly Hawaii and everything. You know, we do a lot of fish for him. They do love dessert. I was funny. You know, you lived in Atlanta and stuff. I recently cooked for the first lady. And I brought that. Did you know they're making olive oil in south Georgia?

KAYE: No.

MORTON: It is fabulous.

KAYE: You brought it back --

MORTON: I made a breakfast for the first lady with the olive oil and used that and some wonderful grits that were just amazing.

KAYE: Really?

MORTON: Yes. It was great.

KAYE: Your event tonight, the chefs' ball, is sold out. Folks can still go to your restaurant, right?

MORTON: Honey, we are open. We're open just until the last guest and then we start with the party. And tomorrow we're just -- we're going to be really busy. The last time we worked -- clearly about 48 hours.

KAYE: What was it like last time? Just mobs of people? MORTON: Just mobs and mobs of people.

KAYE: Yes.

MORTON: It was a lot of fun. Oprah was in the house. She did her show. And Jon Bon Jovi. Tonight, Gayle King is here. My husband and I got married at the memorial.

KAYE: Congratulations, by the way.

MORTON: I'm focused about that. And Jesse Tyler Ferguson tied the knot. Everybody's going to be sporting bow ties. I said why scream in the street, be smarts and fabulous.

KAYE: Yes. And you gave away your ticket for Monday which I thought was nice.

MORTON: Honey, I'm going to be --

KAYE: You were so busy.

MORTON: No. I feel like I've had wonderful opportunities, and I want to be in the restaurant because there will be a lot of people watching in the restaurant. I want them to feel loved and appreciated. And I love -- and I'm much more happy kind of like kissing babies and doing my thing and cooking and all that kind of stuff.

KAYE: Well, listen, I'd love to have you back on the show again so you can call me Honey Child a few more times, OK?

SMITH: Darlin', I'm happy to.

KAYE: Because I like it. I like it.

SMITH: It was such a pleasure. Thank you so much (inaudible).

KAYE: All right. I'll be coming to your restaurant this weekend. Thanks, Art Smith, great to have you here.

Well, we have much more ahead in the next hour of CNN SATURDAY MORNING, which starts right now.

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