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The Presidential Inauguration; Joe Biden Sworn In to Second Term as V.P.

Aired January 20, 2013 - 07:52   ET


WOLF BLITZER, CNN ANCHOR: Chilly but beautiful sunny day here in the nation's capital.

We want to welcome our viewers here in the United States and around the world to CNN's special coverage of Inauguration Day. I'm Wolf Blitzer here on the National Mall.

This will be where hundreds, hundreds of thousands of people will gather tomorrow to watch the public swearing in of the president. But, of course, today is the official, the official Inauguration Day, January 20th, the constitutionally mandated start of President Obama's second term.

The president will be sworn in during a private ceremony at 11:55 a.m. Eastern. The vice president, Joe Biden, is also being sworn in today, actually. We are only moments away. At 8:20 a.m. Eastern, we are told, the vice president will be sworn in. We'll show you all of this live as it happens.

Our CNN inaugural team is covering every, every minute of this, the 57th presidential inauguration, and we are spread out all over Washington, D.C., ready to cover every angle of this historic moment.

Any moment now, as I said, its vice president will take the oath of office from his official residence. That's here in Washington, D.C., at the Naval Observatory in northwest Washington, right off of Massachusetts Avenue, if you are familiar with the nation's capital.

Let's bring in our White House correspondent, Brianna Keilar. She is over at the White House.

Brianna, good morning.

Let's set the stage. Within the next few moments, the vice president will be sworn in for a second term.

BRIANNA KEILAR, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: That's right, Wolf, in a very intimate ceremony taking place at his home that he shares with his wife, Jill Biden, his official residence, the naval observatory. And it will be a rather small ceremony, with just 120 guests, friends and family looking on. They have already started to enter the room, which is the first floor foyer of the house there.

There is -- it's really a beautiful room with a lot of artwork and something we know is sort of interesting, one of the pieces of artwork that guests will be looking at as they watch the vice president sworn in for another term will be the -- Lincoln delivering his second inaugural address, perhaps the most famous second inaugural address in history.

So, his family will be watching on. He will be sworn in by Associate Justice Sonia Sotomayor. This will be the first Hispanic associate justice to swear in a vice president, the fourth woman to do so. And he will be placing his hand, the vice president will, on the Biden family Bible.

You will see when it happens, it's a pretty big Bible, five inches thick. This is the Bible that has been in the family back to the late 1800s and this is the Bible that the vice president has been sworn in before, during his Senate terms and also his son, Beau Biden, used as he was sworn in to be attorney general of Delaware.

So, this will be a rather intimate ceremony.

And another thing to point out, Wolf, while the Constitution explains that the president is to take an oath, it doesn't say the same thing for the vice president. This is an oath that is actually going to be longer than what the president will be taking later today, and it's something that Congress created by statute that's actually not in the Constitution, Wolf.

BLITZER: And the vice president -- I just want to point out to our viewers, we're looking at live pictures of the residence over at the Naval Observatory, the vice presidential residence where the Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor will swear in the vice president for a second term in this private ceremony. It's the official ceremony. This is really what counts.

Tomorrow, though, is the public ceremony. They want to share all the festivities on Monday as opposed to Sunday. This goes back to tradition.

But today, according to the Constitution, they must go ahead before noon Eastern Time with this swearing-in ceremony.

And, Brianna, the vice presidential ceremony during this, the 8:00 a.m. Eastern hour, the presidential ceremony, official ceremony, will take place during the 11 a.m. Eastern hour, at exactly 11:55. They have to do it before noon, right?

KEILAR: That's right. And that is mandated by the Constitution. That will take place here at the White House in the Blue Room. Again, we'll be covering that, Wolf, but it's going to be a much smaller ceremony, obviously, than tomorrow, where we expect hundreds of thousands of people will be on the Mall to watch President Obama sworn in.

BLITZER: Stand by, Brianna. You are going to be with me throughout this hour, our special coverage, getting ready for the vice presidential swearing in ceremony. Let's get some analysis, though, from our CNN political analyst, David Gergen. He is here on the National Mall with me. Also, our senior legal analyst, Jeffrey Toobin.

The oath he takes, Jeffrey, the vice president, is different than the presidential oath?

JEFFREY TOOBIN, CNN SENIOR LEGAL ANALYST: It's much longer around has none of the eloquence and grandeur of the very brief presidential oath, which is mandated in the Constitution.

BLITZER: Explain why?

TOOBIN: Only 35 words.

BLITZER: That's the presidential oath.

TOOBIN: The presidential oath. There is no vice presidential oath called for in the Constitution. What the -- but Congress, in the late 1880s, decided, you know, there had should be a vice presidential oath, too.

But maybe this is a lesson about Congress. Congress made it much longer, more complicated. No one would even attempt to memorize the vice presidential oath. So John Paul Stevens, who administered the oath four years ago, he had a card and I'm sure Sonia Sotomayor will have a card to read it to the vice president.

BLITZER: You worked for four presidents, David Gergen. So, take us a little bit inside this vice presidential ceremony we are about to see. For Joe Biden, who spent a lifetime in politics, eventually becoming the vice president of the United States and now a second term this is huge.

DAVID GERGEN, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: It's very big. You know, there was a funny moment yesterday when the Vice President Biden was on the road was out, called himself "President Biden". He was proud to be President Biden and he had to correct himself.

But I do think, given recent events, this takes on added significance, and that is the president brought Joe Biden into the middle of the talks on the fiscal cliff, and really help to resolve a final agreement. And then he turned to him on gun control.

So -- and there's been sort of rumblings out there now that Vice President Biden might actually be interested in running in 2016. There's a whiff of politics today as Justice Sotomayor swears him in. I mean, it's not an accident, I think the first Hispanic justice. It's fitting. She just right --


BLITZER: What you're suggesting is part of his courting the Hispanic vote. Is that what you're saying?

GERGEN: I just think, just possibly they had that in mind. Just possibly.

TOOBIN: Just possibly 100 percent chance that's the case.


TOOBIN: Now it is also true that Sonia Sotomayor is the first justice appointed by the Obama/Biden team. When he was senator, he was chairman of the Judiciary Committee. Supreme Court justices, he has voted on -- he had voted on all the justices before he became vice president. So he is someone intimately familiar with the Supreme Court, but it is definitely true that the idea of having the first Hispanic justice swear him in is good politics.

GERGEN: I've got to question you. You have written your book started out, about the Chief Justice Roberts last time, sort of mangling the oath. So is there a mangling this morning at five minutes to 12:00, and it goes over until five minutes after 12, does Joe Biden become president for five minutes?

TOOBIN: You know what? He doesn't. One of the great things about Constitution is there are gaps and mysteries. Suppose, just for example, President Obama didn't take the oath. You know what would happen? Nothing. He would be the president.

GERGEN: Really?

TOOBIN: I mean, it is quite clear that the Electoral College has met. He is going to be the president at noon. But the Constitution also says take the oath, but the ambiguity there is that even if he didn't take the oath, he'd still become president. I don't think there's any chance of that. He is going to be there to take the oath.

BLITZER: You know, we have a little clip of the flub four years ago, you've got some unique insight into this. So, I want to play it remind our viewers what happened and then we'll discuss.




ROBERTS: I Barack Hussein Obama do solemnly swear --

OBAMA: I Barack Hussein Obama do solemnly swear --

ROBERTS: That I will execute the office of the president of the United States faithfully --

OBAMA: That I will execute --

ROBERTS: Faithfully the office of the president of the United States --

OBAMA: The office of the president of the United States, faithfully. ROBERTS: Prepared to take the oath, Senator?

OBAMA: I am.

ROBERTS: I, Barack Hussein Obama --


BLITZER: OK. There you saw it. So you have done a lot of work, a lot of reporting, a lot of research, Jeffrey. What happened?

TOOBIN: It is actually fairly simple story. John Roberts is someone who prepares fastidiously for everything in his life and he prepared for this as well. He prepared a card. He -- which I think we have behind -- we have a copy of it, because it's in my book. And in that card, he parsed out precisely how the words would be broken -- would be broken up.

Do we have the card there? Let's see. That is the redo, that photograph there at the White House the next day.

Anyway, he divided up the words and put it on this card. This card was then e-mailed to a secretary on the congressional committee that was supervising the inauguration. That secretary never forwarded the card to the Obama transition office, so, Obama didn't know how Roberts was going to divide up the words.

What happened was if you listen very carefully is that Obama interrupted Roberts, after he said his name, "I, Barack Obama -- I Barack Hussein Obama" -- Roberts expected him to say do solemnly swear in that first line. That's what confused the two of them. And then that next line, "will faithfully execute the office of the United States", that's what was messed up.

BLITZER: David, here's what -- here's what they need to do and hopefully they have done it this time. They need rehearse it --


BLITZER: -- privately, just in a little room, just the two of them, to do it two or three times, make sure you got it right. This is history.

GERGEN: Well, it is history. Does bring us to this interesting point, there is going to be a lot of trivia as well as significant things talked about here today. The president had to take it again, he took it twice last time and now because the official inauguration falls on Sunday, he's going to have to take the oath of office twice this time, which means he's going to take the oath of office four times, only one other American man in history taken the oath of office four times as president, that was Franklin Roosevelt.


BLITZER: Because he was elected four times.

TOOBIN: But Obama doesn't get to be president for that long.

BLITZER: Just quickly, button this up. When we redid it four years ago, a couple days later, he didn't have to do it, but they just did it just to be on the safe side, is that right?

TOOBIN: Here's why politics come into -- as they thought about whether to redo the oath, they were thinking, look, this is a president who's been accused of not being born in the United States. People are really looking for reasons to question his authenticity. So they thought, look, let's get rid of this problem at the beginning. Let's redo the oath there is the photograph there in the Map Room in the White House, done at 7:00 in the evening on January 21st and -- so they eliminated the problem.

But one of the reasons they felt to deal with the problem is they felt his political opposition, they might file a lawsuit. They'd be in court. They didn't want to have that sort of uncertainty.

BLITZER: So, they just did it. They got over with, and that was that. He'll be in the Blue Room today administering the oath over at the White House.

Security is clearly a top priority here in Washington for all of these inaugural events. And 13,000 troops will be on hand to help out.

Our Pentagon correspondent, Chris Lawrence, is keeping a close eye on security for all of us.

Chris, are there any security concerns right now? I'm sure a lot of people are nervous but no real issues have emerged, have they?

CHRIS LAWRENCE, CNN PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT: No, that's the bottom line and the big picture here, Wolf. There are no credible security threats to the inauguration right now. That's the word that we're hearing from law enforcement officials, federal law enforcement officials, here in D.C.

It's a big change from four years ago because four years ago, there were rising threats. There were also nearly 2 million people descending on the city and there were some real fears about what could happen.

Now, there is still concern and still been game planning every possible scenario, but is there a different tone to the security this time: (a), because you've got much fewer people coming. I mean, maybe 600,000, 700,000 people coming out here. That's big drop from the 1.8 million we saw.

It's allowed them to make some changes. Some of the bridges from Virginia into the city that were closed to you and me last time so that police and all the buses could use them -- those will be open. It will be easier access into the city.

And they learned a lot from last time. So, the Secret Service is now on Twitter. They are going to be putting out updates to help people get around and get people the information they need. So maybe they don't run into as many security problems as you had last time -- Wolf.

BLITZER: All right, Chris. Stand by. We'll get back to you.

We are standing by ourselves for the vice president of the United States. He is getting ready to be sworn in officially for a second term as the vice president. We are going to have live coverage of that within the next few moments.

Our special coverage from the National Mall here in Washington, this inauguration weekend, continues right after this.


BLITZER: Looking at live pictures of the White House on this Inauguration Day here in the United States. President Obama getting ready to begin his second term as president. He will be sworn in by the chief justice at 11:55 a.m. Eastern, as mandated by the Constitution.

You are also looking at live pictures from the vice presidential residence at the Naval Observatory here in Washington. The vice president getting ready, momentarily, to take his oath of office as well. Sonia Sotomayor, the justice, Supreme Court justice, will administer the oath of office for the vice president. You see members of his family there up on the stage. A lot of guests are there as well, invited guests over at the vice presidential residence.

All of this you will see live here at 8:20 a.m. Eastern, the next few minutes. We'll see the oath of office being administered for the vice president.

At 11:55 a.m. Eastern, the president will be sworn in for a second term as well.

Let's bring in CNN's Athena Jones. She's here in Washington, up on Capitol Hill.

So, what will the vice president's swearing in ceremony be like? We are all going to see it in the next few minutes. Give us a little preview, Athena.


Well, you mentioned that Justice Sotomayor will be swearing in Vice President Biden. He personally select herd to do the swearing in. We are told she is the first Hispanic and the fourth female judge to conduct a swearing in.

One other detail, interesting factoid, I guess, is that Vice President Biden will be using a family Bible, a Bible that's been in the Biden family since 1893. We are told it is five inches thick and used the Bible in all of his past swearing-ins as senator. And he also used it back in January 2009.

So, just a few tidbits to look out for as we wait for the next few minutes, Wolf.

BLITZER: As Jeffrey Toobin mentioned -- excuse me, as David Gergen mentioned a little while ago, Athena, the vice president had a little gaffe last night, maybe foreshadowing his plans for 2016. But tell us what happened.

JONES: You know, this sounds like it was really, really funny, I wish we could have been in the room last night. But he went to a party given by the state society of Iowa, you can imagine there were a lot of Iowa Democrats there. We know how important the state of Iowa is in primaries.

So he made a mistake and introduced himself, said he was proud to be president and everyone laughed and, of course, he managed to correct himself. But it was pretty funny, Wolf.

BLITZER: All right. Athena, stand by.

Candy Crowley is now joining us.

Candy, welcome. We've got David Gergen here. We've got Jeffrey Toobin here.

Within the next few minute or so we are going to hear the vice president. You and I have covered Joe Biden for a long time -- when he was chairman of the Judiciary Committee, chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee, he ran for president, didn't necessarily work out. But he is vice president.

For him, personally, what's going through his mind right now?

CANDY CROWLEY, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: You know, it's interesting, just talking to the senior White House advisor, David Plouffe, and talking about how the first time, it's kind of like your wedding. You don't remember much of it because there's just so much going on. He said the second time I'm going to sit back and enjoy it like renewing your vows almost. You can take time to enjoy it.

So, I think there's some of that. But, look, you know, we are already talking about 2016. Certainly, he has just thrown a lot of hints out there.

Do you think he will be thinking about that right when he takes the oath of office? No. I think he'll be thinking about the moment and enjoying it.

BLITZER: And especially with his family and his grandkids, a very tightly knit Delaware family --


BLITZER: -- shall we say and we're going to see some of that come through.

Jeffrey, Sonia Sotomayor, I assume she's practiced what she's about to do. TOOBIN: They take this very seriously. This is a big deal to these justices. You know, John Paul Stevens, who did it four years ago in his chambers at the Supreme Court, had an absolutely enormous photograph of him administering the oath to Joe Biden in 2009. So I think that tells you how important it was to John Paul Stevens.

Sonia Sotomayor has a book out now, "My Beloved World" and that -- and so, she has been out in public a lot. She has been talking about how she is pretty nervous about this experience.

BLITZER: All right. It looks like they are standing up for the vice president. They are applauding. You know what? Let's just enjoy it for a moment. Here it is -- the swearing-in ceremony.


REV. KEVIN O'BRIEN, GEORGETOWN UNIVERSITY: The vice president has asked that we bless this occasion with prayer. And so let us pray.

The Prophet Micah proclaims, you have been told, oh, mortal what is good and what the Lord requires of you, only to do justice and to love goodness and to walk humbly with your God.

Gracious God, at this moment in our history, we ask your blessing on your servant, Joseph, as he renews his sacred pledge to his country. And that all the complexities of our world, a world so beautiful but also broken, give him a share of your wisdom so that he can know what is good and give him the courage to always do what is right. Walk close by him so that he can do justice and to labor tireless for a more just and gentle world.

Empower him to be a voice for those without a voice, for those on the margins, those so easily overlooked, for you will judge us all by how we care for the least among us. Continue to give him the humility to always call upon you in times of need and with the gift of faith given to him by his church and his family, help him to always know of your presence.

Lord, protect our president and our vice president and their families in their service to us all.

Finally, we thank you for the blessings of peace and of liberty. We honor the sacrifices of so many in our military, in our foreign service, in civil service, who safeguard these blessings daily and we renew our pledge as citizens to join them in that noble labor to always work for the common good. And so, help us to set aside self- interest and to meet one another on the common ground to which you call us.

You, generous God, have given us so much and we humbly offer these gifts for the good of others and for your greater glory. Amen.

SONIA SOTOMAYOR, U.S. SUPREME COURT ASSOCIATE JUSTICE: Mr. Vice President, are you ready, sir?


SOTOMAYOR: Please place your hand on the Bible and raise your right hand and repeat after me.

I, Joseph R. Biden, Jr., do solemnly swear --

BIDEN: I, Joseph R. Biden, Jr., do solemnly swear --

SOTOMAYOR: -- that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States --

BIDEN: -- that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States --

SOTOMAYOR: -- against all enemies, foreign and domestic --

BIDEN: -- against all enemies, foreign and domestic --

SOTOMAYOR: -- that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same --

BIDEN: -- that I will bare true faith and allegiance to the same --

SOTOMAYOR: -- that I take this obligation freely --

BIDEN: -- that I take this obligation freely --

SOTOMAYOR: -- without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion --

BIDEN: -- without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion --

SOTOMAYOR: -- and that I will well and faithfully discharge --

BIDEN: -- and I will well and faithfully discharge --

SOTOMAYOR: -- the duties of the office on which I am about to enter.

BIDEN: -- the duties of the office of which I'm about to enter

SOTOMAYOR: So help me God.

BIDEN: So help me God.

SOTOMAYOR: Congratulations.

BIDEN: Thank you, Your Honor.



(APPLAUSE) BIDEN: Madam Justice, these are some my friends.


BIDEN: My family.

And I want to explain to you what a wonderful honor it was and how much out of her way the justice had to go. She is due in New York. She has to leave right now, so I apologize, we are going to walk out. Her car is waiting so she can catch a train. I hope I haven't caused her to miss.

And I am leaving with the -- going and going to meet the president to do the traditional laying the wreath at the tomb over in Arlington and I -- we are having breakfast. I will be back, they tell me in 40 minutes. I hope some of you will still be here. But I thank you very, very, very much for sharing this morning with Jill and me.

And, Madam Justice, it's been an honor, a great honor. Thank you.

Enjoy breakfast. Be back in a minute.


BLITZER: All right so, there you have it. The vice president of the United States, sworn in for a second term in office. A nice, moving ceremony.

We heard a prayer from the Reverend Kevin O'Brien of Georgetown University. The vice president himself a Catholic, obviously moved by what we all saw and went through.

Candy Crowley, a thought on what we just saw.

CROWLEY: I actually was looking at him, he -- his brand, if you will, in politics is great because it's real. He is a comfortable man. Even when he is doing something as solemn as this, there is something comfortable about Joe Biden that attracts people to him, that sort of every man thing. He still has a way of taking an august ceremony and making it seem not every day but just comfortable and approachable.

BLITZER: A man of the people.

TOOBIN: He has also become a very influential figure. Some vice presidents are and some vice presidents are not. I mean, look at his involvement in the gun control proposal that just came out. In the settlement of the first fiscal cliff where he and Mitch McConnell negotiated a deal essentially to keep the government functioning.

This is a very important person in this administration.

GERGEN: He is. I thought there was a sweet moment. There was something about that, just seemed to work very well for everybody. And go back to Candy's point, he is very comfortable with himself and increasingly, I think the country is very comfortable with him, which is very important in a vice president, I think.

If you look at the approval ratings now, various people in Washington, he just below President Obama, and I think there's a sense in the country, Jeffrey's point, that he is -- that he is a serious enough man, he has this warmth but he's also serious, so that something might happen to President Obama, God forbid, that the country would be comfortable with having him as the commander-in-chief and as the president.

BLITZER: Yes. You have no doubt that he is looking ahead to 2016?


BLITZER: David, do you?


BLITZER: And, Jeffrey, do you?

TOOBIN: No. But, you know, he is 70 years old. That's big factor. Yes, he is looking ahead, but I'm not sure the country would be ready for someone in their eighth decade running for the first time for president.

CROWLEY: Hillary Clinton not that much -- would not be that much younger. She would be like --

TOOBIN: It's an issue for her, too.


TOOBIN: Less of an issue.

GERGEN: I think it is helpful for the president to have the hints that he might run again, because you the president is going to soon enough run into the question of being a lame duck. If people are looking at Joe Biden as potentially a successor, it, in effect, keeps his strength going longer than it might.

CROWLEY: He keeps energy in the administration, absolutely. And I think that's, in part, I somewhat disagree. I mean, yes, he was instrumental in the gun panel, but the gun panel end was set before he went in there and talked to all those people.

To me, that was -- let's bring everybody in and we are going to come to this conclusion.

But nonetheless, when he was talking to Mitch McConnell, he is the one that made that happen. I think the interesting play to me is that these are roles that President Obama has given him to elevate him.

GERGEN: Exactly.

CROWLEY: And that -- that is interesting to me just as we look forward to the next four years.

BLITZER: So how did the Justice Sonia Sotomayor do?

TOOBIN: Looked flawless to me. You saw she had written it out.


TOOBIN: And she had written it out with the pauses indicated. That's the way to do it safely. You saw how long it was. No one could possibly memorize that.

The interesting question, and I don't know the answer, is will Chief Justice Roberts will have a card? Will he surrender his famous memory? He has very famous memory, and just do it with a card or will he try again without a card and see how that goes?

BLITZER: I don't think he should take any risks.


TOOBIN: My guess is he is a very proud man. My guess is he will not have a card. He will dole it from memory again. But he will have made clear this time, unlike last time, to the president where the pauses are going to be, because that was the problem.

GERGEN: So, trivia question.

TOOBIN: Right.

GERGEN: George Washington, at the end of the oath, at the constitutional oath, added the word "So help me God", all right? They're not in the original oath.

TOOBIN: Not in the oath, whether he did or not is a mystery. Yes, it's certainly a tradition.

GERGEN: So, we just heard Joe Biden do the same thing, "So help me God". Is that in the official vice presidential oath?

TOOBIN: I don't know.

GERGEN: You don't know?

TOOBIN: I don't know enough about -- we are going to have to --

BLITZER: The answer is this.

CROWLEY: You all had read your research. Yes. Yes.

BLITZER: The answer is it ends with "so help me God." The statute says I do solemnly swear or affirm. Now --

TOOBIN: So does the Constitution. The Constitution gives that up.

BLITZER: This particular oath, Sonia Sotomayor said swear, she didn't use the word affirm. So, what's the difference?

TOOBIN: Well, the Constitution gives you a choice, as does the statute. Now, here's a good trivia, which I happen to note answer to this one, which president affirmed? Only one president in history has ever affirmed.

BLITZER: Instead of using the word "swear"?

TOOBIN: Swear -- Franklin Pierce.

GERGEN: Franklin Pierce. Why?

TOOBIN: That's the beginning and end of what I know about Franklin Pierce. But because -- the reason it was put in is that Quakers, who were significant for us in American politics around the turn of the 18th century, don't like to swear, that that's considered inappropriate. So -- but I don't know if Franklin Pierce was a Quaker.

GERGEN: Every president I have known swears.

TOOBIN: That's right. They certainly do.

BLITZER: But not in this particular case.


BLITZER: Candy, you got a special "STATE OF THE UNION" coming at the top of the hour?

CROWLEY: I do, including David Plouffe, senior White House adviser. We're also going to talk to John Barrasso, as you know, is in the leadership on the Republican side.

BLITZER: The senator.


CROWLEY: A senator -- what the art of the doable is here in terms of -- I mean, President Obama is a very ambitious agenda and they admit at the White House they are not going to get all of this you look at energy and climate change and immigration, which they may just get, they think that's their big thing, and gun control.

So we wanted to see what's the art of the doable here.

BLITZER: We'll be watching, the top of the hour, special "STATE OF THE UNION" from right here on the National Mall.

CROWLEY: Thanks.

BLITZER: Candy Crowley, better get ready, do some preparation for that. CROWLEY: Yes, every once in a while.

BLITZER: Between now and 9:00 a.m. Eastern.

We're going to have much more of our special coverage here from the National Mall. A lot more coming up.

Stay with us. We'll be right back.


BLITZER: Welcome back to this special coverage of the presidential inauguration. I'm Wolf Blitzer here on the National Mall. And we want to once again welcome our viewers in the United States and around the world.

Just moments ago, the Vice President Joe Biden was officially sworn into a second term. You saw it live right here on CNN.

And within the next couple of hours, the President will be sworn into office for a second term as well also in a private ceremony, this one in the Blue Room over at the White House. It's all leading up to tomorrow's big inauguration day festivities, the public events.

Brianna Keilar is our White House correspondent and she's standing by over at the White House. Brianna, now that the Vice President had been sworn in by Sonia Sotomayor, we're all getting ready for the presidential swearing-in ceremony. It will be very low key. Just set the scene for us.

BRIANNA KEILAR, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: It will be very low key it will take place in the Blue Room. And as you just saw at the Naval Observatory, what was really an intimate ceremony with just 120 guests, friends and family, this, too, will be a small group of people, those very close to President Obama watching him sworn in.

And Wolf, it's sort of fascinating, because this is the third time that he will have been sworn in. You've been talking about the flubbed line of his oath, the first time he was sworn in four years ago and the redo that took place here at the White House a couple of days after that.

So -- and because this inauguration day falls on Sunday and he will also receive the oath again in a -- that public ceremony tomorrow, he will ultimately be sworn in four times. The last time this happened was when FDR was sworn in four times. Of course, he was sworn in four times because he served four terms, not because of these sort of interesting circumstances.

But President Obama will be sworn in shortly before noon. He has to be sworn in today, as the Constitution dictates and he will be giving that oath, a very short oath that we will see him give before hundreds of thousands of people on the National Mall tomorrow, Wolf.

BLITZER: I understand, Brianna, the President will give, obviously tomorrow after he is sworn in publicly, a inspirational-type speech, going into big themes if you will for a second term, but the policy details will be left for the State of the Union Address in early February. That's what -- I assume that's what you're hearing as well.

KEILAR: That's right. I have been told by sources, Wolf, that's it's sort of the act one to act two, which will be the State of the Union. As you know, the inaugural address is significantly shorter than the State of the Union address last -- his last inaugural address was 18 minutes. The President's last State of the Union address was 65 minutes.

So we're expecting that this will be broad strokes and then he'll fill in some of the details and policy prescriptions that he wants to see in his next term in the State of the Union address next month before a joint session of Congress.

Now, we are expecting that he will talk broadly about some themes, including that he'll acknowledge there is this division. Obviously, he very much has differences with Republicans and they were highlighted recent in that fiscal cliff battle but he'll talk about how there's a responsibility to work on issues where there is common ground.

This is different, obviously, from what we heard four years ago where he talked a lot about universe -- pardon me, unity of purpose. He talked about putting aside petty grievances and other things, that it had a stranglehold on politics. He was sort of trying to usher in this post-partisan era of politics that ultimately failed.

And so he will be confronting the reality that he has had to face during this last term and also that he's facing at this very moment. Because this is a speech, as is the State of the Union, suspended between this fiscal cliff battle and the upcoming debt ceiling battle and he can't ignore reality, Wolf.

BLITZER: All right Brianna, I know you're going to be busy. Stand by. We're going to get back to you. As Brianna just mentioned the President will be sworn in at 11:55 a.m., Eastern in a private ceremony that we will see live here at the White House.

But let's take a look back over the last 100 years of inaugurations.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No this is not carnival day in Pumpkin Center it is the day of days in Washington, D.C.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The presidential --


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: -- oath of office.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Here comes the inaugural parade.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Are you prepared to take the oath of office as President of the United States?


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Left hand on the bible and raise your right hand.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Raise your right hand.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You will raise your right hand and repeat after me.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: After me. I, William Jefferson Clinton, do solemnly swear.



GOERGE W. BUSH, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I George Walker Bush, do solemnly swear --

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That I will faithfully execute the office of --

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That I will faithfully execute the office --

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Execute the office of President of the United States faithfully.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Faithfully office of President of the United States.

OBAMA: President of the United States faithfully.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Will to the best of my ability.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Best of my ability.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Eisenhower began his second term as leader, not only of America, but all free people.




UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The Constitution of the United States.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Vice President Lyndon B. Johnson and the grief-stricken widow with them, takes the presidential oath aboard the jet, which brings him together with the body of the late president, back to Washington.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The flag flies at half-staff. President Truman asks the full Roosevelt cabinet to remain in office.



OBAMA: So help me God.




BUSH: So help me God.






BLITZER: And welcome back to our special coverage of the 57th presidential inauguration. I'm Wolf Blitzer. We're here live on the National Mall in Washington, D.C.

Only moments ago, the Vice President of the United States, Joe Biden, was sworn in for a second term. At 11:55 a.m. Eastern today, the President will be sworn in for a second term. This, according to the Constitution, has to be done before noon on January 20th. The public ceremonies will take place tomorrow.

David Gergen is here. Jeffrey Toobin is here. Jeffrey, the presidential swearing-in ceremony, the Chief Justice John Roberts will do it once again, as he did four years ago, twice the President will be there. The relationship between these two men, we know about the inauguration, about the oath of office. But -- but John Roberts really saved the President, as far as his signature issue, Obama health care is concerned.

JEFFREY TOOBIN, CNN SENIOR LEGAL ANALYST: It's a complicated relationship. You know Barack Obama is the only President in American history to be sworn in by a Chief Justice whose confirmation he voted against, which Obama did when he was a Senator in 2005.

Citizens United, a decision that really was deeply offensive to the Obama Administration, which the President attacked in the State of the Union address in 2010, right in front of John Roberts, something Roberts didn't like at all.

But then as you point out June 25th last year the Obamacare decision the central achievement of his presidency a five to four decision where Chief Justice Roberts shocked everyone, myself very much included, voting to uphold the law. That makes up for everything else because had that decision gone the other way the Obama presidency would look very different.

BLITZER: And David, if Anthony Kennedy would have done that we wouldn't have been that shocked but for the Chief Justice John Roberts, to do it, it says a lot about where he's coming from.

DAVID GERGEN, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: It does. And there's a lot -- there are a lot of indications that at the end of the day John Roberts placed the reputation of the court above all other considerations, because if he had gone against Obamacare, and he had gone down 5-4, with five conservatives voting it down there was a real fear that the court would seem politicized and so the indications are that he went the other way.

And what's -- what's striking to me is that there were actually two Republicans who really helped President Obama get re-elected. One was John Roberts -- that decision was very important. And the other was Ben Bernanke at the Federal Reserve. Both of them made a major difference. And here we are.

But one of the reasons that President Obama very much wanted to get re-elected, was to embed Obamacare into the system so that it could not be repealed. It would be ensured if he had a second four years. He was worried that if he didn't get that extra four years, the Republicans would undo it.

Now that you know, now we are all on the path toward let's see if we can make this work.

BLITZER: We got a few big Supreme Court cases coming up in this current session, including same-sex marriage and the Chief Justice could play a significant role here as well.

TOOBIN: He could. And you know, he is someone who understands American politics very well. When he was a lawyer at Hogan & Hartson, as that law firm used to be known he was someone who used to sit around and speculate about who is going to win and yes, he's someone who really gets politics.

And what is so interesting about same-sex marriage is that the politics have changed so much, you know. Even five years ago, even three years ago, same-sex marriage was perceived as somewhat of a risky political issue for people who supported it. Now the momentum is all in the other direction and with two very big cases regarding same-sex marriage, the constitutionality of the Defense of Marriage Act and the constitutionality of Proposition 8 in California.

John Roberts, I think his vote may be more in play than it seems because I don't think he is going to be -- want to be a chief justice who goes down in history against the tide of history. So I think he is going to -- his role is especially interesting in that case.

Also, future of affirmative action -- another very important case.

BLITZER: Those are both huge issues coming before the Supreme Court. You know, presidents can serve four year, and then another four years -- eight years. But when you're a chief -- when you're a justice of the United States Supreme Court, you can serve 30 or 40 years so decisions that will be made, David, by the President in the next four years, he could nominate one or two new Supreme Court justices and that will have an impact for decades.

GERGEN: Absolutely. And it's why we went through a Reagan period and the courts remained conservative much longer than the electorate did. And similarly, if Barack Obama, you know, has several appointments and there is another Democrat, the court could then remain liberal a lot longer than the country does. It is very interesting.

TOOBIN: There are four justices --

BLITZER: You see the President -- that is the presidential motorcade. They're heading over to Arlington National Cemetery to lay a wreath at the "Tomb of the Unknowns". This is part of the tradition that takes place as well. The Vice President will be going with the President for that.

You heard the Vice President say it at the end of the ceremony over at the vice presidential residence. We will have live coverage of that in our next hour as well.

TOOBIN: There are four justices in their 70s, Ruth Bader Ginsburg is 79. I think most people expect she will leave in the next four years but she is a liberal member of the court if she is replaced by President Obama, the balance of the court will not change.

But the two people to keep an eye on are Antonin Scalia and Anthony Kennedy, both 76 years old. If either of them were to leave and Obama could replace them, his legacy would be dramatically different.

GERGEN: But in both cases, they seem pretty healthy --

TOOBIN: They both seem pretty healthy.

GERGEN: -- and they both seem that they want to go on.

TOOBIN: Absolutely. And they don't want to give the seat to Barack Obama. I mean these justices are very aware of which president picks their replacement and they don't want to undo their own legacy by giving a president of the other party the chance to replace them.

BLITZER: The swearing-in ceremony for the President of the United States coming up at 11:55 a.m. Eastern. We will, of course, have live coverage of that. We'll have live coverage in the next hour. The President heading over to Arlington National Cemetery; you saw the motorcade leaving the White House. There is the "Tomb of the Unknowns". The President will be there to remember those who served, those who died. The President and the Vice President will lay a wreath at the "Tomb of the Unknowns"s.

We are watching all of this unfold. Our special coverage continues right after this.


BLITZER: And welcome back to our special coverage.

Before President Obama's officially sworn in to his second term today at exactly 11:55 a.m. Eastern time, he will join the vice president, Joe Biden in a wreath-laying over at the "Tomb of the Unknowns" at Arlington National Cemetery, right across Washington, D.C., across the Potomac River. He is on his way there right now. We have a live picture coming in from Arlington. There you see the "Tomb of the Unknowns" of.

We will, of course, be bringing you the wreath-laying ceremony as it happens at the top of the hour during a special edition of CNN's "STATE OF THE UNION" with Candy Crowley.

Just moments ago, Joe Biden was officially sworn in for his second term as vice president. Candy is here with me right now. I thought it was a lovely, moving ceremony -- short, sweet, to the point, official ceremony tomorrow. But they had to do this in order to obey the constitution.

CANDY CROWLEY, CNN HOST: They do and you know, if you're going to be vice president or president, you probably ought to obey the constitution. So we are glad they have done it. It was -- there's -- tomorrow, you know, a big show and there will be 800,000, however many people here, a lot of folks here and they will watch it and there's a lot of pageantry. But the intimacy of these is kind of fun.

We don't get it very often, right? It this is the seventh time that the date has fallen on a Sunday. So these private ceremonies I think are really nice.

BLITZER: I think they are beautiful. For those of us who love history, you know, we will remember this, not only you and me, but everybody who was watching in the United States and around the world will remember these moments.

CROWLEY: Yes. And you know, just you see the family so it's like it's hard to remember that entire families and grandchildren and children are all involved in this. I mean this is an all-consuming job. And so see them, you know, in their natural habitat, as it were, the Naval Observatory; at the White House in the case of the President, is kind of fun.

BLITZER: You will have live coverage during "STATE OF THE UNION" of the wreath-laying ceremony at the "Tomb of the Unknowns". We'll look forward to seeing that. What else do you have coming up? CROWLEY: David Plouffe, senior adviser to the White House. We're going to look ahead to the second term. We're going to get the Republican take with John Barrasso who heads the Republican policy committee on the Senate side. We are going to have a panel that's going to include Newt Gingrich and Russ Feingold. So I think -- I look forward to that because I think that will be a fun, interesting take on what's going to happen.

BLITZER: On the left and on the right.

CROWLEY: Right. And two speechwriters that I know you know, Don Baer used to write for Clinton, Michael Gerson, used to write for Bush -- kind of like how you put together an inaugural speech. What does this president in these times have to say up there to move forward in the next four years?

BLITZER: And it's hard if you are a speechwriter, writing a speech for somebody like President Obama who likes to write his own speeches and he is a very good writer.

CROWLEY: Yes, but in the end, presidents have a lot to do, so I think oftentimes, we hear -- oh, not just this president -- lots of presidents, they wrote it themselves, they did most of the work themselves. I think the speechwriters are like ghost writers, you say oh yes, well, that was mostly his. But they know how to turn a phrase or two and how to kind of capture the moment.

BLITZER: They need one line in each of these inaugural --

CROWLEY: That goes into granite some place.

BLITZER: Yes. That we will never forget.

CROWLEY: Exactly.

BLITZER: It is important to remember tomorrow is Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, as well. So that brings into additional tradition into what's going to happen.

CROWLEY: Yes, yes. It just gives it, you know, the moment more moments, as they say.

BLITZER: We will see you right at the top of the hour, Candy. We're looking forward your show. That does it for me. I will be back 11:00 a.m. Eastern for special coverage around the President's swearing-in ceremony in the Blue Room over at the White House.

"STATE OF THE UNION" with Candy Crowley will begin right after this.