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The Presidential Inauguration; The Obama's Private Lives

Aired January 20, 2013 - 11:00   ET



RONALD REAGAN, FORMER U.S. PRESIDENT: Those who say that we're in a time when there are no heroes, they just don't know where to look.

GEORGE H.W. BUSH, FORMER U.S. PRESIDENT: Our challenges are great, but our will is greater.

WILLIAM J. CLINTON, FORMER U.S. PRESIDENT: There is nothing wrong with America that cannot be cured by what is right with America.

GEORGE W. BUSH, FORMER U.S. PRESIDENT: The United States will not ignore your oppression or excuse your oppressors.

BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: All are equal, all are free, and all deserve a chance to pursue their full measure of happiness.



WOLF BLITZER, CNN ANCHOR: We're across from the White House where President Obama is getting ready to take the oath of office.

ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: And here on the National Mall, everything is in place for a huge party and all of America is invited.


NARRATOR: A president who broke barriers and inspired the nation four years ago --

OBAMA: I, Barack Hussein Obama, do solemnly swear --

NARRATOR: -- now begins a second term, a second chance to restore hope and bring change.

OBAMA: Despite all the hardship we've been through, despite all the frustrations of Washington, I've never been more hopeful about our future. And I ask you to sustain that hope.

NARRATOR: The pomp, the parade, the inaugural balls will come tomorrow, but this is the day that truly mattered -- when the president must raise his hand and swear to protect and defend the Constitution. JOHN ROBERTS, U.S. SUPREME COURT CHIEF JUSTICE: So help you God?

OBAMA: So help me God.



BLITZER: We're here in the heart of Washington, D.C., with spectacular views of the U.S. Capitol and the National Mall. A two- day inaugural event is getting under way in this city, beginning here at the White House.

We want to welcome our viewers in the United States and around the world. I'm Wolf Blitzer.

The presidential reviewing stand is in place for the inaugural parade. Right now inside the White House, President Obama is about to officially begin his second term.

We're counting down to today's swearing in ceremony in the Blue Room les than an hour from now. And we're looking ahead to all the festivities tomorrow.

Let's go to the National Mall right now. CNN's Anderson Cooper is standing by -- Anderson.

COOPER: Wolf, thanks very much. It is a glorious day out here. Hundreds of thousands of people are expected to gather here tomorrow for the public inauguration ceremony. We, of course, are going to bring all of that to you live.

President Obama will take his place on stage in front of the capital and take the oath of office, again, and deliver his inaugural address. There are only minutes left to go in President Obama's first term. We've got a new snapshot of the way Americans view the country right now.

John King is here with his magic wall.

John, what do you see?

JOHN KING, CNN CHIEF NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Anderson, as the president prepares to take that oath, one big question: are the American people with him as he heads into a second term? How do they feel about this?

Well, our brand-new poll shows this: people think things are going well in the country today. Just about, 49 percent, 51 percent say badly. You see a divided country here and you think, wow, that is not a bad number for the president.

However, let's just put it into context. If you go through the Obama term, when he took office, remember the finance crisis -- as the president takes his oath for the second term. This is the high water mark. Half of Americans thinking things, Anderson, are going well -- Wolf.

COOPER: There's the number. That's they are now.

Let's go to Wolf.

BLITZER: Thanks, Anderson.

Kate Bolduan is here with us today.

Kate, viewers maybe wondering why the president is doing this both today and tomorrow.

KATE BOLDUAN, CNN ANCHOR: I've gotten this question, I know you have, leading up to today, from many people.

This decision was made because this official inauguration date, January 20th, falls on a Sunday. The Constitution requires the president to take the oath today. But all the public festivities are being saved for tomorrow. Why? Out of tradition. It's just a way it's been.

BLITZER: It's a good tradition.

Jessica Yellin is our chief White House correspondent.

You're watching what's going on carefully behind us. That's the reviewing stand -- the president and the first lady and the vice president, the second lady. They'll be there tomorrow watching the parades come towards the White House.

Right now, in the North Lawn of the White House behind us, the president will be getting ready to be sworn in in the Blue Room.


And today is the official day when he becomes the president for a second term. Let me walk you through exactly what will happen because this is a day of great moment and a day we acknowledge what our democracy is all about.

First, the president will be in the blue room. The whole event will take place there. It's an oval shaped receiving room for formal events. It's on the first floor of the White House, of the main residence.

Now, the guests will already be in place. There are a few family friends and members of the president's extended family, as well as Chief Justice John Roberts.

At 11:55 in the morning, President Obama will enter the room along with first lady and their daughters, Sasha and Malia. The first lady's is going to hold the Bible, and it's the Robinson family Bible.

That's a Bible that the first lady's father gave to his own mother in 1958 and the first lady's grandmother used it for many years, and it's now been handed down to the next generation. So, it's very sentimental in their family.

Now, the chief justice will administer the 35-word oath. That's spelled out in Article 2, Section 1 of the Constitution, as you know.

BLITZER: Hope he does a better job this time.


BOLDUAN: Oh, that man is never going to live it down.

YELLIN: That was a mess up that will go down in history and the oath has to be taken before noon, as it's spelled out in the Constitution, as well.

Now, you referred to the mess up last time. John Roberts, the chief justice, made that mistake at the first inaugural. So, this, he had to do a redo.

That redo last time was in the Map Room of the White House, not the Blue Room. So, this will be the third time President Obama has taken the oath. He will be the only president since FDR to take the oath four times. But, you know, FDR served four terms.

BLITZER: Right. He'll be doing it again tomorrow.

YELLIN: Exactly.

So, now, a little bit of insight -- the president and the White House, they were a little bit concerned when the health care ruling went before John Roberts because maybe there's a little tension after the oath redo and maybe he would hold it against them, anyway, it worked out in their favor.

BLITZER: Well, we're going to be watching. It's coming up later this hour.

Kate, this is an exciting moment for all of us who love history.

BOLDUAN: It's a very exciting moment and it's beautiful, it's really amazing to see the structures they erected before this big ceremony here, as well as on the Mall. The commander-in-chief begun this, though, paying tribute to the troops.

President Obama was joined by Vice President Biden in Arlington National Cemetery to lay a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknowns. It happened after the vice president had already taken his oath in a ceremony this morning at his residence at the Naval Observatory.

One thing that stuck out to me watching that, how big that Bible was. It was five inches thick. It's been in his family for many, many years.

BLITZER: A beautiful Robinson family Bible.

Anderson, we're getting excited over here at the White House. What is it like over there on the National Mall? COOPER: Well, crowds kind of coming and going -- small numbers of people just kind of walking around. Streets are starting to be blocked off around the National Mall in anticipation of tomorrow. A lot has happened on President Obama's watch, though, during his first term in office. That's, of course, about to end.

CNN's John Berman is here to show us the president's first four years. Take a look.

JOHN BERMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: You know, Anderson, the president has been in office for 1,461 days, a lot of highs and a lot of lows. In case you missed any of it, we tried to wrap it all up or most of it, at least, in just four minutes.


BERMAN (voice-over): It starts here. January 20th, 2009 -- screaming crowds, soaring hopes, towering expectations. What could possibly go wrong? Exception the inauguration.


OBAMA: I, Barack --

ROBERTS: -- do solemnly swear --

OBAMA: I, Barack Hussein Obama --

BERMAN: First year -- major action: big stimulus, big bailout, big appointment, big smack.

OBAMA: Now, where were we?

BERMAN: We were here, beer summit. President invites Massachusetts cop to the White House to ease racial tension. He doesn't invite the Salahi's to state dinner.

Chicago loses the Olympics. The nation loses an icon. The president wins a Peace Prize.

Year two, State of the Union, big speech, national audience. What could possibly go wrong?

OBAMA: Those who were here illegally.


BERMAN: Congressman Joe Wilson doesn't like the president's health care pitch. Justice Samuel Alito doesn't like his campaign finance ideas.

President gets Obamacare. Vice president gets fresh.

JOSEPH BIDEN, VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: This is a big (EXPLETIVE DELETED) deal. BERMAN: Kagan in, Rahm out, banking reform in, "don't ask, don't tell" out. Republicans in, Democrats out.

OBAMA: Take a shellacking like I did last night.

Where were we?

BERMAN: We were here, 2011. Tunisia turmoil, disaster, Libya turmoil, Bahrain turmoil, Egypt turmoil.

OBAMA: An orderly transition must begin now.

BERMAN: It turns out the president was born in America. It turns out the president can crack a joke.

OBAMA: I am releasing my official birth video.


BERMAN: That very same weekend -- closure.

OBAMA: The United States has conducted an operation that killed Osama bin Laden, the leader of al Qaeda.

BERMAN: A summer showdown. Budget brinksmanship. That never happens. A down grade for the economy.

BLITZER: America's credit rating gets a downgrade.

OBAMA: Now, where were we?

BERMAN: We were here, 2012. Election year. What could possibly go wrong?

OBAMA (singing): I'm so in love with you --

BERMAN: How big a deal that the president sings?

BIDEN: This is a big (EXPLETIVE DELETED) deal.

BERMAN: Is it true he has a good voice?

OBAMA (singing): So in love with you --

BERMAN: Major developments.

OBAMA: I think same-sex couples should be able to get married.

BERMAN: Supreme Court holds Obamacare is constitutional.

Democrats hold convention, Obama holds Clinton.

Campaign push, presidential debate, presidential dud.

MITT ROMNEY (R), THEN-PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: It's now four years later, we still have trillion dollar deficits. BERMAN: Presidential improvement.

OBAMA: You know, I don't look at my pension, it isn't as big as yours. It doesn't take as long.

BERMAN: Presidential victory.

A time to look back at sports teams, disaster, promises kept, most troops out of Iraq, sports teams, disaster, upheaval, Gadhafi dead, sports teams, sports teams, promises broken. Guantanamo still open. Disaster, tragedy, Ft. Hood, Tucson --

OBAMA: Our hearts are broken by their sudden passing.

BERMAN: Colorado, Newtown --

OBAMA: For those of us who remain, let us find the strength to carry on and make our country worthy of their memory.

BERMAN: Fiscal debate, fiscal discord, fiscal destiny.

Sports teams, sports teams, sports teams.

OBAMA: Now, where were we?

BERMAN: We were here -- just about to start, again.

OBAMA: I, Barack Hussein Obama, do solemnly swear --


BERMAN: So, four more years. That's another 1,461 days. What could possibly go wrong, right?

Well, it is another chance to make history and a chance for more sports teams -- Anderson.

COOPER: John, thanks very much. Four years in four minutes. I'm exhausted after that, watching that.

Let's talk about biggest accomplishments and biggest failures. David Gergen, what do you think in terms of biggest accomplishment for this president and biggest failure?

DAVID GERGEN, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: One of the biggest accomplishments was to get re-elected. You know, our great presidents have almost universally been people who had two terms because over eight years, you can do a lot more than you can in the first term.

And within this first term, of course, not only saved this from depression, but I think he rightly claims that he is the first president after seven failed to get universal health care passed and now in his second term, he can embed that within the system and that will be part of his legacy.

But I can't tell you to come back to this, Anderson, how important it was for them to win re-election because they knew the legacy, his place in history would hinge on that.

COOPER: And in terms of biggest disappointment?

GERGEN: Biggest disappointment how polarizing the city remains, how difficult it is to govern the dysfunctionality has not left and I think that's causing some of the suspense about these couple of days. How is this, is this going to change anything or is it going it be more rhetorical? We'll have to wait and see.

COOPER: I'm going to bring H.W. Brands. Welcome. He's a history professor and an author for the University of Texas.

What do you think the biggest accomplishments and biggest disappoint?

H.W. BRANDS, UNIVERSITY OF TEXAS: I think the biggest accomplishment and biggest disappointment were two sides of the coin. The biggest accomplishment was that the economy did not go into full-blown depression. But the biggest disappointment, it did not improve more than half.

This is has colored that has happened in the first four years. It's -- I second what David Gergen said, that it's astonishing that he was re-elected given the state of the economy, and it really does mean that such things as the Affordable Care Act are going to remain in place for four years. Really controversial now, but after four years of getting used to it, Americans, I think, will decide, but then let's keep it.

Alex, I did not get the memo about a blue suit and red tie.


COOPER: Look like a quartet.


COOPER: I'm surprised, Van Jones, you're wearing Republican red here.

OK. Alex, Republican consultant, what do you -- what do you think?

ALEX CASTELLANOS, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: I agree that I think the biggest accomplishment is that he forestalled a crisis, but he forestalled it by spreading it out and we're back in the '30s now. This is FDR. This is going to be economic stagnation and a depression that won't end.

But I think an accomplishment, just to add something a little different, that he has finally destroyed the old Republican Party and we've hit rock bottom.

And, so, out of this, we will either emerge with something new and better that speaks of the next generation of voters or we will pass into the dust bin of history.

COOPER: You really think the Republican Party has hit rock bottom? CASTELLANOS: Every Republican I talk to tell me the same thing. I know we've got to change. I know we've got to do something. But I don't know if anybody else gets it.

So, I think we're there.

COOPER: Van Jones, former special advisor to the president?


On the accomplishment side, just to follow up on your point, he has been a dragon slayer. The NRA, Grover Norquist, Karl Rove, we used to quiver in fear just the names. He has been able to put them in check. That is a big accomplishment on the political side.

Big disappointment: climate. When you have Sandy come through and do what it did to New York City and you have a dust ball forming in our heartland and wildfires and no action on climate, that is a big disappointment. I think he's got to do something. He's got a rainbow coalition but he's got a green stripe that has not been attended to.

GLORIA BORGER, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL ANALYST: You know, Anderson, what's interesting to me about what Alex said is that the Republican Party is now at a 26 percent approval rating. That's not good.

And while the public is much more pessimistic than it was four years ago about President Obama, the Republican Party has to do something. This works for the president. The Republican Party is divided. Maybe he can pick of a bunch of Republicans.

And, so, as he heads into his second term, he's got a very, very big agenda, very ambitious, maybe overreaching a little bit, but it's in the Republican self-interest to work with him. So, as we look ahead, I don't know, you're making a face at me -- maybe that's because you shaved your mustache and I'm seeing your upper lip.

But don't you think there's a need for Republicans now to work with him to a degree?

CASTELLANOS: I think there's -- there's a need for Republicans to compete for social responsibility and to offer a different vision for the country and, in that sense, work with the president.

But I'm not sure it's in the president's political interest to work with Republicans. In two years, he's got an election. In two years, he's got that same awesome machine he just had that helped him get elected president. He can use that, possibly, to win the House.

He'd run, he could run the tables. And this is his opportunity to keep Republicans divided. I wouldn't be surprised if he just kept campaigning for the next two years.

COOPER: A lot of promises were made four years ago. A lot of promises not kept. A lot were.

John, can you take a look. KING: And it's not always fair to judge a president that way, because if you're president or worked in the White House, circumstances change, new things arise, new crises, new challenges.

But as you mentioned, I'm going to take a little walk here, one way to judge a president, as he enters his second term to look at what he said when he began his first. This is one of the parts of the first inaugural address that drew some criticism. People thought the president was being too lofty, maybe too full of himself.

He said, "We will harness the suns and the winds and the soil to fuel our cars and run our factories."

Again, people thought that was too much from the president, that he had too much of an arrogance, some critics said. But let's get to the specifics of it. To Van's point, we haven't done anything on climate change and not much done on full energy policy, because of not only Republicans and Democrat disagreements but regional disagreements in the country. So, you'd have to say, at best here, incomplete. This is a line in the speech that was often criticized.

Let's move over here, here's another one. This was a defining moment of the speech, trying to outline what an Obama presidency would be. "The question we ask today is not whether our government is too big or to small but whether it works, whether it helps families find jobs at a decent wage."

You would have to say, at beast, incomplete. Our government doesn't always work. We see that in the partisanship and the gridlock in Washington.

And also, the idea of whether families find a job at a decent wage -- unemployment is down from the peak at the first term, where it got up right up to 10 percent there in the financial crisis. But unemployment rate today, at exactly the same point when the president took office four years ago. So, that remains a challenge as you head into the next term.

And looking at the world four years ago, the president said this: "We'll begin to responsibly leave Iraq and to forge and a hard-earned peace in Afghanistan, with old friends and former foes, we'll work tirelessly to lessen the nuclear threat and roll back the specter of a warming planet."

So, you'd have to say, on this one, in the first half, true., in the sense that he did get U.S. troops out of Iraq and he's in the process of getting troops out of Afghanistan -- a debate whether it will be at peace or not -- but getting those troops home by 2014.

On the bottom part here, you have to say incomplete or false in the sense of the nuclear threat -- especially when it comes to Iran that looms as a huge second-term challenge.

So, it's one way, and it's not always fair. But you can read the first inaugural address and see what did he promise then? True or false? Complete or incomplete? A lot of carry over challenges -- Medicare, Social Security, deficits, taxes, spending. So, a lot of the things he talked about in the first speech, still with him in the second.

COOPER: All right. We're going to talk about a lot more ahead. We're going to go live to the White House in just minutes to actually see the president renew his oath of office and, again, his second term. Stick with us.

Also, we'll bring you a candid look at the first family's daily life. First Lady Michelle Obama has a new agenda.

First, this inaugural flashback.



CROWD: Obama! Obama!

OBAMA: Thank you.

CROWD: Obama! Obama!

OBAMA: Thank you.

DORIS KEARNS GOODWIN, HISTORIAN: There was a magic to the inaugural day for President Obama, the first African-American to be president, as if the whole history of our country was coming full circle with the ending of slavery and now the first African-American president.

OBAMA: A man whose father less than 60 years ago might not have been served at a local restaurant can now stand before you to take a most sacred oath.

GOODWIN: The crowds were reveling in that spirit, 1.8 million than have ever been there before. Just the idea that we have come this far as a nation, there was a sense of unity and a sense of pride I think in our country that this was finally happening.



BLITZER: As we continue counting down to the president's official swearing in in just about 30 minutes now -- you'll see it live here at the White House -- we're also taking a closer look at part of last night's kids concert. The group Black Violin performing with Soul Children of Chicago. It was a lot of fun. Usher, Katy Perry, cast members of "Glee", they were also there.

The First Lady Michelle Obama helped organize it as a tribute to U.S. military families. We watched it, it was lovely.

BOLDUAN: It was lovely and it also was for a very good cause to honor military families. It was very fun to be there with you. Michelle Obama has sure gone through an incredible transformation in the last four years -- from a candidate's wife to a beloved first lady. Now, she faces a bigger challenge: raising teenagers in the White House.

Here's CNN correspondent Brianna Keilar with more.

That is no small feat, Brianna.

BRIANNA KEILAR, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: No, Kate. Living above the store here at the White House can be a challenge. So, if you were to ask First Lady Michelle Obama of what her biggest accomplishment of the last four years has been, she might very tell you it was providing a sense of normalcy for her family.



KEILAR (voice-over): The last girls' night out of the first term. Mrs. Obama and her daughters Sasha and Malia attended the children's concert -- an event put together at the request of the first lady for kids with parents in the military.

MICHELLE OBAMA, U.S. FIRST LADY: 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.

KEILAR: Working with military families, fighting childhood obesity and mentoring at-risk kids in Washington, D.C., were the signature causes of Mrs. Obama's first term in the White House.

CNN has learned she has been working on a second-term agenda since December and she may pick up a new cause.

Valerie Jarrett, a top adviser to the president, a long-time friend to the first couple.

VALERIE JARRETT, WHITE HOUSE SENIOR ADVISER: She's going to take on issues that she cares passionately about. She wants to make sure her heart is in it and she can give it the energy that it deserves.

KEILAR: But the first lady's top priority is her family.

MICHELLE OBAMA: At the end of the day, my most important title is still mom-in-chief.


My daughters are still the heart of my heart, and the center of my world.

KEILAR: Living in the most famous house in the world, the Obamas have tried to stay grounded.

MICHELLE OBAMA: I always tell my friends that I still recognize them. They haven't become some other crazy kids.

KEILAR: They have some help from the first lady's mother, Marian Robinson, who lives on the third floor of the White House.

And they keep a daily routine. Mrs. Obama is up early, sometimes 4:30 a.m. letting Bo out and hitting the gym before her daughters wake up. The president starts working out before she wraps up.

The girls head off to class at Washington's prestigious Sidwell Friends private school and the president walks to the Oval Office around 8:30. Almost every night, the family gathers for dinner together at 6:30 p.m.

JARRETT: They're not in the least bit interested in his day. They're interested in their day and that's such a relief to have those quality moments.

KEILAR: It's family time until the girls and Mrs. Obama go to bed around 9:30. The president, a night owl, stays up working and reading, taking Bo outside one last time before he turns in, normally after midnight.

MICHELLE OBAMA: Now, as many of you know, my husband, your president, he is handsome.


KEILAR: The first couple carves out time for each other.

MICHELLE OBAMA: You got to keep the romance alive, even in the White House.


KEILAR: That means dates and dinners out with friends like they did Thursday for the first lady's birthday, visiting one of Washington's top restaurants, Cafe Milano. They're notorious for being affectionate, puckering up for the JumboTron at a basketball game this summer.

And this photo of them hugging put out by the Obama campaign on election night is the most retweeted photo in history.

MICHELLE OBAMA: I rarely step foot in the West Wing. In fact, people are shocked when they see me there.

KEILAR: While Mrs. Obama mostly steers clear of policy debates, she was a huge asset to the president on the campaign trail last year, from the stump to late night television.

MICHELLE OBAMA: Let's go! Get your shoes on! Move it, move it!


MICHELLE OBAMA: You can do it! Go and vote!


MICHELLE OBAMA: And eat some carrots.

KEILAR: But Michelle Obama says she's a part-time first lady and a full-time parent, normally dedicating only two to three days a week to official event.

Katie McCormick Lelyveld is a former top aide to the first lady.

KATIE MCCORMICK LELYVELD, MICHELLE OBAMA'S FORMER PRESS SECRETARY: There might be some days that we would do day trips traveling around their school schedule so that she could get them out the door in the morning and be back in time for dinner.

KEILAR: As parents, the Obamas are very involved. This is President Obama taking a moment out of his work day to bring Sasha upstairs to the residence. In the Obama White House, there is structure and chores. Sasha and Malia are limited to two hours of TV per week, no social media.

BARACK OBAMA: I'd worry about Facebook right now only because, look, I know the folks at Facebook, obviously, they've revolutionized, you know, the social networks.

But, you know, Malia, because she is well known, you know, I'm very keen on protecting her privacy. She can make her own decisions obviously later as she gets older. But right now, even just for security reasons, you know, she doesn't have a Facebook page.

You know, dates, that's fine because she's got Secret Service protection.

BRIANNA KEILAR, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): And Malia also does her own laundry.

MICHELLE OBAMA, FIRST LADY: I don't want her to be 15, 16 and be that kid who says, I have never done laundry before. I don't even want to -- I would cringe if she became that kid.

PRESIDENT OBAMA: Sasha and Malia, before our very eyes, you're growing up to become two strong, smart, beautiful young women.

KEILAR: The Obamas have relished sharing their adventures with their kids. Traveling to France and Russia where they toured the Kremlin and ate dinner above Red Square, to Brazil, El Salvador and Chile and South Africa where they met Nelson Mandela.

Extraordinary experiences but sometimes being an Obama daughter is no different than being any other kid. Your dad can still embarrass you, as the president did by dancing at this White House event and by busting moves from this catchy dance. Far from the cameras, of course, something he says just to get his daughters going.


KEILAR: Now, four more years in the White House will bring some milestones for the Obama's as parents. Soon, they will have not one, but two teenagers in the white house and soon Malia will be old enough to drive, apply to colleges and, yes, even date -- Anderson.

ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: Thanks so much. Fascinating look at how much they have grown just over the last four years. With us now is someone who has worked closely with Michelle Obama, her former press secretary, you saw her in that piece, Katie McCormick Lelyveld. We just saw in Brianna's piece. It's nice to have you with us. Thanks for joining us.


COOPER: It is, I mean, often we forget that they are a family and trying to spend family time together. How is the president able to do that? I mean, really every night they have dinner together.

LELYVELD: They do and I think what's particularly nice about it is they do live above the store. He is able to walk to work. When the girls get home from school, they are able to go visit him. That is sort of sacred space between the oval office and their home.

You know, you forget that the White House is an office, it's a home, a museum, it's all happening at once, but people are respectful of their family space. And you know, it used to be that he would travel so much, but now that they're on the campaign trail when he was in Springfield for the Senate. So, now that they're in one place I think it's a particularly special time.

COOPER: I thought it was interesting to hear that Michelle Obama says she doesn't go into the west wing very often. I mean, what role does she play in terms of policy? She must discuss things with the president, obviously.

LELYVELD: well, sure. We would often say she is where policy and people intersect. You know, we spent a lot of time getting out into communities as opposed to staying in D.C., where she would have the opportunity to meet with people, parents, teachers, military families, learn what's going on in their lives and bring that back to D.C.

So that she could help contribute to and ensure what the president is working on is in line with what people really need. So she's not sitting around the table as the policy, but she's not a senior adviser. She's his wife and she's deeply committed to what she's working on.

COOPER: H.W. Brands, you've looked at families growing up in the White House before. How does her role differ or similar from other first ladies?

H.W. BRANDS, AUTHOR AND PRESIDENTIAL HISTORIAN: Being first lady is a really dicey position because obviously, you have a great deal of influence with your spouse, the president of the United States but nobody elected you. Voters are aware of that.

Sometimes first ladies can push their husbands further than the husbands want to go. Eleanor Roosevelt did this. She became a liberal spokesperson for the Roosevelt family. When Franklin Roosevelt couldn't go as far as he wanted to, he would say, listen to my wife and that's where my heart lies.

But in another case where it can backfire, when Hillary Clinton became the point person for health care reform in the first Clinton administration.

COOPER: And yet we have seen a crucial role that Michelle Obama played at the conventions giving that speech, which really -- it was very well received.

LELYVELD: Right, she really helps to sort of humanize him and provide that behind had scenes look at who he is and what he's trying to accomplish. She can relate to people on a level of shared experiences. She's a working woman. She understands raising kids and juggling work and family.

And when people can hear from her in that sort of long form format and really have that conversation with her, it really electrifies the room and I think that's what helped changed the dialogue in 2008.


VAN JONES, FORMER OBAMA SPECIAL ADVISER: And that speech that she gave at the convention, I think people forgot, you know, Democrats were really a little bit down. She got out there and when she spoke, that wasn't just one of the best speeches of a first lady, that was one of the best speeches in American politics in the past four years. It was an extraordinary speech because it was so human.

COOPER: As we continue to count down to the president's official swearing in, which is going to be taking place, the official inauguration, we have a new poll showing Americans are split on how things are going in this country.

CNN's John King has the numbers for us -- John.

JOHN KING, CNN CHIEF NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Anderson, I'll take a walk over and a lot of people say we spend too much attention on polling and sometimes that's true. I want to go through some of these numbers though, because how the public feels about the president as he begins his term especially with divided government will decide whether or not will determine whether or not he can get a lot of things done.

You might look at this and think 51 percent say things in the country are badly today, 49 percent say things going well. You may look at a divided country and say that's not so great for the president, but let's put this into context. It's a high point to the Obama presidency.

Remember the financial crisis when he took office back in 2009. We have seen it mostly go up a little dip, but that's a high point to the Obama presidency, 49 percent of Americans think things in the country are doing well. In terms of second term presidents, though, the numbers aren't so great. This is when Ronald Reagan started his second term. It was up at 60 percent, Bill Clinton here up at 60 percent, George W. Bush, in January 2005 so a low point in terms of his three most recent predecessors as a two-term president.

But again a high point for this president. If you look at this here, this goes back through the Carter presidency and the Reagan presidency, the George H.W. Bush presidency and you see, again, it's a low mark for any president in modern time.

And only just under half of Americans think things in the country are going well, but better for him if you look at the Obama presidency here. Now, here's a question here. What kind of president will President Obama be in his second term, 54 percent, a majority of Americans think he is above average or outstanding.

So that is a good number for the president, but you see, again, just over 40 percent of Americans say he will be below average or poor. Still a partisan divide in the country as we begin the second term and this shows you why. The American people, look at that number, 76 percent of Americans think the country is more deeply divided than in the past.

So unity bringing people together and getting the government to work will be a big challenge of the president's second inaugural address, which we'll hear tomorrow, 70 percent of Americans are hopeful that the president's policies would succeed in a second term, 26 percent say they hope the president fails in his second term from a policy agenda.

And if you look at this as it plays out, again, look at the partisan divide, almost every Democrat says they hope the president succeeds and most independents do. Only 40 percent of Republicans, Wolf, as we begin the second Obama term wanted to succeed.

So that's a big challenge as the president takes his oath in a private ceremony today and then addresses the American people and the world tomorrow is to try to change the dynamic maybe to get a little more Republicans out in the country to say, let's give the guy a second chance as he begins his second term.

WOLF BLITZER, CNN ANCHOR: John King, thanks very much.

We're joined now by a top member of the president's 2012 re-election campaign. Stephanie Cutter is here with us. We're only a little bit more than 15 minutes away from the ceremony. We will see it live here on CNN. We're excited about that. The chief justice will be swearing in the president for a second term.

I don't know if you saw the "New York Times" article that Jody Canter wrote today about the Obamas, but among other things it was a fascinating article. She says the Obamas are becoming seasoned professionals instead of newcomers and more conventional with a contracted sense of possibility. Do you accept that? STEPHANIE CUTTER, OBAMA 2012 DEPUTY CAMPAIGN MANAGER: Well, I think that the point she's making there is that four years ago this was a young family moving to Washington from Illinois. You know, he had been in politics for a long time, but really changed from outside Washington, not change from inside Washington.

And, you know, there's a learning process for anybody to be president. God knows you can't walk in on day one and know exactly how you're going to move the country forward. So it's been a learning process and I think the president and the first lady are, you know, are excited about the next four years.

In terms of the things that they want to get done, how -- you know, we're having a legacy conference right now just down the street with thousands of grassroots organizers who helped re-elect the president to figure out how to achieve this image.

BLITZER: Does he need to reinvent himself a little bit into a second term given the fact he learned a lot the last four years and now he's got a deal with the reality with the second four years.

CUTTER: No, I think that this is a continuing process. There is no reinvention. I think that he learned a lot over the past four years and how to get things done. You can see that reflected in this organizing for action organization that we kicked off of, you know, making sure the American people make their voices heard and what's happening here in Washington.

It was a learning process. You know, there were bumps along the way, the debt ceiling crisis where Republicans refused to come to the table and compromise. We had to take it outside Washington to affect change inside Washington and we've been successful at that.

KATE BOLDUAN, CNN ANCHOR: Jody Canter also mentioned the Obama are more confident, though more scarred. You were the chief of staff for the first lady during the 2008 campaign. How has the last four years changed her? Some say it's changed Mrs. Obama more than it's changed President Obama.

CUTTER: You know, I don't think that's true. I think you look, we're all humans and being the president and first lady is an incredible privilege and they appreciate that every single moment of every single day, but it's also not an easy job.

The first lady relishes in the things she's been able to get done. The let's move campaign has mobilized the country around keeping kids healthy. The things she's done for military families and the great concert we had last night to celebrate military families.

You know, I think like anything in life, four years into it, you have a better understanding about what this is all about, but still have the great excitement of what can be done.

BLITZER: Do you think we'll be seeing more of her in the second four years?

CUTTER: Well, yes, I actually think we saw a lot of her for the first four years.

BOLDUAN: Taking on more issues. You mentioned military families and combating childhood obesity. What more would she like to take on?

CUTTER: I think that's something they're talking about right now inside and something she's thinking about. Certainly, I think that she has a certain golden touch with anything that she touches and being able to move something forward.

You know, she's a great presence in this country and she's incredibly popular. You know, something that everybody sees in her whether it's their mom, their sister, their co-worker, everybody relates to the first lady and that has a powerful force in getting some things done.

BLITZER: We all like the bangs.

BOLDUAN: Convincing all of us to cut those bangs.

BLITZER: Stephanie Cutter, thanks very much. Congratulations to you, as well. Thank you.

BLITZER: President Obama will be sworn in for a second term within a matter of a few minutes. We'll go live to the blue room of the White House when it happens and the Supreme Court Chief Justice Sonia Sotomayor talks about giving the vice president his oath and being nervous about it. Right now, first, though, an inaugural flashback.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Despite subfreezing temperatures, hundreds of thousands watch the ceremonies in front of the capital.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It's one of the dangers of having these inaugurations in January. I mean, it's so sad that we remember William Henry the fact that he gave the longest inaugural and had the shortest presidency because he insisted on not wearing a coat, it was freezing out, he developed pneumonia and he died.

I think it's a good thing that they learned from Harrison's inaugural that when it was freezing weather during Ronald Reagan's second inaugural, they finally moved it inside and canceled the parade.



COOPER: You're about to see history in the making. We are just minutes away from president Obama taking his oath of office for his second term. We'll bring it to you, live.

Joe Biden has been sworn in for his second term as vice president. Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor administered the oath this morning at the Vice President's official resident at the U.S. Naval Observatory here in Washington. Let's take a look.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE) UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Please, place your hand on the bible and raise your right hand and repeat after me. I, Joseph R. Biden Jr., do solemnly swear that I will support and defend the constitution of the United States --

JOE BIDEN, VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA: That I will support and defend the constitution of the United States --

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Against all enemies foreign and domestic.

BIDEN: Against all enemies foreign and domestic.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: That bear true faith and allegiance to the same.

BIDEN: That I bear true faith and allegiance to the same.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: That I take this obligation freely.

BIDEN: That I take this obligation freely.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion.

BIDEN: Without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: And that I will well and faithfully discharge.

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

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The duties of the office that I am about to enter.

BIDEN: The duties of the office that I am about to enter.


BIDEN: So help me God.



COOPER: Justice Sotomayor wasn't even a member of the Supreme Court for the last inauguration. She is still astonished at how much her life has changed she says in the past four years. CNN's Soledad O'Brien Saturday down with her on Friday -- Soledad.

SOLEDAD O'BRIEN, HOST, CNN'S "STARTING POINT": Anderson, Justice Sotomayor recently published her memoirs and she told me it was because she wanted to remember where she was from and who she was as a child. Remembering her childhood in the Bronx and a path that went through Princeton and Yale, and eventually ended at the Supreme Court, a pact she says that still stuns her.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE) O'BRIEN: My goodness, our pleasure. Your book details a lot of firsts and first Latino, for example, in the Supreme Court, not being the least of them. You will be the first to swear in the vice president, another first for you on Sunday. How are you feeling about that?

JUSTICE SONIA SOTOMAYOR, SUPREME COURT: I was thinking just a couple of days ago if I think back at when I was a kid, which of the two events would have seen seem more improbable to me. I realized each one was so farfetched that I couldn't have imagined either.

O'BRIEN: Supreme Court.

SOTOMAYOR: Supreme Court, swearing in the vice president in front of the nation and the world.

O'BRIEN: Does it make you anxious?

SOTOMAYOR: Anxiety is not the word.

O'BRIEN: What is the word?

SOTOMAYOR: What it makes me feel, as if. There are many moments I still experience it, that I'm in a surreal moment. I sometimes when I'm in those really special times, I think to myself, am I dreaming? Please, nobody pinch me and wake me up and that's what I suspect I'll experience a little bit of on Monday.

O'BRIEN: How does it work? Do you go home every night and memorize it, practice it in front of the mirror? You remember there was a little bit of a mess up four years ago for the president.

SOTOMAYOR: Well, when you read my book, you know that I practice everything I do over and over and over again. And, so, I have been saying the oath out loud for a couple of weeks now, a couple of times a day, but I won't rely on my memory either. I'll have a card with me. I like security blankets.

O'BRIEN: Preparation and security.

SOTOMAYOR: Well, you have to do both things. You know, I talk in the book about being a lawyer. You have to prepare and prepare and prepare and if something unexpected happens, the playbook has to go out the window and you have to create a new one on the spot.


O'BRIEN: She did not have to create a new one on the spot because, of course, all the preparation paid off and it went off without a hitch. Justice Sotomayor talks a lot and writes a lot about how affirmative action benefited her in her life.

And of course, the Supreme Court will rule on affirmative action case probably in March and I asked her since she writes about her own personal experiences how that will influence her in her decision eventually. She said, well, all the decisions, of course are based on law. It is expected for all of the justices. They bring their personal experience to shape exactly how they decide to rule in the case. Let's send it back to Wolf.

BLITZER: Soledad, thanks very much. The 20th amendment to the constitution specifically says the terms of the president and the vice president end at noon on January 20th. That's why President Obama is taking the oath of office for his second term in only about 5 minutes. It has to be before noon.

BOLDUAN: It has to be before noon, exactly, Wolf. But it's also Sunday, you probably knew that, and that complicates things a little bit. CNN's senior legal analyst Jeffrey Toobin is here to help us understand a little bit more why.

BLITZER: Walk us through this. Why, for example, I know it's the tradition, he's being sworn in today in a few minutes within 5 minutes here right behind us at the White House. Why can't they do the pomp and ceremony, the speaking tomorrow, but not have another oath, another swearing-in ceremony. They have it, is that because of tradition.

JEFFREY TOOBIN, CNN SENIOR LEGAL ANALYST: They can. It's just a matter of tradition. Legally it doesn't mean anything. This is the seventh time in American history that January 20th has fallen on a Sunday and the president and chief justice decided let's do the oath ceremony privately and have the party the next day.

BLITZER: Yes, so that's why they're doing it today.

TOOBIN: Correct.

BLITZER: The one we're about to see is the big deal.

TOOBIN: This is the one that is legally significant. This is the real oath of office.

BOLDUAN: Last time around, the inauguration the swearing-in was famous for more than one reason. One of them being that the oath was flubbed a little bit. Let's listen to it and I want to talk about it.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Are you prepared to take the oath, Senator?


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I, Barack Hussein Obama, do solemnly swear.

PRESIDENT OBAMA: I, Barack Hussein Obama, do solemnly swear.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That I will execute the office of president to the United States faithfully.

PRESIDENT OBAMA: That I will execute -- UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Faithfully the office of president of the United States faithfully.

PRESIDENT OBAMA: The office of the president of the United States faithfully.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And will to the best of my ability.

PRESIDENT OBAMA: And will to the best of my ability.

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

PRESIDENT OBAMA: Preserve, protect and defend the constitution of the United States.



BOLDUAN: You can see that there is a misplaced words there, but you had the opportunity to gather some fascinating details of what really happened behind the scenes that led up to that.

TOOBIN: You know, John Roberts rehearsed that so many times at home that his wife said to him, at this point, the dog thinks it's the president. So it was not -- it was not for lack of preparation. What happened was, there was a misplaced e-mail.

John Roberts wrote out the oath on a card. I believe we have the card here. He divided up the segments of how he was going to do it.

BLITZER: Where he would pause.

TOOBIN: Where he would pause. And that e-mail was sent to the Congressional Inaugural Committee, but it never made it to the President Elect's Office so -- there you can see it right there, the problem was in that first line -- do solemnly swear. Obama thought there would be a pause after his name.

Roberts thought it would be after do solemnly swear and it was the next line "with faithfully execute the office of the president of the United States" that Roberts so uncharacteristically became flustered and he messed it up twice.

But they redid it in the map room of the White House the next day and we'll see if the third time is the charm right now.

BLITZER: Do you think they rehearsed it a little bit now before? Do you think they went through and practiced it?

TOOBIN: No, they don't.

BLITZER: You know John Roberts.

TOOBIN: I do. There is no way there was a rehearsal here. BLITZER: Really?

TOOBIN: That has not been the tradition. This is an event steeped in tradition. I am certain that the e-mail with the card was not misplaced this time. They will certainly know where the breaks are, but perhaps I'll be proven wrong. I don't think they will have rehears rehearsed. This is a onetime only.

BLITZER: Hold on, Jessica Yellin is our chief White House correspondent. Jessica, we're only a minute or so away. What's going on?

JESSICA YELLIN, CNN CHIEF WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Hi, Wolf. Well, some of the president's family and first lady's family is already in the room that includes the first lady's brother, Craig, the first -- the president's half sister Maya, and the president is preparing to enter with the first lady and their two daughters and take the oath on a family bible that has been in Mrs. Obama's family since 1958.

That bible is something that her grandmother used to lead prayer services with, in a bible store that Mrs. Obama's grandmother managed and it's been kept in Mrs. Obama's family by her aunt who saved it and returned it to Mrs. Obama for this very purpose, for this oath today.

And that bible will now be kept in the archives after this oath and this will happen in just moments. Mrs. Obama will be holding the bible when the president is sworn in to be -- for a second term -- Wolf.

BLITZER: Tomorrow, he'll have Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. bible and Abraham Lincoln's bible at the official public ceremony at the White House. You're looking at live pictures. We're about to go into the blue room of the United States.

The president of the United States and his family, they will be there together with the chief justice of the United States, John Roberts. He will administer the oath as we get ready for this historic moment.

JOHN ROBERTS, CHIEF JUSTICE: Please raise your right hand and repeat after me. I, Barack Hussein Obama, do solemnly swear.

PRESIDENT OBAMA: I, Barack Hussein Obama, do solemnly swear.

ROBERTS: That I will faithfully execute.

PRESIDENT OBAMA: That I will faithfully execute.

ROBERTS: The office of president of the United States.

PRESIDENT OBAMA: The office of president of the United States.

ROBERTS: And will, to the best of my ability.

PRESIDENT OBAMA: And will, to the best of my ability.

ROBERTS: Preserve, protect and defend.

PRESIDENT OBAMA: Preserve, protect and defend.

ROBERTS: The constitution of the United States.

PRESIDENT OBAMA: The constitution of the United States.

ROBERTS: So help you God?

PRESIDENT OBAMA: So help me God.

ROBERTS: Congratulations, Mr. President.

PRESIDENT OBAMA: Thank you, Mr. Chief Justice. Thank you so much. Thank you, sweetie. Thank you.


PRESIDENT OBAMA: I did it. All right, thank you, everybody. Come on.

BLITZER: All right, you heard him say, I did it. That was perfect right there. Jeffrey Toobin, he looked down, the Chief Justice, had his notebook, note card in front of him.

TOOBIN: And that's different. He did not have the card four years ago in either ceremony. He did from memory both times.

BOLDUAN: He's famous for his memory.

TOOBIN: You know, John Roberts when he was an advocate at the Supreme Court was famous that he never had a note, which is unusual among advocates.

BOLDUAN: Even before the justice.

TOOBIN: And so I have to say I'm surprised he had the card, but he obviously made the right decision, it was flawless.

BOLDUAN: I'm not going to criticize him for using some notes.

TOOBIN: No, I think notes were a good idea.

BLITZER: A good rehearsal for tomorrow's less important, but highly visible ceremony. Anderson, this is an exciting moment for all of us. The president has now officially begun his second term as president of the United States.

COOPER: And the crowd actually behind us, probably 100 or 200 people have just stopped by, watching on a big, jumbotron that we've set up. They burst into applause when they saw and heard the president finally being sworn in. David Gergen, what do you anticipate him talking about tomorrow?

DAVID GERGEN, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: Well, we have to wait and see. I do want to put in larger context what we've just seen. Because this is -- the United States continues to make human history for 224 years now, we've had someone take the oath of office peacefully, not once at the point of a gun has someone taken power in this country.

That breaks all precedent in human history. It's something I think that unites us as a people and it's why it's a celebration for all of us, when the president of the United States, when Barack Obama, takes his term, second term oath. I really think, you know, we just need to pause and just consider that, how important that is.

MARGARET HOOVER, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: It's true. And I'm so glad you point out, the context of the history because when you think the first time he took the oath of office on the Lincoln bible, the second time on his wife's family bible. His wife descendents of slaves in the American south and tomorrow will use MLK, Martin Luther King's bible on the day of Martin Luther King.

COOPER: And Abraham Lincoln.

BORGER: Did I not say Abraham Lincoln in the beginning? So the journey of American history is encapsulated and the bibles the president has chosen and shows he underlines the extraordinary history.

JONES: And it's emotional. It's emotional. I mean, I think about my father. My father was in Memphis April 4th, 1968, when Dr. King was assassinated. He said he felt like they were trying to kill hope in America.

And then I was with my father when he was on his death bed beds in 2008, looked up and see Obama and say the hope is back. I mean, there's something, we're in a country, the other thing, you know for sure, there will be a first Latino president or a Latina president.

There will be a first gay president, a first lesbian. We're going to keep making this history. I don't want us to get used to it. I want the goose bumps every time.

BORGER: What struck me about watching that and there have been a lot of pieces on this over the last week or so, is how comfortable the president seems. You know, four years ago, he hadn't be spent a lot of time in Washington.

He was, you know, effectively a junior senator who became president of the United States, and there was all of this high expectation for him which his aides will tell you that was a problem because they could never live up to the expectations.

If you look at Barack Obama in that picture, it was sort of like, OK, let's do this, let's get to work. I have a lot I need to do. I'm thinking about what I've got to do over the next four years, very realistic. Somebody who's established a real working relationship with his vice president.

And I just think it's somebody who's sort of grown into that job and is ready to cement his legacy. Whether that will be able to happen or not -- you know, if you get health care reform in your first term and maybe immigration in the second, maybe that's as transformational as anybody can expect to be. But (inaudible) --