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CNN LIVE EVENT/SPECIAL
More Coverage of Inauguration-Related Events
Aired January 20, 2013 - 13:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
CANDY CROWLEY, CNN HOST: Our live coverage of the 57th presidential inauguration continues. "FAREED ZAKARIA GPS" will be back next week. But right now I'm joined by Soledad O'Brien and John Berman, working on a weekend. Thank you so much.
SOLEDAD O'BRIEN, CNN ANCHOR: But happy to be here. It's interesting to see the crowds behind us grow. Of course, they're still very sparse from what we're expecting for tomorrow. But the city is slowly shutting down. They've started to block off streets. And I think the excitement is really growing.
JOHN BERMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: I've seen people from Nebraska, from Alabama, from Massachusetts, from New York, all over the country, coming here to Washington, D.C., to be part of this right now. The excitement absolutely growing.
CROWLEY: We've been told a lot that this crowd will not be as big as the one we saw, 1 point whatever million, eight -- I've seen sometimes as the highest, but it does not lack for enthusiasm. I came back on a plane from Orlando, and it was full of people going, oh, hi, I'm going up for the inauguration. So, still the level of excitement still way up.
O'BRIEN: And many people think, of course, tomorrow is the big day, but of course, it's today. Today is where the --
CROWLEY: It's done.
O'BRIEN: -- the official things happen and have already happened.
BERMAN: It's the second term.
O'BRIEN: Already. We're a couple minutes into it already.
CROWLEY: So far so good.
O'BRIEN: Vice President Joe Biden, of course, President Barack Obama were officially sworn in to their second terms. Listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SUPREME COURT JUSTICE SONIA SOTOMAYOR: -- so help me God.
JOE BIDEN, VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: So help me God.
CHIEF JUSTICE JOHN ROBERTS: -- so help you God.
BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: -- so help me God.
ROBERTS: Congratulations, Mr. President.
PRESIDENT OBAMA: Thank you, Mr. Chief Justice, thank you so much.
MICHELLE OBAMA, FIRST LADY: Congratulations.
PRESIDENT OBAMA: Thank you, sweetie.
Hey. Thank you.
SASHA OBAMA: Good job, dad.
PRESIDENT OBAMA: I did it.
SASHA OBAMA: You didn't mess up.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O'BRIEN: Turn right to Dan Lothian -- let's turn right to Dan Lothian, he is on the White House lawn this afternoon.
All right. One oath down. One to go. The one that everybody is looking forward to tomorrow. How did it go so far?
DAN LOTHIAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: That's right. It's the big ceremonial oath that will take place tomorrow at the Capitol.
But today the official oath taking place in the Blue Room here at the White House, it lasted only about 30 seconds, the president surrounded by close family members and some friends. And it went off without a hitch.
It was kind interesting, after the 30-second swearing-in ceremony, the president hugs the first lady, goes to daughter, Malia, who tells him, "I'm happy," the president then telling his youngest daughter, Sasha, that, quote, "I did it," and she says to him that "You didn't mess up," a reference to the last four years ago when the president and Justice Roberts essentially stepped on each other and some words were left out and, as you know, they had to do a redo.
No redo necessary this time around because they got it right.
Next up for the president tonight, the president and the vice president will be attending a ceremony, a reception at the Building Museum, but of course, all eyes are focused on the big events that happen tomorrow for those official ceremonial events that will take place up at the Capitol.
O'BRIEN: Yes. I guess leave it to your children to keep you humble, huh?
LOTHIAN: That's right.
O'BRIEN: Talk about tomorrow's events. Everything, of course, for the president is timed to the minute.
Will he follow his usual routine tomorrow?
LOTHIAN: He will. You know, those familiar with the president's schedule say that he'll wake up in the morning, he will work out, as he often does here at the White House. He will have his daily briefings with his top aides here at the White House on national security and other issues.
He will have breakfast with the first family and then will head to a church service right across the street and then head up to the Capitol for the ceremonial swearing-in ceremony. So following the usual routine here at the White House before heading off to the big pomp and circumstance, Soledad.
O'BRIEN: Which everybody is waiting for. Dan Lothian, thanks for that update. Appreciate it.
O'BRIEN: And as you could see there, the vice president was sworn in by Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor earlier this morning.
She now joins an elite group, joining fellow Justices Sandra Day O'Connor, here with Dan Quayle back in 1989m and Ruth Bader Ginsburg with Al Gore in 1997, and U.S. District Judge Sarah T. Hughes, who was summoned to duty aboard Air Force One with Lyndon Johnson following a national tragedy.
So, for the fourth time in our nation's history, a woman has sworn in either the president or the vice president of the United States.
I had a chance to sit down with Justice Sotomayor earlier this week to talk about her historic moment.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SOTOMAYOR: I was thinking just a couple of days ago, if I think back of at -- when I was a kid, which of the two events would have seemed 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 --
O'BRIEN: Or swearing in the vice president?
SOTOMAYOR: -- 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.
(END VIDEO CLIP) BERMAN: And you talked to her, Soledad, about how she's perceived on the bench.
O'BRIEN: Yes. And she's considered to be very tough and she doesn't really mind or care what people have that analysis of how she is on the bench. Here's what she told me.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SOTOMAYOR: I think the noblest profession in the world is lawyering and if a lawyer showed up who wasn't prepared on behalf of his client, I suspect that my questioning of that lawyer would make them sometimes feel terrorized.
But was my intent to embarrass them? Never.
And I don't think that my intensity on the bench is ever aimed at poking fun at anybody or being sarcastic about their argument or at making them feel lesser because of it. It's to engage them in the discussion, to ensure that they're giving me the very best they can and the best argument they can give me.
O'BRIEN: So you're tough? Very tough?
SOTOMAYOR: I am. But I don't see toughness as a bad thing. I think it's a challenge: convince me. And that's what I want you lawyers to do, convince me.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O'BRIEN: It's not tough. It's challenging.
BERMAN: You know, this is a historic weekend for Justice Sotomayor, but it's also a tragic weekend for her.
O'BRIEN: Oh, yes, yes. Terrible news for her last night. A very dear friend of hers, Dolores Prida, passed away. She died; she was 69 years old and Delores, who was a Latino icon, was celebrating Justice Sotomayor's book at a big party.
She was not feeling well and then ended up going to a hospital, where she was pronounced dead. So a terrible tragedy. Delores Prida was thanked by Justice Sotomayor at this book party, telling her that Delores and others had been really responsible for a lot of her success, because they've been sort of pushing and toiling for the success of Latinas and humanity, really, I think it's fair to say, for years.
So it's a terrible loss for her. A very dear, dear friend has died.
My two-part interview, I should mention, with Justice Sotomayor, is going to air on Monday and again on Tuesday on "STARTING POINT."
And coming up next, the speech, we'll talk about the speech. Everyone's discussing the speech, crafting the words that will really go to shape the agenda of the next four years. We're going to talk with some veteran speechwriters about the differences between the speeches that are forgotten and the ones that are never forgotten.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GEORGE W. BUSH, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: America has never been united by blood or birth or soil. We're bound by ideals that move us beyond our backgrounds, lift us above our interests and teach us what it means to be citizens.
CANDY CROWLEY, CNN HOST: Tomorrow, President Obama will come out here to the mall; at least he will be visible to the people here in this mall, because he'll be on the West Front of the Capitol for his ceremonial swearing-in and inaugural speech. Dana Bash is on the West Front.
Dana, wow, what a view from up there.
DANA BASH, SR. U.S. CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: That's right. It is a remarkable view. And, in fact, if our viewers can see what we're seeing and what the president will see tomorrow, you can effectively see down to where you are, Candy, all the way down the National Mall to about the middle of the mall, I should say.
Really, a spectacular view, sparsely populated right now but it will look different tomorrow.
But let's take you back to where I am right now and I am right in front of where the president will give the ceremonial, I guess, the ceremonial oath behind me. This is a platform that they started building three and a half months ago and, Candy, you know, you are here regularly every four years, so you know how intimate it actually is, 1,600 people sit on this platform.
And it is really the hottest ticket in town. So it is going to be really a remarkable symbol, I think, and everybody here, Democrats and Republicans, say symbol of the fact that, you know, there aren't tanks in the streets, that no matter the political differences that we see here every single day in the Capitol, this is something that is pretty seamless, considering.
CROWLEY: Yes. I think it's supposed to be a pretty day as well. But, Dana, I understand there's significance to the flags that are currently flying over the Capitol?
BASH: That's one of the most interesting things about this ceremony and that is that pretty much every detail is done with an eye towards history and there's a significance to it. And let's look at those flags as a perfect example.
There are five of them under the dome. And the outside flags, the one closest to the House, one closes to the Senate, those are from -- there are 13 stars there from the original 13 colonies. Then if you look at the next two in, those are flags representing the state of Illinois, where the president is from, when that state entered the union. And that was in 1818. There were 21 states there. That's why there are 21 stars on that. And then right in the middle there you see the current flag. So that is just one of the really interesting pieces of detail that they have been focused on here.
They've also spent about $4 million to do it. One other thing I just want to quickly tell you before we go, an interesting story, below the flags, you see, really for the past 20 minutes or so, we've heard a little bit of a concert here.
And they are students, fifth grade students from P.S. 22 in Staten Island. They were invited here to sing; they will sing tomorrow. They were invited before Hurricane Sandy hit. And I was told that they had to do a lot of fundraising in order to get here because they had to pay for it on their own. But they're here.
BERMAN: Our thanks to Dana Bash for that report.
Let's talk about the speech now, because the words are as familiar as the man who spoke them. Of course, Abraham Lincoln, "With malice toward none, with charity for all, let us strive to finish the work we are in to bind up the nation's wounds."
John F. Kennedy: "Ask not what your country can do for you; ask what you can do for your country."
And Franklin Delano Roosevelt, "Let me assert my firm belief that the only thing we have to fear is fear itself."
CROWLEY: What makes a speech historical rather than just a part of history? And what does this president need to say tomorrow as he begins his second term?
Joining us are Michael Gerson, speechwriter for President George W. Bush, and James Fallows, speechwriter to President Jimmy Carter.
So I know -- we've talked earlier, and you say you don't write to be etched in granite, but I know is -- that writers know when words ring. When you put words on paper, you think, I can see this, you know, as being what will be taken from this speech.
So how do you craft those?
JAMES FALLOWS, CARTER SPEECHWRITER: Yes, it's true the caricature (ph) version is State of the Union address, as where you can almost build in the applause lines.
I think with inaugural addresses it is harder because something that registers as a really showy line may come off as too showy. And so I think my sense of under -- of inaugural addresses is the more they are poem-like, the more they are spare, the less they try do, usually the better they stand up.
CROWLEY: Michael, do you agree, sort of less is more?
MICHAEL GERSON, BUSH 42 SPEECHWRITER: Yes. And shorter is better. (CROSSTALK)
GERSON: That helps. I think when Richard Nixon was writing his second inaugural, he looked at all the past speeches and his conclusion was the shorter ones are better. And I think that a lot of people who read those speeches would find that true.
And I agree. I mean, this is not a State of the Union address, it's not a convention speech. You're speaking to the whole country. You're doing it in the most formal possible context and you're talking about values that unify our whole country. And that's -- it's a day of unity. It's rhetoric and also rituals of unity and that's important to a divided country right now.
O'BRIEN: Is it important to also genuinely lay out the agenda that's ahead for the next four years? Or is it -- does it matter if it's true, I guess, is what I'm really asking?
FALLOWS: There is going to be a State of the Union speech in about three weeks and that is the laundry of the traditional laundry list. I think, in this case, it's worth recognizing the difference between a second and a first inaugural address.
When Barack Obama appeared four years ago, the country did not know him. It was the beginning of his presidency. Now for better and worse, people know him. They know his strengths, they know his weaknesses, they know the areas where he's achieved and failed.
And so it's more just sort of setting a brief mood for the country coming together. We have all this behind us. We're going to look ahead and then we'll get into the nitty-gritty of our plans.
BERMAN: And second inaugurals are interesting things. Some presidents this century have chosen to look backwards a little bit, to talk about their accomplishments in the first term. Other presidents have not, Michael.
George W. Bush, your boss, did not really talk much about his first term but really decided to make a bold foreign policy statement.
What are the considerations that go into choosing what you say?
GERSON: Well, you know, when you look at the history of inaugural addresses there are some determined by the trajectory of history.
So John F. Kennedy gave a speech that codified the moral commitments of the Cold War. It had a specific historical purpose.
Ronald Reagan's first inaugural speech was an economic speech. The context was inflation, which was a threat to the country at that time.
But most of others -- Bush was like that, too -- most of the other good ones, Jefferson's first or whatever, they're really about the values that unite the country and then also try to put your moment in the broad, long context of American history, why this is important and how we're led forward. Without being a policy address, it says we have certain values that mean we have to confront certain problems. If I were working on this speech, which I'm not, I would address this problem of polarization, the deep divisions of our country, how we get past that, how we achieve common purposes in this country.
And the president, I think, would benefit, even in the partisan debates by looking large in this speech.
BERMAN: These inaugurations, second ones are often about healing. Is the president in a healing state of mind?
FALLOWS: Well, (inaudible), the way he first came to national attention was his famous 2004 Democratic Convention speech, whose most memorable line was "not red states of America or blue states but the United States of America."
So it is a part of the register which comes naturally to him, even though it's been a very polarized time. So I think this is something that he could strike.
The only inaugural address I had a chance to work on, Jimmy Carter's only inaugural address, the main thing people remembered from that was his opening line, of thanking Gerald Ford for what he had done to bring the country together after the trauma of Watergate.
GERSON: I think that democratic grace is quite important. The one Contrast here is when Ulysses Grant gave his second inaugural, he used the end of the speech to talk about how badly treated he had been (inaudible) and to claim vindication in the election. I don't think we'll hear that, so...
O'BRIEN: How does it literally work? I mean, does a speechwriter write a draft and then the president marks it up and sends it back? Does the president write the first draft or sketch out an outline and the speechwriter fills in the blanks? How does that work?
FALLOWS: I think it's different for each president and each circumstance. The worst speeches are always the State of the Union addresses, because everybody sees them coming a year in advance and tries to pile in.
I'm sure by four years into his administration with a president who is a known accomplished writer and somebody who is proud and prideful of his literary accomplishments, I'm sure that he has had ideas for this all the way along.
GERSON: And close to his own speechwriter, who has been with him a long time, they have a good relationship. So there will be that give and take (inaudible).
CROWLEY: So at the end of the day when this inaugural speech is over, you will consider it a success if... ? FALLOWS: If people feel better about America at the end of these 15 or -- I hope, first, it's short and, second, that it makes them feel better about the country and the times they live in, as opposed to specifically better about the president.
GERSON: I think if he calls attention to some real problems in honest ways, but then asserts that there's hope beyond the divisions of our current -- of our current politics.
O'BRIEN: That's what he has to do in the speech. Gentlemen, thank you very much.
Of course, it's not just about the speech, right? It's about what the president has to do to have a successful sequel.
And how does that -- how does he do that and avoid all those mistakes that his predecessors have made? We're going to talk about some of those past mistakes and find out what the path of the president could be as we continue.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JOHN F. KENNEDY, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: We shall pay any price, bear any burden, meet any hardship, support any friend, oppose any foe to assure the survival and the success of liberty.
CROWLEY: Barack Obama was elected in 2008 on a tide of hope and change, and in his first inaugural address presented a vision for the country that would end the partisan bickering that plagued his predecessor.
PRESIDENT OBAMA: On this day, we gather because we have chosen hope over fear, unity of purpose over conflict and discord. On this day, we come to proclaim an end to the petty grievances and false promises, the recriminations and worn-out dogmas that for far too long have strangled our politics.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CROWLEY: Well, it is four years later now, a battered economy and political extremism, even more so than it was at the time he gave that speech. How does he create a lasting vision of his own presidency?
Joining us, presidential historian Richard Norton Smith.
It does strike me that this address is the beginning of the writing of history of the presidency of Barack Obama. Everyone talks about how, in the second term, presidents run for history. Well, this is that first kind of draft, isn't it?
RICHARD NORTON SMITH, PRESIDENTIAL HISTORIAN: In some ways that's a dangerous concept. Think about it, if, all of a sudden, you're playing to the academic jury -- you know, because that's the ultimate electorate. Those are the people who will decide whether you're a near-great president or an average president, you know, whether you're a Teddy Roosevelt or a Chester Arthur.
And you probably shouldn't be playing to them any more than any other particular interest group. So I'm -- I always get -- I mean, and I'm part of the jury.
SMITH: See, you only get to vote for president once. We get to vote over and over and over again.
But the -- presidents really, it seems to me, that's just one more interest group that they should avoid tailoring their actions.
BERMAN: While you're drunk with power here, let me ask you, we talk about second term curses a lot. What does history tell us about how a president can avoid the pitfalls that seem to affect so many during the second term?
SMITH: Part of the problem it's become (inaudible). I don't think there's a second term curse. There are a number of factors, including the media, the 24/7 news cycle, the saturation coverage, everything that a president does or says or that his family does or says.
O'BRIEN: It's not going away in this second term for President Obama.
SMITH: It's not going away. He's also -- from day one he's a lame duck. He doesn't want to admit it. But the reality is, he has about a year before the midterm elections. And then, guess what? We're off to the races again.
So it behooves him to use whatever mandate -- dangerous word -- he has coming out of this election, and to look upon this year as the opportunity to go long.
Of course, the other danger, one reason why presidents have problems in second terms is they over-interpret mandates. FDR won the biggest election landslide in history and he immediately tried to pack the Supreme Court. You know, Lyndon Johnson got mired in Vietnam, Richard Nixon in Watergate.
O'BRIEN: When we talk to presidential advisers and people around the president, they will tick off all of the things that are on the president's agenda, if you will. Gun control might be at the top of that agenda, but immigration certainly is there. We're going to hit a debt ceiling soon. And there's a list of, you know, if you're aggressive, 25 things.
Does he have to pare that list down to one? I mean, if you're only giving him a year window before, essentially -- let's say two -- before he's -- it's a lame duck, you know, is it one thing to go for or is it 20 things or five things?
SMITH: Circumstances will pare it or expand it. Who would have predicted six weeks ago that we would be talking about gun control as a major item on that list? You know, presidents react to events much more than they control events. And that's true first term, second term.
Ronald Reagan is a classic example. Is the Reagan second term a failure because of Iran-Contra? Or is it success because of the INF treaty? Immigration reform, tax reform. So, you know, whatever you hear about the second term curse, be skeptical.
CROWLEY: Is there an analogous time in history to where President Obama is now, some place -- we're told that lots of time the speechwriters and the presidents look at past inaugural addresses for inspiration. Where in history can this president find that inspiration?
SMITH: You know, it's tough to find a time when we've been so polarized. Thomas Jefferson -- people forget under Adams and Washington, the country was actually much more -- much more divided than you would think, if you looked at that monument just down the road.
Jefferson comes into power, a very polarizing figure. And famously, in his inaugural address, says "We are all Republicans, we are all federalists." Now he didn't necessarily govern that way, but he had the tone right.
And I think that's what inaugural addresses, a week later, there are very few -- you can count on one hand -- but it's the second inaugural addresses that people remember. It's the tone as much as anything else.
And clearly to try and recapture -- you can't capture lightning in a bottle twice, but you can convey the sense that, over four years, I've learned, I've been humbled in some way, but I've also been encouraged and inspired that we can work together.
BERMAN: Most successful second term president ever?
SMITH: Most successful second term ever? It was difficult, but Washington, because he codified this experiment in popular government. And he also started the practice of giving farewell addresses.
BERMAN: He's a good model, that Washington guy.
CROWLEY: Washington and Lincoln seem to be the --
SMITH: Well, except Lincoln -- the Lincoln --
CROWLEY: (Inaudible) second term.
SMITH: (Inaudible). Lincoln gave us the most memorable of all inaugural addresses, the greatest lay sermon in American history. Unfortunately, it didn't turn out well for the president.
Richard Norton Smith, thank you so much for joining us today. We appreciate it. We'll watch history tomorrow with you.
Coming up, so we've talked about it. Is there a second term curse? We'll look at the events, the issues and the scandals that have embroiled other presidents.
RICHARD NIXON, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Our destiny offers not the cup of despair but the chalice of opportunity. So let us seize it, not in fear but in gladness.
BERMAN: So Clinton and Monica Lewinsky, Richard Nixon and Watergate, Ronald Reagan and Iran-Contra, pundits call it the second term curse. What does that all mean though?
Joining us now for a look at this and more about how to run things during your second term in office, our political pundits, CNN contributors Margaret Hoover and Paul Begala.
Let me just -- you know, Margaret, you were in the Bush White House between the first term and the second term.
How conscious were they then to legacy, to how to avoid the problems that ultimately did pop up in that second term?
MARGARET HOOVER, REPUBLICAN STRATEGIST: Well, there weren't problems in Bush's second term like there were in Reagan's or Clinton's or Nixon's by comparison. I mean, the problem of Bush's second term was maybe a question of misspent political capital. Of course, Katrina, the mishandling of Katrina was terrible and that did impede his ability to get legislative success through.
But I think very conscious, especially of the second inaugural address and the contents of it. And when you go back and read second inaugural addresses, that one really does stand out as one that captured a moment and captured a vision that the president had for the country at that time.
Remember, this is the first address since 9/11 to the country as inaugural address since 9/11 and he captured what we all refer to now as the freedom agenda. That was the Bush doctrine. And it captured that moment in a way that I think most second inaugural addresses don't have the chance to, because of where we were in the world and the changes that were happening in the world.
BERMAN: Paul, is political capital, all political capital for second terms, created equal?
PAUL BEGALA, DEMOCRATIC STRATEGIST: No. That's a good point, John. I mean, if -- President Bush famously got re-elected and then said, I have political capital; I intend to spend it, and then tried to privatize part of Social Security, which was just not popular.
He had political capital. He was legitimately re-elected or elected in some people's eyes. But it didn't work out, because he tried to pursue something that the country just didn't want. This president, I think, should take some lessons from that.
I mean, he's -- yes, he is, as Daniel Day-Lewis says in Steven Spielberg's masterpiece film -- "clothed in immense power." But, you know, he's still the article two. Article one are the people in that big white building behind us. And if they -- and the people who they represent don't support what this president wants to do in his second term, his political capital won't exist in anymore.
O'BRIEN: When people talk about a second term curse, what exactly leads to that? I mean, they say it as if it's sort of this mythical thing, second term and it happens, but there are reasons why you sort of bump into a second term problem scandal, major obstacles, failures. What do you think those reasons are?
BEGALA: Well, a lot. I would start with hubris, which is endemic to the human condition, but a pandemic in the White House, in every White House.
This happened to Franklin Roosevelt, one of the great presidents of American history, had a terrible second term. He had another recession, the Great Depression worsened, rather, in '37 and then tried to pack the Supreme Court.
I would think it begins with that. Sometimes it's also weariness. You know, the president, it really is a demanding job and, yes, they get a free helicopter and a nice house, but, boy, it wears these men out.
HOOVER: And wears the staff thin as well. And so that what you can also get is sort of "staff infection," right? You have staff who stay on and on -- it's a joke; it's a joke.
But you know, I mean, Andy Carbinoy (ph) say, you know, 18 months is really -- you can only sort of go hard for 18 months. And the day you come into the White House feeling like it isn't the special magical thing that it was the first day is the day you should leave.
O'BRIEN: And do you -- one point, as a staffer, is there that moment that everybody feels it at the same time ? Or is it individuals who all start feeling it -- ?
HOOVER: I think everybody has their own stamina and inertia. Everybody's different. But I don't think you can really go hard and go long for multiple years at a time at the same level of outplay.
BEGALA: Absolutely. CROWLEY: You know, not all scandals are created equal and some presidents are better. I think you can say in the next four years, there's going to be something that's going to cause heartburn at the White House.
So the question is, how do you deal with those things while you're, again, dealing a little bit with history? I would argue that perhaps President George W. Bush has yet to recover from his second term, including Katrina, and yet, Bill Clinton bounced right back after Monica, or at least after he got out of office.
HOOVER: And he left with a high approval rating and then, of course, Harry Truman left with a 22 percent approval rating and really didn't see his image revamped until really the last two decades. So it happens differently for everyone.
I also think this administration is particularly aware of the fact that the things that will shape his legacy are outside of his control and it depends on how you respond to them, much like Katrina. Nobody was planning on two category 5 hurricanes hitting the Gulf Coast within a month of each other.
O'BRIEN: But response is in your control.
O'BRIEN: I mean, I think that's sort of true and sort of like the event itself can be out of your control. But certainly when it came to President Clinton, certainly when it came to President Bush, there are things -- your response is always -- what do you decide to do is always within your control.
BEGALA: And I think that's exactly how people view it too, Soledad. I think people say, look, can't help a storm. And, look, half of marriages end in divorce. There's problems in lots and lots of marriages. How you then handle that is what matters.
And who's hurt? You know, it broke our nation's heart to see Americans dying in Katrina, and some of them because of neglect, the federal government did not do its job.
HOOVER: And state and local governments.
BEGALA: Of course. But President Clinton's problems were exclusively personal. They were terribly damaging to himself and his family, but, ultimately, I think he was also politically gifted enough to counter the Republicans' overplaying of it.
I always believed they would have done better politically if -- had they not tried to impeach him but just instead used shame, which is what we use in our real life when people make mistakes in America.
BERMAN: How much work for the second term has already been done? How much have they already accomplished, sitting in that White House during the small transition period? BEGALA: Well, we hope a lot certainly. This president, I think, even more than most, likes to think long, long term. And so he kept saying in the campaign, essentially, if you put me back in, I'm really going to focus on immigration, I'm going to focus energy, I'm going to focus on this god-awful deficit and debt we have.
So those were the -- seemed to be the three long-term things he was playing for. And then Newtown happened.
And like every parent, like every American, his heart was broken and he has now taken this incredibly politically difficult and divisive issue of gun safety and put it even ahead, I think, of debt and deficit, immigration and energy, which -- so he had to respond, as Margaret said, to what happened and people right now are judging that response.
HOOVER: There's a blueprint. Certainly there's a blueprint and they're working on this blueprint. I mean, they have plans for how they're going to pursue gun control. They also have plans for how they're going to pursue immigration. There's going to be massive rollouts within the next few weeks.
Marco Rubio, they're working closely (inaudible), seasoning the House for possible really transformative --
BERMAN: There we go, 2016, it happened right here, right now. (Inaudible).
O'BRIEN: And she wasn't even the first.
BERMAN: She wasn't even the first.
Margaret Hoover, Paul Begala, thank you so much for joining us here to talk about these fascinating, fascinating issues.
And when we return, a sneak peek at tomorrow's parade route and the security measures in place around the Capitol, security so very tight here.
And later, Roosevelt, Kennedy, Lincoln, Atchison, one of those names is not like the other ones. We're going to bring you the whole story coming up.
LYNDON JOHNSON, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: It is the excitement of becoming, always becoming, trying, probing, falling, resting and trying again, but always trying and always gaining.
BERMAN: Preparations are being made today for tomorrow's inauguration parade. We've seen the security setup all over getting ready for it. Our very own Jim Acosta is on the parade route.
Jim what can we expect to see?
JIM ACOSTA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: John, they are starting to line up these floats right now. You can see this one behind me. This is a float to honor the Tuskegee Airmen, the first group of African- American military aviators back in World War II.
There's sort of a civil rights theme running throughout this parade. There are other floats dedicated to the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., another one to the Civil Rights Movement. There will be floats dedicated to the president and vice president's home states.
And then check -- take a look at this over here, this is very interesting. NASA will be a part of the parade as well. And here is an exact replica of the Mars Curiosity rover. It, too, will be rolling down Pennsylvania Avenue, just behind the president and the rest of the parade floats in tomorrow's inaugural parade.
And we're going to have a very unique perspective on all of this tomorrow, John.
We're going to be on the back -- and when I say we, I mean me, my producer and photographer, we're going to be on the back of a flatbed truck that'll be just in front of the president's motorcade as it's rolling down Pennsylvania Avenue towards the White House, towards the presidential reviewing stand, where the president will hop off, go inside the White House then come back out and watch this parade take place from that reviewing stand.
It's just going to be a sight to watch because of so much work and preparation that's gone into this parade. And just to give you a sense as to how much preparation, we talked to the folks over at Hargrove, which is a local company here in the Washington, D.C., area. They've been building these floats since 1945, Harry Truman's inaugural back in 1949.
And, John, you and I were, just before we got started here, we were talking about the election. They don't know, the folks over at Hargrove, the folks who are building these floats, who's going to win. So they actually start building these floats -- and I didn't know this until I came out here today -- until after the election is over.
So they've had roughly 19, 20 days to get all of these floats together. And look at this craftsmanship here. I wish I could do this. I don't have the tools capable of doing this, but this is a replica of the Tuskegee airplanes that they used to fly back in World War II. So a lot of work, a lot of preparation going into all of this. And we're going to see it all take place tomorrow.
BERMAN: You know, fantastic, Jim. There is great craftsmanship there, thank you so much. You will be on the news reporter float tomorrow yourself in the parade. We look forward to seeing you there.
ACOSTA: That's right.
O'BRIEN: The carefully, carefully crafted float there with Jim Acosta.
Well, there are more than half a million people who are expected to converge on the mall tomorrow. And, of course, because of that, security is being beefed up around the Capitol. CNN pentagon correspondent Chris Lawrence has more for us.
CHRIS LAWRENCE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Hey, Soledad. Yes, the crowds are starting to pick up here on the mall. We're starting to see more and more people on this end of the mall. You can take a look behind me and see just more and more people coming out.
And the security preparations here got a little bit of a boost just in the last hour because that's when the D.C. police deputized about 2,000 to 3,000 more police officers, other officers who had come from jurisdictions around the country to help out, they just got deputized so now they will be able to help over the next day or two.
They've also got about 6,000 National Guardsmen out here, helping out. And a lot of this information, the surveillance cameras, all of that information, is flowing into a command center where they are watching every second and every minute of video that is coming in, thousands of cameras.
There's literally almost nowhere you can walk anywhere near the mall, the parade route or White House, where you are not being seen by someone, somewhere. And that, they hope, will be enough to keep an idea of what is going on in terms of security.
O'BRIEN: Seen by someone, somewhere, especially behind you in your live shot, Chris, as folks wave at us. And I guess their parents and friends as well behind you. It's fun to see. And also good to know the security is so tight.
Thanks, Chris. We appreciate it.
When we return in just a moment, the intersection of politics and religion, our exclusive interview with the deacon of the National Cathedral is coming up next.
RONALD REAGAN, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Freedom and the dignity of the individual had been more available and assured here than in any other place on Earth. The price for this freedom at times has been high, but we have never been unwilling to pay that price.
O'BRIEN: As they did in 2009, following Barack Obama's first inauguration, the leadership of the National Cathedral will again reprise the role as holt of the national prayer service. That's on Tuesday. And it's been a lasting tradition since 1933.
Joining us this afternoon to talk about that is the very Reverend Gary Hall, he's the deacon of the National Cathedral.
Dean Hall, it's nice to have you with us.
GARY HALL, DEACON, NATIONAL CATHEDRAL: Thank you. It's nice to be here.
O'BRIEN: We appreciate it.
Your service this morning started with a conversation about Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., who preached at the National Cathedral four days before he died. And you talked about how he was really giving a wake- up call to the religious to sort of spread the word.
How does that story relate to modern times and to what President Obama is going to have to do in your perspective, in the next four years?
HALL: Well, I used it as -- we at the National Cathedral are being very supportive of the president's agenda on gun control.
And we are actually -- I actually used that as an occasion to talk about Dr. King's appearance in that pulpit and about how he talked about we -- it was either nonviolence or nonexistence and we had to solve the problem of war and bloodshed, which is what he said at his absolute final sermon in that pulpit.
And so I used it this morning as a kind of rallying cry to ask people in our following to really get up behind the president.
I do think, at the time, Dr. King was saying that the faith community has to really wake up and not sleep through a revolution, which was his point in 1968. And I think for us in 2013, the issue is: how can the faith community be a real voice in public policy and in an appropriate way?
And I think that is where the conversation, at least for me, is right now, not to be a single interest kind of lobbying group about certain fringe positions, but how can we really be part of the dialog in a way that helps promote the national good?
CROWLEY: And yet, there's not unanimity in the faith community --
HALL: Oh, absolutely --
CROWLEY: -- you speak of it as what -- and there's certainly not unanimity of which policies they support or don't support.
So is this a church, but do you see this as church-by-church thing? You do your, you know, deal with the folks who come to your church and tell them what you think? Or do you see this as an organizational -- ?
HALL: Well, I think it is an organizational thing largely. In other words, right, that the faith community, not only within the Christian tradition, but interfaith really doesn't degree about many things.
But we do agree about some things. And I think the issue for me as an organizer is how do we start with what we can agree on?
CROWLEY: Because in your mind?
HALL: Well, I think the gun issue is a pretty broad-based -- I mean, the gun issue that's coming on the table right now from the vice president's commission, that's a pretty middle-of-the-road consensual position.
And obviously there are some people that are, you know, in the evangelical community who are strong pro-gun people. But I think within the Jewish, Muslim, Sikh, Hindu, Christian, broad-based area, there is some middle of the road there and that we can build on that. But there are the other issues that people are going to be really disparate on.
O'BRIEN: When were you talking about sort of the Martin Luther King addressing National Cathedral all those years ago -- and the church and the role of the church in political movements has changed a lot in that time.
HALL: Right, right.
O'BRIEN: Does that frustrate you? I mean the church is no longer as it was in the Civil Rights Era, the center of protest, the center of a touchpoint for people who are trying to figure out how to move the needle on civil rights together. The church isn't that any more for most people and a declining number of people are going to church.
HALL: That's right.
Well, but one of the things we're learning from the second point is that one of the reasons younger people are disenchanted is the lack of our political commitment. And so, doing more of that is really, I think, really important.
But you're right, I came into the church, the Civil Rights Movement and the anti-war movement in the 1960s, and we have moved away. But my predecessor as dean of the cathedral in the '70s, Dean Sayer (ph), was a strong civil rights, strong anti-Vietnam advocate. So I'm trying to return to a tradition that's kind of deeply ingrained, at least in the cathedral's history but also in mainline Christianity.
CROWLEY: Dean Gary Hall, thanks for your time this Sunday morning. We appreciate it.
HALL: Thank you.
CROWLEY: When we return, could the presidential club of '44 actually be a club of 45? That's next.
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CROWLEY: Today is the seventh time in U.S. history that Inauguration Day falls on a Sunday. Each time the president-to-be has opted for a private Sunday ceremony, sometimes followed by a Monday repeat for the public.
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CROWLEY (voice-over): Exception: the newly elected Zachary Taylor, who, for religious reasons would not be sworn in on Sunday. It left a hole in history, 24 hours without a U.S. President.
But don't go telling that to the director of the Atchison County Historic Society in Kansas.
He says, on that Sunday in 1849, when President-Elect Taylor would not take the oath of office as the 12th president, James Polk, the 11th, was no longer president and his vice president, George Dallas was also gone. That left the country in the hands of the third in the line of succession, the senior member of the Senate.
CHRIS TAYLOR, E.D., ATCHISON COUNTY HISTORICAL SOCIETY: Well, David Rice Atchison, of course, was the real 12th president of the United States.
CROWLEY (voice-over): Chris Taylor is in charge of what he calls the world's smallest presidential library, a tribute to the 24 hours the late senator from Missouri spent as President David Rice Atchison. It's a nanosecond in history, also etched into Atchison's gravestone -- a great little asterisk, except, almost universally, historians say Atchison was never president.
DON RITCHIE, U.S. SENATE HISTORIAN: It's a conceit, actually. Atchison used to joke about it. Atchison's term had come to a conclusion as well. And so he wasn't sworn in until the Congress met on Monday. So he didn't take his oath of office, either as a senator or president. In case of emergency, they would have turned to the incoming president, Zachary Taylor.
CROWLEY (voice-over): Without Twitter, Facebook or CNN, news of emergencies traveled a lot slower in 1849. So there was no reason to explore the power vacuum at the time.
In fact, Atchison slept most of the day, tuckered out by a lot of last-minute business in the Senate -- some things never change. Still, some of Atchison's friends reportedly could not resist.