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Hostage Crisis Ends in Algeria; Keeping the Inauguration Crowd Safe; Know Your Wireless "COWS"; The Spirits of Washington

Aired January 20, 2013 - 06:00   ET


RANDI KAYE, CNN ANCHOR: Good morning, everyone, and welcome to this very special edition of EARLY START WEEKEND. It is Sunday, January 20th. Glad you're with us. I'm Randi Kaye.

JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: And I'm John Berman. Great to see you here this morning. We are here live on the National Mall in Washington, D.C., as we gear up for the 57th presidential inauguration. Now, today is the official swearing in of President Barack Obama for his second term. That will happen at 11:55 a.m. Eastern Time this morning.

KAYE: And in just two hours, Vice President Joe Biden will take his oath of office a little after 8:00 or so this morning. And all day long, CNN will bring you the ceremonies, the concerts, the celebrations and, of course, the political and the historical context of the day.

But first, we want to bring you up to speed now on the hostage situation that's been happening in Algeria. The crisis at a natural gas plant is all over this morning, but there are still so many questions, including exactly how many people are still missing.

Here's what we do know, though, at this hour. The Algerian ministry says it launched a second assault yesterday that ended the standoff after three days. The interior ministry also says almost 700 Algerian hostages have been freed, along with 107 foreigners, but at least 23 hostages are dead, including three British citizens and so are dozens of Islamic militants. I'm joined now by our Pentagon correspondent Barbara Starr.

Barbara, good morning to you. First of all, are any Americans still missing and what is Washington saying at this point?


This violent and unstable situation over, but the U.S. still trying to determine what exactly has happened. Now, according to the State Department, one American man, one American citizen is dead. Six other American hostages were freed. And it is believed there are still a small number of Americans unaccounted for. So many other nations, eight countries, had had citizens there, also trying to resolve the status of their people. The White House issued a statement last night saying that the Obama administration was in close contact with the Algerian government, but still trying to, quote, "gain a fuller understanding of what exactly happened there and what the situation is now." That's really where it stands. Still trying to determine from the Algerians what transpired. They cracked down on these terrorists very quickly. That has caused a lot of consternation about the loss of the hostages' lives. But this is something that the Algerians clearly wanted to make clear, they were going to handle it themselves and they handled it as they saw fit.


KAYE: Yes, but they certainly are getting a lot of criticism, right, coming out yesterday for launching this attack to try and end it. What does the rest of the world and the leaders saying about this assault and how it all went down?

STARR: Yes, I think that's exactly the question. You know, publicly, of course, they are saying that absolutely the violence was the result of the attack by this group of militants. But right now, what this poses for intelligence services around the world, and especially for the U.S., is a very crucial question. Al Qaeda in North Africa. If they were responsible for this, as they claim, is this a new front in al Qaeda's war against the west.

You know, the -- there is some thought that maybe this was a very preplanned, sophisticated attack. These militants showed up heavily armed, deep into the Algerian desert. They didn't just turn up there. They had a plan. And so the question now, is this something that the Obama administration is going to have to deal with. If these countries do not want the outside help, if they don't want U.S. assistance in there, how will the Obama administration deal with al Qaeda in North Africa? This is now one of the key questions on the table.


KAYE: Barbara Starr, thank you very much for your reporting.

BERMAN: Some other news now.

We have some shocking video to show you now from a political convention in Bulgaria. But we do want to warn you, as I said, it is fairly shocking. You can see a man running to the stage and pulling his gun. Oh, my goodness. But, luckily, it fails to fire. Now, the would-be assassin was targeting the leader of a minority party in Bulgaria. But before he could try to fire again, he was pushed, tackled and beaten. Stunning, as I said.

Back here at home, Honda has announced its second major recall in just over a month. And again it's because of a problem with their Odyssey minivans and Pilot SUVs. Honda says that some of the airbags may have been put together incorrectly and might not deploy when you need them. They're recalling nearly 750,000 vehicles.

KAYE: Sad news for baseball fans. Stan "The Man" has died. I'm talking about baseball hall of famer Stan Musial. The former St. Louis Cardinals star was one of the best who ever played the game. He still ranks fourth all time in hits. Musial played 22 seasons, and after his retirement became one of the game's great ambassadors. Stan Musial was 92.

BERMAN: Truly one of the greatest players ever to play. He played for years and years. Never got thrown out of a game. A classy, classy guy.

So, organizers are expecting 800,000 people to attend tomorrow's public inauguration. And with any major event here in Washington, security is always a big concern. This one especially big. CNN Pentagon correspondent Chris Lawrence joins us now.

And, Chris, you know, what role is the military going to play here in keeping everyone safe?


Yes, there's going to be about 6,000 National Guard troops here in the city helping a lot of those federal agencies, D.C. Police and other officers supplementing them to help people get around and help you get -- keep an eye on things. There will also be another couple thousand stationed just outside the city just in case. There's sort of a joint command center that's being set up and it's going to start running today. And, in fact, about six hours from now, the D.C. Police are going to be deputizing 2,000 to 3,000 other officers from all around the country who are going to be here working for the next couple of days trying to keep people safe.

BERMAN: Chris, now, we have said some 800,000 people are expected to be here. That is a smaller crowd than four years ago. How does the crowd size affect the security decisions?

LAWRENCE: It affects everything. I mean, last time, when I was here four years ago, I think the count was something near 10,000 buses rolled into the city. This year there's only been about 800 registered to come. That gives you an idea of just how different the scope is going to be. Last time, federal agencies ordered probably the largest order they had ever done for bulletproof glass. The size of the crowd, nearly 2 million people, and some of the rising threats to the new president made keeping the president safe the priority. It was very much on the -- you know, sort of the front of everyone's mind that there could be some security risks with that sort of crowd there. This year, with a smaller crowd and no credible threats right now, they say the real goal is to get people where they're going. They don't want thousands of people trapped in tunnels or unable to get down here and, mostly, they want people to have fun and really enjoy the next couple days.


BERMAN: And, Chris, if you are one of the 800,000 people headed here for the inauguration, anything special they should be keeping in mind besides, you know, staying warm. LAWRENCE: Yes, just a couple of the things that I think we've all gotten so used to now post-September 11th. You know, if you're out on the parade route watching the parade, you can't bring a thermos or a backpack. If you're going to be down at the Capitol watching the inauguration, you can't bring baby strollers on the ground of the Capitol.

But I think the one thing to keep in mind, if you are coming down here, you know, do not try to argue the merits of these rules with these security officers because they just don't take kindly to those kind of arguments, John.

BERMAN: That is fantastic advice. You know what, you will not win those arguments.

Chris Lawrence here on the National Mall. Great to see you this morning.

So it's not just law enforcement gearing up for tomorrow's festivities.

KAYE: Certainly not. And it was really good advice from Chris there. Cell phone providers are getting up on the action, stepping up coverage to keep you connected. How do they do it? Well, here's a hint for you, COWS.


KAYE: Yes, COWS. Yes. We'll explain.


KAYE: Good morning, Washington, and welcome to EARLY START WEEKEND. Look at that incredible shot there of our set.

BERMAN: I was going to say, that's my good side right there.

KAYE: Yes. OK. I'll agree with you on that one.

Twelve minutes past the hour. We are here bringing you the show this morning live from the National Mall. I'm Randi Kaye here, along with John Berman.

It is not all about parties this weekend for the president. Sleeves rolled up, plastic gloves on, champing on some gum. The president and the first lady got to work at a school in D.C. yesterday. The first couple took part in the National Day of Service. Mr. Obama started the tradition during his first inauguration to honor the memory of Reverend Martin Luther King Jr.

The Biden family also got to work on Saturday. The vice president, along with his wife and several members of his family, spent time filling some care packages. One hundred thousand care kits will be shipped to service members deployed overseas.

BERMAN: So tomorrow is the big day. The public inauguration. The 57th presidential inauguration. And if you're one of the 800,000 people expected to attend, you're going to want to make sure that those text messages, those tweets, those Instagrams all get through. Wireless providers say they've got you covered. Athena Jones joins us now from the Capitol.

And, Athena, you know, before the break, we told our viewers that they're going to get help from something called COWS. What are we talking about here?


COW stands for "Cell On Wheels." It's a temporary mobile cell phone tower. It's the kind of things that companies like AT&T and Sprint are going to be deploying to try to fortify the network with all of these people coming. You know, it's about half the number of people expected as last time back in 2009, but a lot more people are going to be coming with smartphones. And smartphones, of course, means more data.

If you look at some of the numbers we have, I believe we're able to show them on the screen. Back in 2009, global smartphone sales only accounted for about 11 percent of sales. Now it's nearly 40 percent as of the most recent numbers. So that's a lot more people putting a lot more demands on the network.

BERMAN: It's really interesting that everyone's taking this into consideration, I have to say here. What are some tips that you can give us, to all of us, to make sure we get our messages through?

JONES: Well, it's really a good thing that they're planning for this because, you know, they know that people are going to be trying to take pictures and videos and everyone gets excited and they want to share with their friends what's going on, show that they're there in a special place on this special day. People are saying -- the companies are advising that, focus on texts. You know, it's much easier to send a text. It takes a lot less bandwidth to send a text than it does to talk on the phone or send a video or a large picture. If you're going to send a photo, try to shrink it down. There are programs that can let you make the photo as small as possible to make sure that it has a higher chance of getting through.

And then, of course, another good option they say is to take your photos, take your videos but save them so that you can send them later because bottom line is that even with this fortification, even with these extra cell phone towers, it's really just to help make sure more things go through. It doesn't mean that it's 100 percent guaranteed that everything you send is going to get through. Texts are the most likely to get through.

Back to you guys.

BERMAN: Athena Jones, thank you so much. You know, tweet us right now, send us your Instagrams --


BERMAN: At #cnn. Randi's here doing it right now.

KAYE: Yes, I am. I was taking some photos just to see if we can get them out or not. If those cell phone towers are really working. We'll see. We'll take some photos and send them on out.

But, yes, if you have any photos, definitely post them and send them to us.

Well, it's party weekend here in Washington and that, of course, means that the drinks are going to be flowing.

BERMAN: Not yet, of course. That's our official story right now.

KAYE: It's too early.

BERMAN: But when happy hour does hit, what do the presidents' order? We're going to take you through a little cocktail history.


BERMAN: That's a beautiful look at Washington, D.C., in the wee hours of the morning. Welcome back. I'm John Berman, along with Randi Kaye.

So, President Obama has something new on his limousine for this inauguration weekend. It's a new license plate. We're going to show it to you here. And you can see at the bottom it says "taxation without representation." Washington, D.C.'s DMV started putting that on plates some 13 years ago as a protest against federal rules that leave the city without a vote in Congress. The district's city council passed a resolution last week asking the president to change his plates. He did.

KAYE: And there they are.

Well, we all know what it takes to throw a good party. Even an inauguration party. Good friends, good food and maybe a nice cocktail or two. So, what does that mean here in Washington? CNN's Karin Caifa has a look.


KARIN CAIFA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: When it comes to political parties, there's none bigger than a presidential inauguration. And like any good celebration, it requires the right spirit. Perhaps best served with a little bit of history.

CAIFA (voice-over): Derek Brown of Washington's Columbia Room describes a long tradition linking presidents and cocktails.

DEREK BROWN, THE COLUMBIA ROOM: There's the entertainment side of it. But the fact is, presidents are also just people.

CAIFA: Starting with a founding father who operated his own whiskey distillery post presidency.

BROWN: Definitely George Washington enjoyed a tickle (ph) or two.

CAIFA: Through FDR, who helped put liquor back on the table.

BROWN: He enjoyed cocktails. He enjoyed scotch. He enjoyed some champagne. If that's not enough, the main reason that we revere him is because he was part of repealing prohibition.

CAIFA: In the '60s, the arrival of Camelot shook up this town of bourbon drinkers with a whole new taste.

BROWN: JFK was definitely known for drinking one particular drink, and it's the daiquiri, which is a very Washington, D.C., drink. It first came to the United States in 1909 in Washington, D.C., where it was served at the Army Navy Club.

CAIFA: As for what might be in the current president's glass to celebrate a second inauguration, other than the White House brewed craft (ph) beer, Brown's not spilling.

BROWN: What else he drinks I'm afraid is a matter of a state secret, I guess. Us bartenders who work in Washington, D.C., we realize one thing, we want a second term. We don't say what politicians drink.

CAIFA: Karin Caifa, CNN, Washington.


BERMAN: I just loved the big square ice there. It makes it look so elegant.

KAYE: It sure does. It's kind of nice to drink that way.

BERMAN: All right. So, forget about all the politics for a second. This weekend is also about the celebrations.

KAYE: And last night Brooke Baldwin got to check out one of the hottest parties around, the kids inaugural ball, which honored military families.

BROOKE BALDWIN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: John and Randi, good morning. And what a night here Saturday night inside the D.C. Convention Center. Just over my shoulder, Usher. Usher just came out on stage. You have huge stars. Usher, Katy Perry, Far East Movement, Mindless Behavior. They're all here, of course, because this whole idea very near and dear to the hearts of both Dr. Biden and the first lady of the United States, to honor the military men and women, but really especially their families and the children. This place is packed with kids who are so excited to see people like Usher. And I talked to Nick Cannon. He's actually the one who was tapped to host this whole thing. And I asked him, why is this so important to you, surrounding yourself with military children? Here's what he told me.


NICK CANNON, ENTERTAINER: This is amazing. I mean, there's a lot of balls going on in the next few days, but I feel like this is one of the most important. Not only because it's for the military families, but then it also focuses on their children. So to be able to, you know, trying to pay respect to the service of our military, then at the same time to honor the kids, it's a beautiful thing.


BALDWIN: This place is packed, 5,500 people. Some of them are students at D.C. public schools. A way for the White House to give back to the community, and also children from the military. I talked to one eight-year-old tonight. This is his very first concert. He's here with his mom. His dad is about to deploy for the fifth time. Here's what he said.


BALDWIN: OK. MJ, big concert tonight. Who are you most excited to see?


BALDWIN: And why is that?

M. GREENTREE: Because I know a lot of her songs like "I'm Wide Awake."

BALDWIN: And this is your first concert tonight, right?


BALDWIN: So, mom, this is first concert for your two kids.


BALDWIN: You guys live in Alexandria, Virginia. Your husband is about to deploy for the what time?


BALDWIN: Where he is headed?

V. GREENTREE: To Bahrain this time.

BALDWIN: The fact that this concert is put on by the first lady and Dr. Biden for you, little man, and for all the military families, how does that feel?

V. GREENTREE: It's -- I mean, it's really nice because this is, for our family personally, it's one of the last things we'll do together before my husband deploys.


BALDWIN: But the overall message to the men and women of our military and their families, two words, "thank you."

Randi, John.

BERMAN: Our thanks to Brooke Baldwin --

KAYE: Thanks, Brooke.

BERMAN: Who looks like she's having as much fun there as those kids.

KAYE: Yes, I love that kid. Of course he came to see Katy Perry. Did you see that outfit?

BERMAN: That's right, smart kind. Smart kid.

KAYE: Stars and stripes all the way. Uh-huh. Not bad.

BERMAN: All right. So a big, not record crowd expected to show up for the inauguration tomorrow. Of course, that means security issues. What does it take to keep all these people safe? We're going to take a closer look into the plan for tomorrow's big event.

KAYE: Plus, collecting a piece of history. We went in search of some of the most popular inaugural memorabilia.


BERMAN: Good morning, Washington, D.C. It all looks so peaceful now just before 6:30 a.m. on the East.

KAYE: I'm Randi Kaye.

BERMAN: And I'm John Berman here live on the Washington Mall for our special coverage of the 57th inauguration. Today is the day the Constitution says that the president must take the oath of office before 12:00 Noon, since his second term officially begins at that point. And our CNN political team is covering every second of preps for the big day.

KAYE: Yes, they are. We are spread out all over Washington. Chris Lawrence is keeping an eye on mall security and our Athena Jones is live on Capitol Hill.

BERMAN: We're going to start with Chris.

Chris, security is extremely tight for inauguration. We saw even driving in here in the wee hours of the morning. So how tight is it?

LAWRENCE: Yes, John, very tight. I mean a lot of folks may be just getting up right now, but not the officials running security. They have been game planning responses to every conceivable problem and scenario. They brought in about 6,000 National Guard troops from around the country. And at noon today, the D.C. Police will be deputizing thousands of officers from around the country who have come here to help them. They're also monitoring a live feed of thousands of surveillance cameras showing them exactly what's going on, on the mall. But a lot of folks who are coming down here, they have camera concerns of their own, cell phone cameras to be exact. With more on that I'll turn it over to my colleague, Athena Jones.

ATHENA JONES, CNN CORRESPONDENT: High, that's right. Hundreds of thousands of people are going to be descending on the mall tomorrow for the public swearing in ceremony and that means lots and lots and lots of cell phones. And so, cell phone companies are doing their best to try to bolster their networks. We know that AT&T, Sprint and Verizon are deploying what are called COWs: Cells on Wheels. They are the mobile cell phone towers to try to strengthen their network, make sure more messages and texts can go through. But they say there's no guarantee, there is no absolute guarantee. And so, the best way to get your messages through is to focus on texts. Not so much on the phone calls or sending photos and videos. Back to you, Randi.

KAYE: All right, Athena Jones, thank you very much and our thanks to Chris Lawrence.

Well, tomorrow millions will be watching President Obama take the oath of office in the public ceremony. You can watch it, of course, right here on CNN. But for some of the 800,000 people who are lucky enough to be here in Washington, this weekend will make for a once in a lifetime opportunity that is even worth paying for to remember. Emily Schmidt takes a look.


EMILY SCHMIDT, CNN CORRESPONDENT: An inauguration comes down to this. One hand on a bible, the other raised in an oath.


SCHMIDT: That's the moment in history, which makes so many others try to get their hands on this.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: In how many different ways can you say you support Obama?


SCHMIDT: The Presidential Inaugural Committee store is up and running.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I don't like flashy things.

SCHMIDT: Ready for shoppers marking the occasion with officially sanctioned "Made in the USA" memorabilia.

(on camera): What are you seeing that you like?

DIANN MCCOY, SHOPPER: I like everything and that's my problem because just being such a historic event, I want to have a lot of merchandise to share and a lot of merchandise to give other people who could not, you know, come and visit.

SCHMIDT (voice over): It is likely President Obama will take the Oath of Office on what will be a cold January day. So people are stocking up on warm sweatshirts and these official hats, even some official blankets. The one thing sold out today, the official tube socks. They're coming in tomorrow, but people point out, still available online.

Washington is preparing for an expected crowd of about 900,000 people. They'll need to eat, so about 100 permits have been issued for food trucks and vendors. Down from the first Obama inaugural, but three times as many as the second President Bush event.

In business, it is all about location. And right here, one block from the White House, it doesn't get much closer to the president. These vendors are preparing for big crowds. They've got 60 of these "Witness to History" T-shirts ready to go. Their challenge, they have to sell now because by Monday, the day of the inauguration, they'll have to move farther away for security reasons.

SYLVIA NORRIS, INAUGURAL VOLUNTEER: When I've got the e-mail saying that I was selected to be a volunteer, I was excited. Ecstatic.

SCHMIDT: Sylvia Norris will be an inaugural volunteer Monday. She hasn't been told yet what she will be doing. She says it doesn't matter. As long as she is there, making the same memories are paying so much to have.

NORRIS: If I could afford it, I would do it. Why not? It's all part of history.


SCHMIDT: Members of Congress are passing out their tickets to the inaugural swearing in ceremony. The tickets are free and they are printed with "not for sale." However, if you look on online sites like Craigslist and Ebay, you will see plenty of tickets up for sale, selling memories at a price ranging from hundreds to thousands of dollars. Emily Schmidt, CNN, Washington.

BERMAN: Hey, Emily you got a good look at all those blankets and buttons, but we're kind of waiting for the socks here right here in this cold weather.

KAYE: I could use those for sure. But we also wanted to get our own hands on some of our inaugural stuff here around the city. So we decided to stimulate the economy a bit, and we had our producer Michael Herd. We ran him all over town to see what people were selling. And we have a few things here, actually. John, here, you want to hold this one? This is an Obama bobble head. You go that one?

BERMAN: That's right. Are you excited for the speech? Yes. Yes, very excited.

KAYE: Are you proud of your husband? Yes, yes, I'm very - I'm very proud of him. And these are about $22 each.

BERMAN: What's interesting, is that Michelle Obama already outdated because now, of course, she has the bangs ...

KAYE: You are right.

BERMAN: ... that everyone is talking about.

KAYE: You're right. You're right. But you know what? Look at her arms. They are looking good. They - even in the bobble head she is so cut. So these will be great to collect. I mean this is a big deal. Good collector's items. He's shaking his head, he agrees.

BERMAN: Very good collector's items.

KAYE: All right. We've got a couple of more, though.

BERMAN: I kind of want to hold on to this one.

KAYE: OK, you hold on to that one. I think you're going to give that back to Michael, though. We also have a presidential bear here. This is about $15. Kind of cute, right?

BERMAN: With the official inaugural seal right here.

KAYE: Yes, and the signature.

BERMAN: It does.

KAYE: Do you think the president - look at the leg.

BERMAN: Right there. He's got a signature on his leg.

KAYE: It's a little beanie baby, really. But you can feel the beans in there, but he is really cute, isn't he?

BERMAN: He is very cute.

KAYE: Yes.

BERMAN: And adorable presidential bear.

KAYE: See, there is the signature on the leg. Very, very cute. All right, one more. This is big. This is definitely one you want to keep and collect.

BERMAN: Is this the trillion dollar coin everyone was talking about?

KAYE: That they refused to make, no. But this is the big gold coin. This is going for how much about? I don't know, $20. All right. About 20 bucks.

BERMAN: Not a trillion dollars. It is 20.

KAYE: No, but it's kind of you know, kind of impressive. BERMAN: It says president of the United States Barack Obama, the 44th President of the United States.

KAYE: Yeah, and we will be watching you, making sure you don't put this in your pocket.

BERMAN: Yes, I'd like to walk (inaudible) with that. I've got the bobblehead.

KAYE: You better not. But I think we have even some more stuff that our producer even went out and collected. We couldn't put it all here on set with us. But there's a whole bunch of great stuff. So, if you're here and you want to get around town. Look, there's some of it right there. Look at those socks - there's socks, yes. Socks that are there the bobbleheads.

BERMAN: Obama's head right there.

KAYE: We showed those.

BERMAN: His and hers.

KAYE: There's the coin, OK, we got that one. That is a nice- looking coin. There is the beanie baby, beanie bear. Oh, and he is kind of cute. Oh, and the towel.

BERMAN: You know, hand towels.

KAYE: Yeah. Or golf towel maybe. I'm not sure.

BERMAN: You never have enough of those.

KAYE: It's pretty nice. Like would you ever walk around town wearing ...

BERMAN: Those are - the T-shirts, the buttons are just ...

KAYE: With their faces on them. The buttons are big.

BERMAN: ... everywhere. I - you know, I dabble in collecting the political memorabilia. Oh, my goodness!

KAYE: That's the one.

BERMAN: That's fantastic.

KAYE: I wonder, is that life size?

BERMAN: That is pretty big. One of great things about this stuff, take a look at the buttons, when you see the pictures of the people, you know, you can go back and look back to this moment in time 20, 25 years ago. And people just looked different. If you look, you know, like Clinton's inauguration.

KAYE: Right.

BERMAN: ... at some buttons from then, you know, the hairstyles, everything is just different.

KAYE: Oh, yeah.

BERMAN: It's a frozen moment in time.

KAYE: Yeah. It is a nice moment, a nice way to remember a big day in history, for sure. Which is today. Today is the private swearing in, but it's certainly a big day for the president, whose official inauguration is today.

BERMAN: It's the Constitution. The 20th Amendment says that he has to be sworn in by noon today. His official term starts today. CNN is all over the official inauguration today. Tomorrow is a big public party and ceremony. We'll be all over that, too. But - but ...

KAYE: We're not going anywhere.

BERMAN: We're not going anywhere, ever. If you are attending tomorrow's event, you're going to want to grab a jacket, maybe. Because it's not going to be warm. You may even want two jackets and a fleece and a sweatshirt. CNN Weather expects temperatures to be in the 20s. That is the 20s. Two, zero. Tomorrow morning, those 800,000 attendees, no doubt, will be cold as they line-up for the ceremony, which starts at noon tomorrow. And since you're going to be outside for hours, if you're waiting in line, the Department of Health and Human Services recommends wearing a hat. That's a good idea and, yes, dress in layers. As we said, today is the official first day of the second term for the president and vice president. And they really do have a busy one ahead. At 8:05 this morning, the vice president will have his official swearing in. And the president will take his Oath of Office a few hours later at 11:55 a.m. Eastern time. And then at 8:00 p.m. tonight, both the president and vice president along with their wives will attend a candlelight celebration at the National Building Museum. That is back home around 9:45 tonight and hopefully the president will get a good night's rest before tomorrow's public events and, of course, that big speech.

KAYE: Yes, and then it is just time for the parade and the big party after that as well.

BERMAN: Absolutely.

KAYE: Yes, certainly a busy day. CNN special coverage of the presidential inauguration continues tonight, by the way, at 8:00 p.m. We will have a preview of tomorrow's festivities, including the swearing in ceremony, the parade, the inaugural balls, very, very busy day. Then at 9:00 p.m., Piers Morgan is joined live by members of President Obama 's inner circle and then at 10:00 p.m. a very special Anderson Cooper "360" live from the National Mall here in Washington, D.C. You can only catch it on CNN.

Well, this weekend, the focus is all about the inauguration.

BERMAN: You know, but it's the next four years that probably concern President Obama . All the problems, the potential pitfalls. We'll see if history has any lessons on what he can expect.


KAYE: I just can't get enough of that shot. It's so beautiful. Welcome back, everyone. To a very special edition of "EARLY START WEEKEND" 42 minutes past the hour now.

BERMAN: First signs of sunrise here, it really is pretty live on the National Mall in Washington, D.C., as we gear up for the 57th presidential inauguration. Which, you know, is today. It actually is today. Today is the official swearing in of President Obama for his second term. It will happen at 11:55 a.m. Eastern this morning and, of course, we will bring you live coverage of that ceremony and everything going on around it. But, you know, the whole thing got us wondering, how does President Obama's approval rating today compared to his predecessors at the start of their second terms?

KAYE: Well, according to CNN/ORC and "USA Today" polls, he is at 55 percent, which is actually four points ahead of where George W. Bush was in 2005, but seven points behind Bill Clinton. Who was up to 62 percent back in 1997.

BERMAN: And we are looking back a little bit further for all your history buffs out there. Ronald Reagan had the same rating as Bill Clinton at 62 percent, Richard Nixon was down to 51 percent in 1973. Both Lyndon Johnson and LBJ and Dwight Eisenhower topped everyone here, they actually reached the low 70s. They were at 71 and 73 percent respectively. Wow!

KAYE: That's pretty impressive.

BERMAN: Those numbers would never exist today.

KAYE: No, and they don't. Well, hundreds of thousands of people are starting to descend on Washington for President Obama's second inauguration. We saw a few out there this morning.


KAYE: ... gets a little crowded.

BERMAN: Never too early to get ready. This morning, though, you know, we're going to look past the Oath of Office to the next four years. The issues, the plans, the prospects. As our Joe Johns reports, some of the most notorious scandals also happened in the second term.


JOE JOHNS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: President Obama has high hopes for the next four years.

BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA: I intend to carry out the agenda that I campaigned on.

JOHNS: If he wants to reach that goal, history says a second- term president has got to move fast.

DAVID GERGEN: Power does seep away from the presidency very quickly in the second term.

JON MEACHAM: Second term presidents and their Congresses have two different clocks and the president's clock is now moving towards history and the longer view and he can take more risks. The congressional clock is still going according to the next election.

JOHNS: But he can't push too hard. Former Reagan Chief of Staff Ken Duberstein says after a second win, most presidents have an inflated view of their power.

KEN DUBERSTEIN, FORMER WHITE HOUSE CHIEF OF STAFF: So you have to figure out ways that you can accomplish things and go directionally in the way you're going. Realizing that time is an enemy. Get as much done as you can, but don't overreach.

JOHNS: A lesson President Obama promises he's learned.

OBAMA: I'm more than familiar with all the literature about presidential overreach in second terms. We are very cautious about that.

JOHNS: At the same time, he has to battle White House fatigue.

MEACHAM: People get tired. Staffers leave. And so you lose some institutional memory.

JOHNS: And above all, avoid scandal. What is known as the second term curse. Something quite a few modern presidents have fallen victim to.

RICHARD NIXON: Well, I am not a crook. I've earned everything I got.

JOHNS: For Richard Nixon, it was Watergate. He resigned over the break in and cover up just 18 months after his re-election.

BILL CLINTON: I did not have sexual relations with that woman. Ms. Lewinsky.

JOHNS: For Bill Clinton it was the Monica Lewinsky affair, impeached by the House of Representatives for lying under oath. Clinton got to stay in office when the Senate acquitted him. And for Ronald Reagan, it was Iran-contra.

RONALD REAGAN: A few months ago I told the American people I did not trade arms for hostages. My heart and my best intentions still tell me that is true, but the facts and evidence tell me it is not.

JOHNS: The scandal led to investigations, indictments and a weakened White House for Reagan's final two years in office. If somehow President Obama avoids all that, there is still a chance of an unforeseen crisis.

GERGEN: You have to expect the unexpected in the second term.

JOHNS: The Soviet Union shot down an American U2 spy plane during Dwight Eisenhower's last year as president. And George W. Bush's second term was book-ended by emergencies: Hurricane Katrina's destruction of the Gulf Coast early on. The financial meltdown at the end. And after eight years, those moments of crisis could determine a president's legacy.

ROBERT CARO, AUTHOR: When you're in the second term, you have nothing left to run for, except the place in history.

JOHNS: A number of presidents in their second terms have focused heavily on foreign policy, and now that Mr. Obama has begun the job of replacing his outgoing Secretaries of State and Defense and the director of the CIA, he'll have some new faces to work with on his foreign policy team. Joe Johns, CNN, Washington.


KAYE: Well, most people who come to Washington for President Obama's second inauguration are happy just to be able to witness history.


BERMAN: But some visitors want a little bit more, like monogrammed pillow cases and a 24-hour butler. Who wouldn't want that? And you can get it all for a price. We'll tell you about it when we come back.


KAYE: Wow, take a look at that. If you are not in front of your television right now, you need to head over there and take a look at this incredible shot of the sun coming up behind the Capitol building. Good morning, Washington, what a big day it is going to be here for everyone. The beginning of the second term for President Barack Obama who will be taking his Oath of Office at 11:55 this morning. And Vice President Biden will be sworn in just about an hour and a half from now. And, of course, you can watch these events live right here on CNN. Isn't that something?

BERMAN: It is so beautiful.

KAYE: Attempted to ...


BERMAN: If you love America and American history, you've got to tune in right now.

KAYE: Yes.

BERMAN: It's fantastic.

KAYE: It really is gorgeous. First lady Michelle Obama is, of course, well-known for her fashion. Some people love the way she dresses and others, well, not so much. And yesterday I spoke with Pulitzer price winning fashion columnist Robin Givhan who is not really one to hold back judgment about, about the first lady's fashions. Take a look.


KAYE: I know that you have said the first lady is stylish, but you have written in the past, I want to quote here.


KAYE: Oh-ho. I hope you are ready. "More often her clothes are simply lovely frocks, worth admiring in slide shows and picture books, but not worth discussing." Now, you go on to say, "Fashion is fun. But the nonstop attention to Mrs. Obama's wardrobe isn't fun. It's exhausting. It's too much. And it's pointless."


KAYE: So, do we have Michelle Obama fashion fatigue?

GIVHAN: Well, clearly, I did - when I wrote that. You know, I think there's - for me what was happening or what has happened is that her clothes have been discussed with this kind of feverish fervor that normally we reserve for celebrities. You know, for people walking down the red carpet, for, you know, the celebrity on their way to Starbucks. And I think when it translates to the first lady, there's a lot of fun with that, but I also think it sort of drains away some of the more substantive things that she could represent for the fashion industry.

KAYE: Many believe, though, that Michelle Obama has this style and real accessibility. You know, she can wear anything from Target to Talbots ...


KAYE: ... to Jason Wu.

GIVHAN: Right.

KAYE: But you once wrote, again, here.

GIVHAN: My words come back to haunt me.

KAYE: Always. "Avoiding the appearance of queenly behavior is politically wise. But it does American culture no favors if a first lady tries so hard to be average that she winds up looking common."


KAYE: No, I think you were writing about when the first lady was wearing shorts.

GIVHAN: Shorts. Right. KAYE: So, that was a fashion faux-pas.

GIVHAN: And I would add that she was stepping off of Air Force One ...

KAYE: Right.

GIVHAN: And there are like men saluting her ...

KAYE: Right.

GIVHAN: And she was in the shorts.

KAYE: Right. So, that was not something that you think was appropriate. Should she be more formal as a first lady? Do you think she's managed to do that?

GIVHAN: You know, I think early on first ladies, in general, are sort of loathed to think of themselves as sort of removed from the average person. And I think they make an effort to sort of be normal. But the reality is as soon as you step into that bubble. As soon as every photograph - every picture of yourself becomes part of the public record, you're no longer just normal. So, I don't think that she, you know, that they need to avoid being queenly, necessarily.

KAYE: Yeah.

GIVHAN: They do need to avoid ...

KAYE: Right.

GIVHAN: I don't think that they need to try so hard to be common.


BERMAN: Can you imagine being in the spotlight that much?


BERMAN: Every, every piece of clothing you wear constantly?

KAYE: No, I really can't - even her nail polish. I mean if even the nail polish that she wore at the Democratic National Convention created such a stir.

BERMAN: We didn't even talk about the bangs. The bangs.

KAYE: For another day.

BERMAN: All right, we'll be gone now. First class plane tickets to Washington, gowns to wear at the inaugural balls, even something called "a social media butler."

KAYE: Yes, these are a few of the very expensive perks some Washington hotels are offering for those who want to experience the inauguration in high style. Karin Caifa has a look.


KARIN CAIFA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Even before the final votes are counted, the planning gets under way. Washington's hotels preparing for a really big event.

ELIZABETH MULLINS, RITZ-CARLOS WASHINGTON VICE PRESIDENT: Inauguration for Washington, D.C., is like our Super Bowl. So, it's four days that we really get to play and create amazing moments for our guests.

CAIFA: At the Ritz-Carlton in Washington, the most exclusive package includes first class airfare for two to D.C. and four nights in a luxury suite like this one. Among the perks, souvenir monogram, pillow cases, a tin of cookies made from Michelle Obama's recipe and personal styling by Sucks 5 Avenue for the inaugural balls. Guests also get a survival kit for the parade. A coffee tumbler, hand warmers and scarf. The tab for the package, $100,000. At the center of the Mandarin Oriental's package, four nights in this $3,500 square foot presidential suite with views of the city's major monuments and 24- hour butler service. With a price tag of $15,000 per night. Crowds are expected to be about half of the 1.8 million in 2009. A typical dropoff for a second inaugural.

MEREDITH GOLDBERG, THE MADISON HOTEL: It's definitely a little different, I think, a second inauguration of the sitting president is always a little more toned down than the first one and 2009 was such a momentous occasion.

CAIFA: Still, at the Madison Hotel there is a posh $47,000 package that includes four nights in one of their presidential suites, a car and driver for the length of your stay, a private tour of D.C. sites and a social media butler to assist in documenting your big stay during the big event. In Washington, I'm Karin Caifa.



BERMAN: You are looking at the sun hitting the Washington Monument here on the National Mall. Behind us, gorgeous sunrise over the Capitol.

KAYE: It really is. It started out this morning, it was, of course, pretty dark when we started the show this morning, but to watch it come up, it really has just been glorious. So, thank you so much for starting your morning with us. We've got much more ahead on CNN SUNDAY MORNING, which starts right now.