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ANDERSON COOPER 360 DEGREES

Presidential Inauguration: The Inaugural Balls; Alicia Keys Performs; Chat with Stevie Wonder

Aired January 21, 2013 - 20:00   ET

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


(ALICIA KEYS PERFORMANCE)

(CHEERS AND APPLAUSE)

ALICE KEYS, SINGER: Ladies and gentlemen, thank you so much for having me tonight at this incredible presidential inaugural celebration. To the Obamas.

ERIN BURNETT, CNN ANCHOR: All right. You just heard Alicia Keys.

PIERS MORGAN, CNN ANCHOR: By the way, how good was that?

BURNETT: It was beautiful.

MORGAN: Just like being in the best free concert in the world.

BURNETT: I mean, the fact that we could hear that live, and she just looked absolutely stunning in that dress.

MORGAN: That beautiful dress, amazing voice.

BURNETT: We're talking about what people are wearing. Yes, she really has it all together. Absolutely gorgeous.

MORGAN: Knockout. If it's all like this, we're in for a heck of a night.

BURNETT: Yes.

(LAUGHTER)

All right. We have a couple of special guests.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Alicia Keys.

(CHEERS AND APPLAUSE)

MORGAN: She's getting a round of applause from me.

BURNETT: And by the way, just to give everyone a sense, there's already thousands of people here, and -- I mean, yes, you look at --

MORGAN: I reckon there's 30,000 people here now. And we've all just --

(CROSSTALK)

BURNETT: We can say --

MORGAN: You heard that. I mean, what an amazing start to the evening. It's getting very exciting.

BURNETT: You could have fit all the Dreamliners that have been grounded probably in here.

(LAUGHTER)

MORGAN: Biggest party that you have ever, ever been in.

BURNETT: Yes. Vivian and Mike Green join us. Our special guests. They're on their last day before Mike deployed to Bahrain to Bahrain.

And thanks to both you, we really appreciate it. Let me -- and maybe start, this is perhaps been going on his fifth deployment next week.

VIVIAN GREEN, HUSBAND ABOUT TO DEPLOY TO BAHRAIN: Yes. Yes.

BURNETT: And you're here tonight for your last date.

V. GREEN: Yes.

BURNETT: So many people watching are, you know, think this is entertaining and it's amazing and it's fun. But for you, it's something more than that.

V. GREEN: Oh, yes, he's going to dance with me. He promised. He never dances. I think I get at least one slow song, one fast song.

BURNETT: Why is this ball so important, the Commander-in-Chief Ball, where you're going to be?

V. GREEN: For us, because I know it's for the military families. We obviously could not have come to this one. We'll be upstairs with all of our military friends enjoying an amazing night out, celebrating the inauguration.

BURNETT: I know Piers has a couple of questions for your husband, but first, I want to say to you, you have two little boys, and they're not -- they don't know he's going away yet, right?

V. GREEN: We talked about it. Something we did on Saturday was a National Day of Service.

BURNETT: Yes.

V. GREEN: We did a CARE package, and (INAUDIBLE). And then really -- we were able to talk to them about who we were packing the CARE packages for. They thought maybe dad might get one eventually, so they were packing extra stuff in that one.

BURNETT: That's great. That's great. MORGAN: So let me ask you, Mike, you're a lieutenant commander in the U.S. Navy. Your fifth deployment in 10 years of marriage. You're off to Bahrain, you have 12 months you told ne and you only got a two-week break in the middle. It's pretty grueling on the family that you leave behind. I mean, tough for you guys, but very tough on the family.

LT. CMDR. MIKE GREEN, BEING DEPLOYED TO BAHRAIN: It is balancing with things like Facebook -- I'm sorry, Facebook, Facetime, they make it a lot easier. E-mail. You know, it's nice to reach back and call them on the phone. It's nice I'm going to be on a land base and not on a ship. So it'll be a lot easier to call on the phone that it is from ship. It's a lot easier to stay connected now than it was 30 years ago.

MORGAN: And this is not a bad perk, is it, being in this amazing night?

M. GREEN: This is awesome.

MORGAN: You're in the Commander-in-Chief Ball upstairs. And we're listening to the amazing -- I believe it's now a superstar Mexican rock band called Mana, who I not know but it's all (INAUDIBLE). They've been pretty good. Excited to be here?

M. GREEN: I am. It's great. Like Vivian said, you know, I'm leaving in seven days, so this is a pretty cool going-away gift, if you will, and it's cool to hang out with all the other military families. There's absolutely nothing unique about my story. The four or five days from now, there are thousands of families in the military who are doing the same thing. Just really cool to be part of this.

MORGAN: Well, let me thank you for your service and I hope you enjoy a fabulous evening. I hope you do, too, because you have earned it.

V. GREEN: Thank you.

BURNETT: Thanks. As an American, you feel such incredible pride in our armed forces and what they do and they have done.

MORGAN: My brother is a British Army colonel, and he goes away to Afghanistan and Iraq. He's got four little girls under the age of 13, so I know what it's like for the family. It's very, very tough on them, but you do an amazing job and we all greatly appreciate it, so thank you.

M. GREEN: Thank you.

MORGAN: So, earlier I talked to one of my all-time favorite musicians, a genius. Stevie Wonder, a man who has really personified not just with the Obamas, he performed at the national (INAUDIBLE). It's also Martin Luther King Day because he was one of the people who actually got the day created in the first place and made Martin King's birthday a national holiday.

I talked to him about that, about the first couple, about gun control, about many things. It was a fascinating few minutes with a living musical legend.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

MORGAN: Stevie Wonder, how are you?

STEVIE WONDER, MUSICIAN: Great.

(LAUGHTER)

How are you?

MORGAN: Is that your British accent?

WONDER: I was born in England, actually. I moved to the States like yourself.

(LAUGHTER)

MORGAN: This is a huge night. And for you, I guess, a very special day. You campaigned very hard to have a national holiday on Martin Luther King Day. This is that day, and it's the day that Barack Obama is inaugurated again. How do you feel today?

WONDER: Very excited, very, very happy. I feel like there's so many things that I envisioned, that I saw, and those things happening, coming true. The only thing that I'm hoping for is that we truly will get people together.

You know, sometimes I wish we could have even more than a Democratic Party or a Republican party, a united party where people come together, but I think that if we just get people thinking that way, we can really come together. We have definitely, the president who has proven that he wants to do that by how he did things the last four years and now these next four years.

MORGAN: He made a very powerful speech today, and it seemed like the gloves had come off a bit, like he was determined now to really try and push through the things that matter most to him. What did you make of his speech?

WONDER: It was a great speech. And I -- you know, I agree with you because, truly, we can't talk about it and just talk about it. We've got to be about it. We've got to take off the gloves of being a politician and really look at the reality of how we are and where we are as human beings on this planet.

And we've got to do and make this planet more green. We've got to do something about the various things that he's talked about. From the rights of women and people in general, and we've got to keep our kids more safe. We can't just watch it on the news and say, oh, that's such a shame. And then after it dies down, we wait for it to happen again.

I was thinking, you know, because I saw you on the TV talking about the whole gun thing. And I was talking to one of my friends, and I said, you know, you get me -- you should go get me a gun, let me go with you to get a gun, and then, like, show how easy it is for me to get a gun, and then imagine me with a gun.

It's just crazy. I think that we have to do something about it. And I'm hoping that in these next four years, with an idea that I have come up with, that I can do something about how we can -- come up with a solution. Because there's a solution to any problem. And I think we just have to get to it.

MORGAN: Well said, Stevie. Now you're performing at all the balls tonight, all the major ones, the Inaugural Ball and the Commander-in- Chief Ball. Any secrets about what you're going to be performing?

WONDER: Just some good stuff.

(LAUGHTER)

You know --

MORGAN: All your stuff is good.

WONDER: Yes. Are you going to come and sing with me on these things or what?

MORGAN: What are you thinking, a duet on -- well, "Superstitious"?

WONDER: I mean, I'd be doing that.

MORGAN: I could do that McCartney role.

WONDER: You know, see?

(LAUGHTER)

MORGAN: I know you were with the president and the First Lady last night. What sort of form were they in and what did you say to them?

WONDER: We just talked about -- you know, I was -- well, the First Lady was talking about how she was listening to some of my songs, they were listening to some of my music, and trying to say what their most favorite songs that I had done. And --

(CROSSTALK)

MORGAN: What's their -- what's their favorite?

WONDER: They didn't say what they were.

(LAUGHTER)

But I hope that I did something. I did "My Cheri Amor" yesterday and we did, you know, obviously, the "Signed, Sealed, Delivered" song, and we did "Superstition" and some other stuff. So it was fun.

MORGAN: What do you -- what do you think Martin Luther King would have made of a black president being re-elected, having a second inauguration today? WONDER: I believe that he would have been very happy to know that America has moved to that place that they are able to elect a president, not based on the color of his skin, but, as he talked about, the content of his character. And that, he would be very happy about.

I think the state of where we are, divided on so many different things, unfortunately, that's unacceptable. We must become a united people of the United States of America, but I think the majority of the people are saying, listen, let's do away with these old habits, these old things that need to be dead and gone, and move on to really bringing our nation together. And that's why -- I think he would say that. It's time to move on and make it better and get it right.

MORGAN: Well, I'm very excited about tonight, Stevie. Looking forward to your performance. And if you do need me, I will be in close proximity and available.

WONDER: Start warming up.

(LAUGHTER)

Warm up, mate. It's time for you (INAUDIBLE), mate.

MORGAN: All right, buddy.

WONDER: Good to see you.

MORGAN: Good to see you, take care.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

MORGAN: I tell you what, Stevie Wonder, you know, he's got a very good English accent. He had it right down to a tee there.

I want to bring in somebody who's almost as big a legend now in the music world as Stevie Wonder. Will.i.am.

Will.i.am, welcome to you.

WILL.I.AM, SINGER/ENTERTAINMENT: Nice to be here.

MORGAN: I got nearly blinded by your camera.

WILL.I.AM: Oh, yes.

MORGAN: Coolest camera I have ever seen.

WILL.I.AM: I made and created this thing.

MORGAN: You designed it?

WILL.I.AM: Designed it, funded it. And (INAUDIBLE) on Monday, and I am bringing it to America and France.

MORGAN: Really? So what are you make of today? A big historic day. The president made a big historic speech. Were you pleased with the message on education, which I know you really care about?

WILL.I.AM: Yes, you know, I'm really excited about these next four years. There's a lot we can do in terms of encouraging kids to take some skill sets and, you know, changing inner cities forever, really. You know, by encouraging these kids to be entrepreneurs and scientists. That's where I'm putting all of my focus on.

MORGAN: What else do you think his priorities should be in the next four years? If you've got to choose a few, he can't -- he can't ran through everything he wants to do.

WILL.I.AM: Jobs in America, you know, around consumer electronics. Next year, consumer electronics will make $200 billion, and I would like to see those $200 billion, you know, a lot of that money here in America.

MORGAN: Do you think -- do you think so many jobs from big companies are being outsourced at the moment? Apple and company like that, do they spend too much abroad?

WILL.I.AM: I think they spend pretty much everything abroad when it comes to manufacturing. We have to educate our kids and educate America. You know, so they have no excuse. You know, the excuse is, the skill set isn't here in America. So if we get these American citizens and these kids a skill set, you know, hopefully we can change and we can give incentives. Give companies incentives to manufacture things here.

MORGAN: By the way --

BURNETT: Hang on for one more second.

(CROSSTALK)

MORGAN: What is this noise here? What the hell did you do to stop going deaf? You must know?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You guys -- you guys can't hear?

(LAUGHTER)

MORGAN: I can't hear a thing. Can you?

BURNETT: Listening to this band from (INAUDIBLE), Mana.

MORGAN: Mana, from Mexico.

BURNETT: Yes.

WILL.I.AM: Mana in Mexico.

BURNETT: Yes.

MORGAN: It's big in Mexico, right?

WILL.I.AM: Yes. Yes. They're huge. BURNETT: Let's just listen to them for a second or two.

MORGAN: OK. Good idea.

(PERFORMANCE BY MANA)

BURNETT: All right, and before we take a brief break, well, I just have to ask, how is it different, this inauguration, than last time? I mean, I know last time was even more of a celebrity fest, for lack of a better term but --

WILL.I.AM: Well, last year it was like the first time. So -- it just got louder. So --

(LAUGHTER)

Last time it was like the first time. But this one, this one is a little different. You can't compare them. The importance of this year, this election year, continuing of what we started, and not going backwards. So 2008 was so monumental in what America accomplished. Now we have so much more to accomplish. Like knowing you reached the summit but there's a lot of, you know, building to do on the top of that mountain.

BURNETT: Thank you so much.

MORGAN: Good to see you.

WILL.I.AM: Thank you.

BURNETT: Nice to see you. I like watching him dance to Mana.

MORGAN: Yes.

BURNETT: All right. All eyes are on Michelle Obama and what she's going to wear tonight. Of course she's received rave reviews for what she wore today. And right now, two designers are waiting to see which dress she picked. They won't know until you know when you actually see her. We'll be right back.

MORGAN: Excitement mounting here. Even Will.i.am wants to know.

(LAUGHTER)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: Hey, welcome back to our continuing coverage of the presidential inauguration. I'm Anderson Cooper live on the National Mall.

While today's inauguration may have lacked some of the spectacles of the one four years ago, there was still a lot of emotion. Certainly the crowd today, it is an important day for all Americans. Fifty years ago today, of course, Martin Luther King led the march on Washington, and 30 years ago, Martin Luther King Day was officially signed into law as a national holiday. Representative John Lewis of Georgia was the youngest speaker at that 1963 march. And earlier he told our Dana Bash what he was feeling as he watched America's first African-American president take the "Oath of Office" for the second time.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

REP. JOHN LEWIS (D), GEORGIA: I did everything possible today to keep from crying. When I saw him standing there, taking the oath with the bible of Martin Luther King, Jr., knowing that just 50 short years ago, that Dr. King stood on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial and said, "I have a dream."

(END VIDEO CLIP)

COOPER: Of course, this was actually the fourth time that President Obama has taken the "Oath of Office."

Let's bring in our panel, Van Jones, CNN contributor, who served as President Obama's green jobs adviser in 2009. Sally Quinn, a columnist for the "Washington Post." Margaret Hoover, Republican consultant and CNN political commentator. Cornell Belcher, Democratic strategist and served as a pollster for President Obama's 2012 re- election -- re-election team.

I'm wondering how you think this anniversary, this Martin Luther King Day, how it informed and it was sort of infused throughout President Obama's remarks today.

CORNELL BELCHER, DEMOCRATIC STRATEGIST: Well, I'll go back to even, you know, when he was a Senator Obama. And he always talked about, he always understood the gravity, he always talked about, you know, I stand on the shoulders of the great men and women of the civil right era who made this possible. Even early on -- understand early on that many of the civil right leaders early on in the primary process weren't -- they were with Hillary Clinton and it took a while for them to get used to Obama and for them to sort of bring -- sort of trust him, and know who he was.

And he used a lot of that sort of conversation to understand, look, because of you all, I am -- I am possible. And I remember -- we saw Congressman Lewis -- Lewis there, he was one of the people who had sort of that great turmoil because he was originally for Hillary.

COOPER: Right.

BELCHER: And then he said his consciousness, he changed for Barack Obama. So I think the president gets it, he understands it, and he's very respectful of it.

COOPER: I also think about -- I mean, he -- President Obama spoke about the fierce urgency of now early on. And for many in the gay community in the United States, they didn't feel that he had that sense of fierce urgency. I think today after the speech, I think there are a lot of gay and lesbian Americans who were surprised to hear a president use the word stonewall and to use it in the same sentence as Selma and Seneca Falls, and would certainly probably argue that he now has that sense of fierce urgency of now.

MARGARET HOOVER, REPUBLICAN CONSULTANT: And -- in by doing so, he has mainstreamed the gay rights movement as a modern American civil rights movement and he has put it on the same platform as civil rights, as women's rights. So it's really extraordinary and it's something that frankly Republicans are going to have to answer to. It's not far away.

Two Republican justices, John Roberts and I won't -- I didn't actually see Kennedy there, but those are the two that everybody is looking at in terms of how the decisions are going to come down for DOMA repeal and the Perry case when they hear the arguments in March.

SALLY QUINN, COLUMNIST, THE WASHINGTON POST: Well, you know, I -- when Martin Luther King first spoke on the mall, I was living here. And I was coming down, and people were screaming at all of the black people who were coming to hear him, and they were screaming and throwing things and calling them African bullies. And I -- today, when I was watching this scene, I kept -- that's all I could think about, was this -- the hatred that was coming from everywhere toward the people and toward Martin Luther King.

And there was an interesting body language with Obama today. He seemed so much more confident. He's sort of loped out, you know. He -- last time, he was more -- you know, sort of formal and ridged.

BELCHER: We call it swagger.

(CROSSTALK)

QUINN: Collectively. Yes, sort of like, you know, I'm own it -- I own it now. I'm here. And you could sense that he really felt, even in this last four years, that so much had changed, and he was able to talk more about equality. It seemed to me there was more about equality in his speech today. And I don't think he would have done that four years ago, because it was already clear that a black American had been elected president. But now I think he wanted to emphasize it, look, we're here now, and this is working.

VAN JONES, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: I think it was so important that he did both things that he did. He affirmed the history and the struggle. And there's a way that Dr. King is almost being Photoshopped in now as one of the founders of what it means to be American. And that's an amazing thing. If you know Dr. King's true story, as you said, he was reviled. In the last two years of his life, he was speaking out about poverty. He was reaching out to Mexican-Americans, he was speaking out against the Vietnam war when it wasn't popular.

The "New York Times" stepped away from him. He was not this revered figure. And so 50 years after the speech and 45 years after his assassination, for him to be embraced, we talked more in the past week about Dr. King than we talked about George Washington. I mean he has really become a -- the pillar, I think, of moral consciousness for the new patriotism that Dr. King is for -- that Obama is for. But he didn't stop with African-Americans. He's now expanding it. He's talking about the lesbian and gay struggle, he's talking about Latinos. He's wanting this new American patriotism to include everybody. I say there's a difference now between the liberty only form of patriotism which you hear from some people in the far right. Liberty and justice for all patriotism, and this speech, I think, is going to really mark that new patriotism.

BELCHER: Can I jump in real quickly on that other thing?

COOPER: Yes.

BELCHER: Sort of similarities? You know, King did it -- sort of was going on that whole poverty sort of conversation and the sort of the justice, poverty, you know, next question about justice is the next thing was about poverty, but also that there's a connection there with Obama also.

Because remember, when Obama first -- when he graduated from Ivy League College, Obama didn't go to Wall Street or K Street here in D.C. He went and became a community organizer, working on issues of poverty. And a lot of people sort of on the left would argue, and especially from the black community, now argue that quite frankly, you know, what happened to that Obama, the community organizer in the conversations about poverty and will that also be one of the big things that he takes up in this second term, the issue of poverty. Because we also know like King, it was an issue that was once near and dear to him.

COOPER: We want to listen to this moment, President Obama talking about Newtown, obviously an event, which has affected everybody, but certainly affected President Obama. We heard him speak very emotionally about it last week. Here's what he said today, also speaking about Detroit.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: It is now our generation's task to carry on what those pioneers began, for our journey is not complete until our wives, our mothers, and daughters can earn a living equal to their efforts.

Our journey is not complete until our gay brothers and sisters are treated like anyone else under the law. For if we are truly created equal then surely the love we commit to one another must be equal as well.

Our journey is not complete until no citizen is forced to wait for hours to exercise the right to vote. Our journey is not complete until we find a better way to welcome the striving, hopeful immigrants who still see America as a land of opportunity, until bright young students and engineers are listed in our work force rather than expelled from our country.

Our journey is not complete until all our children, from the streets of Detroit, to the hills of Appalachia, to Newtown, know they're cared for and cherished and always safe from harm. (END VIDEO CLIP)

COOPER: I should point out we're just been told the Obama motorcade is en route to the ball. So we anticipate seeing him and the First Lady, Michelle Obama, quite soon at the first of two inaugural balls they'll be stopping at. The balls we have been witnessing earlier. Newtown certainly has impacted this president greatly. How much do you think gun control issues are going to kind of dominate the first few weeks of office for him?

HOOVER: I think the president has a choice to make. He has a choice of how to spend the political capital and the first choice out of the gate. Clearly, his heart is in gun control, but the pragmatic side of him may go for immigration.

It depends on if he's going legacy or if he's going to be the progressive that he was today on the mall. You know, we have to wait and see what he's going to do. How about the one thing we haven't talked to?

What really boils down to an explicit rebuke of Republicans when he was defending liberalism and the programs for the great society, Medicare and Medicaid by saying, this does not mean we're a nation of takers. I mean, that really was a slap to the Paul Ryans, the small- government Republicans.

JONES: Directly. I mean, Paul Ryan has kind of made his bread and butter saying, Americans, some are makers and some are takers.

HOOVER: The 47 percent who got Republicans in trouble, who got Mitt Romney in trouble on the campaign. This was not so subtle. And again, you saw this other side of the president today, one that was doubling down on progressivism and saying I'm not going to be pushed around this time. This is where I stand.

COOPER: We're going to take a quick break. We anticipate seeing Michelle Obama, President Obama. A lot of eyes will be on Michelle Obama, wondering what she is wearing. I can tell you right now a lot of designers, American designers are glued to the television, waiting to see if one of their dresses will be worn by the First Lady.

It's apparently down to two. None of the designers have been informed whether or not Michelle Obama has chosen her dress. As you see it they will be seeing it for the first time. It's going to have a big impact on their careers. We'll talk about that. A lot ahead, stay tuned. We'll be right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BROOKE BALDWIN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: A little guitar swap for Brad Paisley here in this capacity crowd in one of two inaugural balls in the D.C. Convention Center. 20,000 people in this one alone. Good to see you all. I'm Brooke Baldwin.

Let me tell you a bit of a back story. There was a ticket kerfuffle and a lot of people who wished they were here tonight are not here. I'm standing next to a very lucky couple who thanks to their senator, Patty Murray, from the state of Washington, they are here.

This is Sharon and Blake Ilstrup. They're from Washington State. You got this gown like last week. You found out, you wanted the tickets, you didn't get the tickets. This is your first inaugural ball. What do you make of this?

SHARON ILSTRUP, MISTAKE COST FAMILY THEIR TICKETS TO BALL: It's crazy. I'm so excited to be here tonight. There's so much energy in this room. After today, it's just incredible. It's incredible.

BALDWIN: We have to point out that they actually got VIP ball tickets upstairs thanks to your senator. But you say there's a bigger party down here. You were in the Navy, being a part of this whole historic weekend for the very first time. What does it mean for you?

BLAKE ILSTRUP, MISTAKE COST FAMILY THEIR TICKETS TO BALL: It means everything. It's great. It's a chance to be part of history. A chance to bring our kids to D.C. for the first time and getting ball tickets was totally unexpected so it's really fun.

BALDWIN: Incredible. Thank you, guys. I hope you stay here and enjoy Brad Paisley. You like fun? Fun coming up next. For now, I'm going to send it back over, just about 20 feet to my left to Piers and Erin. How amazing is this?

MORGAN: Hang on a second, talking of amazing things. What about that dress? Can we go back to Brooke for a moment?

BURNETT: It's absolutely gorgeous.

MORGAN: Never mind me looking at Obama. The Brooke Baldwin dress is what we're talking about.

BALDWIN: Thank you. You guys look amazing, too. Amazing, as do my guests here.

MORGAN: Well, it's very impressive. We're going to talk about Michelle Obama. She's in the building and we don't know what she's wearing, but there are designers all over America who the education of their children, factories, overseas sales could dependent on the next few minutes because Michelle Obama chose one of them to wear the big inaugural dress, and let's not kid around. This is a huge moment for these designers.

BURNETT: Yes, a huge moment. It's one thing no one is partisan about. It's nice we can have something to agree on for once.

MORGAN: The place is now crammed with about 40,000 people all really enjoying themselves.

BURNETT: All right, we're going to squeeze in a quick break. We believe the president and First Lady will be coming any moment. We'll get the big dress unveiling and I'll get to listen to my favorite country music.

MORGAN: You can never have enough Brad Paisley. (COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN LIVE FEED)

JOE BIDEN, VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: -- could have been writing about the people in the room and he said, and I want to quote them, the bravest are surely those who have the clearest vision of what is before them, glory and danger alike, and yet go out and meet it.

That's the definition of all of you in this room. You have met every challenge this country has faced and you have done it in every generation with such extraordinary bravery and skill.

Our veterans -- our veterans are, I think, unique in the world in that every single generation has risen to the occasion, from World War II to Korea, Vietnam, the Gulf, Iraq --

(END LIVE FEED)

COOPER: Joe Biden speaking at the American Legion Ball. We anticipate seeing President Obama and Michelle Obama at the Commander's Ball any moment now. We're going to bring that image to you, as I said before. A lot of folks watching very closely to see what Michelle Obama will be wearing.

A lot of those guests have come to witness the inaugural ball and there is a lot of excitement. You can't sort of underestimate the impact on American designers that this ball gown will have, that Michelle Obama wears.

QUINN: It's sort of like the Olympics of fashion. You know, you can see them sitting there just waiting to see who is going to get the gold medal. One of them will and whoever it is has got it made for the rest of his or her life.

COOPER: The amazing thing, it's not like the Oscars where the designer knows in advance that some star is going to be wearing them. The designers have no idea what of the 12 or 15 dresses that she had to choose from that they have made for her that she's going to select.

HOOVER: The anxiety they're feeling right now. I'm anxious to see who she's wearing coming out. I can't imagine if she's one of these designers and you know, she picks young designers who are not internationally known, and as soon as he walks out on the stage, they will become nationally and internationally known.

QUINN: There's a little cruelty here, sort of sitting on the edge. You think that they would call them beforehand and say, you won. You got it, so they could relax.

COOPER: Last year, she wore a dress by designer Jason Wu, and our Alina Cho had interviewed him earlier today. We played the piece. You said he was watching along with everyone else. He ended up kind of screaming when he saw she wore his dress, and it's made a huge impact on his business. HOOVER: He has a line in target, a high-end design, retail designs, ready to wear.

QUINN: It's sort of hard on some of the older, more well-known designers who I think would like to see -- for instance, Oscar de la Renta who has dressed every First Lady.

HOOVER: Mrs. Bush wore a lot of Oscar de la Renta.

QUINN: And Hillary Clinton still does. I don't think she has worn anything by Oscar.

HOOVER: I say good for her for helping out young, aspiring, emerging designers.

JONES: It's amazing, there's a consistency in terms of them being inclusive, wanting to open things up and wanting to give new people breaks. It's also amazing how she does one thing different, cuts her hair different, and the whole world -- the word bangs was Googled more times. Can you imagine?

COOPER: That's the morning after, she did all of the morning shows led with her bangs, the top story of the day.

JONES: I have often said it's not Obama as president. It's Obama as precedent often that gets the power, but she is that way to the 19th power.

COOPER: Listen in, they're playing "Hail to the Chief."

(BEGIN LIVE FEED)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Ladies and gentlemen, the president of the United States.

OBAMA: Let me begin by just saying, you all dressed up pretty nice. I hope everybody is having a wonderful time. Now, those of you who are in uniform, you look outstanding. Your dates do look better, though. I just wanted to point this out.

I'm not going to give a long speech, but I really want to do is come down and express the extraordinary gratitude, not just of me as your commander in chief, but more importantly, the thanks of all the American people. I want to start by thanking some of our outstanding leaders who are here, our hosts, our senior listed advisers from all five branches of our military.

The chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, General Martin Dempsey, who promised to sing some time tonight so you should hold him to it, the vice chairman, Sandy Winfield, and all our outstanding members of the Joint Chiefs, our secretary of Veterans Affairs and Vietnam veterans, Rick Shinseki who is here.

And we're honored to be joined by some truly extraordinary Americans, our wounded warriors who inspire us with their incredible strength and resolve, our enlisted men and women and junior officers, the backbone of our military, our amazing military families including the families of the fallen.

Our gold star families, we will stand with you always, the members of the legendary Tuskegee airmen in the house and the recipients of our nation's highest military decoration, the Medal of Honor. We are honored by your presence.

You know, today, we experienced the majesty of our democracy, a ritual only possible in a form of government that is of, by, and for the people. A day made possible because there are patriots like each and every one of you who defend our freedom every single day.

So this little party is just another way to say something we can never say enough. Thank you. Thank you for volunteering. Thank you for stepping up. Thank you for keeping us strong. Thank you for always making us proud. I have no greater honor than being your commander in chief.

It's because of you that with honor we're able to end the war in Iraq. It's because of you that we delivered justice to Osama Bin Laden. Because of you, it's even possible to give Afghans a chance to determine their own destiny.

We're going forward, and we'll keep our military the finest fighting force that the world has ever known. Now, tonight, we're also joined by some of our service members in Afghanistan. They can't see us, but we can see them on this monitor. Who have we got there? General, are you there, Abe?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Sir, good evening, Mr. President. Congratulations on your inauguration. This is General Abrams, and regional command south. We're honored to be able to join you there this evening. Sir, I have joined tonight by some fantastic airmen and non-commissioned officers and soldiers serving here in Kandahar.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Congratulations, Mr. President. First Class Orlando Jackson, Lake Charles, Louisiana, I just want to congratulate you, job well done.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Mr. President, Master Sergeant Robert Strasky -- hailing from Detroit, Michigan. I want to say go Tigers.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Good evening, Mr. President. My name is Sergeant First Class David Wood, out of Monument, Colorado, Third Infantry Division, Falcon Brigade. Thank you very much for having us here at your party. Congratulations.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Good evening, Mr. President. James Salusky, 807th Expeditionary Air Squadron and the world's greatest air force. I want to say congratulations on tonight and have a blessed evening.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Mr. President, we're honored to be able to join you tonight, and we've got one more thing for all of you there.

OBAMA: Listen, to all of you who are there, we know it's tough being away from your families. We know the incredible sacrifices and challenges that you meet every single day, but I can tell you that you've got a room full of patriots here.

And although I've got to admit that they're a little spiffed up right now, their heart and soul, their dedication, their sense of duty, is at one with every single one of the folks who are in Kandahar right now.

And I want you to know that when I was standing on the steps of the capitol today, looking out over close to a million people, the single biggest cheer that I always get, and today was no different at my inauguration, was when I spoke about the extraordinary men and women in uniform that preserve our freedom and keep our country strong.

I know that every single day, we are thinking of you. We're going to make sure that you've got the equipment, the strategy, the mission that allows you to succeed and keep our country safe. Know that we are going to be looking after and thinking about your families every single day, and that when you get back home, you're going to be greeted by a grateful nation.

And that you will be on our minds tonight and every single night until our mission in Afghanistan is completed. Can everybody please give our comrades in arms a huge round of applause, and please, all of you, give our very best to your families back home because I know it's just as tough if not tougher for them to see you in harm's way and away from the family.

God bless you. God bless the United States of America. Thank you. There's one last thing I've got to do. I've got a date with me here. She inspires me every day. She makes me a better man and a better president.

The fact that she is so devoted to taking care of our troops and our military families is just one more sign of her extraordinary love and grace and strength. I'm just lucky to have her.

I said today at the lunch over at the Congress that some may dispute the quality of our president, but nobody disputes the quality of our First Lady. Ladies and gentlemen, my better half and my dance partner, Michelle Obama.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And now, please welcome Grammy and Academy Award winner Jennifer Hudson.