CNN CNN


 

Return to Transcripts main page

CNN NEWSROOM

The Presidential Inauguration; The "Mom-in-Chief"; Presidential Inauguration

Aired January 21, 2013 - 09:30   ET

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


TOM FOREMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: There will be planes flying around to protect the air space. There will be boats on the river. There will be people on bike patrol. There'd be people with dogs looking for anything they can find -- chemical threats, physical threats, disturbances in the crowd.

It's a huge job and the demands are immense simply because, if you think about it this way, even if half as many people showed up as last time, that's still a million people in the heart of D.C.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

WOLF BLITZER, CNN ANCHOR: Tom Foreman, thanks very, very much.

The president and first lady and first family -- they are getting ready to leave the church. They've been inside for a while over at St. John's Episcopal Church, the morning service that is a tradition on this inaugural day.

You'll see it live. You'll see the first family leave even if we're in a commercial break.

So many people have gathered here. They're excited to se the first lady. They're also excited, obviously, to see the president.

We're going to give you a new glimpse of the first family's private moments in the White House.

We'll also give you exclusive access to the United States Capitol and a tour of the place where the president will make his big entrance this morning.

Join the conversation on our live blog. Go to CNN.com/conversation.

First, this inaugural flashback.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DORIS KEARNS GOODWIN, HISTORIAN: What's so extraordinary about Lincoln's second inaugural is that here the North is finally on the eve of winning this long civil war. His next task is to bring the South back into the Union.

He talks about the fact that the sin of slavery was shared by both sides. Both sides read the same Bible. Both prayed to the same God. And then, of course, the words we remember, "With malice toward none and charity for all."

Lincoln knew that that inaugural spoke words that would be remembered. The one person who he wanted to know and get his approval from was Frederick Douglass, the abolitionist. Douglass came over to him and said, "Mr. President, it's a sacred effort."

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BLITZER: The Staten Island PS22 Chorus, made up of 65 fifth graders. They are performing here at the United States Capitol as we get ready for the inauguration, the public inauguration, the swearing in ceremony, coming up here.

Let's listen in for a moment.

(PS22 CHORUS SINGING)

BLITZER: All right. Let's go over to the St. John's Episcopal Church near the White House, from Capitol Hill. The president and first family, they are getting ready to walk out.

There they are right there. You see the president and his daughters. They are leaving the morning service. This is a tradition. The president typically -- the president obviously not wearing an overcoat, as I think he should be wearing an overcoat. But that's just me.

Brianna Keilar, our White House correspondent, is over there.

Brianna, go ahead and tell us -- tell us what's going on.

BRIANNA KEILAR, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Hi there, Wolf. Well, the first family is heading out at St. John's Church, getting ready to be whisked away off to the Capitol.

I will tell you, inside, during the service, that Pastor Andy Stanley of North Point Community Church in Alpharetta, Georgia, gave the sermon, and he called President Obama the pastor-in-chief and said that he should use his power, leverage his power for the benefit of others.

Also, Wolf, just a note on what you saw the first lady wearing because I know a lot of people are curious about this. We're told it is a Thom Browne coat and dress, obviously navy blue. The fabric inspired by a men's silk tie.

And I will tell you it's not the first time we've seen her wearing this designer. She wore this at the DNC at the convention, as well as the final night of the debate.

We're also watching the second couple, Vice President Joe Biden and his wife Jill Biden, get in their limousine, so they can head up in the motorcade to the Capitol.

You saw President Obama and the first lady getting into "The Beast", the armored presidential limousine. They will ride separately up to the capitol from their daughters Sasha and Malia, who appear to be riding in this motorcade along with their grandmother, Marian Robinson, who is the mother, of course, of Michelle Obama, Wolf.

BLITZER: Brianna, stand by for a moment. I want to keep these pictures up if we can, also pictures from the Capitol.

We are here on the -- on the United States Capitol. We're awaiting the arrival of the president. He should be coming up soon.

Kate Bolduan is here. David Gergen is here.

The majesty of this day, David, it is enormous. It is powerful. Whether you're a Democrat or Republican, you feel it once you're sitting where we are.

DAVID GERGEN, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: You sure do. It's a glorious day. I mean, it's brisk, but it's not freezing. The sun is gleaming on the Capitol.

You have these throngs of people. You can look all the way down the Mall and see them. It's not as big as last time, but when you compare it to other inaugurations of other presidents, this is still a massive inauguration.

And there's a feeling in the air, once you get past security, people are just happy to be here. They have a sense this is history. You know, they want to put aside the fights of the moment.

KATE BOLDUAN, CNN CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: At least today.

GERGEN: At least today, and celebrate what this democracy is about and celebrate President Obama. He certainly deserves that.

BLITZER: He certainly does. Kate, and, you know, as we watch these crowds, these are the VIPs. Member of the House, members of the Senate, their family, members of the cabinet, they will all be here.

BOLDUAN: You know, I'm not one to brag, but we don't have bad seats either. I'll tell you that.

Right behind us will be where Barack Obama will be standing at the podium. We're looking at pictures. You see the motorcade moving now, the president and first family in "The Beast". They'll be heading our direction shortly.

The VIPs will be sitting here behind us -- members of the House, members of the Senate. The Supreme Court justices will be there, as well as the Obama and Biden families.

What we're listening to now -- you can probably hear it over our mikes -- this is PS22 from Staten Island, this choir who has become famous in their own right, Wolf, even performing at the Academy Awards in 2011. The voices are absolutely beautiful. They're really getting everyone going here right now.

GERGEN: Yes, because they're so young, they give the sense of hope and the future because you have these kids out here, it's just a really -- it's a wonderful affair.

BLITZER: But let's take a look. You see the presidential motorcade there. Now they've left the church across the street from Lafayette Park over at the White House. They call it "The Beast" because that's a highly fortified vehicle, that presidential limousine. The vice presidential limousine.

You're looking at the presidential motorcade there, returning from the church. They'll be going back to the White House, and fairly soon they will once again get into the motorcade and make that drive down Pennsylvania Avenue over to the -- over to Capitol Hill, where they will be joining all of us here.

You see the motorcade going into the north side of the White House. That's the West Wing to the right, the Residence. That's where the motorcade is heading right there. They'll go inside. They freshen up a little bit.

I must say, Kate, here we see some more pictures. Everybody is going to focus in not so much on what the president or the vice president is wearing. They're going to focus in on what the first lady and indeed the second lady are wearing.

BOLDUAN: That was one of the first e-mails that I saw pop into my inbox as we were watching.

BLITZER: You see the vice president right there and Dr. Jill Biden walking into the White House.

BOLDUAN: Absolutely. The first lady wearing Thom Browne. Brianna was kind of laying it out for us.

But also, interestingly enough, and you'll probably agree with me on this, David. Malia and Sasha -- Malia wearing J. Crew, Sasha wearing Kate Spade, American designers and something that everyone around the country can relate to.

GERGEN: That's right. There's an awful lot of Americana here today, and in many ways, the best of America.

BOLDUAN: Absolutely. You see we're waiting here. This is "The Beast", and we'll see the first family emerging shortly.

BLITZER: Kate -- I was going to say -- David, you used to work for four presidents in the White House.

GERGEN: Yes.

BLITZER: Obviously, you see the daughters, and they look lovely, and the first lady, that new look. You've been pointing out she's got bangs. I don't know if we've mentioned that once or twice before.

BOLDUAN: You definitely have, Wolf.

(LAUGHTER)

GERGEN: Almost as much attention as your beard, Wolf.

BLITZER: Mrs. Robinson -- that's Mrs. Robinson, the first lady's mom. She lives there with the family in the White House and plays a critical role as well.

BOLDUAN: And remember the Robinson family Bible was the Bible that the president took the oath yesterday in the private ceremony at the White House. It's been in their family for many years, and it was a Bible that was given to the first lady's mother as a mother's day gift so many years ago.

And today, uniquely, the president will be being sworn in using two Bibles. The Bible used by Martin Luther King Jr., his traveling Bible, and secondly, the Lincoln Bible that he also used during his first swearing in. So, again, that connection from past to present and the continuity of government that we see and the personal connection.

You're going to see that throughout this inauguration ceremony, I believe.

BLITZER: David, as you take a look at both ends of Pennsylvania here on Capitol Hill, obviously, over at the White House, it is a magnificent -- I've lived here for many years, but it's a magnificent city.

GERGEN: It is. I think this day is sort of Washington at its best, don't you, Wolf? I mean, there are a lot of days you come here, and people are fighting with each other, and there's strife, and it's stormy.

BOLDUAN: That's what we talk about every other day of the year.

GERGEN: Exactly. This is very, very special.

BOLDUAN: Wolf, you've covered many of these ceremonies. Unfortunately, I've not covered as many as you. Does it ever -- do you ever get used to it?

BLITZER: No. It's always exciting. It's beautiful. It's lovely. It's only just beginning.

BOLDUAN: That's right.

BLITZER: The crowds are growing and growing and growing. President Obama and his family, as you saw there, now back inside the White House. We're following his every step on this Inauguration day. We'll be watching as they head to Capitol Hill.

We'll also talk live to the former secretary of state, retired U.S. Army General Colin Powell, about his very public concerns about the direction of the Republican Party and a whole lot more. (COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BLITZER: The Lee University Festival Choir from Cleveland, Tennessee. They're performing right now at the U.S. Capitol about 200 students. They were chosen by Senator Lamar Alexander to represent this part of Tennessee, and they're doing a magnificent, beautiful, beautiful job.

You saw the President. He left the church a little while ago. The first family, they are now inside the White House. But they'll be getting ready.

This is videotape that we saw earlier when the motorcade arrived. The daughters, the First Lady and the President walking up the stairs, going inside. You know, there's a whole lot of stuff going on in this second term for the first family that our White House correspondent Brianna Keilar is learning about.

During her husband's first term, Brianna, the First Lady made America's children, military families, two of our most important priorities. But now this self-proclaimed mom-in-chief faces a bigger challenge, raising teenagers at the White House, among other things.

Brianna, I know you've been doing some reporting on what we can expect over the next four years.

KEILAR: That's right, Wolf. Mrs. Obama, as we speak, is looking at her agenda for the second term and she could be adding some causes.

But I think today you really get a sense of just how exciting it can be to live in the White House. The truth is, though, it can also be a very challenging place to raise kids, and that's why arguably one of Mrs. Obama's biggest accomplishments of the last four years has been trying to create a sense of normalcy for her family.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: So help me God.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Congratulations, Mr. President.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Good job, daddy.

OBAMA: I did it.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You didn't mess up.

KEILAR (voice-over): Even if you were the President, your kid will always tell it like it is. This may be Mrs. Obama's biggest accomplishment of the last four years. As she's championed causes like working with military families and fighting childhood obesity, she has created normalcy for her family and encouraged her daughters to be themselves.

MICHELLE OBAMA, FIRST LADY OF THE UNITED STATES: At the end of the day my most important title is still mom-in-chief.

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

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

KEILAR: They have some help from the First Lady's mother Marian Robinson who lives on the third floor of the White House and they keep a daily routine.

Mrs. Obama is up early. Sometimes 4:30 a.m., letting Bo out and hitting the gym before her daughters wake up. The President starts working out before she wraps up. The girls head off to class at Washington's prestigious Sidwell Friends Private School. And the President walks to the Oval Office around 8:30. Almost every night the family gathers for dinner together at 6:30 p.m.

VALERIE JARRETT, WHITE HOUSE SENIOR ADVISER: They are not in the least bit interested in his day. They are interested in their day. And that's such a relief to be able to have those quality moments.

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

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

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

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

KEILAR: That means dates and dinners out with friends. They're notorious for being affectionate, puckering up for the jumbo-tron at a basketball game this summer. While Mrs. Obama mostly steers clear of policy debates, she was a huge asset to the President on the campaign trail last year from the stump to late-night television.

M. OBAMA: Let's go. Get your shoes on. Move it. Move it. Up. Up. Time to go. You can do it.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Ok. Ok.

M. OBAMA: Out the door. Out the door. I need some carrots.

KEILAR: As parents the Obamas are very involved. In the Obama White House there is structure and chores. Sasha and Malia are limited to two hours of TV per week. No social media.

B. OBAMA: I worry about Facebook right now only because -- look, I know the folks at Facebook that -- obviously they have revolutionized, you know, social networks but, you know, Malia because she is well known -- you know, for -- I'm very keen on her protecting her privacy.

KEILAR: And Malia also does her own laundry.

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

KEILAR: The Obamas have relished sharing their adventures with their kids, traveling to France and Russia where they toured the Kremlin and ate dinner above Red Square. Meeting world leaders as they did in Brazil and South Africa where they met Nelson Mandela.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

KEILAR: There are still big milestones ahead for the Obamas as a family. Soon Wolf as you know there will be two teenagers in the White House. Malia will soon be old enough to drive, apply to colleges, and yes, date.

BLITZER: Excellent reporting, Brianna. Thanks very much.

Kate we're just getting word that the leadership of the Congress, they are over at the White House having coffee with the President. The Speaker, the Majority Leader Eric Cantor, the Senate Majority Leader, Harry Reid. They all went over. That's a nice gesture.

BOLDUAN: It started with a tweet apparently from Eric Cantor himself. I mean I think we can read into it that that's a better way to start a second term than not have them over for coffee.

GERGEN: I can't remember that ever happening, you know. Often you do have a change of parties so that a president of one party greets a president from another party. But inviting the leadership, I think symbolically is very important. And I just -- it's a good sign. And it also signals what I think he is trying to say in the inaugural address. We'll have to wait and see how it works out.

BOLDUAN: Yes.

BLITZER: I think it is a good idea as well. Let's see and get some readout of what actually happened inside. I'm sure it's just is a very, very nice gesture on the part of the first family.

GERGEN: Yes.

BOLDUAN: Yes.

BLITZER: As we get closer to the presidential oath and the inaugural address, we expect to get excerpts of the President's speech. We're going to share them with you. And you'll see the inaugural crowds the way the President will see them, from here on Capitol Hill.

We'll take you on an exclusive behind-the-scenes tour first and an inaugural flash back.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

RONALD REAGAN, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Senator Hatfield, Mr. Chief Justice, Mr. President.

DORIS KEARNS GOODWIN, PRESIDENTIAL HISTORIAN: What was so impressive about Reagan's inaugural speech I think was the optimism that it suggested after a period when America was feeling like we might have been in decline.

REAGAN: Let us begin an era of national renewal. Let us renew our determination, our courage, and our strength. And let us renew our faith and our hope.

KEARNS GOODWIN: In a certain sense the optimism of the speech was symbolized by his transferring the inaugural to the west front of the Capitol which made a much grander spectacle and more people could watch it. So it was a big occasion.

REAGAN: The economic ills we suffer have come upon us over several decades.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BLITZER: Some of the most powerful people in America are arriving on Capitol Hill right now to witness President Obama's second inauguration.

COOPER: We are taking you into the crowd behind the scenes for this celebration of America.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: A new beginning for a president who broke barriers.

BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: My fellow citizens, I stand here today humbled by the task before us.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: A daylong celebration on a fitting holiday honoring a man who helped make Barack Obama's election and re-election possible.

Soon the President renews his oath before cheering crowds. His critics are fierce. His choices are tough. And America's future is in his hands.

OBAMA: We must pick ourselves up, dust ourselves off, and begin, again, the work of remaking America.

(END VIDEO CLIP)