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Live Coverage of the Presidential Inauguration; Crowds Growing at the National Mall; Inauguration Day 2012 on MLK Holiday
Aired January 21, 2013 - 10:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: We must pick ourselves up, dust ourselves off, and begin, again, the work of remaking America.
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WOLF BLITZER, CNN ANCHOR: Crowds are growing on the National Mall. The 44th president of the United States is about two hours away from taking the oath of office. We want to welcome our viewers in the United States and around the world. I'm Wolf Blitzer.
Vice President Joe Biden also will be sworn in on this stage in the shadow of the Capitol. Stand by for Gloria Borger's exclusive interview with the vice president. She asks about the times he made the president angry.
We will also talk to former Secretary of State Colin Powell about his support for the president and his concerns about his own Republican Party. First, let's take you across the National Mall to my colleague, Anderson Cooper -- Anderson.
ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: Yes, Wolf, thanks very much. Inaugurations are logistical nightmare, as you can imagine, all the crowd control and security to protect the people gathering out here on the mall and of course, the president and other high-level officials, some VIPs arriving at the Capitol building.
Our chief political correspondent Candy Crowley is on the inaugural platform where the top officials will be sitting. Candy, what are you seeing?
CANDY CROWLEY, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, just recently we are -- we are up here, by the way, all the talk about blue tickets and stuff, platinum tickets. That's what these are. That's platinum with a "p." Kind of stands for power.
I have seen John Mayer is here, Cyndi Lauper, they just walked in. So we're seeing some entertainers, but I have to tell you, largely behind me, these are friends and families of power. A lot of House Rules Committee folks here, people who know House Rules Committee, staffers, who get these great tickets.
Of course, the folks that are a tier down from me don't need tickets. People like the Supreme Court members, the Joint Chiefs of Staff, family members of Bidens and the Obamas, et cetera. But up here, has been a collection of -- really of people and some of them are newbies.
It's not that these are power players. These are friends of power players. One of the men that I talked to here today is -- daughter who works on the rules committee and said this is my first time I have ever done anything like this.
It is completely overwhelming and he said I don't care if you are a Republican or Democrat, this is like a real moment, an American moment, and looked up as -- I'm like -- right here by the Capitol, which is, what, half a football field away.
The -- president may be 100, 200 feet from us when he gets sworn in so a little different mood up here because of the -- kind of the closeness to all of this. I think it is awe-inspiring, overwhelming, as this man said.
But still lots of fun being kind of a moment as they await what will be a parade of -- the actual power players as they come in here and begin to get ready for this swearing in, this public swearing in -- Anderson.
COOPER: Also performances by Beyonce, Kelly Clarkson, James Taylor, all performing when the president gets sworn in as well as the vice president. Our anchors, our correspondents, are out in the crowds talking to people. We've been talking to them all morning, Christi Paul, Robin Meade, Don Lemon are spread out across the mall.
Let's check in first with Don. Don, how is the mood there?
DON LEMON, CNN CORRESPONDENT: The mood is pretty cheery and pretty chipper. You brought the warmth all the way from the Cayman Islands. This is Marcy. Marcy came from the Cayman Islands. You said that this means -- President Barack Obama's presidency means a lot to people around the world. That's why you came here.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Absolutely. I don't know if Americans who live at home realize the impact that this election and the previous one had on the rest of the world. People feel warmly towards Americans in ways they haven't for many years because of some of the other things that happened before. But President Obama has just made us feel proud and it is just a great honor to be here today.
LEMON: Yes. You said you missed the first one.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I did.
LEMON: There was no way you were going to miss this one.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I watched every minute of it on television, but I was -- another opportunity, I will be there. Yes, absolutely.
LEMON: Thank you. We appreciate the warm weather. Where is Pat? Where are you? Pat, you -- how long did you ride on the bus here?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Twelve hours.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Alabama.
LEMON: And you're second time?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Second time.
LEMON: And you wouldn't miss it.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: For the world.
LEMON: Do you think you have enough buttons?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I've got several more at home. I just didn't bring them all. I love it. This is an opportunity that we never, ever really dreamed of. It's a dream come true.
LEMON: Thank you, guys?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Especially in line with Martin Luther King's birthday today. We are living the dream.
LEMON: Thank you, Pat. Thank you, Marcy. Thanks, everybody, we appreciate it. It is a pretty good mood out here, Wolf. You can see people are very happy to be here. They are very happy the weather is a lot warmer than forecasted -- Wolf.
BLITZER: Let's hope it gets a little bit warmer. That would be good. I know for you, for me and a lot of people who have gathered here in Washington, D.C.
Let's bring in our chief White House correspondent Jessica Yellin. You have been doing some good reporting for us, Jessica. What else are you learning about the president what he is planning on doing?
JESSICA YELLIN, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Hi, Wolf. Well, the president finalized his inaugural address over the weekend. He made some tweaks this morning, but he practiced in map room over the weekend. That's on the first floor of the residence. It is where he does all of his speech preps.
He wrote it with his chief speechwriter, John Fabro, and circulated the speech among a small group of advisers who read all of his important addresses. After the majority of the speech was finalized, he did continue to rework mostly for -- phrases and the pacing and timing of this speech.
This is something he often does, I'm told, by his top advisers that he -- hears rhythms and phrases in his head almost like a musician. He will continue to move a speech around just so he understands that pacing.
Another adviser told me that they were just talking to him about how this event will be different from four years ago because in 2009, he felt the weight especially of the economic crisis and he realized after the inauguration, he would have to go straight to the oval office and deal with the crisis that they were grappling with.
He didn't have much time to reflect on and savour this moment. The president said that he's looking forward to today and to the fact that he will really have a chance to take in his experience -- Wolf.
BLITZER: Jessica, thanks very much. We will be checking back with you as well. Dana Bash is over in the rotunda inside the Capitol. Getting some good access to folks who were arriving, including the spot, where the president will be making his big entrance about an hour or owe from now. Dana, what are you seeing? What are you hearing?
DANA BASH, CNN SENIOR CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: That's right, Wolf. This really is a great location because in the Capitol rotunda we will see the president minutes after the swearing in ceremony happens. He will come through here and walk over towards the Senate side of the Capitol for a signing ceremony.
What that effectively does put himself and Cabinet on the payroll, but it really is an indication about how every single minute of this ceremony is choreographed for today's imagery and tomorrow's history.
BASH (voice-over): This is where the president will start his walk towards history. Steps few take once, even fewer, twice.
(on camera): Now we are in the crypt of the Capitol.
SEN. CHUCK SCHUMER (D-NY), CHAIRMAN, INAUGURAL COMMITTEE: Right. The president will come down these stairs --
BASH (voice-over): Senator Chuck Schumer chairs inaugural committee and will personally escort the president down these stairs to take the oath. He took us first.
(on camera): I just want to be able show the viewers what the president will see. If we're right here, we are walking.
BASH: Mark, if you can turn around, this is what he is going to agree exactly.
BASH: Right out these doors.
SCHUMER: And then he will go out the doors and there will be huge cheers and there will be people as far as the eye can see.
BASH (voice-over): Inauguration prep began more than a year ago. Construction of the platform took 3-1/2 months to build and more than 10,000 square feet in size and using 22,000 sheets of plywood. It will hold some 1600 people in stadium-style seating so everyone here from lawmakers to Cabinet members to Supreme Court justices have a view of the swearing in.
SCHUMER: These are among the most coveted seats in America.
BASH: The only thing more exclusive -- the post-inaugural lunch inside the Capitol's statuary hall.
(on camera): So Senator, this is where the actual lunch will be?
SCHUMER: Yes, it is. Tickets for this are off the charts. You have Senators calling and saying I want to go.
BASH: So not every Senator gets --
SCHUMER: No, it's only 220 seats.
BASH (voice-over): The president and vice president themselves only get to invited about 40 people. The other guests are leaders and select members of Congress and Supreme Court justices and their spouses and some members of the military and diplomatic corps.
No detail is to small and especially the menu. By tradition, the Senator in Schumer's position chooses it so it is New York centric, wine, cheese, honey, apples for pie, all from New York.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That's great. Here we are. Look, everybody. Have a taste.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There's your fork.
BASH: He even did a moat owe-op for his food. The entree is bison from South Dakota.
SCHUMER: We don't want sacrificed quality. I wanted to use Long Island duck for the main course, but it didn't come out too good.
BASH: The Senate's curator has attended seven inaugural lunches, Presidents Reagan, Bush 41, Clinton and Bush 43, all sat and ate their meal, but President Obama?
(on camera): Does he eat?
DIANE SKVARLA, SENATOR CURATOR: No. In fact, it was the first time that a president barely ate.
BASH (voice-over): Ironic for a president criticized for not socializing enough that's all he did like a groom at his wedding.
SKVARLA: He actually walked around and visited every single person who was in that room. I guess that was just his way of thanking them. Of course, he was so excited being president.
OBAMA: I Barack Hussein Obama do solemnly swear --
BASH: The iconic image of becoming president is taking the oath. Diane Skvarla is in charge of the Bible. This year, it's two, Lincoln's Bible, which Obama used four years ago, and Martin Luther King Jr.'s since it is also the holiday honoring him. The Lincoln Bible is borrowed from where it is housed at the Library of Congress and the MLK Bible couriered from Atlanta.
SKVARLA: We will take possession of it. We will keep it in our vault, in our museum room here at the Capitol. We will bring it out. We will handle it with gloves.
BASH: That's a lot of pressure.
SKVARLA: Yes. It is very exciting.
BASH: As far as those Bibles go, the Lincoln Bible is, of course the same one the president used the last time round. It was the same Bible President Lincoln used in 1861 for his first inauguration. It got here from the library of Congress on Friday. The MLK Bible is new.
He has never done that before. He is doing it because -- for lots of reasons but there is a special reason. Today is Martin Luther King holiday. That was actually couriered here and is in a special vault on the fourth floor. They will be brought down to the first lady who will be in the hold in the Senate dining room with the president and will bring them out for the swearing-in ceremony -- Anderson.
COOPER: Dana, thanks very much. The president that has been criticized for his relation was Capitol Hill and how he deals with members of the Congress. In this next term, do you see that changing? Do you see strategy towards Congress changing?
BASH: Yes. I think he will be more combative. I think that he has learned that he can't get as much done as he thought he could the first time and he will be more political in his approach. In other words, these are my bright lines and you guys come to me more.
COOPER: David, "Washington Post," what do you make of the criticism of this president by some on Capitol Hill he's not a back slapper? Not a socialiser. We saw him walking around the tables four years ago. There has been criticism he has not reached out enough.
DAVID MARANISS, AUTHOR, "BARACK OBAMA: THE STORY": Well, he's -- you know, compare him to Bill Clinton or Lyndon Johnson. That's true.
MARANISS: Anybody compared to Bill Clinton and Lyndon Johnson -- not going to change really in that sense. He is who he is. He doesn't want to appear to be inauthentic about it. One of the things about Bill Clinton was he was what I call an authentic phony.
Everybody believed what he was saying at the moment. Barack Obama always had more difficult time trying to act that up, but as he said the other day, you know, he is a nice enough guy. Echoed what he said about Hillary. Nice enough, too.
COOPER: That line didn't go over so well the first time. MARANISS: He was talking about himself a little easier maybe.
COOPE: Maybe. But does he enjoy politics?
MARANISS: Yes. Well, he enjoys politics but enjoys other things as well. You know, I -- I think that he -- he's learning how to really sort of merge that with the other aspects of what he enjoys, which is policy and rest of life.
GLORIA BORGER, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL ANALYST: Can I say two words? Joe Biden. That's what Joe Biden is for. He does the things the president really dislikes doing. I mean, it is -- if the president doesn't like to glad hand and hang out with members of Congress, that's a little piece of heaven for Joe Biden.
He loves that. So I think what they established is a relationship which is OK, I know we have to do this, says the president. Joe, go to Capitol Hill and you are the guy --
COOPER: President Obama has said that -- you know, he wants to be having dinner with his family every night. Is that the reason?
JOHN KING, CNN CHIEF NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: It is one of the reasons. Look, he -- he is a father of two young girls in the White House. They moved from Chicago, especially the first term. Gape up their friends and routine. God bless him for that. The other place, who he is. He likes other things. He likes to sit down and watch "Sports Center" after the family goes to bed.
He likes to golf. He took the speaker golfing once. Maybe we will see more of that in the second term. Republicans complain about this. This is a bipartisan complaint. It is the -- president not just stiffing the Republicans.
Democrats complain not only does he not spend a lot of time with them in those kinds of settings but when they call the White House saying can I send him a special group of my constituents, the White House says no, we don't want special favors.
COOPER: I was interested reading in "The New York Times" that he hasn't even had Hillary Clinton and Bill Clinton for dinner.
CORNELL BELCHER, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: I want to push -- it is not like if he were hanging out with those guys all the time. Tea Party would fall in love with him and start moving his legislature through. It is not that at all. I think we put too much on the ideal of a personal relationship. Look, he puts forward -- there is -- they are not going love him.
COOPER: There's a lot of that -- lot of them who don't want to be seen hanging out with him.
BELCHER: At all. The former governor of Florida gave the president a hug and got --
BORGER: Don't you think it is part of his job? I actually think that it is his job to -- to deal with people on both sides of the aisle. Even ones he doesn't like. Now, every president has a different way of dealing with people.
But to have members of your own party suggest to you, as I was told by a senior Senator, you need to have some people over so we can talk about this issue informally and the president said no, no, I'm not going to do that. I would argue that's his job.
DANA BASH: Gloria speaking to is building trust with Congress. Sausage making ugly. Joe Biden did a great job of it. Let's remember, the first term, you think about how you are going to get re-elected. Second term what is your legacy piece going to be? He will not have his legacy support and here he comes.
COOPER: Craig Robertson, Michelle Obama's brother, arriving at the Capitol. Let's go back to Wolf.
BLITZER: Anderson, thanks very much. Kate are joined by special guest, the Reverend Jesse Jackson who is with us on this very special day. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., remembering him, you were with him.
You remember his I have a dream speech, Reverend Jackson. If he were here today what would he say that an African-American president is now being sworn in, not the first time, but the second time?
REVEREND JESSE JACKSON, RAINBOW PUSH COALITION: He would be championing him. Remember, Dr. King was bloodied and stabbed and killed to make -- his sacrifice, tore down the walls. The brick prosecutors that wall lay the bricks the president walks across. Dr. King was a vilified man.
Barack is a celebrated man. Dr. King and President Barack Obama's interesting convergence much history today, would celebrate his victory today but keep raising issues like too many poor people, too much violence and too much racial disparity.
KATE BOLDUAN, CNN ANCHOR: That's what I was going to ask you about. Do you think you would probably say that Dr. King's dream is -- not yet fully accomplished is not yet fully -- been realized? What would you challenge President Obama to do in his second term?
JACKSON: The dream speech was the climax. He said, 100 years later, you promised equal opportunity. You promised equal protection. The day he spoke -- I came here to hear the speech. I just left jail, couldn't use a public library, couldn't use a public restaurant. Blacks sat behind.
Against the backdrop, he spoke and challenged the culture. Saying now we must focus on the growing common, the victim in poverty, food stamps, the unemployed, but then combination of drugs and guns and jobs, talking about urban policy, policy for poor people and ending racial disparity. He would be supportive and challenging.
BLITZER: What's happening in Chicago right now? Last year, 516 people were killed by guns in Chicago, your city. JACKSON: You can't separate guns from drugs from race from poverty, 45 percent unemployment. That's way beyond the 7.8 we talked about, guns and manufacturers in the suburbs. Guns and from Mexico drug cartels and guns and drugs. Plants closed. Jobs leaving. That's a very, very toxic combination.
BOLDUAN: Do you want to see president Obama take more of a -- of a central role come to Chicago? You have been talking about the crime and drug problem in chicago for a very long time.
JACKSON: I'm glad that he used occasion of the Sandy Hook crisis to deal with the gun issues. That's -- that killing and -- Sandy Hook was -- these 20 babies who never had a chance to open their Christmas presents, never could see -- something about that that -- a tipping point, yet, illuminates Chicago. 32,000 killed nationally. The killing epidemic is huge. I wish it would come to Chicago because -- antiseptic new -- the --
BLITZER: Reverend Jackson, we see the chief justice of the United States, John Roberts, arriving on Capitol Hill behind us right now. He will be administering the oath of office to the president for a fourth time. Yesterday was the third. Twice four years ago. Fourth and last time, we should point out. This will be a significant historic moment.
JACKSON: We are 160 miles from Jamestown, Virginia, where the slave ship landed. He looks over where Lincoln is immortalized and Dr. King statue.
BLITZER: Look at that. Sonia Sotomayor, the justice, arriving as well. She will be administering the oath of office for the vice president --
JACKSON: Since '63, as a matter of fact, in the south (inaudible) can vote, 18 year olds can vote so many way it is whole world has change.
BLITZER: We have come a long way. We still have a ways to go, as you will be the first to acknowledge. Reverend Jackson, thanks very much for coming up here and spending a few moments with us.
JACKSON: Thank you.
BLITZER: Former President George W. Bush and his father, former President George H.W. bush, aren't attending this inaugural. President -- former President Bill Clinton and Jimmy Carter are. We are waiting to see President Clinton. Stand by for that.
Also we're taking a closer look at the downside of winning another four years of the White House. It doesn't always go so well. The second-term curse, as some call it. That's coming up as well. First, though, inaugural flashback.
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UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Let me assert my firm belief that the only thing we have to fear is fear itself. UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We all remember the phrase the only thing we have to fear is fear itself. But even more important than the phrase was the whole attitude that FDR had. He projected optimism and projected forward movement.
People felt that's the mystery of leadership, that somehow the depression they were suffering, they weren't going to be alone anymore. They had a leader who was going to take care of it.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BLITZER: Hundreds of thousands of people are now gathered here on the National Mall getting ready for the inauguration of the president of the United States. The public swearing-in ceremony will be taking place very, very soon. And the excitement is building.
Only moments ago the former president, Bill Clinton, he arrived here up on Capitol Hill. There you see the video of the former president. He is walking in among the so many VIPs who have come to celebrate this moment in American history. Democrats, Republicans, people from all over the country, they are now here.
Taken months to build a special platform where the president, his family, who's who of VIPs will stand and sit for the inauguration. John Berman has a closer look on who gets to be on the presidential podium. Give us the answers, John.
JOHN BERMAN, ANCHOR, CNN'S "EARLY START": The Joint Chief of Staff, they just took their seats and were just minutes away from more big names coming in. When they get to their chairs, what they will find, blanket waiting for them and also a name card. Name cards here a collection of the biggest names in Washington.
We took a picture to show you how the whole thing is laid you on. Take a look at this. Nothing gets you closer than genetics. Front and center, family, Michelle and daughters. The Biden family, children and grandchildren. The other folks in the front row, members of the Supreme Court including the president's own nominees, Sonia Sotomayor, Alena Kagan.
Over here the Joint Congressional Committee on inaugural ceremonies, this is an elite group chaired by Senator Chuck Schumer. Other choice seats behind the Obamas, presidential guests, this is friends and family, also some big donors. I just saw Rahm Emanuel walk in right now.
One person not going to be here, the designated survivor, this is the member of the Cabinet who does not show up just in case the unimaginable happens. We do not know who that is at this point. Behind the Bidens, this will be the former players, past presidents. It's a very rich tradition in our country.
Bill and Hillary Clinton will sit there. Jimmy Carter, but no Bush's this time around. George H.W. Bush staying behind in Texas, of course, trying to recover from that ill must that he has been suffering. George w. Bush and Laura sent their regrets and said their thoughts are with the Obamas.
They are surrounded by military power. The Joint of Chiefs, they took their seat. Behind the court you have house leadership, other House members, and over here, Senate leadership and the full Senate, members of Congress, they are all smiles today. Battles ahead, those smiles could be changing soon. Most blood seats.
They go to the governors' way, diplomatic four, power bleachers, if you will. But you know on a day like today, there are no bad seats. Short while ago we shot John Brennan, nominee with the CIA chief. Saw him walking in and take his seat.
The funny thing is, after he sat down he took out his camera, walked to the edge of the balcony and snapped a photo. One person here was joking, saying, maybe the new CIA chief is spying -- Wolf.
BLITZER: We see more VIPs arriving right now. Bob Mueller, the FBI director, at the bottom of the screen with his wife, long-serving FBI director. We saw the acting CIA director, Michael Morrell walking in. Incoming, assuming, he is confirmed CIA director, John Brennan, also coming in.
We're watching what's going on. This year, you can also be part of CNN's coverage of this presidential inauguration. Explain away, Brooke.
BROOKE BALDWIN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Wolf, everybody here hold up your phones. This crowd has phones. This is the first time we have had a presidential inauguration with Instagram. The most socially connected political event ever because of these. So we here at CNN are asking you because this is about you. This is about the community.
We want to you take a picture of yourself watching inauguration, watching the swearing-in, on Capitol Hill, today. We want you to upload it to Instagram. This is about you sharing your view of history with us include a caption. Why is this for you to be watching this historic occasion here on this Monday in Washington.