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Continuing Coverage of Inauguration Events; Commenting on the First Family's Fashions

Aired January 21, 2013 - 15:30   ET


WOLF BLITZER, CNN ANCHOR: All right. Here is the presidential limo. You can see it's just beginning, slowly, very, very slowly to move. It's not moving quickly for a simple reason. They've got to get everyone organized behind.

They really, really want to make sure that everything is well coordinated. They've been rehearsing this. They've been practicing it and there's a lot of choreography.

Don Lemon, where are you? Because you've got a good seat over there.

DON LEMON, CNN CORRESPONDENT: I do. I'm actually, again, right in front of the museum and we just saw the motorcycle officers come in front of us and now we're just starting to see the color guard and then the military band.

And it's really just sort of the warm-up. The people here are getting really excited because they're anticipating, of course, the president and the first lady to come by in the motorcade.

So, it's moving really slow, Wolf, but people are patient. But they are anticipating, again, the president and the first lady to come by. And every once in a while you get a big roar and a big cheer that goes up when they think -- when they see a black limo or they see a SUV and they think it's the president and the first lady.

But again, the military band coming by now, the ceremonial guard. You can hear the announcement in the background, coming by.

We're standing by. I'm standing by with two little friends here, a six-year-old and a seven-year-old, right here in front of the barricade and we're waiting. You guys excited?


LEMON: He's nine?


LEMON: And eight. And they're from Georgia. And they're correcting me. They're a lot smarter than me today and we're all waiting.

So, we're standing by, Wolf, just like you guys are.

BLITZER: Yeah, they're moving slowly, Don. They'll get to you pretty soon. You're, what, at the museum, so that's at the Sixth and Pennsylvania.

They're just getting ready to move a little bit first and then second, so you've got a little while to go. They're going to pass the Canadian embassy before they reach you.

You know what? Our own Jim Acosta has got an unbelievable view of what is going on. Jim, tell our viewers exactly where you are.

JIM ACOSTA, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Wolf, I'm on Constitution Avenue right now just before we make that turn on to Pennsylvania Avenue.

And you can just see some of the folks who are lined up along this parade route. They're very excited, obviously, not only to see the president, but they're also waving to our truck as well.

But just to give our viewers a sense of what is happening right now. I'm on the become of a flatbed truck along with the other representatives of the national news media and we're going to basically do what's called "the dance.'

We're all going to take turns getting in front of the president's limo, getting that shot of the president and Mrs. Obama should they get out and walk at some point. We all hope they will. We'll be in position to bring that to you.

And just to pick up on what we were talking about earlier today about the parade and everything that goes into the makings of this parade, I was talking to the long-time announcer for this parade, Charlie Brotman who said that President Obama is different when it comes to these inaugurals.

His inaugural parades are from the heart and what he meant by that is that President Obama and Mrs. Obama seem to want to bring in groups from all over the country, groups that might not have a chance to participate in an inaugural parade and that this is their chance, almost sort of like the message that the president was talking about today, that everybody in this country gets a chance. Everybody's got a shot.

We're seeing some of that reflected this parade, Wolf.

BLITZER: We certainly are. So you really got a great view of what is going on. They're moving very, very slowly, aren't they, Jim?

I don't know if Jim can still hear me. Maybe he can't.

ACOSTA: Yes, Wolf, I hear you.

BLITZER: The presidential motorcade is moving very slowly. You know what? Here is what I want to do. I'm going to leave the picture up during a commercial break. We'll take a quick break. You'll see the parade continue. We'll be right back.

Maybe when we come back, we'll see the president and the first lady and Sasha and Malia, if they want to, they'll get out of that limo and wave a little bit. Let's take a quick break.


BLITZER: All right. The parade is under way right now. The presidential limo, you see it right there. It's moving down Pennsylvania Avenue and, not far away, is our own don lemon.

Don, can you see the limo yet from where you are?

LEMON: I can -- I'm trying to look over the barricade and see the limo. As we've been telling you, we're between Constitution and Sixth on Pennsylvania Avenue, Wolf.

And, you know, it's pretty cool, I have to admit, all the years that we've been covering it, I'm sure you will agree here. No matter how often you see it, to see all -- they just announced the president of the United States, getting closer. They said the first lady of the United States and the president of the United States coming close to where we are now, so they're getting really close here.

But to see all of the state troopers and officers from all over the United States and to see the diversity in the crowd here and people from all over the world, I mean, it just makes you feel good about being an American here.

And just to see the number of people who were here. And in this information age, every single person, to a person, everyone has an iPad out or an iPhone and they're taking pictures and they're taking video. And now they're announcing the vice president and the second lady of the United States.

And, Wolf, I'm able to see people on top of trucks and it's -- I think it's media. It's probably one of the trucks that Jim Acosta is on top of. We're getting a look at them going by and, so, they are in front of the motorcade of the president of the United States.

And I see Jim Acosta, as a matter of fact, so I would imagine, yep, the president is making his way right past where we are. And there is Jim Acosta. The president right now at Constitution Avenue and Pennsylvania Avenue and you can hear the crowd where we are.

BLITZER: Hey, Jim Acosta, can you -- if you can hear me, Jim Acosta, can you see Don Lemon from where you are because he says he sees you?

LEMON: Jim, turn around, right behind you, I'm waving. To your left. A little more to the left. Jim, a little more -- right here, Jim, right here, Jim. Right in front of you.

ACOSTA: Hey, there is Don Lemon right there. How are you doing, Don? You're looking good with all your friends.

LEMON: So, I see Jim and, right behind him, there he is. There is the president in his motorcade.

BLITZER: Don Lemon, you're a man of the people,.


BLITZER: But you have a lot of people with you. What do they think? What do they say? Talk to some of them.

LEMON: What do you think?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: This is really great. I'm really excited to be here.

LEMON: Yeah? And looking at the motorcade of the president and the first lady?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It's crazy. I can't believe we're actually here. I'm really happy I came. This is very exciting.

LEMON: Where are you from?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I'm from Washington and Maryland.

LEMON: Yeah? Screaming your head off!

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes. We're from Atlanta and so this is the once-in-a-lifetime country. We were here for the first one.

LEMON: And you're here again?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: And we're here again.

LEMON: You wanted them to get out?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Oh, I wanted them to get out so badly. Do you think it's going to happen?

LEMON: They're going by now. I don't think it's going to happen if they're going by now.


LEMON: What did you think about the speech today?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I thought it with awesome. I thought it was an electric morning. Yesterday was electric. They had everything prepared for us. We felt really safe. It's just been an awesome experience. There are 19 of us who came up.

LEMON: He talked a lot about diversity. He talked a lot about equality. He talked -- he even mentioned gay rights. He talked about even the environment and what did you -- and on this Martin Luther King Day.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes. It's just exceptional to see so much diversity. When we were out on the lawn, there were so many different people there. Everyone looked different, but we all got along really well. We were all excited, so it was just an awesome opportunity.

LEMON: Yeah. And I second that. It is an awesome opportunity. Do you agree with what she said?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I second it completely. I think that it was an awesome day.

We -- again, the focus was on the United States and making it better, making it a great place, continuing to make it prosperous and fantastic.

LEMON: And, listen, we know it's a second time. This is the second inauguration, but did you ever think in your lifetime you would see an African-American president?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I absolutely did.

LEMON: You did?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes. And I knew I would be the catalyst for getting him there.

LEMON: That's confidence, Wolf Blitzer. That's confidence.

BLITZER: All right, good. You're having way too much fun over there, Don. Stand by. I'm going to get back to you.

Robin Meade, it looks like the presidential motorcade is getting closer and closer to where you are.

ROBIN MEADE, ANCHOR, CNN HEADLINE NEWS: It is. And if you look at the crowd where I am, they're pretty subdued, I think, as they're waiting.

But I want to show you this moment they're going to change, right, is when the announcer over here announces that the presidential motorcade is getting very close.

So they're very quiet. Do you see the people in the red hats? They're all volunteers. I'm pretty sure that probably they have an official duty. But you can see ...

BLITZER: Hey, Robin, hold on for one second because Jim Acosta is on the platform vehicle right in front of the president's limo.

Jim, what are you seeing?

ACOSTA: Wolf, I can see right into the president's limo right now. I can see the president of the United States waving to people along Pennsylvania Avenue here.

It's a stirring sight. The capitol lit up by the afternoon sun off in the background and the president just two vehicles behind us right now. And as we're going down Pennsylvania Avenue, I saw our colleague, earlier, Don Lemon coming up on Robin Meade's position.

But you can probably hear over my microphone right now, Wolf, the announcers as we're coming down Pennsylvania Avenue announcing the president of the United States, announcing the first lady.

At that moment, everybody just starts cheering and starts celebrating. It's really something else.

BLITZER: Hey, Jim Acosta, you're going right by Robin Meade, so wave to her.

MEADE: I'm right behind you.

BLITZER: I think she sees you. Say hi.

ACOSTA: Robin, how are you?

MEADE: With the big hat. Hey, how are you? Don't you have the view of the day!

ACOSTA: I do. Yes, I do.

MEADE: wave to this crowd.

ACOSTA: What do you see from where you are?

MEADE: It's fun to watch the mood change, yes.

OK. So you're closer than us. What can you see inside the vehicle, Jim?

ACOSTA: Robin, what I can see earlier, I distinctly saw the president of the United States smiling with that very big teethy smile that he has, looking very happy, waving to the folks up and down Pennsylvania Avenue.

MEADE: Well, you know, these people want him to get out.

ACOSTA: Everybody is waiting to see, Robin, is, when does the president get out. That's what we're all waiting for at this point.

MEADE: Bye, Jim.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Ladies and gentlemen, the vice president of the United States, Joe Biden and Dr. Jill Biden.

ACOSTA: I guess you can hear now. They're also announcing the vice president. That's something we're hearing as we make our way down Pennsylvania Avenue.

BLITZER: Hey Robin, can you see the motorcade already?

MEADE: I can definitely see the motorcade. They're right in front of us and the crowd is cheering.

BLITZER: Maybe you can wave to the president.

MEADE: You know, they are busy waving. Let's see if I can get a free hand from my microphone. And Mrs. Obama is very easy to see right now because the sun is setting and it's shining into the car, so we can see her kind of looking back and waving. And the crowd loves it.

There's a lot of cell phones out and a lot of cameras out. Isn't it funny how we live the moment, but we also photograph it now.

BLITZER: Of course, we do.

So, Robin, what street are you on right now? Where are you? I just want to get a sense of how close you are to where we are on the north -- near the north lawn of the White House and the reviewing stand.

MEADE: Yes. So I'm at Pennsylvania and Seventh, Pennsylvania and Seventh. And that motorcade just went by.

BLITZER: All right, good. All right, so he is moving. They're making some pretty good progress, Kate, as we see what is going on.

Seventh, they got to go up to 15th. They'll make a right at 15th. I know they're getting closer and closer. They went from Don Lemon to Robin Meade and Erin Burnett.

Erin, where are you because pretty soon you're going to see the president?

ERIN BURNETT, HOST, "ERIN BURNETT OUTFRONT": Yeah, we're here on Pennsylvania and 13th and we can watch them coming closer and closer. Look behind us, you can see they're coming.

I want to -- one thing here is we have United States military starting to come by. I think is so amazing about the United States having the best military in the world, Brianna. Twenty-eight inches a step, 110 steps a minute. That's what they do, every one of them.

BRIANNA KEILAR, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: And I think it's fantastic that they're here kicking off the parade because, even though this parade has become such a formal affair, it's really the military that has been a part of it from the first time that the inauguration parade took place here in Washington, D.C. in 1801 with Thomas Jefferson. It was a very spontaneous affair, though. A company of riflemen, they got a little ...

BLITZER: All right, hold on, guys. Hold on. It looks like the presidential limo has just stopped. I suspect we are about to see the president and the first lady getting out of that limo.

Let's just watch and listen for a second as we see what happens.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: (INAUDIBLE) first inaugural (INAUDIBLE) by members of the United States armed forces (INAUDIBLE) ...

ACOSTA: It's getting hard to hear you down here because the cheers are so loud. But, Wolf and everybody, you can see just behind me, just behind that limo, is the president of the United States and Michelle Obama walking down Pennsylvania Avenue, waving to the crowd on both sides of the street.

The president and the first lady don't look very cold. It's not that cold today for our viewers who are wondering, is it as cold as some inaugurals can be? No, it's not. This is actually pretty balmy for January.

And, obviously, this is the moment that everybody is waiting for on inauguration day when the president and the first lady step out of their limo and walk down Pennsylvania Avenue.

You know, I feel like I should pinch myself right now, Wolf. I can't believe I have this vantage point of history in the making.

BLITZER: You're literally what, about 15, 20 feet away from the president?

ACOSTA: I'm probably a good I would say 50 feet away from the president right now, Wolf.

BLITZER: Oh, I see.

ACOSTA: Very, very close. And you can see the secret service agents all around them. There is a steady-cam next to them as well. I guess those are folks getting some really close shots. Their vantage point is slightly better than ours, Wolf. That's the pool camera right there.

But what we're all doing right now, where we are standing and other folks with the national news media, they're on the backs of these trucks. We're all doing this sort of dance right now.

And we just got lucky enough, Wolf, to be in position where our truck was right in front of the president and first lady as they're walking down Pennsylvania Avenue, so just the luck of the draw, but it worked out pretty well.

But, as you can see, every time he passes, another block of people line up along the street. The cheers just go up on both sides of Pennsylvania Avenue and, every once in a while, I feel like I have to look back and see it for myself, Wolf. Trying to take some pictures along the way. Something for the kids at home.

BLITZER: You're taking pictures. I assume you're tweeting some of those pictures @jimacostaCNN, is that right? Is that your Twitter handle?

ACOSTA: Wolf ...

BLITZER: I don't know if he can hear me, but you know what? He is very excited. We're all very excited to see what is going on.

But, you know, Kate, Jeffrey, we may be excited, but the folks who have been waiting for hours ...


BLITZER: ... on both sides of the street, they're seeing history right now and they are thrilled.

BOLDUAN: Some of our correspondents that have been on the parade route have said people have been there since 2:30 in the morning to try to get a good position.

I mean, this is what all of these folks are waiting for and I think, as we're watching as they're getting out of the car, you can see people rushing to try to get to the very spot just to get a glimpse of them.

I mean, this is history in the making. This is -- these are these images that we look back on, years and years later.

BLITZER: Erin Burnett is out there on Pennsylvania Avenue as well. He is making his way closer and closer, Erin, towards you, together with the first lady. You're there with a special guest.

BURNETT: Yes, we are and we're all hoping that he will stay out long enough to get here. Obviously, the entire crowd is as well.

Joe Zee joins us. He's the creative director at "Elle" magazine. And, Joe, I want to talk to you right now because we're looking at Michelle and Barack Obama and I think the real tragedy today is she has to give that outfit away to the National Archives.

JOE ZEE, CREATIVE DIRECTOR, "ELLE" MAGAZINE: I know. I think that coat and that dress is so beautiful on her. I mean, literally, it's custom made for her and you can tell that it's literally been molded onto her body.

BURNETT: I mean, she looks -- it's absolutely beautiful. And, of course, in her traditional style, as a very modern style, but she's got a J. Crew belt with a dress that would be -- I mean, I know it's custom-made, but ...

ZEE: Oh, that Thom Browne coat, I think it would be anywhere upwards of $3,000. I mean, it's made of (INAUDIBLE) Thai silk material, but it was custom done for her, so you couldn't even find it if you wanted to. Only one exists and right now it's on Mrs. Obama.

BURNETT: And I'm just curious. You know, when I looked Thom Browne (INAUDIBLE), I had to learn about it. It's men's wear. (INAUDIBLE) above the ankle and, you know, not a lot of ...

ZEE: Short pants and short jackets are really his trademarks.

BURNETT: So, she has made designers like Jason Woo, for example, become more of a household name in this country, something a lot of American women want to wear.

A custom-made dress from a guy that's not known for women's wear. Will it transform his career? Will people start wearing him?

ZEE: I mean, right away this morning, you could tell he was a trending topic immediately on Twitter. You know, he's the buzz on everybody's lips and I think the thing is it does translate to buzz. Does it translate to business? I think it's tougher when it comes to luxury brands like Thom Browne.

BOLDUAN: And what do you think, as well, about the coordination of the family? It's a family affair today.

ZEE: Oh, it is. I mean, I have to tell you. Their daughters are like "Mini-Mes" of Michelle and they're gorgeous, all of them. They're so color coordinated, down to the final color.

BURNETT: All right, we want to listen to the crowds cheering here as the president and the first lady are walking, so you can all sort of feel you're a part of this at home. Here it is.

And the president is now just about a block away from where we are here on Pennsylvania Avenue, so getting closer and closer.

Now, Joe, another thing I wanted to ask you about, is obviously she looks absolutely stunning now. She's going to be tonight, you said -- they're announcing as he's getting closer. We can't quite see him. But she would have had several dresses custom designed for tonight, correct?

ZEE: She did. She's had about 15 different designers commissioned for a potential gown for this evening.

BURNETT: But none of them know, not even the winner knows what she's going to wear?

ZEE: No, absolutely not. I think it's always been her protocol to just really wear the dress she wants to wear and people find out by watching.

BOLDUAN: And you think she definitely chooses an American designer for tonight?

ZEE: My bets are 100 percent on an American designer, absolutely.

BOLDUAN: So, what might some of the options be?

ZEE: Well, I know she's commissioned designers like Narciso Rodriguez, Deacon (ph), definitely Jason Woo who designed her last inaugural gown, Tory Burch. You know, I think there's a real handful of indy, real new names that she wants to champion.

BURNETT: And is she going to become -- she's already known as a stylish person and a style icon, but she's got a new look going now.

ZEE: She does.

BURNETT: It's a svelte, sleek, modern hip look.

ZEE: And the bangs, let's not forget the bangs.

BURNETT: What do you think? Bangs are often very difficult for women to pull off. ZEE: They are, but I think Michelle pulls it off brilliantly. I mean, she looks very modern in them.

BURNETT: All right, I want to bring in Jim Acosta.

Jim, we can just see you now. You're getting closer and closer. And are they getting back in now or what do you see, Jim?

ACOSTA: They are. I think they're getting back in. I can just barely make out the president and the first lady from my vantage point because of the positioning of these trucks, but I believe he has gotten back inside his limo.

And you could also hear the effects of that because the cheers sort of went down along Pennsylvania Avenue. Obviously, the folks who are on this end of the parade route are going to be a little disappointed that the president isn't walking the entire route.

But it was very exciting there, Erin, for a good, I would say, half a mile of this trip down Pennsylvania Avenue, to see the president, the first lady, walking on foot, greeting people on both sides.

And one thing that we could make out and you could sort of see it in these windows in this office building just over my shoulder, just people with their noses pressed up against the glass, waving to the president.

At one point, you could see the president sort of looking up at them and waving to them, as well, clapping his hands, waving to people as he goes by. Trying to acknowledge almost each and every person who has lined up along this parade route, to show his appreciation.


BURNETT: Yes, and obviously here, they're a little subdued. They're a little sad he just got back in. Of course, you may recall, last time, in the first inauguration, he got out twice and walked each time for between 6 and 8 minutes, so, obviously, there's a possibility that he could get out one more time.

Right behind me over my shoulder now, we are seeing "The Beast," as it's called, the presidential -- the president's car, approach. You can see right in the shot behind me the police, but it's going to pull by in just a moment.

You'll hear Brianna's voice because I want to get Brianna just -- you know, give a couple of the headlines. This car, it's called "The Beast." It's a pretty stunning machine.

KEILAR: It is an amazing piece of machinery and people, unfortunately, they aren't seeing the president in person right now, but they're looking at the president and the first lady through not only bulletproof glass, but this is an entirely bulletproof vehicle.

It is actually reportedly sealed in case of a bio chemical attack. This is a body made out of steel, aluminum, titanium and ceramic material. The tires are still functional if they are punctured.

And security of course is a very real concern. This is why we only see the president once, maybe twice, in this process.

Remember, the first time that an armored presidential limousine was used was for the inauguration in 1965, very much a concern for LBJ and so this is something that has continued. However ...

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Ladies and gentlemen, the president of the United States, Barack Obama, and the first lady, Michelle Obama.

BURNETT: All right, and you just heard, obviously, the announcer's voice, right next to where we are, as the president is about to pass by.

Jim Acosta is passing where we are sitting right now. Jim, can you -- hey there. Jim has the prime spot right on the back of the pickup truck.

ACOSTA: That's right, Erin, and I have to hold on for dear life because even though I'm lucky, enough to be on the back this truck, there are some hazards to this prime piece of real estate.

BURNETT: I love it.

You can see everyone, all the press vehicles. The president is about to pass where I am right now. I'm going to wave to the president. Brianna and I will see.

We're on a platform that's about 10 or 15 feet elevated from where they are. I can see the president right now in the limo. He was just -- it looked like -- adjusting his coat.

And they are literally passing where we are right now. Moving a little bit closer in the direction of Wolf Blitzer, of course, who is at the reviewing stand which is where the president is headed.

He's the first vehicle in this parade. Once he gets there, he will get out and watch the rest of the parade go by. As we said, they'll be 59 other groups.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Senator Charles Schumer ...

BURNETT: Charles Schumer getting a lot of air time today.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Senator Lamar Alexander. Speaker of the House ...

BURNETT: Wolf, he is now formally en route to you from where we are. You are the next CNN stop on his route.

BLITZER: Erin, let me ask you this question. You've got a special guest who knows a lot about fashion. Why do we spend so much time talking about the first lady's dress, coat, fashion and such little time talking about the president of the United States and the overcoat he's wearing? What can you tell us about that overcoat? BURNETT: Well, I will ask him, Wolf, but I will say I have an answer. She's more beautiful than he is and a better dresser. But other than that ...

ZEE: I know. The poor men, we always get neglected, right? The president looks great.

BURNETT: He had a very important tie choice to make today. It looks like he coordinated with her.

ZEE: He did. He was definitely coordinated. I mean, his entire family was color-coordinate. His blue tie was really sort of, I think, the final detail to the entire Obama family and their color scheme.

BURNETT: All right, now, everybody gets a new outfit. I'm always wondering this. You know, I just got married and my now husband got a new suit for the wedding.

But, you know, he didn't have to, right? I mean, men can -- did he get a new suit for the inauguration or did he wear a suit he already had?

ZEE: I don't know. I mean, I would hope he got a new suit today. It's a great day. It's a new suit. You can celebrate, you know? New year, new term.

BOLDUAN: He did. He had a new suit for the last inauguration. I believe it was a tailor out of Chicago who designed his suit.

So, certainly, you would think he might have another one today, but we don't actually know. The fact is, he coordinated his tie to her dress, not the reverse, right?

ZEE: Absolutely.

BURNETT: And she probably picked the tie too, I would suspect, Wolf.

BLITZER: I think it's fair to say she looks great. He looks great.