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President Obama's Inauguration; Inauguration: What To Expect; Crowds Gather For Public Inauguration; The Second Term Curse

Aired January 21, 2013 - 06:00   ET






SOLEDAD O'BRIEN, CNN ANCHOR: It's official. And now, they'll do it again for the people this time. President Obama's second inauguration is just hours away.

JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: The crowd is growing and so is the excitement. Some 800,000 people expected to assemble here on the National Mall, and we are right in the middle of it.

ZORAIDA SAMBOLIN, CNN ANCHOR: And with the massive crowds come super tight security. A look at the incredible steps being taken to protect the president.

O'BRIEN: Also, Grammy award winner John Legend will talk about America's war on drugs and whether it's done more harm than good.

Also coming up this hour, Representative Debbie Wasserman Schultz will join us at 6:00 a.m. along with Representative Jim Clyburn. Newark Mayor Cory Booker joins us at 7:00 this morning along with Senator John Barraso and the daughter of Martin Luther King Jr., Berniece King. That at 8:00 a.m. Eastern Time.

Freshman Representative Joaquin Castro is our guest. And then Nick Cannon will join us. He, of course, is performing for the inauguration.

Good morning. Welcome, everybody. You're watching a personal special edition of EARLY START. It's 6:00 a.m. on the East Coast.

I'm Soledad O'Brien live here in Washington, D.C. for the inauguration of President Barack Obama.

Also joining me this morning, John Berman and Zoraida Sambolin. In our location, Zoraida, who is not very far from where I am. I kind of see where you are, but John and I are right on the capitol building. It's quite remarkable. Really I think fair to say the best seat in the house in a few hours for people watching, of course, right, John, the president getting sworn in?

BERMAN: I can look down and see you, right down there. You're right down there below me. How are you? What's going on down there? And Zoraida, of course, you'll all the way down --

SAMBOLIN: I'm going to turn around -- yes. I can't get -- I can't get a view. I have to tell you something, you guys, your shots are remarkable and amazing. That bird's eye view you have, Berman, is really beautiful. We are looking forward to that all day long being able to have that view.

O'BRIEN: We are and in -- as soon as things really get under way and more people coming out to the mall. But at some point, something like 800,000 people between where we are on the capitol building and where Zoraida is on the other end of the mall.

So it's going to be a busy and pretty amazing day. In just a few hours, in fact, President Obama will do it again, publicly taking the oath of office as he begins his second term as the leader of the free world.

He is doing it today on Martin Luther King Day and it will be his second time taking the oath in just 24 hours. Take a look.


OBAMA: So help me God.

ROBERTS: Congratulations, Mr. President.

OBAMA: Thank you, Mr. Chief Justice. Thank you so much.


O'BRIEN: Very sweet, with the First Lady and daughters looking on. At one point, he said I did it. It is, of course, a constitutional requirement that the president be sworn in on January 20th.

And the Vice President Joe Biden did it again as well. We should expect a lot of pageantry, history in the making today. White House correspondent Dan Lothian is following it all for us. Dan, good morning. Why don't you walk us through how today will go.

DAN LOTHIAN, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Good morning, Soledad. Well, the first chance that we'll get to see the president and the First Lady, the first family, in fact will, be this morning around 8:45 when they depart the White House, walk across the street to St. John's Episcopal Church.

This is often referred to as the church of the presidents. The first family has been there in the past. A couple of hours after that, they will head up to Capitol Hill for the swearing in ceremony, where both the president and vice president will be sworn in for the public. Some 800,000 people as you mentioned earlier, there to witness this event. Then there will be a luncheon that will take place up there on the Hill before the president gets a chance to at least deliver his inauguration speech, which we're told this will be a hopeful speech, not one focused on policy where the president will talk about some of the challenges ahead, talk about getting the public engaged in pushing through his agenda in Congress.

And then the first family will take part in the inaugural parade before watching rest of the parade from the viewing stand behind me. As you noted, Soledad, this official sort of public celebration that will take place today follows the official swearing in ceremonies that took place yesterday.

The vice president getting in swore in at his official residence at the Naval Observatory. Take a listen.




SOTOMAYOR: Congratulations.

BIDEN: Thank you, your honor.


LOTHIAN: That was the -- the vice president first and then the president sworn in here at the white house in the blue room, surrounded with some family members and friends. The big headline from that is that no flubs this time. Remember, four years ago, when the president and Justice Roberts, they stepped on each other. There was a word faithfully that was out of place so they had to do a redo. No problems yesterday though -- Soledad.

O'BRIEN: All right, Dan Lothian for us. Thank you, Dan. The turnout for the public inauguration is expected to be nowhere near the 1.8 million people who packed this mall four years ago. And Christi Paul is on the National Mall where people are gathering. Organizers say they are expecting roughly, what, like half the turnout, right, Christi?

CHRISTI PAUL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Right, but I mean, half the turnout is still 800,000 to 900.000 people, Soledad. So this is nothing to sneeze at by any means. I just got the word that the south entrance to the mall, where we're standing right now, has already been shut down.

We have seen in the last hour, hour and a half, we're seeing more and more people come in. When you think about 900,000 people being here, I talked to one group of kids who knew how to find each other.


PAUL: Where you buying them to get noticed because you got noticed? RAYNE, TRAVELED FROM MONTANA FOR INAUGURATION: Well, I think we are buying them for fun and then bottom so that we could see each other. Like if we get split up, we could wave them around so you can find everyone.


PAUL: And that's Rayne. They are here from Montana and you can see something starting back there. But they were hoping that president would just give them a shout out from Montana. I have learned there is actually a delegation from Montana in the parade so they will get their shout out either way -- Soledad.

O'BRIEN: Unlikely he will give a shout out in the middle of say the inaugural address, but yes, the hats, maybe. Christi Paul for us this morning. Thanks, Christi. Appreciate it.

So some of the VIPs who are expected to be there, John Berman has been following some of the big, bold names. John, good morning.

BERMAN: Good morning, Soledad. A Washington's who's who. All of the powerful people will be here. Of course, the most powerful you might say are the families, the president family and the Biden's family. They will sit there. Behind the Obamas, the so-called presidential guests, that could include cabinet members, but also their close friends, maybe also some big donors as well.

Former presidents will be here, Jimmy Carter, Bill Clinton, neither of the Bush's is coming. Of course, the elder George H.W. Bush is still recovering from illness. You can see them setting up right now. They're actually putting name tags on these chairs.

So everyone knows where to sit and they're also laying out the official inauguration ceremony program. It is a lovely, lovely piece of paper right here. We got one ourselves. It lays out the ceremonies that will be happening today in about six hours from now -- Zoraida.

SAMBOLIN: All right, thank you very much, John. Well, President Obama better get all of his partying done tonight. His second term is in full effect already and that means the potential for great achievements, but if history is any indicator, the second term is where things can get messy. It's not like he wasn't warned.


SAMBOLIN (voice-over): It's not like he wasn't warned.

PRESIDENT OBAMA: I'm more than familiar with all the literature about presidential overreach in second terms.

SAMBOLIN: President Barack Obama's victory dance is about to become a dance against destiny.

PROFESSOR COSTAS PANAGOPOULUS, POLITICAL SCIENCE, FORDHAM UNIVERSITY: If we look back, some really great examples of really big things being done in second terms. But recent history, there is the potential for real disaster.

FORMER PRESIDENT BILL CLINTON: I did not have sexual relations with that woman.

SAMBOLIN: According to polls by the Gallup organization, second term presidents often end up with second-rate approval numbers. Just ask Trent Duffy, a former press secretary to President George W. Bush.

FORMER PRESIDENT GEORGE W. BUSH: Major combat operations in Iraq have ended.

SAMBOLIN: A president who's approval ratings dropped 25 percent.

TRENT DUFFY, FORMER DEPUTY PRESS SECRETARY, PRESIDENT GEORGE W. BUSH: If their poll numbers start to hover down or go below 50 to 49, 48, you are going to see the White House Press Corps turn more hostile. I think realizing these kind of factors and planning for them to try and get as much done in the early portions of this term is key.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Mr. President, I'm grateful for this opportunity to serve our country again.

SAMBOLIN: Obama faces nomination fights, a divided Congress and there is this.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The president will either rise or fall above the economy.

SAMBOLIN: Obama is off to a head start with his current approval rating higher than his first-term average, but he still faces fights over gun control and immigration reform.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is when presidents really get tested. When unexpected things happen and they have to react almost in real time on the spot, this is when we get to see the true character of a president

O'BRIEN: Just 16 presidents have been elected to a second term, including some of the great ones. Obama, the 17th, will now get his shot at greatness or not.


SAMBOLIN: And one of the highlights of the presidential inauguration are these huge star-studded parties. We're going to take you inside the exclusive events after this quick break and it looks like the party has already started behind me. We'll be right back.


BERMAN: Security levels always high at our nation's capital in Washington, D.C., but nothing like today. Roads shut down everywhere you turn. Barricades, officers of all kinds set up to watch what's going on today.

Some of the security is seen and some unseen. To give us a rundown of all the measures in place, here is Brian Todd. (BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

BRIAN TODD, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Joe Hagin remembers his first jolt working security in an inauguration. January 2001 just after George W. Bush's swearing in, Hagin is in a motorcade moving with the new president toward the White House.

JOE HAGIN, FORMER WHITE HOUSE DEPUTY CHIEF OF STAFF: Turned down Pennsylvania Avenue and the military aid who is in the right front seat of the car I was riding in turned around and said, sir, there's a gas mask under your seat, get ready to put it on. That was a little startling.

TODD: That was to prepare for possible teargassing of protesters. Later as deputy White House chief of staff under President Bush, Hagin coordinated security and logistics for big events, summits, secret presidential trips to war zones, inaugurations.

As we looked at the buildings President Obama will pass, Hagin said the Secret Service, the lead security agency for the inauguration, will make sure the buildings are clear of potential snipers.

Elsewhere, manhole covers will be welded shot. SWAT teams will be deployed all over the city, plain-clothed law enforcement officers mingling in the crowds, bomb sniffing dogs even teams trained on weapons of mass destruction and --

DEBRA EVANS SMITH, FBI ACTING ASSISTANT DIRECTOR: Our dive team, our intelligence analysts will be working around the clock, our hostage negotiators.

TODD: That FBI official spoke to us inside the multi-agency communications center where security teams will do real-time monitoring of surveillance cameras posted on buildings and roads. They will share tips and incident reports.

(on camera): With all of the checkpoints, monitoring situations and other precautions, it's this stage, the parade route here along Pennsylvania Avenue where the real unknown comes in. It's often along here where the president gets out of his car.

(voice-over): That's when the president is most exposed and the crowds are massive.

(on camera): If he's right in here and gets out of his car and walks, what is going through your mind at that moment?

HAGIN: Well, what's going through my mind is, you know, having faith in the plan and, you know, assuming that the agents are, you know, doing their job.

TODD (voice-over): Hagin says the Secret Service often choreographs where the president will get out of his limo and where he'll get back in, a tightly held secret. When it's all over, a big sigh of relief.

HAGIN: An event of this magnitude takes hundreds, thousands people to execute it effectively and those people tend not to have a whole lot of fun.

TODD: Hagan says no matter how smoothly the day goes, security officials will still conduct a thorough review after the event so they can tweak their practices for the next time.

Brian Todd, CNN, Washington.


BERMAN: And you're looking at live pictures right now of that parade route. Look at that. Look at the security measures in place. You can see the barricades on the sides, just these empty, empty streets in Washington waiting for festivities that happen all day long, well into the night.

And you're going to want to stay with CNN because we have action all day and into the night. Parties tonight start at 7:00, the celebrities, the music, all of it. You want to watch our special coverage of the presidential inauguration, again, beginning tonight at 7:00.

Now, we want to get some other news that's going on in the world. Let's go back to Christine Romans in New York.

CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN BUSINESS CORRESPONDENT: Good morning, John. Nice to see you this morning.

Let's start in Algeria, the exact death toll still unclear this morning, after a fiery and bloody end to the Algerian hostage standoff over the weekend. And the nation's special forces stormed the gas complex was stormed, killing dozens of Islamic militants. Nearly 700 Algerians, more than 104 hostages were freed. At least one American is among the 23 who have been confirmed dead.

A 15-year-old boy is now facing murder charges after three young children and two adults were found dead in a home outside of Albuquerque, New Mexico. Investigators describe a gruesome scene with each of the victim shot several times. Police would not name the victims, but the house belongs to a popular local pastor named Greg Griego (ph), also his wife Sarah. Greg Griego's brother confirms the pastor is among the dead.

Some terrifying moments aboard a United Express flight as the plane came in for a landing at Newark airport. Flight 4480 blew out four tires when it touched down Sunday night, causing that plane veer off the runway. Eight passengers, five crew members were on board that flight. It originated in Rochester, New York. Thankfully, no injuries reported.

To sports now, the teams have been locked in for Super Bowl XLVII, the San Francisco 49ers will take on the Baltimore Ravens. The 49ers beat the Falcons 28-24 Sunday to take the NFC championship. The Ravens made easy work of the New England Patriots, with 28-13 victory to claim the AFC title.

And for the first time, the Super Bowl will feature a battle of the brothers on the sidelines. Ravens head coach John Harbaugh will try to defeat his brother, 49ers head coach, Jim Harbaugh -- Soledad.

O'BRIEN: Hmm, interesting, interesting. All right. Christine, thank you.

Well, of course, it is not just about the pomp and circumstance of today's inauguration. We're also wondering what the president will say in his inaugural address. We'll take a closer look at that, straight ahead.

Stay with us. You're watching our special coverage of the presidential inauguration.

We're back right after this.


O'BRIEN: Welcome back, everybody. You are watching special coverage of the presidential inauguration. I'm Soledad O'Brien.

Roland Martin and Ana Navarro joining me now to talk a little bit about what we are expecting to hear.

We've covered the gowns. We've covered the parties. Let's get to the heart --


O'BRIEN: The bangs. Let's get to the heart of the matter.

Second inaugural addresses are not necessarily known for being the best speeches. What do you expect to hear, Ana, or hope to hear from the president in this inaugural address?

NAVARRO: You know, I do expect to hear a great speech. President Obama is a very good orator. He tends to have personal speeches. When he turns on the charm, he can be extremely charming.

And I think he understand we are in a uniquely divided country right now. So, I hope to hear a tone of unity from him.

O'BRIEN: They've said that. They've said unity and hopeful is sort of the only guiding principles we got about the speech. What else do you think he needs to say, Roland?

ROLAND MARTIN, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: I think what he also needs to do is lay out the course in terms of where we are going, because economically, the last four years have been very difficult. You have a lot of people in this country, frankly, don't feel as optimistic about the future.

I would also hope the president speaks to the issue of the people who we often ignore -- the poor in this country, the folks who are busting their butts out there to make ends meet, but things are not going so well. When he says we won't leave any American behind, just like we don't leave a soldier behind on the battlefield, we're not going to leave anybody out -- and not about the middle class, upper class. It's about every American trying to prosper as best they can.

O'BRIEN: You know, when you talk to people who help presidents write speeches, the speechwriters themselves, they say they do it with an eye to history and they also do it with an eye to sort of the current day audience.

But my question would be about: does it have to be true? Having a wonderful, flowery speech is a great thing. But shouldn't it sort of have a truth --

NAVARRO: You need one memorable line. That's what everybody will remember. The very good speeches, the ones we do remember. We remember the one memorable from the Kennedy speech. If he can deliver that one memorable line, it will be we're all talking about tomorrow.

MARTIN: The thing about what you just say, though. We remember the one line in the Kennedy speech. We don't remember Jack from Johnson, Nixon. Take a picking, Carter, Reagan. I mean, you go up the line.

NAVARRO: We don't have that kin of attention span, OK?

MARTIN: But I think it speaks to the fact that let's just be honest. Inauguration speeches really are really not memorable.

NAVARRO: But we remember what the First Lady wore.

MARTIN: Of course. Of course.

SAMBOLIN: That's why we're going to talk about that a little more later this morning.

Ana Navarro, and Roland Martin -- thanks, guys. Appreciate it.


O'BRIEN: Still ahead, we've been talking about the inauguration. But, of course, at the heart of the inauguration is really the next four years.

Up next, we'll talk with Congresswoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz. She's the chairwoman of the Democratic National Committee. That's straight ahead.


BERMAN: In just a few hours, it all happens, right here, because right here behind me, President Obama will take his public oath, beginning his second term as president of the United States. And it will happen on Martin Luther King Day, no less. Of course, it's also a second time taking the oath of office in 24 hours.

Yesterday, with the First Lady and first daughters looking on, the president made good on a constitutional requirement, of course, that he'd be sworn in on January 20th, as did Vice President Joseph Biden.

Now, looking ahead as to what is happening today, President Obama will be publicly sworn at 11:30 Eastern. He'll then give his presidential address at noon and later in the afternoon, about 2:35, he will lead the inaugural parade from the U.S. Capitol, all the way down Pennsylvania Avenue to the White House.

Dan Lothian is following it all for us this morning. Good morning, Dan.

LOTHIAN: Good morning. Well, it's going to be a very busy day for the president today, after a busy weekend of a number of events. As you pointed out, the president officially getting sworn in yesterday.

But he begins the day today, about 8:45 this morning, will be heading across the street to the St. John's Episcopal Church, also known as the "Church of Presidents" where the first family has attended services in the past. About two hours after that is when the president will head up to Capitol Hill where you have the swearing in not only of the president, but also for the vice president.

The president will deliver his inaugural address. Aides and other who are familiar with the president's remarks say it will be a hopeful speech. Not one of policy, while the president will point out every not every problem or difference can be settled in Washington, that lawmakers, and the White House can look at areas of agreement. The president will talk about big challenges ahead as well.

As you know, the president faces tough issues in his second term, such as dealing with gun control, figuring out the whole debt ceiling issue, and also immigration reform -- something that the president said would be a top priority.

So, a lot of different events for the president today, capping it off will be two balls, an official inaugural ball and also the commander- in-chief's ball taking place tonight.

Now, some key folks will be taking part in ceremonies today. In particular, some Hispanics playing an important role, chief rather, Justice Sonia Sotomayor, who was taking part in the swearing in ceremony yesterday of the vice president, will again be doing the public swearing in of the vice president today, the first Hispanic to do that at the public ceremony.