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THE SITUATION ROOM
The Presidential Inauguration Parade Continues
Aired January 21, 2013 - 17:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
ANNOUNCER: Following the Isiserettes, the (INAUDIBLE).
WOLF BLITZER, CNN: This is from Ohio. This is the Miami University Marching Band from Oxford, Ohio. Before that is the Caissons Platoon, 3rd U.S. Infantry Regiment. But this is the Miami University Marching Band, Oxford, Ohio, founded in 1935. The Miami University Marching Band has been an integral part of the spirit and pride of Miami University and surrounding Oxford, Ohio and Butler County.
KATE BOLDUAN, CNN: Miami, Ohio, I will tell you, has a -- is close to my heart, because my sister actually attended Miami, Ohio. It's a beautiful campus, I'll tell you, one of the most beautiful I've ever been to. And their marching band is huge. I'm watching it walk -- head our way right now.
BLITZER: Two hundred and sixty members, featuring brass, woodwinds, battle (INAUDIBLE), percussion. Love the percussion. The band, by the way, has performed in Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade, recently even performed at Carnegie Hall.
Let them perform for all of us right now.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They have won numerous honors and performing in the Macy's Day Parade. (INAUDIBLE). Numerous honors.
ANNOUNCER: The Miami University Marching Band from Oxford, Ohio. Now advancing to the presidential reviewing stand, the Illinois State float celebrates the home state of President Obama and the birthplace of first lady, Michelle Obama. The land of Lincoln Float features American flags, the state's flag and a panorama of the Capitol. The state seal adorns the front of the float. The float is approximately 20 feet long, eight feet wide and (INAUDIBLE).
BLITZER: The South Shore Drill Team from Chicago, the president's hometown, the first lady's hometown. They've come here, two major gifts allowed them to come here, from Walgreens (INAUDIBLE) Chicago Football Classic. They raised the money. They are here. They're attending this inauguration.
You can see the president. He's pretty excited to see what's going on. BOLDUAN: Especially because they were unable to attend the first inauguration because of lack of funds. So this is very special for them this time.
BLITZER: They're going right in front of the reviewing stand right now. You see the president and the first lady...
BOLDUAN: This place is getting (INAUDIBLE).
BLITZER: -- the vice president.
BOLDUAN: There's a huge set of speakers heading our way, as well. We're going to see that right behind them.
BLITZER: They're moving.
BOLDUAN: Here we go. Here we go.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The president's moving, too.
BOLDUAN: How can you not?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That's right.
ANNOUNCER: The South Shore Drill Team from Chicago, Illinois, (INAUDIBLE).
The Gullah Geechee Vegetable Heritage (INAUDIBLE) showcasing (INAUDIBLE) the culture of the Sea Islands of South Carolina. The float displays cultural artifacts that include symbols of rice, a cash crop that was produced by enslaved Africans, music that is symbolic of the culture's religious tradition and sweet grass baskets that are produced throughout the region.
Performing at the president's review stand, the Gullah Geechee.
The Kamehameha Schools Warrior Marching Band is from Honolulu, Hawaii. The 100 student band's performance will include music typical of luau, featuring hula dancers with (INAUDIBLE) and conch shells.
BLITZER: (INAUDIBLE). Hawaii well represented here at this parade on Inauguration Day.
Another marching band coming in from Honolulu right now. The president obviously very, very excited. This marching band color guard coming in.
Christi Paul, where are you?
CHRISTI PAUL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: I'm right at Madison and Pennsylvania Avenue.
I'm right before all these bands are going to get to you, Wolf.
And now that the sun has gone down, I think there's no debating how cold it's getting. And as much as these high school students and all of these bands have prepared for this and as much as they've -- you know, they have had -- so many of these bands have had to fight to raise money to get here. And they couldn't do it without the support of their communities. I have to think that as excited as they are, I was watching some of the girls go by, some of the majorettes, as you listen to one of the bands start right now. And they were -- they had their game face on. They were waving. They were smiling. They were dancing.
But they were shivering, Wolf. They are cold. But, of course, maybe part of it could be nerves, because they're getting right up there by where you are and where the president is going to be watching them here any moment.
But I'll tell you what, it's nice to see how much of the crowd has stuck around to see all of these bands and these dance troupes perform, because you know that some of these bands are from rural areas that don't always have a lot of money to support something like this.
We know that there were so many entries double, I think I heard, from what was submitted in the last inauguration, folks that wanted to be part of the parade.
So it is a fight to get here, obviously. And the crowds are staying here and they're cheering them on and they're watching them and waiting for them.
And I know that we've been talking about the animals. All I've seen so far are horses. We know that there are 200 animals in this parade -- Wolf.
Did I miss something?
Did you see another kind of animal or are we just talking horses so far?
BLITZER: I think I've only seen horses so far, but maybe there are some other animals. We'll have to wait and see.
PAUL: I was hoping for a mule.
BLITZER: Yes, maybe a mule.
All right, guys, hold on for a second. The Jackson Memorial High School band from Jackson, New Jersey.
We'll take a break.
As we go to break and continue our special SITUATION ROOM, let's listen in for a second. (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
BLITZER: All right. So, the United States Marine Corps band is now going by the reviewing stand. The president is there with the commandant of the U.S. Marine Corps. We saw earlier the army's chief of staff and the army bands were going by. Now, it's the marines. It's the marines turn. So, you know what, let's pay homage. Let's respect the United States Marines.
BLITZER: That is a beautiful shot. The U.S. Marine Corps being honored. Now, the Chinese-American Community Center Folk Dance troupe from Delaware, the home state of the vice president of the United States. We're getting a little different cultural -- this is a little cultural dancing. But who knew that they were from Delaware, Kate Bolduan.
These dancers have performed, by the way, not only here, but the Kennedy Center, the Smithsonian, the Wilmington Brand Opera house, the play house theater, national theater. This is an excellent, excellent folk dance troupe.
BOLDUAN: And as you look close, you can see these people are working really hard as they're approaching. This is the tail end of their parade as they get to the reviewing stand so they're really working hard.
JOHN KING, CNN CHIEF NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: And they haven't had a lot of time to practice. I mean, keep in mind, the election ended, then the presidential inaugural commission stepped in, you know? And we don't know who was going to win on election night. So, they had very little time, just over two months, to get all of this ready to go.
BOLDUAN: And then one of Wolf's favorite thing, another float come upon. This is the Delaware state float.
BLITZER: The home state float of the vice president. There he is, the vice president.
BOLDUAN: It's a replica of the state Capitol Bell Tower.
BLITZER: Wilmington. Capitol is Dover, Delaware, right? The capital of Delaware?
KING: That's correct.
BLITZER: Yes, I knew that. There they are.
KING: And you know that these floats, they were making these floats around the clock over the course of 19 days to get them ready for today.
BOLDUAN: All custom made.
KING: Yes. Incredible.
BLITZER: From Delaware, take a look at this, University of Maryland Marching Band College Park, Maryland -- the Terps of Maryland, playing for the president.
BLITZER: John King is watching what's going on as well. John, every one of these bands, every one of these floats, they all have a significant for this president and the vice president.
KING: You've mentioned the home states, the birth states, Delaware, now Maryland. Now, we're moving on to the neighborhood, as you might say, Washington, D.C., Wolf. Also, I think part of what you're seeing, you had a band from Ohio as well, is maybe a march to the electoral college map that President Obama and vice President Biden put together in the November election.
I'm with Gloria Borger and David Gergen and our chief White House correspondent Jessica Yellin. We're still in the National Mall. I can tell you, you guys are in for a treat for a while more, because they're staging the parade over here. And from our vantage point, we can still see -- I can see at least a half dozen marching bands still lined up.
And I believe there are few still around the corner. So, fasten your seat belts, warm the coffee, and let's consider the moment. David, I want to start with you. You've worked, served in four White Houses, Democrats and Republicans. This should to be a rare moment, but four of our last five presidents have enjoyed this moment, a second term.
You saw the president up on the Capitol steps, saying, wait a second, this is the last time I'm going to see this. You see him here to parade. He seems to be in a mood not necessarily known as a deeply introspective guy, but he seems to be in the mood to soak this in.
VOICE OF DAVID GERGEN, SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: He sure does and with good reason. This is a day that the president, the vice president, their families, are obviously very happy, but they should be very proud. And it's been -- it's a happy city tonight, John, I must say. I think that's the mood here. You know, they originally were expecting maybe 600,000, 800,000, smaller than last time.
One official from the inaugural committee now says he thinks the number was around a million. We'll wait and see for a more official prediction. And as dusk falls here, you just have the sense the president's had a good day. He delivered his speech. It's been very well received. He's got a lot of people who are out there on streets. They've been out there for a long time.
And it's tough to get around the city today. You know the security's been so tight all day. And yet, they've been there and they're excited, they're enthusiastic. I think it's a very good start to his second term. I think he should feel good about the day. KING: And if you've had this long day, you see the president and the vice president here in the booth. We just saw a moment ago, I was here this morning when the sun came up. We are watching the sun set now. Now, it is a stunning day. It is a little chill in the air, but it's much warmer than four years ago.
It is just a spectacular day. You heard the president say that when he's walking out of the White House, (Inaudible). Someone asked him how he's doing, he said, what do you think of the weather? And you see that -- look at that picture right there. Jess, I worked in that building for 8 1/2 years, you worked there. On nights like this when you're around that building, it is majestic.
VOICE OF JESSICA YELLIN, CHIEF WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: It is glorious. And it doesn't matter how many days you enter there and doesn't matter how many hard grinds you have. You get these moments where you just have a breathtaking moment. You think, it's the white house. And this is a beautiful night and what a moment.
And I think that this is the inauguration the president never had. I've talked to some of his staff members who say they were talking to him before today about the fact that four years ago, they were all so consumed. He was talking about this. He was so consumed with the crises that were confronting him and the overwhelming realization that he was about to become commander in chief.
He didn't get to appreciate the moment that was really taking off. And now, he's enjoying it. He's relaxing. He's chewing his Nicorette or whatever it is.
YELLIN: No. Never. Never. It's sort of like he's kicking back and he's just relaxing.
GERGEN: And he's putting his own stamp. I just heard -- especially that address today. We have heard the Obama -- the real Obama. This is what he came to Washington to do. He's sort of escape now from the, you know, all the difficulties that he inherited. The economy in a mess, the wars, and now, he feels like he's out there on his own. And that is -- it's given a simple --
VOICE OF GLORIA BORGER, CHIEF POLITICAL ANALYST: I think it was a very aggressive Obama speech.
GERGEN: It was.
BORGER: We're not use to hearing.
GERGEN: I agree with that.
KING: He's making a bet on the moment. He's making a bet that America's turning a corner. And if we could show, if I could ask our great folks in the control room, to show the wide shot again from Wolf and Kate's perspective of the White House and you see across the river as the sun sets there. I remember standing in that park on 9/11 and watching the smoke.
You see the top right of your screen. I remember we were evacuated from the White House on 9/11 and watching the smoke come up from the Pentagon in what would be the top right of your screen there. The president in his speech today talked about the war is over. A decade of war is ending.
OBAMA: He is making a bet that America cannot retreat from the world but, heck, can have a different engagement with the world. And that both changes foreign policy, but it also potentially frees up resources in domestic policy.
GERGEN: And he can use that as a springboard to say now that we have the opportunity, we must seize the moment. You know, and we have to act. And he's got this whole -- his wife now is getting very involved in the politics of this. She's going to be very involved in this. Wow, look at that picture. Whoa.
YELLIN: I think we should acknowledge that also this is the anniversary of Martin Luther King Day as he did, and he took that moment to pause before the statue in --
GERGEN: He wrapped himself in it the cloak of Martin Luther King today.
BORGER: Something he hasn't always done in office --
GERGEN: Very, very purposeful --
BORGER: Yes, I think that was sort of -- and you can see the -- that Martin Luther King was so courageous, that I'm going to state what I really believe, here and now.
GERGEN: Right. I think it was Martin Luther King revisited.
BORGER: Well, I'm not so sure I'd go that far.
YELLIN: I know they don't. The White House, they don't.
BORGER: But I do believe that he -- the moment called for sort of laying out what you stand for and paying homage to Martin Luther King in that way.
GERGEN: And that's just what the conservatives said he would do, be the real progressive.
KING: Look, he's liberated. He didn't have to face the American people again. At least at the moment, unafraid to do climate change, which would have been risky in the first term. Unafraid to do gun control, would have been risky in the first term. Talks now about doing other things that, you know, again, might have been more harmful to do. The interesting question though, Jess, is does he stick with them? Does he fight through them? And can he find help?
YELLIN: I just don't know what he's going to prioritize in this next year. And I think he has about a year, 18 months, to find that next legacy move. We know that he will sort of try to drive home health care reform and make that codified, you know, make it --
GERGEN: So, Jess, what is -- what's -- what's the danger he's going to get caught up in?
YELLIN: If it's a crisis overseas, if there's a crisis, you know, in -- if it's Iran, if it's, you know, the Middle East. It's always something that we don't know. We couldn't have predicted Monica Lewinsky, could we, or Katrina for Bush. We never know what it is. And, so, it's the second term trap.
KING: President is, no doubt, mindful of that. But at the moment, he's trying to enjoy what is a fabulously color parade. Wolf, where are we in the procession right now?
BLITZER: These are representatives of the Alaska Eskimo culture that we're seeing right now go before the president of the United States. They are enjoying what's going on, as are we. Our special coverage of this historic day right here in the SITUATION ROOM continues right after this.
BLITZER: The Dobyns-Bennett High School band of Kingsport, Tennessee, the largest high school band in the state of Tennessee, one of the oldest most prestigious band in the southeastern United States, performing now for the president of the United States and for us.
This is the 54th Massachusetts Volunteer Infantry Regiment Company B from Silver Spring, Maryland.
As we watch them, let's bring in our own celebrity stylist, our own Alina Cho, who's joining us now.
Alina, you got a special guest with you. Carson -- tell our viewers who you got there. Carson Kressley, he's a well-known TV personality. I want to know about the fashion, the style, what is going on?
ALINA CHO, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, I know you're -- you're your own fashionista, Wolf. So, yes, we are going to get right to that.
We do want to talk about what Michelle Obama was wearing today because, of course, a lot of talk about that. The best-kept secret in fashion really. And when she emerged this morning, there you see her, in the coat and dress, made by American designer Thom Browne.
I actually spoke to him today. He said, you know, in moments like this you really are at a loss for words. But what a beautiful sight. She's wearing a J. Crew belt, J. Crew gloves. She wore J. Crew shoes. A Reed Krakoff cardigan that she actually wore yesterday, right, Carson?
CARSON KRESSLEY, STYLE EXPERT: Right. She's shopping her closet.
CHO: Which I think is remarkable. I mean, I think that's a remarkable statement to make for this important moment. What did you think about how she looked?
KRESSLEY: You know, I think it's what's great about this is you see Michelle Obama's style really evolving over the years. In the Thom Browne, very tailored, very traditional. A little demure and a little bit of a quiet look. But what I love is, maybe not every American woman has access to a beautiful custom made Thom Browne piece but they do have access to the accessories.
The J. Crew gloves, she talked about. The J. Crew belt. So, you know, a lot of women look to her for fashion inspiration. And what's so great is she's very Democratic about her style.
CHO: She most certainly is.
KRESSLEY: And people can access that.
CHO: I think what's also interesting about what happened with Michelle Obama today that's getting sort of a lot of chatter online?
CHO: Is that she changed her shoes. She started out wearing J. Crew shoes.
CHO: She changed into these custom made blue --
KRESSLEY: Reed Krakoff boots.
CHO: Suede and calfskin boots by Reed Krakoff.
KRESSLEY: Yes. But she's a real woman. And even though she's very influential, and she's on a lot of TV screens today, she's just like somebody else in, you know, she might have worn the J. Crew pumps to the actual event, which is indoors, but she's like it is cold out there. I'm putting some boots on, OK, and that's -- you know, that's how we dress today.
And I think what's so great about her as first lady is that she dresses like so many other moms just like her. CHO: She most certainly does. And one thing, I just got off the phone with Reed Krakoff, I can tell you is that he told that those boots, by the way, took three weeks to make, they made them with a foot mold of Michelle Obama's foot.
KRESSLEY: Right. Her last.
CHO: And, you know, this is something, what an incredible nod to this American designer who also happens to be the president of the iconic American brand Coach. But let's talk about this moment for Thom Browne for a moment. Because for him, this is a man who is known for sort of redefining men's wear.
KRESSLEY: Right. Right.
CHO: The sort of shrunken suits, those ankle length pants.
CHO: Not as well known for his women's wear. What do you think this will do to him?
KRESSLEY: Well, I think, you know, just like Jason Wu who was relatively unknown in 2009 during the first inauguration that really put him on the map. And I think what Michelle Obama's so great at is really embracing homegrown talent and really working with emerging designers. Not that Thom Browne is emerging because in the fashion business we've known -- about him for a long time.
CHO: Of course.
KRESSLEY: He's from Allentown, Pennsylvania, just like me.
So he's a great American success story. But he hasn't been doing women's fashion that long. I believe, maybe two years.
CHO: Two years is right.
KRESSLEY: And --
CHO: And he actually told me today that he hopes that after this moment more people around the world will look at him and his women's fashion with a different eye.
KRESSLEY: Right. Right.
CHO: And I do believe that will happen. I mean, she looks extraordinary. I spoke with a writer, the fashion columnist with the "Wall Street Journal" today and she told me just looking at the back of her coat.
KRESSLEY: Right. CHO: You see just how well made it is, how well constructed it is.
CHO: And, you know, Thom told me something very interesting today. He said his tailor is always telling him.
CHO: There's no such thing as perfect, but he said, you know, this is as close as I'm going to get.
KRESSLEY: Almost perfect. Yes, and I think it's a great statement, too, that fashion is an important industry here in the United States. And that really focusing on those American designers and American craftsmanship and American design is a great statement because it's big business here.
CHO: It most certainly is. Let's talk a little bit about the big moment tonight because you're talking about one-half of the fashion equation. One-half of it has been solved --
CHO: -- with today's moment but what about the inaugural balls tonight? What do you want to see her wear?
KRESSLEY: Well, you know, I'm all off the ball or two. But I wish that she could kind of come out and do a really dazzling kind of Hollywood going to the Oscars kind of look. I don't think she will because I think she's very sensitive to, you know, maybe not overdoing it. The economy is still not doing great. A lot of people are, you know, still facing a lot of hard times. So I think everything is toned down a little bit.
I think you're going to see it's a glamorous celebration. I think it's a big night for her, for her family. And I know we're probably going to see an emerging designer. I mean that's really been her track record. There's not really one designer that she said, this is my guy. Kind of like even Hillary Clinton loved Oscar De La Renta and kind of stuck with a certain designer.
Michelle kind of goes and sees various designers. Lots of emerging talent. And chooses what she really responds to.
CHO: She does. And that most certainly when you think about style and you think about fashion, that will be her legacy.
CHO: Really supporting, propping up emerging American designers. People who really need that boost.
Wolf, back to you.
BLITZER: Yes, Alina, a quick question for both of you. How much of an impact has she really had on fashion, not just here in Washington, but across the country?
CHO: Well, what's extraordinary, I can just tell you one quick anecdote about that, Wolf, I spoke to Reed Krakoff who designed the outfit she wore yesterday to the swearing-in ceremony and just got off the phone with him again today. He told me what's extraordinary about Michelle Obama, more than any other celebrity, if you will, on the planet, is that he is really hearing from people around the world. I mean, that message is seen --
CHO: Around the world. Worldwide, people are watching it here on CNN. And, you know, by one estimate, her one appearance in a designer's clothes is worth $14 million. All of her public appearances for the year, worth $3 billion to the fashion industry.
KRESSLEY: Wow. Pretty remarkable stuff. And when you look at a moment like this, an important day in history, Wolf, you can bet it's far higher that price tag.
KRESSLEY: Right. And I think --
BLITZER: Alina, thank you so -- thank you so much.
Carson, we got to leave it right there -- Carson Kressley, Alina Cho, guys, thanks so very, very much.
That's the Dr. Martin Luther King float going right past the reviewing stand right now. The float's design featuring an image of Dr. King and a representation of his quote, "Out of the mountain of despair, a stone of hope," by Martin Luther King Jr. Float on this Martin Luther King Day.
And appropriate, appropriate float. As we watch what's going on. There's some -- there's the president. He's with some of the Tuskegee Airmen who are being honored right now.
Our own Fredricka Whitfield, by the way, her dad, a Tuskegee airman. One of the heroes of World War II. The African-American, the black aviators who went in, fought for all of us against the Nazis in Europe. Did brilliantly, even though they got inferior equipment. They really managed to become heroes for all of us. So they're being well recognized, as they should be.
KATE BOLDUAN, CNN ANCHOR: And a very special moment, President Obama spending time with them. I do notice, if you turn around, it does appear as if the first lady, as well as Malia and Sasha have gone back into that and they've gone into the residence. They seem to have left the reviewing stand. So the president is there. But you also see the Vice President Biden and his family all still there as well.
BLITZER: Looks like they've definitely gone back into the White House. Maybe they'll come back out. Maybe they're getting ready for all the balls and all the parties tonight.
BOLDUAN: You do need -- I mean, ladies need a little bit more time to get ready.
BLITZER: And you heard Alina Cho and Carson Kressley, everybody is wondering, and I know you are. What dress she'll be wearing tonight. reviewing stand. So the president is there. You also see the Vice President Biden and his family all still there as well.
Looks like they've definitely gone back into the White House. Maybe they'll come back out. Maybe they're getting ready for all the balls, for all the parties tonight.
JIM ACOSTA, CNN NATIONAL POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes.
BOLDUAN: Did you need -- I mean, ladies need a little bit more time to get ready for tonight.
BLITZER: And as you heard Alina Cho and Carson Kressley, everybody is wondering, and I know you are, Jim Acosta.
BLITZER: What dress she'll be wearing tonight, who the designer is.
ACOSTA: I'm very curious about that. But, Wolf, I also think it is something to just pause and look at this moment that we're watching right now. President Obama greeting the Tuskegee Airmen there. There's a float honoring their achievements here as well. There's a strong civil rights theme running through this parade.
BLITZER: As there should be.
ACOSTA: Yes, as there should be. And it is worth taking one last look at that on this Inauguration Day.
BLITZER: It's a lot of history right there.
ACOSTA: It's something else.
BLITZER: A ton of history as we're watching what's going on. We'll take another quick break, resume our special coverage right here in THE SITUATION ROOM.
BLITZER: The Boston Crusaders Drum and Bugle Corps from Boston, Massachusetts, founded in 1940. The third oldest junior drum and bugle corps in the nation. Proud to be a founding member of the Drum Corps International. They come all the way from Boston to watch what's going on.
Lisa Sylvester is watching what's going on as well.
Lisa, what are you seeing?
LISA SYLVESTER, CNN CORRESPONDENT: You know, Wolf, we just saw the Grambling State University marching band passes and the crowd, you can feel the excitement here. Also the Tuskegee Airmen. They also have a float. And those are some of the items that are going to be heading your way. So there's a lot of fun. And, you know, a number of people here, some of the folks left, but there are a lot of people who just are sticking around. You know, for this, obviously the highlight was seeing President Obama.
But this is quite a show that they're putting on. And people sense that. And, you know, there is a sense of history. We talked to a number of people. We went out. Talked to people along the parade route and asked them why do they want to come out. Some of those people were here four years ago and decided now to come back, four years later. It's obviously a little warmer than it was four years ago.
But -- and so that's a very nice thing. You see that the sun has now set on the capitol. People are still out here and the excitement is just continuing on as we go on. Even though, you know, it's getting dark.
You see it there, Wolf and Kate, it's getting dark, but still people are being hanging out because there's a sense that this is a moment in time, a moment in history. That's something that we kept on hearing again and again.
I should make a mention, as we see President Obama there, and we saw earlier his two daughters with their iPhones taking pictures. And that's something that we have seen a lot. Where people are using technology. You know, I was out on the parade route four years ago. And so comparing four years ago to now, you see people even with their iPads out. They're recording the entire thing.
So there are a lot of people who are going to have a piece of history recorded for themselves with their iPhones, with their iPads, tweeting out these pictures. So that's one of the big differences that we saw four years back -- Wolf.
BLITZER: Lisa, the civil rights float, you saw that, this is the Lesbian And Gay Band Association, a national music organization comprised of concert and marching bands from cities across America. That makes up a network of lesbian and gay bands. Their participation in the 2009 Inaugural Parade marked the first time that an openly gay and lesbian group had been invited to march in an inaugural parade -- for the inaugural parade. The band will include up to 280 musicians from 27 states and the District of Columbia.
And earlier today, Kate, you did hear the president -- I want to bring Kate in for a second, Lisa. The president did make a very powerful statement calling for equal rights for gay and lesbians, including the right to marry.
BOLDUAN: It was really a historic statement.
SYLVESTER: And you bring up a good point.
BLITZER: Go ahead, Lisa.
SYLVESTER: I was just saying that you bring up a good point, which is diversity. You know, as you go through, whether it's this particular band that we're seeing right now, the Gay and Lesbian Association Band, or whether you see Native Americans, or we saw, you know, the state of Hawaii represented with two schools. Obviously, the home state of President Obama, both Punahou and Kamehameha.
But you have seen just in terms of the diversity, in terms of the states that are represented here, but also in terms of a cultural diversity. We saw the Chinese-American folklore dancers. So that's the theme that you're going to continue to see as this parade continues on -- Wolf and Kate.
BLITZER: It's an interesting development. And the line that the president said, Kate, you have it there.
BOLDUAN: In his inaugural speech today, in referencing gay rights, he said, "Our journey is not complete until our gay brothers and sisters are treated like anyone else under the law. For if we are truly created equal, then surely we -- then surely the love we commit to one another must be equal as well."
An historic statement to be made on a very big stage.
ACOSTA: And an historic change of position on the part of the president.
ACOSTA: He did not start of his presidency feeling that way about that particular issue. He's evolved over the course of his presidency. And he feels the rest of the country will come along with him.
BLITZER: He now fully -- he fully supports gay marriage in the United States. And you see the vice president and the president, they are still there. They're watching this parade continue to unfold.
Up next, by the way, after the Lesbian and Gay Band Association, Native American Women Warriors. They will be recognized. They will be celebrated as well. Here they come. There they are.
Native American Women Warriors from Pueblo West, Colorado. This is the first recognized all Native women veteran color guard to be marching and dressed in traditional jingle dresses as they're called with accessories of beadwork and feathers.
A lovely, lovely cultural moment here at this inaugural parade.
BOLDUAN: And following that, a town that we have heard a few times before. In referencing the White House. The Little Rock, Arkansas Central High School Band. They're up next.
BLITZER: A historic high school. In 1957, the high school saw the Little Rock Nine. And it is now an historic site. Nine African- American students, persistence in attending the formerly all-white Central High School. It was the most prominent national example of the implementation of the 1954 Supreme Court decision Brown versus Board of Education.
The Little Rock Central High School marching band.
BOLDUAN: An impressive band, Wolf. They should all become fundraisers. The Little Rock students accomplished a huge task. They raised $100,000 to make this trip in just three weeks.
BLITZER: Let's take another quick break. As we go to break, let's listen to the Little Rock Central High School band.
BLITZER: A tribute to the United States Air Force. They are beginning to walk by the president of the United States. The president honoring the U.S. Air Force and we should as well.
The men and women of the United States Air Force. The U.S. Air Force Academy, active companies, Color Guards, National Guards, reserve companies, they are all here as the president salutes the men and women of the U.S. Military, the Army, the Navy, the Air Force, the Marine Corps, and the Coast Guard. They will be honored as well.
You see the president saluting and applauding together with the vice president, chief of staff, the U.S. Air Force is there as well.
Up next, by the way, Kate, is the Grambling State University band. And we had a lot of fun with them last night.
BOLDUAN: I was going to say, you've already met them.
BLITZER: We did.
I love -- I love this Grambling State University band. You know what, we honored them last night on CNN. They came over to our National Mall location. Let's listen a little bit --
BOLDUAN: Let's -- don't forget.
BLITZER: -- as they go by the president.
There they go. The Grambling State University, world famous, Tiger marching band from Grambling, Louisiana. What an exciting moment that is. And this is the Tuskegee Airmen. The float from the Tuskegee Airmen.
BOLDUAN: Look at that.
BLITZER: The float is a tribute to the brave young men who were the first African-American military aviators in the U.S. Armed Forces. The float features a model of the North American P-51 Mustang that they flew so courageously and brilliantly during World War II.
BOLDUAN: And as we saw earlier, some of the Tuskegee Airmen are in the reviewing stand, are guests of President Obama. And it looks like he's turning around right now to honor them.
BLITZER: And I'm so proud that Fredricka Whitfield, our own -- her dad a Tuskegee Airman.
BOLDUAN: That's right. One of our colleagues.
BLITZER: Yes. I'm so excited about that. These are real American heroes and we salute them for what they did, pioneers, courageous in every step of the way.
BOLDUAN: Such an amazing story. Such an amazing story.
BLITZER: But did I ever tell you, Jim Acosta, that when I was at (INAUDIBLE) West senior high school outside of Buffalo, New York, I, too, was in the marching band?
BLITZER: Did you know that?
ACOSTA: What instrument? What instrument?
BOLDUAN: I have to tell you what I actually did.
BLITZER: Did you know that?
BOLDUAN: I don't know how to take this news. I'm not --
BLITZER: Releasing this information for the first time.
ACOSTA: Happening now.
ACOSTA: Full disclosure from Wolf Blitzer.
BLITZER: Baritone saxophone.
BOLDUAN: I see you as a baritone saxophone kind of guy.
BLITZER: Really bad. Really bad.
BOLDUAN: That's OK. It's OK.
ACOSTA: It's a good thing because maybe you might not be sitting here with us right now.
ACOSTA: Had you turned out to be a great saxophone player.
BLITZER: Now you know why I love these marching bands.
Because I relate. These are my people.
BOLDUAN: These are your people. You just wish you could just be them some day.
BOLDUAN: You know? Some day.
BLITZER: I was a really bad baritone saxophone player. But I enjoyed the march. I --
ACOSTA: It must have been so cold, you know, your lips were probably freezing to --
BLITZER: No. We do this when it's summertime.
ACOSTA: This is in the summertime. OK.
BOLDUAN: Now --
ACOSTA: That makes sense.
BOLDUAN: Now we're seeing that's actually Senator Max Baucus. This is the Montana delegation.
BOLDUAN: Montana senators, congressmen and governor will be joined by members of their staff and family to march in this inaugural parade.
Senator Max Baucus, a very important senator. Chairman of the Senate Finance Committee. He'll be very important this coming term if we do move towards any tax reform measures.
Senator John Tester since 2007, who's just looking at all of the members of the delegation that are here and there we're finally seeing more of those some 200 animals we've been hearing so much about.
ACOSTA: You can mark four off the list. (LAUGHTER)
ACOSTA: And Senator Tester is glad to be in this parade. He got re- elected so --.
BOLDUAN: After a tough, tough reelection battle, that's for sure.
BLITZER: This is the Wind River Dancers, the Wind River Indian Reservation from Wyoming. They've come all the way from Wyoming. They're here to honor al of us with their performance.
BOLDUAN: Look at that.