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Obama: "We are Made for This Moment"; GOP Criticizes Inaugural Speech; First Lady Fashion; Sundance in Full Swing; Great White Shark off NC Coasts

Aired January 22, 2013 - 05:30   ET




BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Seneca Falls and Selma and Stonewall --


CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN ANCHOR: From civil rights to gay rights, President Barack Obama sets his radar on civil liberties for all Americans.

JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: Plus, the most anticipated red dress of the decade. Heck, I'm going to go with ever. First Lady Michelle Obama is a hit at the Inaugural Ball.

ROMANS: And a cue to Jaws theme song. That's right. We're tracking a great white shark off the East Coast of the United States right now. That story is straight ahead.

Welcome back to EARLY START. I'm Christine Romans. I'm in for Zoraida today. She's going to join us live from the Sundance Film Fest in just a few minutes.

BERMAN: She is so lucky. I'm John Berman. It is 30 minutes past the hour right now. President Obama serving up his vision for his second term. It was an 18, 19-minute inaugural address on Martin Luther King Day. He mentioned pivotal civil rights struggles of the past.


OBAMA: We, the people, declare today that the most evident of truths that all of us are created equal is the star that guides us still, just as it guided our forebearers through Seneca Falls and Selma and Stonewall.


BERMAN: He also laid out his vision for the future advancing gay rights, tolerance towards illegal immigrants, preserving social welfare programs, and stopping climate change. He specifically singled that out. White House correspondent Dan Lothian, he was in Washington for the whole thing. And Dan, the President's speech spoke a lot about our common heritage. It made a lot of historical references, the constitution and declaration of independence. Do you think those references resonated?

DAN LOTHIAN, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Well, the President certainly hopes that they resonate. You know, the President referring to two giants that he reveres, Abraham Lincoln, Martin Luther King Jr. He often quotes from them. So his speech was very much rooted in the past, but he tried to move it forward and make it relevant in the present.


OBAMA: We have always understood that when times change, so must we. That fidelity to our founding principles requires new responses to new challenges. That preserving our individual freedoms ultimately requires collective action.


LOTHIAN: Now, John, the President delivered his speech in a much different climate than he faced four years ago when he came into office then. He was dealing with two wars. He was facing the financial crisis. This time, the President was really looking forward, trying to piece together his agenda, a progressive agenda for the next four years -- John.

BERMAN: You know, the President made some history in his speech, the first ever real reference to gay rights in an inauguration. He singled out climate change by name and actually got more ink than almost any other issue in the speech. What's the significance of specifically mentioning these issues?

LOTHIAN: Well, you know, these are things that the President did not really deal with a lot in his first term. Yes, he did evolve on the issue of gay marriage, but things like climate change, you did not hear a lot about that at all. There were Hispanics who were not very happy with the President because he had made big promises about immigration reform in his first term.

That is something that he was not able to do. So, what the President is essentially doing is setting the table to deliver on some of these things that he was not able to do in his first term. Take a listen.


OBAMA: Our journey is not complete until our gay brothers and sisters are treated like anyone else under the law.


OBAMA: For if we are truly created equal, then surely the love we commit to one another must be equal as well.


LOTHIAN: And again, that reference getting a lot of attention because it's believed that that is the first time that a president has talked about gay rights in an inauguration speech -- John.

BERMAN: Now, it is not a universally popular speech though, Dan, as you can imagine. He's receiving some criticism, the President is, from the right. You know, "The Wall Street Journal" calling the speech "We, the government."

LOTHIAN: That's right. You know, some Republicans yesterday did not want to be very critical because this was a very historic day, and they wanted to keep it very positive. They talked about this being a fresh start for the President, but you look at the "Wall Street Journal" and an op-ed piece this morning from Fred Barnes saying, quote, "President Obama wants more government."

"In his second inaugural address, he masked the message with phrases like "collective action" and doing things together, but these were standing euphemisms really for a bigger and more ambitious federal government. That's the unmistakable goal of his second term and his inaugural address that was devoted to his determination to achieve it."

So, everyone is looking and hoping for a new start for a lot of bipartisanship over the next four years, but clearly, I think you'll see some of the tones that rolled out in the first term.

BERMAN: So, where does that new start start? What do we expect today, tomorrow, the first few of weeks?

LOTHIAN: Well, you know, today starts with prayer service, and perhaps, that's need as the President faces the next four years. He heads to the national cathedral where you have an interfaith service where prayers are offered up not only for the President but also for the Vice President. This is tradition that dates all the way back to FDR, John.

BERMAN: All right. Dan Lothian in Washington, it's so nice to see you this morning. Thanks, Dan.

ROMANS: So as expected, style and fashion at the inaugural ceremonies did not disappoint one little bit. Here's CNN resident fashionista, Alina Cho.


OBAMA: Ladies and gentlemen, my better half and my dance partner, Michelle Obama.


ALINA CHO, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): If watching First Lady Michelle Obama's fashion choices is a sport, the inauguration is the Super Bowl, fashion's biggest prize. When Mrs. Obama emerged in a ruby red chiffon and velvet gown, the fashion world was atwitter. Who designed it? The world now knows, the answer is Jason Wu, again. This response from Wu on Twitter, #inshock! shows he was just as surprised this time as he was four years ago.

CHO: Take me to that moment where she walked out.

JASON WU, DESIGNER: I mean, I was screaming at the top of my lungs. I mean, I was like, that's me.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's really brilliant what she's done in keeping it a secret, I have to say, because in the previous administrations, while there was always interest in what the First Lady wore, it was never this kind of red carpet moment.

CHO: Red was definitely on her mind. This is an exclusive look at Jason Wu's sketch of the Obama gown. And clearly, there was something here that caught the First Lady's eye. In choosing Wu, she once again puts the Taiwanese-born designer who lives in New York on the biggest world stage.

Not to be forgotten, there was another outfit on display. The one the First Lady wore on inauguration morning. Her choice this time, coat and dress by American designer Thom Browne. We tracked him down at his hotel in Paris, celebrating the moment.

THOM BROWNE, DESIGNED MICHELLE OBAMA'S COAT & DRESS: You can never predict, you know, life to happen this way. And I'm just so fortunate. I'm so honored and so proud that she's -- she chose mine.

CHO: For this occasion, the 47-year-old designer chose fabric for the First Lady based on men's silk ties.

BROWNE: Well, I had an idea that the President would be wearing navy. So, I wanted to do something that would -- that she would look really good with him. And I chose a dark navy fabric which is actually a silk jacquard fabric that I have used in my men's collection.

CHO: For this designer, this moment represents name recognition, a potential for big business, and largely, he has one woman to thank.

BROWNE: Style coming from me is somebody that actually has that confidence to be able to be their own person and be that true individual that they are and I think she definitely will go down in history as that.


ROMANS: And that was our Alina Cho reporting. Clearly, the First Lady making her mark on fashion history. We're going to have the designer of First Lady Michelle Obama's dress as Jason Wu is live with Alina Cho in our 9:00 a.m. hour. So stay tuned for that.

BERMAN: Alina Cho owns fashion. She is fashion.

ROMANS: I know.

BERMAN: Crazy. All right. Thirty-eight minutes after the hour. The Sundance film festival is in full swing this week, and our own Zoraida Sambolin is live this morning in Utah -- in Utah. And she's going to tell us about some of the hottest movies this year and just how cold it is there out in Utah.


ROMANS: Much of Hollywood has migrated to the mountains of Park City, Utah for the Sundance Film Festival. This year, some high profiled documentaries are among the festival's hottest new films.

And our Zoraida Sambolin live in Park City with a look at this year's festival. Good morning.

ZORAIDA SAMBOLIN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Good morning to you. I'm really excited to be here. This is the 35th anniversary of Sundance. And where we are this morning, Christine, is actually on a balcony and we're overlooking where it all began. It's hard to see at this hour of the morning. It is exactly 3:42 in the morning here, but the Egyptian, the theater, is right over my left shoulder.

And that's where this all got started 35 years ago. So, let me set the scene for you. I have some pictures to show you. Around 45,000 people have come and gathered here. It's a ten-day festival. It's really hard to get in and out of here because the crowds are just incredible. Even when I was headed in this morning at a ridiculous hour of the morning, the crowds were still all over the place.

And, of course, there are a lot of celebrities. And I have the pleasure of meeting a little bit later Shia LaBeouf, Evan Rachel Wood, Nicole Kidman is in the crowd as well. And there are a lot of parties. We had an opportunity to go to one, and I want you to share this with Berman, because we are going to be looking at the film "Linsanity." Take a look at this.

BERMAN: "Linsanity," Jeremy Lin, that is very exciting.

SAMBOLIN: Oh, Berman, you made it back! You made it back. I'm so excited, because I'm actually going to have a chance to sit down with Jeremy Lin's brother, Josh, and the guy who actually directed this film. And I'm doing this just for you because you're such a fan. Actually, I think it's me, right?


ROMANS: You know what's so interesting is half of the films at the Sundance this year, right, Zoraida, are directed by women.

SAMBOLIN: Yes. It's a really big deal. You know, a lot of the women here we've been talking to them, they've met -- these are filmmakers, they're directors, they're actors, and they say, you know what, this is really great that we're talking about this, right? That we finally have reached parody. It is almost 50 percent of the films. But they said that this is really going to be a story when, in fact, it's no longer a story, and it's just commonplace.

So, let me share some more details with you. I'm cheating here because there's so much information. A 119 films from 32 different countries are going to be viewed here. And one of the things that people are talking is about women in film, and we're going to have a chance to visit with a lot of women. One of the films that is directed by a woman is "Austenland."

This film is getting a lot of buzz here at Sundance. It not only has a female director that is Jerusha Hess -- the producer is Stephenie Meyer of "Twilight" fame -- and the film is generating so much buzz. It's a romantic comedy about a 30 something-year-old woman played by Keri Russell who is obsessed with all things Jane Austen. She ends up visiting an Austen themed British resort. The owner is played by actress, Jane Seymour, and we had a chance to catch up withher.


JANE SEYMOUR, ACTRESS: I think the idea of an "Austenland," a place where you can really go back in time and I can imagine people wanting to do that. They did it nicely. I don't think (ph) you want to miss Mrs. Wattlesbrook there. She's -- my character is a bit mean.


SAMBOLIN: And we have a little bit of good news to share with you for Austen. Sony Pictures Classic just announced a deal for them, and they will release the film in the summer. It is one of the first breakout films of the Sundance Film Festival. And of course, we're going to continue to watch them all for you. I'm sure there are going to be many more.

ROMANS: All right.

SAMBOLIN: John and Christine.


ROMANS: It sounds like a really fun assignment. Zoraida Sambolin, have a good time. Have a very nice time.

BERMAN: So fabulous. She fits right in to the fabulousness of Sundance.

ROMANS: I know. I was saying, she's so Hollywood.


BERMAN: By the way, it's 20 degrees warmer than where it will be in New York City today. So, no one cry for Zoraida Sambolin.

Forty-five minutes after the hour right now. And if you needed something else to worry about this morning, a great white shark is hanging out off the east coast. We're going to track this beast for you and we'll have that story after the quick break.


ROMANS: Forty-eight minutes past the hour. Let's get you up to date on news making headlines this morning.

An emboldened President Obama plays encourager in chief, telling the American people, we are made for this moment. During his 18-minute inaugural speech on Martin Luther King Day, he made mention of several pivotal civil rights battles, Seneca Falls, Selma, and Stonewall. And he got his biggest cheer after talking about advancing gender equality and gay rights.

How is this for a wake-up call? A woman from St. George, Utah is lucky to be alive this morning after a large boulder came crashing through her bedroom. This happened early Saturday morning. Wanda Denhalter (ph) suffered a broken jaw, a broken sternum and leg injuries. Wanda and her husband was not home at the time and are now staying at a motel after a geologist warned them that the cliff above their rented home appears to be unstable.

A surfer found himself stuck between a rock and hard place Monday in San Francisco. That's right. Somehow, yes, he ended atop seal rock off ocean beach. Rescue crews couldn't reach him by boat. So, the surfer had to carefully, carefully jump into the water where coast guard swimmers were waiting below.

The surfer was not injured, then paddled over to the rescue boat. A terrifying few moments, no doubt, for that surfer.


BERMAN: One lucky. We got another ocean story for you right now. Teeth like razors and big enough to bite you in half. A massive great white shark is right off the coast of North Carolina's Outer Banks right now. We're going to show you a picture of her in September. Incredible video from a group called OCEARCH pulling her out of the water near Cape Cod.

They tag her with a tracker, let her go and they nicknamed her Mary Lee. Now, we first told you about Mary Lee less than two weeks ago. At the time, OCEARCH at tracked her within 200 yards of Jacksonville Beach of Florida. They had to call and warn the people of Jacksonville she was so close to the beach, and she's been a very busy girl since then.

Mary Lee has traveled hundreds of miles north, and now, she's very close to North Carolina's Outer Banks near Cape Hatteras. You can follow her any time you want. Just go to OCEARCH's website. It is fascinating to see how she moves.

Chris Fischer is the founder of OCEARCH. He's been calling authorities when Mary Lee gets too close for comfort. Now, it seems a little too close for comfort off the coast of North Carolina, Chris.

CHRIS FISCHER, FOUNDER, OCEARCH: Yes, yes. Good morning, John. I was shocked again yesterday when she was very near a place called Ocracoke, North Carolina. And now, she's rounded Cape Hatteras. Just phenomenal to see her movements throughout the southeast. She's shocking all of us, I think, including the scientists. Just, in the last week, she's moved from Charleston up the beach to Myrtle Beach. She's rounded Cape Fear, Cape Lookout, and is now at Cape Hatteras. You know, really expecting her to turn back south. It's a little bit too early in the winter for, I guess, a snow shark to be heading north.

We feel like she'll head south again, but really, no one knows. This is the first time we've ever been able to do this ever.

BERMAN: Now, part of what you do is, again, warn people when the sharks you track get too close to shore. Why do you do that and how close did she get this time?

FISCHER: Well, I mean our primary purpose in this is research, to figure out where they're breeding and where they're giving birth to protect those areas. But come on, when you have the kind of data, when a 16-foot mature white shark that's over 3,500 pounds comes close to a populated area, I feel an obligation to call.

Yesterday, she was very close to Ocracoke, North Carolina, either right on the beach right in front of it or actually inside the sound nearby. A few hours later, she popped out offshore, but she was very near there. And so, I did pick up the phone again yesterday, called authorities, and it was an amusing experience calling the authorities there.

They were very excited about it. And he said, well, you're calling me just to tell me there's a big shark off the beach or do I need to do something? And I'm like, no, just calling to tell you there's a big shark off the beach. They went about handling their own business there.

BERMAN: Is it unusual for a shark to move like this and why do you think Mary Lee might be doing it?

FISCHER: Well, you know, I was thinking about that last night. And when we captured Mary Lee off Chatham Cape Cod, a coast guard helicopter was hovering over a massive shark coming out of the bay there. And about 45 minutes later, we actually saw Mary Lee at our research vessel and tagged her.

I was thinking about that last night, because when you look at her track over the past two weeks from Jacksonville Beach which you mentioned earlier all the way to where she is now off Cape Hatteras, she's been exploring the coast and going in and out and very near a lot of estuaries and river mouths.

So, I think this is quite common for Mary Lee. She seems to like those kind of estuary river mouth areas where as Jeannie is off the coast of Savannah about 40 miles off the beach, and that's where I think we all thought Mary Lee and Jeannie would be probably exploiting opportunities while northern white whales are giving birth, but Mary Lee, clearly, is coastal.

We're wondering if she's looking for seals off there off Cape Hatteras. You know, since the Marine Mammal Protection Act 40 years ago, a lot of our seal populations have begun to rebound and maybe Mary Lee is exploiting that up off the Cape Hatteras area now and Cape Cod when she's up there in the summer.

BERMAN: So, just one quickly for those just coming into the story. How did you give her the name Mary Lee again?

FISCHER: Yes. Mary Lee is named after my mom, you know?


FISCHER: And so, she's giddy about it. She's asking about her everyday. And Mary Lee really has become the rock star of sharks. She's probably the most famous fish that's ever lived now.

BERMAN: All right. Chris Fischer, thank you so much for keeping us up to speed on Mary Lee. It is fascinating to track her movements on the OCEARCH Web site. Great to see you again this morning.

ROMANS: And what an homage to your mother to name a big scary shark after mom.

All right. A packed hour ahead on EARLY START, including all the best and worst from Inauguration Day from the flubs to float (ph) and bangs to the bow ties and the celebs, a highlight reel that has everything covered for you.

And a football wife goes off on Twitter after the Patriots get bounced by the Baltimore Ravens. Apparently, she's tired of hearing about the retiring Ray Lewis and wants to remind people about his sketchy past.

But first, the littlest member of the first family stealing the show. Sasha Obama goes viral for a couple of adorable reasons. That's next.


BERMAN: Welcome back, everyone. Fifty-seven minutes after the hour. I'm John Berman alongside Christine Romans. We're taking a look at the top CNN Trends on the web this morning.

ROMANS: And you know, first kids do the darnedest things. It looks like Sasha Obama is not impressed with Daddy's speech. She was spotted yawning during the inaugural and that set off, of course, a flurry of tweets. We say, hey, she's 11. You know, cut her a break. But there was also this cute moment on Sunday after her father's official swearing in.

She congratulated him with a smile and picked up on the mic saying, "Hey, good job, Dad, you didn't mess up." I guess, she remembers from four years ago, right?

BERMAN: It was simply adorable. And then, of course, call it our moment of zen. It's the Kelly Clarkson photobomb. The former "Idol" winner was there to sing "My Country, 'Tis of Thee," and then, look who popped out from behind her.

(LAUGHTER) BERMAN: You can imagine the caption contest going on on the air today right now. Bill Clinton was there shaking hands with a lot of people. Big, big smile. I think Kelly Clarkson sang "America the Beautiful"

ROMANS: Oh, yes.

BERMAN: "O beautiful for spacious skies," and she was fantastic. Brought the house down.

ROMANS: Some post inaugural late night laughs now courtesy of Jon Stewart. Listen.


JON STEWART, HOST, "THE DAILY SHOW WITH JON STEWART": There were stars aplenty. Who better to spot them than "Good Morning, America" contractual hostage, George Stephanopoulos?



GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS, ABC HOST: Look at that crowd gathering now. That's Morgan Freeman, I think on the Capitol steps. Bill Russell, I'm sorry. Thank you.


STEWART: Now, George Stephanopoulos' defense, all tall people look alike to him.


STEWART: I see gray chins! I don't know!


STEWART: Still, for the rest of the morning, Stephanopoulos did a very good job. Right here, of course, we have Venus and Serena Williams coming out.


STEWART: Oh, look at there, there's Danny Glover --


STEWART: Oh, the dazzling Miss Halle Berry looking fine.


STEWART: Oh, look at that. There's General Colin Powell and his girlfriend, Motown great, Diana Ross.


STEWART: And here's a treat, NBA hall of famer, Bill Russell. Oh! The crowd loves him.



BERMAN: EARLY START continues right now.