CNN CNN


 

Return to Transcripts main page

STARTING POINT WITH SOLEDAD O'BRIEN

President Delivers Second Inaugural Speech; Interview with Historian Doug Wead; First Lady's Fashion Choices Analyzed

Aired January 22, 2013 - 07:00   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


SOLEDAD O'BRIEN, CNN ANCHOR: Welcome, everybody. Our STARTING POINT this morning: making history. President Obama's second inaugural address, kind of a lot of firsts, including a mention of gay rights. We'll take a look at the impact of that speech.

And of course, all the incredible moments from the day and the night, including the First Lady's dresses. And the buzz on the Obama girls, Sasha and Malia.

JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR, "EARLY START": She sparked the investigation that led former CIA director David Petraeus to resign. Now, Jill Kelley is trying to clear her name from blackmail to extortion. We have exclusive details ahead.

CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN ANCHOR: And is 2013 the year of the house? Why home values expecting to go up.

O'BRIEN: Among our guests this morning, we're going to be talking to Richard Blanco, the inaugural poet, presidential historian Doug Wead will join us, Howard Kurtz, the host of CNN's "RELIABLE SOURCES" will join us with his exclusive interview of Jill Kelley, and former general James "Spider" Marks is with us. It's Tuesday, January 22, and STARTING POINT begins right now.

Good morning, everyone. Our STARTING POINT this morning, an emboldened President Obama playing encourager in chief, telling the American people we are made for this moment. It was an 18-minute long inaugural speech, coincided with Martin Luther King Jr. Day. He made several pivotal civil rights battles, Seneca Falls, Selma, Stonewall, talking about them, linking them all together, before talking about the next four years. White House correspondent Dan Lothian has some of the highlights for this morning. Hey, Dan, good morning.

DAN LOTHIAN, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Good morning, Soledad. This is a speech we're told the president had been working on since mid-December, and he delivered it rather in a much different climate than he had four years ago when he was dealing with two wars and also a financial crisis. This time the president used history to help define a progressive agenda for the next four years.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

LOTHIAN: And so it began, the second inaugural ceremony of President Barack Obama. Part campaign speech, part pragmatic lecture, a confident Mr. Obama appeared comfortable in his presidential skin. BARACK OBAMA, (D) PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: My fellow Americans, we are made for this moment, and we will seize so long as we seize it together.

(APPLAUSE)

LOTHIAN: The speech was rooted in history and fittingly on this holiday, Reverend Martin Luther King Jr.'s dream.

OBAMA: We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal.

LOTHIAN: The past made modern with first-time references to climate change, immigration reform, and sexual equality.

OBAMA: 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 the love we committed to one another must be equal as well.

(APPLAUSE)

LOTHIAN: Foreign policy absent from his address, though he heralded the end of a decade of war, and touted a recovering economy, and acknowledged the challenges still ahead.

OBAMA: The commitments we may to each other though Medicare and Medicaid and Social Security, these things do not sap our nation. They strengthen us.

LOTHIAN: The president mostly refrained from partisan jabs but appeared to single out his former GOP opponent Mitt Romney with this line.

OBAMA: They do not make us a nation of takers.

(SINGING)

LOTHIAN: Filling the air with patriotism, the voices of Kelley Clarkson and Beyonce.

(SINGING)

LOTHIAN: There was a poem and prayers. As he left the front of the capitol, a nostalgic president turned back toward the Lincoln Memorial.

OBAMA: I want to take a look one more time. I'm not going to see this again.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

LOTHIAN: Before the president gets back to work, he heads to the Washington national cathedral for an interfaith service for prayers to be offered up for the country and the president. It's a tradition that dates back to FDR. Soledad? O'BRIEN: Dan Lothian, thank you. For the night and parties at night, it was really party mode in the nation's capital, while the number of official parties was scaled back from 10 official parties four years ago to two official parties last night, there was no shortage of big stars and big moments, 21 acts, including Jennifer Hudson, Alicia Keys, Stevie Wonder, performed at two inaugural events.

Brianna Keilar is live in D.C. for us this morning. Good morning, Brianna.

BRIANNA KEILAR, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Good morning, Soledad. Yes, there were only two balls, but there were still tens of thousands of party goers who attended them. They took over the huge Washington convention center. And when it came to the entertainment, they were not disappointed.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

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

(APPLAUSE)

KEILAR: At the commander in chief's ball, Jennifer Hudson sang "Let's Stay Together" as the first couple danced the first dance of the new term. Mrs. Obama revealing she had chosen Jason Wu yet again to design the inaugural gown. Next, the Obama's appeared at the inaugural ball, where 30,000 people expected to attend.

This inaugural ball follows on a tradition started in 2009 to open up these events to every-day Americans. A ticket cost as little as $60 and got people an amazing lineup to entertainers Obama.

(SINGING)

KEILAR: Alisha keys tweaked a rendition of her famous song. Brad Paisley brought the country.

(SINGING)

KEILAR: And Stevie Wonder rocked down the house, while Jamie Fox serenaded the Bidens. There was also a special performance by Mexico's hottest rock band.

I'm here with Mena, winners of multiple Grammys and Latin Grammys. You have supported president Obama. So many Hispanic Americans came out for him. Why do you think that happened?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's very easy. Obama and the Democrats had the best option for the Latinos, immigration reform on the table, the Dream act. Latino -- the Latinos here in the United States are so powerful, and their voice needs to be heard. They need to be treated as first class citizens.

KEILAR: In addition to celebrities, campaign volunteers came from around the country. Kelley Jacobs traveled from Mississippi, literally wearing her support. How many sequins on your address?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It's 4,000 total, 2,000 each side.

KEILAR: These are all done by hand.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: They are antique shield sequins, I sewed them on.

KEILAR: A lot of work behind them and still ahead of them if they hope to help President Obama deliver on his second term. But last night, just time for a good party.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

KEILAR: And Soledad, the musical performances, I just can't tell you how wonderful they were. They were fantastic. I wish you could have been there. But it was a pretty late night. Things wrapped up 1:00 a.m. well into the evening.

O'BRIEN: I had a chance to go to one of the balls. I remember seeing you reporting late into the night. We thank you for that. The people at the balls talking about what the first lady was wearing. Alina Cho will talk to us about the dress, the dress which was designed once again by Jason Wu. She'll break down the inaugural fashions straight ahead this morning. And a look at Jason's original sketches for the first lady too.

Meanwhile, it looks like Sasha not so impressed by her daddy's speech. She was spotted yawning during the inaugural address that set off a flurry of tweets, and a very cute moment on Sunday after her father's traditional swearing in where she congratulated her dad with a smile and said, good job, dad. You didn't mess up. She remembers what happens four years ago. The event a little bit of a stumble. So cute to watch those girls grow up in the public eye and Michelle Obama says normalcy is her goal to have kids who are good, regular sweet kids. It seems like they have really done that job well.

BERMAN: I think the moment said it all in the reviewing stand watching the parade. And the two girls with their cell phones snapping pictures of the parade, and their parents, forcing them to kiss, just like any kids would. That's what you do when your family has a big day. You take pictures of it. This is about as big of a day as you can have.

ROMANS: Millions of people watch them watch their parents,all the cameras on them. At the same time, they have lived under a microscope all these years. It's fascinating to watch them grow into young women.

O'BRIEN: It's a tough age to grow into young women in front of the nation, 11 and 14. We have kids, we know how challenging those ages can be. I'm sure having grandma in has helped a lot. Shaping family values and helping the girls connect to their family.

I want to get to Doug Wead, the author of "The Raising of a President, the Mothers and Fathers of our Nation's Leaders." He's a presidential historian. Great to have you with us.

DOUG WEAD, PRESIDENTIAL HISTORIAN: Thank you.

O'BRIEN: Give a little sense, in the sale of looking at the sense of the Obama girls as opposed to some of the struggles that some of the other president's daughters have had, it seems like, knock on wood, so far, so good.

WEAD: So far, so good. The real trauma for a presidential child is not the period in the White House. The real trauma is establishing an identity separate from the parent. The child can even be born after the White House. John Tyler had several children born after he left the White House and yet they experienced the same phenomenon. Their upbringing, their life, will not be normal. You try your best to make it normal as the first lady says.

O'BRIEN: They are under a microscope, and also today, the president's inaugural speech, people picking through. Some people loved it. Some people said it did not extend an olive branch. What did you think?

WEAD: I was surprised it was as ideological as it was. We really won't know for a long time. The future writes the past. So I think it will be very memorable. Both of his speeches will be memorable. The first because he is the first African-American elected. He used language interesting to me, that we owe a lot to our founding documents. He referred a lot to the founding documents, not a lot to the founding documents, because the founding documents say all men are created equal. The founding fathers owned slaves.

(LAUGHTER)

O'BRIEN: It's a process ever since. Let's play a little bit about what he said. I think the constant looking back to the constitution was a very strong theme in his speech yesterday. Let's play that.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

OBAMA: We hold these truths to be self-evident. That all men are creating equal, that they are endowed by their creator with certainly unalienable rights, and among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

O'BRIEN: And with that, he sort of launched into not an olive branch, he launched into here is the preparation for the fight ahead for the next four years. Is that how you saw it?

WEAD: I saw it almost a campaign speech for 2014. We need Congress, need to get this thing done. Yes, I saw it that way.

And it's very interesting. The Republicans and Democrats are both in this death embrace. They each have their own constituents, throwing a lot of money at them on both sides, Republicans, corporate cronies and friends. And on the Democrat side, it's the C-4s and C-3s, the poor which need help from the government. But I notice the president -- he had a line in his speech where he said every job -- the nation needs to find a decent wage for every worker. Really? You know, there is supply and demand. There is a new role for government, and it's a more active role.

O'BRIEN: Is that a role for government, or could that be read, that is the American dream, that is the promise of America, which is people who come from nothing in a generation can become something, which is, as you well know, very unusual in many other countries. America is the place where that story is possible and elsewhere it's really not.

WEAD: That's right. And I guess you could interpret it either way, and that's the debate. That's the debate. Will it be the role of government or supply and demand and the natural market?

WEAD: Doug Wead is author of "The Raising of a President, the Mothers and Fathers of our Nation's Leaders." Thank you for joining us.

Let's get right to John Berman who has a look at some of the other stories making news this morning.

BERMAN: Thank you, Soledad.

It is the testimony many Americans have been waiting months to hear. Tomorrow Secretary of State Hillary Clinton will testify about the attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi that killed four Americans, including Ambassador Chris Stevens. Secretary of state Clinton was scheduled to testify last month, but was delayed after a concussion and later a blood clot that sent her to the hospital.

The family of one of the three Americans killed in the Algerian hostage crisis last week will have a news conference at 11:00 a.m. eastern. They say Victor Lovelady felt 100 safe working at the gas facility over in Algeria.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Nothing had happened there in so long, and my friend has been doing it so long, and it's fine there, so safe. He had protection, and he really truly felt safe there.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BERMAN: Lovelady's daughter Erin says she wants everyone to know what a great dad Victor was and how much he will be missed.

(WEATHER BREAK)

O'BRIEN: Ahead this morning, she sparked the investigation that forced David Petraeus to resign. Up next Jill Kelley trying to clear her name in an exclusive interview.

Plus he made history as the first gay and Hispanic inaugural poet. Richard Blanco talks about the inspiration of his inaugural poem called "One Day."

First we leave you with Kelley Clarkson singing "My Country 'tis of Thee."

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

(SINGING)

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

O'BRIEN: Welcome back, everybody. She is the woman that tipped off the FBI to anonymous e-mails that led to the downfall of former CIA director David Petraeus. Jill Kelley gives an exclusive interview to Howard Kurtz of "The Daily Beast." Also he's the host of "RELIABLE SOURCES" on CNN.

Here's what we know. Kelley went to the FBI when she got harassing e- mails traced back to Paula Broadwell. The investigation revealed that Petraeus was having an affair with Broadwell. And then it looked into Jill Kelley and another high ranking military leader General John Allen. Those messages were described as potentially inappropriate. It was a big scandal. Lots to get to this morning. Howard Kurtz, whose exclusive interview with Jill Kelley just posted on the "Daily Beast" website, is with us this morning. Hey, Howie, nice to see you.

HOWARD KURTZ, CNN HOST, "RELIABLE SOURCES": Good morning, Soledad.

O'BRIEN: She talks to you blackmail, threats. Lay those out for us. Specifically what was being black mailed? What kind of threats was Jill Kelley getting from Paula Broadwell?

KURTZ: It was a very emotional interview. Jill Kelley talked about the nightmare her life has become and everything changed when they started receiving those anonymous e-mails we know were from Paula Broadwell. She used words, Jill Kelley, like "blackmail" and "extortion." She said she was terrified. She wouldn't tell me the exact nature of the threats. I didn't get to see the e-mails. She felt she had no choice but to protect herself and her family by going to the FBI that started the chain of events that you referenced.

O'BRIEN: And that chain of events led to a huge impact, headline news everywhere. Let's play a little bit of how that news came out.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Two of the top military men of their generation have been brought low by their acquaintance with Jill Kelley.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Exchanged thousands of emails with General John Allen. An official called them the equivalent of phone sex over e- mail.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Known by some detractors as name droppers and social climbers.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Honey, you were dishonored long ago.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

O'BRIEN: What did she tell you about the impact of the media, much of it negative, had on her?

KURTZ: Jill Kelley told me this wrenching story of having a birthday party for her seven-year-old daughter, a couple of days after this story exploded, Soledad, in the media, and how 70 paparazzi on her front lawn, she felt like her entire family life had been disrupted. She called this a nightmare. She had been living a nightmare, blames the media for reporting lies and half-truths. Of course she hasn't spoken until now, so it's hard to get her side.

She says she has never met Paula Broadwell and that she couldn't even tell because of what she calls the threatening e-mails were ambiguously worded that these were from a woman and that there was any jealously involved over her friendship, as she calls it, with David Petraeus.

O'BRIEN: There seems to be conflict about the number of e-mails sent back and forth with General Allen. She talks about hundreds in her interview with you. Investigators talked about 30,000 pages of documents. So it's a little bit apples and oranges. But it seems to be a big discrepancy.

KURTZ: Among other discrepancies in this crazy saga, yes. She calls the 30,000 e-mail figure outrageous. Perhaps more important than the actual numbers is while unnamed government officials have been quoted in various media accounts as saying they were flirtatious, sexy, likened to phone sex, Jill Kelley says they were tame e-mails with General Allen who was in Kabul. They were only friends.

And here's a telling point that came out. All the e-mails she sent and received to John Allen were done on an e-mail account that she shares with her husband, which kinds of suggests that maybe they weren't so super-secret after all.

O'BRIEN: But the fact that she wouldn't show them means that maybe they are somewhat secret.

KURTZ: That's true. The jury is still out.

O'BRIEN: We'll talk a little bit more about this as we dig into the story, the legal angle, military angle, media angle. Lauren Ashburn will be with us, the editor in chief of "The Daily Download." General James "Spider" Marks is going to be with us and former prosecutor Sunny Hostin will join us as well to talk about this story.

Coming up next, we'll talk about the detail of the dress. Alina Cho talks to designer Jason Wu and joins us with the details, ahead.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

O'BRIEN: Welcome back, everybody. Fair to say that it was the moment in fashion that everybody was waiting to see, who and what Michelle Obama would wear to the inaugural ball. For the second time at both inaugurations the first lady chose Jason Wu. Alina Cho has more for us.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

(APPLAUSE)

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

ALINA CHO, CNN FASHION CORRESPONDENT: If watching first lady Michelle Obama's fashion choices 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 surprised this time as he was four years ago.

Take me to the moment where she walked out.

JASON WU, DESIGNER: I was screaming at the top of my lungs, that's me! It's really brilliant what she's done in keeping a secret. In previous administrations, while there was always interest in what the first lady wore, there was never this read 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, DESIGNER: You can never predict life to happen this way, and I'm so fortunate, so honored that she chose mine.

CHO: The 47-year-old designer chose fabric based on men's silk ties.

BROWNE: I had an idea that the president would be wearing Navy, and I wanted to do something where she would look really good with him. And I chose a dark Navy tie, which 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: A style icon for me is somebody who has the confidence to be able to be their own person and be the true individual that they are, and I think she definitely will go down in history as that.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

CHO: I am sure style-wise that will be her legacy. As for Jason Wu, he told "Women's Wear Daily," "Mrs. Obama likes to keep her secrets. He surprised me again. She's really good at it." And he said he thought after four years in office the country was ready to see a confident first lady in red. It just felt right.

I have to say, and Soledad, I'm sure you can relate as well as a woman, and you as a man as well. When you are getting dressed, you just want to feel great for the night. And in the end, you know, a lot of people thought, wow, I can't believe she gave Jason Wu a chance again on a big stage.

O'BRIEN: How did the dress look? That was going to be the dress.

CHO: Exactly. And I will speak with Jason Wu in the 9:00 hour of newsroom live. I will ask him was the second time just as sweet? I'm sure it was. That's coming up live.

O'BRIEN: Thank you.

They have been called the odd couple of politics. Up next, an in- depth look at the relationship between the vice president Joe Biden and President Obama and the deal they made to make things work.

Then kind of a sore loser on Facebook, the wife of a Patriots player blasts Baltimore's Ray Lewis on social media after Lewis' team beat them. Did she go too far? We'll take a look.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

O'BRIEN: Welcome back everybody. You're watching STARTING POINT. We begin with our team this morning Joe Nosef is with us, the chairman of the Mississippi Republican Party, former governor Phil Brennan is with us. He's on the steering committee for the campaign to fix the debt. Also we've asked "EARLY START" co-anchor John Berman to stick around, and Christine Romans is with us as well.

In just a few minutes we'll talk with Richard Blanco, the inaugural poet. We're going to look at Sundance with Zoraida Sambolin. First, though, John as a look at the day's top stories.

BERMAN: Thank you so much, Soledad.