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Jason Bellini: 'Security ... is tighter
than it's ever been before'

Jason Bellini  

January 17, 2001
Web posted at: 2:28 PM EST (1928 GMT)

Student News Archive

CNN NEWSROOM reporter Jason Bellini is in Washington covering the inauguration and transition of power from the Clinton to the Bush administrations. Bellini discusses the changes afoot with

CNNfyi: What's the atmosphere like in Washington?

Jason Bellini: D.C. is really humming right now. On the Hill, there are five confirmation hearings going on -- Washington is a city that's very hard at work. They're not waiting for the next president to move into the White House to get down to business.

CNNfyi: What kind of protests are officials expecting, and what will the protests be like?

Bellini: A lot of the preparations are going on behind the scenes. For one, it's hard to know how many protesters are going to show up. Security, I am told, is tighter than it's ever been before.

I spoke with some protest leaders who told me they think this will be the biggest protest on Washington since the civil rights march led by Martin Luther King Jr. Protest leaders are sometimes prone to exaggeration, but it's fair to say they have high hopes. They told me they aren't going to engage in acts of civil disobedience -- it's more about street presence and visibility.

CNNfyi: What issues will the protesters be focusing on?

Bellini: The protests should cover a whole range of issues. They'll bring all sort of different people and issues together -- environmental, labor issues, abortion rights -- basically, the liberal groups who aren't very happy with the new Bush administration.

Of course, (attorney general designee John) Ashcroft is the center of attention right now. Many of the people who will be here protesting are enraged. The journalists I have spoken to, though, say the chances are good he'll be confirmed.

CNNfyi: Do you think the Democrats and Republicans will work together or drift further apart in the weeks and months to come?

Bellini: It's a strange time because both parties have pledged to work with one another -- both have pledged to get things done. But this whole confirmation process can be very divisive, especially with the Ashcroft hearing. Knowing if this is going to be a quarreling Congress or if they're going to work together -- that remains to be seen.

Ashcroft: 'I know the difference between enactment and enforcement'
January 16, 2001
Jonathan Karl: Ashcroft hearing first ideological battle of Bush presidency
January 16, 2001
Protest group sues for more access to inaugural parade
January 16, 2001
Inaugural protest group to file free speech suit
January 15, 2001
Senate panels opening hearings for Powell, Whitman- January 17, 2001
A teen guide to the Bush years
January 9, 2001

White House
Bush-Cheney transition
Presidential Inaugural Committee 2001

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