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CNN LIVE EVENT/SPECIAL
Inaugural Festivities Continue; Special Inauguration Coverage
Aired January 20, 2005 - 15:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
WOLF BLITZER, CNN ANCHOR: But this, we believe, is the presidential limousine with the flag there that's beginning to emerge from Capitol -- from the Capitol and make its way over to the White House.
Barbara, you wanted to say something?
BARBARA KELLERMAN, PRESIDENTIAL HISTORIAN: Yes. I was just reflecting back on Kennedy and beautification. You're talking about beautification of the outside.
We didn't when we spoke of Kennedy and his inaugural speech and we spoke of the renewal and the hope. We didn't mention the entire idea of that family, the very beautiful wife, Jacqueline Kennedy, the very young children, her efforts to beautify the White House, which has since been repeated by several first ladies.
So, the fact that the White House and Washington more generally doesn't look as it did then is in no small part not only due to the president, as President Kennedy, but also to his wife and that whole turnover of generations.
BLITZER: The weather is cooperating for this historic day. And that's good news for everyone who has gathered. And there are tens of thousands of people who are along the sides of Pennsylvania avenue. There are bleachers that have been established.
At one point, though, they will go through a sanctioned area, where demonstrators are allowed to have their signs, make their views known. Our Bob Franken has been telling us about it. He is positioned there. They will get fairly close to the president, although you saw, Jeff, that long line of security, law enforcement personnel standing right up to the barricade that has been established in front of them. People aren't going to be allowed to get too close.
JEFF GREENFIELD, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: No. It's always been curious to me. Whenever I read a press report of demonstrators, they make a point of saying the president did not see the demonstrators. And it always sounds to me like some weird notion that if somehow the president glimpsed these demonstrators, he would melt, he couldn't take it.
But this is an inauguration. There are thousands of upon thousands of security people here. They are obviously charged, appropriately, with doing everything they can to protect the president. Whether that includes keeping the president from even seeing the demonstrators, I guess we're going to see in a few minutes.
KELLERMAN: Well, I was going to point that it's -- we're now using an oxymoron. That is, we're using the phrase authorized demonstrators, sanctioned protesters.
It seems to me that, again, I'm so old, I remember the days when protesters were neither sanctioned, nor authorized. Moreover, I remember when we knew exactly what they were protesting. Now, it's interesting, not once today in our use of the word protesters did we describe what most of the protesters are protesting against. It would appear to be the war. But it is not only the war.
So it's worth also remembering how, when we describe how things have changed, also the protests and the protesters have changed, as has our conception of them.
BLITZER: This is the motorcycle, the local Washington, D.C. Police. They are at the beginning of this motorcade. They're driving very slowly and they're now approaching this authorized area, where these demonstrators have gathered.
You see several lines of local law enforcement. These are State Troopers from Pennsylvania. Bob Franken told us earlier that have -- several deep, standing in front of these demonstrators, all of whom have gone through security, all of whom have gone through magnetometers, metal detectors. They're inside. They're allowed to bring their signs or posters, placards. And presumably, when the president goes by, they'll make their views known.
Bob also told us that they might turn their backs on the president as an act of protest. That's the beginning of the motorcade, where the motorcycles are and then the police cars will continue this whole parade. And the president in that limousine right there will follow.
The motorcade is driving very, very slowly, Jeff.
GREENFIELD: I guess so. Whether this is to let people look at them, I don't know. I mean, I always rely on you, Wolf, to tell us the speed of the motorcades, why they're moving slowly.
BLITZER: Look at the agents walking. They're walking pretty slowly. They're not even running. They're not walking very quickly. So this is a deliberate desire to let everybody on the sides have a chance to see what's going on, so they don't just rush by.
And, as we were told, the president can see out those windows. And people presumably can see in those windows as well. He's sitting in the back seat with the first lady and their daughters, the twin daughters, Barbara and Jenna.
As they continue down Pennsylvania Avenue, it's going to get a lot more crowded along the sides, especially where the formal bleachers have been erected. Those are seats that people have paid for. And strong contributors, strong supporters of the president, people who have worked really hard to get him reelected, they wanted to come here from all parts of the country to show their support and to express their happiness, how happy they are that he did get reelected.
Here, you see some of those bleachers, some of the people who have gathered outside all these federal buildings. They will be going past a lot of these federal buildings as they make their way to the White House.
GREENFIELD: Most of the route, you would need some kind of ticket to get in. It's not like a parade, like the Thanksgiving Day Parade, or where you sort of show up early enough and you get a seat.
But it is true. This is both a civic celebration and a political celebration. All over this town, later tonight, people will be getting ready to go to one of these nine inaugural balls. They will have spent an awful lot of money to get here. They will have spent an awful lot of money on their clothes.
And even though, Wolf, as you know, having been here a while, the inaugural balls can sometimes be composed mostly of waiting to check your coat, looking for something to drink, and then waiting to get your coat. These folks will go home to their towns and they will have an experience they simply will never forget, because they will have been part of this civic celebration and political celebration.
KELLERMAN: Yes. I think it's also worth pointing out, though, that, in the very early stages of this motorcade, the crowd is thin. If we get shots of who is lining the streets, the numbers at this point are not particularly large.
GREENFIELD: I wonder if that's because of the difficulty in getting there or whether it's the weather.
BLITZER: Well, it's a combination of both. The weather was very bad yesterday. Today, it's a lot better, but I'm sure that deterred some people from going outside.
We have a camera on a truck that is showing our viewers some of these pictures. We also have a reporter right in the middle of it, Tom Foreman. We're going to be talking with him shortly, getting his view from the middle of that motorcade to get a sense of what's going on.
But this is our CNN camera that is on this little flatbed truck that is in the motorcade, giving us this particular angle, this shot of the presidential motorcade as it slowly, very slowly, winds its way up Pennsylvania Avenue heading towards the White House.
Technologically, we have got some new gizmos, some new things that we're doing this time around that we haven't been able to do before, because the technology has simply improved, the miniaturization and the wireless capabilities that have been developed over these years. There, you can see some of the protesters along the side. You can also see some great supporters of the president who are very happy that this day has occurred. And we're going to show our viewers all of the angles, all of the different sides of this parade down Pennsylvania Avenue as it continues. That's quite a little motorcycle display at the beginning of this motorcade.
Judy Woodruff is right at the reviewing stand at the White House, where everything will wind up.
Judy, so far, anybody there?
JUDY WOODRUFF, CNN ANCHOR: Well, you're getting a pretty impressive and recognizable crowd building here, Wolf.
The crowd itself getting a little restless, but we've seen none other than Karl Rove, the president's chief political adviser, the man who really was the architect of George Bush's victory, along with the president himself. We've seen Karen Hughes, who John King talked to earlier.
I'm told that the Bush twins have arrived. So there is a crowd gathering. But I want to point out, along the route, these seats are paid seats. The reason you're not seeing, I think, any more of just a spontaneous standing crowd is, there just wasn't a whole lot of room left for those people.
If you want to watch this parade, you had to pay either $15 or $60 or $125 to get a seat. Best seats are right here along Pennsylvania Avenue as you get close to the White House. In fact, there was such a dispute about how little space there was for the public that it ended up in court this week in Washington. One of the judges in the District of Columbia was asking, why is there so little room along the parade route for just ordinary people?
BLITZER: Judy, I want to interrupt for a second. The presidential motorcade is about to go right in front of this sanctioned area where the protesters are. You see some signs opposing the president. And I guess the president, if he looks out the window, he'll see some of those demonstrators pretty soon, if not right now.
Judy, go ahead.
WOODRUFF: Yes, I was just saying, Wolf, that this -- it even ended up in court. It really was not resolved. There was no more space granted, the inaugural committee saying, well, we provided enough space. They were saying, we think up to 50,000, 60,000 people can show up. So, we'll look for that along the route today.
There are 40,000 people who have seats. And then you see the protesters here. You've all been talking about it. They all had to go through security themselves. In some cases, they waited hours to get through here.
The protest causes range from being against the war in Iraq to being against the president's policies on women's rights, abortion rights and so forth. So, they run the gamut. And it is -- you know, this parade, I guess you could say, like every inauguration, is in the eyes of the beholder. People who are here supporting George Bush say this is great. Everybody else you see behind those protest pens, they have a very different view of it.
BLITZER: And we have -- thanks to our camera that's right in the motorcade, we can show you some pictures of what the president will see or is seeing even right now as he's driving by these protesters, the signs, some of the angry signs railing against the president.
Jeff, this is a little unusual.
GREENFIELD: Well, I was thinking actually four years ago, the protesters were far greater in number and far more vociferous. There were some real dust-ups that happened. From what we're seeing so far, these protesters are not only smaller in number, but this is civil protest with a vengeance. There don't seem to be any kind of displays, except for a couple of signs we've glimpsed with some rather rude messages.
Most of these seem to be about the war. But I'm wondering whether or not the same restrictions that are keeping some of the supporters or celebrants away have kept some of the protesters away, because I just remember from four years ago, in fact, we saw signs in 2001 that said "Impeach Bush" that were being held up before he had ever been sworn in.
KELLERMAN: Well, also, if we go back to 1973, Wolf and Jeff, we can remember that protesters were actually throwing things at the presidential car. They were up to the maybe 60,000 or so. So, the numbers even in the relatively recent past have been far higher, and the nature of the protests far, far angrier than what we are seeing today.
BLITZER: If the president looks out his window, this is what he will see. These are some of the pictures, some of the images. You see -- you can read those signs, "Worst Ever," a picture of George W. Bush, "Guilty of War Crimes." These are some of the pictures that the president is about to see if he hasn't seen them yet. If he looks out of his window, that's what he will see.
And I would venture to say this is not -- if he's thinking at all of getting out of the limo and -- this would not be the right place to do that.
Bob Franken, you're there. Tell us what's going on.
BOB FRANKEN, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Wolf, as you're seeing, the crowd is probably about 10 deep now, people holding up their signs, booing just about anything that goes past. (INAUDIBLE) the crowds are being (INAUDIBLE) off with police who are three and four deep, several hundred, probably close to 1,000 (INAUDIBLE) to say nothing of all those who are in the parade going past.
So, what you have is a face-off. But it's been pretty much a polite day here (INAUDIBLE) just a moment ago. It seems that, for whatever reason, the crowd has been held down. Some of the organizers are saying one of the reasons is that it is so prohibitively difficult to get in past all the screening areas that people have to come in. Whatever the reason, they said the crowd here is somewhere probably...
BLITZER: All right, Bob, I'm going to interrupt you. We're having a little trouble hearing you. It is very noisy where you are.
Those State Troopers are from Pennsylvania. They're standing right in front of the sanctioned area, where protesters have been allowed to gather. They are there. And you see the local law enforcement, they're now shaking -- and they're becoming a little bit more agitated as the motorcade goes right in front of them. These are pictures from inside that motorcade. We have that camera right there. And, eventually, we'll speak with our Tom Foreman, who is there as well.
You see the limousine has picked up the pace a little bit. The agents are now jogging, as opposed to walking rather slowly. I don't know, Jeff, if that's the result that they want to get by those protesters or what's going on.
But, Tom Foreman, if you can hear me, tell our viewers where you are and what you're seeing.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Ladies and gentlemen, President George W. Bush and first lady Laura Bush.
TOM FOREMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: The street right now, I have to tell you, it has really been quite an experience for the past 200 yards here. The crowds of protesters are basically trying to outshout the crowds of Bush supporters. And it's going back and forth on both sides of the road.
In one moment, people are waving signs against the president, yelling against him. On the other side, you'll hear people shouting just as loudly and waving signs in support of the president. For all the talk of the control of the crowds around here, certainly people are being kept behind the barriers, but it's a very interesting experience, at least from the beginning of this parade right now.
Now we're moving into an area a little bit further down from the beginning where there seems to be a much broader mix of supporters of President Bush. I don't see nearly as many protesters down here. But it's quite an experience to be riding down here right now. People are on the rooftops. They are crowding into office windows all over the street here.
It is an amazing place to be right now and certainly an amazing place to be (INAUDIBLE)
BLITZER: Well, you're breaking up a little bit, but we got the gist of it, Tom. I take it you're in one of those vehicles just in front of the president's limousine. Now the agents are walking again. No more jogging. I guess they've slowed down this motorcade as it continues to make its way up Pennsylvania Avenue. They've now passed, the presidential limousine has passed the sanctioned area where the protesters have gathered.
But they were pretty loud. They were certainly nonviolent. There was no incidents or anything along those lines. And certainly the fact they had layers and layers of Pennsylvania State Troopers standing right in front of them would not allow anything to get out of control.
But there are certainly some angry, angry people who don't like this president, don't like his policies and they're making their views known. Now, having said that, Jeff, there are a lot more people who have gathered along Pennsylvania Avenue who love this president and want to celebrate his reelection and they're doing that right now.
People who come to a place like Washington to protest, especially in a situation like this, where it's not a mass hundreds of thousands of people protesting a war or a policy, it's only natural that the people who like this president, gave money to his campaign and worked for him, have a lot more motivation to come here and celebrate, particularly now that the election is over. If you don't like the president, don't like his policies, you tried very hard to beat him. You didn't do it.
In fact, there are an awful lot of Democrats in Washington who are not in Washington today. They've chosen this week to go south. I actually know, not that they're fleeing the country forever, a couple who told me they were going to Canada. That happens to be just coincidence. They had business there. But you can understand why. It hurts.
One of the things about politics -- I used to do it for a living before I became pure and a journalist -- is, when you lose, it hurts. People don't want to particularly talk to you. They act like you may have a slight disease. It's a bad feeling to put your heart and soul into something and lose, a much better feeling to throw yourself into a campaign and discover that you've worked for the guy who just got elected president again. So, sure, it would be unimaginable that supporters didn't outnumber protesters here by a huge margin -- Wolf.
BLITZER: This is the governor of California, Arnold Schwarzenegger, and Condoleezza Rice, another Californian. You see Donald Rumsfeld with a hat on.
They're already at the reviewing stand across the street from Lafayette Park, right in front of the North Lawn of the White House getting ready for the president's arrival. They'll be watching this parade go by them. It will continue on past 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, right up to 17th Street, half a block or so away, where it all ends.
But these guests have already arrived. Is that Karl Rove right in front of Condoleezza Rice? Yes, it is Karl Rove. The president calls him the architect of his reelection, the political adviser to the president, who was so instrumental not only in getting him reelected, but getting him elected four years ago.
Condoleezza Rice was supposed to be confirmed by the Senate today, but some Democrats, including Robert Byrd, Jeff, of West Virginia and Barbara Boxer, Democrat of California, wanted to make a little bit of a statement. And, as a result, they're not necessarily going to confirm her today. Nine hours of debate now scheduled for next Tuesday.
Eventually, she will be -- eventually, she will be confirmed, but the hope that she would be confirmed today and sworn in as the next secretary of state, succeeding Colin Powell, that hope didn't materialize, as far as the administration is concerned.
GREENFIELD: You know, this is an interesting split among Democrats, which is a party that is split in a lot of different ways these days. She got all but two votes from the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. The confirmation is a foregone conclusion.
But there were some who wanted this debate in order to make and drive home some of the points that were raised by Barbara Boxer, by John Kerry, by Russ Feingold and some others on the committee that, you know what? We didn't get the straight story about why we went to war in Iraq or how the prisoner abuse happened.
So, they want to schedule enough debate to make their points, just put out markers what they think have been the problems with the president's first term.
KELLERMAN: I think we can also loop this back to the protesters that we just saw. I am not so sure that, if the elections do not go particularly well and if the immediate post-election -- and I'm talking about, of course, the elections in Iraq -- goes poorly, if that period goes poorly, I would wager that the number of anti-war protesters might increase in some sizable number, especially if kids on American campuses start to think it even remotely possible that they would be subject to a draft.
And I would dare say that the Democrats would increasingly find their voice on this issue as well. So, I think we don't really know yet how this is going to go. And it's possible that we will look back on both Boxer and Byrd, as well as the still relatively small number of protesters, and see that as a foreshadowing of things to come.
BLITZER: And if you were looking very closely -- this is a very trivial matter, but may be interesting to some of our viewers -- at the license plate of that new presidential limousine -- and I don't know if we'll get another opportunity to see it, but from what -- there it is right there. You see what that says? USA 1. I think that's what it said. That's a pretty cool license plate to have if you want to get your own license plate for your own presidential limousine.
I think one of the great things about being president, one of the reason why CEOs envy a guy who gets paid what they make in about a week is, you got the best parking spaces in America and the coolest private plane.
BLITZER: Yes. It's not Marine One. It's not Air Force One. It's Limousine One. I just made that up.
GREENFIELD: And Ari Fleischer told us that when Bill Clinton had his limousine, he adopted the Washington, D.C. slogan, no taxation without representation, a home rule thing.
GREENFIELD: President Bush has decided to remove that message from the license plate.
BLITZER: And, increasingly, we'll see a lot more of this, the marching bands, the military marching bands, the high school bands, all of which are part of this presidential inauguration. The president will be reviewing that once he reaches the reviewing stand right outside the White House,on the North Lawn of the White House, 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.
If we have that little graphic, we can show where the president's motorcade is right now. It's a little bit more than halfway down, I'd say about two-thirds of the way toward his eventual destination, once he gets there. Yes, there it is, a little bit more than halfway along Pennsylvania Avenue. Eventually, he's going to make his way to 15th Street.
And that's where he will make that right-hand turn. It will go alongside the U.S. Treasury as it gets up -- picks up the other part of Pennsylvania Avenue in front of the White House. So they're making good headway. I'd say they are about two-thirds of the way there. They should be there fairly soon, inside that limousine, the president of the United States and the first lady, the Secret Service agents walking alongside on this day where it's about 35 degrees or so in the nation's capital.
These are some of the office buildings along Pennsylvania Avenue. You see the bleachers. They're pretty -- they're not full, at least over there by any means, Jeff. And you were suggesting maybe the combination of bad weather and security was precluding some people from showing up.
GREENFIELD: And paying money to go to a parade is a good way to keep the crowd down, too.
BLITZER: Nowadays, you can see it all pretty well on television, too.
Hey, Tom Foreman, as look at the fire and drum beginning to move down Pennsylvania Avenue, where are you now?
FOREMAN: One, two, three, four, five.
BLITZER: Tom, if you can me, I hear you counting, but you can hear me, Tom?
FOREMAN: Yes, I can, Wolf.
Jeff was absolutely right. The initial burst of protesters at the beginning of this parade has given way very quickly to a supportive crowd. And maybe it is the weather. Maybe it is the fact that there was a lot of publicity here about how difficult it might be to get to the parade route and see this that the crowds are not so big on both sides, but very supportive crowds now.
And, as I mentioned, there are a lot of people here who you can't really see in these pictures. Office windows are packed with people here. You can't see them behind the glass on camera, but they're all over. The tops of buildings here are lined with people watching this parade. And, clearly, there is a lot of support for the president, who is just a short distance behind us here.
I know, when we passed him as he left the Capitol, he gave us a big smile, a big wave and big thumbs up, clearly having a very happy day here. And I'm sure that what he's seeing now, as he moves into this part of the parade route, where there are so many well-wishers, has got to be an encouraging thing as he starts off this four years.
And, as you noted, this really is the part where the inauguration becomes more of an event for the people, because this is one of the first places where normal people, if they can find a way around all the reviewing stands here, have a chance to take part in this inauguration -- Wolf.
BLITZER: And you're on a flatbed truck, is that right, just in that same motorcade just before the presidential limousine? Is that right, Tom?
FOREMAN: That's exactly right, Wolf. I'm looking at the presidential limousine right now.
We passed just a few feet away from it, really, when we went behind the Capitol. That's when the president gave us such a big smile. Laura Bush was, obviously, very happy. They were sitting in the back of the limousine chatting with each other and seemed to be having one of those, I know, very special moments for any political couple, when you have a moment like this. It doesn't matter they've been through it before.
Winning reelection, I think, as you know from all your experience, Wolf, is just as sweet as winning the first time, I'm sure. And I know that there is going to be a lot of work in front of them here as they work with the crowds here. Right now, you can see huge crowds cheering along here, children, families. I will tell you, I saw people out here early this morning, many people out around dawn getting into position, so that they would have this moment, this chance to wish their president well and to wish their country well as the next four years starts off, no matter what the weather is, Wolf.
BLITZER: And we're seeing the pictures from that flatbed truck of yours in front of the presidential motorcade. This is what the president is seeing as he looks out. He sees a lot of happy supporters, a lot of happy Americans who have come to Washington to celebrate his inauguration, to celebrate his second term in office and his victory.
And we see military personnel, Jeff, who have gathered as well.
GREENFIELD: We should also remember that Washington, D.C. is not exactly red state country. It is the most solidly and overwhelmingly Democratic vote anywhere in the United States. I think the last election, it was 90 percent for John Kerry.
The people who commute from the suburbs commute from Maryland, which is a Democratic state, and from Northern Virginia, which is generally a Democratic part of that mostly Republican, but not exclusively so, state. So, for the president to get widespread cheers, you need two things. You either need people who regard this as a nonpartisan event and then you need his supporters who come in from more Bush-friendly terribly around the country to celebrate.
BLITZER: And these people are clearly happy. They're celebrating the president as he continues to move down with all the pomp and circumstance along Pennsylvania Avenue. They've just past, we're told, 11 Pennsylvania at 11th Street northwest and they'll heading up to 15th Street, where they'll make a right turn, go past the U.S. Treasury a couple blocks, and then make another quick left, then pick up the other part of Pennsylvania Avenue.
Protesters are visible even in the nonsanctioned areas. You just -- there you had a couple of protesters with their backs turned to the motorcade. We were told they would be doing that to express their opposition to the president. Those two young men are doing that very visible right there.
Barbara, what do you think?
KELLERMAN: Well, I'm just thinking back to the informal comments that George Bush made during his -- or just after the congressional lunch, and how he eluded to some of his own verities, whether it's faith or family or unity among Americans, and how I'm sure he and his wife are sitting in the wonderful limo that we just described and seeing really only the good.
I doubt very much they are taking the protesters very seriously at this point. I think they are celebrating the moment. And I must say, who can blame them?
BLITZER: And we don't want to make too much of the protesters, because we don't know how many there were. Certainly, the nature of this business, the nature of television, we could overexaggerate based on the images, and they might just be a tiny, tiny overall number.
But, certainly, we did see a few. And, certainly, I can say the president saw them as well as he turned out to look outside when that motorcade seemed to speed up a little bit, as those agents began to jog a little bit, and now they're walking at a nice little pace, but certainly not going very quickly. They're getting closer and closer to their eventual destination, that reviewing stand outside the White House, where they will watch the rest of this parade unfold behind them. And they've come from all over the country, Jeff, high school marching bands, U.S. military bands, all sorts of colorful parade paraphernalia, if you will.
GREENFIELD: Well, as I say, there is something -- I hesitate to say only in America, but I don't know any other country that would honor a president by a parade that would include not just the University of Texas Longhorn band -- that sort of makes sense. That's his home.
The American Rescue Dog Association, the Kilgore Rangerettes, one of the first precision-drill women's -- I'm not quite sure how to describe that exactly. The Emerald Society, the Pipes and Drums that goes back to great Irish-American tradition, some from the New York City Fire and Police Department.
The kids who come here particularly from high schools are probably the most enthusiastic people here. I saw some of them during this week around Washington. The idea that they were invited to come here, an honor -- and pass in front of the president of the United States, that's something that even someone like myself cannot be cynical about.
In fact, one of the great disappointments 20 years ago, when they canceled the inaugural parade, were all the high school kids that had come to Washington to march and the cold just wouldn't let them do it. Luckily, the weather cooperated today, Wolf.
KELLERMAN: I think it's also worth pointing out that this is a feast that is now really in its, depending on how you count, second, third or fourth day.
So, we not only have this display of Americana after the inauguration. But, yesterday, as we know, there was a great pregame show, I call it, with the Gatlin Brothers, the Rockettes and so forth and so on. So, this has really been virtually a nonstop party for a good part of this week.
BLITZER: There is the presidential limousine. And the president is waving. You can see him on the other side of that window waving out.
It's unfortunate that he's not able to have a convertible, or at least -- and let alone get out and walk down Pennsylvania Avenue. So many of us -- so many people who have gathered would be so excited to see him, but he's got to be protected, he's the president of the United States.
This is the first inauguration since 9/11, so security is understandably very, very tight. And I've covered a lot of these inaugurations. I've been in Washington for a long time. And I've never seen it as tight as it is right now for obvious and very good reasons. GREENFIELD: Yes, it is one of the -- we talked about this a little bit yesterday. And it is, for me, one of the sadder aspects, and has been, actually, even since before 9/11, that every four years, the access to the inaugural gets tougher, people are more and more separated from it. Whatever the security was four years earlier, they put another layer on.
And, obviously, since 9/11, this is no holds barred in terms of what the security people want. And in this day and age, what the security people want they get.
BLITZER: And, you know, it's interesting, because I was a White House correspondent at the time. If you remember when they closed down -- they shut down Pennsylvania Avenue really between 15th Street and 17th Street in front of the white House. That was after the Oklahoma city bombing. And it was a sad moment because cars used to be able to drive back and forth right outside the White House.
If you lived here and you had company that came in, you could just drive right by the White House and see it. Now, you'd have to get out and walk. You can walk. It's a pedestrian -- a pedestrian mall, if you will. But now it's shut down basically.
You see this marching band, this military marching band. They're beginning to walk right down that pedestrian mall outside the White House right now. It was an area where cars used to be able to go.
No longer. And that's nothing to do with 9/11. That was after the Oklahoma City bombing.
It was supposed to be temporary, but I remember even then, once they shut it down, I said to myself and to some friends, "I don't think this is going to be opened up any time soon." And you know what? Is hasn't opened up to traffic and it probably never will.
GREENFIELD: I'll tell you one quick story back a few years ago when I was covering the British elections. I guess in '97. I went out with the then prime minister, John Major.
BLITZER: I'm going to interrupt you for a second.
BLITZER: You see them speeding up the motorcade now as they're making that turn onto from 15th Street onto Pennsylvania Avenue. You see them speeding up a little bit, trying to pick up some time. I don't know why they've done that, but they've clearly done that. Maybe they recognized they're behind schedule or whatever.
GREENFIELD: I was just mentioning that I found myself at a political tour walking five feet from the British prime minister with almost minimal security. There were none of these checks, very minimal stuff. And it's I guess -- and they lived through the...
BLITZER: Now that looks like they're having a little smoke coming out of something. I don't know, maybe that's just the -- it could be steam from the ground from some of the...
GREENFIELD: Based on the lack of...
BLITZER: That's what it is.
GREENFIELD: Based on the lack of reaction of the Secret Service, I'm not too concerned about this.
BLITZER: Right. Right. It's just steam coming up from some of those manholes on Pennsylvania Avenue right there. So not to be alarmed. No big deal.
KELLERMAN: I just wanted to go back again to this Kennedy period, because it strikes me, Wolf, that the change that you're alluding to post-Oklahoma City, really in terms of the modern American presidency, needs to go back just a bit further. That is, the assassination of John Kennedy. And then, of course, also Martin Luther King and Robert Kennedy. It seems to me that really was a turning point, a permanent turning point in terms of protecting -- protecting our public figures, particularly the American president.
GREENFIELD: That's a very good point because it was after the assassination of Robert Kennedy that the Secret Service began to take control not just of the president, but of political campaigns. And as anybody who has covered a campaign knows, when the Secret Service takes on a campaign, usually after the New Hampshire primary, the access changes absolutely dramatically.
And you're quite right. It was that specific event, the 1968 killing of Robert Kennedy, that brought them into this.
BLITZER: The Secret Service has had their hands full, all of these agents, so much over the years. And increasingly, one problem seems to go away but then another one emerges.
The lone gunman, if you will, was the biggest concern that they often had. They still have that concern, but nowadays they have a bigger concern, the truck bomber or the radiological device in a suitcase. All of that major concerns to the Secret Service. They do an excellent job protecting the president and the vice president, and other leaders of the U.S. government.
They're up on 15th Street now, about to make that little left- hand turn on to Pennsylvania Avenue in front of the White House. And that will be an exciting moment once the motorcade -- the motorcade reaches the reviewing stand. The president and the first lady will go inside, and then they'll be able to simply do what everyone else who's gathered along Pennsylvania Avenue is doing, simply enjoy this parade. That's what they've established the bullet-proof windows in front of the reviewing stand, and they'll sit there, they'll enjoy and they'll savor this moment.
GREENFIELD: I can tell you one thing that's not going to happen. Back in 1953, at Eisenhower's inaugural, a mounted cowboy rode by and threw a laso around President Eisenhower. There's a picture of him appearing very delighted.
It turns out he was quite put out by this trick. He was a good, savvy enough politician not to show his displeasure until after the cameras went away. You're not going to be seeing anything like that today -- Wolf.
BLITZER: All right. Well, we are told, by the way, that the speed-up that we saw in that motorcade just a few moments ago, it was the result of someone throwing a large piece of fruit. It didn't hit the presidential limo. It hit a Secret Service car, and out of abundance of caution, they decided to speed up that motorcade for a brief few seconds there.
We saw that, someone doing that. I'm sure whoever threw that piece of fruit probably is going to regret it pretty soon because there's a lot of people watching people throw things. And I'm sure that's something that no one in the law enforcement community is going to appreciate.
GREENFIELD: They don't take things like that, they never have taken things like that lightly. They should not take things like that lightly. It is the kind of gesture that is probably not going to be beneficial either to whatever cause that demonstrator had or to his own sense of well-being.
BLITZER: Right. There's no doubt about that.
They're continuing this motorcade as it gets closer and closer toward the White House. The crowds, I think, get bigger and bigger along this route because I guess they think that that's where they're going to get the best vantage point.
I think these are the higher priced tickets also, the closer you get to the White House. That's effectively the closer you will be to the president. People want to be close to the president on this kind of an occasion. There is no doubt about that.
I'm also reminded about the fact that this president, when he came here four years ago, really did have some experience in these kinds of motorcades because his father, for four years, had been president. So he certainly wasn't a stranger to any of this. And having been president now for the past four years, no stranger to any of this now. But it still must be so exciting for him and the first lady.
KELLERMAN: Well, I think it's also worth pointing out one more time -- I'm not even sure we mentioned it today, but...
BLITZER: This is the turn, by the way, Barbara. The Treasury Department is behind the motorcade. They're making that little left- hand turn onto the mall.
This is where cars usually can't go anymore because they blockaded it only to pedestrian traffic. Now they're back on Pennsylvania Avenue and they're going to continue this for another block, block and a half before the motorcade stops. And the president and the first lady will emerge to go into the reviewing stand.
KELLERMAN: Yes. I was just saying, Wolf, that I don't think we can repeat often enough -- and I'm not even sure we alluded to it today -- which is the difference between this inauguration for President Bush and the last inauguration.
As we suggested, the protesters four years ago were about whether or not this election was even legitimate. So this time around, there has to be a sense of satisfaction at a victory, an electoral victory truly and genuinely earned in a way there was not four years ago. And everyone who has observed this president has spoken of a new aura of confidence that he seems to exude for better and worse.
BLITZER: All right. Let's see if the president emerges from the limousine now. It's stopped. It's on Pennsylvania Avenue in front of -- a block and a half, or so, a block from the White House. But let's see if he comes out.
They're opening the door. There he is. George W. Bush is going to walk the rest of the way, I suspect, unless he decides to get back in the limo.
He and the first lady are now outside a block or so from the White House. And let's see if they walk the rest of the route or if they decide to get back in the limo. But they're both waving to their supporters, their friends. This is clearly an area where the security has been the greatest for this entire route from Capitol Hill to the White House.
A little bit of a surprise. A tradition that's unfolded, Jeff, as you pointed out to our viewers, since Jimmy Carter, when he walked virtually with his wife, Rosalynn Carter, the whole way from Capitol Hill to the White House.
GREENFIELD: But you know what? On tonight's newscast and on tomorrow morning's papers, it won't mater whether the president and Mrs. Bush walked one block or 15. These are the pictures you're going to see.
BLITZER: These are lovely pictures of the president, the first lady, making the final steps from the motorcade over to the reviewing stand. This is the time when Secret Service agents -- and you see them surrounding the president -- they are most nervous about everything.
But I can assure you having covered the White House for a long time, every building, every floor, every window, everything in that vicinity for days and days and days has been searched and searched and searched. And they have, with an abundance of caution, made sure there's no possibility for anything going untoward.
GREENFIELD: But if you remember the Clinton and Carter and first George W. Bush walks, even -- even this brief walk, there's -- the president and this first lady are surrounded by far more Secret Service people and security people than those past examples. And there's just less -- there's less openness. And I think... KELLERMAN: Yes, but I think having said that, we ourselves were not sure that they would get out of the vehicle. And I think there's a sense of pleasure and relief that at least we do have that.
We're not so far encased that this is has been made impossible. I at least am seeing with some pleasure and even relief that they are feeling confident enough of the control they have of the situation to let the president and the first lady get out of the car and walk those final steps.
BLITZER: It's nice to be able to see that even if it's only a block or so.
Judy Woodruff, you're right there across from the revueing stand. What do you see?
WOODRUFF: Well, Wolf, we are -- this crowd is restless and excited now, because they have -- we have an announcer who is giving a literal minute-by-minute, second-by-second report of where the first lady and the president are. You can hear the crowd behind me cheering.
The president's parents have been waiting. The daughters, the sisters, the brothers, and so many of the president's friends and family gathered around. They're excited.
The first lady and the president approaching the White House. Now, they are walking right in front of their home, if you will. They've chosen to walk, as you just said, this last block, block and a half -- it's a pretty big block -- on their way to the reviewing stand. And this is a crowd that has been -- you know, that is very excited to see them.
These are the people who paid the $125. And I'm sure, in some cases, you know, they contributed much more than that to the president's reelection. This is -- this is coming home in many ways for this president.
BLITZER: And it's nice that -- I think it would have been really not such a nice statement if the president would have not been able to get out of that limousine even a block, a block and a half away from his home, the White House. The fact that he -- the Secret Service feels confident enough that he could get out there and walk these final steps toward the White House a significant symbolic statement in and of itself, Jeff.
GREENFIELD: Yes. And, in fact, at least now, you know, you can see that there is more openness here. The crowd gets a chance to see the president and the first lady.
I couldn't agree more. If he had had to ride all the way in an enclosed vehicle, it would have taken something off.
This is what his supporters literally have come to see, have paid to see, in some cases. And Barbara I think is exactly right. You can actually say, OK, as much as the security has surrounded this event, this is at least a moment where his supporters and the country get to see him out in the open with his wife and can say, all right, we still -- we still have a Washington where the president can get out and walk out in the open air.
BLITZER: And fortunately, the weather has cooperated for this stroll along Pennsylvania Avenue in front of the White House. The weather was not good yesterday. It's good today.
There is Barbara Bush, the president's mother, and the president's father. The daughters, the others who are inside that reviewing stand right on -- outside the White House on the north side of the White House, the north lawn of the White House. The president will be going in there momentarily.
They'll get a front row seat. He'll watch, together with the vice president and Mrs. Cheney, the rest of this parade that will follow, I suspect, at least an hour, hour and a half before this whole part of the inauguration is over with.
Then they go and get dressed for tonight's parties, the black tie affairs. A lot easier for the president to put on a tuxedo than the gown the first lady has had to select and work with designers to make sure it's the perfect fit and the perfect statement that she wants to make on this day.
GREENFIELD: One of the ways that life is unfair is that nobody looks at the president's tuxedo and decides whether it's tasteful or not. It's a tuxedo.
The first lady, you know, goes through this process, which designer, what's it going to look like. And the long knives are out. God forbid she should dress in a way that some of these people in the media think is not exactly right.
KELLERMAN: Well, this time around there has already been approval. She's been commended for her growing sense of fashion over the last four years. And I have very little doubt that her down this evening by Oscar de la Renta will be widely approved by all concerned.
Your mention, Wolf...
BLITZER: By the way, I want to just pick up on that, because I was told by our Mary Snow in New York that the first lady, this white coat, this cashmere-embroidered coat and matching dress with the embroidered trim, is an Oscar de la Renta suit and coat that she's been wearing.
BLITZER: And that tonight at the and inaugural balls, Oscar de la Renta once again selected for the evening gown. It will be an ice blue satin coat and silver and blue embroidered long evening gown. Oscar de la Renta the -- I guess the designer of choice by the first lady. KELLERMAN: Yes. Wolf, you did that very well. I must commend you.
By the way, this is in contrast four years ago when she picked Texas designers. So, as I said, other than those who are from Texas, most people approve of the shift.
But I was going to make another not unrelated point, which is that this is only the second president in American history who is fortunate enough to have at his inauguration both his mother and his father. The other president, again, fortunate enough to be in that circumstance was, of course, John F. Kennedy.
BLITZER: You know, that is such a nice touch, the fact that he can celebrate this day together with his mother and his father, and they both look healthy and robust, proud parents. No matter how old they are, he's still their little boy. He's still their son, and they see their son president of the United States for two terms now.
That's a moment that they will savor. And we can only savor it with them, former president of the United States, George Herbert Walker Bush and Barbara Bush. You see the -- there they are right now. And their other son, Jeb Bush, who just walked out there.
KELLERMAN: And their other sons and daughter as well.
BLITZER: And the daughter -- the sister of the president, their family. This is a family affair. It's always been a close-knit family, and it's a family that has deeply appreciated everything this country has offered to them and, indeed, to all of us.
GREENFIELD: It's just worth mentioning again, look at the family. Prescott Bush, United States senator from Connecticut. George Herbert Walker Bush, congressman, vice president, president of the United States.
George Walker Bush, two-term president of the United States. Jeb Bush, governor of Florida, the largest competitive state in the United States. And a man who were not for his ties to Bush would probably be a front-runner for the next nomination.
And George P. Bush, the young son of Governor Jeb Bush, with political chops. We interviewed him four years ago, I remember. He modestly said he really didn't think he had a political appetite. But we'll find out -- Wolf.
BLITZER: I'm sure we'll find out sooner rather than later. I think we're getting ready to speak with Andrew Card, the White House chief of staff. He's on the north lawn of the White House.
Andy Card, are you there? Can you hear me?
ANDREW CARD, WHITE HOUSE CHIEF OF STAFF: I can hear you, Wolf. And, yes, I'm here, and this is a great day of celebration for freedom. BLITZER: It's a great day certainly in the history of the United States because it only happens once every four years. Has everything gone according to schedule? Has there been any surprises as far as you're concerned?
CARD: No. The president began his day bright and early this morning. He was in the Oval Office a little bit before 7:00, and everything has gone consistent with that which we expected.
He did a great job taking the oath and then delivering a truly historical inaugural address. And it was a spectacular day and very emotional for me on the Capitol because I love the celebration of our great democracy and the Constitution that allows us to have a president of the United States. And to watch President Bush take his second oath was pretty remarkable, especially when you consider his dad was there to witness it.
And his dad, having been president, you know, John Adams and John Quincy Adams, that was pretty historic, father, son. And then we had George Herbert Walker Bush and George W. Bush, father-son presidents. But there's never been a father-son combination where one of them served a second term. And we just found that this second term is truly historic for a father-son combination.
BLITZER: I know, Andy Card, you were directly involved in helping the president prepare his inaugural address today. What was his thinking that went into the first part of that speech which was very forceful in saying the United States must take steps around the world to promote freedom, democracy and liberty? It seemed like a very, very ambitious agenda internationally.
CARD: Well, the president spent a lot of time on this inaugural address. He sat down with his speechwriter, Mike Gerson (ph), who is just spectacular. But he spent time with Mike Gerson (ph) probably about five or six weeks ago going over what he, the president, wanted to say to the world in an inaugural address.
And it was wonderfully visionary. And it's an address filled with big ideals and big expectations and a responsibility for the United States that must be carried out.
We are the symbol of freedom for the world. And we want to bring freedom to all people. And the president delivered a strong message to tyrants around the world that they better start getting out of the way and allow their own people to make the decisions in their countries rather than make the decisions and impose them on the people.
BLITZER: What I heard the president saying, in this era after 9/11, the United States cannot afford any isolationist kinds of policies, cannot withdraw from the rest of the world because the U.S. national security is directly affected. He has a major internationalist policy that he's advocating, isn't he?
CARD: Well, it's one that is there to advocate the spread of freedom and to bring freedom to people, because liberty and freedom are what will make it possible for us not to have the kinds of enemies that showed up on our doorstep on September 11, 2001. So that's what this speech was about.
He also talked about the freedom inside the United States of America in how we're still growing opportunities for freedom in this country. So it was a message that was very important not only to the rest of the world, but also to the people who live in this country and are looking for more freedom in education and in housing, and making decisions on pensions, and with regard to healthcare.
So this was a pretty historic speech. And I'm glad the president delivered it. He delivered it very well. It came from the heart and, yet, it was wonderful rhetoric that will soar for a long time.
BLITZER: Atop the president's agenda is Social Security reform, getting these partial privatization, these privatization accounts going through the Congress. How much of a setback was what Congressman Bill Thomas, the chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee, seemed to say the other day when he thought the president's plan was probably not going to fly?
CARD: Well, I don't think that that was taken in the right context. Chairman Thomas has worked very, very closely with the administration to get big things done in the past. And I have every reason that he's going to work toward a constructive solution.
He'll work with the White House to bring personal savings accounts and reform for the Social Security system to reality. We'll also make sure that seniors who are collecting Social Security won't have their benefits cut. And anyone who is at or near retirement doesn't have to worry about any benefits being cut. Their system will be there.
But we've got to do something about Social Security for the young people who are just entering the workforce so that they'll have a Social Security system when they retire. And that's what the president has called for.
Chairman Thomas will work constructively with us. I'm confident that he will work as the chairman of the Ways and Means Committee to produce legislation that can reach the president's desk and be signed into law.
BLITZER: I know you had hoped that Condoleezza Rice would be confirmed by now as the secretary of state. That is not going to happen, at least until Tuesday. The Democrats have asked for, there is going to be at least, what, seven or eight hours of debate on Tuesday. Go ahead.
CARD: Wolf, you know, it's funny. I don't even view this as partisan politics. I view this as very petty politics. And it's literally a handful, and maybe even only two senators who are being obstructionists.
And I just think that it's very small of them, when we all know that D. Rice will be a great secretary of state. And she should move into that position quickly, and I wish the Senate would confirm her. But, you know, petty politics is playing a role in this, and that's unfortunate because it doesn't even rise to the level of being legitimate partisan politics.
BLITZER: Well, let me just press you on that point. Doesn't Robert Byrd or Barbara Boxer have a point when they say, you know what, let's have a full debate on the Senate floor? It's their right as members of the U.S. Senate to call for that debate if they want it.
CARD: Well, they have every right to do it. And I respect both of them. But it's not even playing into partisan politics.
I think it's just plain petty. And it doesn't look big. And the answers to the questions have already been given. Dr. Rice did a spectacular job appearing before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, and she's ready to have a vote so that she can move into the position of helping to spread freedom around the world and carry out the president's policies.
BLITZER: Andrew Card, the White House chief of staff, who is staying on presumably for another four years. You've got a tough job.
CARD: Wolf! That's a tough thing to say!
BLITZER: Congratulations to you, Andrew Card. Good luck to you and good luck to the president and the first lady.
We see them walking now outside the White House toward the reviewing stand. We're going to watch them make their way to the reviewing stand. They'll sit down with their family, their friends, others in the administration and enjoy this parade as it unfolds.
I think they're walking right by Andrew Card right now. You see the -- they're going to the back of the reviewing stand on the north lawn of the White House. That's the north portico of the White House where you see that fountain in between the president and the first lady.
They're getting into the reviewing stand. They're being applauded. Let's just listen briefly if we have -- maybe we can hear some of the conversation that might go there.
BLITZER: The president is there in the first row. The former president, his father, in the second row. I guess that's the protocol on these kind of occasions. Everything is sort of mapped out according to protocol.
The twin daughters right next to the first lady. They're going to watch this parade go by, all of the various floats, all of the various aspects of the military parades, the military aspects, the high school bands. Everything else that we're going watch together with them and enjoy the rest of this afternoon.
Jeff, you wanted to say something?
GREENFIELD: Well, if you think that the president's speech was an assertive statement of foreign policy, you know that a hundred years ago, at Teddy Roosevelt's inaugural parade, the parade featured, among other things, representatives of the countries. This is "The New York Times" language, which Uncle Sam has acquired since the preceding president was inaugurated. That was in the heyday of American expansionism and assertiveness and some would say imperialism abroad. I don't really think we're going to see that in this parade today -- Wolf.
BLITZER: No, I don't think so. Did you hear a little, I would say, testiness, anger on the part of Andy Card when I asked him about Condoleezza Rice not necessarily being confirmed today, it will have to wait at least until next week?
GREENFIELD: Well, since he said it five times, I have -- I think I got the gist of his talking point, that it was partisan politics, but petty politics. Apparently the fifth or sixth time a White House aide says something like that, you know what they're getting at.
And you know there are some Democrats that felt the same way, that this was more petulance than -- than anything else. But Barbara made a point sometime ago -- and I don't mean to make this analogy -- but back in the first days when Vietnam was a little gleam in somebody's eye, there were only two United States senators who voted against the Gulf of Tonkin reservation, and no members of the House. And a couple of years later, both of those senators happened to be defeated for reelection. But they were looked at as, you know, something less than petulant.
KELLERMAN: I think -- I think it's fair to say that Byrd and Boxer disrupted the president's game plan. And I think that's what we heard in Card's reference to petty politics.
This is not what they were counting on. They wanted a clean transition, they wanted it today. They're not going to get it. And I think it's ruffled some feathers.
As I said, that was not in the cards. It's not going to end up being a very big event in the long term, but it may be symbolic of the lack of comedy (ph) in the months to come.
BLITZER: There is not -- if someone thought the president was going to get a honeymoon, he is not getting a honeymoon on this second inauguration, by any means.
GREENFIELD: It really is a different kind of inaugural mood. And the fact that the country is evenly split on the simple question, is this president uniter or a divider, tells you that the hard feelings on the part of his opposition has not gone away.
There is a -- there is a fundamental sense of trust in the president, wariness about his policies. And among -- among the key questions, is he going to bring us together or not, it's split apparently right down party lines. The same way it was, you know, before November.
BLITZER: All right. So the president and the first lady are in the reviewing stands with the other VIPs. Less show our viewers a little wide shot of what -- that's where they are.
That's a temporary little reviewing stand that's been erected outside the north lawn of the White House, Pennsylvania Avenue. We're standing by for the first parts of this parade to make their way up 15th Street, then make a left turn on Pennsylvania Avenue. It looks like they're not that close yet.
A good opportunity, I think, right now for us to take a little commercial break. By the time we come back, hopefully that parade will have wound its way to Pennsylvania Avenue, specifically to 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. And we'll have coverage as our special day continues.
BLITZER: The parade making its way up Pennsylvania Avenue. They're just about to get close to the revueing stand. They've made that left turn from 15th St, those of you who are familiar with the area around the White House. They'll be emerging and going right in front of this revueving inside the president and the first lady, their family, their closest friends and other leaders of this administration. They'll be watching this parade unfold over the next hour or two or however long it takes before they'll then go back inside the White House to change for the balls later tonight.
Welcome back to CNN's continuing coverage of this inauguration. I'm Wolf Blitzer in Washington.
And here, some of the military marching bands moving their way up along the way. The United States Army Band. A lot of military bands have been brought to Washington for this special occasion and they're all going to be playing their favorite marching songs, patriotic music, fitting for this special day. And a lot of us who like marching bands like this kind of music. This is a well-kept secret, but I'll share it with you, Jeff. When I was in junior high, I was in a marching band. Hard to believe, isn't it?
JEFF GREENFIELD, CNN SR. ANALYST: Well, knowing your taste in music and your musical knowledge, I can see why the career stopped then.
BLITZER: I didn't last very long, I was a very bad saxophone player. We did one parade, and that was about it.
GREENFIELD: And if you look at our picture, behind the military units -- the military units always lead this parade representing the different branches of government service academies. The orange and yellow band, that's the first civilian band and for understandable reasons, it is the University of Texas Longhorn band, on the president's home state. 364 members. It's one of the largest student bands there is. You may have last seen them, Wolf, if you're a sports fan, at the Rose Bowl, where they watched their neighbor from Oklahoma get beaten to a pulp by the University of Southern California. But that's the first non-military unit up because it's in the president's home state. BLITZER: And the military unit is the United States Army Band that's walking up there right now. It's called Pershing's Own, founded in 1922 by the army chief of staff, then general John Blackjack Pershing. The army band has been in business ever since and certainly they're playing the little ruffles and flourishes in honor of the president as they go by the revueing stand. Let's just listen a little bit as this band gets closer and closer to the president.
BLITZER: There he is, the vice president of the United States and Lynne Cheney walking into the reviewing stand. Mary Cheney, his daughter, right behind the vice president, walking in as well, together with, I don't see the other daughter, Liz Cheney, but I'm sure she's not far away. This is a moment that the vice president certainly can savor since he was re-elected and sworn in for a second term today as well as the president. So this is a big day for the president and the vice president.
You'll notice when all of these elements of the parade go in front of the revueing stand they'll look right towards the president, salute him and with all the respect that the president, the commander in chief of the United States, deserves. Here's your favorite, Jeff.
GREENFIELD: Pump them horns. For those of you who think that may be a gang sign, those of you who live in urban neighborhoods, this is a traditional Texas greeting seen widely at football games. They take their football very seriously.
BLITZER: In Texas, they do. The Longhorn Band, and you can see, the show band of the Southwest, they're called. This is their sixth presidential inaugural parade they've performed this year at the Rose Bowl, as well. Let's listen to a little bit of Texas music.
BLITZER: All right, as I say, that was the University of Texas band, the daughters celebrating that. This is the celebrating freedom float, with the declaration of independence now emerging in front of the revueing stand. We celebrate our freedom, that's the theme behind this float and you can see we here the people of the United States written right there.
GREENFIELD: That's the preamble of the Constitution. Pretty good way to mark a parade. And this is the Stone High School Band of Wiggins, Mississippi. And interestingly enough, we'll have show you a bipartisan sense. One of the songs they'll be playing is "Happy Days Are Here Again," which was for many decades, was the theme song first of Franklin Roosevelt and then of the Democratic party. So I guess it's passed into bipartisan demand now.
BLITZER: And they'll also be playing "Come Fly With Me," as well. The president standing in the revueing stand, watching this Stone High School Band. As Jeff points out, from Wiggins, Mississippi. I guess all of those kids are pretty excited to be performing today in front of the president of the United States. Here it is, from New York City, Jeff, the police department. A city you're familiar with.
GREENFIELD: This is the Emerald Society. This is basically Irish bagpipers, not the band you're seeing right now and one of the more moving things that happens, (UNINTELLIGIBLE) these folks come and play and they don't care what your musical tastes are when you see the Emerald Society playing, at parades it's a celebratory thing, at police officer's funerals, it is quite an emotional experience to witness them.
BLITZER: What we're also seeing in addition to that, New York City emergency vehicles honoring their service they were activated, as we all know, on 9/11. In addition, there is a American Rescue Dog Association, dogs that are being honored today, as well. They're part of this parade. They were used to try to find victims in the Pentagon, the World Trade Center, bombs and other disasters, as well. So, this is a special tribute to them. You see those dogs, the canines walking in front of the revueing stand.
KELLERMAN: As a dog lover, I welcome the inclusion of dogs in this parade. But I would make actually a larger point that it was evident as we were driving around Washington the last few days we saw buses with kids from all over the United States. On the outside, typically, was the name of the state and, so, ranging all the way through the animal kingdom, this parade is really about inclusion from every corner of the United States.
GREENFIELD: If you think you see two different pipe and drum (UNINTELLIGIBLE) from New York, you do. One is the Emerald Society from the police department and the other the Emerald Society from the New York fire department. The fire department of New York on September 11 lost 343 members in the collapse of those two towers and it is a scar that probably will never go away. They know that when you sign up you know you're going to put your life in danger, but I don't think anybody expected what happened on 9/11, 343 members of that department.
BLITZER: The New York City fire department Emerald Society, the pipes and drums there marching in front of the president right now. Carlos Watson is far away in Ohio with a group of Americans who have been watching this, as well. Carlos, give us a little bit more reaction from outside the beltway.
CARLOS WATSON, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: Well, Wolf, again, you know that the inauguration is not only about what happened, namely the election, but what the president hopes will happen. As we've talked about, he is maybe the most ambitious agenda we've seen since the 89th Congress when LBJ was inaugurated in 1965/66. Among the things the president is interested in doing and certainly supports are some social value issues. Heidi, I wanted to ask you as someone who is self-identified as not only a homeschooler but an evangelical Christian, how important is it to you that the president follow through on things like the constitutional amendment to ban gay marriage or supporting certain kinds of judges who may have stances as it relates to abortion and other social issues?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I think the judges issue is very important. There's a lot of judicial vacancies opening from the Supreme Court on down and who he appoints will have an influence for a long time. I definitely hope he appoints solid conservative pro-life judges.
WATSON: Now, Dan, as someone else who also self-identifies as a strong Christian conservative. If the president compromised when it came to making some of these judicial nominations, some Democrats suggest he should. Would that upset you, would that be a big issue for you?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Very big.
I voted for him for his values, for what he stood for and to waver is not acceptable.
WATSON: How much wavering is possible? We saw the Republican National Committee chairman just name a co-chair who is pro-choice. If the president, among call it two or three Supreme Court nominees, offered up one of the three who was pro-choice, would that end your support for the president? Is it that significant an issue for you?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Well, I don't look to the president to answer all the things in my life, it's Jesus Christ. But for the president, I voted for him to put conservative people in there and for him not to do so would be against what I voted for him to do. Yes, he would break that, but I'll still pray for him and support him. He was put in there, for my vote for that reason. Put conservative people in there.
WATSON: Sheila, talk to me about the Democrats because you've been a strong Democratic supporter, you loved president Clinton twice, you wish Hillary Clinton was running right now. What do you want Democrats in Congress to do? Do you want them to be very confrontational with the Republicans on issues like Social Security and issues other parts of the opportunity society agenda or do you think they should compromise more?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I don't want them to be confrontational. I would like to see everybody just get along, but I do think...
WATSON: Now, let me push you for a second.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Go ahead.
WATSON: What if just getting along means the Republicans who have majorities in the House and Senate basically get their way?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I just would hate to see that. I would like to see that. I would just like to see the government reflect the people and that's what I would like to see.
WATSON: Now, talk to me, Theresa (ph), as someone else who voted for bush in 2000 but then for Kerry in 2004, what do you think Democrats should do? Democrats like Hillary Clinton and Barbara Boxer. Should they be very outfront and challenging on some of these issues or should they look to cooperate with the president first? UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: There needs to be some cooperation. I don't think it should be, can we all just get along because that's not what it's based on for me. But I think they need to take a stance on some of the issues that the Democratic side tends to stand for more than the Republican side does.
WATSON: Now, I was very interested, Bob, when we talked earlier about the possibility of more tax cuts, vis-a-vis the deficit. You're a guy who from 1956 to 2004 has only voted for one Democrat for president, which was John F. Kennedy. But you said you'd be in favor of all -- you're worried about the deficit and the debt, you would be in favor of making the tax cuts permanent.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Absolutely.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It will help stimulate the economy and the economy will grow and as more jobs are added and more people are working, it is going to add that many more dollars into the tax or into the stream towards Washington which will reduce the federal deficit.
WATSON: Now, is it an urgent issue for you because the president is talking about not focusing on tax reform this year but maybe waiting until next year. Do you have a problem with waiting until next year or is an urgent?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: To me it should be done as soon as possible.
WATSON: As soon as possible.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Absolutely. To stimulate the economy. The faster the economy grows, the more money will be there and the less debt you're going to have. It's a known fact that right now tax dollars are coming in to Washington faster than they anticipated and this year's deficit may very well be greatly reduced from what was anticipated three months ago.
WATSON: May be smaller than $412 billion. Now, Jennifer, we started to talk about education. You have two kids, one 11, one 6 years old, although you didn't vote for the president, do you support his focus on testing and more testing in the schools? I'm sorry, you did vote for the president.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes.
WATSON: Are you a strong supporter of what he's doing in education and the idea of extending testing to high schools?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes. I think that it should extend all the way until they graduate so that when they get out into the world they know what they're doing, as long as they're testing for the right things that they should be testing for to go get out into the world.
WATSON: Thank you. Wolf, you can tell that there are a variety of issues and a lot of expectation here and, frankly, to the extent that the president is successful, a lot of it will be decided here in Ohio. Do the people in these key swing states support their members in Congress supporting the president on difficult decisions like immigration, like education, like tax reform.
BLITZER: Carlos, fascinating material from outside, really outside the Washington beltway. Carlos Watson in Ohio for us. Thanks, Carlos, very much. We're continuing to watch this parade continue. I believe this is the Arcadia High School Apache (ph) marching band. They've traveled across the country. They've appeared 13 times in Tournament of Roses, New Year's Day parades. They've won sweepstakes at the Gator Bowls and they're from California. The band has a motto, "Simply the Best." We're going to continue to watch all of these various aspects of the parades.
This is the Tulsy County (ph) Sheriff's Office. Mounted patrol unit. We'll watch that. We'll get back to the parade. We'll get back to our inaugural coverage right after this quick break.
BLITZER: Welcome back to our continuing coverage of this parade that's emerging down Pennsylvania Avenue in front of the White House. We see a big float with the word Texas, I think, that's going it get a nice round of applause from the president once that eventually emerges there. The Crawford High School pirate band float, Crawford, Texas, the home of the president. Texas, home of the president right now. I guess the president is going to be smiling more broadly when he sees that Crawford sign, Jeffrey.
GREENFIELD: Well, it is his adopted hometown. When the president sold his interest in the Texas Rangers, he had the resources to go pretty much anywhere and he chose a relatively modest abode compared to what he could have afforded in Crawford. It's where the White House press corps goes, perhaps they're not as thrilled with being there as they were at the Biltmore in Santa Barbara when Ronald Reagan was president. But Bush loves it, he loves to go back there and relax and I'm sure he is going to be delighted to see a float from his adopted hometown high school.
BLITZER: I have been to Crawford, Texas, I've been to the Biltmore in Santa Barbara, and there's not a lot of similarity between those two places, but there's advantages and disadvantages to both. But, let's move on. Judy Woodruff is right across the street from the president. Judy, give us a little flavor of what you're seeing, how he's doing. I see the parade emerging right behind you.
WOODRUFF: Well, two things. You know, in one sense this is a close circle of George Bush's family and friends. We've been watching the president and the first lady and their daughters and other family members literally waving across the street to right behind where I am. These are choice seats. You can't see them from here. Maybe you can from another camera angle. These appear to be buddies of the president and the first lady. They've been waving back and forth, smiling. We recognize the Gatlin Brothers who performed yesterday at the celebration on the Ellipse on other side of the White House, but it has been a very friendly, engaged.
This crowd has not gotten impatient. A little bit restless because they were gathered here for a couple hours before the president got here, but they're very excited to be here. This is an enthusiastic part of the city right now. The other thing I would say, Wolf, is that this really is a slice of Americana walking by here. You have been say it, Jeff and the other commentators, we have a little Texas, a little California, a little New York. This is America walking by and it's pretty exciting.
BLITZER: Judy, like me, you covered a lot of these inaugurations over the years. Anything strike you as different other than the security, the enormous security precautions this time around? Anything strike you differently?
WOODRUFF: I think the security, Wolf, is the most serious I have ever seen it. And I think I'm also struck by the fact that there just aren't as many sort of people spontaneously standing and watching this parade. I think that's clearly because of the security. You had to buy a ticket, you had to plan ahead. You couldn't just drive into Washington from wherever and show up. Now, obviously, some people did that, but not very many. These are mostly people who made plans, they're staying in hotels. This is a very organized event for them. They're very excited to be here, but less of the sort of spontaneous showing up. Having said that, the people who are here are being treated to a great show.
BLITZER: I think it's correct, correct me if I'm wrong, Judy. You may know more about this than I do. Every state will be represented in this parade today, is that right?
WOODRUFF: That's my understanding. Wolf, I even have some numbers I can share with you. About 15,000 participants, by the way, we're looking at the home state of the vice president right now, Wyoming. But 15,000 participants. We're going to see a total of 14 floats, 45 marching bands, 48 marching units and so the president, you got to like marshal music, they obviously do. You know, the president is savoring this. He's looking at every group that goes by. He has been saluting and waving. When the Texas band went by you saw the first lady and daughter Jenna Bush who graduated from U.T. doing that hook 'em horn sign with the index finger and the pinkie finger up and the other two fingers in the middle held down. They're very engaged with this parade.
BLITZER: This is the United States marine corps marching band going in front of the revueing stand right now. There they are. The marines. The marching unit of the U.S. marine corps. They will be followed by the Wyoming High School all-state marching band. We saw that float just a little while ago. We'll see more of it. The vice president from Wyoming, Lynne Cheney, his wife, from Wyoming. They met when she was still in high school. I believe she was a cheerleader in Wyoming when they met and they've been together ever since and they're together right there in the revueing stand. The marines always proud. The few, the proud, the United States marine.
GREENFIELD: What you've got are five different units of the marine corps that precede the Wyoming (UNINTELLIGIBLE). That's how (UNINTELLIGIBLE). A group of army units came first, you have a marine corps staff, marine band, marching units, color guard and then the Wyoming all-state marching band begins this section of the nonmilitary part of the parade.
BLITZER: 120 students in this Wyoming marching band are from many high schools throughout the state of Wyoming. They performed the 2001 presidential inauguration parade which is fitting since the vice president is from Wyoming. Also this band has appeared in three Tournament of Roses parades, parades most recently this year in January at the Tournament of Roses parade in Pasadena, California. Look at that. That's a pretty cool float, Jeff.
GREENFIELD: And we are informed Wyoming, you learn something new every day, its nickname is the equality state. Because it was the first that gave the right to vote to women as early as 1869. Decades before the adoption of women's suffrage amendment.
BLITZER: Judy Woodruff was making the point that she's never seen security as intense at an inauguration as we have this time. I would certainly concur with that. Our Kelli Arena, our justice correspondent, has been monitoring this part of the story. Kelli is joining us now. What do you see, what do you sense?
KELLI ARENA, CNN JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT: Wolf, I just got out of the FBI command center at the Washington field office of the FBI and the mood in there was very serious. There were many different law enforcement agencies represented. Every single incident that happened from the most minor to anything that looked suspicious was input into a database and fed out into the field to every single agency that is involved in protecting this inauguration. Let's take a look at what we had to see. Right here you see people that are monitoring. This, actually, is in the mobile command center that is located outside of the FBI field office. This is a very high-tech piece of equipment. They can take in video feeds from all of the key locations, have real- time communications with all of their state and local law enforcement partners and of course federal law enforcement partners. This vehicle would be the vehicle that would be dispatched if God forbid something were to happen whether terrorists or otherwise so that officials could be close to the site and be able to get the manpower and the equipment necessary to the site as quickly as possible.
Inside -- that's outside the FBI headquarters. When you go inside, you have the more, the more sophisticated command center with all of the law enforcement agencies on board. We saw people from FEMA. We saw people from Amtrak police were there, all of them working together, not much going on. You'll be happy to know, they've tracked down many leads from liquid that was found in containers to calls about possible bomb threats. All of those checked out, even the most minor. Nothing going on. So far, they say it's just another day in the nation's capital.
BLITZER: And one thing that is not normal for the nation's capital, we did see snipers atop rooftops. We saw all sorts of security. These are law enforcement personnel atop the White House right now. ARENA: And, actually, for the first time, Wolf...
BLITZER: And this is across the street from the White House, not far away. You can see snipers up there as well.
ARENA: But, for the first time, you have got FBI agents actually at pedestrian entry points. That's for the very first time.
BLITZER: How do they, Kelli, divide responsibilities? This is a national security event. The Secret Service is the lead agency for this.
BLITZER: Where does the FBI, some of the other agencies you are referring to, the FEMA, the Federal Emergency Management Agency, where do they fit in?
ARENA: They're all support agencies. Secret Service runs this deal until something happens.
If something happens, FBI then becomes the lead organization in charge. So, right now, you've got personnel from all of those agencies down there on the street manning command centers. There are at least six command centers that are fully operational, 24/7, until the last inaugural festivity is shut down.
But, like I said, if something were to happen, that's when the FBI comes in.
BLITZER: Kelli Arena...
ARENA: They have 1,400 people on standby ready to go.
BLITZER: All right. I believe you. Kelli Arena, she is going to have a full report on this, the whole security aspect of this story, at the top of the hour.
ARENA: That's right.
BLITZER: On a special edition of "WOLF BLITZER REPORTS." So, we'll have you back then. Thanks, Kelli.
ARENA: OK. Thank you.
BLITZER: Very much.
As we have been saying repeatedly, security unprecedented in this post-9/11 era. They're continuing to march in front of the White House, in front of the president of the United States, the vice president, Mrs. Bush, Mrs. Cheney and their family and friends. These are various aspects.
I believe, Jeff Greenfield, this is the Fightin' Texas Aggie Band, but I could be wrong.
JEFF GREENFIELD, CNN SR. ANALYST: You could be. And if you think I'm weighing in on this opinion, I won't.
But I do know that if they attempt to go after the University of Texas band, then you know they're the Aggies, because there's no love lost between the University of Texas and Texas A&M.
BLITZER: Now we're seeing caisson 3rd Infantry, what they call the old guard moving in front of the reviewing stand, this parade continuing down the road.
Judy Woodruff, you're right across the street from the president of the United States. Did we miss the Texas, the fighting Aggies, if you will?
WOODRUFF: You missed -- I think you were talking, Wolf, and Jeff, when Texas A&M -- is that what you're asking about?
BLITZER: Yes. That's correct.
WOODRUFF: The Ross Volunteer Company, they went by. Right after that, we watched the Broken Arrow High School marching band from my home state of Oklahoma, Broken Arrow, Oklahoma. And I think one of you just pointed out this is an Army caisson platoon.
BLITZER: Judy, all these years we've been working together, now you tell me you're from Oklahoma. Why didn't you -- I always think you were from Georgia.
WOODRUFF: Well, I went to high school in Georgia, Wolf, and I worked there for a few years after college, but I am an Okie.
BLITZER: All right, that's new information we're sharing with our viewers right now.
This is -- did you know that Judy Woodruff was from Oklahoma?
GREENFIELD: No, I just thought she was a Southern belle with that charm and loveliness. But it turns out that -- not from Muskogee, though, right, Judy?
WOODRUFF: That's right.
GREENFIELD: Not an Okie from Muskogee.
WOODRUFF: From Tulsa, the city that was the oil capital of the world before it wasn't.
BLITZER: We're bringing new information all the time to our viewers. Judy, we're get right back to you. But we're going to continue to watch what's going on, on Pennsylvania Avenue outside the White House.
We'll take a quick break. More of our special coverage of the inauguration when we come back.
BRUCE MORTON, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Inaugurations are traditional affairs. And President Bill Clinton's 1993 celebration was as solemn and stately as any other, until the evening, that is.
MORTON: At the Arkansas ball, Clinton provided the entertainment. An inaugural first? The saxophone was, for sure. When President Harry Truman performed at celebrations over 50 years earlier, he'd stuck to the piano.
BLITZER: The Lakeville Senior High School marching band from the state of Minnesota, representing the state of Minnesota, performing "The Minnesota March" and "The Minnesota Rouser." The band has performed on board the U.S. Missouri in Honolulu, Hawaii, as well as in numerous parades and festivals across the nation. The president certainly enjoying that music.
Welcome back to our continuing coverage of this inauguration, the inauguration of President George W. Bush. We're watching the parade, the reviewing stand right in front of the White House, the North Lawn of the White House. All of these floats, all of these marching bands continuing to go along. They'll be there for a while. The next item on the agenda will be -- the Secret Service division has a uniform division honor guard and I believe that is what is going forward right now.
Virtually, not only, Jeff, every state in the Union represented, but every aspect of the law enforcement and the U.S. military seems to be represented as well.
GREENFIELD: And they tend to go by branches. We saw at the beginning of the parade different elements of the Army, different elements of the Marine Corps, more groups representing states. Then the Navy, then things like Secret Service. You'll see Air Force. You'll see Coast Guard. You'll see all kinds of uniformed personnel representing not just military, but local police.
You saw a special tribute from the New York City Police and Fire Department, because -- I'm sure because of 9/11. And it's also a situation where the president usually feels that he ought to be staying for the entire parade, because it's the big thrill for any of these units that have come sometimes thousands of miles to pass in front of the president.
And so, while some of his family may be leaving to get ready for tonight's festivities, you'll generally see the president stay for the entire length of the parade.
BLITZER: The Secret Service began working for the president in 1865, July 5, 1865. The original purpose, to suppress counterfeit currency in the Department of Treasury. You knew that, Jeff, didn't you?
GREENFIELD: It's still -- well, I knew it because I saw "In the Line of Fire," that wonderful movie where one of the things that Clint Eastwood and his buddy are doing is breaking up a counterfeit ring.
BLITZER: Barbara Kellerman of Harvard University knew that as well.
KELLERMAN: Oh, yes, absolutely. Facts and figures, down to the last one.
Actually, Wolf, as this day is now very slowly -- that is, this part of the day -- of course, there is the night celebrations still to come. But as the day is starting to wind down, I'm struck by the bifurcation of it, with part of it so deadly earnest. We, ourselves, spent some time up here talking about the president's speech and the very, very, very serious implications thereof.
Then the afternoon matures a bit and we are really into playtime and showtime and good times. So, it's really a kind of divided day, ending up, I think, very appropriately with a celebratory mood, but not forgetting the serious and somber notes that were struck earlier.
BLITZER: We just saw the Spartans Drum and Bugle Corps performing. They're from Nashua, New Hampshire, a state very important to presidents of the United States. A lot happens in New Hampshire every four years. I would venture to say Iowa as well.
GREENFIELD: In fact, one of the political battles ahead is the perennial or quadrennial question of, should Iowa and New Hampshire always go first? There are Democrats who feel that, particularly with Ohio and to some extent New Hampshire, an unrepresentative group, relatively small group of Democrats gets to pick the nominee to the general election a problem.
On the other hand, Iowa and New Hampshire are very insistent that any candidate pledge to keep them first. And so it's a kind of interesting chicken and egg. But you're going to see the Democrats battling with this one once again. And I should just point that out one of the reasons New Hampshire wants to be first as a primary state is that, according to two New Hampshire economists, that primary is worth a quarter-of-a-billion -- that's with a B -- billion dollars to the economy of New Hampshire.
BLITZER: That's why they want it, among other things.
All right, this is the 1st Company Governor's Horse Guard from Connecticut and the state of Connecticut -- Connecticut's 2nd Company Governor's Horse Guard as well. This is the oldest horse cavalry unit in continuous service in the United States. It was first organized in 1808, has proudly served both World Wars. The all-volunteer cavalry participates in over 500 hours of training each year.
By the way, the 1st Company Governor's Horse Guard of Connecticut began in 1788, as the Governor's Independent Volunteer Troop of Horse Guards.
GREENFIELD: This happens to be the home state, the birth state, I should say, of George W. Bush.
BLITZER: That would be Connecticut.
This is Lincoln-Way Central High School band representing Illinois, New Lenox, Illinois, specifically, 178 members of the Marching Knights, Lincoln-Way Central High School. They have traveled over 700 miles to represent Illinois here today. The Knights received the title of grand champions of the 2003 Gator Bowl, have been annual finalists in the Illinois state marching championships, a little known fact, except to people at Lincoln-Way Central High School in New Lenox, Illinois.
GREENFIELD: You know, I guess we should not let a day like this go by without quoting Tocqueville. It's kind of required, I think .
But one of the things that he was struck by back when he visited the United States more than 150 years ago was the astonishing variety of voluntary associations. He just thought Americans were always in the position of getting together for anything. And whether it's marching bands or horse guards or whatever, this is a tradition that never has stopped in this country.
KELLERMAN: Well, yes, although, as you know, one of my Harvard colleagues, Robert Putnam, has written a tract called "Bowling Alone," which laments the demise of some of that.
But if you watch this panoply today, then it seems to be very much a throwback to Tocqueville and very much a sense of community, both small and at the national level.
BLITZER: All right, now we're going to see the United States Navy on display here on Pennsylvania Avenue in front of the White House. The U.S. Navy staff, they'll be followed by the U.S. Navy band. We're hearing from them right now. The United States Naval Academy will be represented, the United States Navy Ceremonial Guard Marching Company, also the U.S. Navy Color Guard, the United States Navy Reserve.
Over these next few moments, a lot of the United States Navy on display before the president. Let's listen in a little bit to the United States Navy.
BLITZER: Next on the agenda, Camden Fairview High School marching band, representing Camden, Arkansas, 130 members marching in front of the president of the United States right now.
Carlos Watson is in Ohio watching all of this, watching it on television, I dare say.
Carlos, what about you and your friends that you've gathered there? What are they saying? WATSON: Well, interestingly enough, Wolf, we began to have a conversation about health care. And we were talking in part to Heidi Abraham, a 20-year-old college student who hopes to become a doctor.
And, Heidi, what do you think about the president's focus on health care, particularly on limiting some of the medical liability suits?
HEIDI ABRAHAM, STUDENT: I think it's extremely important that we do get some tort reform then. The high malpractice rates are driving a lot of doctors out of business and making health care far too expensive for a lot of people.
WATSON: You know, a lot of Washington insiders would be a little bit surprised to hear you say that, because when the president brings this issue up, they go, oh, that is just an issue that you and big companies care about. But you're saying that you care about that issue. That is an issue that matters to you.
ABRAHAM: Right, especially because I'm going into the medical field.
WATSON: Anyone else here around the table care about that medical malpractice issue?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Absolutely.
WATSON: Theresa, now, you did not vote for the president, but you support his position on trying to limit some of the medical malpractice suits?
THERESA DEMANA, KERRY VOTER: Yes, I do support a limit to that, whether it's a limit in cap or -- I don't know what it should be, but I support reform.
WATSON: And, now, Sheila, as a small business owner, is that the biggest health care issue for you? Is there another issue for you?
SHEILA RICE, BUSINESS OWNER: No, I really feel like providing health care for workers is more important than the reform that they're working on. So, for me, with health care, I want to see a system that allows me to provide health care for all my employees. And all small s owners should be able to have health care insurance for all the workers. All Americans should have health care.
WATSON: You think all Americans should have health care.
RICE: All Americans should have health care.
WATSON: Dan, what do you think when you hear that? You're a small business owner as well.
DAN LEITHAUSER, BUSINESS OWNER: It needs to be more affordable. But the only way to make it more affordable is stop the lawsuits, because insurance gets it on both ways. They make money from small businesses paying health insurance. Doctors pay huge amounts of malpractice insurance.
It just needs to come down. And, as far as that, you know, should I work or not work for health insurance? I mean, I work -- I provide my family health insurance and stuff like that for payments. Should I just not work and then get free health insurance? I the -- I think you need to be able to work to provide that.
WATSON: Jennifer, I'm going to turn the tables a little bit on you and ask you -- I'm going to flash forward, even though we're at the inaugural for 2005. I'm going to talk about 2008 and the possibility of a presidential election there. Were there any folks who you saw up there, whether it was John McCain or Bill Frist or Hillary Clinton who get you excited as we even begin the early talk about a 2008 campaign?
JENNIFER DAVIS, COUNTY GOVERNMENT WORKER: No, I would really have to listen to their issues and see where they stand and what they want to represent.
WATSON: Anyone else around here see any of those folks up on the stand on the platform?
WATSON: Go, Hillary.
RICE: Hillary Clinton.
WATSON: Is that right?
RICE: That's right.
WATSON: Now, Dan, what would Hillary do for you?
LEITHAUSER: I would not vote for Hillary Clinton.
WATSON: That's a very quiet answer.
OK. OK. Now, Theresa, if I asked you for a little bit of advice, turning back to the present, give the president a little bit of advice for his second term here, his last term. What advice would you offer, any piece or two of advice you would offer to the president?
DEMANA: I guess my advice would be what I would like to see, a little bit more moderate, maintaining our individual freedoms, our individual rights, especially since freedom was the basis of his speech, and, for me, my personal issue of stem cell research, not squashing it altogether.
WATSON: You would like to see more support for that. Now, you voted for the president in 2000.
WATSON: But then left him over that issue in 2004?
WATSON: Heidi, what advice, if any, would you offer to the president for his second and final term?
ABRAHAM: I think he already knows that he got, he earned political capital on November 2. He won the election. And we expect him to use that political capital.
WATSON: And if the Democrats try and resist, should he hesitate to be aggressive, in other words, do it only with Republican votes and bypass bipartisanship?
ABRAHAM: You know what? The people voted the Republicans into power. So, I think, yes, he should go ahead and do it...
WATSON: Spend that political capital?
ABRAHAM: Definitely. Absolutely.
WATSON: Bob, your advice for the president?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I would like to see him make the tax cuts permanent.
WATSON: Tax cuts -- and do it you're saying in '05. Not wait until '06?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: As soon as possible, to help grow the economy so that the funds coming in to Washington will help cut, reduce deficits.
WATSON: Sheila, advice for the president, even though you didn't vote for him either this time or in 2000?
RICE: Work to bridge the gap of education within the inner-city schools, maybe with some type of incentive for teachers that are able to teach the students what they need to do. And that would be my advice.
WATSON: And what interested me about your comment comments on education is that, actually, one place you support the president is on No Child Left Behind.
RICE: I do support the No Child Left Behind, not the total package, but, in essence, I like the idea that inner-city students are being allowed to have a choice of where they go to school. I like that idea, because choice has been a privilege for years for people other than in the inner city. So, I like the idea that we're able to have a choice where to send our children.
WATSON: Now, Dan, your advice for the president, a president who you've supported strongly for his second and final term?
LEITHAUSER: Stay faithful to your call. Stay on your knees for guidance. We'll pray for you here. Appoint the people who you've been called to appoint to, the judges' positions, the people who are like you, the people who you ask to be there. And just God bless him and his family.
WATSON: Jennifer, bring us home. What advice would you offer to George W. Bush, our 43rd president?
DAVIS: To make sure all the troops come home in a safe and timely manner within the four years that he has left. And same thing as Dan said, God bless him and his family and hopefully he does make the right decisions for us and our nation.
WATSON: Wolf, as you can hear there from our wonderful group, from my Ohio family, a lot of expectation, a lot of people paying attention to politics, not just during the election season, but clearly going forward.
And I think whether it's the issue of Iraq overseas or whether it's issues that don't seem big to us on the domestic level, us being Washington insiders, like medical malpractice reform, the president's agenda is clearly going to be listened to by people in Ohio and other places.
BLITZER: You were speaking in Ohio. Appropriately enough, the Ohio State University marching band has been performing here in Washington, right in front of the president, the reviewing stands, a fitting moment, indeed.
Carlos Watson, thanks very much for that. Please thank your guests from Ohio as well, very interesting to hear what people are thinking out in the heartland on this historic day.
Jeff Greenfield, what are you thinking right now on this historic day?
GREENFIELD: I really think that, when the festivities are over, when the inaugural stands are removed, when Washington begins to look like Washington again, the words that the president spoke today are going to echo for some time to come.
I think it is going to be one of the most analyzed inaugural speeches, because, in contrast to many inaugural speeches that strike very broad themes, so broad as to be almost absent any content, this president laid down a series of markers. And he said in no uncertain terms it is the policy of the United States to extend freedom and democracy worldwide. It's a matter not of just some kind of idealism, but a matter of our national safety.
And I have warnings to countries that do not respect freedom and jail their citizens and do not permit dissent. In effect, he said, their day is over. And we will use our influence to make sure that happens. He didn't say we were going on a worldwide military crusade, but what those words mean and how they are going to be put into effect I think is going to be the dominant theme of this whole inauguration.
BLITZER: The Gaither High School Marching Cowboys now marching in front of the president and the first lady from Tampa, Florida, another important state in the country, certainly political, a very important state for the Bush family. The governor of Florida happens to be a Bush.
Let's take a quick break. More coverage coming up when we come back.
WOODRUFF: It is a happy Bush family watching the inaugural day parade as it moves along Pennsylvania Avenue in front of the White House. You see the former first lady, Barbara Bush, craning her neck to get a good look. We just saw one of several Texas groups passing in front of the reviewing stand, the Kilgore College Rangerettes from Kilgore, Texas, followed by this group from Hawaii -- and I can't pronounce it -- Halau Hoomau I Ka Wai Ola O Hawaii, one of the floats, colorful floats in this parade.
I don't know how much the cameras are able to catch this, but some of us are surprised to see the stands almost emptied right here along Pennsylvania Avenue. These are the choice seats. These are the seats that are closest to the president's reviewing stand. They are right in front of the White House. And they're largely empty. They've been growing that way for about the last 30, 45 minutes.
I guess people have gotten cold. Or maybe they came to see the president, they saw the president, and they took off. But the first lady, President Bush, his family, they haven't left. They're filling up every seat, as far as we can tell, in the president's reviewing stand. And it does -- it is still a cool afternoon in Washington. It is very much a day when we're glad the snow isn't on the ground, but there's a chill in the air. There's a little bit of a breeze.
And it's my guess that's part of the reason the crowd is clearing out.
Jeff Greenfield, as we watch the West Johnson High School band from Benson, North Carolina, pass by the president's reviewing stand, what's your sense? Do you remember the crowds clearing out this early before the parade was over?
GREENFIELD: Well, I think it's a combination of things, Judy. I think part of it is that it's just cold.
The other part is, if you're talking about high-priced seats, you're probably talking about people who have also paid a lot more money to attend one of the inaugural balls and have an interest in going back to their hotels, getting ready, putting on their fancy duds and hitting one of the nine balls tonight. But I do think the other part about this is that this is not an inaugural -- the last two have been like this, that's all that accessible. And it just isn't that surprising to me. We have cold weather, high security and the fact that people have an evening's worth of partying to do. And I think one of the only people we know who is going to stay long is the president because, as I said earlier, the groups that have come from far away, for them, the high point of this trip is passing by the president of the United States, and he knows that.
KELLERMAN: I also think, Judy -- this is Barbara Kellerman, I also think as we're winding down the day, people are ready to call this, have it come to an end. And I think it's time for some concluding thoughts, and I'm going to venture one or two.
First of all, it struck me, as we've been watching this now for some number of hours, that whatever you may think of George Bush, it's so clear that he's going to have a major impact on American history. Eight years at this particular moment in time seems even more dominant and powerful than it usually does, so this is going to be some kind of turning-point administration, no matter what your political ideology.
And the second point, again, as we see the parade going by, is that especially given the post-9/11 mentality and the enormous concerns about security, I think we're starting to be in a position, of course the day is not fully over, where we can say it has been a good day. There's a sense of palpable relief. Things have worked well, they've gone on time. There has been no untoward incident of any kind of any substance. So I think as this the day draws to a close, this part of the day, the evening of course yet to come, there's a sense of gratitude that this has gone off essentially without even a small hitch.
WOODRUFF: And that's right, because even with Kelli Arena's report earlier on their monitoring every single security breach in the city, there's been nothing that's risen to the level of even in any way, as far as we know, delaying what's been going on.
Jeff, another thought from you on, you know, the idea that people came all the way to Washington, but as you say, they came to see the president, they don't really care about all these bands. Is that it?
GREENFIELD: I think this is part of what almost has to happen in an inaugural. One of the things an inaugural has to do is to remind people this is the United States of America. It's a long way away from Philadelphia in 1787, but this is a federal republic. We are 50 states. That's how we elect a president, as we all learned the last two elections. And so I think while the spectators at the parade may be a little less interested in the parade than the president, or a lot less interested, the event itself almost demands that people come to the nation's capital from all over the country and say, we're part of this country too.
WOODRUFF: Put very well by Jeff Greenfield, joined by Barbara Kellerman, the historian. We are watching -- this is the beginning of the fourth of five divisions. This is the branch, the division led by the Air Force, the one that follows this will be led by the Coast Guard. I guess my one postscript thought at this point is that, you know, it is a slice of America walking by us today, and we do have so much to celebrate as a country that does celebrate our freedom.
At the same time, you know, we know there are people who don't agree with this president. There are people out there protesting. They were allowed to do that today, and it's what makes this country the great country that it is.
As we continue to watch this inaugural parade roll by, we're going to take a very quick break but we're ready to move to "WOLF BLITZER REPORTS."
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