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CNN LIVE EVENT/SPECIAL
Inauguration Day Coverage
Aired January 20, 2009 - 14:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR, INAUGURATION OF BARACK OBAMA: Brianna Keilar was down in the crowds, along the parade route.
Brianna, where are you? What are you seeing?
BRIANNA KEILAR, CNN CORRESPONDENT: I'm at Fourth Street and Pennsylvania. We are several blocks from where we saw the swearing-in. The story here is that a lot of people made the decision between whether to see the swearing-in and whether to be along the parade route and try to catch a glimpse of Barack Obama .
I'm here with 40 students from the Bronx School for Law, Government & Justice. Who are hoping -
What are you hoping to see?
CROWD IN UNISON: We're hoping to see Obama!
KEILAR: And I should say that their school held a mock election, and Obama won by a landslide. So we certainly have a lot of fans here.
But Justine, let's start with you. You tell me, what does it mean for you to be here today?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Like, I'm very excited. This is the first African-American president. This is a historical event. I'm very happy to take part in this event and share it with my fellow classmates.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yeah.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yeah.
KEILAR: Oscar, tell me what it took for you guys to get down here?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We want to thank the Yankees, we want to thank the law firm, Kay Sholters (ph), that helped us get here.
COOPER: Brianna, I just want to tell our viewers, we're watching President Bush, his last flight out of Andrews Air Force Base.
WOLF BLITZER, CNN ANCHOR: That flight taking him and his family back to Texas, where they will be living.
Colonel Mark Tillman, flying that plane. He's been the chief pilot of Air Force One throughout the Bush administration. Earlier, he was the number two during the Clinton administration. Actually started flying Air Force One during the first President Bush, during his administration back in 1992. But he's retiring today. So he's, flying, Colonel Tillman, it's his last flight back to Texas, right now.
Once they land there, and they fly back, he'll switch in the co- pilot seat, and the new pilot will take over, Barack Obama's new pilot. He's going to be the chief Air Force One pilot for the next many years.
COOPER: So, Barack gets a new pilot and a new vehicle, a new car.
BLITZER: Gets a new car, gets a new pilot.
SOLEDAD O'BRIEN, CNN ANCHOR: Chopper, new plane.
BLITZER: They just spent the last week or so fixing up, Air Force One, sprucing it up a little bit.
COOPER: President Bush's car was a 2004 model, I believe. This is now a 2009.
BLITZER: He's the president of the United States, you know. He gets a new car. What's wrong with that?
GLORIA BORGER, CNN SR. POLITICAL ANALYST: And he gets a Democratic Congress, don't forget.
COOPER: That's right.
ROSEN: That's the best.
COOPER: There's a lot more important things than the vehicle, he gets.
BLITZER: Give General Motors and Cadillac a plug. It's a Cadillac, U.S-made limousine.
COOPER: They need all the plugs they can get, I think.
Brianna Keilar, still down with the crowd. Brianna, I'm sorry to interrupt you. We just wanted to bring that to our viewers. But clearly a lot of excitement with the folks you're talking to.
KEILAR: Yes, a lot of excitement with these students from the Bronx School for Government, Law & Justice.
Deshana (ph), what does it mean for you to be here?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I don't know. I'm just really happy. I don't know.
KEILAR: What's your name?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Brianna.
KEILAR: Oh, so am I!
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Are you serious?
KEILAR: Yeah. Brianna, you tell me, what was the coolest part for you so far?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Singing.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Just we were singing in the street.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Because we're so happy.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: And we got interviewed by --.
KEILAR: Tell me about, is it sort of the feeling of community?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes. Joyfulness.
KEILAR: And Oscar, tell me again, because we were interrupted before, but what -- you've obviously been studying, in your school, about this election. So talk to me about sort of seeing the end of the whole process here.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This election has impacted in every shape and form in the classroom. Teachers have placed it in their lesson plans. Teachers made sure everyone in our school is educated. It's our justice part of it, and its our government part of our school. We're the Bronx School for Law, Government & Justice. And that's what we were represent here today.
KEILAR: And what is your big hope that you would like to see President Obama achieve? What matters to you? What is a big concern for you as a young person?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: To me, I really feel immigration reform would be the best hope that the first thing on Obama's agenda, you know. He promised the American people that immigration reform would be number one. That's what I hope for. That's what I'm here for today.
KEILAR: And Justine, what would you like to see accomplished?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Uh.
KEILAR: Kathy, what would you like to see?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Education. Like, I want to see, like, they worrying more about education, like help schools, and stuff.
KEILAR: A lot of young people here very excited, Anderson. And they have things, definitely, some issues on their minds about what they would like to see achieved by the new president, a lot of high hopes.
COOPER: All right. Brianna Keilar along the parade route.
So, we're about an hour and 10 or 15 minutes away from actual start of the inaugural parade. Some 13,000 people are going to be taking part in that parade. They expected some 300,000, 350,000 people lining the parade route. We, of course, will bring you that throughout the day. Our coverage continues well into tonight.
We were just joined by Alex Castellanos. It is the first time we have had a chance to talk with him, part of the best political team on television.
Alex, as you watched history transpire over the last several hours, your thoughts?
ALEX CASTELLANOS, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: Well, a tremendous moment for the country. If you read Obama's first book, "Dreams From My Father," you saw a little bit of that today. A lot of different Barack Obamas. There's the Harvard elite, in the Chicago streets. The heartland values and just a panoply of -- there's just such a tremendous breadth of the country.
Today, in the speech, he said that "our patchwork heritage was our strength, not our weakness". We saw a lot of that. He talked about a new country, this -- where we all come together. But he also talked about that our success was built on old values. I think today we didn't see any hard choices. We didn't see any one idea that this is what the Obama administration was going to be about. Instead we saw an effort I think to bring everyone together. And of course, that's what this day should be about.
COOPER: I think we still have Paul Begala down there.
Paul, it's all fancy rhetoric right now and a talk about bipartisanship. How long does that actually last for?
PAUL BEGALA, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: Actually, I was going to do a take and look at my watch. But, honestly, I see longer for this president than I think for any president since Ronald Reagan. John King mentioned this earlier, both Bill Clinton and George Bush came in with perhaps a little rockier political terrain underfoot. This man has a very strong mandate and he has built on that, 52.6 percent of the vote on election day, 10 weeks later, 82 percent support from the American people. That's not just a poll, that is political capital and political credibility.
And he seems, I think, to be very prepared. He's going to move very quickly. If you talk to members of his team, which I do from time to time, this is not just going to be a week of celebration. In fact, Alex and I were talking before, you could sort of - maybe I'm projecting read in his eyes - Barack Obama sat down at that lunch in Statuary Hall, he wanted to get to work. I think he wished he was one of the staffers to jumping in the vans to go down to the White House and get to work. COOPER: John King, I think you're also still there. Economically we're in a situation where we haven't seen before. In terms of politics, though, have we seen anything like this? This kind of level of support for a president at this stage?
JOHN KING, CNN CHIEF NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: I see nothing like this where eight in 10 of the American people have a favorable opinion. High numbers, 60, 70, 80 percent say they will be patient. The question, Anderson, is political support, political goodwill can melt like butter. And the question is, when next month, the unemployment report comes up, if the jobless rate is 7.2 percent nationally now, if it starts inching up in the early months of the Obama presidency, it goes near 8 percent, some think it could pass 9 percent, over the course of the next year. At that point, when the economic data keeps hitting the American people essentially across the head and across the chest, and it's more bad news, does that counterbalance the political goodwill.
At the moment the American people are giving this president time. He was very careful as he was today to say we're going to get about fixing this fast, but you won't feel it won't happen overnight. You won't feel it tomorrow. You won't wake up tomorrow and see more jobs in your community. But there are competing pressures. He has enormous goodwill, but all the economic anxiety, all the economic frustration, all the mistrust of how the government is spending all this money, the Wall Street bailout, now billions more in stimulus.
That hasn't gone anywhere. Obama has a great platform to start with. But all the skepticism and mistrust of government is still out there. And if he has a misstep, what was George Bush's problem, and what undermined John McCain, could quickly say hello to Barack Obama .
COOPER: Gloria Borger, how long is it that Barack Obama has?
BORGER: Well, he's already gotten to work, and he better get to work again fast, because you don't have a big window of opportunity. However, I do believe that since we're in such an economic crisis, it does provide an opportunity for him. And you see a huge economic stimulus package, tax cuts. And when I ask people in the now-Obama administration, well, what are you going to do first? Are you going to do health care first? You going to do energy policy first? They no, no, we're going to try to do it all now. That's what Obama was talking about in his speech today. He said we've got big plans. And only the cynics will say we can't get it done. So he wants to take advantage of the goodwill in the American public and start out big.
O'BRIEN: Not only legislatively, but also among the people, when Cornell West, at a panel at Howard University, the other night, one of the things he said was, we're going to help the brother, and we're going to hold him accountable. It is sort of that two fronts.
COOPER: And he got a big applause.
O'BRIEN: And he got a giant applause, because people resonated with that. You have a certain amount of time, legislatively, and you also have a certain amount of time with the people. They're going to help you, but they're also going to hold you accountable. He's in a little honeymoon phase now, that as you say, come midnight will end, completely. And then people start saying, what do we see?
COOPER: It is interesting, though, I think we still have Hilary Rosen, also, elsewhere, in the Newseum.
Hilary, he's got this huge base of support. He has this huge e- mail list, which they've used to a great effect during the campaign. How do they keep that going? They've talked about mobilizing that base, mobilizing those people who have contributed small amounts.
But how do they do that and what does that actually mean?
HILARY ROSEN, CNN POLITICAL CONTRIBUTOR: Well, I think their ability to communicate to the country is critical to their success. We talked a little bit before about how long the bipartisanship would last. Congress is very much going to be a reflection of the American people here. And as long as Congress keeps stealing from the American people, that they want to support this president, they will continue to do so.
That's where things like what Obama did today, with bookending the ceremony with a Rick Warren who disagrees with him on so many issues, with Joe Lowery, trying to continue to bring people together like that. And this e-mail operation, and organizing operation, that worked so effectively in the campaign, they have now instituted as a multimillion-dollar effort and adjunct to the Democratic National Committee. It is going to be a political organization to advance the agenda.
BLITZER: Hilary, I want to alert our viewers what's coming up over the next few moments. Indeed, the next several hours. But immediately they're wrapping up this luncheon over at Statuary Hall on Capitol Hill. The president of the United States, the vice president, about 200 guests. There will be some gifts exchanged. They'll let the cameras come back in. We'll be hearing from Joe Biden, the vice president, and from Barack Obama, the president of the United States. They'll be speaking there. We'll share that with all of you. Don't go away. There's a lot more coming up.
And then that parade down Pennsylvania Avenue. Our coverage of the INAUGURATION OF BARACK OBAMA will continue right after this.
BLITZER: Welcome back to our coverage. This is Pennsylvania Avenue here in Washington, D.C. This is where the parade will take place. That's going to take place shortly, but they've got some business that they're still wrapping up on Capitol Hill, the president and the vice president and the first lady, Joe Biden, and about 200 guests. They're wrapping up a luncheon that has been sponsored by the Congressional Inauguration Committee. Senator Dianne Feinstein the chair of that.
They let the -- they told the cameras that they had to go out during the private luncheon. But they're about to let those cameras back in. And there's going to be some exchanges of toasts, some presentation of flags. We should be hearing from President Obama and Vice President Biden shortly, briefly, but they'll be responding to some toasts.
COOPER: We'll bring those remarks to you, if in fact they do speak, there's sometimes some difference between what's on the schedule, but we're told they are scheduled --
BLITZER: They're running about a half hour behind schedule.
COOPER: Maybe they'll try to cut down some people's remarks. But clearly there are a lot of people along the parade routes, some estimates as high as 350,000 people will be finally watching that parade stretch all throughout our nation's capitol.
Look of the line of security on either side. Basically the line of black is all security personnel, law enforcement personnel. Several people thick that line is, on both sides of Pennsylvania Avenue.
BLITZER: And Chris Lawrence is right in the middle of everything.
Chris, tell our viewers exactly where you are.
I don't know if we have Chris Lawrence. Hopefully we'll have him.
COOPER: He's lost in the crowd.
BLITZER: He's in the midst of that crowd right now. You see the security there. It's intense. Go ahead, Soledad.
O'BRIEN: Keep in mind, behind those guards there, and the police and military, you have the metal barricades. What happens outside of the metal barricades are more metal barricades holding people back. At this level you're several, sort of, blocks in.
COOPER: These people are the lucky ones, they have been able to get through all the security barriers, all figured out where the entrances are. Because that is one of the confusing things. Actually, there is a limited number of entrances to these areas and it is hard to figure out which ones you're supposed to go to.
O'BRIEN: And there wasn't much information, so I'm sure the people there have been there since 3 o'clock in the morning, 4 o'clock in the morning, 5 o'clock in the morning, staking out their spot, and standing there.
BLITZER: You have so many police officers who are not from the Washington, D.C. area. They've been brought in from other parts of the country. To a certain degree, at least I discovered this morning, just trying to get to where we are, you know what, you've got to talk to some of these cops and let them know who you are. They might let you through. Did you have that experience?
COOPER: Really? LEMON: Yes, I did have that experience. It helped when people said, Oh, Don Lemon, CNN. And they go, OK, all right, we'll let you through.
COOPER: I had to say, I'm working with Wolf Blitzer.
COOPER: And that seems to work.
LEMON: But you know, what, I want to say, the temperature, we can feel it here, is quickly dropping. And if they take much longer, and get further behind in the schedule, these people are going to be standing out in much colder weather.
COOPER: I got no special dispensation. Absolutely not.
O'BRIEN: How did you get here?
COOPER: I walked all the way here. And it was interesting, because all these people kept following me, as if I knew where I was going. I kept having to turn, literally crowds of people, and I'd have to say, look, I'm just as y'all. I don't know --
LEMON: Anderson, if you can't get in, if you're having trouble getting in, you know, we can't get in.
BLITZER: The good news is, we all made it. We have a great historian who works with us, Bill Bennett, who's taken a look at this. You've written great books on American history. Give us a little perspective on what this day means to our country, Bill.
BILL BENNETT, CNN POLITICAL CONTRIBUTOR: Well, it's number 44. It's still a pretty young country, isn't it? Only 44 presidents. Someone pointed out to me, if you took the life of Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes , from the Supreme Court, when he was a young man, a little boy, he had breakfast with Veterans of the Revolutionary War. When he was an old man, Alger Hiss was his clerk, from the Supreme Court. That's a whole history of a country in that brief period of time, and what has been accomplished.
Can I say something briefly about tomorrow? Not to get away from the celebratory mood?
BLITZER: Yes, you can.
BENNETT: But Barack Obama will be tested. It will test his sinew. It won't just be Republicans either, I think. Paul Begala and I were talking, I won't put words in his mouth, but I think he's going to get some challenges from the chieftains on the Hill, and the people who run these committees. These are strong people. And politically they may not align on all these issues.
The other point I'd make is, there's been a lot of talk about sharp departures, repudiation of the past, and so on. There's been a lot of talk on that. I'm very interested to see at the level of policy, not announcing the that Guantanamo is closing, not announcing we're looking into withdrawal of troops from Iraq, but when will all the troops really be gone? When will the 250 prisoners be out of Guantanamo?
Again, he's in a great grace period and he can do things right away to send a signal. But a signal is not substance. So, I actually predict that in the next six months, I'm going to find myself defending him from time to time to my radio audience and to others. It's going to be very interesting, he's a very interesting and complicated character.
BLITZER: I want to hear from Paul Begala, too. But a quick historical footnote, Bill Bennett, before I let you go. In his speech, he said this Barack Obama, in his inaugural address, he said, 44 Americans have now taken the presidential oath. He is the 44th president of the United States. I'm getting e-mail from people who are nitpicking, saying, really, only 43 Americans have taken the presidential oath of office. They point out that Grover Cleveland did it twice. He was the 22nd and 24th president of the United States.
BENNETT: But he was a changed man.
BLITZER: Are these guys right when they say there might have been a technical little error in Barack Obama's words?
COOPER: Bill, said he was a changed man, Grover Cleveland.
BLITZER: All right. I'll accept that diplomatic response.
All right. Paul, what do you think about what we just heard from Bill?
BEGALA: Oh, I do think Bill's right. Democrats, I think some of them feel like executive power was too aggressively asserted by President Bush. It hasn't been asserted at all yet by President Obama. He'll meet institutional pressures back and forth. But he draws on such a well of support from Democrats, Republicans, that he, I think, will be able to assert that leadership.
And this is a historical note I was thinking of as he spoke. When Martin Luther King gave his speech in the March on Washington, John F. Kennedy was in the White House. During the rally and the march he was having a meeting, actually, about Vietnam. But he stepped out of the meeting to watch King's speech on television. And as King finished he pointed to the screen and said, He's good. He's damn good.
And I've got to tell you, as a person of faith, I can see JFK and MLK up in heaven watching Barack Obama today and saying, He's good. He's damn good.
BENNETT: Sure is.
BEGALA: It was quite a statement. COOPER: James Carville, in terms of the political battles ahead that Bill Bennett was talking about, where do you see the front lines? What are the biggest battles in the next days, weeks?
BENNETT: Well -uh,
BEGALA: James had to go.
COOPER: Carville is not there.
Well, Paul, how about you?
BENNETT: No, James, who do you want?
BORGER: James is not here.
COOPER: Paul Begala, where do you see the biggest political battles?
BEGALA: I think he's going to jump out of the box very quickly, on executive action, using the funds that Congress has appropriated to take pretty radical steps in the financial system. There's been a lot of talk that perhaps he will set up a, what's being called, among economists, a bad bank to take on assets, distressed assets of distressed banks. That will be controversial if in fact, he does that.
But I think, just like Roosevelt took office and declared a bank holiday, the day after he was sworn in, I think, in a matter of days, not months, days, you're going to see very aggressive, almost radical action on the banking crisis, the likes of which I don't think George W. Bush could have ever contemplated.
CASTELLANOS: Here's where a little bipartisanship might do us all some good, Anderson. This is one of the biggest expansions of government we're ever in our history, and it's not being discussed or debated at all. When you have an 80 percent approval rating you can get things like that through. But you saw today, at that luncheon, at Statutory Hall, you saw Rahm Emanuel already hard at work.
COOPER: Alex, are you talking about the expansion under George Bush, or the expansion now?
CASTELLANOS: No, listen, good point. Because George Bush -
BENNETT: Now that George Bush is gone, you will see Republicans finding a more conservative voice on this issue. It's been difficult for Republicans to do this when George Bush championed this multi- billion-dollar bailout. They'll find their voice a little clearer. You'll see a much clearer demarcation. And note, again, if Obama does go ahead with this version of a new bank, or a second big bailout, it will be a kind of continuation of the dreaded Bush policy. ROSEN: It will be very hard, though, for Republicans too jump too quickly on criticizing Barack Obama for trying to save either the financial system, or more importantly, the home mortgages of millions of Americans that are struggling from bad savings and loan practices, bad mortgage practices.
So I think he's going to be given some leeway. The interesting part is when there are recalcitrant members, will the Obama team be willing to take them on directly? Will they use this grassroots organization to start to lobby specific senators, particularly maybe Democratic senators, directly. And use some of that political capital that they've stored up. Or whether there will be more inside fights. I think those challenges are things they haven't quite worked out yet.
BENNETT: Remember the stimulus right now is pretty -
BLITZER: In his inaugural address -- hold on guys, for a minute. We just want to move on. But I want to remind our viewers at the end of his inaugural address, President Obama spoke of this winter of our hardship. I think he's underscoring how painful this period is right now. And it's probably going to get worse in the immediate period ahead, economically speaking, of course.
Tom Foreman is joining us right now. Tom, the White House web site, right exactly at noon Eastern, when Barack Obama became president of the United States, what happened?
TOM FOREMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: It changed, Wolf. It changed big. Here it is. Hilary was asking a minute ago whether or not he will use that grassroots organization. I think this is a very clear signal that not only will he, but he is strengthening that organization.
Look at this new web site. It's got messages about revitalizing the economy, about public service. It has his entire agenda on it. It looks a lot like his campaign website. Remember, one of the primary reasons he won is because he used the Internet so much better than anyone else to mobilize millions and millions and millions of people.
Now he's paying them back. He's got his new biography up here as president of the United States. I will tell you, having looked at a lot of White House web sites, this is the slickest one by far. It's got on here video from the train ride just the other day. You can recreate these moments.
And probably most important in all of this, I think one of the things people really have to pay attention is if you look at the basic message that they're sending from the White House here. If you scroll down, take a look at this one. ChangehascometotheWhite House.gov. They're doing here precisely what they did during the campaign. They're making a direct call to people to say, sign up for our e-mails just like you did in the campaign, from the White House.
We will keep you connected to our policies. And there's no question what this means. This will be a quick and easy way for Barack Obama to stoke the fires under that boiler of public support when he needs to. To push congressmen, to push Senate, to keep this thing on track by keeping those millions of people out there, who have been supporting all along, still onboard paying attention to his presidency like they did his campaign, Wolf?
BLITZER: Amazing how quickly they do that, and how sophisticated, Anderson, that new technology that Barack Obama will bring to the White House. He used it very successfully to get elected president, and now he'll use it to govern no doubt as well.
We're only a few minutes away, maybe ten minutes away from sharing with you something we've been promising for the last several days, what we call this "photosynth" moment. The moment when he was sworn in and became the president of the United States. We had people taking pictures from literally hundreds of thousands --
COOPER: It sounds like something from "Star Wars" The "synth"
BLITZER: Yes, it is only something that David Borman and I could come up.
COOPER: I don't still quite understand how it's going to work.
BLITZER: Our Washington bureau chief.
We're going to share that picture for you. It is a unique vantage point, three-dimensional shot of what happened, at the moment when he became president of the United States. We're only about 15 minutes away from another image we're going to share from outer space. A satellite picture, despite some of the cloud cover, of The Mall on this day.
COOPER: Is this from one of those predator drones?
BLITZER: No, this is from an actual satellite.
COOPER: Oh, a satellite. All right.
BLITZER: One of those geo-satellites that is going around without people up there.
COOPER: Sure, yeah.
BLITZER: It's very cool. So, I want our viewers to stand by for that. We're also standing by to see Barack Obama and Joe Biden , they're getting ready to leave that luncheon on Capitol Hill. The parade, also getting ready to start. Our coverage of the INAUGURATION OF BARACK OBAMA will continue after this.
BLITZER: The crowds are lining up on Pennsylvania Avenue here in Washington, D.C., lots of security, understandably so.
Once the president begins that motorcade down Pennsylvania Avenue, toward the White House, we will have extensive coverage. Right now, as -- as we know, they're still in that luncheon up on Capitol Hill in Statuary Hall. But I think it's getting ready to wrap up. There will be some exchanging of flags and gifts, some toasts. We will try to cover all of that, as we get ready for this parade to begin, as well, on Pennsylvania Avenue. They're going to be making their way over to Lafayette Park cover near the White House.
Suzanne Malveaux is there.
Suzanne, what's going on where you are?
SUZANNE MALVEAUX, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Wolf, the people have gathered here. They have been here for hours and hours. And they're just waiting in excitement, anticipation.
Jeffrey Toobin and I both here, we have heard them sing "America the Beautiful." They have been doing -- singing songs and jumping jacks just to keep warm here, waiting for the big moment when the new president arrives here at the White House.
Have to say, as well, we have got our cameras that are trained at the west executive driveway. That is where we anticipate to see some movement, some action, perhaps, some of those White House officials that Ed Henry had mentioned before, the deputy chief of staff, as well as the chief of staff, coming here to really start their jobs in earnest.
So, we have got our cameras trained to see if there's any kind of activity. We have seen just the couple of days that they started painting the press office, at least the communications offices that they have for the new folks who will be coming in, so, obviously, a lot of work that is taking place inside the White House, and obviously a lot of excitement out here, as we wait for the parade -- Wolf.
BLITZER: I love it when they build that special structure for the reviewing stand outside the North Lawn of the White House.
Jeff Toobin, you listened, you enjoyed, I assume, the presidential inaugural address?
JEFFREY TOOBIN, CNN SENIOR ANALYST: Well, actually, I think I would like to volunteer for being the skunk at the garden party.
TOOBIN: I thought this was a -- a missed opportunity, the speech.
BLITZER: I suspected you would.
TOOBIN: No, I -- I thought that this was a speech with a lot of ideas, but no theme. And, most importantly, this was a speech without a single memorable phrase. We remember inaugural addresses by, "We have nothing to fear but fear itself," "Ask not what you can do -- what your country can do for you." Where is anything comparable in this speech?
I'm afraid that this is likely to join the vast majority of the inaugural addresses, which are quickly forgotten.
MALVEAUX: Wolf, I have to disagree with Jeff.
MALVEAUX: I -- I thought it was -- I thought it was really quite an amazing speech. And I thought one of the things that he did, that he's done since the campaign, was really tap into people's emotions, the sense that he touched on the fact that a lot of people have this lack of confidence in themselves, in the country, and that fear is something that's dominated their psyche for quite some time.
It's one of the things that -- that you heard over the last eight years or so, predominantly, in the Bush administration. He really did talk about that sense of fear, a fear of another terrorist attack, fear of people not being able to understand each other. There was a real sense of fear among a lot of people.
And I think that what Barack Obama was saying, the message that he was conveying, is that it's time to put that fear aside, to deal with that kind of anxiety, and to be a confident nation once again -- Anderson, Wolf.
BLITZER: All right, guys, hold on for a moment. We're going to continue this discussion.
But Dana Bash is up on Capitol Hill. She's outside that luncheon where President Obama was the guest of honor.
I take it the luncheon is sort of breaking up right now, Dana? You have got someone with you with you who was inside?
DANA BASH, CNN SENIOR CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: That's right.
It is about to break up. But we're actually lucky, in that we have somebody who just came out. It is the Republican congressman from Indiana, a member of the Republican leadership.
Congressman Mike Pence, thank you very much for coming out.
REP. MIKE PENCE (R), INDIANA: You bet, Dana.
BASH: First question is, give us a little bit of a sense of what's going on in the room. You know, the cameras were not allowed in there. Tell us what's going on and what President Obama is doing with regard to this lunch?
PENCE: Well, for Washington, D. C. , it's a very intimate gathering. The tables are circular tables. The mixture is very bipartisan at each and every table. And I think there's a genuine spirit of -- of, you know, the historic and civic importance of this moment. And -- and the president has been, as we say, working the tables.
BASH: You said before he was working the room almost like a wedding.
PENCE: Yes, it has -- has a little bit of a feel of a rehearsal dinner, and maybe that's a good metaphor for what we're doing.
I had a chance to chat with the president, and we -- we immediately began to talk about some issues. You know, House Republicans are bringing forward a series of proposals for stimulus that we hope are given a fair hearing in markups this week and next. And the president indicated to me his interest in talking about those things and dealing with budget issues, trying to do that in a bipartisan way, and we take him at his word. We look forward to that dialogue.
BASH: Thank you very much for coming out and telling us what's going on behind closed doors. Appreciate it.
That's Congressman Mike Pence giving us a sense of the color of what's going on in there. You heard him say that Barack Obama is working the room like a wedding. But, also, clearly the business of the people and the differences, clearly, that is -- that are going to go on between these Republicans and Barack Obama, it's on their mind already -- Wolf.
BLITZER: All right, Dana, thanks very much.
And as soon as we see the president and the vice president leave that luncheon, we're going to go back there.
But John King is going to share with us right now something we have been talking about for...
COOPER: The synth.
BLITZER: The synth, the Photosynth.
COOPER: The synth has come.
BLITZER: That moment, John, when a lot of our people -- we asked people who were nearby to take a picture of Barack Obama becoming president of the United States. And then we -- we have created a new three-dimensional vantage point of what happened.
Share it with our viewers.
JOHN KING, CNN CHIEF NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: I sure will, Wolf.
And we asked our viewers to help us by sending those photos in.
You can keep sending them. If you're listening, and you have photos of the moment, Barack Obama taking the oath, no matter where you were, keep sending them to themoment@CNN.com. We have thousands already.
And, Wolf, I want to come in here now and take a peek. Here it is, just after noon, Barack Obama, his hand raised, taking the oath of office as the 44th president of the United States. You might say, wow, somebody up close got a nice snapshot there. That would be nice for the catalogue, the album home -- at home, but it's much more than that.
Let's tap a couple times and come on out. There it is, that picture up close. Let's pull out a little bit. These are more pictures. Thousands of them have come in. This synth is built on roughly 140. And what we do as we get more and more -- let's drop out now. You see the presidential seal. You see the crowds, the VIPs up here.
Let's keep coming on. You see the seal here. We can come around more. The more these photos come in, this collage is built, and you can see what it looks like from here. I'm going to reach cross. Excuse my hand. We will take a perspective of what it looked like from the side over here. We can come back around and see again this way, come around multidimensional and come more over this way. You see the west front of the Capitol here.
Let's come back over to where the president was taking the oath of office. You see him here. We are going to come all the way back now, because our viewers helped us out. You see even people taking pictures on their cell phones down here. Keep sending them in, because we can take you back more. We can take you back more still. Look at the depth of the crowd here, still on the Capitol grounds.
And how did we do this? Well, let's show you what it looks like. You have all of these pictures, about 140. You see all different perspectives, a little further away here, off to the right, off to the left.
If you look down here, who's watching this event? There's Oprah Winfrey right down here, other VIPs in the crowd as well. And, as this goes on and on and on, you can bring out these pictures, and you bring out the pictured, and you build the synth from there, all of these photographs, thousands coming in so far. You can start with one, this photograph sent in of the flag flying over the Capitol.
But, because of this technology, we can make it so much more. We just bring them all together. The synth program links them up by points of common reference, takes a photo taken from way back here, links it to the photo taken way on it. And you bring it all out. And look at the multidimensional nature of this. Want to get a little closer, just touch, and there you go, Barack Obama becoming the 44th president of the United States.
Wolf, they're coming in by the thousands. As they do over the next few hours, even over the next few days, we will modify this image, make it, clarity, much, much better. We will maybe build some new ones. If we get a lot of photos from this angle, we will build a special one from here, same on this side. So, if you have them, not just of this -- if you have them from anywhere around, but of this scene right here -- send it to themoment@CNN.com. And will make it better as the hours and days go on -- Wolf.
BLITZER: Yes, it's going to be amazing, Anderson. I love that.
COOPER: Gloria Borger -- Gloria Borger actually took a photo from our position and sent it in.
GLORIA BORGER, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: ... mine?
COOPER: So, we will see if that shows up in the synth. It's cool. I -- I was skeptical of it, but I must say, it's actually very cool.
BLITZER: And you know what else is going to be cool? That satellite image...
BLITZER: ... that satellite picture of the whole Mall area that we're about to release as well. We ordered a picture from space.
COOPER: It would nice to get some from people who were all the way back even, you know, by the -- by the Washington Monument, by the Lincoln Memorial, really get a sense of the depth of the crowd.
And, as we build this, this is something you will be able to watch along.
BLITZER: By the way, if you want to go to see that Photosynth, go to CNN.com/themoment -- one word, themoment. You can see it yourself.
COOPER: If you want to send us your photo, you have got to themoment -- send it to themoment@CNN.com.
COOPER: There we go.
SOLEDAD O'BRIEN, CNN SPECIAL CORRESPONDENT: Not to confuse -- not to confuse you.
BLITZER: Stand by, guys. I want to go back to Dana. She's outside that luncheon in the Rotunda on Capitol Hill.
What's going on, Dana?
BASH: What's going on, Wolf, unfortunately, is that we have reports now that a senator has collapsed inside of the luncheon that's going on behind me in Statuary Hall. We have, honestly, mixed reports as to who it was. One of our colleagues is reporting that it was actually Senator Robert Byrd, the oldest and longest-serving senator, that he was the one who collapsed.
And I was told by another Democratic senator who came out and talked to me that it was somebody else. So, there's mixed -- there are mixed reports on who it was. But we can tell you that paramedics were called at 2:35, so not that long ago, less than 10 minutes ago.
We are waiting to find out more information. But that's what we know. So, certainly, this is horrible news, no matter what -- who it was, and certainly changing the tone here dramatically, as Barack Obama is having the celebratory lunch with members of Congress in Statuary Hall behind me -- Wolf.
COOPER: We did see Senator Robert Byrd seated. While...
COOPER: ... Barack Obama came around, he gave a special greeting to the senator, who remained seated while other people were standing around the table.
BLITZER: Longtime senator from West Virginia. We know he's -- he's an elderly man. And we know he hasn't been in great health, but just recently got reelected from the people of West Virginia. And we're sorry to hear it.
Dana, stay on top of this story and update us when we get more information. We, of course, wish Senator Byrd only the best. We hope he's doing fine.
COOPER: If it's in fact Senator Byrd.
BLITZER: If it's -- if it's -- in fact, it is Senator Byrd.
COOPER: Dana, what are you hearing?
BLITZER: Are -- Dana, are you getting more?
BASH: I just want to tell our viewers the other senator that we were told -- in fact, again, a Democratic senator just came out of the lunch to tell me that somebody collapsed. And this senator told me that it was actually Senator Ted Kennedy of Massachusetts -- Senator Ted Kennedy, who, of course, has been suffering from brain cancer, who had surgery nine months ago when he was diagnosed, but has been doing much better. He's been here on Capitol Hill day in and day out working.
But, again, this Democratic senator just came out of the lunch and told me that he believes the person who collapsed was Ted Kennedy. And, if that is true, it is a bit ironic, because his son, Patrick Kennedy, was just here moments ago.
And I said to him, "How is your dad doing?"
And he said: "He's doing great. We're so happy. He's really doing great."
So, we are -- again, just want to be cautious, that we have two reports in terms of which senator it was that -- who collapsed. But we do know that somebody did collapse. And we are getting more information. And we're waiting for the paramedics to make their way here -- Wolf.
COOPER: It's important to point these are early reports. And we cannot confirm either of these reports. But this is a live picture. The luncheon does seem to be continuing.
BLITZER: Yes, it looks like Dianne Feinstein is beginning to speak -- Nancy Pelosi -- excuse me -- beginning to speak.
(JOINED IN PROGRESS)
REP. NANCY PELOSI (D-CA), SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE: ... with malice toward none, with charity for all, as our pledge to the flag insists, with liberty and justice for all.
(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)
SEN. DIANNE FEINSTEIN (D), CALIFORNIA: And now, if I may, I would like to ask my distinguished ranking member, Senator Bennett, if he would come to the stand to present the inaugural photographs.
SEN. ROBERT BENNETT (R), UTAH: This is a memorable occasion for everyone involved. As the father of six -- four of whom are girls -- I have learned that the most memorable occasion, the wedding, is never solidified until the photographs have been taken.
And so it is my great honor to present to the president and the vice president the official photograph that proves that it really happened. Thank you.
(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)
FEINSTEIN: It is now the time to present to the president and Mrs. Obama, the vice president and Dr. Biden the beautiful crystal bowls that are over on my left.
Now, Lenox China is a great American china factory, china and crystal. And they have made these one-off bowls. As you have a chance to look at them, they're really quite beautiful. They are in lead crystal. The bases are pure crystal and very, very heavy.
And one is the White House, and one is the Capitol. And they are both surrounded by plum blossoms in their bloom and, of course, inscribed to both the president and vice president. They were specially designed by Timothy Carder and hand cut by a master glass-cutter, Peter O'Rourke. They are one of a kind, and I would ask my husband, and Mrs. Obama, and Vice President and Dr. Biden to join us over here, along with Speaker Pelosi and the majority leader, Harry Reid.
BLITZER: And there they are, the president and vice president. They have been exchanging -- getting gifts. These are the Lenox inaugural gifts that were presented to the president and Mrs. Obama, the vice president and Dr. Jill Biden.
The chair of this event, Dianne Feinstein, the senator from California, you can see her to the far left of your screen.
Next on the agenda, I believe the vice president will be speaking, followed by a toast that Senator Feinstein will deliver to President Obama. And we expect brief remarks from him as well.
So, let's listen in, see what happens next.
FEINSTEIN: And now, if I may, I would like to ask my friend, the Senate majority leader, Harry Reid, to come to the podium. And would you bring your glass, please, as we offer a toast to our new president and our new vice president.
Mr. Leader, if you would go ahead?
SEN. HARRY REID (D-NV), MAJORITY LEADER: Vice President Biden, I have been asked to give a toast to you.
Only one other time in history has a senator and a senator simultaneously been elected president and vice president, my predecessor, Lyndon Johnson, and John Kennedy.
Barack Obama, when he served in the Senate, served on the prestigious Foreign Relations Committee. Where else would he go to find the best teammate he could find and the person that ran that committee, Joe Biden?
Joe Biden has set an example for me, everyone that's ever served with him in the Senate, as a person who is a teammate first of all, a counselor, an advocate, a friend, an exemplar.
So it's my toast that this will continue, Mr. Vice President, that you continue being what you have been to our new president. Barack Obama, Joe Biden, the dream team. Godspeed.
FEINSTEIN: And now I would like to propose a toast to the new president of the United States.
Mr. President, Mrs. Obama, so much rests on your shoulders: our hopes, our dreams, the future of this country.
We've watched you. We see the equanimity. We see the dedication. We see the balance. And I think the sense of all of us in this room is that this nation is in good hands. May those hands remain stable and steady. May those hands always be well. May you and your family be blessed with the love of the American people. And may we in government be your partner in the future of this great country.
We salute you, Mr. President.
BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Please, everybody, be seated.
My remarks are very brief. First of all, I know that, while I was out of the room, concern was expressed about Teddy. He was there when the Voting Rights Act passed; along with John Lewis, was a warrior for justice; and so I would be lying to you if I did not say that, right now, a part of me is with him. And I think that's true for all of us.
This is a joyous time, but it's also a sobering time. And my prayers are with him and his family and Vicki.
I want to thank Dianne, Bob, and the entire committee for hosting just an extraordinary, extraordinary inauguration. When you think about the complexities of putting together an event of this size and this scope, you have to marvel at the leadership and the teamwork and the good spirits that went into it.
And I want to thank our military and our law enforcement officers, the city of Washington, and Mayor Fenty, the devoted staff and volunteers, including our wait staff here today, who were putting up with me wandering through the tables...
(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)
OBAMA: It's always hazardous duty serving in a room full of politicians. But I thank all of you for just an incredible, incredible event.
This has been a historic inauguration; that's been noted before. You see it not so much in this room, although this is a gathering of some of my best friends and my family and people with extraordinary records of leadership in this country -- including our past presidents, Presidents Carter and Clinton, as well as Vice President Quayle.
Did I miss anybody? And Vice President Gore, right in front of me. And Vice President Mondale. See, this is what happens when you start.
But I think the depth of the moment is expressed by the people beyond these halls, millions of people who, over the last three, four days, and tens of millions more over the last two years have participated in the very essence of our democracy. It's not just their size, but it's their intensity and their engagement.
What's happening today is not about me. It is about the American people. They understand that we have arrived at a moment of great challenge for our nation, a time of peril, but also extraordinary promise.
And by being here today and by participating in innumerable ways across cities and small towns and suburbs all across the country, they are demonstrating the readiness to answer history's call and to step up, and give back, and take responsibility for serving the common purpose of remaking our nation.
The American people have come together across races and regions and stations. Now we have to do the same.
Now it falls to us, the people's representatives, to give our fullest measure of devotion to the cause of freedom and liberty and justice, decency and dignity. And our chambers should reflect what we know are in the hearts of the American people.
And so I would like to -- all of us, to rededicate ourselves to fulfilling the sacred charge the American people have given to us. I would like all of us to come together with a sense of purpose and civility and urgency.
It doesn't mean we're going to agree on everything. And I assure you our administration will make mistakes. But what the American people I think do expect from us now is a sense not of simply our trying to advance our own aims, but trying to advance theirs. And I'm confident we can do so.
Thank you all for this great honor, and I look forward to working with you in the years to come.
BLITZER: All right, the remarks from President Obama, but, the beginning, his sad words about Teddy Kennedy collapsing.
Dana Bash is outside Statuary Hall in the Rotunda. What are we hearing about Senator Kennedy?
BASH: That's right.
This is from a Republican lawmaker who was in the lunch, who is telling us that this seizure that Ted Kennedy did have apparently lasted quite a long time, in fact, that he was still seizing when he was put into a wheelchair and then brought out.
We're going to have more later on that, and also additional information that perhaps another senator, Robert Byrd, also had a health issue at the same time -- back to you, Wolf.
BLITZER: All right, we will take a quick break and continue with the breaking news right after this.