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Caroline Kennedy Drops Senate Bid; President Obama Retakes Oath of Office

Aired January 21, 2009 - 20:00   ET


CAMPBELL BROWN, CNN ANCHOR: Hey there, everybody.
We have breaking political news that has just now come in.

Bullet point number one tonight: CNN has confirmed that Caroline Kennedy has withdrawn from the list of potential appointees to Hillary Clinton's Senate seat.

Many political observers put this daughter of Camelot at the top of that list. She reportedly will make a statement later tonight. We are the phones reporting the story, and we're going to have details for you as they emerge throughout the night.

Word of all this comes just as Hillary Clinton was confirmed as secretary of state by the Senate in a 94-2 vote.

Bullet point number two tonight: breaking inauguration news, a do-over for the president. After yesterday's bungled oath of office, we are just getting details of this astonishing moment in presidential history, a retaking of the oath. We will explain.

And bullet point number three: the White House senior staff in place. Part of his Cabinet still needs final approval, but today President Obama welcomed the men and women who will be working in his White House.



BARACK H. OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: What a moment we're in and what an opportunity we have to change this country.


BROWN: Along with the idealism, a dose of reality. He is freezing salaries for staffers who earn more than $100,000 a year and launching sweeping new rulings of conduct.

Now, normally, at this point, we do "Cutting Through The Bull" in the program. But we're putting it off a little bit because of a lot of breaking news we want to tell you about right now.

And let's start with the very latest, sources confirming to CNN that Caroline Kennedy is withdrawing her name from consideration for Hillary Clinton's U.S. Senate seat. This "New York Times" -- or "The New York Times" is reporting that Kennedy's told New York's governor today that her decision was prompted by concern about the health of her uncle, Senator Ted Kennedy. He is fighting brain cancer. And, of course, as you know, he suffered a seizure during yesterday's inaugural luncheon with President Obama. Hillary Clinton's Senate seat now still vacant -- she resigned from the Senate this afternoon, after she was confirmed. She has already been sworn in as secretary of state.

A lot to consider here. And with me on the phone is Fred Dicker, who is state editor of "The New York Post." Also, CNN political analyst Gloria Borger has been working her sources. And she's joining us from Washington. And CNN political analyst Jeffrey Toobin here with me in New York as well.

And, Gloria, let me start with you. I know you have been working the phones a little bit. What do we know at this point?

GLORIA BORGER, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: Well, we don't know very much, Campbell.

John King, Candy Crowley and I have been working the phones. And our sources have told us that indeed Caroline Kennedy does not want to be considered for Hillary Clinton's Senate seat at this point. We cannot confirm that she has actually told Governor Paterson this yet, and we don't know why.

We don't know specifically whether it's because of her uncle's health, as has been reported elsewhere, or whether in fact she had a conversation with Paterson, in which he may have said to her that it was going in a different direction. So, that's what we're working the phones on right now.

BROWN: And, Fred, you were reporting that, as of this morning, Caroline Kennedy pretty much had a lock on the job. How much of a surprise is this? And what are you hearing?

FREDRIC DICKER, STATE EDITOR, "THE NEW YORK POST": This is a stunning surprise. It's rocked the New York political establishment, really, the national political establishment, I would say.

We're hearing that Governor Paterson had decided not to select Caroline Kennedy, that this story about being concerned with her uncle's health, while it may be real, may also be a story that was put out after she learned that she was not to be the selection.

That may be one of the biggest parts of the stunning development that we're trying to report right now. But that's what we're hearing. And it certainly would offer an explanation of why Caroline Kennedy took the initiative and announced that she wanted her name withdrawn.

BROWN: And, Jeff, what do you think of this report that it was about Ted Kennedy, especially given what happened at the inauguration? Is there more to it than that?

JEFFREY TOOBIN, CNN SENIOR ANALYST: Well, I don't know. And we don't know.

But it would be peculiar if it was based on what happened at the inaugural, at the luncheon, because, alas, Ted Kennedy has been desperately ill for many months. He was admitted to the hospital. He was released. And the Kennedy family said -- the Kennedy office said that there was no substantial change in his condition.

So, it doesn't seem like what happened yesterday would be the precipitating factor. Certainly, this does raise the possibility that she was told she was not getting it and this is a face-saving way to depart the race. But it's odd to talk about a political race when there's only one voter. And that's the situation we have here.

BROWN: So, Fred, who do you think has the inside track on the Hillary Clinton seat tonight? Do you have any information on that?

DICKER: Well, Andrew Cuomo clearly moves to the front. The attorney general of New York has been shown repeatedly to be the choice of New York voters.

That said, though, the governor has indicated he would like to select a woman. He's indicated that on the inside. And, because of that, it may be one of the female Congress members, like Carolyn Maloney of Manhattan, who moves up as a result.

But the governor I think has an unexpected choice to be made now. For the longest time, it seemed clear he was going to go with Caroline Kennedy. If he did reach a decision and let her know he wasn't going to select her, then presumably now he has to just sort of pare down a list that hadn't been expected to be the list that he was choosing from.


BROWN: All right, Fred -- go ahead, Gloria, quickly.

BORGER: Campbell, we were talking with Al Sharpton the other day about this. He was saying that he thought Caroline Kennedy would make a terrific senator.

But when I asked him, do you think that she's going to be the choice, he said, the governor has really played this close to the vest. He kind of likes to surprise people sometimes.

And he really had absolutely no idea which way Paterson was going to go.

BROWN: All right, Fred Dicker, many thanks to you.

I know, Gloria, Jeff, you guys are going to stand by, because we have got other breaking news to get to.

We just learned as we mentioned a moment ago President Obama has retaken his oath of office. This is after Chief Justice Roberts flubbed the exact language of the oath at yesterday's swearing-in. We're going to tell you why the White House felt it was so important to do it again.

And then, later, what you didn't see during the inauguration. We have been working all day, digging up secrets and behind-the-scenes stories of yield's pretty amazing day. Stay with us.


BROWN: More breaking news right now.

Just moments ago, CNN confirmed that President Obama was sworn in a second time this evening at the White House by Chief Justice John Roberts, who, of course, flubbed the oath at the inaugural itself.

Let's listen again to what happened yesterday.



OBAMA: I, Barack...

ROBERTS: ... do solemnly swear...

OBAMA: I, Barack Hussein Obama, do solemnly swear...

ROBERTS: ... that I will execute the office of president to the United States faithfully...

OBAMA: ... that I will execute...

ROBERTS: ... faithfully the office of president of the United States...

OBAMA: ... the office of president of the United States faithfully...

ROBERTS: ... and will to the best of my ability...

OBAMA: ... and will to the best of my ability...

ROBERTS: ... preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States.

OBAMA: ... preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States.

ROBERTS: So help you, God?

OBAMA: So help me, God.

ROBERTS: Congratulations, Mr. President.


(END VIDEO CLIP) BROWN: All right, so, there you have it.

That may -- well, Ed Henry can explain it for us, why they then felt compelled to do it over.

Ed, you have been talking to people there at the White House. What happened?

ED HENRY, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Well, Campbell, here's how I found out about this just a few moments ago.

I was in the West Wing of the White House and I overheard David Axelrod, senior adviser to the president, say, "Thank you very much, Chief Justice Roberts, for coming by."

And I flipped around and the chief justice had already left. And I thought maybe at first maybe the chief justice came over to apologize for what had happened. But then when we started checking in with other sources, we reached out to Greg Craig, the chief counsel here at the White House.

And he said, look, we have re-administered the oath, just out of an abundance of caution. White House officials insist that they believe, that regardless of what happened yesterday, at noon yesterday, Barack Obama became the president. But, out of an abundance of caution, they just wanted to make sure there was no ambiguity at all.

We have stories statement from Greg Craig, the White House counsel -- quote -- "We believe that the oath of office was administered effectively and that the president was sworn in appropriately yesterday. But the oath appears in the Constitution itself. And out of an abundance of caution, because there was one word out of sequence, Chief Justice Roberts administered the oath a second time."

They are trying to turn the page on this very quickly, Campbell. Earlier today, Vice President Joe Biden at a separate swearing-in ceremony for senior White House staffers made a crack, made a little joke about Chief Justice Roberts messing it up yesterday.

And you could see the body language from President Obama. He sort of grabbed the vice president's arm. And his face was very grim and serious, as if to say, let's not joke about this.

I think they realized that they didn't want blogs out there saying maybe he really wasn't sworn in. And they also did not want to embarrass the chief justice anymore. And that's why the bottom line is, they just decided, let's nip this in the bud once and for all, so there's no confusion -- Campbell.



So, Ed Henry, now you're making me feel really bad and Jeff Toobin, too, for making such fun of Chief Justice Roberts last night, although it was mostly Jeff.

TOOBIN: It was mostly me.

HENRY: Teasing him, teasing him, teasing him.

BROWN: I know.

Ed Henry for us.

So, just a few slips of the tongue, right? Or are there serious constitutional issues? Some scholars do insist that it was more serious than that. And that's what we want to ask Jeff about.

Do you want to apologize to the chief justice?

TOOBIN: No. I feel vindicated. No, look...


BROWN: But you don't think...


TOOBIN: The irony is, the thing that's so delicious about this is that John Roberts, of all people, is the most meticulous, organized, brilliant guy.

BROWN: That's why I feel so bad for him.


TOOBIN: Well, you know, I guess it adds to his humanity.

BROWN: OK. But you don't -- you don't think this was even remotely necessary, do you?

TOOBIN: I don't think it was remotely necessary. Under the 20th Amendment to the Constitution, George Bush's term ended at noon. The winner of the presidential election took over. It's just like when the president dies in office. The vice president becomes president without the oath being administered. The oath is really superfluous. But it was just messed up.

BROWN: OK, but just to be clear here, so there's no confusion or question about this later, Article 2, Section 1 of the Constitution does say, before he enter on the execution of his office, he shall take the following oath or affirmation.


BROWN: And then it spells out the word to the oath, words that Barack Obama, if you want to be precise, did not utter.

So, what are you saying, is that...

TOOBIN: Well, he did say all the words. He just didn't say them in the order...

BROWN: In the right order.

TOOBIN: In the right order.


TOOBIN: I think John Roberts will hear the word faithfully in his sleep, because that was the word that he messed up. He put it out of order.

This is not necessary. I mean, there is no -- there's no remedy for this. There's no -- the fact that the word was said out of order does not make you not president. But, lawyers being lawyers, Greg Craig, very meticulous fellow -- and there's certainly no cost to bring John Roberts a couple miles from the Supreme Court to the White House -- they did it again. And now we know.

BROWN: OK, so this is actually, if my history is right here -- I was handed these notes -- a similar situation played out with two other presidents. And they, too, decided to take the oath again.

TOOBIN: Calvin Coolidge and Chester A. Arthur, a president who does not get a lot of airtime on CNN usually, Chester A. Arthur.

But, apparently, they did have the oath administered. But the important difference is, both of those presidencies were before the 22nd Amendment, which was ratified in 1933, which makes it entirely clear that Barack Obama was president as of noon yesterday.

But, look, Barack Obama, now, is so president.


TOOBIN: He is like way president now.

BROWN: Way more president than he was yesterday.

TOOBIN: So, it's all over, yes.

BROWN: Oh, OK. Well, who knew we would get a second day out of this story?


TOOBIN: I know. Exactly.

BROWN: Jeffrey Toobin for us tonight.

TOOBIN: Who knew that the oath would be a story at all? But here we are.

BROWN: Thanks so much.

TOOBIN: You can bet, four years from now, John Roberts is going to get this right. And he's not going to do it from memory. BROWN: I know.

TOOBIN: He's going to have a card there next time.

BROWN: I know. I feel bad for the guy.

OK. Thanks, Jeff. Appreciate it.

And now, as promised, "Cutting Through The Bull."

To hear President Obama talk -- and that's exactly what he is vowing to do -- he announced today what he called a new era of openness.

Let's listen to some of what he had to say.


OBAMA: The way to make government responsible is to hold it accountable. And the way to make government accountable is to make it transparent. I will also hold myself as president to a new standard of openness.


BROWN: That was the new president, Barack Obama, today.

It sounds good to us, as long as he really means it. And, frankly, we are a little gun-shy, given how transparency was viewed by the previous administration. But, so far, this new president seems to be taking all the right steps.

As he outlined today, he is expanding the release of documents under the Freedom of Information Act, which, among other things, allows journalists and everyone else to uncover what our leaders are really doing. He pledges to force himself as well, as previous presidents who may want to keep certain information confidential, to first make a case for why the information can't be public to the attorney general and the White House counsel.

He's also tightening the rules on lobbyists and capping salaries for top White House staffers, all moves as aimed at greater government accountability -- accountability and transparency, of course, two of our favorite words.

And we do recognize that greater transparency especially must be taken into consideration personal privacy and risk to national security. But, in our view, this is a great way to start, as the president promised today, bringing some light to the dark corners of Washington, even if it means showing that governor -- government, rather, doesn't have all the answers.

So, moving on, it's been quite a day for the new president. Two days into the administration, what has really changed? As you heard the president-elect -- or -- president-elect -- the president -- we have got to move on now -- say a moment ago, a lot is going to change. We are going to take a NO BIAS, NO BULL look coming up in just a moment.

And then later, no matter how much or how little of the inauguration you saw, we know secrets that can only be told just tonight. Stay with us for the inside stories, things you didn't see yesterday that everyone will be talking about tomorrow.


BROWN: The first day of Barack Obama's administration, the day many have been waiting for. So, what happened?

The president began early today. And he had a very full schedule. And just how is anything different?

We want to go back now to senior White House correspondent Ed Henry.

And, Ed, let's start with the campaign promise. You know, throughout the campaign, Obama said on the very first day in the White House, he would gather generals together, set in motion his plan to end the war in Iraq.

Today, that meeting happened. Give us the details. What are your sources telling you?

HENRY: Yes, absolutely. As long as we're talking about technicalities with oaths and whatnot, this is really not the first day. It's the first full day, perhaps. So, maybe he didn't completely follow through as quickly as some liberals want.

But he did bring in the military commanders today and talk to them about the situation on the ground in Iraq. What's interesting is my colleague Chris Lawrence at the Pentagon is saying that a senior Pentagon official says the commanders came out of the meeting saying they were not ordered to move forward on the plan to withdrawal all U.S. combat troops within 16 months.

But I have spoken to a senior administration official here at the White House who is insisting that, look, the president did reiterate that he has this goal of 16 months, and he basically told the generals he wants to work that out. But what they're trying to stress is, he wanted to be flexible and not dictate to them, basically, and say, I want to get your views. What's a workable way to do this?

Now, some liberals may look at that and think it's a little semantical argument, that maybe Barack Obama is looking for some wiggle room. And I think the bottom line is that what happened today is not the key. The key is going to be six months from now, after this goal is thrown out there by Barack Obama.

What if, in six months, these military commanders come back with Defense Secretary Robert Gates and say, we don't have a workable plan; if we pull out that quickly, we will lose security gains?

That's when the rubber is going to meet the road. So, it's going to be very interesting to see in the end whether he really keeps s campaign promise -- Campbell.

BROWN: Yes, absolutely. We will keep watching it, obviously, Ed.

Also, let's talk about tomorrow, because the president will reverse, as we're told, some key elements of the Bush administration's war on terror. We know one of those is that he's likely to announce his plans to close Guantanamo Bay.

But what are you generally expecting from him tomorrow?

HENRY: Well, CNN has learned that there are going to be two more executive orders as well.

One of them is going to be about banning the use of torture, making sure that that's not done anymore with detainees. The Bush administration has denied they ever did that. But the criticism is still out there. The allegations are out there.

And the third executive order is basically going to order a systematic review of all treatment of detainees, all detention policies out there at the U.S. military prison at Guantanamo or anywhere else.

And so I think the bottom line is that we have seen in recent days Barack Obama and former President Bush sort of get along during the transition. Not anymore. The bottom line is, Barack Obama is trying to hit the ground running and have a clean break from the Bush administration policies, specifically on the war on terror -- Campbell.

BROWN: Ed Henry for us tonight yet again -- Ed, thanks very much. Appreciate it.


BROWN: Next: the to-do list for the new president and his new secretary of state. That's right. Hillary Clinton has the new job officially tonight.

Also ahead, millions of people worldwide watched Barack Obama's inauguration, but you didn't see it all. We have uncovered a trove of Inauguration Day secrets. We're going to tell them to you tonight in our "Political Daily Briefing."

Stay with us.


BROWN: Check it out. There is secretary of state Hillary Clinton being sworn in late this afternoon after the Senate confirmed her nomination by a vote of 94-2. Republicans David Vitter of Louisiana and Jim DeMint of South Carolina were the only no-votes.

Her presidential rival, senator Republican -- or Senate Republican John McCain not only voted for Clinton's nomination. Listen to what he said about her on the Senate floor.


SEN. JOHN MCCAIN (R), ARIZONA: I think the message that the American people are sending us now is, they want us to work together and get to work. I think we ought to let Senator Clinton, who is obviously qualified and obviously will serve, get to work immediately.


BROWN: Secretary of State Hillary Clinton will be on the job tomorrow.

Also tonight, sources close to the administration and diplomats tell CNN that former Senator George Mitchell has been asked to be a special envoy to the Middle East. Senior administration officials also say that President Obama's first calls today to world leaders went to the Middle East, to King Abdullah of Jordan, Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, and Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak.

And we want to bring in two of CNN's tonight international experts, our CNN international correspondent, Christiane Amanpour, and Fareed Zakaria, host of "GPS" -- Am I saying it right?


BROWN: ... who -- which airs on Sunday, of course.

Good to have you both here.

And, Christiane, let me ask you, the president deciding to reach out to these four Middle Eastern leaders as his first order of business, what message does that send? And how was it received?

CHRISTIANE AMANPOUR, CNN CHIEF INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: I think it sends the message immediately that they're ditching the hands-off approach of the Bush administration, and they're really understanding that this is a key to peace around the region and to U.S.-Muslim relations, to say the least. And they are really getting into it from the beginning.

And the calls he made, as you listed, King Abdullah, the embassy released a statement saying that he said this was very important, and the U.S. jump in immediately to restart peace negotiations. Ehud Olmert released a statement on his Web site. Mahmoud Abbas said he was looking also forward to working. And it's very, very important that they have done this so early.

And if George Mitchell accepts this offer, if it's been offered to him, it's great. George Mitchell was one of those who brought peace between the warring factions in Northern Ireland.

BROWN: But do you agree with that, that this should be the first order of business, diving into the Israeli-Palestinian issue right off the bat, like this, Fareed? ZAKARIA: I have slightly different perspective, in that I don't disagree with anything Christiane said.

But I think what was going on here is, he knew he had an immediate crisis, that Gaza needs to be dealt with, you know, very quickly. And so he has to have a policy on it, so he needs to talk to all the principal players.

Whether he should really dive into the broader issue, I think, is a very complicated question, because, after all, President Bush himself abandoned his own policy, and called a conference in Annapolis, got all these people together, and went through the endless peace process negotiations that everyone is going through.

I don't think that this is going to be solved by more process, by more negotiators. Everyone is tired. What you need is for the president of the United States to decide, I am going to put my political capital at stake here to solve this. And that means outlining a final settlement and saying, this is what the final settlement is going to be -- we all know what this needs to look like -- and telling the Israelis, you have got to stop building settlements and you have to accept this, and telling the Palestinians you have got to come together, isolate Hamas, and accept this.

That is a huge political task. If he's willing to do that, God bless him, but I would say...

BROWN: On his second day as president.

ZAKARIA: I would say to him, more important, first, solve the financial crisis. You know, this is -- to stake presidential prestige on the resolution of the Middle East peace process in your first few weeks in office, I would focus on the economy first.


BROWN: Let me ask about this other meeting today, Christiane, that we were reporting about. He sat down, as he had promised to during the campaign, with the generals to talk about bringing troops home in Iraq. And his goal is still 16 months to try to have at least the large number of troops out of Iraq.

Is this still realistic, given what we know?

AMANPOUR: Well, let's see. I mean, he also said that he was going to consult with his military, which he did, again, as a first order of business.

One of the top military commanders, General Chiarelli, was there. He sidestepped sort of the question of, would it be possible? And he said what many people are wondering. What we don't want to is come out so quickly that it jeopardizes that which we have achieved so far.

Lest anybody think the Iraq war is over, it is not, and they have lots of work still to do there. But I think Obama in his own statement said that he was looking for a responsible drawdown. And I think they are going to have to finesse this and look at exactly what it means.

But, of course, I always agree with Fareed in broad, but, on this, I so don't agree. I mean, the Bush administration didn't do anything in terms of diplomacy. And they went in so late that, what, they were expecting a miracle at Annapolis? All the leaders in the region were on their back heels. Olmert was on his way out. Mahmoud Abbas was disempowered.


ZAKARIA: All these conditions still apply. That's all I'm saying.


AMANPOUR: Well, it's possible.

ZAKARIA: All those problems are still there. The Israelis are...


AMANPOUR: It's true, but there's going to be a new prime minister in Israel. There's a new reality. There's a new president. There's a reality and a knowledge that, without some kind of process to keep Israel-Palestine from dipping over towards the abyss, where it has been, things are much worse than at least if there's a process.

BROWN: Very quickly, but speak more broadly than just the Israeli-Palestinian issue.

He has enormous goodwill around the world, just watching the reaction yesterday around the world to him taking the oath of office. How do you capitalize on that, in terms of his ability to implement this new strategy of being far more diplomatic?

ZAKARIA: Well, I think that it's -- it's real, to begin with.

And, if you look at polls, anti-Americanism is dropping dramatically in almost every country in the world. So, I think we shouldn't miss this opportunity. What he's really got to ask himself is where are the areas where he can make substantial changes in U.S. policy that are going to really change the -- change both the perception but the reality of things? And I hope that this is one area where we do get change. You know, I mean whether it's on the Middle East peace process, which I agree, has to be dealt with, on our embargo in Cuba, on talking to Iran. There's a whole host of issues on which American policy has been brain dead and caught in a kind of political trap where we can't get out of it.

BROWN: Right.

ZAKARIA: This is the moment to try.

BROWN: And we've got to end it there. Christiane Amanpour and Fareed Zakaria, thanks, guys. Appreciate it. And a reminder also, as we mentioned before, Fareed's show, "GPS," every Sunday on CNN at 1:00 p.m. Eastern time, and again, 6:00 p.m. Eastern time. Appreciate your time tonight.

Coming up, some of the smartest minds in politics break down a busy day at the Obama White House. What does it tell us about the days to come?

And did you see this during the inaugural parade? What's up with the hand signals there, Mr. President? We've got that and some other secrets of the inauguration we'll share, including what you didn't see last night at the inaugural balls. You're not going to want to miss that. Stay with us.


BROWN: Day two of the Obama presidency has been a very busy one. He met with Defense Secretary Robert Gates and top generals including General David Petraeus, as we told you. He also had meetings with his economic advisers.

He called Israeli, Palestinian, Egyptian, Jordanian leaders, signed executive orders on ethics and the freedom of information act, among others. He made a speech at the swearing in of senior White House staff, and that's not counting a morning prayer service at the National Cathedral and a public open house this afternoon. Lots of action, what does it tell us about what to expect in the first 100 days?

Joining me now, our political panel. CNN senior political analyst Gloria Borger, CNN political analyst Roland Martin, CNN contributor Stephen Hayes, and senior writer for the "Weekly Standard" is with us as well.

And Gloria, let me start with you. Very strong message on day one that this is a different kind of White House. No secrecy, no influence peddling, everything right out there in the open. Do you buy it? Is he going to be able to hold to that pledge?

BORGER: Well, you know, time will tell, Campbell. Look, you know, when you get into office, executive orders are a very easy way to say I'm going to be different and set the tone. And these are the promises I made. And look, I'm keeping a lot of them on day one.

So you say, no revolving door for lobbyists. You say freezing the pay of your best-paid people in the White House, saying the American people are suffering and feeling it in their purse, you're going to have to do the same thing. That's the -- closing Guantanamo as we expect him to announce tomorrow. Those are the kinds of things the president can do to set the tone.

In his first week in office, President Bush established an office of faith-based initiatives. That was something he said he cared very deeply about during the campaign and he did it right away.

BROWN: So Roland, with all the emotion of the inauguration, you know, Republicans clearly may feel some pressure to give the president what he wants on a lot of things. But won't we be better off generally if Obama does get some principled, not political, but principled pushback, especially when we're talking about $1 trillion that this country is about to spend?

ROLAND MARTIN, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: No, I think you give pushback when it makes sense.

BROWN: Well, that's what I said, principled pushback, not political game playing.

MARTIN: Well, yes. Well, yes, like for instance this whole notion of delaying the confirmation of Senator Hillary Clinton as secretary of state. Now it's just (INAUDIBLE). It will be just oh, you know, it comes to a concern.

But yes, I mean, you want people on both sides of the aisle to maintain their principles and not give anybody a free ride. Remember, it was Democrats who were complaining the Republicans were giving George W. Bush a free ride in his first couple of years in office. And so you're going to hear that.

The bottom line is here, you are seeing action. And what Obama wants to do is set the trend that we are moving, we're moving. We're not sort of just taking our time. I look at the basketball, maybe, you know, George W. Bush used the Princeton deal, hold the ball, run the clock out. Obama says we're going to go full-court press, sprinting up and down the court. That's how he wants to operate.

BROWN: Steve, you've been talking to Republicans on the Hill, I know. What's your sense of how far they're willing to go to work with this new president?

STEPHEN HAYES, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: Well, I think they're willing to give him a wide berth here at the beginning. You know, John Boehner said to me last week that he takes the president, new president at his word, that he wants to work with Republicans, that he wants input from conservatives, and I think, you know, at least for the time being, this willingness to give the benefit of the doubt.

On the other hand, Mitch McConnell said we will work with him. Republicans will work with President Obama if he adopts Republican policies. I think we all probably agree that he's not going to -- not likely to go that far.

MARTIN: Good bet.

BORGER: But you know, Steve, today, Republicans were saying the $825 billion stimulus package is not going to create enough jobs quickly enough. And so they're starting to give him some pushback on that.

HAYES: Well, that was a result of a Congressional Budget Office study that suggested that a lot of the spending was pushed too far back into 2010 and beyond even to have any real stimulus effect to the economy. BORGER: So they want to spend more? Do Republicans want to spend more?

HAYES: No, I think they want to push for tax cuts. This is setting the table to push on tax cuts. And one of the things that John Boehner did, after making those comments to me last week, was they sent a letter today, House Republicans did and said, "We'd like to meet with you tomorrow, Mr. President." So if Roland is right and the president wants to be all action, Republicans are now, House Republicans are saying, OK, let's see it, we're willing to sit down with you.

BROWN: All right, guys, just before we run out of time, let me ask you about another issue.

Gloria, today House Speaker Nancy Pelosi told Larry King in an interview that's going to air in a few minutes, that she thinks there should be some congressional review of Bush administration actions that may have been criminal. The president has made it clear that he's got no appetite for this. How do you see this playing out?

BORGER: Well, and I think, you know, in the end, Nancy Pelosi runs the House of Representatives. She doesn't want to get in a big argument with one of her committee chairman, John Conyers, who wants to do this. The president is the decider, as Bush used to say and I think he wants to look ahead and not look back. And I don't think he's going to have any stomach for this. And in the end, I think Nancy Pelosi's going to have to find a very nice way to get John Conyers to deep-six that plan.

MARTIN: I like Conyers in Congress but this serves no purpose whatsoever. It will make liberals happy, but you should be focusing on your Democratic president and the plans now. Bush is gone. Deal with the Obama administration moving forward.

BROWN: All right, guys, we got to end it there. Steve, Roland, Gloria, many thanks, appreciate it.

More details about tonight's redo of the presidential oath- taking. We'll have that.

Plus, details and untold stories from yesterday's inauguration and all the balls. This is the nice little nuggets you'll be talking about tomorrow. That will be next.



OBAMA: How are you? Good to see you? How are you?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Very good, thank you.

OBAMA: Welcome. Enjoy yourself, roam around. Don't break anything.


BROWN: President Obama joking there with visitors at a White House open house this afternoon, warning one of them not to break anything.

There is lots going on behind the scenes in the White House. Some of it may be top secret, but nothing gets past our Randi Kaye for tonight's "POLITICAL DAILY BRIEFING." She has uncovered the secrets of Barack Obama's inauguration. And Randi is here with the untold story.

RANDI KAYE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: We have been working all day on this, Campbell, getting all the details.

BROWN: I've been waiting the whole show for this.

KAYE: All right. Well, now we have the answers for you.

A group that watches all the numbers on stuff like this says Obama's inauguration received more coverage than get this, Hurricane Katrina, 9/11, even the financial meltdown. More than 35,000 stories reportedly published and broadcast on the inaugural, but we learned some things you may not have been aware of.


KAYE (voice-over): No question the inauguration of Barack Obama is one for the history books. But let's set the record straight. Did you know thousands of ticket holders were denied access to the big event? Many i-reports showed thousands of ticket holders in the purple section held back.

David Fornari (ph) says there was a definite lack of organization, signage and any volunteers or officials to give direction. He says the crowd chanted, let us in, let us in, before giving up. Some huddled and watched the ceremony on stranger's iPhones.

Same story for thousands of other purple ticket holders in a tunnel underneath the mall. On this Facebook page started by a group calling themselves "Survivors of the Purple Tunnel of Doom," one wrote, "It was completely disappointing to come all the way from California and not see or hear the inauguration live." And this, "So close, yet so far."

In a statement, the inaugural committee said problems occurred due to unprecedented crowds. In a crowd of 1.5 million, nobody was arrested. But the ceremony was far from perfect.

President Obama said this in his speech --

OBAMA: Forty-four Americans have now taken the presidential oath.

KAYE: He was -- well, how should we put this? Wrong. Grover Cleveland was sworn in as president twice, the only president to serve non-consecutive terms. So that means only 43 presidents, including Obama, have been sworn in.

During the parade did you catch Obama flashing what's called the shaka sign? It's a Hawaiian greeting. He did is as the band from his high school in Hawaii marched by.

Watch closely. His girls did it too. Far from Washington in China, the president was briefly silent. His 18-minute inaugural speech cut short at the mention of communism. China's state-run TV network faded down the audio immediately and quickly began an interview with an analyst, seen here on YouTube, about Obama's economic challenges.

And one final note about outgoing President Bush. For what it's worth, the Daily Beast reports on inauguration day, Bush's morning newspapers weren't delivered. A clear sign the transition was complete.


KAYE: One more little tidbit. Cleanup from the inauguration started last night about this time, about 8:30 or so. Already more than 100 tons of garbage has been hauled away. That includes bottle, cans, even Obama souvenirs and hundreds of those tiny American flags, the ones that you see the crowds there using and waving during the ceremony.

More than 300 workers reportedly taking part in this cleanup. And just because, Campbell, you and I experienced that nightmare traffic in D.C. personally, well, it turns out that we may be should have taken the D.C. subway system, the metro, because they set a new record, 1.1 million rail trips on inauguration day so maybe that was the way to go. Crowded but fast.

BROWN: Yes, I --

KAYE: Maybe not you, I don't know.

BROWN: I'm a rather large pregnant person right now, I'm glad I wasn't on the subway with 1.1 million people.

KAYE: It took us about 45 minutes to go ten blocks, so it might have been the right call.

BROWN: Good stuff, Randi Kaye.

KAYE: All right.

BROWN: So we'll see you later?

KAYE: Yes.

BROWN: All right.

KAYE: I'll come back later.

BROWN: OK. All right. Still to come, one more nugget from the transition. Stay with us for the Bush twins advice to the Obama girls. Plus, what you haven't heard yet about all the galas and balls and parties that went on in Washington until dawn's early light.


BROWN: There is a lot of other news going on tonight. Joe Johns is tracking it all in "The Briefing."

Joe, what have you got?

JOE JOHNS, CNN SENIOR CORRESPONDENT: Campbell, the missing left engine from US Airways Flight 1549 has been found at the bottom of the Hudson River where the plane ditched on Thursday saving 155 lives. And the NTSB reports that traces of at least one dead bird may have been found in the other engine along with the wings of the plane and fuselage. The pilot radioed in a double bird strike just after takeoff.

Senator Ted Kennedy is out of the hospital tonight. An aide describes him as being in good spirits after a seizure yesterday. Kennedy who is battling a brain tumor collapsed just minutes after President Obama greeted him at a post-inauguration luncheon.

And cyclist and cancer survivor Lance Armstrong is back on the bike. The seven-time Tour de France winner is riding in Australia's Tour Down Under, his first professional race since retiring in 2005. After meeting Armstrong, Australia's prime minister promised to spend another $4 million on cancer research.

Sounds like Armstrong is a pretty good fund-raiser too, Campbell.

BROWN: Absolutely. Joe Johns for us tonight. Joe, thanks.

Coming up next, we're going to have all the lowdown on the city- wide party in Washington last night. If you want the dish, gather around. We'll have it for you when we come back.


BROWN: The symbolism is hard to miss. One of the most memorable pictures from last night's inaugural balls that the Obamas gracefully made their way into history.

Tonight, so many Americans still talking about the first couple's whirlwind night through Washington. Erica Hill is here with the highlights and inside scoop from some of the parties that frankly never seem to end last night.

ERICA HILL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: No, they didn't. It was ongoing. What was amazing actually is we thought it was going to take a lot longer for them to get through them all than they did. Lucky for you, though, if you couldn't stay up to see it all, we have a few highlights for you right here.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Ladies and gentlemen, the president of the United States.

HILL (voice-over): The first stop for president and Mrs. Obama, the Neighborhood Ball, an event for their fellow D.C. residents. It was also the first time we saw Michelle Obama's inaugural gown. And serenading the couple with the Etta James classic "At Last," Beyonce, shown here on ABC.

BEYONCE KNOWLES, SINGER (singing): At last, my love has come along.

HILL: It wasn't just slow dancing though for the president. He also managed to fit in a booty bump with 14-year-old Victoria Lucas before heading out. And with ten balls to hit, the first couple was on a serious schedule, especially since their night began about an hour later than planned.

Just before 10:00 p.m., they arrived at the Commander-in-Chief Ball, a chance to salute service members and their families. Joining the party live from Afghanistan, members of the Illinois National Guard 33rd Infantry Brigade. Though maybe the president should have invited another more loyal unit.

OBAMA: This is an important test. White Sox or Cubs?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Cubs fan, Mr. President.




OBAMA: Hey, finally.

HILL: From there on to the dancing, but with a twist.

OBAMA: I may have been stood up.

HILL: Not stood up, but traded in, at least for the moment. The first couple dancing this round with sergeants from the Army and Marine Corps.

Next stop, the Youth Ball.

OBAMA: I've been looking for this ball for quite sometime.

HILL: A new addition to the inaugural roster. A chance to thank the youngest voters instrumental in Barack Obama's White House victory.

AUDIENCE: Yes we can! Yes we can!

HILL: A little pickup in the tempo for this presidential dance which was clearly a hit with the crowd.

OBAMA: That's what's called old school.

HILL: Kicking it old school but only for so long. At the Western States Ball, some more subdued moves. It was, after all, nearly midnight.

Also in attendance at this gala, celeb couple Marc Anthony and Jennifer Lopez who serenaded the crowd. Somehow, the Obamas managed to cap off the evening nearly an hour ahead of schedule even after their late start. And the final event, the Eastern States Ball.

OBAMA: Let me ask her for one last dance.

HILL: And one last moment amidst the madness before the work begins.


HILL: D.C. actually may have just become the new L.A. and not just for ugly people as they used to say. A laundry list of celebrities at every ball and event. One of the biggest hits of the night, Rihanna, who actually took a little time with our own Jessica Yellin.


JESSICA YELLIN, CNN NATL. POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: What does it mean to you? The inauguration? Why are you here?

RIHANNA, SINGER: Well, I'm really excited to be here. A lot of people are here, it's a big day. It's really a (INAUDIBLE) for everyone. It seems like everyone just came together, like one big unity --


BROWN: All right, I have two observations. I think Jessica should get some heels, like maybe that much higher.

HILL: She is a very petite woman.


HILL: But I didn't think she was that tiny. Is Rihanna that tall?

BROWN: I don't know. I've never seen Rihanna like the full body shot.

HILL: It's like she was standing on a stool or something.

BROWN: And that was quite a dress, too.

HILL: It was quite a dress.

BROWN: Bold, bold.

HILL: It really didn't really contain the girls, did it? No, not so much.

BROWN: Not so much, Erica.

HILL: Just an observation.

BROWN: Thank you for that observation.

HILL: Anytime.

BROWN: OK, moving on. Erica Hill for us, as always.

President Bush left some final worlds for President Obama. And up next, the first daughters get a message of their own from the Bush twins. We're going to share it with you in tonight's "Bull's-Eye."



JOLA SAMUELS, 1ST GRADE, WEST SIDE ELEMENTARY SCHOOL: President Obama, my name is Jola Samuels. I'm six years old.

I painted a picture for you. I hope you like it. I just wanted to say God bless you. I know you will be a good president.

In Jesus' name we pray, Amen. I love you, Obama.


BROWN: So here it is, the not so official portrait of the new president by Jola Samuels, a young i-Reporter, and a first grader at West Side Elementary in Johnstown, Pennsylvania. She went around the state campaigning for Barack Obama with her mom. She even met him twice.

And we love, of course, sharing your letters to President Obama. You can send yours to us by looking for the i-Report link on our Web site,

Tonight's "Bull's-Eye" goes to former first daughters Jenna and Barbara Bush. Before they left Washington yesterday, they wrote an open letter in "The Wall Street Journal" to President Obama's daughters. And here is some of what they had to say.

"Surround yourself with loyal friends. Cherish your animals because sometimes you'll need the quiet comfort that only animals provide. Slide down the banister of the Solarium. And if your dad throws out the first pitch for the Yankees, go to the game."

At the end, the Bush twins wrote this about the new president though it's really a tribute to their own father.

"Many people will think they know him, but they have no idea how he felt the day you were born, the pride he felt on your first day of school, or how much you both loved being his daughters. So here is our most important piece of advice: remember who your dad really is."

That from Jenna and Barbara Bush.

And before we go, we do want to bring you new details from the breaking news we told you about at the top of the hour.

Chief Justice John Roberts was at the White House tonight to re- administer the oath of office to President Obama. The White House says the redo was necessary out of, "an abundance of caution because both men flubbed the words yesterday." They did not use the bible this time, and TV cameras were not allowed. We'll get still photos and audio to share with you a little bit later.

When Roberts asked, "Are you ready to take the oath," the president replied, "I am, and we're going to do it very slowly."

The White House says the redo, again, necessary out of an abundance of caution. All of that, those latest details, just coming into us from the White House tonight on that breaking news.

That is it for us. We're going to go now to "LARRY KING LIVE." Have a good night.