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President Barack Obama and Vice President Biden Take Oath of Office; Inauguration Will Be on Martin Luther King Day

Aired January 20, 2013 - 22:00   ET


ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: Thanks very much. Good evening everyone.

A big night tonight as Washington gets ready for an even bigger day tomorrow, as many as 800,000 people expected. Tomorrow morning, President Obama will make the journey from the White House to this end of Pennsylvania avenue. Up here to Capitol Hill. Then at noon, on the capitol of west front, he will rest one hand on a pair of historic bibles, raised the other and ushering his second term. He is going to address the crowd, of course, and the nation and the world, be paraded, serenaded, honored with receptions and welcomed into the history books.

But, for the first time in a long time, the first time since the Ronald Reagan second inauguration, it will all be a formality. That is because it happens on the 21st. But law requires that presidents and vice presidents be sworn in on the 20th. So, today the 20th, they were in two quiet ceremonies they were.


JOHN ROBERTS, SUPREME COURT CHIEF JUSTICE: Please raise your right hand and repeat after me. I, Barack Hussein Obama, do solemnly swear.

BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I, Barack Hussein Obama, do solemnly swear.

That I will execute the office of president to the United States faithfully.

ROBERTS: That I will execute --

OBAMA: That I will faithfully execute.

ROBERTS: The office of president of the United States.

OBAMA: The office of president of the United States.

ROBERTS: And will to the best of my ability.

OBAMA: And will to the best of my ability.

ROBERTS: Preserve, protect and defend --

OBAMA: Preserve, protect and defend - ROBERTS: The constitution of the United States.

OBAMA: The constitution of the United States.

ROBERTS: So help you God?

OBAMA: So, help me, God.

ROBERTS: Congratulations, Mr. President.

OBAMA: Thank you, Mr. Chief justice. Thank you so much.


COOPER: Chief Justice John Roberts administrating the oath, of course, last time as you well know, he fumbled the words, this time he nailed it. President Obama using a family bible today. Tomorrow, he'll use the Lincoln bible and one belonging to Martin Luther King Junior.

A lot to talk about tonight, vice president Biden took the oath earlier, his residence the naval observatory. Supreme Court justice Sonia Sotomayor doing the honors there. He, too, went off without a hitch. Yesterday though, during a surprise appearance at the Iowa state inaugural ball the vice president did -- well, sort of a Joe Biden. Take a look.


JOE BIDEN, VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I'm proud to be president of the United States. But I'm prouder to be (INAUDIBLE).



COOPER: A few seconds later, of course, he corrected himself. In just a short time ago, he and his wife and the first lady and of course, President Obama all spoke at one of the big receptions around town tonight. The president's subject was hair, specifically Michelle Obama's new bangs.


OBAMA: First of all, I love Michelle Obama. And to address the most significant event of this weekend, I love her bangs. She looks good. She always looks good.


COOPER: President Obama just earlier tonight.

Some raw politics now, looking ahead to tomorrow and, of course, looking ahead at the next four years. We have a team of professionals here, who have seen a lot of presidential history being made. Republican consultant is joining us, Margaret Hoover, former press secretary for President George W. Bush, Ari Fleischer is with us, former press President Clinton adviser, pro-Obama super PAC mastermind, Paul Begala and Van Jones, mastermind, friend and adviser of President Obama, currently president of rebuild the dream.

Paul, you wrote an article in "the Daily Beast" I think it was today, in which, I want to get it straight. You basically said, the president should say all the right things in his speech tomorrow about coming together and about unity, and then he should go out and be ruthless?

PAUL BEGALA, CNN POLITICAL CONTRIBUTOR: Yes, yes. He famously hosted Steven Spielberg and Daniel day-Lewis and the stars behind the movie "Lincoln." And that is the lesson of Lincoln, right? If you read in Lincoln's first inaugural, he talked about the appealing to federal angels of our nature. And then he went to war.

He tried, President Obama has tried. But, I think presidents have to change - try to change the culture in which they're placed. But in this case, this division that we have in the country, it's not going to be healed. It wasn't hailed by President Clinton who desperately wanted to, and it wasn't healed by President Bush. It has not been healed by president Barack Obama. So, you run the country with the climate you have not what you want.

COOPER: So, the sense of you are saying, it doesn't matter what he says tomorrow, that he should base just lips over - but be ruthless?

BEGALA: Well, I think he has to pursue his agenda the way president Lincoln did, with -- yes, with relentless commitment but, of course, he'll say -- presidents have to be unifying figures, but I think the central political miscalculation was he actually thought his mere presence would --

COOPER: So, Van Jones, when the president is talking about unity and working together tomorrow, Paul Begala is going to be saying yadda, yadda, yadda, in his head. Do you buy that? that he should say one thing, but?

VAN JONES, PRESIDENT, REBUILD THE DREAM: Well, I think the more eloquent way to say this, is I think he needs to say that he wants unity. But not unity at all costs, there's something more important than people just getting together in this town. There are people hurting in towns across America. They deserve a better economy and he has got to be able show, both, the willingness to work with anybody, but also the willingness to work against anybody who stops him from doing a good job as president of the United States.

COOPER: So, Ari, isn't that exactly what Republicans who say that compromise is a dirty word -- and that it is important stand by your principles?

ARI FLEISCHER, CNN POLITICAL CONTRIBUTOR: Well, I love Paul, because Paul is he's outing the president's second term about what he is really after. And as the fundamental issue as he going to actually tried to strike deals with the Republicans for big picture of governance and get things done or does he decide that the only way to get things done is to defeat the Republicans in the midterm election, to just run on politics, tactically maneuver, defeat Republicans, don't worry about the nation, and do what he wants to do in the final two years?

BEGALA: I am for striking deals, if you watch that movie, "Lincoln," you're for striking deals -- I'm for cutting deals, but I'm not just for saying everybody should come together because here I am.

But last night --

FLEISCHER: When you say be ruthless, Paul, if a Republican, if a tea party member said be ruthless people would be screaming at you.

BEGALA: What I think he should do --

FLEISCHER: Anderson says --

COOPER: Well, I wasn't quoting, I was --

BEGALA: I'm sure I did use that word. But, what that means it's not just saying come let's reason together. Give them something, and then take something. Do the grimy realistic -- sometimes unpleasant work of running the country.

MARGARET HOOVER , CNN POLITICAL CONSULTANT: And this is the magic that the movie "Lincoln" illustrated is that the passage of the 13th amendment happened in a far more polarized Congress than the current Congress we have. And if they can do anything -- President Obama is not going to have a major legacy piece in terms of legislative achievement if he doesn't have Republican support. So, something has got to be struck.

COOPER: But, you don't see Republican support. If you look at these polls, I mean, he's got 55 percent of the support overall, large part among Democrats. But among Republicans, I think, it is only --


COOPER: Let's take a look at this, approval 55 percent, 43 percent. But, if you look at how it breaks down among Democrats, he is doing strongly well nine in 10 Democrats approve of him. But, that number for Republicans jut one in ten.

FLEISCHER: That's going to be the case for any president you have. The trick is, you have still find areas of common ground and for President Obama to meet the big ones. It's going to have to be Medicare and Medicaid, the things that are making the nation go bankrupt. These are soccer side for the Democrats.

JONES: Will he touch them?

Well, here's what I think. First of all, I think that this president has figured out what it takes to get Republicans to come with him. I think he spent too much time trying to be too nice. It's amazing to me to hear conservatives say he never reached out. You are Democrats. (INAUDIBLE). You know, he has reached to them, why they are not reaching out to me.

And so now, I think he says, listen, the tougher that I am the more likely it is I'm going to have some Republicans come with me. He was tough on the debt ceiling, he was tough on the fiscal showdown. When he got tough, finally, Boehner had to let Republicans go his way. So, I think he wants unity, but the path to unity is not Kumbayah, it's being tough and being clear about what he wants to get done for the country.

COOPER: But, if you look in history, I mean, who second terms have not worked out how most presidents think they're going to work out. Something happens, President Bush the financial crisis, president Clinton the impeachment. We don't know happened to Nixon, Reagan or Ron Contra (ph).

Paul, another thing you said, is that the inaugural is beautiful architectural blueprint etched in sand?


JONES: This guy's awesome.

BEGALA: The great philosopher who first said, stuff happens. President Bush, who Ari served, George W. Bush, in his first inaugural never mentioned terrorism. Of course, that was the topic that dominated his term. I reread Eisenhower's second inaugural, because I saw that the president was telling people that he going to think about Eisenhower a lot.

Eisenhower gave a stirring speech about - mostly about the cold war and confronting communism. Part of the - probably the most important thing he did in his second term was send troops into little rock. Not into Berlin, but little rock to enforce desegregation, he signed the first civil rights law since the civil war. So, Eisenhower hardly spoke about that in the second inaugural. He mentioned it, but hardly. So, I think mostly presidents have no idea what they're about to encounter and that is the nature of life.

HOOVER: And outside events end up shaping the legacy. And how they respond, the legacy is what a matters. The president's maximum political power and validation is right now in this moment and in the next year, and the question is, did he strike while the iron is hot, and take to the tendency which will be to appeal to the democratic base and try to ram something through, or does he do something which may be against his nature and try to reach out to Republicans, work with maybe Marco Rubio on immigration, try have a real legacy.

COOPER: I think your former boss saying, you know, I have political capital to spend and I'm going to spend it. Do you see the same for President Obama?

FLEISCHER: I do. And the interesting thing about political capital is, mandates are that which you create as the president. You can create more and you can grow more if you do well. And if the economy comes back and if you can convince people come with you. But there's a wild card here, and it is Iran. Nobody needs to forget that Iran is going to be a major issue in President Obama's life and he is going to have to wrestle with in a serious way.

COOPER: We are going to thank you all. We are going to continue talk to you throughout this hour.

We als0 have breaking news now, can you almost hear the celebrating in Baltimore. That's because just moments ago, the Baltimore Ravens beat the New England's Patriots the AFC championship and or heading to the super bowl.

Earlier today, the San Francisco 49ers, they have got the Atlanta falcons for the NFC bird. They set the stage for history making matchup between a pair of coaches who happens to brother, fascinating stuff, Baltimore's John and San Francisco's Jim Harbaugh. Jim played out quarterback for a string of NFL teams. John as followed in the footsteps of his father.

Jack, who build a career coaching CWA.

Now, as a I said, it's the first time in history this has happened, so the brother on brother matchup is clear to be a heavy story line in a lead up to the game. We're going to have a lot more coming up in this hour.

More inauguration covered ahead Let us know what you think. Follow me on twitter now @andersoncooper. I will be tweeting tonight.

How has president Obama changed the country and how has Washington changed the president. Is this the same man he was four years ago? "New York Times" Jodi Cantor has just ring a fascinating story about it, and joins us next along with our David Gergen as or "360" inaugural coverage continuous.



OBAMA; In the face of our common dangers, in this winter of our hardship, let us remember these timeless words. With hope and virtue, let us wave the icy currents and endure the storms that may come. Let it be said by our children's children, that when we were tested we refused to let this journey end.


COOPER: It's President Obama's first inaugural address four years ago. We're back in the first few hours of President Obama's second term. Four years ago, of course, at a time of crisis, he offered hope and promised change four years later, some of that change in himself, the "New York Times' Jodi Cantor has written about it. Her headline -- she's written a bestseller, "the Obamas," the best seller. With us is Jodi Cantor, a political statement analyst, David Gergen, he's seen presidential change up-close from Richard Nixon to Clinton.

You've been writing about the Obamas since they first came into congress. The role that Michelle Obama plays for president Obama in the White House, what is that role and how has it changed? JODI CANTOR, AUTHOR, THE OBAMAS: It's about the overall vision. This is not a first lady who bursts into the west wing saying, we have to do this and this and this about this and this policy.

COOPER: I heard she's rarely seen.

CANTOR: Rarely seen. The constructive thing to remember about Michelle Obama, is that she never wanted her husband to be a politician. And if he was going to be a politician, she didn't want him to become a regular politician.

They talk a lot about getting past the Washington noise, about why they came to Washington. What they wanted to accomplish. You know, early in the administration there was some tension over that, because she had one idea over what kind of president her husband should be, and some advisers had another. That has softened now, but we still see from her this kind of defining aspect, it's almost like she's the guardian of the ultimate Obama mission. This is what you're here to do, here are the standards I expect everybody to live up to.

COOPER: She -- when she was talking to the French first lady she called life in the White House hell, is that true?

CANTOR: There's some controversy over whether that is true. We are not, however, her adjustment was difficult. This is somebody who is now everybody to become his first lady leaders, but, the first year was a real shock. This is somebody was a hospital executive in Chicago, who led a totally normal life who was catapulted into the national spotlight.

You know, what I found reporting myself though is that the great surprise of my reporting is that Michelle Obama was like the kid who didn't want to take the class, and then got the A plus. And someone even said to me, she ended up adjusting to this life better than her husband did, because she kind of figured out the job of first lady, and even learned to exploit some of its limitations and really made it work for her.

COOPER: David?

DAVID GERGEN, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: Yes, I wanted to ask you, Jodi, because it such an interesting piece, one of the most insightful I read about the Obamas. And you wrote something very striking, and that is that he tells others who may be seeking this job, it's hard to get change in Washington and you said he has a quote "a contracted sense of possibility." So, that is to think smaller about what he might do. And yet in the same piece you outlined the agenda he's setting forward tomorrow in his state of the union hearing. And it's huge. How does one reconcile this contracted sense with what's possible with a big agenda.

CANTOR: I think that is the suspenseful question about this second term, right? If we have so much trouble just with these budget fights in congress, and coming to common agreement when the states -- when the United States faces a looming fiscal deadline, how are we going to do something on guns if that's the president's agenda, might there be a possibility of climate change legislation, et cetera, et cetera. These are huge difficult questions that this president faces.

GERGEN: And so, how does he reconcile in?

COOPER: David, I mean, you've worked in the White House for a lot of different presidents, do you think the Obama's experience in the White House is that much different than other presidents and first ladies?

GERGEN: I think it's very similar what presidents recently have experienced. George W. Bush came hoping to change the environment. Bill Clinton came thinking he could change it. The last person who began to sense there were greater possibilities was Reagan, but that was almost a different political age.

COOPER: But then, you also think about, had the Clintons and how Bill Clinton - I mean, he seemed to revel in politics, the reaching out to people. In your article, I found it fascinating that the Obamas haven't had bill and Hillary Clinton over for dinner. I -- I mean, she's -- all the things that Bill Clinton did during the campaign, all the work that Hillary Clinton's done, they've never had a dinner with them at the White House?

CANTOR: I think this is something outsiders find difficult to see and surprising about the Obamas because the Obamas on the public stage can be so vivacious, they can be quite charming they have great public personalities.

What people in Washington see -- but people all over the country don't see, is that there's an introversion there, the Obamas said both when the president became famous in 2004 and again when they came to Washington, no new friends, which is the opposite of what we expect from politicians. Politicians generally succeed by making everybody their friend.

GERGEN: Some people like to be president because they enjoy the office, other people relish power in exercising power.

COOPER: And isn't it true that President Obama, you know, after meeting with people, he serves likes down time by himself.

CANTOR: Absolutely. If we are looking at when this presidency really happens, in some sense it takes place at 10:00, 11:00, 12:00 at night on the second floor study, in the private residence when the president sits for hours, he turns over the problems of the presidency he writes about them, and that's when he really makes decisions.

GERGEN: Does he enjoy being president?

CANTOR: Well, people have asked me that question again and again. There are things about it I think he certainly enjoys, and we can see him taking a greater relish in them. And I'm very surprising moment that you may have noticed was when he did that appearance on New Year's Eve, right before the fiscal deadline, look, he hates budget fights, we know that. He was away from his family, during their holiday vacation, that was no fun, and yet the guy had a huge smile on his face. And that I think is something new we're seeing from Barack Obama, somebody used a great word to describe him recently. They said bloody minded.

GERGEN: You used that words.

CANTOR: No. Someone used that word to me and repeated it in the newspaper.

GERGEN: Bloody minded in his fight with the public.

CANTOR: Exactly.

COOPER: It goes to what Paul Begala said about being ruthless.

GERGEN: Yes, exactly.

COOPER: Jodi Cantor, thank you. Fascinating art, but Dave Gergen as well.

Tomorrow this time, more inaugural balls are going to be underway. There's a lot happening right now. President Bill Clinton set a record for them in 1997, attending 14 inaugural balls on the night of his swearing-in. Do you know who started the tradition of inaugural balls? We'll tell you that next.



MICHELLE OBAMA, FIRST LADY OF THE UNITED STATES: So, this weekend as we look ahead to the next four years, we should absolutely take some time to truly enjoy this next few days. I mean, the last one was kind of fast. So we've all agreed we're going to take some time to just breathe in and enjoy it.


COOPER: That was first lady Michelle Obama about two hours ago tonight. Tonight today, will be 57th inauguration of the U.S. president which has the seventh-time the official date fell on a Sunday . What we have been watching today and we will tomorrow is a ritual all Americans grow up watching, of course. No two inaugurations are exactly alike, but they're bound by tradition, and that tradition matters.

The constitution, of course, sets the date and spells out the oath every president takes. As for the tradition that seem so familiar, let's take a look at where they came from.


COOPER (voice-over): In 3008, more than a million people flooded the streets of Washington, D.C., to celebrate an event that in many ways remains unchanged since George Washington was first inaugurated in 1789.

DOUGLAS BRINKLEY, PRESIDENTIAL HISTORIAN: Here he is taking on a new post that the world had never heard of before making his way for Mount Vernon, Virginia and stopping in George town Alexandria and threaten. He eventually get into New York city to get sworn in and suddenly they realized they didn't have a bible for the swearing-in, they had to conjure one up quickly from a Masonic lodge.

COOPER: Since that first inauguration, the bible has been used to swear in almost every president. Though, Theodore Roosevelt famously did not use one in his inauguration.

Some presidents open the bible to specific passages, like Bill Clinton who rested his hand on Galatians chapter six verse eight. Some presidents use two bibles like President Barack Obama who on Monday with rest his hand on Abraham Lincoln's bible and Martin Luther King Junior's bible.

The inaugural parade is another tradition the dates back to the days of George Washington, but his parade was fairly small, not the spectacle we see today.

BRINKLEY: I think the modern parade, what we'll be watching on Monday really emanates from 1904 when Roosevelt had Geronimo and Apache warriors come and trappers and outdoors people. Each year, the parade seemed to get better and better.

In 1837 Martin Van Buren became the first president to use hail to the chief at his swearing-in, which was held in March. March 4th was the original inauguration date, but because it left outgoing presidents with four months of lame duck status, it was moved to January 20 at the 1937, just in time for Franklin Roosevelt second term.

The tradition of the inaugural ball started with James and Dolly Madison in 1809. The tradition so popular, president starting with Dwight Eisenhower began holding multiple parties. John F. Kennedy attended five balls in 1961.

Bill Clinton's second inauguration holds the all time high for 14 events. In 1949 Harry Truman was the first president to have his inauguration televised. An estimated 10 million Americans watched at the time it was the single most watched television event in history.

Presidents were now able to broadcast their speeches to the entire nation.

BRINKLEY: The very thought that a man in a wheelchair that had been stricken with polio who couldn't walk, is trying to put optimism into our national lungs still continues to move -- you almost get goose bumps every time you hear FDR. John F. Kennedy's famous 1960 address lives forever simply because that sworn has written so well. And Kennedy delivered it with perfection.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And so my fellow Americans, ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country.


COOPER: Some speeches more memorable than others, but one speech in the inauguration that's been shared by every president, the oath of office. Only 35 words long - his language appears in the constitution, it begins, I do solemnly swear.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That I will faithfully execute the office of the president of the United States.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And will to the best of my ability.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Preserve, protect and defend.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The constitution of the United States.



UNIDENTIFIED MALE: So help me god.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Congratulations, Mr. President.




COOPER: And we will see all of that tomorrow, presidential historian Douglas Brinkley, you just heard from. There is more than anyone about the 56 inaugurations that came before today. He joins me now. On inaugurations in particular as particularly important, why are they so interesting to you?

BRINKLEY: Well, the first one with Thomas Jefferson here in Washington, D.C., I mean, we thought the two political parties were going to destroy America when Jefferson versus Adams, here Jefferson in his inauguration, reminded people, that I'm not a Republican or a federalist today, and none of us are, we're Americans. They become our great healing ceremony. We just had a brutal 2012 election cycle. And ostensibly for a couple days it's an ability to reflect on American history, reflect on our past and pray that a sense of unity once again. .

COOPER: You say one inauguration was the most raucous, what was that?

BRINKLEY: Most rock is, it's Andrew Jackson, because he was the great commoner, the old hickory, the battle of New Orleans hero and came in. And when he got to the White House they were serving cider and things and people came in and trashed the place. He slipped out the back of the executive mansion as it was called then, today's White House and fled to Alexandria to go to a tavern, the Gatsby tavern that is existed there for a lot of viewers.

COOPER: George Washington had the shortest inaugural address, I think 135 words?

BRINKLEY: Yes, that's all. But that first inaugural I think is one of the great moments in American history which is tapped to be president and leaves Mt. Vernon is to state and does this long, you know, horse ride and carriage ride and took a barge to New York City and then sworn n. So, it's wrought with tradition. And this is a time for people to be glad democracy works. And with new media today, the whole world's watching now. It's not just the gaggle of people.

COOPER: The longest inaugural was William Henry Harrison?

BRINKLEY: Well, he gave this long winded speech and got ill from it. It was freezing weather and he died only a month later from his own inaugural. You don't ever want to be ranked below William Henry Harrison. You know, you balls his cousins in one month. If find yourself below him, you're in legacy trouble.

COOPER: What are you looking for tomorrow? Because Paul Begala talked about, he thinks the president should give lip service and use all the words about uniting and stuff, and go out and be ruthless?

BRINKLEY: Well, I like that idea, but I think most important is to have some kind of healing message. This is not a state of the union address. You're not laying down a gauntlet. This a president carefully reading Lincoln's second inaugural, the poetry in the language of it.

But, I do think Barack Obama needs -- since the first one was historic for him. I think on this one, he may needs to make a historic speech. I would raise the spectrum of gun control, I would invoke women. The women brought him into power with this election, got him re-elected. It will be nice to see a woman quoted once in an inaugural.

COOPER: Well, we will see what happens tomorrow.

Doug Brinkley, thank you so much. Fascinating stuff.

Eva Longoria was the co-chair of the president's re-election campaign. She's now co-chaired of the presidential inaugural committee and has becoming a power player, raising a lot of money for President Obama. My conversation with Eva bout being a voice for the Latino community and about her journey from actress to activist, next.


EVA LONGORIA, ACTRESS, ACTIVIST: I did all this as an American. I did all of this as a citizen of this great, great country. And because I'm an actress doesn't mean I'm not literate on the subjects I talk about.



COOPER: The folks here down the national mall getting ready for tomorrow's festivities. And many of the 800,000 people expected to be out here tomorrow listening to President Obama. One of the reasons President Obama's getting a second term is because of the Hispanic vote which obviously helped to carry him to victory.

A voice that's emerged as a strong activist for Latino issues, it is also has a big role in Washington this weekend. Actress Eva Longoria is co-chair of the presidential inaugural committee. She is also co- chair of the president's re-election campaign with one of the biggest fund raisers and bundlers in the Latino community for President Obama. She spoke at the democratic national convention, where she talked about her family and she said her biggest priority, of course, is education.


LONGORIA: College was not an option, it was mandatory. So, even though we didn't have a lot of money, we made it work. I signed up for financial aid, Pell grants, work study, anything I could. And just like our president and first lady, I took out loans to pay for school. I changed oil in a mechanic shop, I flipped burgers at Wendys, I taught aerobics and I worked on campus to pay those loans balk.


COOPER: Cover story, front page story in the "Wall Street Journal" this weekend, talked about how she's becoming a power player here in Washington. Earlier this weekend I spoke with Eva Longoria.


COOPER: You must be incredibly excited. You're going to be sitting on the stage on Monday watching the swearing-in.

LONGORIA: Yes, it's my first inauguration. I didn't even watch last year - I mean, last in 2008 because I was working. So this is really the first time I'll be experiencing it.

COOPER: I know election night you said that you cried and you actually tweeted a picture of your friends celebrating, what do you think you're going to be thinking when you sit on that stage?

LONGORIA: I'll probably cry again. I'll probably be in tears again. I'm very emotional that way. You know, It's an honor to be involved in any way in this whole process.

COOPER: "Wall Street Journal' this weekend front page story, Eva Longoria's next role, Hispanic activist in Washington. It also says you're becoming a power player in Washington. Is that a conscious effort? What does that mean? What do you want to?

LONGORIA: I don't know what that means. I mean, and you have to be careful with labels, I think, when people place -- anoint you in a way, it's great, you know. But at the same time, you know, you've got to still do the work.

COOPER: You're co chairing the inauguration, you have events at the White House, at vice president Biden's house, You got an event with Republicans and Democrats, kind of a luncheon, a bipartisan luncheon. What do you hope to -- do you see yourself running for politics one day? LONGORIA: No, you know, I love serving in the capacity that I'm serving now, you know. I always say the power is with the citizen. I think -- you know, I grew up with a family of volunteers and volunteerism was really big early on. So, I'm just going to continue to serve my country in the way I can. I have a tremendous amount of respect for politicians. And what they do, what you do journalists.

COOPER: Don't try to butter me up.

LONGORIA: No, this is your day job, this is what you do. This is not my day job. And so, I don't want anyone to think I consider myself on par or equal to what they do daily.

COOPER: So, you couldn't see your -- you don't see yourself running for office?

LONGORIA: Not any time soon. I love to serve my country in this capacity, however, you know, this administration or any administration asks me to do so.

COOPER: To you, what does this inauguration mean?

LONGORIA: Well, for me, this election means moving the country forward. And I know that was a slogan of, you know, Obama's campaign, but it really was, you know, there were two very clear choices regarding a lots of issues, whether you were a woman, whether you are gay, whether you are minority, whether you are a Latino. And so, this election represents that, we're going to move forward as a country.

COOPER: The world of Washington politics, is it very different? I man, is it completely different than?

LONGORIA: Completely different. Completely different.

COOPER: How so?

LONGORIA: I always say this is a greater soap opera.

COOPER: Washington is a better soap opera?

LONGORIA: Yes, yes. It's a really hard place to navigate. You know, any time I'm here in this -- in D.C., and doing something political, I feel like it's relevant. And I'm not saying my day job is not. You know, there's a place for entertainment and creating emotion, and creating a release and an outlet for people to step away from the real world is also honorable, I think. But this is -- yes, it's a very interesting world over here. And Hollywood - Hollywood, you know, Hollywood can chew you up and spit you out, but it's a little easier to navigate.

COOPER: Hollywood's easier to navigate?

LONGORIA: Absolutely, yes.

COOPER: Do you find -- some people roll their eyes when they hear about an actress or actor becoming involved in politics. Do you feel that's a hurdle you have to overcome?

LONGORIA: Always. People say you're an actor, stick to acting. If you're a dentist, are you going to do teeth? I mean, I did all of this as an American. I did all of this as a citizen of this great country. And because I'm an actress doesn't mean I'm not literal on the subjects I talk about.

COOPER: Do you feel like you understand this town? Or you -- do you still feel like you're in the process --

LONGORIA: I'm still in the process, I'm still a student of it, yes. Very much so.

COOPER: But you like it?

LONGORIA: But, I love it, oh, God, I love it. I think it's fascinating, I think you all are fascinating. I think this whole place is.

COOPER: This is a town of party affiliation.


COOPER: And there's so much gridlock.


COOPER: We've seen this endless gridlock. Does it -- when you see it up close, what is it like coming into this? How do you see this gridlock? Do you think it's -- is there a possible -- is it possible to find common ground?

LONGORIA: I think it's a really good point, you know. I'm extremely hopeful action will be taken, I'm extremely hopeful that policies will get through and the bureaucracy and the grid-locking would stop, I do. But I'm romantic about politics.

COOPER: You are romantic about --

LONGORIA: Are you? You're not. You're pretty --

COOPER: No, I try to operate in a world of facts and --

LONGORIA: Yes. You're a realist, I'm an idealist.


LONGORIA: Yes. So, I like to imagine a world where, yes, we absolutely can get it done.


COOPER: And she will be on the platform with President Obama watching tomorrow as we all will.

Coming up, presidential life in pictures. We are going to speak where it is going to be fascinating two former White House photographers about capturing some of the most iconic moments of a president's -- we're going to show you remarkable behind the scenes photos and they're going to talk about how they captured them.

Also, at first lady fashion Michelle Obama got rave reviews for her inaugural gown last time around. We are going to take a look at how the first lady's fashion has evolved over the years and what it means to designers in this country. We'll be right back.


COOPER: We want to give you a glimpse of a presidency from behind the camera. Some behind the scenes, things you that often don't get to see. White house photographers are there to capture it all. The quiet moments, the family time, the oval office meeting, the iconic images of the presidency.

I'm joined now by two former White House photographers, Robert McNeely who photographed the Clinton presidency and Pulitzer prize winning photographer David Hume Kennerly who was the White House photographer during the Ford administration. They're producing the official second Barack Obama second inaugural book. It is going to be on sale in April. This is an exclusive first look at the cover of that book love. Robert and David join me now.

But Bob, you took a very unusual photograph of a very - of an angry President Clinton. Explain what was going on?

ROBERT MCNEELY, FORMER WHITE HOUSE PHOTOGRAPHER: Well, it's a picture that I wanted to take from the beginning of covering Clinton, because the temper was a big part of who he was. I mean, like was he's got a great sense of humor, he's got a great focus, but you have to capture it all. I mean, your job in the White House is -- you get the complete look, and --

COOPER: That's David Gergen in the corner?

MCNEELY: It is. And he's kind of amused. David is out of it. David, he's out of the range.

COOPER: Is that George Stephanopoulos?

MCNEELY: It is. And when this started, this sort of build up that you can sense, once you worked around Clinton, and I'm standing behind George, and I started thinking in my mind, this is my chance, I'm going to make it this time. I can try it, but I was really a little afraid.

COOPER: Were you nervous he would direct the anger at you?

MCNEELY: Absolutely, no, no, if I wasn't working with a little range finder like him, which I slowly brought up in clip, really didn't frame the picture. If you look at it, I cut off Clinton's hand which I wouldn't do normally. I try to include it. And I put it back down, and then like I was like, whew, I got away with it. And I only did it once. COOPER: And David, I want to show a picture you took of President Ford in his pajamas. It's the ultimate proof of the intimacy and comfortable - how comfortable presidents become with their official photographers. How do you blend in and how do you get a photo like this?

DAVID HUME KENNERLY, FORMER WHITE HOUSE PHOTOGRAPHER: Well, president Ford was a man without vanity, really. That's not a picture they're going to bring the pool in to photograph, it was with Don Rumsfeld on the right, who at the time was Ford's chief of staff, early morning meeting in Japan. And, of course, this is the photo that kept him off the best dressed list.

But here, he was comfortable. He never told me he didn't want a certain picture published or anything. He was great to work for, for a photographer. And like with Bob, I mean, they forgot we were in the room.

COOPER: You also have a very up close picture with the Obama's on inauguration night back in 2008. It was a private moment in the elevator between the two. Can you take us inside this moment.

KENNERLY: Right. This picture was -- in fact, it was four years ago tonight. And the Obama's were going to like number eight of ten balls. And she was chilly. It's like a photograph taken after a high school prom where the gallant guy gives his date the coat. I think this picture goes straight to their relationship also. It's a very warm relationship. And you don't get to see that publicly too much. One of the advantages of being backstage. I didn't -- that remains one of my favorite pictures.

COOPER: Yes. Bob, you took a number of photos during traumatic times during the Clinton White House, during the travel scandal back in '93, and right after the first Monica Lewinsky scandal back in 1998. You see these pictures as a pair in a sense, how so?

MCNEELY: Well, it's one of the things that David and I, people who work in the White House do. We're there for years. I mean, most photographic assignments are -- can be hours or minutes. They used to be a week, National Geographic can be more. But I took this first picture in 1993 and then I can remember when I first saw the picture in 1998 at the -- after the state of the union, and remembering that the connection to this other picture. And it said a lot to me about sort of, you know, how people react. The human nature of people, I mean, the connection is Mrs. Clinton. I mean, Mrs. Clinton in the center of the travel office, it was a traumatic time, she was held responsible for that. We had just come to Washington, it had gotten away from them, like things do in Washington, things get away. The one on the right from '98 was a -- you know, that's inflicted and everybody thought, now we're going to get on a role, and all of a sudden it just -- it becomes so overwhelming again.

COOPER: And David, you also took photos of President George W. Bush that you see as book ends, an intense Bush family during the disputed election with al gore, and then at the end, President Bush leaving the White House as president? KENNERLY: Yes, this, it was tragedy in the White House, but actually it was not. But, the first one was backstage election night in Austin, Texas. Al Gore had already conceded the election, but five minutes after that photo was taken, he called back and took it back which led us to that whole hanging chards scenario.

But the final picture and the one that was taken four years ago today is George W. Bush, last day as president walking out of the White House to the right is president-elect Obama and what struck me about that moment was that Bush never looked back, it's like, he threw the keys to the place over to Obama and that was it. To me, it's a powerful moment. And also, again, goes to the transition of power of the United States. We have one party going to the next. It's peaceful, you and I have both been in places where the transitions are more difficult.

COOPER: That's for sure.

It's fascinating. Thank you for taking the time to talk about these images.

Robert McNeely, appreciate it. David Kennerly, thank you so much.

In the last four years, first lady Michelle Obama's had her picture taken countless times, it goes with the territory, of course. And it comes with the pressure every modern first lady has faced, fair or not. The style watchers are always looking, we heard headlines around the world when she had bangs on her 49th birthday. Fashion police are never far away. They're sizing up what she's going to wear tomorrow. And there are a lot of fashion designers on the edge of their seat. They don't know if she's going to wear their style.

Here's Randi Kaye.


RANDI KAYE, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): She is often called the first lady of fashion, whether it's target, Talbots or high end designers, Michelle Obama always makes a statement.

Lucky magazine's executive fashion director, Alexis Bryan Morgan.

ALEXIS BRYAN MORGAN, EXECUTIVE FASHION DIRECTOR, LUCKY MAGAZINES: I remember seeing a picture of her in Brazil in a one shouldered Rachel Roy dress with black and gold wooden bangles, and quite frankly she looked kind of hot, but still very appropriate in her role. And when have you ever said that a first lady looks hot?

KAYE: Mrs. Obama wasn't always a darling of the fashion world. Sure, she knocked our socks off with that ivory ball grown. But in the early days of her husband's first term, she was often more buttoned up, suits and separates first game way to sheaths and those pearls ala Jackie Kennedy.

MORGAN: Michelle really loves elastic guitar jewelry which fashion is much more modern, forward jewelry, and she still wears pearls and she mix things together. Wear a cardigan, it's not just the twin set, she mixes things together. And wears it with a vintage belt. So, there are elements that are definitely feel Jackie Ochlgt (ph), but she has completely her own twist on everything.

KAYE: Alexis believes Mrs. Obama started out wearing what she thought she should as first lady. Then, started taking more fashion risks as she settled into her role here at the White House. Bold colors, toe flats and neon nail polish.

At the Democratic National Convention, her great nail polish was just as a big talker great as her Tracy Reese dress.

MORGAN: She wears a lot of clothes that have sort of metallic sheen on it, because the lights are on her, the cameras on here and it just reflects the light. And it looks -- catches her skin in a beautiful way. That's another you thing she does, I think is really smart.

KAYE: Alexis says Mrs. Obama's signature style has evolved into what she likes to call lady like with a twist. The look most often includes skirts and dresses that are circular, lots of floral, texture and jewel tones and, and of course, sleeveless to show off her toned arms.

On the Mrs. O blog, it's a high fashion frenzy, Mrs. Obama, wearing everything from Jason Woo Niane Kon (ph) to Michael Kors. But, many women say it's her every day style that has such appeal.

MORGAN: People definitely love her style, because it's relatable. And they'll see her wearing a J. Crew cardigan that they just walked by at the mall and they can go get it themselves. They can look just like he first lady.

KAYE: And since Michelle Obama never fell into a so-called first lady uniform or settled down with just one designer, style watchers are always wondering what she'll wear next.

Randi Kaye. CNN, Washington.


COOPER: Look at the styles of Michelle Obama, we'll have more from the national mall, talk to some folks in the crowd when we come back. We will be right back.


COOPER: Hey. We're down on the national mall. Probably 100 or so folks who have been weight out here in the cold. We're anticipating about 800,000 here in the mall tomorrow.

Where are you from?


COOPER: Have you ever been to an inauguration before?


COOPER: And you brought your son with you?


COOPER: Why did you bring him?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Because I want him to be a part of history.



COOPER: Do you think you're going to get a good spot tomorrow?


COOPER: What does it mean to be here?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It means a lot. It means everything to me., yes.

COOPER: Have a good time tomorrow.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You too. Thank you.

COOPER: I hope your son enjoys as well.

All right, cool. That is it for us.

Our coverage starts 9:00 a.m. live tomorrow. We'll be on all day long. Hope you join us for that.

That's it for us, good night.