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President Obama Inaugurated for Second Term

Aired January 21, 2013 - 22:00   ET


ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: Well, every four years, the word party means -- good evening from Washington, everyone, where every four years the word party means the same thing as it does to the rest of the country, two massive parties in multiple ballrooms still going on tonight down at the Washington Convention Center, the Inaugural Ball and the Commander in Chief's Ball.

There are other celebrations of course around town, big and small. But these are the biggest and the big names from Alicia Keys to the cast of "Glee" to Jennifer Hudson at the Commander in Chief's Ball and President Obama introducing the first lady.


BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I said today at the lunch over at the Congress that some may dispute the quality of our president, but nobody disputes the quality of our first lady.


OBAMA: Ladies and gentlemen, my better half, and my dance partner, Michelle Obama.



COOPER: That was the first dance of the first couple tonight, and literally and figuratively, they have been to this dance before. This time around, the first lady promised to slow down and try to take it all in.

Just two parties instead of the 10 they raced through four years ago. Their day began with the ceremonial swearing-in. And just like four years ago, it was a little bumpy.


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

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

ROBERTS: ... that I will faithfully 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. Well done.


(END VIDEO CLIP) COOPER: A slight stumble there, but unlike last time, there won't be any kind of a do-over because the official swearing-in actually took place yesterday. Also unlike last time, the speech, the first ever to mention rights for -- equal rights for gays and lesbians and a much bolder statement in many ways of Mr. Obama's governing philosophy from here on out.


BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: We the people declare today that the most evident of truth that all of us are created equal -- is the star that guides us still; just as it guided our forebears through Seneca Falls and Selma and Stonewall; just as it guided all those men and women, sung and unsung, who left footprints along this great mall, to hear a preacher say that we cannot walk alone; to hear a King proclaim that our individual freedom is inextricably bound to the freedom of every soul on Earth.



COOPER: A very big day for the president, for Washington, for the country, a very exciting day if you're fascinated by the clash of political ideas. We're going to be looking at the speech as politics and poetry, the day as history and the night as culture.

Before we do that, let's listen to a little of Stevie Wonder.

With me now is senior political analyst and White House veteran David Gergen. Presidential historian Douglas Brinkley also joins us, "Washington Post" Robin Givhan, also author and "Post" editor, former news anchor, you name it, Sally Quinn.

David, it is amazing. Let's talk about the speech, first of all. How important do you think a speech was this for Barack Obama and given all his other speeches, where is the significance of this one?

DAVID GERGEN, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: Historically, I believe it is one of the most important speeches he's given in his political life.

COOPER: Most important?

GERGEN: One of the most important.

Philadelphia during the campaign way back when was a wonderful speech, but because this -- this speech defined what he really believes.


GERGEN: It was the clearest delineation that we have had from him. I think in many ways, he is liberated. He feels liberated, in part because he inherited this mess and we have gotten most of the way out of it economically and the wars are coming to an end, also because he has tried to reach out to Republicans and tried to be conciliatory, tried to be to the center and thinks that hasn't worked.

Now he's come along with a statement that firmly addresses a progressive, liberal agenda that is very much in the tradition of King and of Lincoln and he has rallied his base. We will be talking in the next few days about all the negatives and the negative reviews are coming in. But I think today, the day for President Obama, this is a day when he really defined what he believes fundamentally.

COOPER: David, do you think this is -- someone said this is a speech he wished he could have given four years ago, but wasn't able to. How did he seem to you today?

DOUGLAS BRINKLEY, PRESIDENTIAL HISTORIAN: I thought it was a marvelous speech and it is brave and it is bold and I think it will play well in history. Not enough people are talking about the climate change part.

There was a healthy paragraph about climate in there about that. And the evidence is in. As he said, the science is in. So, 30, 40 years ago, the fact that he took an inaugural speech and used that kind of time. And talked about climate is important and just making Seneca and Selma and Stonewall all in the same sentence will be repeated over and over again as part of the American traditions of human rights and civil rights.

COOPER: That was really historian. To hear the president of the United States mention the word Stonewall in the same sentence as Selma, in the same sentence as Seneca Falls, certainly for gay and lesbian Americans, that is a stunning statement and a real leap forward for gay and lesbian Americans.

BRINKLEY: Gigantic. And he connected it all to the patriots of 1776 that we keep widening in our democracy. He made those places almost like battlefield spots in American history, like Oxford, Mississippi, or Normandy or Iwo Jima. It's an iconic speech.

GERGEN: I was going to say time and again when presidents have come here for the inaugural, when they have cited heroes, they have been military heroes.

For him now to come and talk about Seneca Falls and Selma and Stonewall and bring them all together is more about a diverse, inclusive America with an emphasis on the quality of opportunity, not upon liberty. A Republican would have traditionally given a speech about liberty.

COOPER: Because Stonewall was the group of people who were the most marginalized in society and sort of the most shunned who weren't even allowed to congregate in a bar at the same time without getting harassed and arrested.

BRINKLEY: Stonewall from 1969 has been considered almost alternate left history for a while. Now gay studies has come into the fold. Here the president of the United States on Martin Luther King Day is giving it that oxygen. It's a very big moment for gay America.

COOPER: I want to hear from Sally, from Robin, but Vice President Biden is speaking at the Commander in Chief's Ball. Let's just listen in for a moment.

JOSEPH BIDEN, VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: They know who you are. They know what you have done; 1.7 -- 1.7 million of you have walked across the scorching sands of Iraq or been in those godforsaken mountains and plains of Afghanistan.

Many of you just haven't served one tour. You have served two, three, four, five, the last time of the 23 or 24 times I have been in Afghanistan and Iraq, I was flying into Bagram in a C-17. I went into the cockpit. The loadmaster was there as well and I said, how many of you is this your first tour? Nobody raised their hand. I said second tour. One. Third tour. Two. Fourth. One. Fifth. Two.

Ladies and gentlemen, we have never, never, never in the history of America asked so much of a generation. And you have met it with incredible pride.


BIDEN: The Joint Chiefs of Staff has prepared you in a way that always sort of takes my breath away every time I see you in theater.

One of the great honors of my life has been to visit many of you when you were serving abroad from the mountaintops in remote FOBs above the Kunar Valley, watching 60 of you sit on a mountaintop and get shot at every single solitary night, day in and day out, to a Stryker brigade in Fallujah, watching you wipe off the blood from the seat next to you of a wounded comrade the day before, and saddle up and go back out again and again and again.

I'm not just saying this, folks. You're amazing. You are an amazing, amazing generation. And, folks...


COOPER: Vice President Biden speaking at the Commander in Chief Ball. We heard earlier the president speaking at the same ball. He also spoke to troops live via satellite serving right now in Kandahar, Afghanistan, who obviously couldn't be there.

Sally Quinn, I was really struck by how sort of confident and comfortable the president seemed on this day.

SALLY QUINN, "THE WASHINGTON POST": You know what's interesting? I don't know whether you know the book "The Power of Now" by the spiritual guru Eckhart Tolle, but he talks about how you have to live in the moment.

And President Obama said today, this is our moment. And it wasn't his moment four years ago, because he couldn't do so many of the things he wanted to do if he wanted to get reelected. But now he doesn't have to worry about that. This is his moment. It is his moment for immigration. It is his moment for gun control. It is his moment for equality. For me, that was one of the most stunning things he said, because he is in the now right now.

COOPER: Robin, I'm wondering as you watch these balls, this is a tradition that goes back an awfully long way. So many people wondering what Michelle Obama was going to wear. What were you looking for?

ROBIN GIVHAN, "THE WASHINGTON POST": I think part of it, what you look for is whether or not she is going to embrace a new designer, whether or not she will do something that takes her outside of sort of the corporate structure of fashion.

And one of the reasons we were all enthusiastically watching is because we recognize that every time she does wear something from a young designer, she makes a very strong statement that kind of normalizes the fashion industry. She focuses our attention on the fact that it is an industry really made up of small business owners, a lot of female-owned businesses, a lot of immigrant-owned businesses, and people tend to forget that. They get kind of captivated by the red carpet.

COOPER: Were you surprised she wore a Jason Wu dress, which is the same designer she wore four years ago?

GIVHAN: I was gobsmacked.



COOPER: Why? GIVHAN: Because she has always a tendency to kind of spread the love around.

One of the things that is really distinctive about her is that she hasn't settled in with one designer and become associated with one brand. But what she did for him was really quite extraordinary. She elevated him from near anonymity into a household name. In some ways, I think it was a bit of a safer choice because there is so much pressure on an inaugural gown to be this extraordinarily symbolic dress that I think she felt comfortable going back to someone who had done right by her.

COOPER: Earlier in the day she had worn a dress and a coat by Thom Browne and clearly has probably changed the arc of his career on his day.

GIVHAN: Well, if I was gobsmacked by Jason Wu, I was just stunned by the choice of Thom Browne, because this is a guy who really comes from the men's wear part of the business. When you think about his work, the stuff that he puts on the runway is incredibly high concept. It is out there.

COOPER: Fashion forward, as they say.

GIVHAN: Out there.

COOPER: Out there.

GIVHAN: That's the technical term for it.


GIVHAN: The fact that she could, or her emissary could even decipher that and find the real sort of clothes in there and see the kind of tailoring that he does is tremendous. And it will do incredible things for his business simply because people don't even know really that he designs women's wear.

COOPER: Yes. A lot more to talk about in the evening ahead.

Robin and Sally, stick around.

David and Doug, thank you very much.

We will have a lot more in this hour. Let us know what you think about this day, about what you heard and about what you saw. You can follow me on Twitter at @AndersonCooper. I will be tweeting tonight as well.

We will have a lot more from all the inauguration balls, all what we have seen tonight and more about the next four years as well when our special 360 continues.

But, first, Stevie Wonder taking us to break.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK) COOPER: Alicia Keys, amazing performance by her tonight.

The president and first lady are back at the White House right now. They have just gotten home after a big night and a historic day. We talked a bit at the top about how President Obama today made history by acknowledging the struggle for equal rights for gay and lesbian Americans and made it part of America's civil rights tradition. Here's more of what the history books will record.


OBAMA: Our journey is not complete until our gay brothers and sisters are treated like anyone else under the law, for if we are truly created equal, then surely the love we commit to one another must be equal as well.


COOPER: Well, today's inaugural poem came from Richard Blanco, a Cuban American who says negotiating his identity as an American and as a gay man is the wellspring of his poetry. Blanco says he has lived the American dream from immigrant roots to being chosen as the nation's fifth inaugural poet. Here's part of the poem he read today to the president and to the world.


RICHARD BLANCO, POET: We head home through the gloss of rain or weight of snow or the plum blush of dusk, but always, always home, always under one sky, our sky, and always one moon like a silent drum tapping on every rooftop and every window of one country.


COOPER: Richard Blanco joins me now.

What a day this must have been for you, the first Latino American to read a poem at this inaugural, the first gay American to do that. What was it like?

BLANCO: The actual event was just amazing. What I have come away with -- of course, I have never done this before.

But the platform actually seemed very intimate and sort of the atmosphere at that moment was in some ways everything I was trying to achieve in the poem. And there was some sense of camaraderie on that stage for at least those couple of hours and just that sense of that America that I think I always as a little kid sort of fantasized about, being a Cuban American, that all those ideals seemed to come just to life at that moment and that wonderful tradition of the inauguration just really sort of -- it was like a great moment for me, just outside of the poem.


COOPER: The poem was a lot about unity and about equality. BLANCO: Right.

COOPER: Yes. That was something that I had always felt in my heart ever since Obama's speech several years ago about we're one America at the Democratic National Convention, something that had always stayed in my psyche, I think.

And I always I think wanted to write a poem about it. And, well, I finally got the assignment and I think there were echoes of that in my mind. And something I have always believed, especially since I have moved to a small town, that idea of unity, and not only unity, but that we're all so necessary and everybody, every little piece is what makes this puzzle of America work, and from every walk of life, from every facet, and that's kind of what I wanted to bring together in the poem.

COOPER: I'm wondering, as a gay American, to be on that stage today as part of this inauguration, where the president talked about Stonewall and said it in the same sentence as Selma and the Seneca Falls and talked about equality for gay and lesbian Americans, I'm wondering, as you were sitting there, when you heard that, what did you think?

BLANCO: I just thought it was just simply amazing. I mean, I don't think I have ever heard that powerfully before, especially when I was there right in person.

As you know, in Maine, recently...


BLANCO: Yes, they passed a gay marriage act, and it was just such an incredible validation.

My partner and I had been together for 12 years and sort of to hear that same echo today was just an amazing, amazing experience. And again with the message of the poem, of unity and that means everyone, everything, all that it takes to make America work.

COOPER: Especially Stonewall, because I think a lot of Americans who don't know about what happened at Stonewall -- this was a group of Americans, gay Americans and lesbian Americans and transgender Americans who were really on the fringes of society and considered, you know, anathema that many people, weren't allowed to congregate in a bar together. They weren't allowed to dance together.


COOPER: They could be arrested by the police and this was the first time they actually fought back against a police raid on a bar.

BLANCO: When you think about that historically, that wasn't that long ago. So, to hear that today and even my presence as a Cuban American, as a Latino on stage today on the platform, it is just amazing how things have changed. And one of the things that I always feel as in my work, there is always a sense of cultural negotiation and trying to figure myself out which is a universal question. Through this process of writing this poem I'm realizing that America is figuring out its own story, too. It is trying to negotiate a lot of things and it is moving towards -- with every sort of direction it takes, it moves toward finding that identity. And today was one of those moments I think where we're trying to say, here's where we are. Here's what we're choosing, or here's the direction, at least.

So in that way the American story is also the story of sort of always becoming, of always what are we going to be tomorrow and that idea of hope which is so fresh on our lips, as it was 250 years ago.

COOPER: And for the president to be putting it, the fight for equality for gay and lesbian Americans as a civil rights movement, as not something that's gay rights, but as equal rights and as part of the civil rights movements, as the continuum of civil rights movements from women's rights to the civil rights movement and African- Americans...

BLANCO: Yes. That was a great way to couch it. And I feel that that is how it is. I mean, I honestly feel that sometimes even on TV or sometimes, there is still like this sense that we can say things about gay Americans as if.

And I often wonder -- if some of the things I hear on TV or even TV commercials, if that were to be said about a Latino or an African- American, that would not fly.

COOPER: In movies, you hear the F-word spoken about gay Americans. You don't hear the N-word as much. If somebody said the N-word, there would be more outrage than if it was...


BLANCO: I feel like, why do we feel at liberty -- and to sort of put gay America in that context, as if we could do that? So that was a great way I think of couching that, our presence.

COOPER: I know it has been an extraordinary day for you. I appreciate you talking to us.

BLANCO: My pleasure.

COOPER: Thank you, really. A great honor for you today.

Thank you so much, Richard Blanco.

In his inaugural address today, President Obama said we are made for this moment and we will seize it so long as we seize it together. He outlined his agenda for the next four years. We will take a closer look at what he has in mind and how he plans to achieve it next. Right now, take a look at Joe Biden at the Commander in Chief's Ball earlier.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Beautiful. To all of our military out there, man, thank you for doing it. We couldn't live in this country without you. We love you.



COOPER: Amazing, Beyonce singing the national anthem at today's inauguration ceremony, a great performance by her. She can certainly hit the notes. The question is, did the president hit the right notes, though, in his presidential speech?

I'm going to get some of the best some of the best political minds on the planet to weigh in, in just a moment, but first let's listen to just some of what the president said earlier today.


OBAMA: For we have always understood that when times change, so must we, that fidelity to our founding principles requires new responses to new challenges, that preserving our individual freedoms ultimately requires collective action.

For we, the people, understand that our country cannot succeed when a shrinking few do very well and a growing many barely make it.

We, the people, still believe that every citizen deserves a basic measure of security and dignity.

We, the people, still believe that our obligations as Americans are not just to ourselves, but to all posterity.

We, the people, still believe that enduring security and lasting peace do not require perpetual war.

We the people declare today that the most evident of truth that all of us are created equal -- is the star that guides us still; just as it guided our forebears through Seneca Falls and Selma and Stonewall; just as it guided all those men and women, sung and unsung, who left footprints along this great mall, to hear a preacher say that we cannot walk alone; to hear a King proclaim that our individual freedom is inextricably bound to the freedom of every soul on Earth.


COOPER: President Obama earlier today.

Joining me now, Republican strategists Margaret Hoover and Alex Castellanos, also joining us, Van Jones, friend and adviser to President Obama and currently president of Rebuild the Dream, and Democratic strategist Paul Begala, who advised, maybe even -- can you say -- masterminded the pro-Obama super PAC.

Paul, you said you hoped that the president would talk a warm, sort of cuddly piece of unity today, but then go out and be ruthless, go for partisanship. What did you hear today? Do you think he did what he needed to?

PAUL BEGALA, DEMOCRATIC STRATEGIST: I do. I do not think it was partisan at all. It was philosophical. There's a time for partisanship, and he'll be partisan when the moment arises. This was philosophical. This was answering Ronald Reagan from 32 years ago. President Reagan, and his whole philosophy was intensively individualistic.

President Obama answered that today. And he said -- it's an old speechwriters' trick, device, anaphora, to repeat again and again: "We, the people," "we, the people." The first three words of our founding document, "We, the people." And he embraces that for a communitarian argument. He says to Ronald Reagan, we're stronger together. And I thought it was powerful, but it was philosophical. I thought this was Obama at his best.

OBAMA: But I saw a lot of tweets, Alex and Margaret, from Republicans saying this was a call for big government, that he didn't reach out enough. What did you hear?

MARGARET HOOVER, REPUBLICAN STRATEGIST: There was partisanship. It's hard to deny when he directly rebuked the GOP by saying, "We are not a country of takers." By defending the government level of programs, Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid. But saying -- you know, directly rebuking Paul Ryan and the 47 percent comment that got Mitt Romney in trouble. That -- there may have been high-arching philosophical tones but there were also those low undertones.

COOPER: Are you embracing that 47 percent comment?

HOOVER: No, no, I wouldn't say -- I wouldn't say -- I don't know if it's fair to say it wasn't partisan at all.


ALEX CASTELLANOS, REPUBLICAN STRATEGIST: You know, because this was not a speech where he stood up there and said, "My mission is to leave office like a Ronald Reagan, being the president who turned around an economy, restored the confidence of a nation and its place in the world."

No. He turned inward. And he said, "My mission here is to pick up the legacy of Martin Luther King and expand it," as I think you've noted. That this is -- and that's not something he needs to work with Republicans in Congress for. It's something he doesn't need money for, by the way.

This is -- it's almost, you're right, a moral agenda. But it is a very left-of-center argument that he made today about government. And Republicans are going to go after him on that. I mean, this was a warrior president today.

COOPER: Before Van, there was a more aggressive tone, you might say. Let's just play another moment from the speech. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

OBAMA: Together we determined that a modern economy requires railroads and highways to speed travel and commerce. Schools and colleges to train our workers. Together we discovered that a free market only thrives when there are rules to ensure competition and fair play. Together we resolve that a great nation must care for the vulnerable and protect its people from life's worst hazards and misfortune.


COOPER: I mean...

CASTELLANOS: America's problems, what he said in the speech today. He said America's problem was not competing with the world. America's problem is lack of justice. Social justice in America. And an egalitarian argument. He focused inward, not outward today.

VAN JONES, FORMER OBAMA ADVISOR: Yes, I see it somewhat differently. The way I see it is, there is a conversation happening in America right now. I think when you have a country going through this much change. I don't mean change brought by Washington, D.C., to your point. I mean change brought about by the world. Big demographic shifts in the country. Asia now being a real challenger outside. There's an identity crisis that any country goes through.

And there's been a conversation. Who is America? What is America? What are we about? And I think he's been on the receiving end of a lot of attacks, saying his ideas are not American.

So I think that what he did, which I'm glad he did. He was strong in his beliefs. He didn't back down from the fight of what he believed in. But he tried to cast them in terms and in tones that honored the founders, that honored Dr. King, honored the best in the country.

And I think in the old way of seeing things, that would be a left thing to do. He is speaking, though, to the emerging majority in America, which is brown, which is young, which is much more open to the ideas around marriage equality. He's speaking to the America that's rising. I don't think that's left versus right. I think it's right versus wrong in the context of the new majority.

CASTELLANOS: Well, if I can disagree a little. It seems to me to be left when you say government can't cure society's ills alone. In other words, the center of curing society's ills is always government. On occasion, government needs a little help. No, no, he said that today, though. He's being misquoted.

BEGALA: A critical distinction between the way President Reagan stated his philosophy and the way President Obama did today is that President Reagan and many on the right begin from a premise of negativity. Government is the problem, not the solution, said President Reagan on those same steps in his first inaugural address. President Obama today did not bash business. He did not bash individuals. In fact, he went out of his way to praise a celebration of initiative and enterprise, insistence on hard work and personal responsibility, he said, as constants of our character. So he's, I think, trying to find a synthesis.

You know, big government could not produce Thomas Edison or Steve Jobs, but profit motive could not have inspired Dr. King or Abraham Lincoln. And I think this president is trying to rebalance our national philosophy. This tension goes back to our founding, between individualism and communitarianism. I think, as one who is much more on President Obama's side...

COOPER: We've got to end on that thought. But stay with us. We're going to continue this conversation with our panel after a quick break. We've got a lot more to talk about, about how deeply the president fused his remarks with the ideas and the lessons of Dr. King and the civil rights struggle. We'll be right back.



JAMES TAYLOR, SINGER (singing): America, America, God shed his grace on thee...


COOPER: Look at there, James Taylor today at the inauguration ceremony on the steps of the U.S. Capital.

I want to quickly show you another moment, as well, one that only a second-term president, perhaps, can experience. Because when a first-term president stands before the country on inauguration day, he knows that -- that's what he's experiencing might never happen again. A two-term president, though, well, he knows it for sure. Mixing been there and done that and last time ever, it's got to pack a serious punch.

Today leaving the swearing-in ceremony, President Obama appeared to feel it and paused, turned around and said so. Watch.


OBAMA: I want to take a look one more time. I'm not going to see this again.


COOPER: President Obama looking at some 800,000 or so faces staring back at him. Pausing briefly. Turning back to look at the crowd. His daughters noticed, called the presidential photographer, Kip Souza, over to try to capture the moment.

Back now with our panel. Margaret Hoover is here, Alex Castellanos, Van Jones and Paul Begala. There was a moment where the president's speech that's been getting a lot of attention today. I just wanted to play that.


OBAMA: We reject the belief that America must choose between caring for the generation that built this country and investing in the generation that will build its future.

The commitments we make to each other through Medicare and Medicaid and Social Security, these things do not sap our initiative. They strengthen us. They do not make us a nation of takers. They free us to take the risks that make this country great.


COOPER: As you said, that was a -- pretty much a reference to Paul Ryan to Mitt Romney's comments on the 47 percent.

HOOVER: Paul Ryan had a various generous tweet today saying, "We're with the president today. I congratulate him on the day of the second inauguration."

COOPER: Today.

HOOVER: Today.

COOPER: What happens tomorrow? That's the question.

CASTELLANOS: This president is telling us, he's expecting four years of war with Republicans, but he doesn't care about that to ensure his legacy. He doesn't -- that's almost irrelevant.

Because he thinks the biggest problem in America is not our lack of economic growth, that we're facing a period of potential decline and bankruptcy. That our biggest quality is equality, the lack of social justice, and he's going to address that.

And so he's going to leave office four years from now not a hero like Reagan, who turned the country around, but a hero like Martin Luther King, who -- who took up the cudgels and said the equality belongs to everybody in this country. Black Americans, Hispanic Americans, women, those who are disadvantaged. That's my mission. And guess what, even if the country is broke, I don't need money for that. That's a moral movement I can lead and get on Mt. Rushmore.

So I think if you ask most Americans what the biggest problem is, they wouldn't say it's a lack of social justice. They'd say it's a country in decline.

JONES: Well, I think it's a false either/or. I think there are two patriotisms now in America. There's a "liberty only" patriotism that says, "It's all about my individual economic activity and opportunity and growth, and I'm for individual opportunity and growth." There's also a "liberty and justice for all" patriotism, which is really where I think Obama stands. Obama is for our businesses doing better. He stood -- he stood Wall Street back up. He stood our auto industry back up. But it's liberty and justice for all. And that kind of patriotism, I think, appeals more to the new governing coalition in America.

BEGALA: I think this tone matters.

He is exactly right. That line especially was a shot at -- directly at Paul Ryan, who loves to talk about makers and takers. And denigrate people who have earned government benefits. And I think this suggests, perhaps, a change in tactics.

I think in the first term, it was far too much for the Prophet Isaiah. Come let us reason together. The Republicans weren't very interested in reasoning. They voted almost zero for his economic program and absolutely zero for his health-care program, and they won a landslide mid-term election for doing so. So the people rewarded him.

Now I think he's switching to maybe Ezekiel, interpreted by Samuel Jackson. I will strike down with terrible vengeance. Right? And a lot of Democrats have been looking for this.

I mean, and it does show you that this perhaps, I think the Hagel nomination is a shot right at the neocons who clearly did not want Senator Hagel to become defense secretary. I think this fight over gun safety is a direct frontal assault on a fixed position by the NRA. It's very, very brave stuff he's doing.

CASTELLANOS: This president who stood there, though, and just said, and I invite you to play it, Anderson, we don't to have choose between investing in our kids and Medicare. This is the president who invented time travel. He has figured out how to time travel into the future and steal our own children's money. And he did that. But yet he's the one saying that, of course, Republicans -- just took a shot at Republicans for...

HOOVER: Here's what I'm wondering. I hear you. I hear both of you. I do think that this -- I wonder, a tactical shift. Simply that last time, last go-around, he got pushed around so much by the Republicans. This time he's going to do the pushing.

And he knows, if he's going to have a legacy piece, if it's going to get the legislation that gets through and it's his legacy, it's going to have to be deficits. I mean, Nixon in China. Who can reform entitlements but a Democratic president.

So he's starting where he is. He is starting with the bases. He's not a progressive parading as a centrist. He's doubling down as a progressive. That's where he is. And if he's going on move to the center, maybe that happens later. But he's not going to pretend to be at the center from the start.

JONES: Part of the reason he doesn't have to do what I think Alex would have preferred him do, is to make the case about the economy, is because he's the person who fixed the economy. It was the Republican Party, unfortunately, it was their stewardship that led to the crash.

He -- he saved us from the Great Depression. I don't think he has to give you a speech about how much he cares about the economy. He fixed it. He saved it.

And now he's saying we're going to keep doing that, but let's make sure it includes everybody. That's liberty, yes, and justice for all.

CASTELLANOS: I'm going to get you a banner that says "Mission Accomplished." You can hang that up there.

JONES: I've got an old one you can use.

COOPER: Margaret Hoover, Alex Castellanos, Van Jones, Paul Begala, thank you very much.

Our live coverage of inauguration night continues ahead, including an exclusive look at the design sketches from Michelle Obama's inaugural gown. It surprised a lot of people the designers went to -- ahead.



COOPER: Marc Anthony performing right now at one of the inaugural balls, still continuing. No doubt they'll go late into the night.

We also saw earlier the first couple dancing their first dance of the night, Michelle Obama wearing a gown by Jason Wu, who also designed her inaugural gown back in 2009. It's one of the most tightly-held secrets in Washington every year. Obviously, that's one of the things we're going to be talking about. A lot of eyes were on Michelle Obama to see what she was wearing. We're going to talk and actually have a look at the exclusive designs. We're going to bring that to you shortly.

But I want to bring in -- back in our Republican consultant, Alex Castellanos, and also Van Jones, former special adviser to President Obama.

What happens tomorrow? There was all this talk today of, you know, getting along, getting together. Support for the...

JONES: Giving exchanges and that kind of stuff.

CASTELLANOS: The honeymoon is over. The honeymoon is over. Already.

COOPER: And we're going to hear a lot more criticism, probably, of a lot of the words in the speech tomorrow. CASTELLANOS: There was a lot in that speech that Republicans are going to hear as a very aggressive continuation of the campaign. They're going to hear a repudiation of Bill Clinton's "the era of big government is over." They're going to hear a president who said, "No, no, we need more big government."

What we've been talking about is, if you ask the American people, President Obama should focus on something, would it be equality or economic renewal? Most Americans would say economic renewal.

COOPER: But do you think he's not going to be focusing on economic renewal, because he spoke about equality today?

CASTELLANOS: Well, it's not because he spoke about economy -- about equality today. It's because he elevated it as a central theme of his presidency.

JONES: Let me say something about that.

CASTELLANOS: And he said that without that, there is no progress. No economic -- that comes morally and I think linearly first. And that's not, I think, what the American people would think.

JONES: But here's what I think is actually happening. The trickle-down economic model that says -- that says, you know, when the wealthy do well, everybody else will do better, I think has been discredited. And I think that what Obama firmly believes is that the economy grows from the middle class out.

And so therefore, it used to be the case you would say, well, either you're concerned about growth or you're concerned about equality. I think what Obama believes is that -- that when you have too much inequality, you can't get the growth.

CASTELLANOS: Well, for the next two years you're not talking about the middle class out. You're talking about from Washington down. You're talking about top-down, old-fashioned, Industrial Age government, and you're going to see some Republicans say, "Let's grow this economy bottom up outside of Washington."

JONES: I think he's being heard that way. I don't -- I think there's a generational problem here. I don't think he's actually saying that. I think there's actually a, an economic model that he's trying to champion. I think we'll see over time that -- that the inequality is a problem for the growth.

COOPER: No doubt this is a conversation we're going to continue tomorrow, as well. Alex Castellanos again, Van Jones, thank you.

Now, let's turn to fashion. A lot of folks have been interested in not just the politics but the very personal. As we saw a moment ago, the first couple dancing. Their first dance of the night. Michelle Obama wearing a gown, as I said, by Jason Wu, who also designed her inaugural gown four years ago.

As I said, it is one of the most tightly-held secrets in Washington every year. The designers themselves don't know which gown the first lady is going to wear. That's Jason Wu four years ago. He said he screamed when he saw Michelle Obama wearing it four years ago. No doubt, he probably screamed again tonight. After the festivities, the gown goes to the National Archives.

Joining us now is CNN's Alina Cho and Robin Givhan, also from "The Washington Post."

Robin, what a night this must have been for Jason Wu. I mean, to have this happen twice is extraordinary.

ROBIN GIVHAN, "THE WASHINGTON POST": It's really starting. I can't recall a time when it has happened recently. Generally, the first ladies tend to go with the designer they know well for the first inauguration. Oftentimes the designers get a lot of notoriety but don't necessarily get a big business boost from it. But then they move on to someone else the second time around. And it's often been Oscar de la Renta, kind of a go-to guy.

So it's really unusual that she would choose the same young designer twice.

COOPER: What about the color red? I mean, when I think of red, I think of Nancy Reagan. She sort of previously wore a lot of red. Were you surprised by this color?

GIVHAN: Well, you know, Nancy Reagan doesn't own red, and Barbara Bush doesn't own blue. They're patriotic colors. I was surprised because I tend to think of it as a little sort of cliche. Very traditional. And Mrs. Obama has proven herself to be very untraditional when it comes to fashion. So I was surprised that she chose such an expected color.

COOPER: And we certainly saw that untraditional with the outfit she wore earlier today, the dress and the coat by Thom Browne.

Alina, you actually got -- just got an exclusive look at Jason Wu's first sketch of that dress.

CHU: I did, and it's quite extraordinary to look at it, Anderson, if we can pull it up there. Knowing Jason Wu and knowing his handwriting, this is certainly him.

If you can read there from the top to the bottom, it says "gold embellished ring" there. That ring around that halter-top portion of the dress was made by Kimberly McDonald. Diamond encrusted.

The other notes say "draped chiffon with texture, red dye to match, duchess sash and belt and column skirt." And at the bottom there, as you can see his signature, Jason Wu. Really, really extraordinary.

And you mentioned the sort of surprise, shock, red-carpet moment where these designers don't know. And I can tell you just by looking at Jason Wu's tweet tonight, which said #inshock. He had no idea that this was going to happen. I spoke to one of his representatives, pretty high up tonight, and she told me, "You know, we had an inkling."

I said, "Come on. Four years ago she chose Jason Wu. Did you really think that she would choose him again? Maybe give someone else another shot?"

And she said, "No, you know what? We thought we were in the running."

And you know what? These designers put their heart and soul into this work. They try to produce their very, very best, knowing what this is for. I like to call it sort of the Super Bowl of fashion. Other people have likened it to the Olympics. It is a very big deal. It is the biggest prize you can get and on a day like this, Anderson, what a shock. I have to say. Truly surprising. Truly surprising.

COOPER: Alina, only about -- only about 30 seconds left. But do all the designers know the measurements for Michelle Obama? So do they have sort of mannequins that are her measurements, that they make these dresses on?

CHO: They do. Because they don't have direct access to the first lady, they do all make mannequins in her likeness. They live in their studios. It's extraordinary. And the gowns are shuttled back and forth for fittings between D.C. and New York, with notes. They come back with notes. Change this, change that.

And boy, Jason Wu got the big prize tonight.

COOPER: Certainly did. Alina Cho, thank you very much for all your investigative reporting, frankly, on all this stuff. Robin, as well. Thank you so much.

Another inauguration day is coming to a close, the 57th -- excuse me -- in this nation's history. It will be President Obama's last, of course, for the 44th president.

Hundreds of thousands gathered in the nation's capital to witness the start of President Obama's second term. We'll show you more images from the day as we continue.


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

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

ROBERTS: ... that I will faithfully execute...

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

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

OBAMA: ... the office of president of the United St... 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: We, the people, declare today that the most evident of truths, that all of us are created equal, is the star that guides us still, just as it guided our forebears through Seneca Falls and Selma and Stonewall, just as it guided all those men and women, sung and unsung, who left footprints along this great Mall to hear a preacher say that we cannot walk alone. To hear a King proclaim that our individual freedom is inextricably bound to the freedom of every soul on earth.

My fellow Americans, we are made for this moment, and we will seize it, so long as we seize it together.

KELLY CLARKSON, SINGER (singing): My country's majesty, sweet land (ph) of liberty, to thee we sing.

BEYONCE, SINGER (singing): O, say, does that star-spangled banner yet wave o'er the land of the free and the home of the brave?


COOPER: One for the history books. That does it for us live from the Mall on Washington, D.C. Our special inauguration coverage continues next.