Return to Transcripts main page


Presidential Inauguration

Aired January 21, 2013 - 19:00   ET



UNIDENTIFIED MALE: A president who has been tested for four long, hard years, renews his oath to a nation still struggling and still divided.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: In the shadow of the capital where so many political battles have been fought, a gallant celebration of democracy and a promise of better days ahead.

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

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Tonight, we'll take you live to the inaugural ball for all of the glamour, the celebrities, and the fashion. It's the ultimate party to mark the next chapter in presidential history.


PRESIDENT OBAMA: So help me God.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is CNN's coverage of the presidential inaugural, from the first salute, to the last dance, and the hard work that begins tomorrow.

PRESIDENT OBAMA: With passion and dedication, let us answer the call of business, carry into an uncertain future that precious light of freedom.


ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: And good evening, everyone. We're coming to you live from the National Mall on this historic day here in Washington, D.C. You're looking at a live picture of our capitol here. I'm Anderson Cooper. Good evening.

Hundreds of thousands of people gathered this morning from the foot of the U.S. capitol west toward the Lincoln Memorial to witness history, the second inauguration of President Barack Obama, the 57th U.S. presidential inaugural.

As he walked off the platform, the president paused, telling everyone he won't do this again, and he looked back, a reflective moment to start his second term.

Before the real business begins tomorrow, tonight, it is all about the celebrations, the inaugural balls. We're going to take you to Erin Burnett and Piers Morgan who are standing by with the big party getting into full swing -- Piers, Erin.

ERIN BURNETT, CNN ANCHOR: We got the good assignment here, maybe hard to hear --

PIERS MORGAN, CNN ANCHOR: Best gig in Hollywood, Washington, any way you like.

BURNETT: That's right. There are going to be about 40,000 people coming to where Piers and I are here tonight. Behind us will soon be full. People are just starting to arrive. This is it, this ball and the one upstairs, those are the two the president is going to be attending, and they have all of the hot acts.

MORGAN: It is the inaugural ball is on this floor, and it's currently the biggest disco you have seen in your life. The 35,000 people will be swilling and guzzling around here. Upstairs is the commander in chief ball, a little bit more exclusive.

And over the two balls, you are going to see Stevie Wonder, Alicia Keys, a whole host of great -- Katy Perry and they'll be sitting around the two balls and the president and first lady will be dancing at both balls, we're told.

The first dance, probably upstairs at the commander in chief ball, last time, it was "Last Dance" Etta James. This time, no one knows. Tension is mounting down here in the inaugural ball, but it should be very exciting.

BURNETT: That's right. The one upstairs, as we said, the commander in chief ball, is for the U.S. military. Downstairs, where we are, a lot more people. The general public was allowed to buy tickets for $60, so very egalitarian here.

Across the street, the American Legion, Salute of a Hero's Ball, is also celebrating Americans who have won this country's highest military award, the Medal of Honor so that one should be really special.

And this year, more than 25 Medal of Honor recipients will be attending that ball, which is going to be held at the Renaissance Hotel. Vice President Joe Biden and his family are also going to be in attendance later tonight. I believe Bo Biden is going to join us, right?

MORGAN: We have the star of "West Wing." And I don't know about you, Anderson, but it was a real day of history, and the sense I got from President Obama, this is a man who is headed towards a second term now and has a determination that he's going to try to push through the things he really cares about. That's what I thought the real theme of his speech was today. COOPER: It was a very different speech than we heard four years ago, and it's informed by this being Martin Luther King Day as well. In his second inaugural, which was delivered today on the west steps of the capitol building, President Obama reflected that this generation of Americans heals itself through crisis. By the steadfast tone of his words, he may have been reflecting on Barack Obama.

As Joe Johns tells us the re-elected leader made directions strikingly clear.


JOE JOHNS, CNN CRIME AND JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): There was something about this inauguration day that signaled something different.

PRESIDENT OBAMA: I Barack Hussein Obama do solemnly swear.

JOHNS: When the nation swore in its first black president to a second term on a holiday celebrating one of its foremost civil rights leaders.

PRESIDENT OBAMA: While these truths may be self-evident, they have never been self-executing.

JOHNS: It was as much an inauguration as a cross cultural celebration. A place where a Puerto Rican woman raised in a housing project swears in a Catholic vice president from Scranton, Pennsylvania, where a gay Cuban immigrant reads his poem about a rising sun shining equally on all of us.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: My face, your face, millions of faces in morning's mirrors.

JOHNS: President Obama tied it all together in his speech, linking his vision to the evolving history of civil rights in the U.S.

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 forbearers to 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.

JOHNS: He swore on the bibles of Abraham Lincoln and Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., connecting both to his modern agenda.

PRESIDENT OBAMA: Our journey is not complete until our gay brothers and sisters are treated like anyone else under the law.

JOHNS: His was a call for radical changes even as a divided Congress rules over an undecided nation.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He clearly doesn't want to straddle centrist views anymore, and even when his positions are further to the ideological left, I think this speech was a combative speech. It was certainly, he wasn't holding back.

PRESIDENT OBAMA: Our journey is not complete until we find a better way to welcome the striving, hopeful immigrants who still see America as a land of opportunity.

JOHNS: He walked head-long into battles over gun control, climate change, facing a tattered economy, a second term both bold and bumpy.

PRESIDENT OBAMA: Progress does not compel us to settle centuries' long debates about the role of government for all time, but it does require us to act in our time.

JOHNS: Time like history that was fast advancing. Joe Johns, CNN, Washington.


COOPER: That's when the president turned around and said he's not going to see this again. He wanted to take one last look at the crowds. Some estimated 800,000 or so. We're not sure of the exact number. Who were all there watching, staring back.

President Obama and the first lady honored recent tradition by climbing out of the limo, of course, strolling down Pennsylvania Avenue. Let's take a quick look. The crowds, of course, getting even more excited when they see the first lady and the president outside of their limo.

Waving to the throngs of well wishers lined all along Pennsylvania Avenue. He and the first lady following the footsteps of Jimmy Carter and first lady Roselyn Carter who created the tradition frankly of walking down Pennsylvania Avenue.

They walked the entire way. President Obama and his wife got out twice from the vehicle, walking the whole way as Jimmy Carter did back in the '70s. Now, despite the partisan divide that has overcome Washington in recent times, President Obama sounded optimistic today as he called a nation to action.


PRESIDENT OBAMA: We recognize that no matter how responsibly we live our lives, any one of us at any time may face a job loss or a sudden illness or a home swept away in a terrible storm. The commitments we make to each other through Medicare and Medicaid and Social Security, these things do not sap our nation, 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: Let's bring in our panel right now, Van Jones, former special adviser to President Obama, Sally Quinn, columnist with the "Washington Post." Margaret Hoover, Republican strategist and Cornell Belcher, a pollster for Obama in 2012. Sally, we haven't heard from you. I'm wondering, you have heard a lot of speeches here in Washington. I wonder what you think of this speech and how it compared to the speech four years ago.

SALLY QUINN, COLUMNIST, "THE WASHINGTON POST": Well, it was not the soaring rhetoric that I had expected. It was much more sort of meat and bones, but I think it was a speech that he probably wanted to give four years ago, but didn't dare give four years ago.

COOPER: Didn't dare because?

QUINN: Well, because it was out there. I mean, it was much more radical than the speech he gave four years ago. I heard somebody on Fox News to say it was a take no prisoners speech.

And people were sort of rating it in terms of liberal or left wing. You know, he's been accused of being a socialist by his right- wing detractors. So I think that -- I think he really came out and said, talked about gays and talked about guns and talked about immigration in a way that you know he's believed all these years.

That the people who voted for him knew that's what they were voting for, and the people who didn't vote for him knew that's why they weren't voting for him, and he just said, OK, I'm now the president four more years, I don't have to do this again. This is what I believe and this is what I'm going to say.

MARGARET HOOVER, CNN POLITICAL CONTRIBUTOR: It's almost as though he took the lessons from the first term, that maybe he got pushed around too much, so this term, he's going to do the pushing.

And you know, there was this debate among, especially those on the center right, is this man a progressive clothed in centrist clothing, or is he really a centrist and a pragmatist. And the answer is maybe he's both.

I see Van like looking at me, but it was take no prisoners. There was no question that he was putting -- he was defending modern American liberalism. He was defending progressivism, and putting them in the sweep of history and tying it to the declaration of independence.

CORNELL BELCHER, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: If I could pick up on that, sort of the big thing that came out of that is we have never seen a president before, and he is uniquely qualified to do that, to tie our founding fathers or tie in Martin Luther King to our founding fathers.

And put Martin Luther King clearly in the moral and ideal continuum of our founding fathers and that struggle, and then to pivot and talk about Stonewall with Selma in a way that puts it on equal footing with that.

Look, the budget battle has come and gone. We'll always have a budget battle. In 50 years from now, I think the pivotal and important thing will be this president's embrace of gay rights and putting it on the same level as civil rights, which by the way is controversial because many of the civil rights leaders don't believe it should be there.

VAN JONES, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: They are beginning to change their minds now.

COOPER: (Inaudible) who certainly does.

JONES: And also, we were so fortunate to hear from John Lewis as well, who was the only surviving person who actually spoke at that 1963 march on Washington. He said it's a civil rights issue. But you know, this was really a big deal, this speech.

When he first came on the scene, people said, could this man be the liberal Ronald Reagan? Could he be someone who could articulate liberalism in terms that were motivating, that were deeply rooted in American values, and moved the country in his direction? I think this speech was the first signal that he has that potential.

This is not just happy talk, hope and change, kumbaya. This was him staking a claim to a different kind of patriotism. And saying that in order for us to be who the founders want us to be, we have to continue to include the Dr. Kings and the Latino community and everybody else. That was very powerful.

COOPER: Let's take a look at a moment a lot of people have been talking about. One of President Obama's open mic moments. Let's listen.

I did get the sense, I mean, you're saying he's not going to see this again. You got the sense in his making that speech that he's not going to make a speech like that -- he doesn't have an opportunity to make a speech like that again in this moment in history, in this moment in his presidency, and I felt like these were a number of things he wanted to say.

JONES: I think he was speaking to history. He has spent a lot of time looking at other inaugurals and saying what do these inaugurals say about who we were as a country at that time. He was speaking as much to the history, I'm going to weigh in on climate change, I don't want to be not on the record on climate change.

I don't want to not be on the record about the lesbian, gay, bisexual transgender issue. I want to be on the record. I'm a man who stood with the future, not with the past of this country.

QUINN: One of the things he said, the way it was interesting he said it, was to kind of throw down the gauntlet to the Republicans, and yet to say, we're all in this together. So it was a really neat trick that he was sort of weaving around. This is what I want, this is what I want, but you're all going to come in with me together.

BELCHER: Absolutism was the principle, sort of the line that breaks through. If I can take a moment, quickly, a moment on him reflecting on that. For a lot of us who were part of the campaign when he was senator ideal, and it was a fun time, we sat around the table and said, if we could come in a close third in Iowa, we could keep this thing going. To step back and look at sort of what this has become and what this has meant and understand that for people like me in this profession, I will never work on anything as historically significant as electing the first black president of the United States in our lives. It's an enormous moment in history, and I'm humbled by it.

COOPER: Let's toss it over to Erin and Piers who are standing by at one of the inaugural parties. A lot of people are wanting to see what Michelle Obama is going to be wearing tonight to these inaugural events.

MORGAN: Well, I have a funny feeling she's going to look like me, in a tux. Call me a betting man, but I have a feeling we'll see the president in a tux.

BURNETT: You know what the best part today? Women's wear daily which follows fashion, tweeted out, there's President Obama wearing the same Brooks Brother coat he wore last time. I thought, isn't that OK?

MORGAN: Very excited people, and the reason I'm so excited, we have been joined by somebody I would view played the greatest dramatic character in the history of television. And that is the man who played Toby Ziegler in "West Wing." He's here with me now. Welcome.

RICHARD SCHIFF, ACTOR, "CHASING THE HILL": That was quite an introduction.

MORGAN: I watched "West Wing" all seven seasons for the third time, so I can almost quote everything you have said. We don't have time, but I wish we did. Let's talk about the president. You have been watching this, an amazing day of history in many ways, but a man with a purpose now, you get a sense. What did you make of the speech?

SCHIFF: Exactly that. He seemed to reconfirm that he's here for a purpose. He's here for a reason. I love that he mentioned gay and lesbian equal rights, very emphatic about equal pay for women. And he's very clear to the 47 percent who have been left out for quite a bit of this process for the last number of years that he was, you know, redeveloping the middle class.

Henry Ford knew that. You got to -- you got to create a middle class that can buy the products we make. Otherwise, that's a no- brainer for a lot of us. It's clearly a hard fight.

MORGAN: What would Toby say to President Obama in the oval office tomorrow?

SCHIFF: Probably say well done, thank you for saying my words so nicely, and let's get to work.

MORGAN: Get stuff done.

SCHIFF: What's that?

MORGAN: Get stuff done. SCHIFF: Let's get to work. I'm always reminded when I think about the legacy of a president and where he is in history, which they were talking about earlier, putting this perspective in history.

I pitched to Aaron Sorkin at one point, when I look at the administration and what we achieved, which wasn't a whole lot of great things, little things, and I said, I want to have a speech for me. I rarely ask for, about what our legacy is, where is our great frontier, where is our new deal, where is our great society and so on?

I think that's what they're probably thinking about. What more can we leave on America in the next four years without apology because there's no re-election now? Let's roll up our sleeves and get to work. And we're all hoping that's what happens.

BURNETT: Thank you very much. We appreciate it.

SCHIFF: My pleasure.

MORGAN: A real pleasure.

SCHIFF: Very much so. Thank you for not asking me about guns. I would get very upset.

MORGAN: Get upset about guns.

SCHIFF: You're doing it for all of us.

MORGAN: I would like you to join me. Your character made one of the great speeches about guns in the "West Wing," pointing out that America has a huge gun problem. That was more than ten years ago. What should the president do?

SCHIFF: Exactly what he's saying he is going to do, which is getting Joe Biden to figure a way out of this -- we're stuck in our lobby mess, right? We have a very powerful lobby. We have an interesting group that makes a lot of money of munitions and gun. We're a violent culture, no denying that, but when is enough, enough?

And when are we going to start taking measures to stop even one child from, you know, from the kind of tragedy we have experienced lately? I don't know what the answer is, but I know that most Americans, Republicans, NRA members, agree with the very basic answers, which are the magazines and the automatic weapons and so on.

But we are very, very impassioned people who believe the second amendment is a bible. One more quick point, two different versions of the second amendment were passed. One passed by Congress had a capital letter for state and militia. The one passed by the state had a lower case. So it was a compromise right from the beginning, two very different interpretations of what that second amendment means.

BURNETT: All right, thank you very much.

MORGAN: Thank you. BURNETT: All right, there are two designers anxiously awaiting to see whether Michelle Obama wore his or her dress tonight. My understanding talking to someone close to her said she had about 15 designers who send her designs.

MORGAN: It will be an American designer that I can tell you.

BURNETT: They do not know who it will be, and they will see when the world sees. The president and the first lady will be hitting the dance floor for the first dance in a couple hours. That's coming up. But first, Beyonce today with an absolutely beautiful --

MORGAN: That was the best rendition of the national anthem I have ever heard.

BURNETT: It was stunning. Here it is.


BURNETT: All right, this was obviously the president as he was looking at the troops, the overview of the troops before the actual parade began, pretty amazing. One of the things I find so amazing about America's military is how precise and perfect their training is. You know that they are trained to take 28-inch steps.

MORGAN: Amazing.

BURNETT: And they do it, and they don't look down.

MORGAN: Also, Americans always go on about how the British do pomp and ceremony better than anyone else, including America. I watched today a lot of the stuff going on, and I thought, America does it pretty well, too.

BURNETT: Really?

MORGAN: You roll out the barrel for the president, and that was very impressive today.

BURNETT: It was beautifully done, and it makes us all proud whether you're a Democrat or a Republican or something else, proud to be an American. Well, all eyes today, though, were not really on the president.

MORGAN: But on the bangs.

BURNETT: On the first lady and the bangs, yes.

MORGAN: Is it compulsory you have to like the bangs because I'm not convinced.

BURNETT: You don't like them?

MORGAN: You can't dislike anything the first lady wears, including her hair, because she's so beautiful, but I'm not a big fan of the bangs. BURNETT: I'm not a fan of bangs in general. I think they're hard to pull off, but I think they look great on her. She looks really hip.

MORGAN: She looked great. Not sure about the bangs, sorry.

BURNETT: All right, if you look, there was a Harper's business review that shows when Michelle Obama wears her clothes, if you're a publicly traded company, your stock goes up. That's power that no celebrity in the world has. People look at what she wears and she gets people to shop.

Our own Alina Cho has more on what the first lady wore today, which is getting rave reviews, from what I heard, from almost everyone.


ALINA CHO, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Is watching first lady Michelle Obama's fashion choice is a sport. This day's equivalent is the super ball, the inauguration, fashion's biggest prize when Mrs. Obama emerged in the morning, her choice, coat and dress, was American designer Thom Browne. We tracked him down at his hotel in Paris, celebrating the moment.

THOM BROWNE, AMERICAN FASHION DESIGNER: You can never predict, you know, life is to happen this way, and I'm so fortunate, so honored and so proud that she chose mine.

CHO: For this occasion, the 47-year-old designer chose fabric for the first lady based on men's silk ties.

BROWNE: I had an idea that the president would be wearing navy, so I wanted to do something that would -- that she would look really good with him. And I chose a dark navy fabric, which is actually a silk jacquard fabric that I have used in my men's collection.

CHO: So who is this man who sells his first name with an h? Thom Browne started his business with five suits, appointment only back in 2001. Officially, he's been designing women's clothes for just two years. He's best known for redefining men's wear.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: He's the reason a lot of men are wearing smaller suits. If we see exposed ankles on a man's pants it's probably because Thom Browne invented the shrunken suit. It doesn't mean he's a well known or household name.

BROWNE: People know me as a men's designer. Now I think they'll start looking at my women's with a different eye.

CHO: Browne also designs a collection for Brooks Brother and men's coats for Montclair, known for pushing the envelope. The man from Allentown, Pennsylvania, stages elaborate fashion shows.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I will never forget the time that his show involved the models climbing out of coffins. You never what you're going to get, every time it's a spectacle of the drama and it's complete theater.

CHO: But Browne was aware this was not the moment for that.

THOM BROWNE, AMERICAN FASHION DESIGNER: I think in regards to the situations like this, you have to be so respectful to the day and what it represents.

CHO: For Browne, this moment represents a shift, name recognition, a potential for big business, and largely, he has one woman to thank.

BROWNE: I think she will be one of the most important because of her support for, one, American designers. And American designers that aren't always household names. A style icon for me is someone who has that confidence to be able to be their own person and be that true individual that they are, and I think she's definitely going to go down in history as that.


CHO: You know, you saw Thom Browne popping open that bottle of champagne. He actually told me he's probably drink two bottles of champagne tonight, and a good dinner in Paris before he returns to New York tomorrow morning, and well-deserved, certainly.

I asked him, what do you think this is going to do to your business? And he laughed and said, well, I don't think it's going to hurt.

What's interesting about Thom Browne is, well, Piers and Erin, he in addition to be a designer, is also a very savvy businessman. He pays attention to revenue, he pays attention to sales. And so, people who watch fashion very closely say if anybody was going to take advantage of this moment in the spotlight, it would be Thom Browne.

PIERS MORGAN, CNN ANCHOR: That's a great piece, Alina. Thank you.

I want to bring in Joe Zee. He's Elle's creative director.

So much attention on poor Michelle Obama, whether it's her bangs or her address, whatever it is. I don't know how the women in the public eye can deal with it. But what do you think she'll wear? And what kind of thing will she wear?



ZEE: I think if you look at what she's worn all weekend, there's been a color theme. Her entire family has been color-coordinated today.


ZEE: But blue has been really sort of the color that she's been championing this entire weekend. So, will she continue the trend? Will she wear blue to signify this is what it's about, the second term? Maybe.

BURNETT: And I have to ask you about those boots.

ZEE: Yes.

BURNETT: So, for those who were not watching very closely, she had worn a pair of pumps earlier in the morning. When she got out on the parade route, she had these gorgeous knee-high navy suede boots. I mean, those are a work of art.

ZEE: Beautiful, right?

BURNETT: Yes, and you found out that they are --

ZEE: Reed Krakoff.

BURNETT: And custom made. Only one pair in the world.

ZEE: One of a kind, specially made for the first lady. And I have to say, I love that Thom Browne coat. I think it's spectacular.

MORGAN: She's becoming, isn't she, the most talked about in terms of fashion first lady since Jackie Kennedy, I think.

ZEE: I don't think there's one designers in the world who wouldn't trip over themselves to dress for the first lady.


ZEE: People are so excited.

MORGAN: You like the bangs, though?

ZEE: I love the bangs.

MORGAN: You love the bangs?

BURNETT: Yes, I love them.

MORGAN: Am I allowed to not love the bangs?

BURNETT: That's all right, Piers.

MORGAN: Twitter has blown up about my comment about the bangs, but I don't really go to the bangs.

BURNETT: All right. You're entitled to your appoint. But I'm very supported of Piers' point, why is it Michelle Obama? You know, you had Carla Bruni Sarkozy, who was, you know, a supermodel, and she always wore jewels, and you have Samantha Cameron who also mixed high and low fashion, but no one -- none of them has become the fashion icon that Michelle Obama was.

ZEE: I think everyone was hungry for someone in the White House to have that fashion and sensibility that Jackie O. had. And it's been a long, long time.

MORGAN: And Princess Diana right there.


MORGAN: I think the first global fashion icon that I can remember since Princess Diana. Now, you have two on both sides of the Atlantic really having that kind of sense that only Diana had. So, it's a very exciting time for fashion diviners everywhere, whether you make coats or dresses or boots or bangs, with real designs (ph).

ZEE: If you really think about it, every administration previous to Michelle, the first lady really aligned themselves with one designer, so there was no element of surprise. Michelle goes out there championing not only the industry, but really new brands, young brands and small businesses.

BURNETT: And one final question I have to ask you, Jason Wu, he designed a dress for her for the last ball. You know, Jason Wu was not well known and suddenly became this guy who everybody wants to wear, and he's proved to be a businessman.

ZEE: Absolutely.

BURNETT: So, now, Thom Browne, is he going to be able to turn this -- is he going to be able to spread this?

ZEE: I think he already has. Trust me. Time will tell.

MORGAN: These guys make tens of millions of dollars. A quick comment about Erin's dress. It's pretty.

ZEE: I love Erin's dress, I told her earlier, this is spectacular.


BURNETT: I'm very honored. The guy is a creative director for "Elle" and loves my dress.

MORGAN: You're going to be a cover girl soon.

We've got to leave there. Great to talk to you.

BURNETT: Thank you.


MORGAN: The Castro brothers will join us next, if I can remember which one is which. First, Brad Paisley playing right now at the commander-in-chief's ball.



ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: And welcome back. I'm Anderson Cooper, live from the National Mall.

There were certainly a lot of great moments today. You're looking at a live shot of our nation's Capitol, and all eyes now are turning to the inaugural parties.

One of the moments, Kelly Clarkson singing "My Country, 'Tis of Thee."



BURNETT: I can't do that.

COOPER: Kelly Clarkson earlier today. Piers, just one of the many performers, including Beyonce and, of course, James Taylor, who we heard from earlier -- Piers.

MORGAN: Yes, I thought it was a great performance by Kelly Clarkson. Pretty amazing that someone can come off a reality show like "American Idol" and then perform an inauguration ceremony for the president. For me, Beyonce killed it on the day, although I'm getting lots of tweets from some people saying that the greatest national anthem performance ever remains Whitney Houston. That amazing "Star Spangled Banner". I'm not so sure. I think Beyonce today was about as good as you could get.

Let's bring in two musical experts now, or I assume they are, every anchorman's nightmare because no one can tell who the hell they are, is San Antonio Mayor Julian Castro and Texas Representative Joaquin Castro.

Brilliantly, Joaquin has worn his congressional--

REP. JOAQUIN CASTRO (D), TEXAS: I wanted to make it easy for you, Piers.

BURNETT: That's how we (INAUDIBLE).

MORGAN: So we know who is who. Welcome to you both.

Let me start with you, if I may, Julian.

To all of the viewers saying, can I turn the noise down? No, I can't. That's the way it's going to be all night. It's a party. We're celebrating. Everyone is celebrating. America is celebrating.

MAYOR JULIAN CASTRO, SAN ANTONIO, TX: Yes, this is probably the most festive interview you're ever going to give.

MORGAN: Ever, ever. Tell me about the president's speech because he covered so much from education to climate change to gun control to all sorts of stuff. The big question tonight is what can he actually prioritize and what can he actually make happen? Where do you think his real priorities lie? CASTRO: Well, I think he did a wonderful job today. He helped renew, rekindle the American spirit, calling us to what has always made America great, all of us working together to forge a stronger America, and he laid out his agenda. It's one of economic competitiveness and investing in education.

Also, he put climate change on the table for the first time in a long time. As well as immigration reform, talking about immigration and how they're going to replenish America.

Of course, it's not going to be easy to get any of those things done, because Congress is divided. But I will say that these are the types of moments that bring Americans together and there's real hope in that.

BURNETT: Joaquin, if you have to take, you know, what your brother is talking, immigration and (AUDIO GAP). But what about if the president has to choose? Gun control (AUDIO GAP) Marco Rubio on the Republican side, putting forth, frankly, it fits pretty darn well with what the president has to say.

JOAQUIN CASTRO: Well, I think, honestly, Erin, immigration reform is easier. That doesn't mean it's less important, but it's easier. I think gun safety and gun control will probably come first.

That said, it's going to be a heavier lift on gun suppliers.

BURNETT: Because you must know a lot about both sides of this, in terms of Marco Rubio, as well Democratic ideas, that an immigration deal can get done? A real deal, not just a weak around the edges kind of thing, but a real long-term fix?

JOAQUIN CASTRO: I believe it will get done. I believe the American people on November 6th of 2012 gave a mandate for Congress to get it done. That's why you see people from both parties speaking out in favor of immigration.

MORGAN: Really, when we got to the state of Texas, in particular, the biggest state of the nation today, they said the Republicans will lose their iron grip on Texas, and that's within two presidential cycles, the red state would effectively become more Democratic and turn purple.

Do you see that happening?

JULIAN CASTRO: I do, and for three reasons. First, (AUDIO GAP). Texas has done better economically than most states. We had a real influx of folks moving in from other states that are moderating Texas. And thirdly, because the Republican Party has gone so far to the right, it's forgotten to invest in the basics to be competitive in the 21st century global economy and it's beginning to lose the business community, the moderates in the state.

MORGAN: By the way, I still have to meet any Latino and tell me to dance. So, are you guys going to be --

JULIAN CASTRO: We're the first two. Man, that was two.

BURNETT: Piers' first highly inappropriate comment of the evening.

MORGAN: That's not inappropriate.

JULIAN CASTRO: No offense taken there.

MORGAN: You can't dance, really? Of course, you can. I bet they can. They always say things like that.

Anyway, waiting for the president and first lady's first dance of the night. We're looking forward to see what their first song is and indeed how they dance, because they're groovy (INAUDIBLE).

First, another moment from today's celebration.



COOPER: That's Brad Paisley performing earlier this evening at the commander-in-chief ball. We're waiting to see President Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama visiting these balls. A lot of eyes will be on what Michelle Obama is wearing. A lot of designers are waiting, no doubt, watching for that as well.

President Obama went out of his way during his second inaugural address to touch on climate change, something he didn't address at all over four years. He did get specific, mentioning the recent wave of severe weather that some have linked to climate change, to global warming.

Here's what the president said.


BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: We will respond to the threat of climate change, knowing that the failure to do so would betray our children and future generations.


Some may still deny the overwhelming judgment of science, but none can avoid the devastating impact of raging fires and crippling drought and more powerful storms.


COOPER: I want to bring in our panel of Van Jones, Sally Quinn, Margaret Hoover, and Cornell Belcher.

Van, were you surprised to hear him talk about climate change, and really kind of go on about it? Really, we haven't heard much over the last four years about it? VAN JONES, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: I was certainty surprised. I don't think we have really done a good job in society right now of dealing with this question.

You have a dust bowl forming right now. We have one of the biggest droughts since really the dust bowl, since the Great Depression, before the Great Depression. We had wildfires like we have never seen before all across the West. We had this massive storm, and no discussion about it.

I think that was one of the great failures of the American political system, the media system, not to address this.

Meanwhile, the scientists are getting more and more concerned and more and more in unity. Now, there's greater unity about the question of humans causing global warming, and unity among scientists about smoking causing cancer. So, you have the highest unity among scientists and still no action.

So, I thought it was very, very important that he do what he did.

COOPER: Cornell, you're a pollster. Did -- I mean, years ago, did politicians do polls on climate change and find out it was a dirty word? Because it really is not something that has been discussed in the political realm much.

CORNELL BELCHER, DEMOCRATIC STRATEGIST: Well, two things. One is I kind of push back on the idea that, you know, he didn't get around to it in the first term. He was busy with the economy going off a cliff. But to a certain extent, it does sort of speak to the Obama coalition, the very unique coalition, and to those younger voters. To those younger voters, this is a really big issue.

When you look at sort of what he laid out around gay issues and around climate control, this is really speaking very much to the Obama base coalition. And to them, the climate change, energy independence, is a top five issue concern.

SALLY QUINN, COLUMNIST, THE WASHINGTON POST: Well, I think, you know, one of the problems here, you just mentioned the economy. Climate change is a huge economic issue. Could be the biggest economic issue we have in the country.

Look at what's going on in New Jersey, billions of dollars. Every time there's a fire or a flood or a tsunami or a tornado or whatever, it's costing us huge amounts of money. This is a major economic problem.

So it's not only that, but the religious community has taken the environment on, and they have really been working Obama over on this. This is God's creation, this earth, and we are destroying God's creation.

JONES: And he actually used that language. I think that was very interesting. He used the language about taking care of God's creation and bringing in that religious language. QUINN: That's right.

JONES: I think this has always been his number three issue, his number four issue, but I think that 20 years from now, this is going to be the number one issue people look back on and judge him on, because by then, if we believe our science, we have no reason not to, we're going to be really paying the cost for inaction.

COOPER: Let's go back to the commander-in-chief's inaugural ball to listen to the national anthem being performed.


ANNOUNCER: Performing the national anthem, under the direction of Colonel Larry Lang, please welcome the United States Air Force Band.





ANNOUNCER: Welcome to the inaugural ball. Once again, I want to say welcome to the inaugural ball!

COOPER: National anthem being performed at the inaugural ball, one of two official balls tonight. The commander-in-chief ball is in the same area, the same structure as the inaugural ball. The inaugural ball is much larger. The commander-in-chief ball was began in 2005 by then President George W. Bush.

Again, we're joined by our panel: Sally Quinn, Cornell Belcher, Margaret Hoover, and Van Jones.

We were talking before about climate change. How much can the president really do, what do you see him doing given him wanting to make efforts on gun control, on the budget, on the deficit?

JONES: Let me say two things he can do.

COOPER: I got interrupted from Ms. Alicia Keys. I'm sorry. I want to hear what Van Jones says. But I want to hear Alicia Keys --

ALICIA KEYS, MUSICIAN: Today is an incredible day, and you can feel the energy everywhere that you go. You know, in so many ways, every day is a new day and a new chance - a new chance to be our best. To serve our highest purpose, yes.

So I'm going to need your help tonight, you know, because I'm up here all by myself. I just wanted it to be me and you. So help me celebrate this most momentous day. Yes, I'll tell you what to do.

I need you to say -- (SINGING)