Return to Transcripts main page

Anderson Cooper 360 Degrees

Oath of Office Do-over; Caroline Kennedy Bowing Out?

Aired January 21, 2009 - 22:00   ET


ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: An amazing night tonight, breaking news on two fronts, conflicting reports, many of them saying Caroline Kennedy is not going to try to go to the Senate, and a do-over also for President Barack Obama, retaking the oath of office because of the mistake made yesterday by the chief justice of the United States.
Here is the picture released by the White House, this evening, in the White House, in the Map Room at 7:35, Chief Justice Roberts with reporters present re-administrating the -- re-administrating -- administering the oath -- excuse me -- getting the words right, unlike me this time.

Legal experts say he didn't have to do it, but he did just to make sure. We have just gotten audio of the moment.

Here's President Obama retaking the oath of office.


JOHN ROBERTS, CHIEF JUSTICE OF THE SUPREME COURT: I, Barack Hussein Obama, do solemnly swear...

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

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

OBAMA: ... that I will faithfully execute 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 the Constitution of the United States.

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

ROBERTS: So help you God?

OBAMA: So help me God.

ROBERTS: Congratulations again.

OBAMA: Thank you, sir.




COOPER: That is the correct oath, this the incorrect one witnessed yesterday by billions of people around the world.


ROBERTS: I, Barack Hussein Obama...

OBAMA: I, Barack...

ROBERTS: ... do solemnly swear...

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

ROBERTS: So help you, God?

OBAMA: So help me, God.

ROBERTS: Congratulations, Mr. President.



COOPER: After retaking the oath today, Mr. Obama joked, saying, "We decided it was so much fun," then later warning the press pool they would have a dozen more balls to attend to -- tonight.

With us now, Ed Henry and senior legal analyst Jeffrey Toobin. Ed, Obama's press secretary said yesterday there would be no oath do-over. What changed? What are we learning tonight?

ED HENRY, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Anderson, it's such a strange development, because I first learned that there was something going on when I was standing in the West Wing a couple of hours ago and I overheard senior adviser David Axelrod saying, "Thank you, Mr. Chief Justice, for coming over."

That's not something I hear every day around here, especially the day after the inaugural, the day after this problem. And so I thought maybe the -- just the chief justice had come over to apologize personally to the president. Instead, we started to make some calls. Our Supreme Court producer, Bill Mears, made some calls.

And we nailed down the fact that the White House counsel, Greg Craig, basically felt that, while it was administered legally, and it was all fine, he felt there was a controversy lingering out there. He wanted to nip it in the bud. And so Greg Craig, himself, told me he advised the president it was best to just get this done a second time.

They called the chief justice. He came over. And what's also interesting is that, earlier in the day, Vice President Joe Biden had sort of joked about this matter, poked a little fun at the chief justice.

Look at the president's body language. He was not in a laughing mood.


OBAMA: Joe, you want to administer the oath?

JOSEPH BIDEN, VICE PRESIDENT: Am I doing this again?

OBAMA: For the senior staff.

BIDEN: For the senior staff. Oh, right.


OBAMA: Yes. A number of the Cabinet members have already...

BIDEN: My memory is not as good as Justice Roberts', Chief Justice Roberts' is.



HENRY: And you saw that the president there had a very serious look. He reached out and grabbed Joe Biden's arm, as if to say, look, let's not go there.

He was supposed to be administering the oath for senior staff here at the White House. So, hours before all this went down, there was joking. The president didn't like it. But, as you said, later on, when the second oath happened, the president was joking with the chief justice about this whole matter.

I think the bottom line is, they just wanted to nip this in the bud, not have it linger out there as any kind of an issue, Anderson.

COOPER: Jeff, legally, was this necessary?

JEFFREY TOOBIN, CNN SENIOR ANALYST: As far as I can tell, absolutely not.

The 20th Amendment to the Constitution, which was ratified in 1933, makes it very clear that George Bush's term ended at noon, and Barack Obama's term began at noon.

COOPER: Right.


TOOBIN: And the oath is irrelevant.

COOPER: And we said that on the air yesterday, that, at 12:00, Barack Obama officially became the president, whether or not he had taken the oath.

TOOBIN: That's correct, as far as I know.

There's never been a court case testing this issue. And Greg Craig, you can see why he thought the way he did. He didn't want to have people filing lawsuits, even if they turned out to be frivolous. It's easy enough to bring Chief Justice Roberts over. I'm sure he was willing to do it. I'm certain, knowing Chief Justice Roberts, that he was embarrassed by this situation.

He is the official A-student. He's never made a public mistake before. So, he would be willing to correct it. But, now, the one issue that's now left outstanding is, what about the executive orders and other acts taken between noon of yesterday and 7:30 Eastern today? Are they going to redo those just to make sure that he -- he has the authority?

COOPER: Do you think they might actually do that?

TOOBIN: They might. There were only a handful of them, probably five or so. Maybe -- maybe they will do that.

COOPER: Ed, "Keeping Them Honest" here, I find it kind of amazing that the world only learned about this when you overheard a phone conversation from a senior adviser, David Axelrod, thanking the chief justice.

I mean, this is the administration, these are the folks who talked about transparency and being the most transparent. Did they -- I mean, did they not plan on announcing -- they didn't announce this beforehand? HENRY: What's interesting is, what I overheard was a conversation from David Axelrod in the hallway itself, not on the phone.


HENRY: And you're right, though, that they are -- they are talking a lot about transparency.

This very day, the president signed an executive order calling for more openness and transparency by the federal government. What happened was, I overheard this conversation, started trying to figure out what was going on.

Meanwhile, other White House officials were pulling in a small group of reporters in sort of what they call a pool situation to witness this moment in history, and then tell the rest of the press about it.

But, in that kind of situation, the TV pool is supposed to come in, a representative from one of the five TV networks. In this case, the White House did not bring a TV network in. CNN and other news organizations have now lodged a complaint about this. And we're trying to get an answer.

The White House has not explained yet why they did not bring a TV camera in, especially, if it was important enough for the chief justice of the United States to come back and do this a second time, it certainly seems important enough for television networks to get it on tape, to show the country and the world, as you said, the billions of people who saw this, that, look, it really did happen.

And, so, we haven't gotten a clear answer. It is ironic, the same day that the president is talking about transparency, we were not let in -- Anderson.

COOPER: Jeff, do you think they didn't want a TV camera in there just because they wanted to kind of sweep this under the rug as quickly as...


TOOBIN: I -- I can't speak for them. I don't know. It seems silly not to have -- not to have a TV camera there.

And there is some precedent for this. Apparently, President Calvin Coolidge and Chester Arthur redid their oaths as well. But that was so long ago. It was before the 20th Amendment. Theoretically, there could have been a problem with the oath.

I think this was very overprotective, perhaps, lawyering, but the problem has now gone away, although Chief Justice Roberts will not live this down very quickly.

(CROSSTALK) COOPER: I read that Lyndon Johnson also flubbed the -- the vice presidential oath when he was sworn in as vice president. I'm not sure if he retook it, though.

Jeff Toobin, thanks very much. We will continue to follow this, try to find out why they didn't allow video cameras in.

Ed Henry, thanks for the reporting, for finding out about this.

The other breaking news concerns Caroline Kennedy, who, in addition to being the daughter of JFK and the niece of Senator Ted Kennedy, was a key Obama supporter during the campaign. She launched a high-profile bid to be named secretary of state -- named as secretary -- to Secretary of State Clinton's old Senate seat, and was considered at one point to be the top contender.

Now, tonight, conflicting reports -- some sources telling CNN reporters she is dropping out, some saying she's not.

Candy Crowley is working the story for us tonight.

Candy, do we know? Is she dropping out or not?


But, I mean, let me tell you, just give you the bare facts of this. There were three of us who, when we first heard this story, started making phone calls, John King, Gloria Borger, and myself. Each of us separately had three different sources saying, yes, she doesn't want to do it. She's withdrawing.

After that, we began to call around people who should also know, and they didn't. They said, I have no idea what's going on. I'm not sure what's going on.

And then there came to be news reports saying that perhaps this was the result of a misunderstanding between Caroline Kennedy and New York Governor Paterson.

So, with an abundance of caution, we still have sources telling us what they originally did, and that is that -- that she is withdrawing. But we also had people saying that should know, I don't know anything about this.

And we're talking about close friends of Caroline Kennedy who are saying, this is the first I have heard of it.

And it seems unlikely they wouldn't know. So, that's where we stand.

COOPER: So, just being as transparent as possible, in our reporting, we have three different reporters at CNN have three different sources saying, yes, she's dropping out. Others are saying, though, no, she's not, or they don't know? CROWLEY: Well, they don't -- they don't know anything about it. Other news organizations are reporting that perhaps this was the result of a misunderstanding between Caroline and the governor of New York.

COOPER: All right.

Candy will continue to work her sources.

More now with senior political analyst David Gergen, John King, and BET senior political analyst Pamela Gentry.

What do you make of this, David? I mean, clearly, we don't know one way or the other. But, if she did take her name out of the running, why would she do that?

DAVID GERGEN, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: Anderson, it seems to me we have had a very serious day, Barack Obama's first day in office, and now we have sort of a circus-like ending to it, with both the John Roberts story about the -- taking the oath again, and now the Caroline Kennedy story, both of which are -- are surrounded by a lot of confusion.

The original story that came out -- the first couple of stories that came out of New York newspapers said she was pulling out because of Ted Kennedy's health problems, that she felt this was not the appropriate time to go in.

I don't know whether she's pulling out or not, but that seems like an implausible explanation. Others are speculating that she felt maybe Paterson wasn't -- that Governor Paterson was not going to select her, and decided to drop out. And, still, others think she's still in the running and is the front-runner.

So, what I will say is this, Anderson. I think, any time you get a circus like this surrounding a potential nomination or naming, it makes it somewhat less likely that it will happen.

COOPER: Pamela, does it make sense to you that -- that she would pull her name out because of concerns over her uncle's health?

PAMELA GENTRY, SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST, BET: Well, I think it would -- if she was already looking at some of the polls that were saying that Attorney General Cuomo was looking like a better candidate, that, if she doesn't think she is going to get the appointment, it would be better to withdraw, than to be -- than not to be appointed, to look like it at least was your idea.

But I'm surprised that it was coming down to this close. They knew that Senator Hillary Clinton was going to be confirmed. You know, that was -- that was pretty much a given. I'm surprised they have waited this long, actually, for him to kind of just say, who is he going to select? I mean, there are only a couple really top names out there right now.

COOPER: John, in people you had talked to, was there any sense that -- that she might be having second thoughts at all?

JOHN KING, CNN CHIEF NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: I think I'm going to wait for the movie on this one, Anderson.

This is quite a bizarre drama.


KING: In Washington yesterday for the inaugural, a cousin of Caroline Kennedy and a very close associate of Caroline Kennedy told us that they were increasingly convinced she was Governor Paterson's choice.

And then, tonight, this breaks, first in the New York press. As Candy noted, I made a phone call to a very, very close Kennedy family friend, a longtime associate of Senator Kennedy, who responded to me in an e-mail that he had been told she was -- quote -- "out of the running." He declined to give any other information. This is a very loyal family friend, not a talker, who said, "I will leave it up to her people to explain."

Since then, we have had this back and forth, with some people saying, is there a miscommunication? Was this leaked by the Paterson people as a signal to her? The governor's office has told our Mary Snow and others that they did not talk on the telephone.

"The New York Times" is reporting, as we speak, that there was a telephone conversation, and she has withdrawn. So, this is a very interesting drama. There's been mistrust between all of the camps, including Attorney General Cuomo, who also would like to have this seat. And there are other New York Democrats who would like the seat, so a lot of mistrust, tonight, a lot of confusion, although there are a number of sources saying that, whether it was done by her or she was nudged, that she's out of the running.

We will keep calling.

COOPER: Very briefly, John, was there any indication from Governor -- Governor Paterson? I understand he made some sort of a -- sort of a joking reference recently.

KING: Well, "The New York Daily News" has a paragraph in its report saying that the governor's spokesman was asked about this earlier in the day, and said, it's just the rumor of the day, and then, an hour later, called back and said, "Please don't run that quote."

Now, whether that was "Don't run that quote" because I don't want to be quoted on this at all, or whether it was 'Don't run that quote" because it's more than a rumor, or we just don't want to be involved in this, it's not my reporting, so I can't read minds on that one. But those kinds of twists only add to the confusion.


COOPER: We will try to sort it out throughout this hour and give you any updates, if we can.

John King, Pamela Gentry, David Gergen, stay with us. We're going to talk to you in a few moments, because we do want to focus on this other big story, which is the remarkable day in the White House, Barack Obama's first day as president, a lot of breaking news to talk about.

Let us know what you think about all this. Join the live chat happening now at I'm going to log on shortly. Check out, also, Erica Hill's live Webcasts during commercial breaks.

But, up next, the president getting down to business -- what he accomplished in his first work day, including a pay freeze, promises of accountability, and the makings of a major policy shift on Guantanamo Bay.

Also tonight, what we're learning about the big items on the first lady's agenda, as well as how she's balancing family and policy.

And we will be bringing you some of the magic of last night's inaugural celebrations that you might have missed or just want to enjoy one more time.


COOPER: Recapping our breaking news: President Obama retaking the oath of office tonight just after dinnertime in the White House Map Room, both he and Chief Justice Roberts getting their lines right this time, a surprising end to his first full day at work.

Take a look. Here's how the day began: Mr. Obama entering the Oval Office this morning for the first time as president of the United States, kicking off a busy day, highlighted by promises of new transparency and accountability -- we will be "Keeping Them Honest" on that -- also giving his own staffers a pay freeze, facing a new challenge on his Justice Department pick, and, as Ed Henry first reported, making news on the detention camp at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.

Ed was the first to learn today of the administration's one-year time frame for closing it. He has got details on that and much more, the "Raw Politics" from day one.


ED HENRY, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): President Obama's first full day on the job, a Kodak moment for the White House to project the image he's firmly in charge.

OBAMA: That's a pretty good place to start.

HENRY: Mr. Obama wants to show that, despite his recent praise for former President Bush, he is now moving quickly to dismantle key aspects of his predecessor's legacy.

CNN has learned there are three executive orders coming Thursday, shutting down the U.S. military prison at Guantanamo, banning the use of torture on terror suspects, and starting a systematic review of all detention policies.

OBAMA: Let me say it as simply as I can. Transparency and the rule of law will be the touchstones of this presidency.

HENRY: The president lingered at his inaugural parties until 1:00 a.m., but he had been warned that, when the festivities were over, the pressure would get intense.

GEORGE W. BUSH, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: And then he will walk in the Oval Office, and there will be a moment when the responsibilities of the president land squarely on his shoulders.

HENRY: That moment has come and gone, and Mr. Obama wants to prove he's hitting the ground running, a flurry of phone calls to Mideast leaders, a pay freeze for about 100 top aides who earn over $100,000, and two executive orders, one putting new restrictions on lobbyists, another pushing the government to open more records to the public.

OBAMA: Starting today, every agency and department should know that this administration stands on the side not of those who seek to withhold information, but those who seek to make it known.


HENRY: Now, despite the talk of transparency, however, after signing those executive orders, the president had a meeting with his senior economic advisers. It was closed to the press. He also had a meeting on Iraq policy moving forward. That was closed to the press.

We have just gotten the schedule for tomorrow, another meeting on the economy that will be closed to the press -- Anderson.

COOPER: All right, Ed Henry, thanks.

Just ahead: the drama over some of team Obama's top Cabinet picks, how Hillary Clinton made it today, and two other big names have not -- not yet, at least.

And more from a night to remember, at least from 2013 -- tonight on 360.


COOPER: Hillary Clinton being sworn in as secretary of state, her husband, the 42nd president of the United States, there holding the Bible -- the judge, a close family friend, getting the words right on the first time.

Her confirmation today by a vote of 94-2, but not without some controversy, nowhere near as heated, though, as the one over another pair of nominees, including the treasury secretary, the man who would be in charge of trying to saving -- saving the economy.

Once again, on the 360 transition team, here's Candy Crowley.


CROWLEY (voice-over): Former first lady, former senator, one- time presidential candidate. Now just call her Madam Secretary.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The nomination is confirmed.


CROWLEY: Hillary Clinton was the president's most surprising pick, certainly the one with the most controversial spouse. And former President Bill Clinton did figure into last-minute qualms that more openness is needed about foreign contributions to his foundation in order to help Secretary of State Hillary Clinton do her job.

SEN. JOHN CORNYN (R), TEXAS: The perception and reality must be that the office of secretary of the state is viewed around the world as beyond reproach.

CROWLEY: And in the new ways of Washington, an old Obama rival is looking for a new place. Senator John McCain, in his first floor speech since losing the election, urged Republican colleagues to move the Clinton nomination along.

SEN. JOHN MCCAIN (R), ARIZONA: I, like all good politicians, pay attention to the president's approval ratings. They're very high. But, more importantly, I think the message that the American people are sending us now is, they want us to work together.



CROWLEY: Clinton was confirmed as secretary of state just after 4:30 Wednesday -- no such luck at the Senate Finance Committee, where the treasury secretary-designate was sorry, so sorry, he didn't pay his taxes over a four-year period.

TIMOTHY GEITHNER, TREASURY SECRETARY NOMINEE: They were avoidable mistakes, but they were unintentional. I should have been more careful. I take full responsibility for them.

CROWLEY: After an audit of two of those years, Timothy Geithner paid up. But he did not pay for two years that were outside the IRS statute of limitations until days before his nomination. Seriously, he's very sorry.

GEITHNER: I regret not having done that sooner. I believe I should have done it sooner. And I -- and, if I thought about it more, maybe I would have come to that judgment sooner.

CROWLEY: Not everyone buys it.

SEN. JON KYL (R), ARIZONA: Would you answer my question, rather than dancing around it, please?

CROWLEY: And so it was that, when President Barack Obama held his first White House meeting with economic advisers, his wingman was missing, also MIA, an attorney general.

Using their prerogative, Republicans asked for a week's delay in committee hearings, complaining there hasn't been enough time to question Eric Holder, who would become the first black attorney general. It made the Democratic chairman of the Judiciary Committee cranky.

SEN. PATRICK LEAHY (D-VT), JUDICIARY COMMITTEE CHAIRMAN: I am extremely disappointed. But they have that right. And this historic, historic nomination is held over.

CROWLEY: Hitting the ground running is not so easy as it seems.

Candy Crowley, CNN Washington.


COOPER: Nothing ever is.

In a moment, David Gergen, John King and Pamela Gentry in a "Strategy Session" on the president's first full day in office. What does it tell about the days and weeks ahead?

Also, hanging on with his thumbs -- has Barack Obama won the battle to keep something from his private life with him in the White House?

Plus, some of the firsts for the first family, including the insider's advice that was passed along to Sasha and Malia from some former first daughters.



OBAMA: I wanted to get everyone together on the first day to welcome you to the White House.

From our vantage point yesterday, you couldn't help but be inspired by the sight of Americans as far as the eye could see. They were there because they believe this is a moment of great change in America, a time for reinvigorating our democracy and remaking our country.


COOPER: President Obama this afternoon welcoming his staff, freezing their pay, the top staffers, at least, promising to conduct a more transparent administration than the last one.

And, this evening, in a ceremony attended by a handful, not the 1.5 million who came yesterday, Mr. Obama retook the oath of office, he and Chief Justice Roberts making up for their performance yesterday -- more so for the chief justice than for the president.

Lots to get to in tonight's "Strategy Session." Joining me now, senior political analyst and former presidential adviser David Gergen, John King, and BET senior political analyst Pamela Gentry.

David, there was a lot that happened today. But, quickly, I just want to get your reaction to the retaking of the oath. Was this necessary?

GERGEN: I don't think so.

Jeffrey Toobin certainly makes a strong case it wasn't necessary legally. Perhaps, out of an abundance of caution, they did it again. I think it's a pretty minor matter.

COOPER: John, all the things that happened today, both the -- sort of the photo-ops and the actual things that happened, how does today rank among presidential first days?

KING: Well, it was very important to get off to a good first step, especially since the last Democratic president, Bill Clinton, had a horrible beginning in the early days.

And, Anderson, there's two key points here. Number one, he promised to have a more open and transparent government. There is some tension with the news media. Ed Henry just talked about it. That will continue. There's a lot of questions about, is it transparent, when Tim Geithner's tax problems were disclosed to the Senate in early December, not to the American people until mid- January?

But these new lobbying restrictions and the other restrictions he had put on his staff are being applauded by all of the groups that watch these things outside of government as groundbreaking and landmark. So, in that regard, he's off to a good start.

And it's more than that. He's going to get the second installment of the $350 billion in bailout money. The American people don't like that program, don't trust any president to spend it. And he wants billions more in the stimulus money.

So, this, the lobbying restrictions, the whole idea of trust, trust me, you can trust me, is very important as he begins to spend billions and billions of dollars.

COOPER: Pamela, it was interesting to see him with Joe Biden when Joe Biden kind of made that joke about Chief Justice Roberts, and -- and the president clearly did not seem thrilled by the joke, and actually kind of put his hand on -- on Biden.

Have you noticed a change in Obama, just watching him today?

GENTRY: Well, today was interesting, because I did go over to the White House. And I thought there were a couple things that were very different.

He was tempted, I think, at the end of the swearing-in, actually to take questions. But his body language was obviously unhappy with -- with Senator Biden's crack about Justice -- about Justice Roberts.

But, you know, what I really wanted to mention, too -- and I agree totally with John King -- but I think the lobbying -- the ethics issue on lobbying is probably the one that startled me the most, because he made a comment. His line at the end where he says that you cannot lobby back to the White House as long as I am president really takes the value out of leaving after those two years, which you know a lot of White House staffers come. They're there for a couple years. They leave the office, and they lobby right back.

So, he really kind of cut that off at the knees.

COOPER: David, as we talked about, Hillary Clinton confirmed as secretary of state.

It's remarkable, when you think back to the relationship they had over -- over the course of the primary. All of that, I guess, is history. But what do you -- I mean, what is their actual relation? How do you see this moving forward?

GERGEN: I think it's warming, Anderson. Every indication is that. She has some very good people she's considering. I think she's anxious to get moving on that. I think we are likely to hear about some envoys now fairly quickly. The name of George Mitchell is floating tonight as a possible envoy to the Middle East. We talked about Dennis Ross yesterday. But I think this relationship is warming.

I think he's going to get Tim Geithner and Eric Holder in a matter of a few days. I think Republicans are asking appropriate questions, but they're going to -- he's going to get both those nominations done.

But the larger point, Anderson, if I may say so, is that, you know, after an exhausting 15-hour day yesterday and coming back and having a private party in the White House, with -- with some friends, he got off to -- he got off to a running start today, and you have to give him credit for that.

And I think to go to John King's point, he said in the inaugural address that one of the things that concerned him most was the way confidence was draining out of the system, not only the financial system but trust in government.

And by coming back and meeting with it and ordering up this withdrawal from Iraq, doing the transparency, doing the restrictions on lobbying, that -- those are opening steps toward beginning to restore that trust, which is so fundamental to his presidency.

COOPER: John, what about that?

KING: Well, he needs the trust, because he has enormous good will and personal support, even if you look at the -- he's going to issue an executive order this week, probably tomorrow, closing Guantanamo Bay. Ask that question of the American people a year ago, and they supported Guantanamo Bay and keeping terrorist detainees there. Now the American public is split. Why? Because Barack Obama spent a year on the campaign trail criticizing it, and people are following his lead because they support him.

So he has that influence, the personal influence over public opinion. But that personal influence does not erase the skepticism and the doubt and the economic anxiety and the belief in Main Street America that billions and billions are being spent, and it's not getting to them.

And so he needs to convince people, "You might not have trusted how George Bush was spending this money. You can trust me." That's a steep hill despite his personal popularity.

COOPER: Pamela, just briefly, the two nominees whose nominations are being held up, Tim Geithner, Eric Holder, do you think both those will ultimately pass?

GENTRY: I do. I think both of them are going to pass because both of these men may not be the only person for the job. But I think both of them are the best person for the job. And I'm sure that Eric Holder is definitely, and Geithner, going to make it.

COOPER: All right. Pamela Gentry, John King, David Gergen, thank you. Good discussion.

Still ahead tonight, the new "it girls" in Washington: how Sasha and Malia Obama are adjusting to life in the White House and the advice the new first daughters got from the Bush twins.

Also ahead, trying to quit smoking was one thing, but giving up his BlackBerry, apparently quite another. Find out why it looks like President Obama is chalking up a big win tonight for him and for his thumbs.

And later the best moments from last night's inaugural balls, including some old-school moves at the Youth Ball.


COOPER: Just ahead, what kind of first lady will Michelle Obama be? We'll take a look at that. She says she's look forward to her new role and is going to be focusing on three projects. We'll tell you what they will be.

Erica Hill joins us with a "360 Bulletin" first -- Erica.

ERICA HILL, CNN ANCHOR: Anderson, divers today found the missing engine of U.S. Airways Flight 1549 nearly one week after the plane landed in the Hudson River after apparently running into a flock of birds. That engine, which is reportedly in one piece, will be lifted out within days.

Pet treats (ph) and NutriSystem granola bars, the two latest products to join the growing list of recalls stemming from a nationwide salmonella outbreak. Nearly 500 people have been sickened. Six have died. More than 125 products containing either peanut butter or peanut butter paste, both made by a small food plant in Georgia, have been recalled. For a link to that complete list, log onto

And the "Atlantic Monthly" online reporting President Obama will, in fact, be able to keep his beloved BlackBerry. Anderson is thumbing on his right now. The president, though, will apparently get a newer model with some souped-up encryption technology, which allows him to send routine and personal messages.

He wasn't messaging you there, right?

COOPER: No, he was not messaging me. You busted me right there.

Time now for our "Beat 360" winners, our daily challenge to viewers. I was actually doing work on the BlackBerry. Just so you know.

HILL: Of course. Of course you were. I knew that. Yes. Certainly.

COOPER: Show up our staffers -- show up our staffers by coming up with a better caption than the one we post on our blog every day, the photograph.

Tonight's picture, President Barack Obama steps on first lady Michelle Obama's dress during the Home States Inaugural Ball last night. Actually it kind of happened a couple times last night with the dress.

HILL: I think at every ball.

COOPER: It was a little bit too long, that dress. Anyway, our staff winner tonight, Joey, who quipped: "Michelle is not amused, but liberals are happy to learn Obama has two left feet."


HILL: Hallelujah. Joey is back as a winner. There's been a drought for Joey.

COOPER: And he was on a plane, so I don't know how he sent that in.

HILL: I guess he's Super Joey.

COOPER: Exactly. Our viewer winner is Charles from Harbor Springs, Michigan. His caption: "Honey, why does this dress have a tag on it that says 'property of the RNC'?"

HILL: Nice save (ph). That's clever, Charles.

COOPER: Your "Beat 360" T-shirt is on the way. Congratulations.

Next on the program, the style and substance of the new first family, from Michelle Obama's agenda to the big surprise for Sasha and Malia at the White House last night. Here's a hint. It was the Jonas Brothers. And the advice Jenna and Barbara Bush have for them.

And later at last, their song, all the celebrations. We'll show you the highlights from the inaugural balls, moments you may have missed, coming up.


COOPER: Wearing brightly colored outfits and beaming smiles, Sasha and Malia Obama captivated millions yesterday. No doubt about that. Tonight, we know more details on how they spent their first night in the White House. We also know more about Michelle Obama and what she wants to achieve in her new role as first lady.

Erica Hill takes us up close.



HILL (voice-over): Michelle Obama is first and foremost a mother.

MICHELLE OBAMA, FIRST LADY: I joke that my first job is going to be mom-in-chief.

HILL: A joke that has almost become an official title for the new first lady, one that sends a clear message.

MYRA GUTIN, FIRST LADY HISTORIAN: I think it's an explicit signal that she will not be involved in public policy in the way in which Hillary Clinton was with national health care.

HILL: But when you're married to the president, there are additional responsibilities and opportunities. And as her new title of first lady sinks in, Michelle Obama tells "Good Morning America" she's looking forward to them.

M. OBAMA: It's a bit surreal, but it's exciting because I think there's a lot that can be done with this platform.

HILL: In fact, she was thinking about that platform before her husband was elected.

M. OBAMA: What can I do that is useful in -- with this role? I spend a lot of time focusing on working, the challenges of work family balance with women and families.

HILL: Her office tells CNN this will be one of three main projects for the first lady, along with helping military families to balance their demands and boosting volunteerism, something she dove into on Monday with a national day of service and a cause she rallied the next generation to get behind.

M. OBAMA: We need every American to serve their community, including our young people.

HILL: Dr. Myra Gutin is a first-lady historian.

GUTIN: I think that she's likely to have quite an effect on American families. I think that they'll look to her and to the Obamas generally as an intact family, raising two young children, trying very hard to give them a normal life in probably the most public place in the world.

HILL: The Obamas have made it clear their daughters are their top priority. And the White House staff is also doing its part to help the family settle in.

While the president and first lady danced the inauguration night away, Malia and Sasha Obama were on a White House scavenger hunt, organized by the staff. The big payoff? A surprise visit from their favorite pop stars, the Jonas Brothers.

Jenna and Barbara Bush also offering the new first daughters some advice, in a letter published in "The Wall Street Journal." They urge the girls to have fun, take advantage of every opportunity, and above all, remember who your dad really is. Advice Mrs. Obama would likely agree with.

Erica Hill, CNN, New York.


COOPER: Let's dig deeper on the new first family with Gwen Ifill, journalist and author of the new book "The Breakthrough: Politics and Race in the Age of Obama." It just came out.

Gwen, thanks for being with us. It's interesting the fascination with the Obama family, people you know, watching them dance and interact with their kids, watching them do just about everything together. Do the Obamas change the way many Americans think of -- of African-American families?

GWEN IFILL, AUTHOR, "THE BREAKTHROUGH": I think they changed the way a lot of people thought of families in general and how families in the public eye function.

It's no accident that we know that the Obama girls spent the night screaming over the Jonas Brothers. That's what a lot of little girls are doing of all races all around the country. And they're interested in portraying themselves as much as an American -- a normal American family as possible.

COOPER: It's interesting, though. Some commentators, you know, like to say we're now in a post-racial environment, that Obama has transcended race. Is that a false notion?

IFILL: Yes, pretty much. I spent a year and a half talking to an amazing number of really smart, rising-star elected officials. And each one of them told me stories about ways in which the race has not been transcended.

They are people who think it's important to talk about things other than race and to broaden issues which affect people of color to affect everyone else. But not for a moment do they believe, and not for a moment as far as I can tell, my conversations with the new president, has he ever said that he thinks he transcends race either.

COOPER: In your book you write about the post civil rights era of black politicians and Barack Obama probably the most famous one. Is there -- actually, I want to read something that you wrote about this new generation of leaders.

You wrote, and I quote, "They are more likely to cater to white voters and assume that black supporters will understand. At the same time they are establishing a respectful, but arms-length distance from the traditional civil rights movement."

Did Barack Obama, in a way, benefit by not coming out of that traditional civil rights movement?

IFILL: It's the old wink and the nod in some ways. Black voters, just like a lot of voters, are awfully realistic about what it takes to get elected and succeed.

I talked to a state legislator in Massachusetts who talked about Deval Patrick's run for governor and said that it was her job to go into the black community and say it's not enough that he -- it's not that he needs to wear a dashiki. He needs to know what "dashiki" is, the old 1960s caftan-type outfit that African nationalists used to wear.

So she was basically saying, really, he's OK. Each one of these breakthrough candidates have all found a way to appeal, to not alienate, to knock down walls instead of leaving walls in place, to take advantage of the laws that have been passed which allow them access instead of denying them.

COOPER: Your book became the focus of controversy before you moderated the vice presidential...

IFILL: Did it? Did it, Anderson?

COOPER: You might have heard that. I don't know.


COOPER: Maybe you were in a bubble, you know.

IFILL: In a bubble. Queen Latifa and I were chatting so I may not have heard.

COOPER: You know, I mean, look, you know, strange things happen during campaigns.


COOPER: You kind of look back at it a month later and say, like, "What was that all about?" I mean, there were critics who were on the right, mainly, who were saying you couldn't be impartial... IFILL: Yes.

COOPER: ... because you were writing a book that talked about Barack Obama. Looking back, what do you make of all that?

IFILL: Imagine a reporter writing a book in an election year about Barack Obama.

Well, you know, I make of it that I became very temporarily a little bit of a lightning strike. People needed to have something to talk about. They were trying to distract from whatever their fears were about what Sarah Palin's performance was going to be in the debate.

And I was kind of amused, mostly, by it, because I hadn't written the Obama chapter yet, mostly because I didn't know how it was going to turn out. So people were assuming I was writing things I knew nothing about, so I just let it pass, and it passed.

COOPER: What -- what -- in the writing of this book, what surprised you most about politics and race in the age of Obama?

IFILL: It surprised me most that he was able to walk this -- and many of these candidates -- was able to walk the tightrope that he did. I mean, it's -- really, when you think about it, it's quite a trick to be able to win over black voters who never previously heard of you, who didn't want to support you until you won in Iowa, who were loyal to the Clintons; and then, at the same time, not only not alienate white voters, who by the way, over the years have had the tougher time crossing racial lines to cast votes, tougher times than black voters have, but also winning over a lot of people who basically don't agree with you.

I mean, one of the interesting things about this transition right now, or no longer a transition, the new presidency, is how many people who didn't support Barack Obama now want him to succeed. And he has a great wind at his back as a result.

COOPER: No doubt about that. The book is "The Breakthrough: Politics and Race in the Age of Obama." Gwen Ifill, thanks for being with us. Appreciate it.

IFILL: Thanks, Anderson.

COOPER: Up next, we're going to go party hopping with the president and first lady. Ten balls, ten dances. The president even threw in some old-school moves. What you may not have seen last night. We'll show you.

And at the top of the hour, the breaking news. Conflicting reports, some saying Caroline Kennedy now says she doesn't want Hillary Clinton's Senate seat. Others say that is not true. We're not sure where the story came from. We're going to try to figure out fact from fiction, ahead.


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


COOPER: The Obamas kicking it old school, a phrase perhaps not too common for presidents, but you heard Barack Obama saying that yesterday, talking about his dancing abilities. They are very, no doubt, a very cool couple. We all saw that watching them dance.

That clip was from the inaugural Youth Ball, a gala for 18 to 35- year-olds. Somehow Gary Tuchman got in to cover the fun for us last night. I hear he has a fake I.D. that says he's 21.

Anyway, there were some great highlights from all the star- studded celebrations. Here's Erica Hill.


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

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


HILL: No time to linger, though, with ten balls to hit. The first couple was on a serious schedule, especially since their night began about an hour later than planned.

Just before 10 p.m., they arrived at stop No. 3, the Commander in Chief Ball, a chance to salute service members and their families. Joining the party live from Afghanistan, members of the Illinois National Guard, 33rd Infantry Brigade. Though maybe the president should have invited another more loyal unit.

B. OBAMA: Guys, this is an important test. White Sox or Cubs?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Cubs fan, Mr. President.




B. OBAMA: Hey! Finally!

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

B. OBAMA: I may have been stood up. HILL: Not stood up but traded in, at least for the moment. The first couple dancing this round with sergeants from the Army and Marine Corps. Next stop, the Youth Ball, a new addition to the inaugural roster.

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

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

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes, we can! Yes, we can!

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes, we can! Yes, we can!

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes, we can! Yes, we can!

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

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

HILL: Kicking it old school but only for so long. On to the Western States Ball. The same moves here but a new line.

B. OBAMA: And now I would like to dance with the person who's -- who's brung me, who does everything that I do, except she does it in heels. The first lady of the United States, Michelle Obama.

HILL: Somehow, the Obamas managed to cap off the evening nearly an hour ahead of schedule, even after their late start. And the final event, the Eastern States Ball.

B. OBAMA: Let me ask her for one last dance.

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


HILL: Now we should point out Beyonce was not the only Hollywood star, music star making the rounds there. J. Lo and Marc Anthony were also at the Western Ball. A little before the Obamas got there they took to the stage there.

Kanye West, as we know, rocked the Youth Ball. Also chatted with Gary Tuchman.

David and Courtney Cox Arquette were also on hand, along with several other big names flying in all the way from L.A.

But I have to say, Gary Tuchman was actually my favorite part of the coverage.


HILL: And I say this with love, and Gary knows that I mean this. But I love it when he said, "I like to rock."

COOPER: I know, yes. I did like that, as well.

HILL: Yes.

COOPER: Might have made fun of him, as well, on the air.

HILL: You probably did. But you did it with love.

COOPER: Absolutely.

HILL: Well, then it's fine.

COOPER: Exactly. Gary Tuchman is the nicest, best person on the planet.

HILL: He is.

COOPER: All right. What a night it was. The Obamas certainly know their way around the dance floor. Not sure I can say the same thing about the vice president. We'll show you his moves, or maybe the lack thereof, in "The Shot" next.

And at the top of the hour, the breaking news, President Obama retaking the oath of office. Hear it for yourself, coming up.


COOPER: All right. Time now for "The Shot," something to make you smile before you head off to bed or watch the next hour of our program.

While President Obama made the dancing look easy last night, we cannot exactly say the same for the vice president. You'll see Joe Biden had some reservations about dancing. Listen.


JOE BIDEN, VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Tonight, I'm going to be visiting a lot -- a lot of balls. I just want you to know the thing that frightens me the most is not getting up here and speaking to you all. I'm going to have to stand in that circle and dance in a minute.


COOPER: I feel for him. After saying his prayers Biden finally gave in and danced with his wife, Jill, a very sweet moment. Maybe it was embarrassing for him, but he certainly did a very good job, I think.

HILL: He did. He seems like he did pretty well, actually, when push came to shove.

I know of someone, though, who really just won't budge when it comes to requests to dance. Could that certain someone be, oh, our beloved anchor, Anderson Cooper? I don't know.



COOPER: I cannot dance. I simply cannot. I'm sorry.


HILL: Yes, Kelly. That's right. And you just stood there. I mean, clearly you can't compete with those moves.

COOPER: Yes. Let me just say, I like to dance, and I'm not a bad dancer. I just -- I'm not going to do it on TV. There's no point. It's going to live forever on YouTube somewhere...

HILL: You mean like this clip that we found of you dancing?

COOPER: ... and be embarrassing forever. There's no clips of me dancing.

HILL: Oh, really? Remember when you were on "Ellen"? That's right.

COOPER: Oh, yes.

HILL: And yet you still keep the serious mug.

COOPER: That, of course, was Wolf Blitzer. I can tell by the silver tie.

HILL: Trying to pass it off as Wolf Blitzer.

COOPER: I can tell by the silver tie.

HILL: I can tell by the moves.

COOPER: See, Wolf has more guts than I do. I cannot -- I went on "Ellen" and I didn't dance either.

HILL: You know why?

COOPER: I think that's why I've never been asked back.

HILL: Wolf was in a band. Let's be honest. When you were in a band...


HILL: ... you can shake it, no matter what.

COOPER: You can do whatever. All right. You can see all the most recent "Shots," all of us dancing at Well, you won't see me dancing there. But anyway, up next more on a remarkable and historic day. President Obama swearing in, the sequel, the do-over. Why he took the oath a second time. That and more, tonight on 360.