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CNN Saturday Morning News

Obama Takes Slow Train to Power; Blast of Arctic Air Stuns Eastern U.S.; NYC Investigators Hunt for Jet's Lost Engines; Israel Puts Pressure on Hamas Before Truce Vote

Aired January 17, 2009 - 06:00   ET


T.J. HOLMES, CNN ANCHOR: Well, hey there. Good morning, everybody, from the CNN Center. This is -- how you doing?
ALINA CHO, CNN ANCHOR: How you doing?

HOLMES: All right. CNN SATURDAY MORNING. It's the 17th. I'm T.J. Holmes. And you happen to be...

CHO: Alina Cho.

HOLMES: Alina, good to have you with us.

CHO: Good morning, T.J. Good morning, everybody. Betty has the morning off.

It is a very busy day on this weekend before the inauguration.

HOLMES: Yes. A lot of stuff going on. Obama Express about to leave the station. You know it doesn't take that long to take a flight from Philadelphia to Washington. It takes you about an hour.

CHO: That's right.

HOLMES: But he wants to take a train. It'll take him all day to get there. But we'll be getting to that train trip today.

Also, we did talk to the president (sic) about he's feeling leading up to his inauguration. We'll hear from him in just a little bit.

CHO: That's right. And we look forward to that.

Also this morning -- you know, officials are hoping that they can actually take that US Airways jet that made a splash landing in the Hudson River on Thursday -- really, they're calling it "The Miracle on the Hudson."

HOLMES: It was a miracle.

CHO: It was a miracle. Everybody got out alive. And that pilot really landed that plane just like it was a runway.

HOLMES: Just like it was a runway. He's being hailed a hero. We're hearing more about him this morning. And, you know, all this coverage you've been seeing, we've all been seeing the past couple days -- saturated coverage about this hero, this man, Sully, the captain. He has no idea about this coverage. We'll explain why. That's according to this wife. He doesn't even know what's going on.

CHO: We'll -- we'll hear from his wife as well.


CHO: They live in San Francisco, and she spoke out to the media. So we look forward to that. She's just a lovely woman. And -- and talked about her husband, who's known as Sully.

HOLMES: As Sully.

CHO: A former Air Force pilot.

HOLMES: Yes, he's the man.


HOLMES: He's the man right now.

All right. A lot to get to.

Also, we'll be talking about some weather. I believe our Reynolds Wolf is going to be checking out a lot of things. Where we going? My producer's talking to me here.

We're -- we're actually going to get into all this in just a second. We're having a couple of technical difficulties. But just give me (ph) a quick preview of exactly what's going to be happening this morning. With all that and the bitter cold is happening as well -- really, in a deep freeze. And D.C. going to be affected -- the inauguration. So...

CHO: Everything.

HOLMES: It's going to be cold up there. But we're going to take a quick breather, reset -- we'll be back with you in just a second.


HOLMES: All right. Hello again and good morning, everybody, here on the CNN SATURDAY MORNING. Getting us an early start at 6:00 a.m.

The big thing today: the Obama Express. Big Inauguration Day today (sic).

CHO: He's making the same trip...

HOLMES: Taking a trip.

CHO...that Abraham Lincoln made back in 1861. And as you were talking about earlier, that trip from Philadelphia to Washington, D.C., is a short one.


CHO: But...

HOLMES: An hour flight.

CHO: But the president-elect is going to be taking his time with a couple of stops along the way, including Wilmington, Delaware, where he's going to be picking up Vice President-elect Joe Biden.

And, you know, what's so interesting about this is, there are 50 regular Americans...

HOLMES: Yes. Going along.

CHO: ...along -- along for the ride who have made significant contributions...

HOLMES: Plans (sic).

CHO: Not monetary, necessarily.



CHO: To America. And can you imagine being one of those people on that Obama Express, as it's being called? Just -- just incredible. And so we'll be following that trip -- special inauguration coverage -- all weekend long.

But also, we want to talk about the weather. I mean, I landed here last night...


CHO: ...and, boy, I have to tell you, it was cold.

HOLMES: It was cold here.

CHO: I mean, I thought I was leaving New York to come down here for the warm weather.

HOLMES: They call it Hotlanta. But it's...

CHO: It was a -- yes, it was a rude awakening.

So Reynolds Wolf is along here with a look at what's going on. So it's cold out there.

REYNOLDS WOLF, CNN METEOROLOGIST: It followed you down here, didn't it? That cold air. Goodness gracious. Yes, chilly times, certainly, in parts of the Southeast.

Guys, here is the setup -- here is what's been going on. Just this weekend we're going to see some big changes. You know, we've had the -- the very cold temperatures in parts of the Midwest. Certainly we had them up in -- in parts of Minnesota.

What we're seeing now is a change in the jet stream where we have a big trough. This is like a giant river of air, if you will -- a giant barrier, this jet stream. We're going to see a trough in parts of the eastern U.S. That's going to keep things pretty cold in the Great Lakes, where we have winter-storm warnings in effect, especially in places like Michigan. Along the Eastern Seaboard, very cold conditions.

Out to the West though, things remain above normal. So if you have to be, say, from parts of Southern California, the weather has not been an issue for you. It's been just spectacular for you. As we make our way through the weekend though, we're going to see a few changes, though, with that cold air really beginning to pull up to the east, and temperatures beginning to return to normal.

That doesn't mean you're going to be back into, obviously, warm, warm, warm conditions, but what you would normally expect in parts of the Twin Cities and back into Kansas City and parts of Nebraska even, and into Dallas. However, still above normal for much of the West.

Hey, of course, we are still keeping a very sharp eye on what we can expect in Washington, D.C. The inauguration is just a short time away when you think about it.

What we can anticipate for Tuesday's forecast: partly cloudy skies, about 34 degrees. Now with a breeze that may pick up into the midday hours, and certainly during the ceremony, it's going to feel awfully chilly out there.

Huddle together. Stay warm. Should be a great time. Normal high for this time of the year would be that 42 degrees, so we're going to be a little bit above normal (sic). Low temperatures early in the morning right around 22. If you're from a warmer area, say parts of South Florida, and you're coming up there, it's a rude awakening. If you happen to be, say, from the Twin Cities, maybe even a place like Alaska -- hey, it's going to feel great to you, with 34 degrees.

As we look ahead at the rest of your time in -- in D.C., if you're planning on staying there -- well, getting there early, staying there maybe through Wednesday -- expect a chance of snow showers into Sunday and Monday, but by Tuesday, things should improve. We're looking at those high temperatures mainly into the 30s, then rebounding to about 36 degrees, with lows mainly into the teens and 20s throughout the five-day forecast.

Now, as we speak, we were talking about some rougher weather in parts of the Great Lakes. We -- we do have winter-storm warnings that are in effect for places like Michigan. Right now, the heaviest snowfall back into Green Bay, Wisconsin, crossing Lake Michigan. Really going to intensify along the I-77 corridor into places like Boyd (ph), back into, say -- let's see, Sleeping Bear Dunes (ph). As far as south as Detroit, you're going to see a spattering of snowfall, but the heaviest is going to take place this afternoon into the evening.

We're going to talk more about that, plus winter-storm watches in effect for Maine and also New Hampshire. All that's moments away.

Let's send back to you at the desk.

CHO: Hey Reynolds, could you do something about my cold?

WOLF: We can do what we can. You know, we can flip all kinds of switches. We've all kinds of, you know, great medicines back here.


WOLF: We do it all.

HOLMES: Full-service, weekend edition, right here.


CHO: Nyquil, Tylenol -- you name it, I've been taking it.

WOLF: You bet.

CHO: All right. Reynolds, thank you.

HOLMES: All right. Thanks, Rennie (ph).

Well, we will turn back to this historic inauguration of President-elect Barack Obama. It is just reeking of symbolism and history all over the place.

Our Kate Bolduan is up in D.C. for us, keeping an eye on the inauguration prep. I was just talking to you the other weekend, and it was just a practice. But this is the real thing that's coming this weekend.

What's happening? What's D.C. like right about now, besides cold?

And I do not believe we are hearing the audio for Kate Bolduan. Kate, if you can hear me, dear lady -- we do not have your audio. We will work on getting that up, and we will get back to you.

But again, a lot of what we are going to be talking about this weekend is the inauguration of the president-elect coming up on Monday (sic). We'll get Kate's mike up and going. We'll get back to her in just a second.

CHO: All kinds of technical problems that we're trying to sort out.

But in the meantime, you should stay with CNN all morning long. Our special coverage of the inauguration starts at 10 a.m. Eastern, but we will be on all morning. So stay with us.

Meantime, CNN's chief national correspondent John King spoke one- on-one with the president-elect. It was a wide-ranging discussion. They talked about whether or not to keep that BlackBerry. And John also asked him about becoming the nation's first black leader.

Take a listen.


BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT-ELECT: If you think about the journey that this country has made, then it can't help but stir your heart.

Obviously, it's a -- it's a -- extraordinary personal moment. But, you know, you don't have to go back to slavery. You think about what Washington, D.C., was like 50 years ago, or 60 years ago, and the notion that I now will be standing there and sworn in as the 44th president, I think, is something that hopefully our children take for granted. But our grandparents, I think, are still stunned by it. And it's a remarkable moment.


CHO: And Barack Obama will be sworn in on Tuesday, January 20. But CNN's coverage of his inauguration begins this morning.

Take a look at that screen there. We've got the best political team on TV -- Wolf Blitzer, Anderson Cooper, Soledad O'Brien. And we will also travel along with the Obama Express and that historic trek from Philadelphia to Washington -- every stop, every speech, every mile.

In fact, coming up in our 7:00 a.m. hour, my buddy Jason Carroll will join us from the train station in Philadelphia to give us a little behind-the-scenes look. And our Candy Crowley will be also -- hey, that's you.

HOLMES: That's me. Hey, how you doing?

CHO: Candy Crowley will also be on the train. So don't miss a moment of the inauguration of our special coverage, beginning today at 10:00 a.m. Eastern, only on CNN -- T.J.

HOLMES: All right. We're going to get it together, folks, we swear. Hey, it's early, all right? Forgive us. Our equipment's not quite working this early in the morning.

But let's turn now back to New York. How exactly do you fish a jet out of the Hudson River? Well, they're going to give that a shot here in just a few hours. That crippled US Airways, jet, of course that crashed into New York's Hudson River expected to be pulled out of those waters today. They're expected really around 10:00, according to the -- the NTSB.

A -- a -- a dark picture this morning. You can't make out a whole lot. But still, it's sitting there. Investigators there working from the National Transportation Safety Board. The engineers -- they're going to attach the plane to a barge and move it to a secure location, once it is out of the water.

The workers have been at the crash site since midnight. They're attaching a harness to try to make this whole thing as easy as possible. They also have to inspect both engines to officially determine what caused the crash. Both engines were ripped off the plane from the force of the impact.

Well, yesterday, he got a call from President Bush. He also got a call from President-elect Obama. Yesterday, he was also offered a gold-plated key to the city of New York. All that after landing that plane where a plane isn't intended to land -- the Hudson River -- and saving the lives of 150 passengers.

Chesley Sullenberger is his name. He's the pilot of that US Airways Flight 1549. He has become a national hero. But as CNN's Dan Simon explains, Sully has no idea.


DAN SIMON, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice over): The only message we've heard from Chesley Sullenberger has been relayed by his wife.

LORRIE SULLENBERGER, PILOT'S WIFE: We are very grateful that everyone got off the airplane safely and that was really what my husband asked to say to everyone. And of course we are very proud of dad.

SIMON: So is the rest of the country. President Bush called him today and New York Mayor Bloomberg wants to present him with the key to the city.

MAYOR MICHAEL BLOOMBERG, (I) NEW YORK: I was with him and he was as cool and calm as you could possibly hope for.

SIMON: But the most heartfelt praise is coming from the people whose lives he saved. People like Joe Hart, one of the passengers on Flight 1549.

JOE HART, SURVIVOR: There's 155 people today that are absolutely thrilled that he was in charge and made the decisions he made.

SIMON: For Sullenberger's wife and two daughters in California, it's all just...

SULLENBERGER: Overwhelming. It's -- it's -- I mean, the girls went to sleep last night talking. I could hear them in the bedroom saying, "Is this weird or what?"

SIMON: No doubt very weird for a 57-year-old former air force fighter pilot who's been flying for more than 40 years.

Ironically Chesley Sullenberger, "Sully" for short is also an airline-safety expert. He runs a firm that gives advice on emergency management and security, served as a safety consultant for NASA, and has investigated major airline accidents.

After avoiding disaster by bringing down his crippled airliner in the Hudson River, Sullenberger walked through the plane twice after it was evacuated making sure everyone had gotten off. SULLENBERGER: This is the Sully I know. This is -- I always knew this is how he would react, so to me, this is not something unusual. It's -- it's the man I -- I know, to be the consummate professional.

SIMON: Sullenberger's wife also tells CNN her husband may be the only person who isn't aware he's a national hero.

SULLENBERGER: He doesn't know. He's been sequestered and hasn't turned on the television and so he only knew what I told him last night. He turned it on a little bit. But he has -- he is going to be shocked.

SIMON (on camera): Friends and deliverymen carrying flowers have been pouring into the pilot's home behind me. At this point, Mrs. Sullenberger isn't quite sure if she's going to stay here, or eventually meet up with her husband in New York. But there's already talk that the community is planning to organize a parade in the pilot's honor.

Dan Simon, CNN, Danville, California.


CHO: Sounds like a good idea.

Now just imagine: when both of those engines went out, the pilots were powerless over a sprawling, crowded city of Manhattan. And they had no time to think.

Here's how it went down: after taking off from LaGuardia, in Queens, New York, they ascended to about 3,200 feet. Somewhere over the Bronx, things started to go wrong. The pilots reported a double bird strike. Air-traffic control directed them south along the Hudson at Teterboro Airport in New Jersey, a very small airport that normally accommodates private jets.

But after clearing the George Washington Bridge by just 900 feet, it was pretty clear in the cockpit, they've got to ditch. And that's when the pilot made that miraculous splashdown off Midtown Manhattan, right into the Hudson River. They ended up about seven miles from where they started. But it was an incredible journey.

Now obviously, those aboard Flight 1549 were just happy to be alive. We spoke to several passengers after they landed at Charlotte Airport.


CARL BAZARIAN, PASSENGER, FLIGHT 1549: We were hitting that Hudson River with full impact, going, 'Boom.' And then we stopped. And then we looked out. And -- and they said, you know, like, 'Brace,' and so forth, but we all wanted to see what was going to happen -- whether we're going to die.



BRAD WENTZELL, PASSENGER FLIGHT 1549: Probably the most amazing moment of my life, honestly.

There was a lady and a child, and she -- she was trying to climb over the seats because everybody was, like -- was like wrecks (ph). I mean, you know? For the most part, everybody was well-behaved...


WENTZELL: And everybody was organized. But she got blocked off, and I grabbed her and her child, and -- and walked them to the exit. And from there, Josh (ph), I believe, got them on to the raft.

But we -- I'll never get over it.



HART: When we got outside and into the cold water -- and I mean, the water was cold. I mean, within seconds, my legs were numb, standing in the water. So I'm guessing it was, you know, 30, 40 degrees. It was ugly.



VINCE SPERA, PASSENGER, FLIGHT 1549: The fire and rescue up in New York -- if you're going down in an incident, you want to be in New York, I promise you. Those people took care of us. The ferry-boat drivers, the fire and rescue, they -- they were on top of it. Took us out.



WENTZELL: This pilot, and -- and -- and if this guy doesn't get the recognition he needs...

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's unbelievable.

WENTZELL: He's the reason my daughter, my 2-and-a-half-year-old has a dad, and my wife still has a husband.


CHO: And that husband and dad -- Brad Wentzell is his name -- even had the presence of mind to snap some incredible photos during the rescue, while he was waiting to be rescued. Some really great close-ups from a very surreal scene along the Hudson River. And we hope to bring you those later on the morning -- T.J.

HOLMES: All right. They continue to die in Gaza, but there are some indications this morning that we may be moving toward a possible cease-fire in the Middle East. We've seen new explosions, however, this morning in Gaza. We'll take you live there in just a minute.

First, here's the latest on the diplomatic front: Israel's Security Cabinet meeting today. They're going to be voting on a plan that could stop the fighting. But it will only be temporary likely.

One of the things that could help also push the peace is an agreement signed between the U.S. and Israel. Outgoing Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and the Israeli foreign minister outlined a plan that would kick-start an international effort to stop weapons from being smuggled into Gaza.

CHO: And while work on a possible cease-fire goes forward, there is still fighting in Gaza -- Israeli forces targeting Hamas positions.

CNN's Ben Wedeman has made his way inside Gaza. He's one of the few Western TV journalists inside the war zone, and he's getting a first-hand look at what is going on there.

Ben is joining us by phone.

So Ben, the Israeli Security Cabinet is expected to declare a cease-fire by tonight. Number one, are you getting a sense that that's going to happen? And number two, does it mean anything? Will it stick?

VOICE OF BEN WEDEMAN, CNN SENIOR CORRESPONDENT: Well, because it's going to -- you know, they're discussing the possibility of a unilateral cease-fire, there's no guarantee that the other side -- Hamas and the other militant groups in Gaza are going to cease fire. That's one of the problems here.

And so really, everybody's is waiting to hear -- let the Israelis decide. And Hamas, there's no clear indication whether they would cease their fire, although obviously they're on the defensive at the moment.

Now here, I'm in the southern part of the Gaza Strip, in the town of Rafah, right near the Egyptian border, where we've seen a pretty steady stream of Israeli air strikes, very close to where I am.

Throughout the night, in fact, it was very difficult to sleep because every half hour, there was an Israeli air strike in or around the vicinity (ph) of Rafah. So the -- the worry here, at least in the southern end of Gaza, is, Is Israel at least contemplating a unilateral cease-fire? It's taken advantage of these last few hours to really pound what targets are left for them to pound in the Gaza Strip.

CHO: Ben, do you get any sort of warning -- and remind our viewers exactly what happens just prior to those air strikes? And -- and sort of sense that it's going to happen besides that sort of sound you hear just a couple of minutes before?

WEDEMAN: Well, no, we receive no warning whatsoever from anybody.

Now, there are certain areas where the Israelis have gotten on to the local cell-phone networks and landline networks and have warned people to evacuate their homes because bombing was coming. They've also dropped leaflets, for instance, in the area I'm standing over the last few days, warning people to leave.

That's the -- the best you can get. Otherwise, you just listen and hope that the plane flies over you.

For instance, during the night, as we were sleeping in a dark, empty slab (ph) with no electricity and very little else in terms of creature comforts, and you're hearing these airplanes underneath, you are just constantly hoping that there's no reason for these planes to hit around you. So it is rather hair-raising.

CHO: Oh my gosh, to say the least.

CNN's Ben Wedeman, inside Gaza for us, bringing us a perspective that we don't often see. Ben, thank you.

HOLMES: And we'll continue to follow the developments there in Gaza.

But also a big weekend for Barack Obama, making his way on this train ride to D.C. We'll have coverage...

CHO: The Obama Express.

HOLMES: The Obama Express.

Also, the bitter cold. We've got a lot going on this morning. Stay here with us.

Quick break.


HOLMES: All right. We'll head back to Washington, D.C., where reportedly about 2 million people are heading this weekend. They'll be there for the historic of President-elect Barack Obama.

Our Kate Bolduan is there as well. I'd like to get an idea of what's happening there. We have an idea it's going to be pretty doggone cold up there as well.

But what's -- what's the city like right now?

KATE BOLDUAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, T.J., I came here today in order to get my spot, in order to hold my space, and also hold a space for you here on the Mall.

This is a space -- while it's quite empty right now -- it is going to fill up and fill up very quickly. Where I'm standing is on the National Mall. Behind me, you can see the Capitol. That's where the swearing-in will be taking place in just a couple short days. Now, give you a couple numbers that will just pretty much astound you.

There are 240,000 ticketed guests to the swearing-in. Many of those people will be standing because we are hear there are only about 28,000 seats. Well, what's going to happen because of the rest of the people? Because there are expected to be -- up to 2 million could show up.

Well, they're going to be where I'm standing, on the National Mall. And for the first time, to accommodate such a large group that day, with the high in -- yes, you've -- we've already heard about it -- the high will be in the mid 30s -- they've opened up the National Mall for the first time. This -- the Mall runs about two miles, and people could be filling up this entire expanse.

How are they going to see the swearing-in, you may ask? Well, they're going to try to help them out. There are going to be 20-plus JumboTrons set up along the way, so people can see very close up what's going up -- on -- what's happening on the Capitol -- up on the Capitol front -- as well as those JumboTrons can be used in an emergency situation, if anything would happen, which of course we hope would not.

All of this comes with, as we've been talking about for a couple weeks now, a massive security operation. D.C. police, they're doubling their force, because there are 10,000 National Guardsmen on -- on hand for this. And people coming into this event will be going through security much like you would at an airport, as if you're going through a TSA check line.

But all of this, of course, is in order to celebrate, and very safely celebrate, a very historic swearing-in that all gets kicked off today with the Obama Express.

So I'm holding your spot here, T.J. You can come and relieve me and we can take turns.

HOLMES: Hey, I don't do well with temperatures in the 30s. So you just hold that spot for me.

BOLDUAN: Oh come on. Look at me. I'm a cream puff. All you got to do is layer.

HOLMES: (INAUDIBLE) -- I don't think the -- the hat -- that color hat wouldn't work for me. So -- it works for you, though.


Kate, good to see you. We will see you, of course. Hold that spot. Try to stay warm. We'll be talking to you again soon.

CHO: Well, you know, President-elect Obama has to get there first.

HOLMES: He's got to get there. CHO: And he's going to be making a historic trek, the same one Lincoln took back in 1861 on what's being called the Obama Express. Stay with us here on CNN, because we'll be watching every step of the way, every speech, and every mile, as I've been saying.

And our special coverage begins at 10 a.m. Eastern time. But stay with us all morning long.

You know, there's no question that it's winter out there.

HOLMES: Yes, I think so. Yes, it's freezing.

CHO: Freezing-cold temperatures making sure of that.

You know, I landed from New York last night. And I have to tell you -- well, I didn't see that in Atlanta. But it -- it's pretty cold. Pretty cold.

HOLMES: I just came back from Charlotte, North Carolina, where they're expecting some of the lowest temperatures they've seen in a decade or so, according to some. So it's cold out there.

Some cities at a standstill because of the cold, but there may be some good news for those of you looking to thaw out a bit.

I guess our Reynolds will be along in a second with the good news. Stay here.


CHO: Ronald Reagan's Inauguration may have been the coldest on record, but we're giving it a run for the money.

HOLMES: A little run.

CHO: It is cold. If you haven't been outside yet, let me tell you, it is cold out there, even here in "Hotlanta." But we want to show you what it looks like in Minneapolis, the bitter cold temperatures have made things tough throughout the Midwest, the Northeast, even into the South. In Detroit, they closed about 300 schools because of the frigid temperatures.


HOLMES: Well, what do you think? Should the government be spending the remaining money from that financial bailout?

CHO: What America really thinks about the Troubled Asset Relief Program, otherwise known as TARP.

HOLMES: Also, how far would you go to get that precious, and in some cases just -- you know, it's unattainable for a lot of folks, but that ticket to the Inauguration, how far would you go?

CHO: Welcome back. Barack Obama says it is critical that Congress approves an economic stimulus plan as soon as possible. CNN's deputy political director Paul Steinhauser joins us now from the bureau in Washington.

Hey, Paul, good morning. You know, most lawmakers agree that a plan is needed. Most Americans agree that a plan is need. But there are some sticking points, right?

PAUL STEINHAUSER, CNN DEPUTY POLITICAL EDITOR: There sure are. They differ on a lot of things. They don't see eye to eye on how much money we should spend and where the money should go. Now this plan is so important that Barack Obama went on the road yesterday to sell his plan. He went to Ohio and he visited a plant that makes wind turbines, a plant outside of Cleveland.

And that's part of the deal here, because what he wants to do is create jobs in clean (INAUDIBLE) -- industry, can't speak English this morning. He wants to create about a half million jobs in green and clean energy. So there he was in Ohio touring this plant and he talked about his plan which would include money for tax cuts for you and me and also for businesses as well.

It would also give money to some of the states that are in the red right now. And it would also use money to build up the infrastructure of the country, roads, bridges, tunnels, schools, hospitals. But the key to this plan is jobs.

Take a listen to what Barack Obama had to say.

BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT-ELECT: The first job of my administration is to put people back to work and get our economy moving again. That's why I've moved quickly to work with my economic team and leaders of both parties on an American recovery and reinvestment plan that will immediately jump-start job creation and long-term growth. And I'm pleased that Congress has seen the urgency as well and is moving quickly to consider such a plan.


STEINHAUSER: And as for the timetable, I think he wants to see a bill on his desk passed by Congress probably by the middle of next month. So that's where we stand right now -- Alina.

CHO: I want to talk a little bit more about the bailout that has been getting so much attention, Paul, you know. Congress, as you know, late last week agreed to release the second half of the funds, $350 billion. So what's going to be done with that money?

STEINHAUSER: Well, that money is to rescue financial institutions, banks that are facing tough times. Since the first $350 billion went out, more banks are facing tough times and are getting deeper and deeper into the red.

But what do Americans think about this bailout? They don't like it so much. Our new CNN/Opinion Research Corporation poll said six in 10 Americans, 61 percent, were against the extra $350 billion of taxpayer money going towards this bailout. They don't like that. Take a look at that, 61 percent say no more. Don't spend anymore. And here's the reason why, 86 percent of those we questioned, 86 percent say that the financial bailout so far is not working, the first $350 billion that has been spent since last fall. They don't like this one bit. And I think these poll numbers are pretty clear -- Alina.

CHO: Yes, New York Times this morning quoting one person who said it's like putting money in a pothole that keeps getting bigger. So Americans clearly speaking their mind on that one. Paul Steinhauser, CNN's deputy political director, Paul, thank you forgetting up early. Good to see you.

STEINHAUSER: Sure. Thank you. Thanks.


HOLMES: All right. Well, pack up the boxes, put the kids in the car, it's moving time. It's not maybe going to be quite like that for the incoming first family, the Obamas. Still, they've got a whole lot to do in a very short time. Our Elaine Quijano is at the White House early for us this morning.

Good morning to you. So are you starting to see U-Hauls pull up to the front door of the White House yet?

ELAINE QUIJANO, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: You know what, not yet. But there's a whole lot of mess right now, I've got to tell you, T.J., right on Pennsylvania Avenue. It's kind of a maze to get in because of all the work that's being done.

But you know what, there is a lot of work to do, not just moving but, of course, when it comes to dealing with the challenges facing the country, President-elect Barack Obama, in fact, in his radio address this weekend will talk about how he feels ready to tackle these challenges, including the economy, but also keeping the nation safe.

And you know, on that point it was just this past week that members of the Obama transition team came here to the White House campus to sit down with their counterparts from the outgoing Bush administration to run through a table top exercise what they might do, how they might handle a hypothetical terrorist attack against the United States.

So that's one example, sort of the serious nature of this transition. But again, T.J., on the lighter side, things are starting to look a little bit different around here at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. I have to tell you, one example, early this morning the lights were on in Dana Perino, White House press secretary's office.

I took a little peek in, I have to say, T.J., as I was walking by, empty shelves. Didn't see any boxes. Again, clearly, this is a White House in transition. We'll let you know though, T.J., if we do see any U-Haul trucks pulling up any time soon.

HOLMES: All right. And, Elaine, be careful. I don't think you're supposed to be snooping around the Bushes, peeking through windows at the White House.


QUIJANO: I could see just from walking by. I wasn't stalking. I just kind of happened to see.

HOLMES: OK. We understand. But also, help the people understand a little better. You know, we all move from house to house sometimes.

QUIJANO: That's right.

HOLMES: But how is this a little different? What exactly -- I know a lot of things -- a lot of moving out going on, a lot of things are going to be different around there. But exactly how does the -- I mean, how does Barack Obama get his 50-inch flat screen into his bedroom and stuff like that? How does that work?

QUIJANO: Yes, well, I can tell you that the way it has worked in the past, T.J., is on January 20th, which will basically have a bunch of trucks pulling up to the South Lawn of the White House.

They will be taking whatever possessions the outgoing administration, the family, whatever it is that they might want moved, they will be taking that away. And then at the same time, you will be having just a little bit after that trucks rolling in to unload the personal belongings of the Obama family.

Now, in the meantime, as you know, the Obamas are staying over at Blair House. But I have to say that talking to people here, they is, look, the Bush family really doesn't have a whole lot of personal belongings here. They've got a lot of books.

But mostly, at this point, there's just not a lot to move out. But there will be basically the sight of moving trucks on the South Lawn rolling in and then taking stuff away, and then another set of moving trucks coming in on January 20th. Probably won't be actually able to see that, but it's the way it's worked in the past, T.J.

Really fascinating stuff because this is, after all, a residence, not just the place, of course, where the president works. So we'll let you know though if maybe we see anything coming up early -- T.J.

HOLMES: Well, I'm sure you will be peeking in the windows like you do.

QUIJANO: That's right.

HOLMES: Elaine Quijano for us from the White House, thank you so much.

CHO: You know, in a country with -- in countries across the world with coups and the like and dictatorships, it's really extraordinary to see a peaceful transition of power. We're going to be following it all for you right here on CNN in the coming days. Barack Obama, by the way, is obviously going to be inaugurated, sworn in on January 20th. A lot of the Inaugural traditions and ceremonies and balls are on Tuesday but he's doing something else that very few presidents have done, you know.

HOLMES: He has asked a poet to take part in the ceremony as part of an effort to bring the country together. Josh Levs spoke to this poet. He joins us now live.

Good morning to you, sir.

JOSH LEVS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Good morning, to you guys.

So you all must remember, just like I do, Maya Angelou, right?

HOLMES: Oh, yes.

CHO: Of course.

LEVS: Clinton's Inauguration, 1991 (sic). A lot of us do remember that, those powerful words that she had to say that day. Well, now this woman, Elizabeth Alexander, has been asked to speak. And she is hard at work preparing. She won't give me any details about what she is going to say, but she did give us a sense of what to expect.


ELIZABETH ALEXANDER, INAUGURATION POET: You can expect a poem that hopefully will give people a moment in the midst of this tremendous occasion, this sober occasion, this joyful occasion, a moment to be shifted a little bit by language that is pulling from the everyday but also giving us a way to look at the everyday in a new fashion.

I think it's very important to think about how our history has brought us to this moment, to look back at that history as a way of looking forward to the challenges, to the work and to the possibilities that are ahead of us.

LEVS: I asked the committee that's organizing all the ceremonies for why they decided to invite you to take part in this. I just want to read you part of the statement.

It says: "The president-elect has long admired Ms. Alexander's work as a poet, essayist, playwright and teacher." It goes on to say that by selecting you this "demonstrates the important role that the arts and literature can play in helping to bring our country together."

Talking about that, your role in this respect, is there something that you as a poet can do to help bring the country together?

ALEXANDER: Well, I think that what poetry does is it offers us examples of language distilled, language as its very, very best. And I think that when we put ourselves forth in our very, very finest language, our most careful language, that that's the way that we're best able to build coalitions across differences.

LEVS: You're only the fourth poet ever to take place in an Inauguration, and it's distinguished company. Robert Frost in 1961 for John F. Kennedy's Inauguration, Maya Angelou in 1993 for Bill Clinton, and then Miller Williams for -- again, for Bill Clinton in 1997.

Have you gone back and looked at what they said to try to draw inspiration or to gain some kind of focus?

ALEXANDER: I certainly have. And I am so pleased to be in that company.

LEVS: How do you take this opportunity and reach people who wouldn't usually read or choose to read poems but have it really mean something to them?

ALEXANDER: I've tried to write a poem that is elegant and rich and careful with language and that takes each word as precious, but I've also tried to write a poem that has a kind of a clarity that I really feel anybody can meet.

I think that I've written something that many, many, many, many, many people can come to. That was my true intention. And I think it's useful for us to remember that the great gift of poetry is the gift of a moment of pause.


LEVS: Now, as you saw right there, she actually has known Barack Obama for years. She has known him since the mid 1990s when they were both at the faculty of the University of Chicago there. And apparently that is when he got to know a lot of her work. He says he has a lot of admiration.

But she says her words are not going to be about him so much, guys, as the moment and what the Inauguration can mean to everybody -- Alina, T.J.

CHO: What a moment that will be. My goodness. What a high honor. All right. Josh, thank you.

LEVS: Thanks a lot.

CHO: Still ahead, the hunt for Osama bin Laden, could the new administration change tactics?

HOLMES: Also, coming up at 8:00, a look at some of the ways advertisers are tapping into the Obama campaign's theme of hope.

All right. Well, CNN is following the stories of small business owners who are surviving this brutal economy. Today we take a look at a California man recycling his way to success.

Our Melissa Long shows us how he got started.


MELISSA LONG, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): There is no such thing as garbage for Joe Szuecs, owner of Renga Arts where everything is handcrafted from reclaimed or recycled materials.

JOE SZUECS, OWNER, RENGA ARTS: We actually have come up with a line of (INAUDIBLE) flowers.

LONG: Inspiration came early from his Depression-era father.

SZUECS: The way I was raised, you know, is like to not waste.

These are old watch faces.

LONG: This former dot-com exec had a solid five-year business plan before he invested his own money to start up. He keeps costs low by tapping his wife's expertise in the craft industry. She buys well- selected products that can fit the unique profile of the business.

His background in interactive media influenced a fresh approach to customer service that generates both buzz and repeat business.

SZUECS: The way I've structured this store is that people come in and they can be inspired. People enjoy the novelty and cleverness of using something else.

LONG: He hopes to expand his store online when the time is right.

SZUECS: I still look at this store as a test tube for ideas, which eventually will be fully realized in some kind of online version.



CHO: President-elect Barack Obama is renewing his call to capture or kill Osama bin Laden, but some say if a seven-year international manhunt and a $25 million bounty can't bring him in, well, it might be time to try something new.

Barbara Starr looks at the hunt for bin Laden.


BARBARA STARR, CNN PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Just days before Barack Obama takes power, a challenge from Osama bin Laden. In the latest audio recording believed to be from the al Qaeda leader, bin Laden says of the soon-to-be president...

OSAMA BIN LADEN, AL QAEDA (through translator): He either withdraws and faces military defeat or carries on the fight and drowns his nation in financial trouble.

STARR: Mr. Obama has long said getting bin Laden remains a priority.

OBAMA: We will go after him. We will kill him or we will capture him, try him, apply the dealt penalty to him where necessary.

STARR: Easier said than done. Vice President Dick Cheney told Wolf Blitzer finding just one man is always tough, but the U.S. pursuit, he says, has had an effect.

DICK CHENEY, VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: He's operating in an area that's very difficult, very hard to get to, that he's not an effective leader at this stage, can't really engage with his organization without coming out of whatever hole he's hiding in.

STARR: One suggestion for a new approach, take away bin Laden's safe haven but not necessarily with more military action.

MICHAEL O'HANLON, BROOKINGS INSTITUTION: The best way to get bin Laden or to have a chance to get bin laden is to work hard at stabilizing Afghanistan and Pakistan. That's the way you maximize the odds of getting bin Laden himself.

TIM ROEMER, 9/11 COMMISSION MEMBER: How do we use our smart power and diplomacy? What about economic surges in places like Afghanistan? And how do we work with other countries building alliances to take on al Qaeda?

STARR: With no new intelligence about where exactly bin Laden is and no sign anybody will turn him in for the $25 million reward, engagement with others may be the only option left.

(on camera): One U.S. military strategy, those missile strikes inside Pakistan have been successful in killing some al Qaeda operatives and militants said to be protecting bin Laden. But still, no sign he plans to make the fatal mistake of coming out of hiding.

Barbara Starr, CNN, the Pentagon.



HOLMES: No doubt it's hottest ticket in town. Our Jim Acosta now takes a look at how some people are snagging a rare invite to this year's historic Inauguration.


OBAMA: Unprecedented numbers of Americans are planning to join us in Washington.

JIM ACOSTA, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Welcome to Washington, home of Super Bowl 44, as in the Inauguration of the 44th president. Tickets are going fast in all sorts of ways.

SEN. HARRY REID (D-NV), MAJORITY LEADER: We have a lot of interest in this Inauguration. ACOSTA: Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid picked seven lucky winners out of a hat.

(on camera): And what was your first reaction when you heard that you got a ticket?

JENNY HARROW, INAUGURATION TICKET HOLDER: Kind of that facial expression right there.

ACOSTA: Jenny Harrow got her ticket from a friend. Like a lottery winner, she was all of a sudden very popular.

HARROW: I have gotten some offers. People are saying they could make a killing. But the money is not worth it.

ACOSTA: Not everyone shares that opinion. On the Web site Craigslist, scalpers are selling tickets to the swearing in for thousands of dollars. How did they end up there? Don't blame them.

Each Inaugural, members of Congress are given hundreds of tickets to pass out to employees and friends.

ANNE SCHROEDER MULLINS, POLITICO GOSSIP COLUMNIST: Once the offices give away these tickets, you know, you can't really control what happens after that.

ACOSTA: A handful of congressional offices have confirmed to CNN and other media outlets they've uncovered a variety of schemes to auction off their tickets. Technically, it's not against the law.

MULLINS: It's a huge gray area, don't you love it? Of course, in Washington, everything is a gray area.

SEAN PATE, STUBHUB.COM: The really rock star status of President-elect Obama has kind of made these events can't-miss events.

ACOSTA: The online ticket service Stubhub decided against the selling of swearing-in tickets and is instead offering up pricey passes to the parade and Inaugural balls.

PATE: And for some of the galas as well as the parade, they've actually exceeded this weekend's NFL championship games.

ACOSTA: Jenny Harrow says you can't put a price tag on history.

HARROW: Money comes and it goes. I mean, experiences like this are a once-in-a-lifetime, so I couldn't pass that up.



HOLMES: From the CNN Center, and here in Atlanta, Georgia, this is CNN SATURDAY MORNING for this January 17th. It's 7:00 a.m. here on the east coast. Good morning to you all. I'm T.J. Holmes.

CHO: It's 7:00 a.m. already?

HOLMES: It's 7:00 -- oh, yes, we've been at this for an hour already.

CHO: We've been at this for an hour.


CHO: Good morning, everybody. I'm Alina Cho. Betty has the morning off.

We're so glad you're starting your day with us. And, lots to get to today.

HOLMES: A lot to get to, especially the Obama Express. It's leaving the station this morning. That's just one of the big stories we'll be following for you.

Barack Obama and Joe Biden are boarding a railcar in Philadelphia just about three hours from now. Actually, Obama will board, he's going to pick up his guy, Joe Biden, along the way in Delaware. They're following the train trip that Abraham Lincoln took to Washington in 1861 for his swearing in ceremony.

Also, the U.S. Airways plane that crash-landed into the Hudson River in New York, it could be pulled from the water in just a few hours. Here's a live look this morning. And it's still a little dark but you can see it through the trees there. It's expected to be plucked out in the next three hours or so.

Divers worked through the night, they're attaching a harness to make their job a whole lot easier to lift that jet (ph) out. Investigators may have to wait a bit to officially confirm what caused the crash. The plane's engines were ripped off from the force of the impact, and are somewhere at the bottom of the river.

Also this morning, another big story we're following -- Kellogg's, they're recalling 16 peanut butter cookie and cracker snacks because they may be contaminated with salmonella. Some of the products sold under the famous Amos and Keebler brands. The recall comes after a Georgia contractor confirmed a salmonella outbreak. Hundreds of people have been sick. At least, three people -- rather -- six people have died.

CHO: Well, you could say the transition of power begins today. President-elect Barack Obama is going to be boarding that railcar in Philly and he'll arrive in the nation's capital this afternoon. Our Kate Bolduan is on the Washington Mall saving a spot for T.J. and I for the inauguration.

Hey, Kate, good morning. You know, Mr. Obama, as T.J. mentioned a second ago, is making that same trek that Abraham Lincoln made back in 1861. So, tell us what's going to happen today on what's being called the Obama Express.

BOLDUAN: Yes, the Obama Express, it has been called. But really, it's an honor and a tribute to another Illinois president from Illinois, as you just mentioned, Alina, President Abraham Lincoln, who made this same trip during his inaugural tour in 1861.

It's going to be beginning in Philadelphia this morning where the president-elect is expected to make some remarks. He will then take the train and slowly roll through Claymont, Delaware. Not stopping, rolling through in order to wave two people who, you can expect, will be gathering there. Then it will continue on into Wilmington, Delaware, where he will be picking up his vice president, Joe Biden.

Together, they will then continue on to Baltimore, Maryland, where the president-elect is expected to make a speech, make remarks in front of a very loud crowd is expected this morning. And then, it will finally end up here in Washington, D.C., very close to where we are, just over my right shoulder a few blocks at Union Station. And that's where that tour will be wrapping up.

The president-elect is expected then to go pretty much straight to the Blair House where he is staying for the next few days until the official move into the White House.

Meanwhile, when the president-elect gets here, preparations have been going on and continue today. We've already seen trucks driving by here on the Mall, Alina, as they're trying to repair -- as the light is beginning to come up, the sun is beginning to come up here on the National Mall this morning, we're seeing a lot has changed since I was here just last weekend. A lot more security barriers, a lot more porta-potties, to be quite honest. I can see some audio equipment, some speaker equipment that's being set up.

So, you can see a lot has happened. But they are nowhere near done yet as they're expecting up to 2 million people could be coming to the swearing in. The over-flow crowd, which will be a large portion of that figure, will be here on the National Mall where I am standing, all trying to get a glimpse of the swearing in and be part of that.

To help them out, the city as well as the inaugural committee, they are going to be setting up 20-plus Jumbotrons throughout the National Mall in order to help people be able to see what's going on in the Capitol front -- because from where we're standing, I have to tell you, Alina, there's no way you can see the swearing in from this vantage point because the Mall is going to be open for the first time and that runs about two miles. You can expect if there's up to 2 million people here, not many of them are going to be able to see it firsthand. But, at least, they'll be able to see it on Jumbotrons and be part of this very frigid, cold celebration.

CHO: Use some pretty good binoculars or possibly, even a telescope, Kate, if you want on the scene. I mean ...

BOLDUAN: Yes, that's a good idea.

CHO: You know, you talked about the crowd estimated at 2 million. There are just 240,000 tickets. And those have all been snapped up, right? BOLDUAN: Yes. And even of those 240,000 tickets that have already been snapped up, they're snapped up very quickly and handed out, there were only -- we're told -- about 28,000 seats, I'm hearing, which means many of those people will be standing. So, throughout the past few weeks, we were talking about it last weekend. We continue to talk about it.

The inaugural committee and the city have been putting out many suggestions of what to do, what not to do, what to bring, what not to bring. And as you can probably guess, with this massive security operation, it's going to be slow-moving. Streets across the city are going to be closed down to personal cars. So, everyone is going to just have to be a little patient when they get here. But if you're coming here to see the inauguration, you're going to wait as long as you have to in order to be part of it.

CHO: That's right. And they should take a cue from, Kate, wearing that hat and warm parka. But you mentioned that ...

BOLDUAN: Yes, just like this.

CHO: ... security, 20,000 strong, 20,000 strong from 50 different agencies. The price tag for D.C. alone for the inauguration festivities could be $50 million. So, an incredible, incredible organized effort to pull this all off.

Kate Bolduan, we thank you for joining us. Kate, thanks.

BOLDUAN: Of course.

HOLMES: All right. We're barely three weeks into 2009, and already, we have the first bank failure of the year to report. This bank is the National Bank of Commerce in Berkeley, Illinois. It's being shut down by federal regulators. Customers, however, will still have access to their money.

Hertz, meanwhile, is slashing 4,000 jobs. The rental car company, as we know, is pointing to a drop in demand for the reason they're making those cuts.

Also, Circuit City, you've been hearing about in the past few weeks, they're just giving it up, throwing in the towel. Last year, they filed for bankruptcy, closing dozen of stores across the country. Well, now, the other shoe has dropped. They're closing their remaining 567 stores nationwide. That will cost about 30,000 people their jobs.

Of course, the news about the economy is discouraging right now. President-elect is offering some hope, however, in his weekly radio address this morning. He did talk about the tough times that the country is facing but he also spoke about how we will persevere.


OBAMA: Together, we know that this is a time of great challenge for the American people. Difficult days are upon us, and even more difficult days lie ahead. Our nation is at war. Our economy is in great turmoil.

And there is so much work that must be done to restore peace and advance prosperity. But as we approach this time-honored American tradition, we are reminded that our challenges can be met if we summon the spirit that has sustained our democracy since George Washington took the first oath of office.


CHO: Another big story we're following this morning, that damaged U.S. Airways jetliner that made that miraculous landing on New York's Hudson River on Thursday, may be soon be pulled out of the water. Investigators and engineers expect to haul it up later this morning. Divers worked through the night securing the harness around the plane. That must be some harness.

They're going to also need to retrieve the plane's engines from the bottom of the Hudson. Can you imagine? Both were ripped off when the plane hit the water.

So, what was it like for witnesses exactly who saw a jetliner glide out of the sky and land on the surface of the Hudson River? We want to listen now to some of the distress calls that people made to 911 as the disaster unfolded.

Take a listen.


911 OPERATOR: Nine-one-one operator 130. What is your emergency?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'm in Edgewater, New Jersey. There's a plane on the Hudson. It looked like it was crashing. A big jet was going down into the Hudson and then pulled back up. And I'm telling you, this plane was way too low.

911 OPERATOR: What city? What city?


911 OPERATOR: What city?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's New York. I'm in Edgewater, New Jersey. This was in Manhattan. It was right there.

911 OPERATOR: Stay on the phone while I get the New York City police. One moment.

911 OPERATOR: Nine-one-one operator.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I think I just saw a plane crashed in the water.

911 OPERATOR: Yes, honey, you did, honey. We're aware of it. And it's been reported over to the police department. They should be there as soon as possible.


911 OPERATOR: OK. Looks like anybody is in there (ph)?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I can't tell. I'm walking down the (INAUDIBLE).

911 OPERATOR: All right, sir. Thanks for your request.


HOLMES: You can tell ...

CHO: It's just bone-chilling, isn't it?

HOLMES: ... a lot of people couldn't believe what they were seeing.

CHO: And, you know, what's interesting as these witness accounts just keep coming and coming and coming.


CHO: This morning, I was reading the "New York Times" and one woman apparently -- you'll have to excuse her for this, actually asked another passenger when she was safe to go back inside the plane and grab her purse.

HOLMES: Grabs up her purse. OK.

CHO: Another man was out on the wing with his garment bag. And, you know, some of the passengers were saying that landing on the water on the Hudson was so smooth ...


CHO: ... they actually did not know that they landed on water. They thought it was a runway until they looked outside the window. Imagine that. So, really that pilot "Sully" as he's being called.

HOLMES: "Sully" as he's being called. But that's ...

CHO: A 29-year veteran.

HOLMES: We talked to them yesterday, a lot of those survivors, but that's the story they told.

CHO: You were in Charlotte.

HOLMES: In Charlotte, yesterday, when a lot of them arrived there, and you know, they said we didn't have time to panic. And it didn't feel like a crash. A lot of people it happened, as soon as you heard "Brace for impact," boom, OK, we're down. And nobody really knew that they should be scared and should be panicked. So, everything was relatively cool. CHO: Yes, I think you just kick into survival mode.

HOLMES: Yes. All right.

CHO: We want to go on to another survivor, Reynolds Wolf, watching the weather for us.


WOLF: It's been one of those mornings, hasn't it?

CHO: It has.

WOLF: It really has been.

HOLMES: How's your morning been, Reynolds?

WOLF: Oh, just been peachy keen, my good friend. Couldn't be better on this wonderful January day.

CHO: It's cold out there.

WOLF: It really is. You know, a lot of people around the country are saying, you know, what's the deal? We're ready for warmer weather. And warmer weather is going to be on the way. It's going to be warm in parts of the desert southwest, for parts of the city, Great Basin. To southern California, it's been just fine. You have great conditions.

A lot of the trouble has been across parts of the Midwest and Northern Plains and the Southern Plains. And big changes are coming this weekend. Now, that isn't to say that it's still going to be cold. It will be very chilly for much of the eastern coast. But you'll notice, parts of, say, the Central Plains, will be returning normal.

Temperatures are getting back up where they should be for this time of year. And we're not talking 90 degrees in Dallas. That's not going to happen for a while, but still we're going to be much more comfortable than we have along parts of I-35.

What we can anticipate will be, in the Great Lakes, a little bit of snow really begun to ramp up, especially for Michigan, 75. You're going to have that snowfall. Right now, not much of an issue for you, but later into the afternoon, there's a potential of anywhere from five to seven, maybe even as much as eight inches of snowfall through the rest of the day and into Sunday. Meanwhile, back in the Northeast, we're dealing with the possibility of a foot of snowfall in the highest elevations in New England through Monday.

You got plans for, say, going to the inauguration? Your temperatures will into the mid-30s. Partly cloudy skies. Low temperatures in the morning, right around 22. And if that's a little bit too chilly for you, well, I got a few pointers for you.

You need to dress in several layers of clothes. Hey, maybe a vest. That's not a bad thing to do. It creates pockets of insulating warm air. Of course, you don't want to stand there, you want to remain active, look around. And if you can, huddle up, have a buddy, stay warm. It's always a smart thing to do.

Coffee helps, also, doesn't it, T.J.?

HOLMES: I wouldn't know anything about that. I go with Twizzlers, as you know. I don't do coffee.

WOLF: That explains a lot.

HOLMES: It does, doesn't it? Yes.

CHO: It does.


WOLF: I'm teasing, man.

HOLMES: That's all right, Reynolds (ph).

CHO: No, you're not.

HOLMES: All right.

CHO: Reynolds, thank you.

HOLMES: Thanks, Reynolds.

CHO: We are teasing.


CHO: There is crisis management and then there is crisis management.

HOLMES: Yes, they've got something to manage up in D.C. right now. We're going to be talking to the man responsible for making sure Barack Obama's inauguration goes off without a hitch.


HOLMES: Another little fun presidential factoid for you this morning. As many as 2 million people will get the new factoids when they go to D.C. on Tuesday. They're all expected in Washington for Tuesday's inauguration. It's pretty tall order, as you'd imagine, for security.

Our Jeanne Meserve took an exclusive tour with outgoing Homeland Security chief, Michael Chertoff, for a closer look at the inauguration preparations.


MICHAEL CHERTOFF, HOMELAND SECURITY CHIEF: I don't anticipate anything disruptive. But, you know, part of my job is to hope for the best and prepare for the worst.

JEANNE MESERVE, CNN HOMELAND SECURITY CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Michael Chertoff's tenure is ending with the biggest security event ever. He will spend Inauguration Day here at the multi-agency command center, along with representatives of the state, federal and local agencies involved in securing this massive multi-day event.

CHERTOFF: If something arises, we know who has the ball, we know who plays a supporting role. If an issue that's not anticipated comes up, we're in the room. We can talk about it and we can figure out what to do and we can make a decision.

MESERVE: Chertoff travels to Capitol Hill to get a better sense of the security challenges in handling the anticipated crowd. Intelligence will be scrubbed right up through Inauguration Day. At this point, there is no credible threat, but Chertoff worries about the possibility of a lone-wolf.

CHERTOFF: You know, I'm still focused on the kind of event we had at Virginia Tech. One disturbed person kills a bunch of people. So, whether the motivation is racism or some psychological disorder, it's just -- in an open society, it's impossible to prevent a single individual from doing some damage.

MESERVE: Outside the White House, Chertoff checks out the presidential reviewing stand still under construction. The weather is bitter and Chertoff worries that some people coming to Washington will not plan properly.

CHERTOFF: The worst thing in the world will be for someone to come, dressed like he's going to go to Bermuda, with no food or water, and no place to stay.

MESERVE: Chertoff says he doesn't want Washington to feel like an armed camp, and he rejects charges that his department is engaged in security over-kill. He says he's tried to strike a balance between accessibility and security, and he thinks he has done it.

(on camera): Are you ready?

CHERTOFF: I think we're ready.

MESERVE: Unlike other members of the Bush administration, Chertoff will not leave his job on Inauguration Day. He will work until the morning of January 21st, to allow his designated successor, Janet Napolitano, to enjoy the festivities and to ensure continuity through this multi-important security event.

Jeanne Meserve, CNN, Washington.


CHO: Probably a good idea.

On the final countdown to the inauguration, President-elect Barack Obama will follow in the footsteps of his political hero, Abraham Lincoln. In just a couple of hours, Obama's whistle-stop train tour begins which will mirror Lincoln's journey.

A big sendoff event will take place in Philadelphia and that's where we find our CNN's national correspondent, Jason Carroll, who is live for us there in Philadelphia.

Hey, Jason, good morning, my friend. Tell me how this is all going to play out today.

JASON CARROLL, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, here's how it's going to work. This is going to be the first stop of this whistle- stop tour here at 30th Street Station in Philadelphia. Then it will go to Wilmington, then to Baltimore, and finally, in Washington, D.C.

Here in this room here at the train station, there going to be about a couple hundred invited guests who will be here to hear Obama speak. About 50 of those lucky people will actually get to ride with Obama and eventually the Bidens as well on that train ride to Washington, D.C.

How will those 50 people chosen, Alina? Well, some of them he met on the campaign. Others, he was just touched by whatever special story they had.

That train is scheduled to leave at 12:00 noon. But, Alina, before all that happen, Obama will give a speech here at about 10:15. It's expected to also for about 15 minutes. We were given an advance copy of the speech, dramatically based -- it has to do with the challenges the country has to face and how he feels as though we can meet those challenges.

I want to read to you a quick excerpt from that speech. It says, "While our problems may be new, what is required to overcome them is not. What is required is the same perseverance and idealism that our founders displayed. What is required is a new declaration of independence, not just in our nation but in our own lives, from ideology and small thinking, prejudice and bigotry -- an appeal not just to our easy instincts but to our better angels."

About a couple of hundred people expected here, Alina. They are expected to arrive at about 8:30. Obviously, there's going to be a lot of excited people here to listen to Obama speak. We, of course, will bring it all to you live -- Alina?

CHO: Imagine being one of those 50 people chosen to be on that train. An incredible, incredible honor.

CNN's Jason Carroll is live for us. My friend, thank you. Talk to you later.

HOLMES: All right. A lot of people, as we've been saying, want to go to the inauguration, a lot of people have tickets, some don't. But still, a lot of people, 2 million are just going to show up. They want to be there.

An Atlanta woman is one. We're going to talk to her. She gets to go and she got a little help from her friends. CHO: That's right. Including some CNN employees who rallied and helped buy an airline ticket for her. It's really an extraordinary story. She was all set to go, told everybody she was going, and then she had some family problems and financial problems, and then told people, "Well, I can't go." And then some generous people stepped in and we have a happy ending.

We're going to talk to her right here live, when we come back.



UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Advice for the new president.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: To remember how he got elected.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Stay motivated.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Keep an open mind, and take your time, and don't make hasty decisions based on other people's, like, you know, they're humming (ph) on your ear.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Just keep doing what he's doing, you know, connecting with the communities.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Follow your heart.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: To stick together as a family and try not to get pulled apart by all of the pressures that they are going to face.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Think really carefully about what your objectives are and what issues you're going to focus on because you can't accomplish everything.

UNIDENTIFE FEMALE: Have fun living in the White House.



CHO: Some good advice for the president-elect. You know, millions of people are expected to attend this historic inauguration of Barack Obama. In fact, some are probably already on their way to D.C., you can be sure of that.

Helen Jackson, a cafeteria worker, had planned to drive to D.C. with her sister until some unexpected financial problems hit. But thanks to the generosity of some of her customers and there she is right now, Jackson is still going.

Now, I just want to give people a little bit of history. You work for Aramark, which is contracted to do our dining services here at CNN. So, you work right down stairs in our cafeteria. You have for a couple years, right? HELEN JACKSON, ARAMARK DINER SERVER: Yes.

CHO: So, some of our CNN employees actually rallied and contributed and bought you a plane ticket. You're leaving on AirTran tomorrow to go to D.C.


CHO: First of all, after telling people you were going to go and then saying, "Wait a minute, I can't go," now that you're going, how does it feel? I'm so excited for you.

JACKSON: It's just ...

CHO: Can you put it into words?

JACKSON: I can't even explain it. It's just -- it's so amazing how ...

CHO: Have you been to D.C. before?

JACKSON: Yes. I went -- I drove through D.C. before but I never stayed in D.C.

CHO: So, what do you expect to see or what do you hope to see when you're there?

JACKSON: I want to see the parade and I just want to be in the number of being there because this is history for me.

CHO: You know, why was it so important for you to go? You know, I mean, a lot of people would say, "You know, it's history in the making but I can watch it on TV." Why do you want to be there?

JACKSON: It's just a feeling that I can get from it, you know. And with a black man being the president, it means a lot to me.

CHO: Yes, it does. And we talked a little bit about this in the break. I mean, you were, obviously, alive during Martin Luther King.


CHO: During the civil rights struggle.


CHO: You remember those days well.


CHO: So, having said that, what does this historic inauguration mean for you?

JACKSON: Well, I never met Martin Luther King in person, but when he passed, my father, we stood in line for like four hours just to go review his body. And that was just ... CHO: Wow.

JACKSON: ... and I was like about 12 years old. And it was just amazing how long we stood in line. And this means a lot to me because I want to be there, even if I'm a mile away, just to be in the number. It's a thrill to me.

CHO: Well, an estimated 2 million people will be there.


CHO: You know, just 240,000 are ticket holders. And maybe only 28,000 will have seats. So, I hope you're going to be bundling up.

JACKSON: I'm going to bundle up real well.

CHO: How long do you plan to be there? And do you -- do you hope to attend any sort of official type events? I mean, are you hoping to wrangle your way into any of those?

JACKSON: Well, Liv (ph), my sister is living there. I don't know what she has plans. I called her and told her I was coming.

CHO: So, having not been in D.C. or spending time, you never spent any time in D.C., you just drove through.


CHO: I would imagine, this is, you know, sort of a vacation ...


CHO: ... and a stop at the Smithsonian might be in the works, right, for you?

JACKSON: Right. That's right.

CHO: So, you're going to look around. So, what do you hope to do in addition to all of the inauguration festivities while you're there?

JACKSON: Whatever I can get to.

CHO: You want to take it all in.

JACKSON: I want to take it all in.

CHO: Yes.

JACKSON: Just something to remember.

CHO: Tell me, did you vote for Barack Obama?

JACKSON: Yes, I did.

CHO: And tell me, what is it about him that made you pull that lever for him?

JACKSON: Well, I want a change in the United States, you know? I want a change of everybody having equal rights like we have now, and just a change to make it where we can go and do the things that we want to do, and more money to come in, for us to work and for everybody to have jobs in the United States.

CHO: You're hoping he'll help the middle-class.

JACKSON: Yes, I do. Yes, I do.

CHO: And is there one thing in particular? Is it the hope aspect of his campaign that really inspired you?

JACKSON: Yes, it is. Yes, it is.

CHO: Well, Helen Jackson, again, we are so excited for you here.

JACKSON: Thank you.

CHO: We can't wait to watch your journey. And we want to bring you back on when you come back to talk about it.


CHO: All right.

JACKSON: All right.

CHO: Helen Jackson, thank you so much.

JACKSON: Thank you.

CHO: And you, too, can be a part of history. CNN, by the way, is teaming up with Facebook to bring you complete coverage of the inauguration. You can connect with and engage with other users while watching live inaugural events on Coverage starts at 8:00 a.m. Eastern on Inauguration Day.

We're coming right back.


HOLMES: All right. As we said, our inauguration coverage is going to continue today following the election express, Obama making his way from Philadelphia on a train to D.C. where he will be inaugurated on Tuesday.

CHO: That's right. So, stay with us.

But first, "HOUSE CALL" with Dr. Sanjay Gupta starts right now. We're back in 30 minutes.