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CNN Saturday Morning News

Obama and His Family Travel From Philadelphia to Washington, D.C. Today; Survivor Stories of U.S. Airways Jet Landing in Hudson River; The Inauguration Security Challenge

Aired January 17, 2009 - 09:00   ET


T.J. HOLMES, CNN ANCHOR: She will not be a mile away. The woman who donated the inauguration ticket is from Minnesota who says she happened to have two extra tickets. Ma'am, if you are listening, thank you so much for brightening our Saturday.
From the CNN Center in Atlanta, Georgia, I'm T.J. Holmes. And it is Saturday January 17th and this is your "CNN SATURDAY MORNING."

ALINA CHO, CNN ANCHOR: And it's a busy good morning everybody, I'm Alina Cho. Betty has the morning off. We are so glad you're with us.

The President-elect is preparing to take a train ride; riding the rails into history this morning. Security will be tight along the 137-mile route from Philadelphia to D.C. They're calling it "The Obama Express."

HOLMES: Also, we're still hearing those stories of survival after that "Miracle on the Hudson," as its being called.

CHO: And here are the top stories we're following for you.

Workers plan to raise that US Airways jet from New York's Hudson River this morning. You are looking live at the plane which went down in the river Thursday, shortly after taking off.

Live pictures from the Hudson River -- all 155 people on the plane made it out safely. They're calling it the "Miracle on the Hudson.

HOLMES: Well to Gaza now, and a miracle seems like it's needed to get this thing to a cease-fire. Israeli artillery shells hit a United Nations school there today. U.N. officials say two children were killed in the blast.

Israel Security Cabinet is set to meet about three hours from now to consider a cease-fire vote that could end -- an end to the offensive. And this would only be a temporary one, we expect.

CHO: At least seven Americans are among the injured in Kabul, Afghanistan, a suicide bomb devastated the area around the German Embassy overnight. The U.S. military says, six service members were wounded, three of them seriously. One American civilian was also wounded. Two Afghan civilians died in the blast. Well, in the tracks of Abraham Lincoln, Barack Obama and his family are boarding a special train in Philadelphia this morning. They're headed to Washington, D.C. along the very same route that Abraham Lincoln took for his inauguration back in 1861.

HOLMES: Well, as they're making their way, workers are in D.C. still putting the finishing touches on the inauguration site; 28,000 seats are set up, 5,000 port-a-potties as well, if you just want that detail. But most viewers on Inaugural Day will have to stand out there.

CHO: And they'll have to be bundled up, because it's going to be about 34 degrees and partly cloudy. Now, nearly two dozen giant TV screens have been set up for those who can't get close enough to the action.

The President officially takes over as the nation's 44th President at noon on Tuesday.

HOLMES: All right. CNN has its correspondents all over the inauguration. Jason Carroll, of the three, is inside, and warm and cozy in a train station in Philly while the two ladies are outside braving in the cold. Elaine Quijano at the White House for us and Kate Bolduan on the Washington Mall and then at our Washington Bureau also we're going to be taking in with Jeanne Meserve, she's looking into the security angle.

CHO: But we want to begin with Jason Carroll who is in Philadelphia this morning where Obama is getting ready to kick off today's event. The whistle stop tour on the Obama express.

Hey, Jason good morning. What can we expect today?

JASON CARROLL, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: And good morning to you, Alina. Lots of expectations here, the room is just about filling up, as you can see. Some 200 people expected to hear Obama's speak when he shows up. That speech expected to take place at about 10:15; the speech expected to last for about 15 minutes.

About 50 of these invited guests are actually going to be able to join Obama and the Biden's as well at a certain point on that whistle stop tour that will end up in Washington, D.C. But first let's get to what's going to be happening here today, and that, of course, is Obama's speech, and those who came and were invited to hear him speak.

One of them, 15-year-old Foster White. Foster, tell me about how you got invited it's because of your dad, correct?

FOSTER WHITE, INVITED GUEST: My dad works for the Chief of Staff, he works for Congressman Bob Brady. And he got invite so he brought me along.

CARROLL: So how are you feeling about it, how are you feeling about being here today?

WHITE: It feels great. And I'd like to know that I can tell my children and my grandchildren in the future that I was alive to see the first Black President. And it's a first time thing and I'm glad to be here.

CARROLL: Tell me about this whole sort of process of the inauguration, Barack Obama being elected. How does that make you feel as a 15-year-old young African-American man?

WHITE: It's crazy. I mean, it's hard to think that we've come such a long way to have the first black President. And it's amazing and I'm glad it's happening to me that at this age and I'm old enough to understand what's happening and young enough to live and see the aftermath of it.

CARROLL: Foster, is this something that you ever thought you could see in your lifetime?

WHITE: No, I didn't really think so. I thought it would happen a lot later on, and I'm glad it's happening now, to me.

CARROLL: One of the things that I think is key about this particular event as opposed to the inauguration, is that even those there's some 200 people here, it's pretty intimate. And so you're going to be able to get an up close look at Obama, hear him speak. Anything that you're in particular wanting to hear from the President- elect?

WHITE: I don't know. I'm going to be on my toes. I'm excited to hear what he's going say. Is he going to be unpredictable? He's going to be amazing too.

CARROLL: All right, Foster White, 15-year-old, he is a high school student from Albert Einstein High School in Montgomery County, Maryland.


CARROLL: Thanks very much, Foster.

WHITE: No problem.

CARROLL: Thank you for joining us, I really appreciate it.

But of course, all people are looking forward to the inauguration. What do I have right here?

Alina, take a look. It's not the golden ticket. But close enough it's even better. It's the silver ticket. This is the actual ticket to the inauguration. This one gets you a seat at the mall standing area.

I'm not going to the inauguration. So this is about as close as I'm going to get. So you know. I had to show you.

CHO: You're just saying.

CARROLL: But things will be -- I'm just saying. But things will be getting going here at about 10:15. So we'll be back and we'll bring you, of course, all the highlights from the President-elect's speech.

CHO: Oh, you'll be back.

CARROLL: Oh, yes.

CHO: Jason, I want to ask you very quickly, you know, there are 50 invited guests, regular Americans are being called, who are going to be on the train with the Obamas and the Bidens. Tell us about that.

CARROLL: Yes. Well, basically what happened is, these people were chosen for a number of reasons. Some were chosen because they were volunteers on the campaign. Some of them are people that Obama personally met on the campaign. Others are people, Alina, that Obama was simply moved or touched by their personal story.

So sort of, there's a broad sort of cross section of people who were invited but invited for many different reasons.

CHO: Great assignment, Jason Carroll, live for us in Philadelphia. Jason, thank you.

Barack Obama will be sworn in on Tuesday, but CNN's coverage of his inauguration begins this morning right here on CNN as we travel along with the "Obama Express" and the historic trek to Washington, D.C.

Every stop, every speech, every mile. You'll be that hearing that music, too. All for us this morning at 10:00 a.m. Eastern time.

HOLMES: Oh yes, we'll have a sound track available after the inauguration.

Well, we'll turn now, Obama's on his way to D.C. Our Kate Bolduan -- she's already there, she's been there for some time actually.

CHO: And well dressed, well-prepared.


CHO: An estimated two million people will be at the Inauguration. So tell us Kate, everything on track? This is a big event?

BOLDUAN: This is a very big event, and it includes a lot of planning and preparation. We've seen trucks, crews out here already this morning trying to put things in place. Security barriers, those metal fences you see so often at these major events.

We've been talking about it this morning; 240,000 ticketed guests, but they're planning for up to two million people. Many of that huge number would be here on the mall where I'm standing. It runs about two miles long. This is the first time in an inauguration that it will be completely open to the public.

And everything that's going on; they're still working this morning, as you can probably see setting up the necessary facilities as well as setting up sound equipment so everyone down here can hear. And as well as jumbotrons so they can see what's going on up on the Capitol front since they're going to be nowhere near able to see what's going on.

Now, we've been talking also about the frigid temperatures that could come this Tuesday with the inauguration and the swearing in. I spoke to the National Park Service this morning, and they are setting up, in coordination with the U.S. Department of Health, setting up 16 tents throughout the mall, a staff of about 300 nurses and doctors in order to help anyone that will be in need. Because they say right now, they know how to deal with big events here in the nation's capitol, but the temperatures and the weather is their main focus.

Listen here.


WILLIAM LINE, NATIONAL PARK SERVICE SPOKESMAN: We've got a responsibility to get out to the public especially during these colder temperatures to get this type of information out.

Certainly it's common sense, certainly we expect a lot of people are aware of it, but if -- there are probably people that are coming in from temperatures, or living in areas where is it's not quite this cold all the time. Be prepared. You might be shocked with what you find out from the district weather.

The weather is going to be probably one of the biggest if not the biggest determinant as to whether you have a miserable time or an enjoyable time.


BOLDUAN: Now, while they try to plan to help everyone have an enjoyable time here for those two million people, not only down here on the mall, but businesses and restaurants nearby and throughout Washington are also trying to prepare themselves.

Not only because this could be an economic boom for them. Quite an opportunity to make some necessary cash, but because so many bridges will be closed, so many roads will be shut down, not only to traffic but just simply closed down.

They're also trying to make the necessary preparations of bringing in extra food already and making plans to have their employees even stay overnight in order so that they can staff their restaurants, for example, that day.

CHO: Well, Kate, and I was going to ask you about that because there are going to be 20,000 police officers, national guardsmen and the like from 50 different agencies. As you mentioned, shutting down traffic to a large part of D.C. that's a major thing. Are there any concerns that things aren't going to sort of go off as they should, because, I mean, this is unprecedented, really?

BOLDUAN: I mean, this is -- could be a record setting event. And what we hear from many of authorities, we've heard the D.C. police; they're doubling up their police force in order to prepare. They're trying to, I guess you could say, over-prepare and trying to plan for the worst and hope for the best.

They are closing down a large area of Washington, D.C., closing down many of the main bridges especially from Virginia for traffic. People from Virginia are going to either have to walk or take public transportation up here in order to get here. So a lot of walking is going to be done by everyone especially us in the media. We're going to do a lot walking that day, as well as everyone who's trying to get a glimpse of this historic event.

HOLMES: Ah, you're young. You'll be fine, Kate.

CHO: Comfortable shoes, Kate. Comfortable shoes.

BOLDUAN: Oh, I'm ready.

CHO: You got the other stuff taken care of. Kate Bolduan, thank you.

HOLMES: Thank you so much.

We're going to be hearing more about the inauguration. I'll actually be talking with to a spokesperson for the inaugural committee. But the ins and outs of what's really going on behind the scenes? How do you pull an event like this?

CHO: Well, there's a lot they don't tell us, obviously, for security reasons.

HOLMES: So if they'll tell me something --

CHO: Yes, well, you'll get it out of them.

Be a part of history, too. You can follow along the parade route with an interactive map that shows landmarks, traffic, enclosures; so some practical information, too. You can find all of it on Just click it away. Click and play on

HOLMES: All right, we're turning back to that jet crash up in New York that we saw this week on Thursday, actually. The jet that crashed into the Hudson River might actually be fished out of there. We might actually see that happen in a matter of minutes from now. NTSB expecting that to happen around 10:00 this morning is what we were told yesterday. We'll let you know as soon as it starts getting towed out of there. Many of the survivors really had to swallow their fear and they boarded other planes. No kidding. Just hours after they were in a plane crash, many of them got on another plane, because they couldn't wait to get home. Many of them home to Charlotte, North Carolina.

I was there to welcome some of those first survivors who braved the flight to Charlotte, where many of them live. Listen to some their stories.


CARL BAZARIAN, PLANE CRASH SURVIVOR: We hitting that Hudson River with full impact going, boom. And then we stopped. And then we looked out, and they said you know, like -- brace and so forth. We all wanted to see what was going to happen, whether we were going to die.

BRAD WENTZELL, PLANE CRASH SURVIVOR: Probably the most amazing moment in my life. There's a lady and a child and she -- she was trying to climb over the seats, because everybody was like, like wrecked.

For the most part everybody was well behave and everybody was organized. But she got blocked off. I grabbed her and her child, and walked them to the exit. From there Josh, I believe got them on to the raft, but -- I'll never get over it.

JOE HART, PLANE CRASH SURVIVOR: When we got outside in the water, and I mean the water was cold. Within seconds my legs were numb standing in the water. I'm guessing it was, you know, 30, 40 degrees. It was ugly.

VINCE SPERA: 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 ferryboat drivers, fire and rescue, they were on top of it, took us out.

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

BAZARIAN: Yes, it's unbelievable.

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


HOLMES: Like you said, a lot of those people, they had to be in a plane crash, and then they board a plane several hours later.

One of the men you saw in that piece, Joe Hart, he actually told me when he was rescued by the ferry. He got on the ferry, got on his cell phone and was trying to book another flight to get home. That's how bad he wanted to be home. Being in a plane crash didn't bother him that much.

We'll take you to this live picture now. The plane is still sitting there; expecting it to be taken out at some point today.

Now many of the passengers, people wonder how exactly do you survive a plane crash? Those passengers will tell you the best way to do it is have a guy named "Sully" flying your plane.

All of these passengers had high praise for Captain C.B. Sullenberger; that's his name. He just did a wonderful job saving all the lives on that plane. His wife talked to us and said she wasn't surprised at all at the feat he pulled off.


LORRIE SULLENBERGER, CAPT. SULLENBERGER'S WIFE: This is the Sully I know. This is -- I always knew this is how he would react. To me, this is not something unusual. It's the man I know to be the consummate professional.


HOLMES: The White House said President Bush called Sullenberger also President-elect Barack Obama gave him a call as well; both calling to praise him for his heroic efforts to ensure the safety of those passengers and also the people who are in that area.

CHO: President-elect Barack Obama also had a five minute conversation with Sully, as he's being called now.

Millions of people convening in Washington, D.C., emotions running high. So how will all of those people be safe? I'm going to be talking with an expert who's helping out with all that crowd control, next.



MIGNON YOUNG, IREPORTER: Hi, everybody. My name is Mignon and I'm excited. I'm going to the inauguration. It's Friday, and inauguration weekend starts today.

I'm getting ready. I have my coat. My gown. I have my timberlands, I have my heels. And I also have from my mother, I have my Obama bling, and here it is. A necklace that says, "i heart Obama" because I do.


HOLMES: Did she say she had her timberlands packed up as well? That is Mignon. She's packed, ready to go, ready for just about anything, it appears. If you're headed to Washington as well, send us your iReport, tell us what you're packing, whatever you want to tell us. Go to

CHO: We're hearing up to 2 million are expected at the inauguration; huge crowds. Of course, security will be tight. But whenever you have a lot of people, there's a potential for things to get out of control.

So here to talk about security and crowd control is security expert Jeff Beatty. He's joining us from Boston this morning. Hey, Jeff good morning.


CHO: You know, we heard our Kate Bolduan say, prepare for the worst, hope for the best. You know, we're looking at 20,000 police, national guardsmen from 50 different agencies. You've done security for the Olympics, for Super Bowls.

Take us behind the scenes. What do you think is happening right now?

BEATTY: Well, you know, this is a huge security challenge. You've got to realize the United States Secret Service, the military district of Washington -- you were doing a piece a few moments ago about the crash in New York, about the airliner and people say if you're going have a crash, that's the place to have it?

If you're going have an event of this size, Washington's the place to have it for the same reason, for experience. They're used to events almost of this size. They've been working on it for years. It's a known event.

They have to handle threats both domestic and international. And they have to handle threats that go the range from chemical and biological to explosives and firearms. They'll be working awfully hard to make sure that the 2 million people that show up there are going to be safe.

About one out of every 100 people there will actually be a security official. So they'll be very, very present and they're there. If you as a citizen should see something unusual, report it. Half of public safety is the public. Be the eyes and ears and let's keep this historic event a safe one.

CHO: Yes, I think, if you see something, do something, right? It's a mantra.


CHO: Listen Jeff. We are talking about protecting a president- elect. Obviously dignitaries are going to be on hand, celebrities as well. We hear about those sharp shooters on the tops of building. But really, when you're talking about something this enormous, a global event how do you close all of those loopholes?

BEATTY: You have to realize we have several different areas that are going to be a part of this tremendous event. It's been declared a national special security event.

And you have the area that you're talking about where these dignitaries are, where the president-elect and the current president are, then the new president will be. Those areas are going have a different level of security altogether than that other large area on the mall. It will all be appropriate. It will all be graduated.

The Secret Service is used to doing this and giving that closed- in protection. And the other benefit that we have, Alina, is that this is what I call a temporal event. Anybody who might be planning something bad for this event will not know what the security looks like until that day.

A bank robber can go in and case the bank in advance. They can see what the security looks like, but someone planning something for the inaugural will have no idea what the security will look like, making their job that much more difficult and making it a likelihood for this to be a safe event that much greater.

CHO: Which is why they keep a tight lid on the information. And we should mention that President Bush preemptively declared a state of emergency to prepare for this event; certainly historic, certainly a global event. Everybody will be watching, and an estimated 2 million people will be there.

So Jeff Beatty, security expert in Boston. Jeff thank you for your perspective.

BEATTY: Thank you for having us.

CHO: Good to see you.

Barack Obama will be sworn in on Tuesday, but keep it here on CNN, because we've got you covered with everything you need to know before Tuesday's historic day.

Check out CNN's prime time coverage tonight with a special edition of "LARRY KING LIVE" -- there you see it on the screen, 7:00 p.m. Eastern. And then D.L. Hughley breaks the news; that's at 10:00 p.m. Eastern.

But it all gets started this morning, really, 10:00 a.m. Eastern. We're starting special coverage.

HOLMES: We're getting going in just about 40 minutes on that special coverage.

Also something we have been covering and still, let's go right to this live picture; it's still a fascinating picture to see this plane. This is one vantage point of it; this plane sitting still in the Hudson. That's the plane that went down Thursday, the US Airways jet.

It may be on the move again, it's certainly not going to be flying but it may be on dry land here soon. They're trying to pluck that sucker out of there today.

Stay with us.


HOLMES: All right. We want to head back to New York now. Lily Jamali of our affiliate, New York 1, is standing nearby with a US Airways jetliner. It's still bobbing in that water.

Lily, we understand it might be out of there. We were told yesterday by the NTSB they we're going to try to get it out around 10:00 this morning. Any signs that it's on the move?

LILY JAMALI, NEW YORK 1: Well, that's exactly right. The plan was to try to get it out around 10:00 this morning, and we're seeing a lot of activity, a lot of officials milling about, and people starting to take their places for that process. We are also hearing that the process may be delayed beyond 10:00, because of extremely frigid weather conditions. And that would not be the first time that this process has been delayed because of weather.

In addition to the cold temperatures, both on land and in the water, you're also looking at very strong currents in the Hudson and that has delayed this process.

Other challenges they face, the fact that this plane weighs several tons. They've had to set up a pretty extensive crane operation to try and hoist the plane out. That has taken some time, and while they're at it, they're trying to keep this plane in one piece when they lift it out on to the barge, that it will eventually end up on.

That's going to be important for their investigation. We're just being headed up by the National Transportation Safety Board. They're trying to collect as much physical evidence as they can, but some of the most important evidence, those engines, are currently in the Hudson River. Other pieces of evidence are actually on the plane.

So the voice recorders which will give us a sense of what communications are taking place between the pilots and air traffic controllers. That's still on the plane, as are the data recorders which will give us a sense of what was happening mechanically to the plane as it went down, but all of that is going to figure into that investigation.

The NTSB is also conducting interviews. They interviewed members of the crew yesterday and some air traffic controllers. And today they are actually planning to interview the pilots. All of this in an effort to confirm what we believe to have been the cause, which is that a flock of birds got caught in the engine, causing it to go down on Thursday afternoon.

HOLMES: All right, and as you mentioned there, the cold weather, I believe you said was about six degrees there in New York today. That's causing problems. The current's causing problems. They know where the black box and voice recorder are on the plane. Just the divers can't get down there because of conditions to get to them right now.

But Lily Jamali of our affiliate New York 1, we appreciate you this morning there on the Hudson.

CHO: It's inauguration eve, so to speak. It's the weekend --

HOLMES: Oh, yes, the weekend before.

CHO: The weekend before the historic inauguration of Barack Obama and all aboard. The Obama express is moving out where you can get on the train.


HOLMES: Hi there, everybody. Welcome back to CNN on this probably chilly morning, wherever you may be. It's cold all over the country right now.

CHO: It is chilly.

HOLMES: But I'm T.J. Holmes.

CHO: Including right here in Atlanta. Good morning, everybody. I'm Alina Cho. Betty has the morning off.

Some of the top stories we are following for you this morning.

HOLMES: There's a live picture again. You're just getting a good look at wing there. This is a live picture of New York's frigid Hudson River where investigators are hoping to pull that U.S. Airways jetliner from the water today.

The pilot, Sully, as he's being called by everybody now -- just getting to know him -- he managed to ditch that crippled jet on to the Hudson Thursday saving the lives of 155 people all on board.

His wife says her husband, called shortly after the accident, but didn't say what really had happened.


SULLENBERGER: I was stunned when he called and said there's been an incident and even then I assumed, you know, a tug that maybe bumped the airplane. Your mind never goes to something like this.


HOLMES: Again, she also mentioned when she heard there was an incident, she actually thought he a meant he had a like a fender- bender in the parking lot or something, never thought of a plane crash.

Well, Sully is being hailed now as a national hero.

CHO: Another story we're following for you, a recall linked to Georgia peanut supplier, Peanut Corporation of America is prompting Kellogg Company to recall some of its product. Kellogg officials say they're voluntarily recalling 16 products that contain peanut butter that could be connected to a salmonella outbreak. Tainted peanut butter is blamed in the outbreak that sickened more than 450 people and killed six.

HOLMES: Also, smoke rising over Gaza, once again, this morning, this is the result of more Israeli air strikes. The U.N. says a school was hit, two children were killed, they say. Israel's security cabinet scheduled it vote on a cease-fire plan in a few hours.

CHO: But first, the Obama Express is all ready to roll out of Philadelphia on its whistle-stop tour to the White House. Just like Abraham Lincoln did back in 1861. First, the president-elect will give a speech in the next hour. CNN national correspondent, Jason Carroll, live in Philadelphia to witness it all.

Jason, historic occasions, historic whistle-stop tour. Crowd is gathered there behind you. We're getting pretty close to showtime, aren't we?

CARROLL: Very close, just about 45 minutes away. And Alina, you know, we keep talking about those 50 or so people, those special invited guests from this room who will be able to join the Obama's and well as the Biden's on that whistle-stop tour.

Well, joining me now are three of them. This is the Dowell family, they are from Louisville, Kentucky, going to start out with Mark Dowell, here. First of all, the big question that a lot of people want to know in this room, why do you think you were chosen?

MARK DOWELL, TRAVELING WITH OBAMA: I honestly don't know why. I really can't answer that. But I got to introduce Senator Biden at the time, or Senator Obama, I'm sorry, to Louisville when he came to Louisville. So, and I got to have a little chat with him beforehand, talked to him. I told him I was a third generation Ford employee, and at the time Ford had just made the announcement that they were going to laying off a shift.

So, I got share that experience with him, talk to him about. He listened to everything I had to say, and things are already starting to change a little bit. They actually add new product to tour plant and things are start offing to roll again. But, my financial future, I might not be able to retire like my father and my grandfather did in the past.

CARROLL: Now, I know Mark, we've been given in advance copy of the speech that he's going to be giving here today, in Philadelphia. One of the themes of the speech seems to be about the challenges that the country is facing, and how we're going meet those challenges. Obviously, the auto industry is one of those challenges that we're going to have to be dealing with. What are you expecting to hear today from Obama that you think might help you?

DOWELL: Honestly, I don't know. We have not heard anything about the speech, what he's going to give. I just think Obama's going to be creating new jobs which in return will help us out in the long- run where people will be able to have money to purchase new automobiles.

CARROLL: Also, very quickly, I also want to make a point, Tammy (ph), why don't you widen out here just so we can show Melinda -- Melinda and Miranda. I wasn't ignoring them, Alina, they are shy. Melinda wants to make sure that she gets her seat. So, she's like, you need to wrap this up so I can get back and get my seat, Miranda, as well.

They are just shy, did not want to participate, but they're standing here for moral support. So, you guys have fun at the inauguration. Thank you so very much for joining us, really appreciate it.

DOWELL: Thank you.

CARROLL: So again, Alina, the speech is about to get off in about 45 minutes from now. The speech expected to last about 15 minutes. The train taking off with Mark and his family here, expected to leave at about Noon. Alina, back to you.

CHO: What it would be like to be one of those 50 people aboard that historic train ride. Jason Carroll, Jason, thank you.

Want to look at the Obama whistle-stop express. Barack Obama and his family board the special railcar at about 10:00 a.m. Eastern Time, a little after that. From there they're going to head to Claymont, Delaware. And it will slow to a crawl before moving on. Next stop, Wilmington, Delaware. Vice President-elect Joe Biden hops onboard there, plus we expect to hear from Obama.

From Wilmington, the Obama Express rolls to Edgewood, Maryland it will slow down there, as well. Next stop, Baltimore, where the incoming president will make remarks from Baltimore City Hall. More than 100,000 people are expected.

And from Baltimore, the train rolls toward Washington's Union Station, and a new chapter in American history.

HOLMES: And of course, Obama will be sworn in Tuesday with CNN's coverage of his inauguration begins in just a hot second.

This morning, we will travel along with the Obama express and the historic trek from Washington, D.C. every stop, every speech, every mile. Starting this morning 10:00 a.m. Eastern with that stellar crew you see right there on your screen.

Well, you can bet, there will be plenty of security on Barack Obama's train trip. How do you secure train tracks? How do you secure those miles he's going to be traveling? Jeanne Meserve joining us now from Washington.

Jeanne, this sounds just like a herculean task, here. How exactly do you secure this entire journey of his? You're going to be slowing down and waving. I mean, he has a lot of spots he's going to be stopping at.

JEANNE MESERVE, CNN HOMELAND SECURITY CORRESPONDENT: Well, to put it very simply, T.J., it is going to be a daunting challenge.


BARACK OBAMA (D), PRESIDENT-ELECT: Don't tell me the Democrats... MESERVE (voice-over): The president-elect will journey from the cradle of our democracy to the seat of our government, a trip full of symbolism, history and risk.

Mr. Obama will travel 137 miles on a fixed route with vulnerabilities -- hundreds of bridges that could be sabotaged, tall buildings that could hide snipers and plants that manufacturing use dangerous chemical that, in a terrorist attack, could be released.

RICK HIND, GREENPEACE: When you look at the map of the chemical plants in that route, there is over 10 plants along that route that we can count, that put 100,000 people or more at risk. Half of them, put a million or more at risk.

MESERVE: Today one of those people will be President-elect Obama. The Secret Service won't be specific, but says it is addressing the chemical issue. Sensors detecting not just chemicals, but biological, nuclear and radiological threats will be used along with other technology which officials say they began positioning two weeks ago.

WILLIAM PICKLE, FMR. SECRET SERVICE AGENT: It would tell if you there's a problem with those tracks, if there's been a sabotage of the tracks, if there's explosives nearby.

MESERVE: The Secret Service won't comment on security enhancements to Obama's train, Amtrak, state and local police will help create a safety envelope around it as it moves south.

JOHN O'CONNOR, CHIEF, AMTRAK POLICE: Security will be provided in the air, on the ground and in the water.

MESERVE: There is a long history of presidents taking train trips so people can see them and hear them.


MESERVE: The Secret Service is confident it can keep this president-elect safe.

MICHAEL CHERTOFF, HOMELAND SECURITY SECY.: Remember, Secret Service has taken the president into Iraq, into Afghanistan, into some very hostile places around the world. I'm comfortable that they have the skills, working, of course, with state and local authorities, to protect the president-elect in Pennsylvania and Baltimore and Washington, D.C.


MESERVE: Now, the Federal Aviation Administration is establishing flight restrictions over the train to keep private pilots, news helicopters and any threats away. The flight restrictions will move just as the train does, down those tracks -- T.J.

HOLMES: All right, and I guess to be expected here, there's going to be a lot of symbolism and a lot of history and linkage to Abraham Lincoln, here. They're both from Illinois. He's going to be facing the Lincoln memorial, he's going to be using the Bible Lincoln used, so quite fitting that he's traveling the same tracks, well, maybe not the same tracks, but the same journey, the same train ride Lincoln took?

MESERVE: Yes, and on one of his trips south, Lincoln faced a security challenge and his security personnel made him change trains in Baltimore and they asked him to take off that stovepipe hat and put on a Scottish tam and put on a long cloak as sort of a disguise to bring him down Washington. I will say that the editorial cartoonist of the day had quite a fun time with that. And the popular mythology is he dressed as a woman. Not quite, but he did go in disguise.

HOLMES: All right, a nice piece of history, there. And I guess secret service security has come a long way since those days. Jeanne Meserve for us this morning, thank you so much.

MESERVE: You bet.

CHO: Coming up, stick around, because we are going to show you never before seen video from the Coast Guard of that U.S. Airways jet splash landing on the Hudson River, so stay tuned for that.

Also, a changing of the guard. The outgoing White House press secretary recalls some memorable incidents in the past couple of years.


CHO: A changing of the guard. It happens every four, or this case, every eight years. Time for the old administration to pack up and move out and make room for the new. CNN's White House correspondent, Elaine Quijano, joins us live from the White House, this morning.

Hey, Elaine, good morning.

ELAINE QUIJANO, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Good morning to, Alina. Well, you know, it's interesting, in the 80-year history since there has been official White House press secretaries, only two women have been named to the job: Dee Dee Myers and Dana Perino.

Well, a few weeks ago, I had a chance to sit down with Dana Perino to talk to her about her experiences both at the podium and way from it.


QUIJANO (voice-over): Just days before Christmas, Dana Perino was still sporting a black eye from the now infamous Iraq shoe- throwing incident.

DANA PERINO, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECY.: I ended up with a shiner, a shoe shiner, I called it or a shoe-venir.

QUIJANO: It was another memorable moment in the 15-plus months...

GEORGE W. BUSH, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Thank you, good afternoon to you.

QUIJANO: Since President Bush named her to replace the late Tony Snow as White House secretary.

PERINO: It was about two weeks into the job when I finally realized I'm never going to be like Tony Snow.

QUIJANO: Perino said her first goal was to make briefings less heated, though she did push back.

PERINO: What it says is that I had changed my story and I have not.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It doesn't say that.

PERINO: That's how I took it.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It does not say that.

PERINO: That's how I took it and I am not the only one.

QUIJANO: But chose her confrontations carefully.

PERINO: If I was testy all the time, as woman in this position, I can just imagine what people would have said about me, as well. So, there was a delicate balance, I think, in this position.

QUIJANO: Beyond the West Wing.

PERINO: Everyone knows Peter and Henry, but don't really know me. Sometimes when they -- when I walk them, they think I'm a baby- sitter.

QUIJANO: Perino looking forward to spending more time in her own neighborhood with her husband, Peter and their dog, a Hungarian Vizsla named Henry.

(on camera): What's the thing you'll miss the least about being in the White House?

PERINO: Absolutely, has to be, getting up at 4:00 in the morning. I don't mind working long hours, I don't mind working hard, but getting up when the four is still on the clock is something I hope I never have to go again, unless I'm catching a flight to some exotic location.


QUIJANO: Now, I asked her if January 20, Dana Perino does actually plan to take a long vacation, which she says will include, Alina, a stint doing some volunteer work for President Bush's HIV/AIDS relief program in Africa. And yesterday, we should mention, was her last official White House press briefing. CHO: Oh Boy, she deserves a vacation. But those 4:00 a.m. wake- up calls, Elaine, we know all about those. Don't we?

QUIJANO: Yes, we do. Yes.

CHO: CNN's Elaine Quijano, live for us from the White House. Elaine, thank you, good to see you.

CNN's chief national correspondent, John King also talked with Dana Perino, but the headliner, an exclusive sit-down with Barack Obama. And you can catch that in his new show called "STATE OF THE UNION" airing Sundays at 9:00 a.m. Eastern. "STATE OF THE UNION" debuts tomorrow from 9:00 to 1:00 p.m. Eastern Time.

HOLMES: Really looking forward to that. I wonder if he'll have a Magic Wall for his show, as well.

CHO: He may. Taking over for Wolf who works very, very hard.

HOLMES: Yes, that guy needs a day off.

All right, Reynolds wolf, he takes a lot of days off around here.

CHO: No.


HOLMES: I'm just kidding, Reynolds. We know...

WOLF: In my house? What are you talking about, dude?

HOLMES: That's a good point.

WOLF: There's never a day off in the Wolf house.

HOLMES: Never.

WOLF: Hey, let's look at that forecast as the Obama train goes chug, chug, chugging along from Philadelphia to our nation's capitol. Temperatures along the track are going to be mainly into teens, very chilly out there with a mix of sunshine and clouds. Coming up, we're going to take a look at your weekend forecast, plus take a sneak peek what were you expect for the inauguration, weather-wise.



HOLMES: We're going to have to share this with you. If you ask the weather guy, Reynolds what do you want to talk about coming up? Let's talk about it being cold outside. I guess that's the way to do it.

CHO: It's apropos for much of the nation.

WOLF: Absolutely, I mean, you think about the millions of Americans who have been affected by it. Expecting, give him a -- T.J...

HOLMES: I thought -- I expected, you know, something a little more extensive than that. It's old outside.

WOLF: You know, need to open up like a panel here with an injector button and just push that and have you go through ceiling. My goodness, the goofy questions you get sometimes.

CHO: Oh, it's a love fest, this morning, isn't it?

WOLF: Absolutely.

CHO: I love being between you two.

WOLF: Oh, I'm just teasing. It's all in fun.


WOLF: Hey, you want to see cold? Check out this iReport that we have for you. This is a pretty great story that we have for you. This was actually taken up in the northern plains, if I'm not mistaken, and tell you what, the cold conditions they've had in the Twin Cities, it's still cold today, but it's certainly getting a little better.

Here's a shot that we have. This one's from, let's see, this from Kathy Hedstrand that sent this in. Now, you'd think she's in Iceland or someplace like that. Wrong you are. This happens to be just some snow that's piled up near her home. Certainly a captivating thing to see and they are going to be getting that welcome break.


HOLMES: All right, that was more than just cold. That's what I was looking for.

WOLF: Exactly.

CHO: He's got all the digits. Hey Reynolds, thank you.

Stick around, because we're trying to effort some U.S. Coast Guard video, never before seen of that U.S. Airways jet making a splash landing on to the Hudson River in New York, really landed just like it was a runway. But never before seen video. We're going to try to get that for you before the top of the hour.

Also, Barack Obama will only be the third president ever to have a poet as part of his inauguration. Our Josh Levs is here to tell us about it.

Hey, Josh.

JOSH LEVS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, hey there. You know what? There are a lot of hope for this poet's work. Can she help bring the country together?


CHO: New video just in to CNN, grainy Coast Guard video and take a look, I mean, we are watching it for the first time along with you. That is the U.S. Airways jet that made a splash landing into the Hudson River on Thursday. More than 150 passengers and crew, all got out alive, many of them were just walking on the wing, literally, waiting to be rescued by ferries that happened to be in the area.

You can imagine it would have been just a possibly a different outcome had this happened at night, in the dark of night. It's just incredible to look at this actually coming down, we've never seen this before.

HOLMES: And as you look at this video, again, if we can, just we run one more time, here. We're trying to give you the best view, it's grainy, but what you can mainly make out is just the trail kind of behind it. That's it actually hitting the water and that splash coming up, so you can make out.

And you see it pretty much comes to a stop right there and that's the picture we end up seeing afterwards.

CHO: And you know what's incredible, T.J., we talked about this a bit earlier, is that passengers, some of them, did not know, the landing was so smooth, they did not know that they were landing on water until they looked out the window. Can you imagine that?


CHO: So that really speaks to the skill, really, and the expertise of Sully, as he's being called, the hero pilot who splash landed that plane right into the Hudson River. That plane, by the way, is still there, they're hoping to get it out of the water, obviously a key piece of evidence -- and you're looking live there at New York City, where there you see part of the wing -- but they're hoping to take that plane out today, and they're hoping to find both of the engines, which are somewhere on the bottom of the water, so, hoping to recover all that today.

HOLMES: We will continue to cover that. And also inauguration coverage continues, right here. Our Josh Levs keeping an eye on things on the Internet, you were talking about earlier, but also, someone who's participating in the actual inauguration on Tuesday, a poet?

LEVS: Yes, that's right. I was just telling you guys, you know, there's this poet, who is only going to be the fourth poet ever in history to speak at an inauguration. She's actually a friend of Barack Obama's. He asked her to do this. Now she's going to have the biggest audience in the world, I asked what we can expect.


ELIZABETH ALEXANDER, INAUGURATION POET: You can expect a poem that will hopefully 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 every day, but also giving us a way to look at the every day in a new fashion.

I think it's very important to think about how our history has brought us to this moment.

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 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 arts and literature can play in helping to bring our country together."

Talk to me 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 what poetry does is it offers us examples of language distilled, language at 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 able to build coalitions across differences.

LEVS: You're the only fourth poet ever to take place in an inauguration and in distinguished company: Robert Frost in 1961 for John F. Kennedy's inauguration, Maya Angelou in 1993 for Bill Clinton and then Miller Williams, 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'm so pleased to be in that company.


LEVS: And while she's not giving us any details, she did say that what she writes, guys, will speak to people everywhere, whether it's in America or all across the globe.

CHO: I mean, what an honor, really. Only three people before her have done that, so that's incredible. Josh, thank you.

HOLMES: And you can watch the inauguration on Share this historic event with your friends and family, as well, on, where else? Facebook, everybody's using it.

CHO: Except for me.

HOLMES: And we'll get you there. Update your Facebook status all in one place. Again, be a part of history, go to and you can RSVP. Stay tuned.

CHO: We're back after the break.