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ANDERSON COOPER 360 DEGREES
The Inauguration of Barack Obama
Aired January 20, 2009 - 22:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: And welcome to this edition of A.C. 360, live from the nation's capital. I'm joined along tonight with Campbell Brown in the middle of one of the biggest celebrations this city has ever seen.
CAMPBELL BROWN, CNN ANCHOR: That's right, Anderson, huge, 1.5 million people today on the Mall, stretching from the Lincoln Memorial up to the Capitol, where Barack Obama at noon today became the 44th president of the United States.
COOPER: And now the partying is in full swing, 10 official inaugural balls and formal celebrations all across town.
The president and Mrs. Obama -- that's the Commander in Chief Ball right there, where we just saw the commander in chief dancing with his first lady and members of the military. That is the Home State Ball right there -- a number, seven more balls the Obamas have to go to tonight. We will be taking you to most of them, seeing what the Obamas see, and learning in as they speak and as they dance.
But we want to show you more on the history-making event that led up to the celebrations tonight and the hard work that begins tomorrow.
Candy Crowley, on the 360 transition team.
CANDY CROWLEY, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The majesty of democracy and the making of history.
BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I, Barack Hussein Obama...
CROWLEY: It was a moment in time 200 years in the making, a million-and-a-half people surrounding iconic reminders of American history, as Barack Obama became the first black man to be president of the United States. No need for adjectives or explanation.
OBAMA: So help me God.
JOHN ROBERTS, CHIEF JUSTICE OF THE SUPREME COURT: Congratulations, Mr. President.
(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)
("HAIL TO THE CHIEF" PLAYS)
CROWLEY: But, tomorrow, history is history. Presidents are about what's next.
OBAMA: Our time of standing pat, of protecting narrow interests and putting off unpleasant decisions, that time has surely passed.
CROWLEY: It was an artful speech of balance, befitting a man with big dreams and caution.
OBAMA: Today, I say to you that the challenges we face are real, they are serious and they are many. They will not be met easily or in a short span of time. But know this America: They will be met.
(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)
CROWLEY: Barack Obama thanked George Bush for his service, and then signaled his intentions to undo much of what has been done.
It went unspoken that that includes the closing of the Guantanamo Bay prison.
OBAMA: We reject as false the choice between our safety and our ideals.
CROWLEY: And to the world that watched, from North Korea to the Middle East, Obama offered an opening...
OBAMA: We will extend a hand, if you are willing to unclench your fist.
CROWLEY: ... but warned of a nation willing to act.
OBAMA: For those who seek to advance their aims by inducing terror and slaughtering innocents, we say to you now that, "Our spirit is stronger and cannot be broken. You cannot outlast us, and we will defeat you."
(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)
CROWLEY: So, on this day, he wrote history. Tomorrow, he goes to work. The Obama era begins.
COOPER: And it begins tomorrow, really, in terms of the work, early-morning meetings at the White House tomorrow. Do we know what the president has planned tomorrow?
CROWLEY: Well, we do know that there will probably be an executive order. Well, he has said throughout the campaign that he wants to meet with his Joint Chiefs of Staff on the first day in office, whether that will be taken literally, but he wants to talk about the beginning of the pullout in Iraq.
There are any number of things. Probably the hottest thing on that plate right now is, A, getting a vote on Secretary of State Clinton and also on his treasury secretary. But, also, what he really needs is from Capitol Hill. And that's that $800 billion or so stimulus package.
So, they have to do that. So, there will be lots of activity, but they're going to need to get their computers working first, I think.
COOPER: That's probably true, although, Candy, just so you know, we're looking at pictures of the Youth Ball, where the Obamas are expected next.
And I know, Candy, that's where probably you're headed as soon as this -- this live shot is done.
COOPER: So, I know you're anxious to get there.
But I do want to ask you. I talked to David Axelrod, senior adviser to the president, just a short time ago. And I asked him about that meeting with the Joint Chiefs, which then candidate Obama said he would have on day one. It sounded like they are not planning on necessarily having it tomorrow. He said, well, that's certainly something we can discuss.
CROWLEY: Right, Iraq.
Listen, there -- I think that there is no doubt where this president is headed and that, in this first week, what presidents really like to do is establish direction. So, I think some time between now and the end of this week, you will hear about his initial and biggest campaign promise, and that was ending the war in Iraq.
I think you will hear about that stimulus package. And I think you will see some other things, including send an executive order lifting the ban on certain kinds of stem cell research. So, you will see a lot of things simply because, in this opening, it's kind of a time for presidents to position themselves and sort of send that signal, OK, I'm in charge.
COOPER: Well, Candy's favorite performer, Kanye West, just finished singing.
COOPER: Candy, we're going to let you go. Thank you very much.
COOPER: Again, I know you want to listen to a little bit of Kanye.
Gary Tuchman is also standing by, also listening to Kanye West.
The Obamas are expected there shortly, Gary?
GARY TUCHMAN, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: That's right. The Obamas are expected here within the hour.
But, right now, Kanye West is still performing, and he's rocking the house here. A short time ago, Kid Rock was playing. Fall Out Boy will play later. But this Youth Ball is a very hot ticket, Anderson, so hot that, right now, as we speak, the fire marshal is standing outside the door of this ballroom in the Washington Hilton. No one else is being allowed inside. And the capacity of this room is 2,250.
Perhaps one of the reason it's so crowded is because Barack Obama had so much youthful enthusiasm and a lot of youth votes during this election. He was so grateful for these votes, he held the Youth Ball. But, also, this ball cost less than the other balls. Most of the other official balls tonight cost 150 bucks a piece. This ball cost $75 a piece.
And this is the only ball, Anderson, where there is very heavy emphasis on proofing, because it's for people from 18 to 35. But most of the people here seem 18 to 23. Anyone between the ages of 18 to 21 does not get a bracelet and is not allowed to drink.
So, they're anxious to see all the performers tonight, including Kanye West. But they're here to see Barack and Michelle Obama. And they're expected to be here around 10:45 p.m. Eastern time -- Anderson.
COOPER: We are waiting for the Obamas' arrival. We are going to of course bring that to you. It should be interesting to see him.
Let's just listen in a little bit to Kanye West as we go to break.
Our coverage continues all the way to midnight and well beyond, until probably about 3:00 a.m.
We will be right back.
COOPER: You're looking at Kanye West performing at the Youth Ball, a ball which the Obamas are expected to attend within this hour. They have already appeared at the -- the Home State Ball.
Let's go over there, that we find Pastor T.D. Jakes is standing by. He's attending the Home State Ball tonight. Our own Roland Martin is there as well.
Pastor Jakes, it's good to have you. You gave the sermon this morning at the church, at St. John's Church, which the Obamas attended before this inaugural day. What did you talk about in the service this morning?
BISHOP T.D. JAKES, PASTOR, THE POTTER'S HOUSE: I began to just share with him how important it is that we use our faith at times like these, when our nation is facing such perilous times, that all of us, not only this administration, but the American people collectively, have a responsibility to overcome the unusual challenges that we face in this hour, economically, morally, health care, and so many other things, but that, with a strong Constitution and a faith-filled attitude, that we can persevere and come out on our feet.
COOPER: I also understand that you made -- or outgoing President Bush made a phone call to you, one of the last phone calls he made. If you are able to, what -- what was that conversation like?
JAKES: He just expressed to me, you know, that he was surrounded by his friends and his family and was looking forward to getting back to Texas.
I can't even imagine what eight years of being in that hot seat of leadership would do to a person. But he seemed upbeat and seemed like he was courageously looking forward to moving into a more obscure position and enjoying his time with his family and friends.
COOPER: I'm curious, Pastor, to hear your thoughts upon watching the inauguration of our 44th president today, one day after the Martin Luther King Day, many people drawing a line directly from what Dr. King talked about two miles away at the Lincoln Memorial some 45 years ago to what Barack Obama was able to achieve today on the west front of the Capitol.
JAKES: I certainly think that there's a correlation.
Today, we look at the fruit of an issue and an era in our lives of which I believe Dr. King and his work was the root from which this fruit emanated from, and, not only Dr. King, but a process throughout history bringing us to the point that we are today. Forty years ago, this would not have been possible, but, today, it's a life-changing thing.
Anderson, the thing that is most amazing to me, it's not just the election of President Obama, as wonderful as that may be for many people who have waited for African-Americans to have this kind of acknowledgment, but far more importantly is the synergy that I feel in the streets, as Democrats, Republicans, liberals, and conservatives, blacks, whites, Hispanics working together.
There was such a love in Washington, D.C., for a mass of people. You had to really be here to feel what was happening amongst the people in this city.
Pastor Jakes, I want to bring into the conversation -- and stay with us, but I want to bring into the conversation our own Roland Martin, who is here in the Newseum one floor below where we are right now.
Roland, taking off on what Pastor Jakes was talking about, it was also not just inter -- you know, between parties, Democrats and Republicans, on the streets today. It was also intergenerational. You saw many families of grandparents and parents and children all together, and -- and kind of talking to one another about what the older generation had experienced, and the new generation, what -- what they must do moving forward.
ROLAND MARTIN, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: Anderson, and, partly, it's because President Obama straddles two major generations.
He has a foot, if you will, in the baby boomer generation. He's 47 years old. But he also identifies with Gen X. He is a part of what is called Generation Jones. That's one of the labels being applied.
And, so, therefore, he's able to -- to communicate with both. I will use his music choice, for example. He has an affinity for Motown, but also Jay-Z. And, so, when you're able to talk to both generations, he operates as a bridge, because you have folks in one who one say, they don't understand us, Gen -- baby boomers say Gen X, they don't understand us.
And, so, he's able to talk to both of them and bring both to the table. I think that's one of his benefits, being able to communicate with two major generations.
COOPER: Roland Martin, Pastor Jakes, appreciate your time. I know...
COOPER: Go ahead, Pastor Jakes.
JAKES: I just wanted to say one thing.
I certainly agree with what Roland has shared. In addition to his appeal throughout generations, I think many, many people felt it was imperative to bring their children here.
Our younger generation has not had a moment like this, particularly amongst minorities, that they have touched history in such a powerful, prolific, and profound way. I myself brought my 14- year-old son, so that we might smear the next generation with some sense of hope and possibility and potential. It certainly is a moment that families galvanized around.
COOPER: It's -- I -- I second that. I was on the Mall a lot yesterday.
And just to see so many young people just intermingling with people, complete strangers, from other generations, hearing their stories about what they went through, it was some truly remarkable moments out on that Mall yesterday and today, and really over the last several days.
Pastor Jakes, I'm going to let you get back to the party. I appreciate you talking with us tonight. And, Roland, we will talk to you.
JAKES: Thank you.
COOPER: Our coverage continues, much more ahead. Up next, we're going to check in with our political panel.
President Obama has a lot of challenges ahead. We're keeping him honest about setting -- setting -- living up to the -- the promises that he has made thus far.
There was also a remarkable moment at the swearing-in ceremony today, where the chief justice of the Supreme Court, John Roberts, messed up the swear -- the -- the oath of office, an oath which is written in the Constitution. It's not a very long oath. But it was actually kind of a -- some might have thought it was a funny moment, others said a dramatic moment. We will let you see and decide for yourself.
Plus, we will give you all the highlights of this day this nation will never forget, and what a lot of people are talking about today, Michelle Obama, her fashion sense, and what her kids are doing tonight -- some new updates on what we have learned.
We will be right back.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
OBAMA: What is required of us now is a new era of responsibility -- a recognition, on the part of every American, that we have duties to ourselves, our nation and the world, duties that we do not grudgingly accept but rather seize gladly, firm in the knowledge that there is nothing so satisfying to the spirit, so defining of our character than giving our all to a difficult task.
This is the price and the promise of citizenship.
This is the source of our confidence: the knowledge that God calls on us to shape an uncertain destiny.
This is the meaning of our liberty and our creed, why men and women and children of every race and every faith can join in celebration across this magnificent mall. And why a man whose father less than 60 years ago might not have been served at a local restaurant can now stand before you to take a most sacred oath.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: Well, before he did, he, Mrs. Obama, President Bush and the first lady meeting at the White House before their ride to Capitol Hill, Mrs. Obama bringing a gift, a pen and a journal for Mrs. Bush, we know now.
Later, after the -- the swearing-in, the Bushes departing the Capitol on a Marine chopper dubbed Executive -- that is the gift- giving right here. And then this is the Bushes departing to their waiting Marine chopper for a short journey to Andrews Air Force Base, and then back home to Texas, where they are tonight, in the state.
I actually want to take you to a ball where Jack Johnson is performing. This is A Home States Ball.
Let's -- let's just listen in a little.
COOPER: A short time ago, about 25 or 30 minutes ago, President Obama and first lady Michelle Obama appeared at the Commander in Chief Ball. We were able to bring you a portion of that. We had to take a commercial break for some technical reasons.
So, we weren't going to -- we weren't, unfortunately, able to bring it to you entirely. If we hadn't had to take that break, we would have, of course.
There were some really moving moments, where -- this is the -- the Obamas dancing. But, earlier, they spoke to -- President -- this is at the Commander in Chief ball. President Obama spoke earlier with some troops currently serving in Afghanistan. And, then, after this dance, they danced with some members of the armed forces.
As we watch this, I'm joined by senior political analyst David Gergen, "Huffington Post" editor at large Hilary Rosen, BET's Pamela Gentry, and CNN contributor Alex Castellanos.
Alex, Bill Clinton had a -- I don't know if difficult is the right word for a relationship with the U.S. military. And many Democrats seem not to have been able to rally the military, at least the brass, behind them as much as some Republicans have. It seems like Barack Obama and Michelle Obama also are working very hard to change the relationship with the military.
ALEX CASTELLANOS, CNN POLITICAL CONTRIBUTOR: Very hard and probably very effectively to do that.
The Democratic Party has suffered at the ballot box since George McGovern and the Vietnam War. They're seen as the party of pacifism, not security.
Barack Obama, at the end of this campaign, pulled nearly even with -- with John McCain and Republicans on that issue. And now he's reassuring a lot of Americans watching tonight that he's comfortable with the military, he's comfortable in the role of commander in chief. That can have long-term effects and advantage for the Democratic Party at the ballot box.
COOPER: And Michelle Obama has been working -- and, if we can, we will continue to try to show you video from that, both of the dancing and also of them talking with -- with troops currently serving in Afghanistan.
Michelle Obama has been working very hard with -- with veterans, with -- with families of those serving.
DAVID GERGEN, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: Yes. I think they're making headway, Anderson.
It's important to remember, when Bill Clinton became president, nine straight presidents had served in a uniform. He had not. So, he had a strange relationship right from the beginning. He had also been -- been against the Vietnam War. And then he stumbled on the don't ask/don't tell. All of that left him in a hole with the military.
And it was awkward with a lot of his staff. He worked very hard. And, by the end of his administration, he was much closer.
But, for Barack Obama, it's so important to get this relationship right. He's -- I think "The New York Times" is reporting tonight he's meeting with General Petraeus tomorrow to talk about Iraq. It's been reported that he had an awkward conversation with General Petraeus on his international trip.
So, those kind of questions that are facing him now, it's so important he make this headway. And I think he -- I think this was a very successful moment for him, coming to this armed services ball.
COOPER: Looming, of course, in the future is also the issue of don't ask/don't tell about gays serving openly in the military, something Barack Obama has said he plans to reverse and change, and make it possible for gays and lesbians to serve openly
That, of course, may affect his relationship to the military. We will continue to see that -- no sense on a timetable on that, no word.
But we are just getting a picture, David, for the first time of the letter that President Bush left for President Obama there. It was left on the desk in the Oval Office. This is a tradition. Do we know how far -- long back this -- this -- this goes back?
What is that? Trying to look at -- there's a number, 44, the number 44 on the letter.
GERGEN: Do we know anything about what's in it?
COOPER: Well, we don't know what's in it. That is just the picture. But this is a tradition.
HILARY ROSEN, CNN POLITICAL CONTRIBUTOR: We will never know what's in it.
COOPER: Other presidents have left letters like this before.
GERGEN: I think it's a fairly recent tradition. I -- I think President Reagan participated in it. I -- I honestly can't tell you when it started. But it's -- it's a nice tradition, isn't it?
COOPER: I'm very curious to know what is in that letter.
ROSEN: You know, there -- there have been several conversations between Barack Obama and George Bush. We remember, right after the election, there was a private meeting, and then there was a meeting of all of the ex-presidents.
And, so, I think, actually, when I look back on previous transitions, it feels like there's been more discussion between these two presidents than there has been ever before.
COOPER: Well, there really has never been -- there really -- Pamela, there really has never been a transition probably in our lifetime like this, I mean, given the current economic crisis, given the need of the president-elect to start taking over a leadership role far earlier than...
PAMELA GENTRY, SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST, BET: I think that history's going to look back at this transition, and the first thing they're going to say is, he was probably the most active president- elect that we have ever seen.
I mean, he really did come in as -- almost come into office on Election Day, because, even though he continued to remind us that we only had one president at a time, it goes to show that he was being asked -- he was being called upon so frequently, that he had to keep reminding us that we only have one president at a time.
ROSEN: And going -- going back to this military question, though, it's very fascinating that this is really the first president we have had elected beyond the Vietnam divisions that lasted so many years in this country.
And I think, in -- in many respects, Democrats learned a lot from those years. And it became, let's -- let's object to the policy, let's object to the strategy, but let's make sure those troops feel supported. And that rhetoric and that coddling, if you will, of the troops as real American heroes has been something that Democrats have -- have come back to.
And I think that Barack Obama epitomized that in this campaign. He started as an anti-war candidate, and -- and -- and, yet, the troops still feel supported.
COOPER: We have got to take a short break. We have a lot more coverage ahead.
Campbell Brown is standing by as well.
Campbell, a long night ahead for all of us.
BROWN: Indeed, but a -- but a fun one, still, Anderson.
When we come up after the break, we have got a lot of serious issues. We do want to cover the terror threat, President Obama also talking tough today with a message for those who may want to strike the U.S. We're going to dig deeper into that with our guests and political panel, Gloria Borger, Jeff Toobin, John Ridley, and Kevin Madden.
We will also talk about the screw-up, I guess you could call it, of the chief justice today, when they were doing the oath.
And then celebrity sightings, the who's-who at a nightclub here in Washington, big names gathering to celebrate the historic day, as you check out Jack Johnson.
And our "Shot of the Day," as we mentioned before, the awkward oath of office, the mixed-up words between the President Obama and chief justice of the United States.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ROBERTS: ... that I will execute the office of president to the United States faithfully...
OBAMA: ... that I will execute...
ROBERTS: ... the office -- faithfully the president -- the office of president of the United...
(END VIDEO CLIP)
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
OBAMA: We will not apologize for our way of life. Nor will we waver in its defense. And for those who seek to advance their aims by inducing terror and slaughtering innocents, we say to you now that our spirit is stronger and cannot be broken. You cannot outlast us, and we will defeat you.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BROWN: Forty-fourth president of the United States sounding very much like the commander in chief in clear and strong language. Obama warning terror groups and America's other enemies to think twice before striking against U.S. interests.
Minutes after he ended his speech, President Obama sat down at the president's room in the Capitol for the traditional signing ceremony. Obama signed nomination papers for congressional leaders. He may also put his signature on some important executive orders in the next few days, including ones that would reverse long-standing Bush policies.
We want to welcome our panel back and, as we do, let me just point out that we are looking at pictures of Obama and Michelle, of course, arriving at the Youth Ball, which I think is, what, No. 4 for the evening? Six more to go?
Gary Tuchman was there earlier. It was, as he described it, the loudest ball of the evening. Let's listen in for a second.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Obama! Obama! Obama!
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Obama! Obama! Obama!
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Obama! Obama! Obama!
OBAMA: How is everybody doing tonight? I've been looking for this ball for quite some time. Because when you look at the history of this campaign, what started out as an improbable journey where nobody gave us a chance, was carried forward, was inspired by, was driven by, was energized by young people all across America.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes, we can! Yes, we can! Yes, we can!
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes, we can! Yes, we can! Yes, we can!
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes, we can! Yes, we can! Yes, we can!
OBAMA: I can't tell you -- I can't tell you how many people have come up to Michelle and myself and said, "You know, I was kind of skeptical. But then my daughter, she -- she wouldn't budge. She just told me I needed to vote for Obama. Suddenly, I saw my son. He -- he was out volunteering and traveling and knocking on doors and getting involved like never before."
And so a new generation inspired previous generations. And that's how change happens in America. It doesn't just happen in elections and campaigns. It's happened in service all across America. Young people getting involved in Teach for America, AmeriCorps, people teaching in schools and working in community organizations, joining the Peace Corps.
And as this is broadcast all around the world, we know that young people everywhere are -- are in the process of imagining something different than what has come before. Where there is war, they imagine peace. Where there is hunger, they imagine people being able to feed themselves. Where there is disease, they imagine a public health system that works for everybody. Where they imagine bigotry, they imagine togetherness.
The future will be in your hands if you are able to sustain the kind of energy and focus that you showed on this campaign. I promise you that America will get stronger and more united, more prosperous, more secure. You are going to make it happen.
And Michelle and I thank you from the bottom of our hearts. God bless you and God bless the United States of America.
Hit it, band. BROWN: And as we mentioned, this is the Youth Ball. This is a ball for the 18- to 35-year-olds. And they are about to take their fourth dance of the evening.
OBAMA: That's what's called old school. Have a great night, guys. Love you.
BROWN: Old school. Not the kind of dancing we're probably going to see at the Youth Ball for the rest of the evening.
When we come back, a lot to talk about, including Michelle Obama, the dress, the dress that is getting so much attention. Gary Tuchman got an up-close view. We'll hear from him a little bit later, as well.
And also those moves she was making on the dance floor. All of that ahead. Stay with us. A lot more to come.
BROWN: Well, we know for certain that at least one piece of history made today will end up in the Smithsonian. And that would be Michelle Obama's inaugural gown.
But it's not the only fashion statement she made today. The dress she wore to the inaugural ceremony, also scrutinized greatly. What message did she send? How was it received? We're going to get the scoop on all that from style expert Robert Verdi, joining us right now, along with Mary Alice Stephenson, celebrity stylist and contributing editor at "Harper's Bazaar."
So Robert, let me start with you here. A lot of buzz surrounding what first lady Michelle Obama would wear tonight.
ROBERT VERDI, STYLE EXPERT: Yes.
BROWN: Now we've seen it. This one-shoulder white dress by 26- year-old designer Jason Wu, right? Did I get it right?
VERDI: You did. Jason Wu, who's kind of a name, actually, in...
VERDI: He was born in Taiwan and is an American fashion designer. And not unlike Isabel Toledo who was born in Cuba and works in the American fashion system. Michelle is embracing the diversity that exists in the great fashion community here in New York City.
BROWN: So -- and Toledo did her dress she wore earlier in the day. But tell us, what do you make of the choice of the inaugural gown as we watch this dance? VERDI: I think that you could go a number of places. It has a little bit of a prom quality, but I think what's there is this fairy- tale quality that I think Michelle and Obama really represent very accurately at this moment in history.
And I think the dress has been modified, though. My guess is that it's an original design and this is not necessarily any information that I have as matter of fact. But I'm going to say from an opinion I think it was designed as a strapless dress and that she added that one shoulder to it to make it easier to wear so that there wouldn't be any slippage and that it would be something that she could make through the night.
That's just a guess from looking at the way the dress is actually constructed. I don't know if that's true.
Mary Alice, shed some light on that for me.
BROWN: Mary Alice, what do you think? We definitely wouldn't want any slippage.
MARY ALICE STEPHENSON, STYLIST, CONTRIBUTING EDITOR, "HARPER'S BAZAAR": Robert, we definitely wouldn't want any slippage. I talked to Jason tonight. And actually, this dress was designed specifically for Michelle as you see it tonight.
Jason found out, like the rest of us, what she was wearing on TV. Was crying screams of delight. This is a young designer who's been in the fashion business for three years. He is 26 years old. And she put him on the map today.
I think it was a fantastic choice. In a time where stars are paid to wear dresses on the red carpet, don't choose in a way that is new or fresh, kudos to Michelle Obama for really focusing on youth in fashion.
VERDI: I agree with that. I think that she's made some great choices.
BROWN: Yes. Well, talk a little bit about the contrast, though, between she and Laura Bush, for example, or Hillary Clinton or other former first ladies.
VERDI: Laura Bush wore a white...
BROWN: What does she bring in terms of her overall image, the style she's going to project? How different will it be?
VERDI: I think that what she's done is actually shined a light on young designers that otherwise go relatively unknown. And she changes the course of fashion history, because these designers end up in the canon of fashion. And 30 or 40 years from now a new generation of young designers will use this moment as inspiration, the optimism, and it will be reflected in Michelle's wardrobe.
I think it's interesting that she's followed course -- she's followed the course of many first ladies, wearing white on this very special night. Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis wore Oleg Cassini in 1961. That was white. James Galanos on Nancy Reagan in 1981. Oscar De La Renta on Laura Bush in 2005. All wore white dresses.
And even as far back as Mary Todd Lincoln in 1861. She also wore white to the inauguration of President Abraham Lincoln.
STEPHENSON: Michelle dresses like us. She's 45 years old. She dresses in a feminine, glamorous way that is very realistic. She understands how to mix up designers, high and low.
And it's been a long time since someone has been sexy in the White House and youthful and vibrant with her fashion choices in the White House. And you know, we've seen a lot of buttoned-up first ladies. And this is a great moment for American fashion.
BROWN: All right.
VERDI: There is a contemporary feeling that she has that no other first lady has brought since Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis.
BROWN: Yes. All right. Robert Verdi and Mary Alice Stephenson, thanks to you both. Appreciate it.
VERDI: Thank you, Campbell.
BROWN: Anderson, your views on the dress? Would you like to share?
COOPER: Yes. I really don't have an opinion on it. I think they are just a very cool couple, though. It was interesting to see them at the Youth Ball, Barack Obama speaking a language to that audience which, you know, I think he told the band, "Kick it" at one point. Or "hit it." I don't think we've heard a president tell a band to "hit it" in a very, very long time. Really just remarkable to see them and how relaxed he is in front of that young crowd.
A lot more balls ahead. Plenty of celebrating ahead. Coming up, we're going to take you live to a ball that's being billed as the hot late-night bash on the inauguration circuit. Courteney Cox, David Arquette hosting. Rihanna, Sheryl Crow performing. As we said, a hot ticket. A lot ahead. Stay tuned.
COOPER: And there's the picture at the White House. We're told Sasha and Malia had a number of friends over. They're apparently not having a sleepover, as some had reported earlier, but they did have some friends over. I'm not sure if they're still up at this late hour. Probably a little bit past their bedtime.
But we know their parents are definitely up and about, moving between balls. We saw them just a moment ago at the Youth Ball. Remarkable to watch them, the intimacy of them dancing in front of this crowd and the ease with which our president addressed this young crowd. Clearly, his level of comfort among young people who played such an instrumental role in his -- in his campaign was clear.
This, the scene. Gary Tuchman is standing by as we watch what happened just a few moments ago.
Gary, let's talk over the images. How -- the crowd must have loved this. It was -- it was quite something to watch on television.
GARY TUCHMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: First of all, Anderson, Barack Obama is 12 years too old to be at the Youth Ball, but they let him come in anyway. You have to be 18 to 35, or you're supposed to be, to come to this ball. Obviously, he's the star of the night here.
People have been waiting in line outside the Washington Hilton for 2 1/2 hours in the cold before they were allowed in. And a lot of these macho guys had no coats. So they came in, they were absolutely freezing, but they wanted to see Barack and Michelle Obama. And they were delighted to hear him speak and then see him dance with his wife, Michelle. And then Barack Obama said, "That's old school." And that certainly got a rousing response from the people here.
Anderson, it's a very different ball then I've ever been to before. I've been to a few inaugural balls over the years. A lot of them, to be honest with you, are quite cheesy. This is not a cheesy ball. This is the place to be. And I can tell you that, because the fire marshal is outside this ballroom right now, not allowing anyone else in. Police are outside the hotel talking to angry people who want to come in. There are more than 2,250 people inside this room right now.
And usually, after the new president of the United States speaks to the people at the balls, everyone starts leaving pretty quickly, especially if it's getting late. No one has left this ball in the Washington Hilton yet. They're still here.
And what's interesting about this ball, unlike most of them, not everyone can drink. Because you have to have a bracelet around your wrist to be able to drink, because there are a lot of people under the age of 21 here. So not everyone is drinking, but everyone is very festive.
Before Barack Obama spoke, Kanye West performed. Kid Rock performed. So everyone was pretty primed. Kanye West and Kid Rock usually aren't the warm-up act. But when you have the president of the United States showing up with his wife, you automatically become the warm-up act.
So it's very unusual. The fire marshals, they're still standing out there, not allowing people in. There are angry people outside, but lots of happy people inside -- Anderson.
COOPER: A lot of people very happy when -- when -- not only when they danced but also when Barack Obama said that thing about "That's what we call -- that's what we call old school." Let's take a look at that moment.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) OBAMA: That's what's called old school.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: One of the first presidents to use the term "old school," as well.
You know, it's definitely, with our panel here, Pamela Gentry, just watching them, it is -- it is a young, vital couple. And that is clearly on display.
GENTRY: It is. It's just interesting for me to notice what people pick up on. Like him saying "old school" does not really sound that different to me. Now, I don't think I'm that young, but it is something that is said quite frequently.
And I guess he bought a chili dog or whatever, when he was there with Mayor Fenty and at the end, the waitress said, "Well, do you -- do I owe you any change?"
And he said, "No, we're straight." I was shocked that that was in the paper. I said, doesn't everyone say, "We're straight"? I mean, I didn't know that that was something that someone would report on.
GENTRY: Because it's really obvious that they're comfortable with each other and that their relationship. And I think that's really what everyone likes.
And I have to say this. It's a wonderful role model. It's just great to see such a nice American, African-American family in this role.
CASTELLANOS: This is the danger, I think, for Republicans for the next 25 years. Barack Obama and Michelle walk in -- the president of the United States walks into this ball, he's at home. He is comfortable. He's working without a teleprompter, unlike at the Commander in Chief Ball, when he was speaking to the troops. In his element. Every young person there had their camera phone, taking pictures. He was in his element.
If -- if he can hold onto this vote, Democrats will be in power in a while.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Those kids fired him up. They did.
COOPER: There's no doubt about it. You could see the ease with which he speaks. I think when he was at the Commander in Chief Ball he was actually speaking off a teleprompter. At the Neighborhood Ball and at this ball, clearly, he was just speaking off the cuff. And there was a level of comfort there we didn't see at some of the other balls.
What happened today here in Washington was viewed around the world. We saw people from around the world here on the Mall. We saw flags from all over the place. But we want to show you how people around the world literally watched today what happened. We'll show you their reactions ahead.
COOPER: Fall Out Boy performing at the Youth Ball in Washington, D.C., where we've just seen the Obamas. They are now on their way to yet another ball, which we will bring to you, as well.
In his speech today President Obama had a message for the world, and the world was watching. There's no doubt about that. We'll see what our foes and friends are thinking.
But first, the 56th inaugural parade started later than expected. It was well worth the wait. The president and first family were in the enclosed reviewing stand to salute and celebrate the 13,000 people who marched before them. The route covered 1.7 miles. It is a tradition on inaugural day, and a wonderful one, at that.
Beyond our borders, though, billions were taking note of the inauguration. This may have been the most watched television event of our lifetime.
Tom Foreman joins us with more on the global reaction -- Tom.
TOM FOREMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: We know how many people were watching here. In Washington, D.C., of course, this was the center of all the activity. We saw the enormous crowds in this town. But other towns were busy, too.
In New York right now in Times Square and up in Harlem, look at this. Big crowds out in the street, watching everything that was going on on a big screen out there so they could see it.
In Memphis, Tennessee, look at these folks: so, so happy as they watched the returns about Obama as he spoke about his plans up ahead.
And then out here in Los Angeles, yet another big crowd all gathered out here to watch what was going on with Obama and very, very happy about it.
But the simple truth is there were big audiences all over the world. Let's take this map and crumple it up and get rid of it and start over here in Indonesia.
Look at this woman. Big sign, "Obama," right on her head up there in paint, celebrating. Here is in Japan. The town called Obama, Japan, where people were celebrating and very happy about everything.