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THE SITUATION ROOM
President Obama, First Lady Walk in Parade; Collage of Photos of Inauguration Day
Aired January 20, 2009 - 16:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
WOLF BLITZER, CNN ANCHOR: To our viewers in the United States and around the world, you're in THE SITUATION ROOM.
Right now we're continuing our coverage of the inauguration of Barack Obama.
We want to welcome our viewers.
I'm Wolf Blitzer, here atop the roof at the Newseum.
You are looking at these pictures of the presidential motorcade making its way down Pennsylvania Avenue toward the White House, where crowds have gathered all along the way. Lots of excited folks standing by to get a glimpse of the president of the United States.
And we're all wondering, at what point will he actually get out of that limousine, together with the first lady, Michelle Obama, and start walking a little bit and waving to some lucky, lucky people, who will get an opportunity to get a quick glance of the first couple?
Anderson Cooper is here helping us with our coverage.
Anderson, you know, it's been a remarkably historic day. A little bit tempered, at least right now, by the breaking news that we've been covering, that Ted Kennedy apparently had a seizure in the middle of that luncheon up on Capitol Hill and was rushed to a local hospital.
ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: That happened about an hour and a half ago. We're trying to get an update on his condition.
His seizure was said to be rather lengthy, even he was seizing as he was taken away in a wheelchair. But Senator Orrin Hatch, a close friend of his, though he is a conservative and, of course, Senator Kennedy is a liberal Democrat, Orrin Hatch saw him being loaded into the ambulance, and Senator Kennedy kind of smiled a little bit to him. Orrin Hatch saying he thought that was a sign that perhaps the Senator would be OK.
So we certainly hope that is the case.
And Barack Obama gave some short thoughts toward Senator Kennedy, but this is a day of tradition, a day which moves forward despite that problem.
BLITZER: And we're just getting late-minute reports that he seems to be doing a little better. He's been speaking to his family, Senator Kennedy. And we, of course, only wish him the best.
Soledad O'Brien is here helping in our coverage. As well, David Gergen, our senior political analyst. We have a special guest, the Reverend Jesse Jackson, who is here as well.
You know, we've been seeing a bus, Reverend Jackson, and I want to see if we can get that shot. It's a metro bus along this parade route. It looks to me, and you know a lot better than I do, once we show our viewers this bus, if we have a picture -- you'll see it at some point -- of a bus that was involved in the Deep South, in Birmingham, perhaps, back in the '60s in the integration, civil rights movement.
Are you familiar with this, Reverend Jackson?
REV. JESSE JACKSON, RAINBOW/PUSH COALITION: Not here, but the great victory, of course, in Montgomery was about the Montgomery bus boycott and public accommodations. It took us nine years to win that battle.
So in some ways, it is -- Dr. King honored yesterday, the prophet. Barack Obama, the president, today, this kind of prophetic presidential connection. To me, that symbolism, that calculation is the kind of embrace of the civil rights struggle that made this victory possible.
BLITZER: It's a bus that commemorates, recalls the civil rights era. That's what we're told about this bus.
COOPER: But you can draw a line from Dr. King on -- at the Lincoln Memorial to Barack Obama on the west side of the Capitol.
JACKSON: Well, one popular line (ph) is the day he spoke in Washington, D.C., it was on military lockdown.
BLITZER: Hold on a second. Hold on, guys.
It looks like something is happening at the front of the car. One of the Secret Service agents...
COOPER: It looks like he's going to be getting out.
BLITZER: ... has decided to get out. And now let's look and let's listen. Take a look.
BLITZER: Candy Crowley is there. She's right on the parade route.
You can see what's going on, Candy. You've got an advantage over all of us because you are moving along together with them.
CANDY CROWLEY, CNN SR. POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: Absolutely. Obviously, you see both of them out now. I have to tell you, the minute they got out, this crowd went crazy. It's, boy, maybe 12 deep where we are at this point. They are beginning to pick up the motorcade a little bit. I don't know if you can tell (INAUDIBLE).
BLITZER: Candy, I'm going to interrupt you, Candy, because unfortunately, we're having a really hard time hearing you. The crowd there so, so loud. Understandably so.
We're going to come back to Candy shortly.
But look at this. This is the president of the United States. This is the first lady of the United States.
Reverend Jackson is here with us.
You see this picture going out, not only to our viewers here in the United States, but around the world on CNN International, Reverend Jackson. It sends a powerful message.
JACKSON: Dr. King's speech was not so much about the dream. It was about the broken promise of a day like this. He dreamed it would happen, and it's happening, and we are all feeling so good about this moment. They represent America already so very well here and around the world.
BLITZER: It's amazing indeed.
And you know what? The weather has cooperated, Anderson, to help us better appreciate this historic day. It might be a little chilly out there, but it's sort of sunny and nice. No rain, no snow, no bad weather.
JACKSON: Because they're not in Chicago. That's why.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Ladies and Gentlemen, the 44th president of the United States.
BLITZER: President Obama, First Lady Michelle Obama. It looks like they are getting ready to go back inside that limousine. They walked a few blocks. I assume he has pretty comfortable shoes.
Although, Soledad O'Brien, she's walking in those heels. It may not be all that easy walking down Pennsylvania.
SOLEDAD O'BRIEN, CNN ANCHOR: She can't be feeling a thing of joy, even in high heels, to be waving to those crowds. But I'll tell you, David Gergen let out a giant sigh of relief when they got back in the car. And Reverend Jackson clapped.
You were very anxious.
DAVID GERGEN, CNN SR. POLITICAL ANALYST: I must tell you, I thought that took a lot of courage for the two of them to do that. The Secret Service cannot provide 100 percent protection in a situation like that. My sense was they were walking to -- a considerable part of that was among federal buildings, where they do have a lockdown.
BLITZER: But not necessarily on both sides of Pennsylvania Avenue. On one side, there are federal buildings. I'm pretty familiar with that area. On the other side, a lot of office buildings.
JACKSON: I mean, while there are these adoring crowds, there are others who are really angry and who are frightened. Their fears are unfounded and there's no basis for their anger, but they are that way. And we have such a history of violence.
COOPER: So watching that, you felt concern?
JACKSON: We should be -- we should be -- risk on the side of caution. We have the single, most powerful, visible man on earth. And so a few waves are very risky in that kind of exposure.
O'BRIEN: But you can't talk about hope and looking forward and the promise of a nation and not get out of the vehicle. You have to get out of the vehicle. And he did it much longer than I thought he would.
BLITZER: And you know what? He's now the president of the United States. The Secret Service will give him recommendations. They'll give him advice. But in the end, the decision is his.
And if he says, "You know what? I want to get outside of this limo and walk a few blocks," they'll say, "Yes, sir." They may try to discourage him, but they'll say, "Yes, sir."
JACKSON: It's great optics. It really looks -- and he is that kind of Harvard basketball player. He's that kind of courageous kind of fighter. But in these coming days, and now years to come, a lot more strange (ph) in terms of appreciation of danger.
GERGEN: You're right, he's president and he makes the decision. But it's a risk. And I must say, I think to go to Soledad's point, I think he showed a lot of courage and showed that he's willing to live up to his own convictions.
O'BRIEN: You can't urge everybody else to do the hard work. And again, you know, we talked about that presidential bubble that he now fully enters. But he's going to have to figure out ways to crack through that bubble, because as he talked about with his BlackBerry to John King, you've got to reach out to the people who helped put you there.
BLITZER: We've been speaking a lot about that moment that occurred when they say he was sworn in as president of the United States. And we had invited people who were in the crowd to take a picture and send it to us.
John King is standing by. He's got a much richer version now of that Photosynth, that dramatic shot of Barack Obama being sworn in.
John, show it to our viewers.
JOHN KING, CNN CHIEF NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: It is remarkable, Wolf. And we are grateful to our viewers for helping us out with this groundbreaking technology.
We showed you this scene earlier. We call it "The Moment," because Barack Obama is taking the oath of office.
This is a wider shot. You see, here he is up here. You can't see him yet. You see the stand and you see these people down here.
Now, I'm going to zoom in a little bit closer. See, we're going to come in down here, and I'm going to pull this down a little bit so you can come up here. And then we come in closer right here.
And here we go. If you pull this out -- let me come up closer still -- and we can come in. We can zoom in on -- look at this when we stretch this out.
Right here, look at his hand on the Lincoln bible. Right here, the hand on the Lincoln bible. Barack Obama's hand raised up.
He's taking the oath of office. He is the 44th president of the United States at this point. A magical moment in the history of the country.
And we've been talking today also about a troublesome moment. Senator Kennedy being taken away from that luncheon with a seizure. Well, look at this.
Look just over the president's shoulder and the family's shoulder. Here's Michelle Obama, here's the speaker of the House. This is Senator Kennedy right here in the photos.
And if you move around -- remember, this is a collage of hundreds, even thousands, of photos that have come in -- you see Senator Kennedy smiling here when we click to another photo. If I touch over here, you'll see him again over the shoulder. You see a different expression.
This is the senator's son, Congressman Patrick Kennedy. If you touch over here and you move over a little bit here, you see the big smile on Senator Kennedy's face, how happy he was to be here for this historic moment.
As we look through these photographs again -- and Wolf, they have come in the thousands -- I want to tell you, someone else -- and we haven't found in our photos yet, but we're looking for her, but she's joined us now up there for this magical moment with Donna Brazile.
Donna, you were right up close, closer than any of our group. Tell us what it was like.
DONNA BRAZILE, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: John, it was one of the most important moments of my life. I was seated right next to the entrance where all the VIPs came to the platform. And I had great seats, compliments of Senator Feinstein and Speaker Pelosi. And I was able to take great pictures of all of the dignitaries.
But beyond just being there, I just felt the weight of history. I felt generations of people who struggled to see this day. And it was just so special to see members of Congress, dignitaries from all over the world, seated together, cheering the new president on.
KING: You mentioned earlier you saw Clarence Thomas, a conservative, but the first African-American on the Supreme Court, sitting up there as well.
BRAZILE: I had a brief chat with him as he walked down the stairs. And we shook hands.
He's from Georgia. I'm from Louisiana. I said, "Louisiana is in the House." He said, "Georgia is in the House."
But later I saw him when President Obama was speaking. And I don't know if he was yawning, if he was tired, but he was dabbing his cheeks. And it was a very special moment for all of us on that stage today.
KING: More of your thoughts in a minute.
I want to take our viewers back just to show you the synth one more time.
Now, how are we doing this? We have much more detail now because viewers are helping us out. And this is how we do it.
These pictures are coming in by the thousands, Wolf. And you have a common point of reference. You see the flags on the Capitol in this photograph here. Well, guess what? They are also over here.
And the synth computer hooks them all up by point of reference. So you start in tight, you pull back out, you pull back out more, you pull out more. You can get a perspective -- excuse my arm -- of looking at the Capitol from this side. And, of course, you can get right in up close as well, as Barack Obama takes the oath of office and becomes the 44th president of the United States.
Sometimes you can get a little too close, as you see there, but this is the collage. This is how it all began, voters sending it in to email@example.com.
And Wolf, I believe now Tom Foreman is going to help explain to us when you get to him just exactly how we're doing this.
BLITZER: Right, John.
Tom Foreman is standing by. He can tell our viewers who want to participate this and want to see this remarkable -- this remarkable photography that's going on, three-dimensional.
Tom Foreman is going to show us that, but just in a moment. He's getting ready for that.
These are live pictures you are seeing from the reviewing stands here at Pennsylvania Avenue. This parade continuing down Pennsylvania Avenue, making its way over to the White House.
COOPER: And if you are watching this, wherever you are watching this, or watching it online, if you have photos if you were on the Mall from any angle of the Capitol, send them to us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
You can also actually view the photo on CNN.com as well. We'll have a lot more about that coming up with Tom Foreman.
But again, the crowds are just -- cannot be any more excited here.
BLITZER: No, especially during those seven minutes-plus when he was out of the car, together with the first lady. They walked a little bit, smiled broadly. You can only imagine all those folks on both sides of the street, how excited they are.
I think Tom Foreman is ready now to show us how people can take a look at this remarkable collection of photographs, thousands of them that have come together to give us a unique vantage point of what we're calling "The Moment."
TOM FOREMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Wolf, this is a terrific thing that you can do at home. And that's what makes this so interesting.
Go to CNN.com. Go to the politics section. Look up "The Moment," and you will see things like you've never seen before.
Look at how you can zoom in on this. You can do this right at home.
Look, here's a guy with a camera who was helping take some of the pictures that we relied on for this very project. But as you move in and you look at the project and you look around, one of the most fun things you can do is explore on your own to see things that otherwise you would never see.
Here's Barack Obama smiling as he gave his speech. As we move up into the crowd a little bit, you get a better sense of who was watching him and how they were reacting to things.
Go through the crowd and sort of look out for people who you might find, who you might be interested in. Let me make this come up full size so you can see this all the way.
You see this crowd over here? I'm going to bring this image up. And I'll zoom in just like you can zoom in at home. And then you can just look through the faces and see who is out there.
And as you move down through the crowd, you might be surprised who you find. In this case, look, it's actor John Cusack, a big Obama supporter. Over here is Steven Spielberg. Next to him, Kate Capshaw. And if you move all the way down the row over here, to where we get into the area where many of the governors were as they were watching this event, look who else we find down here. We zoom in and we find -- here's Governor Charlie Crist down here, Governor Kathleen Sebelius. And just in front of them, if you look very carefully -- I don't know if I can get him to come up here where you can easily see him, right there is Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger.
Get into this picture and look around. It will let you feel closer to it than you've ever been, and you can do it right from your own desk -- Wolf.
BLITZER: And the way to do it is to go to cnn.com/themoment. And you, too, can see all of this.
I'm seeing these live pictures. There's the vice president, Joe Biden. He's continuing to walk outside his limousine down this parade route.
Earlier, we saw the president and the first lady walk outside for about 7 minutes and 20 seconds. We were trying to take a closer look at that. But Joe Biden is now walking.
He's one happy guy, I've got to tell you, Anderson.
And there's the presidential limo. Inside, the president and the first lady.
COOPER: Reverend Jackson, who is our special guest joining us here, it was interesting. Someone came up to me in the Mall yesterday and pointed to a button on their jacket. It said "The New First Family," and it had the entire Obama family. And they kept saying, pointing to it, just saying, just sort of wondering in their expression, this is the new first family.
Do you think it's really sunk in, the full impact of what all this means?
JACKSON: It's getting there. You know, there is just the esteem from overcoming such odds, really in such a relatively short period of time.
All the symbolism at the steps, on the Capitol, built by slaves, and they couldn't walk up the steps, that kind of thing. Blacks could only cook in the White House, could not sit except as a guest, that kind of stuff -- so it's esteem for so many people.
I saw many grandparents and grandchildren there. A kind of "Before I die I want to see this," that type thing. But beyond the esteem, there was also the sense of redemption, where others felt that they were -- this was their thing -- multicultural, multiracial event (INAUDIBLE) today.
BLITZER: All right. Hold on, guys. I want to continue our coverage of this parade. They've now made a right turn, the motorcade, off of Pennsylvania Avenue, on to 15th Street. They're going to be moving up 15th Street and then making a left over to Lafayette Park in front of the White House.
We'll continue our coverage. We're here in THE SITUATION ROOM. We're watching all of this for you, together with you.
To our viewers in the United States and around the world, our coverage of the inauguration of Barack Obama will continue right after this.
BLITZER: We're back here in THE SITUATION ROOM.
We're monitoring what's going on on Pennsylvania Avenue as the motorcade continues its way toward the White House. The president of the United States and the first lady, they got out a little while ago, walked a bit. And we're waiting to see if they get out of that limousine once again before they get to the reviewing stand in Lafayette Park, outside the north portico of the White House.
If they, do you can imagine, Anderson Cooper, how excited that crowd is going to be.
COOPER: It was interesting to see both the president and vice president getting out of their limousines at the same time. I was a little bit surprised at that, that they would allow them out at the same moment.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: (INAUDIBLE), and I was particularly surprised that Joe Biden kind of just popped out.
GERGEN: Well, I was surprised when Barack Obama and Michelle got back into the car, that the Bidens didn't get back in. They kept on walking. That was like, whoa.
COOPER: This has been a long time coming.
BLITZER: You see that limousine there. You see the license plate USA 1.
All right. They are opening the door once again. You know what that means. We've seen this before.
He's about to open the door, and Barack Obama and we assume Michelle Obama will walk out of that limousine and get ready for an excited crowd once again.
And you know what? Let's listen in.
(APPLAUSE) BLITZER: By the way, that bus you are seeing going before the reviewing stand outside Lafayette Park, that's what's called the Rosa Parks Bus. It's a bus commemorating Rosa Parks' refusal to give up her seat on a city bus in Birmingham, Alabama, back in 1955.
That bus recreated here, restored for this special event. It's a 1957 Maryland Transit Administration GMC bus. It was donated to Metro in 1990, restored for Metro's 30th anniversary here in Washington in 2003. And it's appropriate that that bus is here in this parade on this day.
Donna Brazile, when you see that bus and you see Barack and Michelle Obama, the president and the first lady of the United States, I suppose you are getting rather emotional.
BRAZILE: We are seated behind John Lewis, and you're staring at (INAUDIBLE), and you see Martin Luther King III and Christine Ferris and so many icons of the civil rights movement. It was an incredible experience to share the platform with them this morning.
They were all weeping. And when Reverend Joseph Lowery -- Dr. Lowery gave the benediction and began to recites parts of the Black National Anthem, people just openly wept and cried, because finally there's one America, there's one story, there's one narrative. And I think today represents that long struggle, that journey for -- that took place for centuries of a people who just wanted to be free and be American.
BLITZER: It's really an amazing sight, how happy they are and happy millions and millions of people around the country are. Indeed, around the world.
Donna, when you -- you look back on the improbable route that Barack Obama took to this day, what is the most dramatic moment that you bring back? Because it was only a few years ago, he was a -- a state senator, then a very, very junior senator from Illinois.
DONNA BRAZILE, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: Well, I think, in looking back at his journey, Barack Obama, you know, decided early on in life that he wanted to serve, that he wanted to be part of the future.
And he made a decision that he wanted to help lift people up, inspire them to help themselves. And I think, from the moment he made that decision, after leaving college, before entering law school, that he wanted to be part of a larger dream, that moment led us to this day.
This was an incredible campaign, as you well recall, because Barack Obama inspired a new generation to serve. He also called upon the American people to come together. And, today, in listening to his inaugural address, what I heard the president say to us is that this is our moment, this is our time, and that, as we face the many grave challenges, we must do it as one people.
BLITZER: You know, David Gergen, as Donna speaks, I'm reminded of some of the words he used, not only today, but on -- on Sunday, when he went to the Lincoln Memorial. And, you know, it was -- it was just an all-powerful reflection of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., the national holiday we all celebrated yesterday, culminating with this swearing-in ceremony today.
DAVID GERGEN, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: Yes.
I think one of the things, Wolf, that has characterized him -- and it's so unusual for a political leader -- is the consistency of his message. You know, the -- one of the major turning points of his political life actually came at the Democratic Convention in 2004.
And, essentially, you know, that catapulted him on to the national stage. Everyone became aware he was not only running for the Senate, but this was a star; it was a rising star. And the message he had in 2004 is the same message he now had today in this inaugural address...
SOLEDAD O'BRIEN, CNN SPECIAL CORRESPONDENT: Unity. Unity.
GERGEN: ... about being one nation, one people. We're not a red America. We're not a blue America. We're a United States of America.
O'BRIEN: And, earlier, people -- you talked about how...
O'BRIEN: ... it wasn't a speech that sort of reached high. It didn't soar. And I know Jeff Toobin felt that it was a little bit disappointing.
But I think that he did what he had to do in terms of reaching every single person...
O'BRIEN: ... underscoring as many experiences that are American experiences, even though we all have at some point come from somewhere else, he managed to make that message.
And you're right. There's not a quotable line, I think, but it's that patchwork quilt he talked about.
GERGEN: But he -- and he clearly reaches people.
GERGEN: Just look at the people on this road.
O'BRIEN: It connected. GERGEN: Yes, that's right. It's connected.
O'BRIEN: But it's not quotable.
GLORIA BORGER, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: (AUDIO GAP) that he didn't have to soar rhetorically above the moment, because the moment was so great, in and of itself.
ANDERSON COOPER, HOST, "ANDERSON COOPER 360": Jeff Toobin and Suzanne Malveaux are down by Lafayette Park, where the -- the first family has just walked by.
We can hear Jeff and Suzanne, the crowds. Did anyone anticipate they would actually be walking this long?
JEFFREY TOOBIN, CNN SENIOR ANALYST: I'm sorry. It's pretty noisy. Can you try -- try again?
COOPER: That's all right. Don't worry about it. It is actually...
BLITZER: I think they are pretty excited over in Lafayette Park. The president of the United States, the first lady, the vice president and Jill Biden, they are all out there. They are getting ready to go into that reviewing stand.
Jeff Toobin and Suzanne Malveaux are right across the street from that reviewing stand.
But they are now going back into that limo first.
COOPER: And then they're going to drive around to the back of the reviewing stand, which they have already passed by. And then they will take their places, where they will review the rest of the parade.
And where we are, at the Newseum, the parade is already well under way. A number of marching bands are -- are passing by here around, near closer to the Capitol. So, the first family will have an awful lot of groups to watch, some 10,000 to 13,000 people taking part in this parade, 90 different groups from all around the country.
BLITZER: And these, a lot of them, young kids who have worked really, really hard to be able to come to Washington. They have raised a lot of money to do so. Hasn't been easy.
There it is, the motorcade, USA One.
Jill Biden and -- Jill -- Jill Biden and Joe Biden, they are still outside. They are continuing to walk, as this motorcade makes its way over to the White House. They will be going into that reviewing stand. And then all of these performers, all of these bands and all of these groups, will have a chance to entertain the new president, the new first lady, the new vice president, and Jill Biden herself. Gloria Borger?
BORGER: I was thinking, as they were walking down the -- Pennsylvania Avenue, this is the last time that they are going to be able to walk down Pennsylvania Avenue for a long time...
BORGER: ... because they are about to go into that gilded cage David spoke about. And...
BLITZER: They just made that left turn off of Pennsylvania Avenue, onto to 17th Street.
They are going to go back through the South Lawn of the White House. Then they will walk outside to the reviewing stand.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (AUDIO GAP) go through the Oval Office?
BLITZER: He might -- he might...
BORGER: He might.
BLITZER: ... go through the Oval Office as he goes from the south side to the north side of the White House.
All right, our special coverage of the inauguration of Barack Obama, the new president of the United States, will continue here in THE SITUATION ROOM right after this.
BLITZER: There they are. That's the South Portico of the White House.
We're back here, our special coverage of the inauguration of Barack Obama continuing in THE SITUATION ROOM.
The president of the United States, the first lady, they are now back at the White House. They're -- the first time they are coming to the White House now as president and first lady.
They are going to be -- they're going to go through the White House, through the south entrance of the White House. I don't know if they're going to spend some quality time in the Oval Office, go to the residence, what they are going to do. They can do whatever they want there. They are the president and first lady.
But, at some point, they will emerge from the north side of the White House, the North Portico. They will walk across the North Lawn, going out to the reviewing stand that's been built right outside. There, you see the North Lawn of the White House.
At the bottom of your screen, you see the reviewing stand. They will go in there to watch this beautiful parade, the thousands who have come to Washington to participate in this celebration, a new president of the United States.
Soledad O'Brien is with us as well.
O'BRIEN: Last time I interviewed Barack Obama, he was in his Senate race in Illinois, you know, in his tightly contested Senate race.
And people would stop him on the street on bicycles. And he -- you know, he was just out and about walking around. And it's such a difference to today, where never again will anyone bicycle up to Barack Obama to say hey and shake his hand. As of today, he is inside that White House and inside that bubble.
BLITZER: You can only imagine, Gloria, how he must feel and how Michelle Obama must feel. They are now in their new home for at least the next four years.
BORGER: Well, they have had an -- the move has been pretty easy, I would have to say, because they walk into the White House, and their furniture has been moved in.
And David and I were just wondering during the break whether, in fact, President Obama would stop in that Oval Office and pick up the note that George W. Bush has left for him to read before he goes to the reviewing stand, whether he will sort of swing through the Oval. I would think he would.
O'BRIEN: What is that note? Is it advice? Is it...
GERGEN: It's -- it's traditional. It's just a traditional -- and it's -- it's usually a brief note from the outgoing president, very personal advice to the incoming president. And they -- they rarely see the light of day after that.
O'BRIEN: The -- the Bush...
BLITZER: But they always leave -- it's very traditional.
BLITZER: They always that note in the upper drawer in the Oval Office desk, the outgoing president for the incoming president. And I wonder what President Bush has told President Obama.
GERGEN: And the outgoing -- right.
GERGEN: And the outgoing press secretary often leaves for the incoming press secretary a bottle of whiskey. (LAUGHTER)
O'BRIEN: You will need it.
There was an open letter to Malia and Sasha in "The Wall Street Journal" today from the -- the Bush twins...
GERGEN: Oh, really?
O'BRIEN: ... with a note about what they could expect and what they should hope and get out of their experience in the White House, calling this place, you know, such a fabulous place to live and experience.
And, at the end, they say, you know, basically, the gist is, have fun and remember who your father really is...
O'BRIEN: ... not what other people tell you he is.
BORGER: And, of course, they took Sasha and Malia on a tour of the White House...
O'BRIEN: It's interesting, David, that twice, the president and first lady got out of the limousine to walk a bit. I know you were worried both times when they did so. And you must be relieved that they are now in the -- in the warmth and security of the White House itself.
GERGEN: I am relieved.
The Secret Service is extremely relieved. So far, this has gone without a hitch, from their point of view. And they -- you know, Wolf, it was always expected, that last part, that they would walk, because that's a much easier place to protect. You have got the -- essentially, the Treasury Building on the left, and then you have got the White House grounds on the left, and you have got Lafayette Park on the right.
And it makes it much, much simpler to protect. You just don't have many pure opportunities for someone who may want to -- to do him harm.
BLITZER: I guess we're waiting to see who is going to come out of that door at some point. I assume we're waiting to see the president and first lady emerge to walk over to the reviewing stand at Lafayette Park right outside the North Lawn of the White House, and -- and make their way over there. We will see them at some point. They are considerably behind schedule. And it's -- the sun is going to go down pretty quickly now. So, a lot of this parade that we're about to see will be done in darkness. There -- there, you see this magnificent viewing stand that they build every four years outside the North Lawn of the White House.
And -- and it is, indeed, magnificent.
All right, we will wait to see Barack Obama and Michelle Obama. Our coverage here in THE SITUATION ROOM of the inauguration of Barack Obama continues right after this.
BLITZER: Welcome back. You're looking at live pictures of the White House.
We anticipate the president of the United States will be walking out of the White House, the north side of the White House, heading over to the reviewing stand to watch this parade.
We want to welcome our viewers in the United States and around the world.
I'm Wolf Blitzer. You're in THE SITUATION ROOM on this historic day, the day that has seen a new president of the United States sworn in, a day where Barack Obama spent some time, not only at a luncheon on Capitol Hill, but then making his way over to the White House and getting ready to watch this parade unfold.
Soledad O'Brien is here with me, as we watch and we wait to see the president and the first lady. They -- they are getting ready to go out of the White House. They are freshening up a little bit, after what's been an exciting day already. And we hope to see live pictures of them emerge from that door right there.
I have to tell you, I have seen a lot of these inaugural events over the years. I know David Gergen has. Gloria Borger has as well. This time, it's different. And it's not just because Barack Obama is the first African-American who is president, but it's different for some other reasons as well.
O'BRIEN: You know, I think Colin Powell actually hit the nail on the head, when he was talking to you, Wolf, when he said, you know, it's a new generation, also.
And, while we have been talking a lot about the fact that Barack Obama is African-American, there's a lot to talk about. Generationally, he's very different, the -- the fact that the embrace of technology not only gave him a big lead in the race, but it also made him different.
And I actually think there was a line about technology in his speech, when he talked about the different ways -- we may use different ways to get out information or something. It was a really, you know, interesting line that, to me, sounded like a shout out to technology, if you will.
GERGEN: There is a passing of the torch, generationally, here, because when he -- when they had that lunch in the Oval Office, he was 15 years younger than any other -- anybody else of the -- of the former presidents.
Both -- both George W. Bush and Bill Clinton are 15 years older than he is. And I -- one of the reasons he connects so well to the young is, he's so much closer, both in age, but also culturally. He understands the music. He gets the -- he has the cultural signals. And he connects well.
I think that's one of the reasons he stirs their -- their idealism. His story is one that they can relate to, more than they can relate to a George W. Bush story or...
BORGER: I think that's, also, politically, what -- what concerns a lot of Republicans, because a new generation of voters has been engaged.
And, very often, where you vote the first time is where you end up voting 20 years from now. And I think that -- the Republicans are concerned that, in fact, he's engaged a whole new generation of Democrats here.
O'BRIEN: It was Tom Foreman who said that the Web site, it's up already, and already has streaming video. I mean, it's -- you know, it's a good Web site. It's a different Web site. I mean, one...
BLITZER: I suspect that the -- the -- the crowd going to that White House Web site, the traffic will increase dramatically, now that it's the president Barack Obama's Web site at the White House, as opposed to President Bush's Web site at the White House.
And it will be interesting to watch the next two or three days, as they start making hard decisions, whether it's about Iraq, or about -- or about the economy, or about stem cell research, how they use that Web site to communicate, and to govern, and to keep this coalition moving.
O'BRIEN: The line from his speech, Wolf, is: "Our challenges may be new. The instruments with which we meet them may be new."
You know, new instruments, new ways of communicating and dealing with...
GERGEN: But old values.
O'BRIEN: And old values is the next part of that speech.
BORGER: But -- but it's also, in a way, Reaganesque. I mean, Reagan did it differently, but he went over the heads of Congress to the American people, spoke directly to the American people. Obama will do that, too, but in a very different way, using technology. But...
GERGEN: But what was interesting -- Gloria said -- was just reporting in that how -- how reality is intruding this afternoon with the stock market.
BORGER: Down 360 points.
GERGEN: I mean, and it doesn't wait on inaugurations.
BLITZER: That's the reviewing stand on the north side of the White House, across the street from Lafayette Park here in Washington.
You can see the little pool there. At some point, the president and first lady will walk out of that door. You saw an honor guard and a -- a path that has been created on the North Lawn for them to walk, a very -- there it is right there. You see the blue carpeting that has been set there on the North Lawn of the White House.
They will walk down there to the reviewing stand. They will take a seat inside that glass-protected area, and then have a first-row -- front-row seat to all these -- all these participants, 10,000 to 13,000 of them, who have come to Washington to participate and to celebrate this new president of the United States.
Once the president is in that reviewing stand, those seats that you see still empty, I'm sure they will all fill up with his invited guests in that reviewing stand right there.
That's a beautiful scene, indeed.
GERGEN: We don't have any cameras, Wolf -- we don't have any cameras by the West Wing, do we? We can't see if he's in that Oval Office.
BLITZER: No, we have no cameras inside.
BORGER: Can't peer in there, huh?
BLITZER: We have cameras all over the White House outside, but we don't have cameras, unfortunately, inside. We don't know what he's doing.
BLITZER: But, at some point, maybe we will get a little briefing from the White House press secretary, Robert Gibbs. GERGEN: Well, this new -- this new openness and accessibility, maybe CNN can just put a camera in the Oval Office.
BLITZER: No. CNN is good, but not necessarily all that good.
We're -- we're going to continue.
We're also getting word on a sad story that we were covering earlier in the day. Senator Ted Kennedy of Massachusetts, unfortunately, took ill. We don't know if it was a seizure, what it was. But he was rushed to a local hospital at that luncheon. He had come up to Capitol Hill to celebrate Barack Obama's inauguration.
We're now told by his colleague from Massachusetts, Senator John Kerry, that Senator Kennedy is alert. He's in good spirits, expects to spend the night in the hospital, which is totally understandable.
Senator Kennedy, according to Senator Kerry, his Irish is up, which is encouraging to hear for all of us. That's good news, given the fact that Senator Kennedy, as we know, last year suffered a brain tumor, had surgery, and had seizures last year.
And let's hope for the best.
There, you see the new vice president of the United States and his wife, Jill Biden. They are walking towards the White House from the area of the Old Executive Office Building. They have wrapped up their participation in the parade. And they will be joining the president and the first lady in the reviewing stand as they go forward.
I -- I can only imagine, David, what Joe Biden is thinking right now. He's been in Washington for 35 years or so, and now he's the vice president of the United States.
GERGEN: Well, you know, there was -- there was a moment when one wondered whether he really wanted to do this. But he's clearly loving it.
GERGEN: I mean, he almost has a Teddy Roosevelt kind of quality, bouncing around today. He's got this huge grin on his face. He's enjoying every moment of this to the hilt.
BORGER: You know why? He doesn't have to commute anymore.
BORGER: He used to take the Amtrak home to Wilmington every night. And now...
GERGEN: Well -- well, that's right. If he had been the vice president, he wouldn't be -- I mean, if he had been the secretary of state, he wouldn't be in this parade, right?
BORGER: That's right. That's right. He just lives on Massachusetts Avenue now.
GERGEN: Why not enjoy it?
BLITZER: All right, guys.
As we watch Joe Biden and Jill Biden make their way to the reviewing stand, I want to go to Tom Foreman, because he's got something we have been promising our viewers for some time that they would see, the first image from satellite, from a satellite of what happened at that moment when Barack Obama became president.
A remarkable shot, indeed, from space, Tom.
TOM FOREMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, Wolf, I think this may be one of the real shots of the day, the thing to look at.
Look at this down on the ground. This is the Mall. And these dark masses here that look like anthills down here are the enormous number of people that packed in around here. Over here, right up at the Capitol, you can see all the official seating up there. That's just all dark up in there. We are going to come in very tight on this picture, so you really see it.
Every one of those dark, dark little specks there, those are all people. They're wearing all sorts of different colors, but they are all so packed together, it just looks like a mass of ants there.
And, as you move away from the Capitol, down the Mall, with each little place, you see another deep clustering of people right in there.
Let's go back over to the Capitol for a minute. This is -- I'm going to walk right up here to the screen and show you. This is the Capitol right there. This is where Barack Obama was standing. And all of this is people, a solid, solid mass of people.
And, as you work your way down, you start seeing more and more people gathered that way. You can see that they go in clusters here. At every road, they push forward to the barricade. Then you go back to the next one. They push forward. So, it's just as dense back here as it is up there, with these little gaps in between the further back you go.
And then, here at the -- at the Washington Monument, look, two enormous clusters of people way back here. This is about a mile-and- a-half...
BLITZER: (AUDIO GAP) interrupt, because here comes the president of the United -- here comes the president and the first lady with Sasha and Malia. He's saluting the troops. He's now the -- their commander in chief.
They are going to the reviewing stand. What a beautiful family, what a beautiful shot. You take a look at those sweet little girls, Soledad, and -- and you say to yourself, the country now has a new first family. O'BRIEN: Oh, the country now has little girls to watch grow up. What a wonderful thing, I think, for us as a nation to get to experience the White House and -- and all the great stuff about politics that sometimes the folks who are battling it out on Capitol Hill don't really get to experience. We will see all that through their eyes.
I think that will be a really wonderful experience, and to see them grow up. I mean, what's better than watching a 7-year-old and a 10-year-old become young ladies? That will be really fun, a real treat. And my kids -- and I know so many others...
BLITZER: All right, let's -- let's see if we can hear what they are saying.
ANNOUNCER: Ladies and gentlemen, the president of the United States, the first lady, Michelle Obama, and their children, Sasha and Malia.
(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)
BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Hey!
MICHELLE OBAMA, FIRST LADY: We're here!
(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)
("HAIL TO THE CHIEF" PLAYS)
(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)
B. OBAMA: Thank you so much. Thank you.
It's good to see you, Leo (ph)!
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: How are you?
M. OBAMA: I'm doing (OFF-MIKE)
BLITZER: All right, so, he's now in the reviewing stand. We see John Podesta there right in the middle. He's -- that's a former chief of staff, but he was leading the transition for Barack Obama, invited guests. What a -- what a hot seat this is, to be in the reviewing stand, together with the president, the first lady, their two daughters, as this parade gets going outside the White House.
It's, I would venture to say, David, the hottest seat in town right now.
GERGEN: It's a very big honor to be in that. I have -- I have had the occasion to be there before. And it's a -- it's one of those memorable experiences. You just don't forget being up in that reviewing stand.
And I -- I'm going to be curious now to see if that pilot of that U.S. Air flight, who was up on the platform this morning.
GERGEN: That was a surprise -- whether he's the kind of person they will have. They will have a lot of personal friends and the John Podestas, people who helped to get them there, who deserve a place on that -- in that reviewing stand.
BLITZER: Gloria, they worked hard to reach this moment, and they are finally there.
And I think a lot of people who helped him get to this moment are going to be in that reviewing stand. And, of course, you see the vice president over there. And I just keep thinking how different it's going to be to have children, young children, in the White House.
And we talk about the president living in a bubble. Well, kids keep you out of a bubble a lot of the time. And I think that's going to be so useful.
O'BRIEN: It was also nice to see, when that (INAUDIBLE) roar went up and cheer went up, you see the girls both break into big smiles...
O'BRIEN: ... because that can be terrifying. For a 7-year-old and a 10-year-old, that could be really scary. And, you know, their faces will reveal that, and, instead, big grins. I mean, they are so excited. They are so happy.
And it sort of -- you know, it makes your heart leap, that they could really enjoy this experience, too, because they are going to see -- the spotlight is on them now. It really is.
BLITZER: Some happy, happy friends inside...
BLITZER: ... there. He -- there -- there they are. You can see the daughters, the first family.
BLITZER: They are having a -- a little chat before some of the floats come, before some of those -- those marching bands stop by to entertain the president.
Let's listen in right now. (MUSIC PLAYING)