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THE SITUATION ROOM

Interview With Barack Obama; Michael Jackson Remembered

Aired July 7, 2009 - 18:00   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

ED HENRY, CNN SENIOR WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Thank you, Mr. President.

Obviously, a grueling trip. What is it like, though? Does it take the edge off having not just your wife but your daughters here as well to get to visit the Kremlin and tag along for what must be a pretty exciting trip?

BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: You know, it makes a huge difference. The girls are just a joy.

Sasha, this morning, at around 4:00 a.m., wandered into our bed and plopped down and started chatting. That was sort of a highlight, although I am a little groggy now as a consequence.

But, having her and Malia be able to see the world and then report back to us on what they're seeing is just extraordinary. And then Michelle is just -- she's always -- she's a star abroad and a star at home.

HENRY: You finally got a chance to look into Vladimir Putin's eyes. Did you see into his soul?

(LAUGHTER)

HENRY: Why did you say before this trip that he has got one foot in the old way of doing business and one foot in the new way of doing business? What was the purpose of that?

OBAMA: Well, I think, in a lot of ways, Prime Minister Putin is representative of Russia. He is very popular here.

And I think that Russia is still, on the other hand, processing the transition out of the Cold War and the dissolution of the Soviet Union. On the other hand, they recognize an interest in modernizing, diversifying, and recognize, I think, that economic power is going to be the most important currency in the 21st century.

I found him to be tough, smart, very unsentimental. I think he is a practical person. And to the extent that there are common interests, like fighting terrorism, potentially nuclear proliferation, where he believes that working with the United States advances Russian goals, I think he can be a potential -- a potential partner.

(END VIDEOTAPE) WOLF BLITZER, CNN ANCHOR: President Obama working hard to try to improve U.S./Russian relations wrapping up two days in Moscow.

Let's continue to assess what has been going on. Paul Begala, the Democratic strategist, and Mary Matalin, the Republican strategist, are with us.

Paul, this is a tough -- a tough mission for the president right now, given the enormity of what's going on in Iran, in North Korea, where the U.S. and Russia on many of those sensitive subjects don't necessarily agree.

PAUL BEGALA, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: Well, absolutely.

And one under-covered deliverable as they say in foreign policy land that the president has already accomplished is that the Russians today agreed to allow U.S. and NATO forces to overfly their airspace in order to get into and resupply NATO forces in Afghanistan and U.S. forces, coalition forces in Afghanistan.

That's an important piece of business that he has accomplished here. It is going to make it easier for us to fight the war that we have to fight in Afghanistan. So, that's kind of check one.

There were a lot of thoughtful critics -- and I am impressed that Ed raised it -- who criticized President Obama for saying -- for attacking Putin, basically, as if he were playing sides and choosing Medvedev over Putin. A lot of people -- I think they have some legitimacy to that criticism -- said that was a mistake.

It was interesting that the president I think contextualized that and, again, as we would have said in the White House, he walked it back just a bit. And I think Ed sort of reminded that people, well, it might have been a mistake, but probably less a mistake than saying that I have looked in Putin's eyes and I have seen his soul and all that.

I think the president is absolutely right that this is a remarkably unsentimental man, Mr. Putin, to put it charitably.

BLITZER: That was a reference, as you know, Mary, to your former boss, former President George W. Bush.

How is the president doing in Moscow, based on what you know, Mary?

MARY MATALIN, CNN POLITICAL CONTRIBUTOR: Well, Paul is right about getting the flyover space.

What wasn't mentioned was President Obama being the first president since Reykjavik to allow a linkage of defensive capacity, weapon capacity, and offensive weapon capacity. Reducing our nuclear arsenal, we have been doing for many, many years now, with no appreciable impact whatsoever on hostile aspirational nuclear regimes.

But he will be, as he has hinted he might, if he links it to our defensive capacity, it would be to our great detriment, because we have defense networks. We can shoot down incoming. They cannot. So, it remains to be seen what he has given up there.

Getting that airspace is good, but it's not as huge as what reversing any offense -- or linking, rather, offensive and defensive nuclear arsenals and capacities would be to our future. Very dangerous.

BLITZER: Mary Matalin and Paul Begala, guys, thanks very much.

Jack Cafferty is here with "The Cafferty File."

Jack, it is important stuff that is going on in Moscow.

JACK CAFFERTY, CNN ANCHOR: And the question this hour that we asked the viewers was, how important are better relations between the United States and Russia? They haven't been so good recently.

John writes Santa Barbara, "They're very important if we expect to defeat China in the next war."

Storm in Michigan says: "Better relations between the U.S. and any other country would be wonderful, but the Russians really need to show us proof that we can trust them and we need to do the same. Both our countries have a history of saying one thing and doing something completely different."

Billy in Las Vegas, "Considering both the U.S. and Russia have enough nuclear weapons and other WMDs to destroy the world 10 times over, I definitely want both countries to be best friends forever."

Matty writes: "I don't sweat the Russians. They're almost as broke as this country is. I also don't harbor any ill will against the Russian people. It's the Russian government that I don't want to deal with. I think the Russian people would cozy up to the American people in a heartbeat if they heard the chance to."

Mary in Georgia writes: "It's very important. It makes no sense to alienate another superpower with all the threats around the world. The fewer enemies we have, the better."

And Joanne in Arizona writes: "I have a new Russian daughter-in- law. I found that changing my attitude has been essential in order to keep peace in the family."

If you didn't see your e-mail here, you can go to my blog at CNN.com/caffertyfile, and look for yours there or not, as you choose.

BLITZER: Now, you have got another question for this hour?

CAFFERTY: Are we doing that now?

BLITZER: Yes. Can we do it now?

CAFFERTY: Anything you want.

BLITZER: I would like to.

CAFFERTY: Whatever the Wolf man wants, the Wolf man gets.

The arrogance -- oh, I like this one, actually -- the arrogance of South Carolina Governor Mark Sanford, it knows no bounds, apparently. And the hypocrisy of the South Carolina party, well, that doesn't either.

In the wake of Sanford's admission that he has been secretly cheating on his wife, the state Republicans voted to censure Sanford, which amounts to looking the other way. The reason for the censure was his secret trips to Argentina to be with his mistress, which officially translate in what the GOP is calling -- quote -- "repeated failures to act in accordance with the party's core principles and beliefs" -- end quote.

One of those core principles is family values, remember, except when it is inconvenient, which, in this case, it apparently is. Sanford also refuses to resign on his own, thus joining the soiled ranks of Larry Craig of Idaho and John Ensign of Nevada, proud Republicans one and all.

Sanford also gets a slap on the wrist for falling below the standards expected of Republican elected officials, even though they are not very high these days. Deliberations reportedly went on for hours on all of this, four hours on a conference call.

There were multiple rounds of voting. This patty-cake gesture on the part of the party of family values in South Carolina is meaningless. Just to be clear, Sanford's own party is saying they don't trust him. They don't think he can effectively perform his duties as governor, but it is OK with them if he continues in South Carolina's highest office.

It is just pathetic.

Here's the question: What does it say about the Republican Party in South Carolina that they won't call for Governor Sanford's resignation, spineless weasels that they are? Go to CNN.com/caffertyfile and post on my blog.

If you want anything else, you will have to wait, because this is all I got for right now.

(CROSSTALK)

CAFFERTY: I have to go get some more stuff. I will be back later.

BLITZER: But there is always tomorrow.

CAFFERTY: OK.

BLITZER: All right, Jack, thanks very much.

Let's back to the coverage right now of that ceremony. It was a private ceremony, a brief convoy to the Staples Center, then a huge public memorial to celebrate the life of Michael Jackson.

Let's bring in CNN's Brian Todd.

Brian, today's final tribute to the king of pop was something of an international spectacle, wasn't it?

BRIAN TODD, CNN CORRESPONDENT: It sure was, Wolf, an impressive gathering of talent, an outpouring of love and admiration for Michael Jackson that was very genuine.

It all come together over the past few hours in Los Angeles.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

TODD (voice-over): Inside a rose-covered casket, he held the world's attention one last time. From helicopters hovering over Forest Lawn Cemetery, to pedestrians stationed on bridges as his hearse passed, to the packed Staples Center and on screens around the world, the memorial for Michael Jackson brought together family, friends and millions of fans he never knew, but always connected with.

SASCHA TUNNEY, MICHAEL JACKSON FAN: We are all out celebrating Michael Jackson's career and his life, all of us together, which is how it should be, really. We don't need a ticket.

TODD: The stars who celebrated inside gave unforgettable performances based on the inspiration they took from the king of pop. Some of the brightest stars in Michael Jackson's life and ours couldn't bring themselves to his farewell, their messages passed by Motown legend Smokey Robinson.

SMOKEY ROBINSON, MUSICIAN: "Thank you, Katherine and Joe, for sharing your son with the world and with me. I send my love and condolences to the Jackson family" -- Diana Ross.

TODD: Motown's founder, Berry Gordy, recalled a child star who dazzled him at a 1968 audition, brought the house down when he unveiled the moonwalk 15 years later. Then Gordy drew rousing applause when he gave Michael Jackson his most generous praise.

BERRY GORDY, MOTOWN FOUNDER: I feel the king of pop is not big enough for him. I think he is simply -- I think he is simply the greatest entertainer that ever lived.

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

TODD: The emotion seemed to build with each performance. Moments before he sang, Stevie Wonder told the audience this was a moment he wished he had would seen. But the event wasn't entirely somber.

QUEEN LATIFAH, ACTRESS: One of the first records my brother and I ever bought was "Dancing Machine." And I will never forget the two of us like trying to get the robot going, trying to be like the Jackson 5. TODD: One of the most stirring tributes came from Reverend Al Sharpton, who spoke of Jackson's imprint on American culture.

AL SHARPTON, CIVIL RIGHTS ACTIVIST: Thank you because you never gave up. Thank you because you never gave out. Thank you because you tore down our divisions. Thank you because you eradicated barriers. Thank you because you gave us hope. Thank you, Michael. Thank you, Michael. Thank you, Michael.

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

TODD: The most gut-wrenching moment, it wasn't hip-hop star Usher breaking down as he finished singing. It wasn't even Jackson's brother Marlon asking Michael to hug Marlon's twin brother in heaven.

It was Michael's 11-year-old daughter, Paris Katherine Jackson, in an outpouring no one expected at the very end.

PARIS MICHAEL KATHERINE JACKSON, DAUGHTER OF MICHAEL JACKSON: Ever since I was born, daddy has been the best father you could ever imagine. And I just wanted to say I love him so much.

(APPLAUSE)

(END VIDEOTAPE)

TODD: A moment no one who watched this event will likely ever forget.

Now, we still don't know where Michael Jackson will be laid to rest permanently. He may be buried at Forest Lawn Cemetery, at least on a temporary basis. One member of his family, his brother Jermaine, has stated that he would like it to have him buried at the Neverland Ranch. But, at the moment, it is not quite clear where the king of pop will reside -- Wolf.

BLITZER: Thanks, very much, Brian, for that very comprehensive update on what happened today.

Meanwhile, the investigation into Michael Jackson's death continues, with the focus on some powerful anesthetic drugs reportedly found in Michael Jackson's home.

Let's bring in our chief medical correspondent, Dr. Sanjay Gupta.

Sanjay, based on what we are hearing, are officials getting closer to determining the cause of death?

DR. SANJAY GUPTA, CNN SENIOR MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, I think with something like this, Wolf, the sort of ironic thing is they probably already know. A lot of the tests that we have been talking about zeroing in on the toxicology over the past couple of days, those test results take a few days typically to come back.

So, it's been -- that period of time has already passed. What typically happens in a case like this is they are going to examine all the various tissues, including tissues from the brain, the liver, and sort of come up with a final report.

So, the official response from the coroner's office says it is all sort of in process. But sort of knowing a little bit of how this works, Wolf, my guess is they probably already have an answer and are just waiting to put all the pieces of the puzzle together.

BLITZER: A lot of controversy surrounding the drug Diprivan. Tell us about this controversy, because folks are shocked by it.

GUPTA: Yes. Well, I got to tell you it was stunning for me as well as a doctor. I hadn't heard of Diprivan or Propofol, a medication, an I.V. medication that needs to be given continuously, I really hadn't heard about that being used outside a medical setting before.

So, this as a starting point was I think pretty stunning to a lot of people. This is an anesthetic. It is something that puts people into a sort of medically induced coma, so to speak. But it is an I.V. medication that has to be given continuously.

We had sources I think -- you know, Wolf, we have been reporting over the last week about an anesthesiologist who had traveled around with Michael Jackson even in the late '90s who talked about administering anesthetics, having all the anesthesia equipment in hotel rooms, for example. So, this appears possibly to be something that had been ongoing.

But they're going to need to try and find if there's any evidence of this substance, this medication, in his system. The thing about it is that it has a very short half-life, Wolf. It only last a few minutes. So, to try and find it in someone's bloodstream can be a challenging task. And it's something I have talked to coroners about. They say they may be able to do it. But it's not routine, by any means.

BLITZER: And, very quickly, Sanjay, there is an official autopsy. And there is also an unofficial autopsy that the family has. Is it possible that these two autopsies will come up with two different causes of death?

GUPTA: I don't think so. I think that they will likely come up with similar causes.

The only difference is, with the second autopsy, the private autopsy, it was conducted after the primary autopsy at the L.A. Coroner's Office. So, they may have not had the same access to all the same things that the first autopsy did.

One thing I should point out, Wolf, there has been a lot of sort of interest in what this autopsy will show. There is, by no means, any rules or any laws that says those results have to be released. That's completely at the discretion of the family.

So, while the L.A. Coroner's Office said they will have final results in four to six weeks -- they said this last week -- it doesn't mean that necessary may ever hear them, either from the primary autopsy or the private autopsy.

BLITZER: Sanjay, thanks very much. We will stay in close touch with you.

We want to bring you this hour some of the highlights, some of the really extraordinary moments from this memorial service honoring Michael Jackson.

When we come back, Jennifer Hudson, she performed "Will You Be There." We will hear that performance when we come back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BLITZER: There were truly beautiful musical performances during the course of the two-hour-and-15-minute memorial service honoring Michael Jackson over at the Staples Center in Los Angeles.

One of the most moving, Jennifer Hudson performing "Will You Be There."

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

(MUSIC)

MICHAEL JACKSON, MUSICIAN: In our darkest hour, in my deepest despair, will you still care? Will you be there? In my trials and my tribulations, through our doubts and frustrations, in my violence, in my turbulence, through my fear, and my confessions, in my anguish and my pain, through my joy and my sorrow, in the promise of another tomorrow, I will never let you part, for you're always in my heart.

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BLITZER: And we kept hearing, "We love you Michael," throughout that memorial service.

There were also moving tributes from several prominent personalities, including two stars of the NBA, Kobe Bryant and Magic Johnson.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

KOBE BRYANT, NBA PLAYER: Michael even made the "Guinness Book of World Records" for most charities by a pop star.

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

BRYANT: Because he gave so much to do -- so many of us for so long, Michael Jackson will be us forever.

EARVIN "MAGIC" JOHNSON, FORMER NBA PLAYER: This is a celebration of his life, of his legacy.

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE) JOHNSON: I want to thank Michael for opening up so many doors for African-Americans to be on daytime shows, late-night shows. He allowed Kobe and I to have our jerseys in people's homes across the world, because he was already there. And he opened all those doors for us.

His three children will have the most incredible grandmother that God has put on this Earth to take care of them.

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BLITZER: We're going to have more of the memorable moments from the memorial service coming up, including a remarkable rendition of "We Are the World," which Michael Jackson co-composed. That's coming up.

(NEWS BREAK)

BLITZER: Let's assess what has been going on at the Staples Center today with three of our contributors.

Joining us now is Jeff Toobin, our senior legal analyst, Jim Moret from "Inside Edition," and Bryan Monroe. He's a CNN contributor. He was the last person to interview Michael Jackson.

Bryan, let me start with you.

Was this nearly two-and-a-half-hour memorial today what you thought it would be, or were you surprised?

BRYAN MONROE, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: I was both surprised and really touched by -- it was a sense of tenderness and joy at the same time.

The musical numbers, Lionel Richie, Jermaine Jackson when he did "Smile," Usher's performance of "Gone Too Song," and then coupled with, my goodness, that ending, the family, the brothers, the daughter on the stage coming together. And when she spoke the words, "Daddy," I don't think anyone, anyone could -- could have left that room without a tear in their eye.

BLITZER: It was an amazing moment. And we're going to play that for our viewers once again in just a moment.

But let me bring in Jim Moret.

You have covered Michael Jackson for a long time, Jim. Was this service what you thought it would be?

JIM MORET, CHIEF CORRESPONDENT, "INSIDE EDITION": I was pleasantly surprised.

I know that Katherine Jackson said she wanted it to be respectful memorial. She did not want it to be an entertainment event. I was inside the Staples arena. And I will tell you, the mood there was reverential, respectful. The crowd was very patient when there was a false start by Smokey Robinson.

And nobody was talking. They were really captivated, I think, by the memory of this man that many people got to know for the first time today through some of these very poignant speeches that were made.

BLITZER: It really had a huge audience out there in the United States and around the world. There's no doubt about that.

Jeff Toobin, I want to play for you this clip that the Reverend Al Sharpton -- he delivered one of the eulogies today. And he said this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: There are those that like to dig around mess. But millions around the world, we're going to uphold his message. It's not about mess, it's about his love message.

As you climb up steep mountains, sometimes you scar your knee. Sometimes you break your skin. But don't focus on the scar, focus on the journey.

Michael beat them. Michael rose to the top. He out sang his cynics. He out stanced his doubters. He outperformed the pessimists. Every time he got knocked down, he got back up. Every time you counted him out, he came back in. Michael never stopped. Michael never stopped. Michael never stopped.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BLITZER: A moving tribute from the Reverend Al Sharpton.

Was this what you thought it would be, this service?

JEFFREY TOOBIN, CNN SENIOR LEGAL ANALYST: I thought it was. And I thought it was at its best when it was about Michael's music and his dancing because that, ultimately, is what he's going to be remembered for.

I think there's been a lot of defensiveness on the part of the Jackson family and Jackson supporters. And that statement -- that eulogy by Al Sharpton was part of it -- you know, don't focus on the trial and the accusations against him, focus on the music.

But I think that's what's going to happen. Michael Jackson will be remembered for the artist that he was. And like a lot of artists, like Pablo Picasso, like Norman Mailer, like Miles Davis, he had a troubled personal life, at times. But we still celebrate all these artists because of their art.

BLITZER: Let's not forget, also, Bryan, that he wasn't just a singer or a dancer, he was also a composer. And he was a humanitarian. He gave away a lot of money and he -- he did a lot of charitable work, including what we're going to have coming up, that song, "We Are the World," which changed the way rock stars generate funds for good causes.

MONROE: Yes. He was able to bring together all those fantastic artists, he and Lionel Richie and Quincy Jones, for that -- that great tribute with "We Are the World."

But, also, he gave away what some -- some numbers look like between $300 million and $500 million in charitable giving, including to the United Negro College Fund.

That's a lot of -- that's a part of Michael Jackson that a lot of people don't really realize, the size of his heart.

TOOBIN: You know, I think "We Are The World" tells you something about Michael Jackson, because what he understood was show business. And he knew that the way to make the American public aware of the crisis in Africa was to bring all the music stars in the country -- the biggest to get -- the biggest ones of them all together.

And so he brought that joyful sense of show business to fundraising, which was perfect because it was great entertainment and it was fantastically successful in raising money and raising awareness.

BLITZER: In raising money for famine in Africa.

Jim Moret, it's fair to say that that song alone changed the world.

MORET: Oh, I think it is. I think it is. It changed, certainly, as Jeff says, the way that you can raise awareness about -- toward a problem and then raise money to help fix it. I think that's shifted the focus from me to other people. And Michael Jackson really represented that in so many of the things he did.

I was listening again to Magic Johnson and to Brooke Shields and then, of course, to Paris, his daughter. And they really humanized him. And they took away the personality and left the person -- a person, frankly, that many of us never knew about Michael Jackson.

BLITZER: Jim Moret, thanks very much.

Bryan Monroe, thank you.

Jeff Toobin, thanks, as well.

Stevie Wonder and Smokey Robinson -- they spoke very movingly of their good friend, Michael Jackson.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

STEVIE WONDER, SINGER: I do know that as much as we may feel -- and we do -- that we need Michael here with us, God must have needed him far more. ROBINSON: I love you, my brother. I celebrate your life. I'm proud that I had the chance to know you. God bless you. I know he is.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(MUSIC)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MARLON JACKSON, MICHAEL JACKSON'S BROTHER: Michael wore the same shoes wherever we went. But I guess that was his way of trying to experience what we take for granted. We would never, never understand what he endured -- not being able to walk across the street without a crowd gathering around him; being judged, ridiculed.

How much pain can one take?

Maybe now, Michael, they will leave you alone.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BLITZER: Michael Jackson's brother, Marlon, speaking movingly of his late brother. He died at the age of only 50 years old.

Reaction has been pouring in.

Abbi Tatton is joining us, our Internet reporter.

You're getting a lot of iReports coming in from around the world.

ABBI TATTON, CNN INTERNET REPORTER: Really, Wolf, this was an event that was watched worldwide. And you just have to go to iReport.com to see what we're talking about.

We've had videos come in from Namibia. This is Yannick Betio and his girlfriend watching the memorial service today. He tells us: "We lost the God of pop music."

You can see that on ireport.com. And there are more there.

We see people whose workplaces just stopped. This is Santo Domingo in the Dominican Republic, where Misael Rincon says that everyone was gathered around the screens watching the memorial service today.

And then, of course, many, many pictures coming in from in and around the Staples Center, that memorial wall. And we've got some of the tributes here from iReporters who have been sending in what people are writing: "Good-bye, Michael," "We'll miss you," "King of pop. -- Wolf, all of these at iReport.com.

BLITZER: Thanks very much for that, Abbi. Brian Todd has been monitoring the reaction from around the world -- Brian, this memorial service took place at a time when people in most of the world were awake. And they say that perhaps a billion people might have been watching.

TODD: That wouldn't be surprising, Wolf, at all. This was one of those days -- one of those rare days when so many seemed to stop their lives to watch an unforgettable event.

In the United States -- we'll start there. People gathered at a restaurant in Michael Jackson's hometown of Gary, Indiana. People at the First AME Church in Los Angeles were singing and crying as they watched this memorial.

Across the country, in Harlem, near the Apollo Theater, where Michael Jackson had some legendary performances, people gathered on the street to watch this memorial.

But this was a truly international event.

Crowds gathered in Moscow, releasing balloons and singing songs there.

In Lebanon, fans lit candles and watched in an outdoor cafe -- watched there, this service.

Thousands of Berliners in Germany watched the broadcast. They watched it in a hockey arena.

The fans created a shrine with memorabilia outside The Lyric Theatre in London, where the production of "Thriller" is playing. And inside that venue, the actors acknowledged the king of pop with a moment of silence.

But life did not stop everywhere. We're told that in Savannah, Georgia, our affiliate, WTOC TV, had to break its camera crew down and they left one area when almost no one showed up in at a screening. And even in Los Angeles, Wolf, Grauman's Chinese Theatre canceled its broadcast because of low turnout there.

So it was not the most popular thing everywhere you went. But just a little sampling there from around the world.

BLITZER: Yes. People didn't have to go to the theater to watch, they could watch it on their TVs at home.

TODD: That's right.

BLITZER: All right. Thanks very much, Brian, for that.

The most moving moment came right near the very end, when the 11- year-old daughter of Michael Jackson, Paris Katherine Jackson, spoke up.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

P. JACKSON: Ever since I was born, daddy has been the best father you could ever imagine.

(CRYING)

P. JACKSON: And I just want to say I love him so much.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BLITZER: Our senior White house correspondent, Ed Henry, sat down with President Obama in Moscow and asked him to reflect on Michael Jackson.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

OBAMA: I don't think that there's any doubt he was one of the greatest entertainers of our generation, but perhaps any generation. I think, like Elvis, like Sinatra or like The Beatles, he became a -- a core part of our culture. His extraordinary talent and his music was matched with, I think, a big dose of tragedy and difficulty in his private life. And I don't think we can ignore that. But it's important for us to affirm what was best in him.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BLITZER: The president speaking about Michael Jackson in Moscow to our own Ed Henry.

At today's star-studded tribute to Michael Jackson, there were lots of memorable moments -- some that made us laugh, some that made us cry and some that were, shall we say, "Moost Unusual."

Here's CNN's Jeanne Moos.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

JEANNE MOOS, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): It was an unpredictable service -- unpredictably normal -- except for the shining casket being serenaded by superstars singing his songs.

(MUSIC)

MOOS: No wonder Stevie Wonder seemed to be on every channel.

(MUSIC)

MOOS: This was the service for...

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The greatest entertainer that ever lived.

QUEEN LATIFAH: Michael was the biggest star on Earth.

MOOS: A brother cried.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I hurt.

MOOS: So did show biz friends, like Usher.

(VIDEO CLIP)

MOOS: So did Brooke Shields.

BROOKE SHIELDS, ACTRESS: And we need to smile.

(MUSIC)

MOOS: Michael's brother, Jermaine, performed Michael's favorite song. The predicted chaos never materialized.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, COURTESY FOX NEWS)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And what sort of crazy something or other is going to happen because Michael Jackson is in the house?

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MOOS: Though whether Michael actually was in the house seemed debatable, as the hearse headed for Staples Center.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, COURTESY MSNBC)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: And I say casket because it is not clear if Michael Jackson's remains will actually be in there.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I'm hearing rumors. I don't done know if his coffin is actually coming, but that would be insane.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, COURTESY FOX NEWS)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Will this be an open casket affair?

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MOOS: No, it won't. But the Web site TMZ breathlessly confirmed that Jackson's body was inside the casket.

Anyone expecting a circus found it only in the hours before the service -- when elephants arrived at the Staples Center for the opening of the Ringling Brothers Circus Wednesday.

As for the expected mob scene...

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, COURTESY FOX NEWS)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Empty seats inside, so that's quite shocking.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MOOS: Which led one fan stranded outside without a ticket to interrupt a live shot. UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I heard there's empty seats in there.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes and there are...

(CROSSTALK)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Hey, if I could just talk for a moment.

MOOS: Fans who did get inside called out to the man in the casket.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I love you, Michael.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We all love you, Michael.

MOOS: Members of the funeral party wore a single glove. And Michael's kids joined stars singing "We Are the World."

(MUSIC)

MOOS: And then it was just her -- Michael Jackson's daughter.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

P. JACKSON: Daddy has been the best father you could ever imagine.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MOOS: Usually, it's at a funeral that people wear veils. But at this funeral, the kids were unveiled to the public.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

P. JACKSON: And I just wanted to say I love him so much.

(MUSIC)

(END VIDEOTAPE)

BLITZER: All right. We'll take another quick break. When we come back, a remarkable performance of "We Are the World." You heard it earlier. We'll replay it right after this.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BLITZER: We'll get to the video of "We Are the World." You heard it at the Michael Jackson Memorial.

But let's check in with Jack Cafferty first for The Cafferty File -- Jack.

CAFFERTY: We've got that Governor Sanford thing down in South Carolina, Wolf.

The question this hour is: What does it say about the Republican Party in that state that they will not call for Governor Sanford's resignation?

They met all night and did a bunch of votes and came up with a censure. That's the best they could do.

Jeff in Ocean City, Maryland: "I find it interesting how much difficulty the members of the party of family values have living up to the standards they want to mandate for the rest of us."

Alex in Washington: "Many in the Republican Party sermonize about America's moral failings and situational ethics. In fact, Governor Sanford railed against former President Clinton's dalliance with an intern. And yet in this situation, the GOP won't live up to their high ideals they espouse for everybody else, if it would cost them power and control. How very sad."

Michael writes: "Well, being a resident of South Carolina, I must say I am disgusted with my governor. But as far as what this says about the South Carolina GOP is that they don't care about anything except being in power and staying in power, no matter what the character of the leader is."

Karl in San Francisco writes: "Jack, you put hypocritical redneck backwards cross burning hicks in three piece suits, but they're still all hypocritical redneck backwoods cross burning hicks. What else do you expect from them?"

John writes: "Cafferty, what it says about the South Carolina GOP is quite evident to anybody who has common sense -- that is, a fiscally conservative adulterous Republican is better than any Democrat, period."

Jason in Hawaii writes: "A better question -- what does it say about a politician in 2009 that's still dumb himself enough to call himself a Republican?"

And K. writes: "Can you spell Bill Clinton? How about John Edwards?"

If you didn't see your e-mail here, you can go to my blog at CNN.com/caffertyfile and look for yours there.

That's all I have.

BLITZER: That's enough.

Jack, thanks.

See you tomorrow.

CAFFERTY: Yes, you will.

BLITZER: When we come back, "We Are the World," as performed at the Michael Jackson memorial.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK) BLITZER: In 1985, Michael Jackson co-wrote "We Are the World" to help deal with the problem of famine relief in Africa. Today, his friends performed it at his memorial.

(MUSIC)

BLITZER: And, of course, that was Michael Jackson's "Heal The World."

Earlier, we heard "We Are the World."

Campbell Brown is here to pick up our coverage over the next two hours.

It's been a truly remarkable day -- Campbell.

CAMPBELL BROWN, CNN ANCHOR: It was, Wolf. And not really the sort of over the top spectacle that a lot of people predicted, but really went -- in many ways, brought a human face to Michael Jackson. And people sharing their personal stories and about their friendships and those moments, I think, were what were most striking to me watching it.

BLITZER: Yes. I loved the music. It brought back -- every one of those songs, for me -- I'm sure for you and for a lot of our viewers -- brought back so many memories.

BROWN: That's right, Wolf. And we're going to be playing many of those songs for everyone tonight.

As Wolf said, a remarkable day. Michael Jackson's memorial equal parts showbiz and sadness with tributes -- so many tributes from family, friends and celebrities.

Tonight, we're going to show you everything you missed from those musical highlights Wolf mentioned to his 11-year-old daughter's touching farewell to her father.

And we begin with something very fitting for the king of pop -- a sort of greatest hits collection.