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CNN Student News Transcript: January 21, 2009

  • Story Highlights
  • Review Barack Obama's inauguration as the 44th U.S. president
  • Compare President Obama's inaugural address to past speeches
  • Explore a new technology that recreates the inauguration in 3-D
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(Student News) -- January 21, 2009

Quick Guide

Obama in Office - Review Barack Obama's inauguration as the 44th U.S. president.

Historically Speaking - Compare President Obama's inaugural address to past speeches.

The Moment - Explore a new technology that recreates the inauguration in 3-D.



PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA: With hope and virtue, let us brave once more the icy currents and endure what storms may come. Let it be said by our children's children that when we were tested, we refused to let this journey end; that we did not turn back, nor did we falter; and with eyes fixed on the horizon and God's grace upon us, we carried forth that great gift of freedom and delivered it safely to future generations.

CARL AZUZ, CNN STUDENT NEWS ANCHOR: The words of President Barack Obama, sworn in yesterday as the country's new leader. Hi, I'm Carl Azuz, and welcome to this special, inauguration edition of CNN Student News.

First Up: Obama in Office

AZUZ: "This is America happening." That is how one onlooker described the scene yesterday in Washington, D.C., as the country marked the end of one era and the beginning of another. In a day filled with traditions, Barack Obama became the 44th member of what just might be the most exclusive club on the planet. Elizabeth Manresa wraps up this newest chapter in American history.


ELIZABETH MANRESA, CNN REPORTER: Before hundreds of thousands of people, lined from the Capitol to the Lincoln Memorial, an historic transfer of power in the nation's capital.

OBAMA: I, Barack Hussein Obama, do solemnly swear...

MANRESA: Standing next to his wife and with his hand on the same Bible Abraham Lincoln used nearly 150 years ago, Barack Obama took the oath of office, becoming the nation's first African-American commander in chief.

OBAMA: I stand here today humbled by the task before us, grateful for the trust you have bestowed.

MANRESA: Acknowledging the road ahead will be bumpy, President Obama said he remains hopeful.

OBAMA: 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.

MANRESA: The unprecedented inauguration marks the end of the Bush administration. President and Mrs. Obama said farewell to the former first family. Along the inaugural parade route, excitement after those wishing to welcome the first family got a surprise glimpse of the president and first lady. Then a tribute to the Obama family, who looked on from a secured viewing station.

But in the midst of the celebration, concern over Massachusettes Senator Ted Kennedy. Already suffering from brain cancer, he was rushed to a Washington hospital after collapsing at a lunch for President Obama. Doctors say he's doing fine.


Is this legit?

ERIK NIVISON, CNN STUDENT NEWS: Is this legit? Barack Obama officially became the U.S. president before he took the oath of office. True! According to the Constitution, the president-elect becomes the new president at noon, even if he hasn't officially been sworn in. President Obama took the oath at 12:05.

Historically Speaking

AZUZ: All right, now aside from the oath, one of the most anticipated parts of the inauguration is the inaugural address. During his, President Obama drew on phrases from historic documents, like the Declaration of Independence, the U.S. Constitution, as well as referencing some of his presidential predecessors. Bill Schneider examines how yesterday's speech compares to those that came before it.


BILL SCHNEIDER, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: Some inaugural addresses are known for their soaring, inspirational language.

PRESIDENT JOHN F. KENNEDY: Ask not what your country can do for you. Ask what you can do for your country.

SCHNEIDER: Barack Obama's address was less stirring, perhaps, but more measured and candid.

OBAMA: Starting today, we must pick ourselves up, dust ourselves off and begin the work of remaking America.

SCHNEIDER: At a time of crisis, a president needs to be reassuring. Like Franklin Roosevelt, who said at his first inaugural, "The only thing we have to fear is fear itself." Or Bill Clinton in 1993.

PRESIDENT BILL CLINTON: There is nothing wrong with America that cannot be cured by what is right with America.

SCHNEIDER: Obama, too, offered reassurance.

OBAMA: We gather because we have chosen hope over fear, unity of purpose over conflict and discord.

SCHNEIDER: Some presidents have used their inaugural address to set out a bold agenda.

PRESIDENT RONALD REAGAN: Government is not the solution to our problem. Government is the problem.

PRESIDENT GEORGE W. BUSH: The survival of liberty in our land increasingly depends on the success of liberty in other lands.

SCHNEIDER: President Obama did talk about big plans. But they have to be practical.

OBAMA: The question we ask today is not whether our government is too big or too small, but whether it works.

SCHNEIDER: Obama knows how to be stirring. And he was, when he talked about his new approach to diplomacy.

OBAMA: To those who cling to power through corruption and deceit and the silencing of dissent, know that you are on the wrong side of history, but that we will extend a hand if you are willing to unclench your fist.



NIVISON: Time for the Shoutout! Which president's inauguration was the first one to be photographed? If you think you know it, shout it out! Was it: A) Thomas Jefferson, B) Abraham Lincoln, C) James Buchanan or D) William Taft? You've got three seconds -- GO! The first known inauguration photograph was of President Buchanan's ceremony in 1857. That's your answer and that's your Shoutout!

The Moment

AZUZ: Jumping ahead a few years now, yesterday, there were likely thousands of cameras on hand to capture the inauguration, and a new technology lets the photographers share those images with the world. But this new technology is adding a dimension to your standard photo album, combining all of the pictures into a 3-D image that recreates the moment when President Obama was sworn into office. John King explores how it works.


JOHN KING, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: I want to come in here now and take a peek. Here it is, just after noon, Barack Obama, his hand raised, taking the oath of office as the 44th president of the United States. You might say, "Wow, somebody up close got a nice snapshot there." That'd be nice for the catalog, the album at home, but it's much more than that. Let's tap a couple of times and come on out. There it is, that picture up close. Let's pull out a little bit. These are more pictures, thousands of them have come in. This synth is built on roughly 140. What we do is we get more and more.

Let's drop out now. You see the presidential seal, you see the crowds, the VIPs up here. Let's keep coming out. You see the seal here; we can come around more. The more these photos come in, this collage is built and you can see what it looks like. From here, I'm going to reach across -- excuse my hand -- we'll take a perspective of what it looked like from the side over here. We can come back around and see again this way, come around, multidimensional; come more over this way, you see the west front of the Capitol here.

Let's come back over to where the president was taking the oath of office. You see him here. We're going to come all the way back now. Because our viewers helped us out. You see, even, people taking pictures on their cell phones down here. Keep sending them in, because we can take you back some more. We can take you back more still. Look at the depth of the crowd here, still on the Capitol grounds.

How did we do this? Well, let's show you what it looks like. You have all of these pictures, about 140. You see all different perspectives, a little further away here, off to the right, off to the left. If you look down here, who's watching this event? There's Oprah Winfrey, right down here; other VIPs in the crowd as well. This goes on and on and on; you can bring out these pictures.

You bring out the picture and you build the synth from there. All of these photographs, thousands coming in so far, you can start with one. This photograph sent in of the flag flying over the Capitol. Because of this technology, we can make it so much more. We just bring them all together; the synth program links them up by points of common reference: takes a photo taken from way back here, links it to the photo taken from way on in, and you bring it all out. And look at the multidimensional nature of this. You want to get a little closer, just touch, and there you go: Barack Obama, becoming the 44th president of the United States.



AZUZ: Pretty cool stuff. OK now, you've seen the moment, you've heard the highlights. The question is, what should our new president tackle first? Health care, the economy, the war in Iraq? You tell us. We've set up a few options on our blog at; a quick vote is up and running! But don't let that quick vote fence you in. If you've got any ideas of what issues are most important to you or most important to the nation, leave us your comments From A to Z!


AZUZ: And today, we'll leave you with images that President Obama himself will never forget: the day he became the 44th president of more than 303 million Americans. From here on out, you'll hear us say "President Obama;" no more "president-elect." We hope you elect to check out CNN Student News again tomorrow, and enjoy the rest of your day.


JOHN ROBERTS, CHIEF JUSTICE OF THE SUPREME COURT: Are you prepared to take the oath, senator?

OBAMA: I am.

ROBERTS: I, Barack Hussein Obama...

OBAMA: I, Barack...

ROBERTS: ... do solemnly swear...

OBAMA: I, Barack Hussein Obama, do solemnly swear...

ROBERTS: ... that I will execute the office of president to the United States faithfully...

OBAMA: ... preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States.

ROBERTS: So help you God?

OBAMA: So help me God.


ROBERTS: Congratulations, Mr. President. All the best wishes.


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