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ANDERSON COOPER 360 DEGREES

President Obama Retakes Oath of Office; Caroline Kennedy Bowing Out?; Obama's First Day in Office

Aired January 21, 2009 - 23:00   ET

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


(COMMERCIAL BREAK)
ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: An amazing night tonight. Breaking news on two fronts: conflicting reports, many saying Caroline Kennedy is not going to try to go to the Senate. And a do-over also for President Barack Obama; retaking the oath of office because of the mistake made yesterday by the chief justice of the United States.

Here is the picture released by the White House. This evening in the White House in the Map Room at 7:35, Chief Justice Roberts with reporters present re-administering the oath, excuse me, getting the words right, unlike me this time. Legal experts say he didn't have to do it but he did just to make sure. We have just gotten an audio of the moment.

Here's President Obama retaking the oath of office.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JOHN ROBERTS, CHIEF JUSTICE OF THE UNITED STATES: I, Barack Hussein Obama, do solemnly swear...

BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I, Barack Hussein Obama, do solemnly swear...

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

OBAMA: ... that I will faithfully execute the office of President of the United States...

ROBERTS: ... and will to the best of my ability...

OBAMA: ... and will to the best of my ability...

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

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

ROBERTS: ... so help you God.

OBAMA: ... so help me God.

ROBERTS: Congratulations again. OBAMA: Thank you, sir.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

COOPER: That was the correct oath. This the incorrect one witnessed yesterday by billions of people around the world.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ROBERTS: I, Barack Hussein Obama, 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: ... that I will execute...

ROBERTS: ... faithfully the office of president of the United States...

OBAMA: ... the office of president of the United States faithfully...

ROBERTS: ... and will to the best of my ability...

OBAMA: ... and will to the best of my ability...

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

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.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

COOPER: After retaking the oath today, Mr. Obama joked, saying, we decided it was so much fun and later warning the press pool they'd have a dozen more balls to attend tonight.

With us now, Ed Henry and senior legal analyst Jeffrey Toobin. Ed, Obama's press secretary said yesterday there would be no oath do- over. What changed? What are we learning tonight?

ED HENRY, CNN SENIOR WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Anderson, it's such a strange development because I first learned that there was something going on when I was standing in the West Wing a couple of hours ago and I overheard senior adviser David Axelrod say thank you Mr. Chief Justice for coming over. That's not something I hear every day around here especially the day after the inaugural, the day after this problem. So I thought maybe just the chief justice had come over to apologize personally to the president. Instead we started making some calls. Our Supreme Court producer, Bill Mears made some calls.

And we nailed down the fact that the White House counsel Greg Craig basically felt that while it was administered legally and all fine, he felt there was a controversy lingering out there and wanted to nip it in the bud. So Greg Craig himself told me he advised the president it was best to just get this done a second time.

They called the chief justice; he came over.

What's also interesting is that earlier in the day, Vice President Joe Biden has sort of joked about this matter and poked a little fun at the chief justice. Look at the president's body language. He was not in a laughing mood.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

OBAMA: Joe, you want to administer the oath?

JOE BIDEN, VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Am I doing this again?

OBAMA: For the senior staff.

BIDEN: For the senior staff. All right.

OBAMA: A number of cabinet members.

BIDEN: My memory is not as good as Justice Roberts.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

HENRY: You saw that the president had a very serious look. He reached out and grabbed Joe Biden's arm as if to say, look, let's not go there. He was supposed to be administering the oath for senior staff here at the White House. Hours before this went down, there was joking. The president didn't like it.

As you said, later on when the second oath happened, the president was joking with the chief justice about this whole matter. I think the bottom line is, they just wanted to nip this in the bud and not have it linger out there as any kind of an issue -- Anderson.

COOPER: Jeff, legally, was this necessary?

JEFFREY TOOBIN, CNN SENIOR LEGAL ANALYST: As far as I can tell, absolutely not. The 20th Amendment to the Constitution, which was ratified in 1933, makes it very clear that George Bush's term ended at noon and Barack Obama's term began at noon.

COOPER: Right.

TOOBIN: And the oath is irrelevant.

COOPER: We said that on the air yesterday that at 12:00 Barack Obama officially became the president whether or not he had taken the oath.

TOOBIN: That's correct as far as I know. There's never been a court case testing this issue and Greg Craig, you can see why he thought the way he did. He didn't want to have people filing lawsuits even if they turned out to be frivolous.

It's easy enough to bring Chief Justice Roberts over. I'm sure he was willing to do it. I'm certain, knowing Chief Justice Roberts, that he was embarrassed by this situation. He is the official A student. He's never made a public mistake before so he'd be willing to correct it.

But now the one issue that's now left outstanding is what about the executive orders and other acts taken between noon of yesterday and 7:30 Eastern today; are they going to redo those just to make sure that he has the authority?

COOPER: Do you think he might actually do that?

TOOBIN: They might. There are only a handful of them; probably five or so. Maybe they'll do that.

COOPER: Keeping them honest here I find it kind of amazing that the world only learned about this when you overheard a phone conversation from a senior adviser David Axelrod, thanking the chief justice. This is the administration; these are the folks who talked about transparency and being the most transparent.

Did they, I mean, do they not plan on announcing -- they didn't announce this before hand?

HENRY: Well, it's interesting. What I overheard was a conversation from David Axelrod in the hallway itself not on the phone. You're right though that they are talking a lot about transparency.

This very day the president signed an executive order calling for more openness and transparency by the federal government. What happened was I overheard this conversation, started trying to figure out what was going on. Meanwhile other White House officials were pulling in a small group of reporters in sort of what they call a pool situation to witness this moment in history and then tell the rest of the press about it.

But in that kind of situation the TV pool is supposed to come in, a representative from one of the five TV networks. In this case the White House did not bring a TV network in. CNN and other news organizations have now lodged a complaint about this. We're trying to get an answer.

The White House has not explained yet why they did not bring a TV camera in especially if it was important enough for the chief justice of the United States to come back and do this a second time. It certainly seems important enough for television networks to get it on tape to show the country and the world as you said the billions of people who saw this that, look, it really did happen.

And so we haven't gotten a clear answer yet. It is ironic the same day that the president is talking about transparency we were not let in -- Anderson.

COOPER: Jeff, do you think they didn't want a TV camera in there just because they wanted to sweep this under the rug?

TOOBIN: I can't speak for them. I don't know. It seems silly not to have a TV camera there. There is some precedent for this. Apparently President Calvin Coolidge and Chester Arthur redid their oaths as well but that was so long ago it was before the 20th Amendment. Theoretically there could have been a problem with the oath. I think this was a very over-protective, perhaps, lawyering, but the problem has now gone away although Chief Justice Roberts will not live this down very quickly.

COOPER: I read that Lyndon Johnson also flubbed the vice presidential oath when he was sworn in as vice president. I'm not sure if he retook it though.

Jeff Toobin, thanks very much. We'll continue to follow this and find out why they didn't allow video cameras in. Ed Henry thanks for the reporting; for finding out about this.

The other breaking news tonight concerns Caroline Kennedy, who in addition to being the daughter of JFK and the niece of Senator Ted Kennedy, was a key Obama supporter during the campaign. She launched a high profile bid to be named secretary of state -- named to secretary of state Clinton's old senate seat and was considered at one point to be the top contender.

Now, tonight, conflicting reports. Some sources telling CNN reporters she is dropping out. Some saying she's not. Candy Crowley is working the story for us tonight.

Candy, do we know? Is she dropping out or not?

CANDY CROWLEY, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: We don't know. Listen, let me tell you and give you the bare facts of this. There were three of us who when we first heard this story started making phone calls, John King, Gloria Borger and myself. Each of us separately got three different sources saying yes she doesn't want to do it. She's withdrawing.

After that we began to call around people who should also know and they didn't. They said I have no idea what's going on. I'm not sure what's going on.

And then there came to be news reports saying that perhaps this was a result of a misunderstanding between Caroline Kennedy and New York Governor Paterson. So with an abundance of caution, we still have sources telling us what they originally did and that is that she is withdrawing but we also have people saying that should know, I don't know anything about this. And we're talking about close friends of Caroline Kennedy who are saying this is the first I've heard of it and it seemed unlikely they wouldn't know. So that's where we stand.

COOPER: So just being as transparent as possible in our reporting we have three different reporters at CNN have three different sources saying yes she's dropping out and others are saying no she's not or they don't know.

CROWLEY: Well, they don't know anything about it. Other news organizations are reporting that perhaps this was the result of a misunderstanding between Caroline and the governor of New York.

COOPER: All right. Candy will continue to work her sources.

More now with senior political analyst David Gergen, John King and BET senior political analyst Pamela Gentry.

What do you make of this David, I mean, clearly we don't know one way or the other but if she did take her name out of the running why would she do that?

DAVID GERGEN, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: Anderson, it seems to me we've had a very serious day at Barack Obama's first day in office. And now we have a sort of circus-like ending to it with both the John Roberts story about taking the oath again and now the Caroline Kennedy story. Both of which are surrounded by a lot of confusion.

The original story that came out, the first couple of stories that came out of the New York newspapers said she was pulling out because of Ted Kennedy's health problems and she felt this was not the appropriate time to go in. I don't know whether she's pulling out or not but that seems like an implausible explanation.

Others are speculating that she felt maybe Paterson wasn't -- that Governor Paterson was not going to select her and decided to drop out. And still others think she's still in the running as the front runner.

So what I will say is this, Anderson. I think any time you get a circus like this, surrounding a potential nomination or naming, it makes it somewhat less likely that it will happen.

COOPER: Pamela, does it make sense to you that she would pull her name out because of concerns over her uncle's health?

PAMELA GENTRY, SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST, BET: Well, I think if she was already looking at some of the polls that were saying that Attorney General Cuomo was looking like a better candidate that if she doesn't think she is going to get the appointment it would be better to withdraw than not to be appointed to look like it at least was your idea.

But I'm surprised that it was coming down to this close. They knew that Senator Hillary Clinton was going to be confirmed. That was pretty much a given. I'm surprised they've waited this long actually for him to kind of just say who is he going to select? I mean, there are really only a couple of really top names out there right now.

COOPER: John, in people you had talked to was there any sense she might be having second thoughts at all?

JOHN KING, CNN CHIEF NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: I think I better wait for the movie on this one, Anderson. This is quite a bizarre drama.

In Washington yesterday for the inaugural, a cousin of Caroline Kennedy and a very close associate of Caroline Kennedy told us that they were increasingly convinced she was Governor Paterson's choice. And then tonight this breaks first in the New York press. As Candy noted, I made a phone call to a very close Kennedy family friend, a longtime associate of Senator Kennedy who responded to me in an e-mail he had been told she was, quote, "out of the running." He declined to give any other information today -- this is a very loyal family friend, not a talker, who said I'll leave it up to her people to explain.

Since then we've had this back and forth with some people saying is there a miscommunication? Was this leaked by the Paterson people as a signal to her? The governor's office has told our Mary Snow and others that they did not talk on the telephone. The "New York Times" is reporting that there was a telephone conversation; that she has withdrawn.

So this is a very interesting drama. There's been mistrust between all of the camps including Attorney General Cuomo who also would like to have this seat and there are other New York Democrats who would like the seat. So a lot of mistrust, tonight a lot of confusion tonight although there are a number of sources saying that whether it was done by her or she was nudged that she's out of the running.

We'll keep calling.

COOPER: Very briefly, John, was there any indication from governor Paterson. I understand he made some sort of joking reference recently.

KING: "The New York Daily News" has a paragraph in its reports saying that the governor's spokesman was asked about this earlier in the day and said it's just the rumor of the day. And then an hour later called back and said please don't run that quote. Now, whether that was don't run that quote because I don't want to be quoted on this at all or whether it was don't run that quote because it's more than a rumor or we just don't want to be involved in this, not my reporting so I can't read minds on that one.

Those kinds of twists only add to the confusion.

COOPER: We'll try to sort it out throughout this hour and give you any updates if we can. John King, Pamela Gentry, David Gergen, stay with us. We're going to talk to you in a few moments because we do want to focus on this other big story which is the remarkable day in the White House, Barack Obama's first day as president. A lot of breaking news to talk about.

Let us know what you think about all this. Join the live chat happening now at ac360.com. I'm going to log on shortly and check out also Erica Hill's live Webcast during commercial breaks.

Up next, the president getting down to business: what he accomplished in his first work day including a pay freeze, promises of accountability and makings of a major policy shift on Guantanamo Bay.

Also tonight, what we're learning about the big items on the First Lady's agenda as well as how she's balancing family and policy.

We'll be bringing you some of the magic of last night's inaugural celebrations that you might have missed or just want to enjoy one more time.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

COOPER: Recapping our breaking news: President Obama retaking the oath of office tonight just after dinnertime in the White House Map Room. Both he and Chief Justice Roberts getting their lines right this time, a surprising end to his first full day at work.

Take a look. Here's how the day began: Mr. Obama entering the Oval Office this morning for the first time as President of the United States, kicking off a busy day, highlighted by promises of new transparency and accountability -- we will be "Keeping Them Honest" on that -- also giving his own staffers a pay freeze, facing a new challenge on his Justice Department pick, and, as Ed Henry first reported, making news on the detention camp at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.

Ed was the first to learn today of the administration's one-year time frame for closing it. He has got details on that and much more, the "Raw Politics" from day one.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

HENRY (voice-over): President Obama's first full day on the job, a Kodak moment for the White House to project the image he's firmly in charge.

OBAMA: That's a pretty good place to start.

HENRY: Mr. Obama wants to show that, despite his recent praise for former President Bush, he is now moving quickly to dismantle key aspects of his predecessor's legacy.

CNN has learned there are three executive orders coming Thursday, shutting down the U.S. military prison at Guantanamo, banning the use of torture on terror suspects, and starting a systematic review of all detention policies. OBAMA: Let me say it as simply as I can. Transparency and the rule of law will be the touchstones of this presidency.

HENRY: The president lingered at his inaugural parties until 1:00 a.m., but he had been warned that, when the festivities were over, the pressure would get intense.

GEORGE W. BUSH, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: And then he will walk in the Oval Office, and there will be a moment when the responsibilities of the president land squarely on his shoulders.

HENRY: That moment has come and gone, and Mr. Obama wants to prove he's hitting the ground running. A flurry of phone calls to Mideast leaders, a pay freeze for about 100 top aides who earn over $100,000, and two executive orders, one putting new restrictions on lobbyists, another pushing the government to open more records to the public.

OBAMA: Starting today, every agency and department should know that this administration stands on the side not of those who seek to withhold information, but those who seek to make it known.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

HENRY: Now, despite the talk of transparency, however, after signing those executive orders, the president had a meeting with his senior economic advisers. It was closed to the press. He also had a meeting on Iraq policy moving forward. That was closed to the press.

We have just gotten the schedule for tomorrow, another meeting on the economy that will be closed to the press -- Anderson.

COOPER: All right, Ed Henry, thanks.

Just ahead: the drama over some of team Obama's top Cabinet picks, how Hillary Clinton made it today, and two other big names have not -- not yet, at least.

And more from a night to remember -- at least until 2013 -- tonight on 360.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

COOPER: Hillary Clinton being sworn in as secretary of state, her husband, the 42nd president of the United States, there holding the Bible -- the judge, a close family friend, getting the words right on the first time.

Her confirmation today by a vote of 94-2, but not without some controversy, nowhere near as heated, though, as the one over another pair of nominees, including the treasury secretary, the man who would be in charge of trying to saving -- saving the economy.

Once again, on the 360 transition team, here's Candy Crowley.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE) CROWLEY (voice-over): Former first lady, former senator, one- time presidential candidate. Now just call her Madam Secretary.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The nomination is confirmed.

CROWLEY: Hillary Clinton was the president's most surprising pick, certainly the one with the most controversial spouse. And former President Bill Clinton did figure into last-minute qualms that more openness is needed about foreign contributions to his foundation in order to help Secretary of State Hillary Clinton do her job.

SEN. JOHN CORNYN (R), TEXAS: The perception and reality must be that the office of secretary of the state is viewed around the world as beyond reproach.

CROWLEY: And in the new ways of Washington, an old Obama rival is looking for a new place. Senator John McCain, in his first floor speech since losing the election, urged Republican colleagues to move the Clinton nomination along.

SEN. JOHN MCCAIN (R), ARIZONA: I, like all good politicians, pay attention to the president's approval ratings. They're very high. But, more importantly, I think the message that the American people are sending us now is they want us to work together.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Mr. Schumer, aye.

CROWLEY: Clinton was confirmed as secretary of state just after 4:30 Wednesday -- no such luck at the Senate Finance Committee, where the treasury secretary-designate was sorry, so sorry, he didn't pay his taxes over a four-year period.

TIMOTHY GEITHNER, TREASURY SECRETARY NOMINEE: They were avoidable mistakes, but they were unintentional. I should have been more careful. I take full responsibility for them.

CROWLEY: After an audit of two of those years, Timothy Geithner paid up. But he did not pay for two years that were outside the IRS statute of limitations until days before his nomination. Seriously, he's very sorry.

GEITHNER: I regret not having done that sooner. I believe I should have done it sooner. And I -- and, if I thought about it more, maybe I would have come to that judgment sooner.

CROWLEY: Not everyone buys it.

SEN. JON KYL (R), ARIZONA: Would you answer my question, rather than dancing around it, please?

CROWLEY: And so it was that, when President Barack Obama held his first White House meeting with economic advisers, his wingman was missing -- also MIA, an attorney general.

Using their prerogative, Republicans asked for a week's delay in committee hearings, complaining there hasn't been enough time to question Eric Holder, who would become the first black attorney general. It made the Democratic chairman of the Judiciary Committee cranky.

SEN. PATRICK LEAHY (D), JUDICIARY COMMITTEE CHAIRMAN: I am extremely disappointed. But they have that right. And this historic, historic nomination is held over.

CROWLEY: Hitting the ground running is not so easy as it seems.

Candy Crowley, CNN Washington.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

COOPER: Nothing ever is.

In a moment, David Gergen, John King and Pamela Gentry in a "Strategy Session" on the president's first full day in office. What does it tell about the days and weeks ahead?

Also, hanging on with his thumbs -- has Barack Obama won the battle to keep something from his private life with him in the White House?

Plus, some of the firsts for the first family, including the insider's advice that was passed along to Sasha and Malia from some former first daughters.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

OBAMA: I wanted to get everyone together on the first day to welcome you to the White House.

From our vantage point yesterday, you couldn't help but be inspired by the sight of Americans as far as the eye could see. They were there because they believe this is a moment of great change in America, a time for reinvigorating our democracy and remaking our country.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

COOPER: President Obama this afternoon welcoming his staff, freezing their pay, the top staffers, at least, promising to conduct a more transparent administration than the last one.

And, this evening, in a ceremony attended by a handful, not the 1.5 million who came yesterday, Mr. Obama retook the oath of office, he and Chief Justice Roberts making up for their performance yesterday -- more so for the chief justice than for the president.

Lots to get to in tonight's "Strategy Session." Joining me now: senior political analyst and former presidential adviser David Gergen; John King; and BET senior political analyst Pamela Gentry.

David, there was a lot that happened today. But, quickly, I just want to get your reaction to the retaking of the oath. Was this necessary?

GERGEN: I don't think so.

Jeffrey Toobin certainly makes a strong case it wasn't necessary legally. Perhaps, out of an abundance of caution, they did it again. I think it's a pretty minor matter.

COOPER: John, all the things that happened today, both the -- sort of the photo-ops and the actual things that happened, how does today rank among presidential first days?

KING: Well, it was very important to get off to a good first step, especially since the last Democratic president, Bill Clinton, had a horrible beginning in the early days.

And, Anderson, there's two key points here. Number one, he promised to have a more open and transparent government. There is some tension with the news media. Ed Henry just talked about it. That will continue.

There's a lot of questions about, is it transparent, when Tim Geithner's tax problems were disclosed to the Senate in early December, not to the American people until mid-January?

But these new lobbying restrictions and the other restrictions he had put on his staff are being applauded by all of the groups that watch these things outside of government as groundbreaking and landmark. So, in that regard, he's off to a good start.

And it's more than that. He's going to get the second installment of the $350 billion in bailout money. The American people don't like that program; don't trust any president to spend it. And he wants billions more in the stimulus money.

So, this, the lobbying restrictions, the whole idea of trust -- trust me, you can trust me -- is very important as he begins to spend billions and billions of dollars.

COOPER: Pamela, it was interesting to see him with Joe Biden when Joe Biden kind of made that joke about Chief Justice Roberts, and the president clearly did not seem thrilled by the joke, and actually kind of put his hand on Biden.

Have you noticed a change in Obama, just watching him today?

GENTRY: Well, today was interesting, because I did go over to the White House. And I thought there were a couple things that were very different.

He was tempted, I think, at the end of the swearing-in, actually to take questions. But his body language was obviously unhappy with Senator Biden's crack about Justice Roberts.

But, you know, what I really wanted to mention, too -- and I agree totally with John King -- but I think the lobbying -- the ethics issue on lobbying is probably the one that startled me the most, because he made a comment. His line at the end where he says that you cannot lobby back to the White House as long as I am president really takes the value out of leaving after those two years, which you know a lot of White House staffers come. They're there for a couple years. They leave the office, and they lobby right back.

So, he really kind of cut that off at the knees.

COOPER: David, as we talked about, Hillary Clinton confirmed as secretary of state.

It's remarkable, when you think back to the relationship they had over the course of the primary. All of that, I guess, is history. But what do you -- I mean, what is their actual relation? How do you see this moving forward?

GERGEN: I think it's warming, Anderson. Every indication is that. She has some very good people she's considering. I think she's anxious to get moving on that.

I think we are likely to hear about some envoys now fairly quickly. The name of George Mitchell is floating tonight as a possible envoy to the Middle East. We talked about Dennis Ross yesterday. But I think this relationship is warming.

I think he's going to get Tim Geithner and Eric Holder in a matter of a few days. I think the Republicans are asking appropriate questions, but they're going to -- he's going to get both those nominations done.

But the larger point, Anderson, if I may say so, is that, you know, after an exhausting 15-hour day yesterday and coming back and having a private party in the White House, with some friends, he got off to a running start today, and you have to give him credit for that.

And I think to go to John King's point, he said in the inaugural address that one of the things that concerned him most was the way confidence was draining out of the system, not only the financial system but trust in government.

And by coming back and meeting with it and ordering up now this withdrawal from Iraq, doing the transparency, doing the restrictions on lobbying, that -- those are opening steps toward beginning to restore that trust, which is so fundamental to his presidency.

COOPER: John, what about that?

KING: Well, he needs the trust, because he has enormous good will and personal support, even if you look at the -- he's going to issue an executive order this week, probably tomorrow, closing Guantanamo Bay. Ask that question of the American people a year ago, and they supported Guantanamo Bay and keeping terrorist detainees there. Now the American public is split. Why? Because Barack Obama spent a year on the campaign trail criticizing it, and people are following his lead because they support him. So he has that influence, the personal influence over public opinion. But that personal influence does not erase the skepticism and the doubt and the economic anxiety and the belief in Main Street America that billions and billions are being spent, and it's not getting to them.

And so he needs to convince people, "You might not have trusted how George Bush was spending this money. You can trust me." That's a steep hill despite his personal popularity.

COOPER: Pamela, just briefly, the two nominees whose nominations are being held up, Tim Geithner, Eric Holder, do you think both those will ultimately pass?

GENTRY: I do. I think both of them are going to pass because both of these men may not be the only person for the job. But I think both of them are the best person for the job. And I'm sure that Eric Holder is definitely, and Geithner, going to make it.

COOPER: All right. Pamela Gentry, John King, David Gergen, thank you. Good discussion.

Still ahead tonight, the new "It girls" in Washington: how Sasha and Malia Obama are adjusting to life in the White House and the advice the new first daughters got from the Bush twins.

Also ahead, trying to quit smoking was one thing, but giving up his BlackBerry, apparently quite another. Find out why it looks like President Obama is chalking up a big win tonight for him and for his thumbs.

And later the best moments from last night's inaugural balls, including some old-school moves at the Youth Ball.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

COOPER: Just ahead, what kind of first lady will Michelle Obama be? We'll take a look at that. She says she's looking forward to her new role and is going to be focusing on three projects. We'll tell you what they will be.

Erica Hill joins us with a "360 Bulletin" first -- Erica.

ERICA HILL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Anderson, divers today found the missing engine of U.S. Airways Flight 1549 nearly one week after the plane landed in the Hudson River after apparently running into a flock of birds. That engine, which is reportedly in one piece, will be lifted out within days.

Pet Treats (ph) and NutriSystem granola bars, the two latest products to join the growing list of recalls stemming from a nationwide salmonella outbreak. Nearly 500 people have been sickened. Six have died. More than 125 products containing either peanut butter or peanut butter paste, both made by a small food plant in Georgia, have been recalled. For a link to that complete list, log onto CNN.com. And the "Atlantic Monthly" online reporting President Obama will, in fact, be able to keep his beloved BlackBerry -- Anderson is thumbing on his right now. The president's, though, will apparently be a newer model with some souped-up encryption technology, which allows him to send routine and personal messages.

He wasn't messaging you there, right?

COOPER: No, he was not messaging me. You busted me right there.

Time now for our "Beat 360" winners, our daily challenge to viewers. I was actually doing work on the BlackBerry. Just so you know.

HILL: Of course. Of course you were. I knew that. Yes. Certainly.

COOPER: Show up our staffers -- show up our staffers by coming up with a better caption than the one we post on our blog every day, the photograph.

Tonight's picture, President Barack Obama steps on first lady Michelle Obama's dress during the Home States Inaugural Ball last night. Actually it kind of happened a couple times last night with the dress.

HILL: I think at every ball.

COOPER: It was a little bit too long, that dress. Anyway, our staff winner tonight is Joey, who quipped: "Michelle is not amused, but liberals are happy to learn Obama has two left feet."

HILL: Hallelujah. Joey is back as a winner. There's been a drought for Joey.

COOPER: And he was on a plane, so I don't know how he sent that in.

HILL: I guess he's Super Joey. Hello.

COOPER: Exactly. Our viewer winner is Charles from Harbor Springs, Michigan. His caption: "Honey, why does this dress have a tag on it that says 'property of the RNC'?"

HILL: Very clever, Charles.

COOPER: Your "Beat 360" T-shirt is on the way. Congratulations.

Next on the program, the style and substance of the new first family, from Michelle Obama's agenda to the big surprise for Sasha and Malia at the White House last night. Here's a hint. It was the Jonas Brothers. And the advice Jenna and Barbara Bush have for them.

And later at last, their song, all the celebrations; we'll show you the highlights from the inaugural balls, moments you may have missed, coming up. (COMMERCIAL BREAK)

COOPER: Wearing brightly colored outfits and beaming smiles, Sasha and Malia Obama captivated millions yesterday. No doubt about that. Tonight, we know more details on how they spent their first night in the White House.

We also know more about Michelle Obama and what she wants to achieve in her new role as first lady.

Erica Hill takes us up close.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

OBAMA: Please give it up...

HILL (voice-over): Michelle Obama is first and foremost a mother.

MICHELLE OBAMA, FIRST LADY: I joke that my first job is going to be mom-in-chief.

HILL: A joke that has almost become an official title for the new first lady, one that sends a clear message.

MYRA GUTIN, FIRST LADY HISTORIAN: I think it's an explicit signal that she will not be involved in public policy in the way in which Hillary Clinton was with national health care.

HILL: But when you're married to the president there are additional responsibilities and opportunities. And as her new title of first lady sinks in, Michelle Obama tells "Good Morning America" she's looking forward to them.

M. OBAMA: It's a bit surreal, but it's exciting because I think there's a lot that can be done with this platform.

HILL: In fact, she was thinking about that platform before her husband was elected.

M. OBAMA: What can I do that is useful in -- with this role? I spend a lot of time focusing on working, the challenges of work, family balance with women and families.

HILL: Her office tells CNN this will be one of three main projects for the first lady, along with helping military families to balance their demands and boosting volunteerism, something she dove into on Monday with a national day of service and a cause she rallied the next generation to get behind.

M. OBAMA: We need every American to serve their community, including our young people.

HILL: Dr. Myra Gutin is a first lady historian.

GUTIN: I think that she's likely to have quite an effect on American families. I think that they'll look to her and to the Obamas generally as an intact family, raising two young children, trying very hard to give them a normal life in probably the most public place in the world.

HILL: The Obamas have made it clear their daughters are their top priority. And the White House staff is also doing its part to help the family settle in.

While the president and first lady danced the inauguration night away, Malia and Sasha Obama were on a White House scavenger hunt, organized by the staff. The big payoff? A surprise visit from their favorite pop stars, the Jonas Brothers.

Jenna and Barbara Bush also offering the new first daughters some advice, in a letter published in "The Wall Street Journal." They urge the girls to have fun, take advantage of every opportunity, and above all, remember who your dad really is. Advice Mrs. Obama would likely agree with.

Erica Hill, CNN, New York.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

COOPER: Let's dig deeper on the new first family with Gwen Ifill, journalist and author of the new book "The Breakthrough: Politics and Race in the Age of Obama." It just came out.

Gwen, thanks for being with us.

It's interesting the fascination with the Obama family, people you know, watching them dance and interact with their kids, watching them do just about everything together. Do the Obamas change the way many Americans think of African-American families?

GWEN IFILL, AUTHOR, "THE BREAKTHROUGH": I think they changed the way a lot of people thought of families in general and how families in the public eye function.

It's no accident that we know that the Obama girls spent the night screaming over the Jonas Brothers. That's what a lot of little girls are doing of all races all around the country. And they're interested in portraying themselves as much as an American -- a normal American family as possible.

COOPER: It's interesting, though. Some commentators, you know, like to say we're now in a post-racial environment, that Obama has transcended race. Is that a false notion?

IFILL: Yes, pretty much. I spent a year and a half talking to an amazing number of really smart, rising-star elected officials. And each one of them told me stories about ways in which the race has not been transcended.

They are people who think it's important to talk about other things other than race and to broaden issues which affect people of color to affect everyone else. But not for a moment do they believe, and not for a moment as far as I can tell, my conversations with the new president, has he ever said that he thinks he transcends race either.

COOPER: In your book you write about the post civil rights era of black politicians and Barack Obama probably the most famous one. Is there -- actually, I want to read something that you wrote about this new generation of leaders.

You wrote, and I quote, "They are more likely to cater to white voters and assume that black supporters will understand. At the same time they are establishing a respectful, but arms-length distance from the traditional civil rights movement."

Did Barack Obama, in a way, benefit by not coming out of that traditional civil rights movement?

IFILL: It's the old wink and the nod in some ways. Black voters, just like a lot of voters, are awfully realistic about what it takes to get elected to succeed.

I talked to a state legislator in Massachusetts who talked about Deval Patrick's run for governor and said that it was her job to go into the black community and say it's not enough that he -- it's not that he needs to wear a dashiki. He needs to know what "dashiki" is, the old 1960s caftan-type outfit that African nationalists used to wear.

So she was basically saying, really, he's OK.

Each one of these breakthrough candidates have all found a way to appeal, to not alienate, to knock down walls instead of leaving walls in place, to take advantage of the laws that have been passed which allow them access instead of denying them.

COOPER: Your book became the focus of controversy before you moderated the vice presidential...

IFILL: Did it? Did it, Anderson?

COOPER: You might have heard that. I don't know.

IFILL: Oh.

COOPER: Maybe you were in a bubble, you know.

IFILL: In a bubble. Queen Latifah and I were chatting so I may not have heard.

COOPER: You know, I mean, look, you know, strange things happen during campaigns.

IFILL: Yes.

COOPER: You kind of look back at it a month later and say, like, "What was that all about?" I mean, there were critics who were on the right, mainly, who were saying you couldn't be impartial... IFILL: Yes.

COOPER: ... because you were writing a book that talked about Barack Obama. Looking back, what do you make of all that?

IFILL: Imagine, a reporter writing a book in an election year about Barack Obama.

Well, you know, I make of it that I became very temporarily a little bit of a lightning strike. People needed to have something to talk about. They were trying to distract from whatever their fears were about what Sarah Palin's performance was going to be in the debate.

And I was kind of amused, mostly, by it, because I hadn't written the Obama chapter yet, mostly because I didn't know how it was going to turn out. So people were assuming I was writing things I knew nothing about, so I just let it pass, and it passed.

COOPER: What -- in the writing of this book, what surprised you most about politics and race in the age of Obama?

IFILL: It surprised me most that he was able to walk this -- and many of these candidates -- was able to walk the tightrope that he did. I mean, it's -- really, when you think about it, it's quite a trick to be able to win over black voters who never previously heard of you, who didn't want to support you until you won in Iowa, who were loyal to the Clintons, and then, at the same time, not only not alienate white voters, who by the way, over the years have had the tougher time crossing racial lines to cast votes, tougher times than black voters have, but also winning over a lot of people who basically don't agree with you.

I mean, one of the interesting things about this transition right now -- or no longer a transition -- the new presidency, is how many people, who didn't support Barack Obama now want him to succeed. And he has a great wind at his back as a result.

COOPER: No doubt about that. The book is "The Breakthrough: Politics and Race in the Age of Obama." Gwen Ifill, thanks for being with us. Appreciate it.

IFILL: Thanks, Anderson.

COOPER: Up next, the inauguration of Barack Obama seen through the lens of still photographer Peter Turnley. The photos and stories behind them, next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

COOPER: Nearly everything about yesterday's inauguration was enormous, 1.5 million people on The Mall, the largest security presence for any event ever.

But despite the size of the event and the crowds, the day was personal for so many people. Almost everyone we talked to in Washington seemed to have a very particular reason why they just had to be there.

It's why we asked still photographer Peter Turnley to hop on a bus with a group traveling from Brooklyn, New York, to Washington. He took their pictures along the way and also listened to their stories. Take a look.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

PETER TURNLEY, STILL PHOTOGRAPHER: I departed from Brooklyn with a group of approximately 40, all African-American passengers of all ages.

There were some young boys whose father and friend had felt that it was very important that they experience this moment. There was a reverend who had been jailed in Albany, Georgia, with Dr. King for six days. And he told me that the election of Barack Obama for him represented that finally there was a sense that justice was for all.

It was a tremendously spiritual trip. Many of the people told me that this was a journey towards triumph, towards victory. It was also a moment of tremendous hope.

In an overall way, what struck me about this journey to Washington in these days of the inauguration was that this was not a light-hearted moment. This was a moment of profound heart-felt emotion. I have always felt that often the reel -- if there is such a thing -- that maybe truth of a moment related to an event is reflected in the eyes of people, the eyes that are an expression of their soul and their heart.

And what I saw that morning as people waited for several hours waiting for the swearing-in ceremony, at a time when it was actually very cold. But it didn't appear that people were cold. Not only had they dressed warm, but it felt and it looked like their hearts were warm.

There was also a very beautiful sense of true democracy and diversity. The faces in the crowd, the people that I saw were of every color and every shade and every height and every age.

Right after he was sworn in, I quickly went down into the crowd and several things struck me. One were the sort of twinkle and sparkle in people's eyes. Their eyes were lit up. They were alive.

I asked a gentleman named Uta Knox (ph) who fought valiantly in World War II as a flier, what this moment, what this election meant to him. And he looked at me and he said something extremely powerful and simple. He said, it means everything. He said, it means everything is possible.

I think everything about these past three days -- and many people expressed this to me -- was that this was a collective moment. It was a moment not really about Obama, but it was a moment about us and it was a moment about each individual and how we're all tied together.

(END VIDEO CLIP) COOPER: We are each tied together. Coming up next, another inauguration highlight or lowlight, depending on how you look at it. Vice President Joe Biden dance moves or lack thereof.

That is our "Shot of the Day" next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

COOPER: All right. Time now for "The Shot," something to make you smile before you head off to bed or watch the next hour of our program.

While President Obama made the dancing look easy last night, we cannot exactly say the same for the vice president. You'll see Joe Biden had some reservations about dancing. Listen.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JOE BIDEN, VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Tonight, I'm going to be visiting a lot -- a lot of balls. I just want you to know the thing that frightens me the is not getting up here and speaking to you all. I'm going to have to stand in that circle and dance in a minute.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

COOPER: I feel for him. After saying his prayers Biden finally gave in and danced with his wife, Jill, a very sweet moment. Maybe it was embarrassing for him, but he certainly did a very good job, I think.

HILL: He did. He seems like he did pretty well, actually, when push came to shove.

I know of someone, though, who really just won't budge when it comes to requests to dance. Could that certain someone be, oh, our beloved anchor, Anderson Cooper? I don't know.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

KELLY RIPA, CO-HOST, ABC'S "LIVE WITH REGIS AND KELLY": No, I want you to dance.

COOPER: I cannot dance. I simply cannot. I'm sorry.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

HILL: Yes, Kelly. That's right. And you just stood there. I mean, clearly you can't compete with those moves.

COOPER: Yes. Let me just say, I like to dance, and I'm not a bad dancer. I just -- I'm not going to do it on TV. There's no point. It's going to live forever on YouTube somewhere be embarrassing forever.

HILL: You mean like this clip that we found of you dancing? COOPER: There's no clip of me dancing.

HILL: Oh, really? Remember when you were on "Ellen"? That's right.

COOPER: Oh, yes.

HILL: And yet you still keep the serious mug.

COOPER: That, of course, was Wolf Blitzer. I can tell by the silver tie.

HILL: Trying to pass it off on Blitzer.

COOPER: I can tell by the silver tie.

HILL: I can tell by the moves.

COOPER: See, Wolf has more guts than I do. I cannot -- I went on "Ellen" and I didn't dance either.

HILL: You know why?

COOPER: I think that's why I've never been asked back.

HILL: Wolf was in a band. Let's be honest. When you were in a band...

COOPER: True.

HILL: ... you can shake it, no matter what.

COOPER: You can do whatever.

That does it for 360. Thanks for watching.

"LARRY KING" starts now. I'll see you tomorrow night.