updated 12/17/2008 3:52:20 PM ET 2008-12-17T20:52:20

Guest: Col. Jack Jacobs, Chris Cillizza, Richard Wolffe, Michelle Bernard, Harold Ford Jr., Bob Shrum, Pat Buchanan High: President Elect Obama has overwhelming public support behind him as he assumes office and attempts to pass his policy proposals.  Spec: Politics; Barack Obama; Washington, D.C.; Martin Luther King Jr.

DAVID SHUSTER, HOST:  And Chris, tonight, on the eve of his inauguration as president of the United States, Barack Obama pays homage to Martin Luther King. 

Plus, from community service nationwide to inauguration anticipation across D.C., the excitement and the crowds are already off the charts.

Later, when five billion people tune in around the globe to see the new U.S. president tomorrow, what should he say?  What will he say? 

Also, leveraging it all.  The president-elect and his team prepare to tap into the energy right out of the starting gate.  Our latest reporting on what‘s coming in the Obama administration‘s first 100 hours and first 100 days. 

Finally, celebrity central.  From Hollywood to the music world and the world of sports, the stars are everywhere embracing the moment, mixing with the crowds, and joining in the history.

All tonight on 1600 PENNSYLVANIA AVENUE.

Eighteen hours until the inauguration of President-elect Barack Obama. 

Welcome to the show, everyone.  I‘m David Shuster, and we are live on the National Mall at 7th and Jefferson streets, just seven blocks from the west front of the U.S. Capitol, where the stage is set for tomorrow‘s swearing in of our nation‘s 44th president. 

The energy and excitement building throughout the day has been almost indescribable.  And you‘re getting a taste of it now.  Hundreds and thousands of people have been walking the Mall preparing to witness U.S.  history as Barack Obama becomes the first African-American to be sworn in as president of the United States. 

Fittingly, this is Martin Luther King Day.  And across the nation, millions spent the day involved in community service to honor Dr. King‘s legacy. 

In Washington, Barack Obama visited a homeless shelter for teens and helped them paint the walls.  Later, he stopped by a school where students were writing letters to U.S. troops and urged people to stay engaged. 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

OBAMA:  I am making a commitment to you as your next president that we are going to make government work.  And we‘re going to make sure that government is listening to you. 

That‘s my job.  But I can‘t do it by myself.  Michelle can‘t do it by herself. 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHUSTER:  Joining us now is our friend, Chris Matthews, the host of “HARDBALL.”

And Chris, when you hear about the sort of engagement, the engagement that you‘ve been seeing all day long, what do you make of this, Chris?  You‘ve been in Washington for almost 40 years.  What‘s going on? 

CHRIS MATTHEWS, HOST, “HARDBALL”:  Well, it‘s something new in Washington.  You know, there‘s been a divide in Washington between sort of the national capital and the neighborhoods here, the neighborhoods in the Eighth Ward, the Seventh Ward, all round this city, some of the poorer wards.  This is the first time I‘ve seen a true integration of the city where people are coming from all over the city. 

Somebody once said D.C. has come to Washington.  It‘s pretty impressive, and it‘s because of Barack Obama.  There‘s no doubt about it.  People who felt out of it politically now feel like it‘s their country too. 

SHUSTER:  Chris, I‘ve got to ask you about some of the political

developments of this day.  Jill Biden, she was on the “Oprah Winfrey Show”

with her husband, the vice president-elect, Joe Biden.  And she was asked -

well, here‘s what Jill Biden said about Joe Biden‘s opportunities in this administration. 

Watch. 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JILL BIDEN, JOE BIDEN‘S WIFE:  Joe had the choice to be secretary of state or vice president.  And I said, “Joe...”

(LAUGHTER)

BIDEN:  Well, OK, he did.  So..

(APPLAUSE)

OPRAH WINFREY, TALK SHOW HOST:  It‘s OK.  It‘s OK. 

JOSEPH BIDEN (D-DE), VICE PRESIDENT-ELECT:  That‘s right.  No, go ahead. 

WINFREY:  Go ahead. 

JILL BIDEN:  So I said, Joe, “If you‘re secretary of state you‘ll be away. 

We‘ll never see you.”

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHUSTER:  Chris, what does this say both about Joe Biden and about Barack Obama and their relationship, in your view? 

MATTHEWS:  Well, I think that Dr. Biden, Jill Biden, made a general statement which, of course, we in the media will take as a very specific statement.  We don‘t know based upon that whether there was, you know, a conversation in which the president—the nominee at that time, Barack Obama, said to the then-senator from Delaware, well, I‘ve got two choices for you.  That‘s the way, it, of course, sounds. 

We‘re just—she obviously got it secondhand from Joe Biden.  So whatever he told her about the meeting with Barack Obama, we‘re going to hear some version of that in the days ahead. 

But it does sort of shake things up, because it makes people think, wow, you mean, Hillary Clinton got the second choice?  That the real choice was for Joe Biden to make? 

I have to tell you, though, I think the profound news here remains that the two contenders for the Democratic nomination are now engaged in what you have to call a political coalition.  The number one role that you can play in this American society you can‘t get elected to is secretary of state.  And Senator Clinton has that job now. 

It‘s an extraordinary coalition.  Who would have predicted it? 

But we live in a time of wonders.  The election of Barack Obama, the selection of Hillary Clinton as secretary of state—a time of wonders.  All new material for us. 

Nobody‘s an expert at this.  It is brand new.  And so all the questions you asked are going to have to remain questions for days and months and years ahead. 

How‘s this going to work out?  We don‘t know.  We just know it‘s a wonder. 

SHUSTER:  Chris Matthews, my friend, the host of “HARDBALL.”

MATTHEWS:  Thank you.

SHUSTER:  Chris, thanks so much for doing this. 

And by the way, Chris—again, if you haven‘t forgotten already, Chris has got a live show as 7:00, a great show ahead. 

And Chris, we‘ll see you at the top of the hour.  And thank you. 

MATTHEWS:  Thank you, David.

SHUSTER:  Forty-five years ago, the Reverend Martin Luther King Jr. had a dream, and tomorrow, it will be realized in a way that many never of you thought you would see in your lifetimes. 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

OBAMA:  Directly in front of us is a pool that still reflects the dream of a king and the glory of a people who marched and bled so that their children might be judged by their character‘s content.  And behind me, watching over the union he saved, sits the man who in so many ways made this day possible. 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHUSTER:  Joining us now, Harold Ford Jr., chairman of the Democratic Leadership Council, and NBC News analyst; and Michelle Bernard, president of the Independent Women‘s Forum and an MSNBC political analyst. 

Michelle, what are you thinking right now? 

MICHELLE BERNARD, MSNBC POLITICAL ANALYST:  I‘m just amazed by this crowd that we have here tonight.  If they are anything like what we‘re going to see tomorrow, all I can think is, brace yourselves, because a tornado has hit Washington. 

I mean, it has just—to watch from the very first primaries to the general election has been an absolutely amazing experience.  You know, Hillary Clinton had been anointed as the person who was going to win the Democratic nomination.  And no one ever thought that we would see in our lifetimes what we‘re going to witness tomorrow afternoon. 

SHUSTER:  And when we do witness tomorrow the first swearing in, Harold, of an African-American of president of the United States, what‘s going to be going through your mind, and what‘s going through your mind now, as we‘re now less than 18 hours away? 

HAROLD FORD JR., NBC NEWS ANALYST:  That no other country on the face of the earth can renew itself as peacefully, as pleasantly, with the kind of dignity and purpose that we in this great country are able to.  If I would have told you eight years ago, or 7.5, that the country would elect a fellow named “Barack Hussein Obama,” who bears the middle name of the last name of the late tyrant that forced us and caused us, in a lot of ways, a confused American policy to send troops overseas, you would have probably said there‘s no way.  We all know what happened during the primaries that Michelle recounted so vividly. 

To see where we are today, on this King holiday, a reminder and a challenge to all Americans of what we can be and how we can live up to that, less than 24 hours away from a young senator four years ago in the state senate, what other country could this happen?  And to have this kind of crowd and this kind of enthusiasm, not only here in Washington, but all across this country, it makes you feel good to be an American. 

And you said in the intro five billion people might be watching this inauguration tomorrow.  He‘s not only our president, but the world is awaiting his actions as well. 

SHUSTER:  And when you see the faces, African-American, white, Asian-American, old, young, in between, it‘s a mix.  It‘s not any one celebration, it‘s a nation coming together to celebrate, to honor this incredible moment. 

BERNARD:  And it‘s Democrats and Republicans also.  Republicans want him to succeed.  Democrats want him to succeed.  The entire world wants him to succeed. 

You know, I think growing up in our generation, we saw the black and white pictures of the reflecting pool, of Martin Luther King giving his “I have a dream” speech, and of all the millions of Americans who stood on the Mall to watch that speech.  And when you think about what‘s going to happen tomorrow—if you remember, Barack Obama accepted the Democratic nomination, I think, on the 35th anniversary of Martin Luther King‘s “I have a dream” speech, and to see him at the reflecting pool today, and speaking those words, and really speaking to the entire world to say, I have been judged on the content of the character and not on the color of my skin, is really an absolutely amazing and phenomenal feat for the United States.  Particularly for a country that started off in slavery. 

SHUSTER:  And to bring it full circle, he campaigned not because he wanted to be the African-American candidate, the black candidate, he wanted to be the best candidate who happened to be African-American. 

How do you balance that continuing desire by Barack Obama not to be seen as just a black candidate, but as the president of everybody, but also at the same time acknowledge that this is the first time in our country‘s history we‘ve been able to do this? 

FORD:  The race factor won‘t be lost.  He will be reminded, as he already has been by the change circumstances since he announced his candidacy.

Recall two years ago the topic of conversation, a big purpose of the senator—the then-senator‘s campaign, was Iraq and the war and whether or not it was a choice or necessity.  Two years later, we face a variety of other challenges that we talk about a lot on this network, and as this transition team of his and his soon-to-be installed cabinet are fully aware.  So I think he right away will come to understand that the housing crisis, the retail and other awful economic data, unfortunate economic data that may come out, that‘s why he‘s laid out a deadline for the stimulus, he‘s called for a budget summit amongst leaders here in Washington.  So I think he‘s ready to get off to a fast start, not to mention the multitude of foreign policy challenges. 

If my pastor were here—if I can take a point of personal privilege—he would also say we serve a might God for all of this to be happening.  And I know that the president-elect and his wife and his family, that moment and that factor is not lost on them either.  That only in America, but only because of the grace of God, are we celebrating like we‘re celebrating in this country, as a people, and more importantly, as a nation.

BERNARD:  You know, David, he—the thing about Barack Obama is it is both black blood and white blood that runs in his veins.  He will be the president of everyone.  He will be the president of the entire nation. 

And I think that when people bring up the fact that he is the first African-American president, it‘s not to take away from it, but it‘s to show the true glory of the nation where we live in where this is absolutely a possibility.  This happened here, not in Europe. 

SHUSTER:  Michelle Bernard...

FORD:  I know where he‘ll be partial.  He‘ll be partial when the Chicago White Sox play and when the Chicago Bulls play.  Other than that, we can count on him being American.

SHUSTER:  Harold Ford Jr. and Michelle Bernard, thank you both so much.  We appreciate it.

Up next, great expectations for Mr. Obama‘s big address tomorrow.  We are learning more about the speech, the theme and the approach.  And as the world gets ready to focus on that, the west front of the U.S. Capitol.  Well, we will delve into Mr. Obama‘s opportunity with two legendary speechwriters. 

But first, a look back at one moment from yesterday‘s “We Are One,” the Obama inaugural celebration at the Lincoln Memorial broadcast live on HBO. 

Beyonce sings “America the Beautiful.”

(MUSIC)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SHUSTER:  And welcome back to 1600.

A live picture of the west front of the U.S. Capitol.

We are just seven blocks away.  Tens of thousands of people already have been spilling across the Mall, taking it all in on what is an historic evening before what will be an historic inauguration. 

As everybody here may realize tomorrow, inauguration speeches often set an important tone for the nation and for our relationship with the U.S.  president.  In recent days, Barack Obama has evoked his presidential predecessors, at least in his rhetorical style, while underscoring the importance of our nation working together. 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

OBAMA:  Starting now, let‘s take up in our own lives the work of perfecting our union.  Let‘s build a government that‘s responsible to the people.  Let‘s accept our own responsibilities as citizens to hold our government accountable. 

There is no doubt that our road will be long, that our climb will be steep.  But never forget that the true character of our nation is revealed not during times of comfort and ease, but by the right we do when the moment is hard. 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHUSTER:  Tomorrow, say advisers, Obama will not reference his predecessors.  Instead, in remarks expected to go between 18 and 20 minutes, Obama will draw on his own words and way of speaking to try and inspire the nation and the world in a time of uncertainty and economic peril.

Joining us now to talk about what we should expect from the speech, two wordsmiths in their own right.  Bob Shrum was a speechwriter for Ted Kennedy, and Pat Buchanan, an MSNBC analyst, was a speechwriter for Richard Nixon.

Pat, what‘s the difference between a good speech and a great speech at an event like what we‘re going to see tomorrow?

PAT BUCHANAN, MSNBC POLITICAL ANALYST:  Well, there are very, very few great inaugurals, the truth is, and some of them have lines that are remembered.  Lincoln‘s second inaugural was the greatest.  FDR, “We have nothing to fear but fear itself.”  JFK, of course. 

What I see Barack Obama doing is taking very much, I would say, from FDR and JFK in this sense—he‘s going to put himself in history as part of leading America into a new era and we‘re crossing a divide here.  And we‘ve got great difficulties, and we‘re perfecting our union.  In other words, the great ideas that we saw at least stated in the Declaration of Independence were more perfected in the—under Lincoln, and then again under JFK. 

And he‘s the leader of this generation now.  And now, our generation is going forward.  And frankly, it‘s going to be, I think, saying that Bill Clinton and George Bush and that generation, early baby boomers, that generation‘s time is over, and our time has come. 

And then he describes the hardship and says we can do it together.  And I think it‘s good.

I think you saw parts of it.  You got some excellent excerpts there, David. 

SHUSTER:  Thanks, Pat.

BUCHANAN:  It looks to me like—that looks to me like perfect the union is what he‘s going to talk about. 

SHUSTER:  And Bob Shrum, given the sort of energy that has already spilled out onto the Mall, isn‘t it incumbent, I suppose, as Barack Obama makes the final tweaks, to make some reference to this incredible energy?  I mean, two million people for an inauguration.  Is there some way that he perhaps has to talk about the crowds that are going to be there and what it all means? 

BOB SHRUM, SPEECHWRITER FOR TED KENNEDY:  Well, I think he‘ll summon people to service, and I think he‘ll say that the participation of people, not just, by the way, in Washington, but all across the country—I‘m in Los Angeles, and I can tell you, you can‘t hear the cheering crowds where you are, but there are crowds metaphorically cheering everywhere.  There‘s a sense of hope.

My wife and I were in an electronics store the other day, and there were people buying TVs so they could give parties for the inauguration like they give Super Bowl parties.  The expectations for Obama are very high tomorrow.  I think he‘s going to live up to them.

SHUSTER:  I want to play—you mentioned John F. Kennedy in 1961.  I want to play a portion of that speech, and then we‘ll talk about that and lessons for Obama on the other side. 

Watch.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JOHN F. KENNEDY, FMR. PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES:  The energy, the faith, the devotion which we bring to this endeavor will light our country and all who serve it.  Ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country. 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHUSTER:  Bob, just to repeat, because we‘re having a few audio problems—go ahead. 

SHRUM:  What? 

SHUSTER:  The issue, again, is we heard the famous line there from John F.  Kennedy.  How do you sort of bridge the sort of call for the nation coming together, evoking Kennedy without being Kennedy?  Barack Obama, his own style, how do you go about doing that tomorrow? 

SHRUM:  You know, he‘s done that very well, because I don‘t always agree with Pat, but what he said earlier is exactly right.  Some of the themes are enduring and need to be brought up today in the context we‘re in now. 

So, for example, on election night, Obama says this isn‘t all going to be finished in one year or term.  It‘s an echo of the thought Kennedy had, saying it won‘t be finished in the first 100 days, the first 1,000 days, the lifetime of this administration. 

The other clip you played where Obama is saying we‘re tested in times of crisis, that‘s when we find out who we are and it‘s a privilege to be part of that, Kennedy saying, I don‘t believe any of us would change places with any other people or any other generation. 

So I think that these are enduring themes that he has to touch tomorrow—confidence that we‘re going to overcome the problems, and a sense of hope; realism that‘s it‘s going to take a while; a summons to people to be involved in it.  And you know, one of the most interesting things is, before he utters a single word, Barack Obama, standing in front of a Capitol building partly built by slave labor, will be making history in a way that John Kennedy, the first non-Protestant president of the country, never had to reference the history he was making when he stood up. 

BUCHANAN:  I believe that he will not cite Kennedy, but that‘s who he will look back on.  I was here at that inauguration, and what it was, was John Kennedy, a young president, the first Catholic was up there.  He had youth and vigor. 

And while Ike was a very popular president, we were clearly crossing a divide.  Ike was the old face of the World War I—that old generation.  And Kennedy had this new, young team.  And there was enormous enthusiasm, energy, expectation and hope. 

And I think Barack Obama has that going for him.  And he doesn‘t have to cite Kennedy without having people like us say, “That reminds me of Kennedy in 1960 and that‘s what he‘s doing.”  And I think he understands that. 

And again, that crossing the divide generationally and crossing the divide politically and philosophically and moving upwards to new highlands, this country has moved up, up, up, up, and now we‘re taking our step.  This generation‘s turn has come. 

SHUSTER:  Pat, is part of what‘s going on—I mean, with these two million people—I mean, tens of thousands already here.  I mean, they‘re just going wild, as they should.

BUCHANAN:  Or crazy out there.

SHUSTER:  Americans are looking for something to celebrate.  I mean, times are so tough everywhere, they want something that they can believe in.  They want to celebrate this historic moment. 

Is that part of the huge opportunity for Barack Obama? 

BUCHANAN:  Sure.  And let me say this.  And I don‘t mean to disparage John McCain. 

But if John McCain had won, this sort of thing would not be going on.  It is here because Barack Obama, he is fresh, he is new, he‘s young, African-American, of course.  Ran a tremendous campaign.  Full of excitement, energy, and fire. 

A whole group of people—he represents a group of people who have not been in and a group of people who have been out.  And so it is real change for this. 

And there is enormous infectious enthusiasm.  It is contagious.  It is unquestioned here. 

But that—and I‘ll take what Bob said earlier.  The expectations here are unbelievable.  They‘re almost too high. 

And when you look at that sober countenance of Barack Obama, he seems to be saying, I know what is facing me and it‘s going to be a—you know, it‘s going to be a real test of me, and I understand that. 

SHUSTER:  And he‘s also—Bob, it sounds like he‘s going to make it a test to the American people by saying we need everybody to be engaged in order to solve these problems. 

SHRUM:  Yes.  I think there will be a clear summons to service.  I think that was the message of today.  That‘s what I suspect they mean by responsibility. 

He‘s worked a long time on this speech.  He‘s worked very, very closely on it.  He‘s a very good writer. 

John Fabrow (ph), the young speechwriter who works for him, who I worked with in the Kerry campaign, is very talented.  I think we will see an enormous speech tomorrow.  Now, whether or not it evokes the instant reaction Kennedy‘s speech did when Sam Rayburn, the speaker of the House, turned around and said, “I think we heard just one of the greatest speeches in American history,” I don‘t know.  But I kind of think there‘s a very real chance that we will react that way. 

SHUSTER:  Well, the stars certainly seem to be lining up for something that could be spectacular.  It all seems to be coming together.  We‘ll see if he delivers. 

Bob Shrum, Pat Buchanan, thank you both so much. 

SHRUM:  Thank you.

SHUSTER:  A pleasure to share this evening with both of you.

BUCHANAN:  Thank you.

SHUSTER:  Up next, retired Army Colonel Jack Jacobs is a Medal of Honor winner recipient.  He‘s had a front-row seat to several of the past presidential inaugurations, and he will tell us what it‘s like to have one of the best views of history. 

You‘re watching 1600, live from the National Mall in Washington, D.C.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SHUSTER:  Welcome back to 1600 at the National Mall. 

Tens of thousands of people have been here all day long.  And they are celebrating.  They‘ve been celebrating all weekend long for what is going to be history, U.S. history made in less than 18 hours. 

And joining us now, a man who‘s been at the top tier—he‘s been a top-tier guest of every inauguration since he was awarded the Presidential Medal of Honor in 1969.  And he‘s been in the presidential viewing stand for inaugural parades every time since, retired Army colonel and MSNBC military analyst, Jack Jacobs. 

Jack, good of you to join us tonight. 

JACK JACOBS, MSNBC MILITARY ANALYST:  Good to be with you.

SHUSTER:  You were at a lunch today with the Joint Chiefs of Staff. 

COL JACK JACOBS, MSNBC MILITARY ANALYST:  And the secretary of defense. 

SHUSTER:  How is it going in terms of their view of the transition? 

What did you learn from it today? 

JACOBS:  Well, it‘s startling, really.  The view of these people and, by the way, of others who are still in the administration is that this is the smoothest transition, the most up front transition they‘ve ever seen.  If you contrast this with, let‘s say, Clinton‘s; these people came in and said, get out.  You‘re getting out.  You‘re through.  Pack your bags and leave.  This transition team has said, give us the briefings, can we come back and get more briefings?  Can we still get more briefings? 

It‘s been smooth as silk.  A lot of people have been held over too.  Everybody is astounded.  I think we are going to see the smoothest transition ever. 

SHUSTER:  You‘ve been right up front for all these inaugurations, right up there on the west front of the Capitol.  You‘ve had the best view of anybody for all these inaugurations.  When you‘re up there tomorrow, you‘re going to look back and see possibly two million people filling out the Mall.  What is it that you sense is going on and what do you make of it? 

JACOBS:  Well, it has been nothing like this ever.  I‘ve gone to inaugurations for 40 years.  I‘ve never seen anything like this.  The only thing that came close to it was Reagan‘s first when there was an air of expectation, a sense that something good was going to happen.  And you certainly have this big time here.  There‘s an enormous number of people.  And tomorrow there are going to be lots more.  It‘s a sense that, in fact, we‘re going to do something good, a break from the past, the kind of thing we haven‘t seen in a long time. 

I hope they‘re right.  We have a lot of challenges.  This guy has a lot of work to do. 

SHUSTER:  I know there has been some criticism of the inaugural transition team, in terms of how they‘ve scheduled Barack Obama tomorrow night.  He‘s not going to the Veterans‘ Ball.  It‘s not one of the official balls.  Nonetheless, it‘s a ball that every president has gone to.  How did that happen?  What‘s going on?

JACBOS:  It‘s interesting.  We‘ve got to be able to distinguish between the transition team, which is handling the transition in the government, and the team that‘s done the inaugural planning.  And they decided, apparently, that the president is not going to come to the Veterans‘ Ball.  And this is astounding, because it would be the first time in history that that has not occurred.  Even the Clintons, who were not on good terms with the military establishment, even they came to the Veterans‘ Ball. 

I think it would be a very big mistake if Obama does not come.  So far it looks like he‘s not going to come.  The perception was that veterans‘ organizations got out the vote for McCain and this is payback time.  Bad idea to pay them back this way.

SHUSTER:  It sounds like Barack Obama is getting either bad advice or bad guidance from somebody who is trying to work out the schedule. 

JACOBS:  I think so.  Maybe cooler heads will prevail.  The guy is going to be president of the United States.  He can‘t think of everything.  If you‘re going to start off, you better start off on the right foot, especially with people who might be opposed to you from the beginning.  You need their support, need veteran support.  I think he can get it.  He‘s got to come on over, though. 

SHUSTER:  The great irony is there he was this morning without the cameras.  He didn‘t want the cameras there.  He went to Walter Reed and he visited with wounded troops.  He has shown sensitivity to the troops.  He understands veterans issues in a way that a lot of people felt the Bush administration did not. 

JACOBS:  I think this; I think if you leave it to him to make the decision, he makes the right decision.  And like a lot of leaders, if you surround yourself with people, some of whom have ulterior motives, axes to grind, they‘re going to help you make the wrong decision.  It appears that as long as this guy thinks for himself, as long as Obama makes his own decisions, he decides the right thing, he‘s probably got a—he‘s going to have to think clearly to make the right decision tomorrow.  He‘s got to get the veterans in the fold and tomorrow is the right time to do it. 

SHUSTER:  We‘ll see what happens.  We actually have a midnight show tomorrow night.  We‘re going to be looking at all the balls.  We‘ll find out then what he does.  Presidential Medal of Honor winner Jack Jacobs, also an MSNBC analyst, Jack, good to see you. 

Up next, we are getting some intriguing details on what this city and the nation can expect in Barack Obama‘s first 100 hours in office and in the first 100 days.  Live from the national mall in Washington, D.C. ahead of this, on just the other side of this break.  You‘re watching 1600.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SHUSTER:  Still ahead tonight, don‘t take my word for it, take theirs; the nation is electric.  Your nation‘s capital is indescribable at this hour.  The Obama team is preparing to leverage all of this in their first 100 hours and first 100 days.  History is about to be made as Barack Obama prepares for a swearing in and his move to 1600 PENNSYLVANIA AVENUE. 

Welcome back to 1600 PENNSYLVANIA AVENUE, everybody.  We are live at 7th and Jefferson.  The crowd, you can hear them.  All the balls and the bars staying open until 4:00 a.m.  Aides for the 44th president better get a good night‘s sleep, because tomorrow is a work day.  “Politico” reports that vans will be revved up at the US Capital, ready to take top staff back to the White House as soon as the new president is sworn in. 

Joining us now with more details on what‘s ahead in the first 100 days and the first 100 hours of the Obama White House are Chris Cillizza, “Washington Post” White House reporter and author of “The Fix” on WashingtonPost.com, and “Newsweek” senior White House correspondent and MSNBC political analyst Richard Wolffe. 

Richard, the first 100 hours, sketch it out for us. 

RICHARD WOLFFE, “NEWSWEEK”:  Well, I think they‘re going to hit the ground with a lot of things they‘re ready to do, stimulus package, managing expectations going to be critical.  Of course, anything that‘s thrown at them in terms of current events. 

But I would look for a number of executive orders to come down to say we‘re on this; we‘re moving.  And they‘re not just going to wait for a package to come out of Congress here.  They‘re going to want to say to people, we‘re ready for action; we‘re changing things right now. 

SHUSTER:  Chris, they‘re moved to the starting gate with some of the most energetic crowds and electricity that Washington has ever seen.  What happens next? 

CHRIS CILLIZZA, “THE WASHINGTON POST”:  Well, I think you have to translate the energy and excitement into results.  I think what you‘re seeing, and you saw over the weekend, they started a group called Organizing for America, essentially a continuation of the campaign, but rather than the goal being to get Barack Obama elected, the goal is to pass Barack Obama‘s agenda. 

One quick thing to pick up on Richard‘s point, I think the focus here in the first 100 hours, the first week or two, is really going to be more symbolic than anything else.  Competence overall, that they are in charge, that they have smart people watching and getting things done.  It‘s a direct reaction to the Bush administration that many people saw as incompetent.  The Obama campaign and Obama administration I think is going to go way on the other side, make sure people know they‘re there.  They‘re there late hours, working to get the job done to turn this thing around, particularly with the economy. 

SHUSTER:  What about the first 100 days?  What will they have wanted to accomplish by mid-April? 

CILLIZZA:  When we interviewed Barack Obama last week, we asked him just that question.  And he said the first big thing was economic stimulus.  He said, again, I don‘t know the answers.  I don‘t know all the solutions here.  I don‘t have a crystal ball.  We said, what will it look like in a year, let‘s say, if your economic plan works?  But clearly the economy, the economic stimulus plan, lowering the unemployment rate, those are all things that are tangible, that he knows he has to turn back in the right direction to fulfill some of the promises he made during the campaign. 

SHUSTER:  The economic stimulus plan that‘s been rolled out. 825 billion dollars.  I mean, it‘s—it‘s bigger than anything in U.S.  history.  Yet, they want to get that done in the next three or four weeks.  Let‘s assume they get it done, it passes, then what? 

WOLFFE:  Then the economy doesn‘t turn around.  I mean, it takes time for the money to filter through.  That‘s important, because you have all the expectations out here, across the world, across country.  People want things to move.  It‘s going to take several months for that to happen.  They‘re going to have to go through, frankly, a lot of PR.  They‘re going to have to show how the money is being spent, because remember what happened with this first stimulus package is the money was spent and nothing eased up.  The credit market was supposed to have eased.  The economy didn‘t. 

So they‘ve got to show these things.  In addition, by the way, the economy is important, but they‘re going to be moving a lot of foreign policy fronts.  Guantanamo Bay, expect some action there.  Middle East as well.  It‘s not going to go away, just because the Israelis have declared a cease-fire.  So they have to show action on so many different fronts, but most of all, they have to show they‘re doing something, because nothing‘s going to be fixed that quickly. 

SHUSTER:  On that point, if they get this big success, do they continue and try to focus on the economy, or do they immediately move on to something like health care?  You‘ve got 45 million Americans who don‘t have health care.  That would be considered one of the biggest policy proposals you could try to do in any given year. 

CILLIZZA:  I think that Barack Obama sees himself as a transformational figure.  I don‘t think there‘s any secret to that.  We heard a lot of that during the campaign.  I think he‘s going to try to move, as Richard said, on a number of fronts.  When we interviewed him last week, he brought up entitlement reform, Social Security and Medicare.  These are the things that Bill Clinton, George H.W. Bush, George W. Bush, - - every president says, we have to mix Social Security and Medicare.  We have to make them solvent.

I think Barack Obama views himself as a special figure in history who can somehow bridge gaps that have long been separated.  We‘ll see if he can do that or not.  You take on a lot, as Bill Clinton tried to do, in his first year, and you run the risk of a 1994 happening again, a backlash where Republicans make gains in the House and Senate. 

SHUSTER:  Is there a particular issue that either of you can see being easiest for the Obama White House to channel and leverage everything we‘re seeing as part of this inauguration?  Richard?

WOLFFE:  Well, the best way they can use this enthusiasm—the obvious way is to get people to pressure their members of Congress.  That‘s going to happen, OK?  But what they really need to do is get these people engaged in their communities, painting schools, fixing up neighborhoods, that kind of thing. 

To come back to the health care thing though, they‘re going to say health care isn‘t about the moral issues of health care; it‘s going to affect the pocketbook economics of every family in the country struggling to pay those rising health care bills.  So they‘ve got to try to bring so much of this stuff back to the economy that it will feel like something is happening.  Those economic numbers are going to take at least a year to turn around. 

SHUSTER:  Richard Wolffe and Chris Cillizza, Richard Wolffe of “Newsweek,” Chris Cillizza of the “Washington Post,” thank you both for coming in.  We appreciate it. 

CILLIZZA:  Thanks, David.

SHUSTER:  This evening, Malia and Sasha Obama get to experience one of the perks of being first daughters.  They are heading to a concert featuring teen superstars, including Miley Cyrus and the Jonas Brothers.  Michelle Obama will host the event in honor of military families.  Tonight‘s concert follows yesterday‘s musical bash on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial, where 400,000 people, many of those folks behind us, joined the Obama family to watch more grown-up stars rock it out. 

Here‘s some of the highlights. 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

(SINGING)

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHUSTER:  As you can see, this week in Washington, star power mingles with political power.  Up next, the reporters‘ notebook on what it has been like for just a few of the folks from Tinsel-town.  This is 1600 live from the National Mall in Washington, D.C.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SHUSTER:  Alongside 10,000 of our closest friends, we‘re back with a look inside the briefing room.  About 270,000 people have been given access tickets to sit on the west front of the Capitol for tomorrow‘s swearing in ceremony.  Everybody else west of the reflecting pool and out here on the mall, perhaps as million as two million spectators, will be relying on a series of jumbo-trons. 

Take a look at this map of the jumbo-tron locations from the “Washington Post.”  Two different companies are providing the 21 screens, and they stretch across the entire length of the mall, all the way to the Lincoln Memorial, approximately 23 blocks from the swearing in itself.  One of the jumbo-trons has been described to us as the world‘s largest.  It is called a Go-Bigger Monitor and measures 19 feet by 33 feet. 

The US Airways pilot who safely ditched that jetliner last week in the Hudson River and saved the lives of 155 people will be a guest of President-Elect Obama tomorrow.  Chesley “Sully” Sullenberger and his family will watch the inauguration from a VIP section near leaders in Congress.  Earlier today, President-Elect Obama talked about his conversation with the pilot. 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

OBAMA:  I spoke to Sully, the pilot who landed that USA Air flight in the Hudson.  And he said me and my crew, we were just doing our job.  And it made you think, if everybody did their job, whatever that job was, as well as that pilot did his job, we‘d be in pretty good shape. 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHUSTER:  In addition to inviting Sullenberger and his crew to the inauguration, Mr. Obama has also invited them to see something that many pilots and crews don‘t get to see very often, the inside of Air Force One.  The president-elect said he would bring the crew on board for a flight on Air Force One in the weeks ahead. 

Washington, D.C. has been celebrity central for several days now.  A high-profile TV chef in town for the festivities is now being hailed as a hero.  Top Chef Judge and Restaurateur Tom Callicio (ph) apparently saved the life of an award winning cook book author last night.  Callicio was at a benefit for DC Central Kitchen and Martha‘s Table when author Joe Nathan began choking on her food.  Somebody shouted, does anybody know the Heimlich maneuver?  Callicio jumped in, performed the maneuver and dislodged the food from Nathan‘s wind pipe. 

After the incident, Nathan gushed about Callicio, saying, quote, he‘s so strong. 

The star power is very strong now for a lot of people here in Washington, D.C.  Here‘s a listing of 20 or so celebrities our friends and colleagues have spotted: Beyonce, Jack Black, Mary J. Blige, Jon Bon Jovi, Bono, Garth Brooks, Jamie Foxx, Ashley Judd, Faith Hill, Ashton Kutcher, Demi Moore, Queen Latifah, Seal, Bruce Springsteen, Forrest Whitaker, will.i.am, Tiger Woods, Stevie Wonder, Tom Hanks and Ben Affleck. 

By the way, a quick reporter‘s notebook on how far celebrity will get you in D.C. right now.  My wife and I attended a fabulous party in Georgetown last night that included some high profile DC media and political types, as well as Hollywood stars, including Ron Howard, David Geffen and George Lucas.  Tom Hanks and Ben Affleck showed up and tried to get inside.  The party was so jammed with people, they couldn‘t get in the door.  So they left.  Amazing. 

Coming rMD+IN_rMDNM_up, we will talk to the people who really matter to us, and that‘s all of you.  We‘re going outside.  We‘re going to talk to the people waiting and cheering.  Our people of the day, that‘s next.  You‘re watching 1600 live from the National Mall in Washington, D.C.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SHUSTER:  And welcome back to 1600.  We‘re having the best time out here with our crowd.  How‘s everybody doing tonight?  Are we having fun?  We are having so much fun.  This is normally the segment where we do Muckraker of the day.  Today, we‘re calling the segment people of the day.  Our people of the day are right here.  Let‘s talk with them.  What‘s your name and where are you from? 

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  I‘m Patty Kennedy from Maine. 

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  I‘m Thurmon Rocker from Virginia. 

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  Maggie Myer from Olympia, Washington. 

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  Minnesota.

SHUSTER:  What‘s your name and where are you from? 

(INAUDIBLE)

SHUSTER:  What‘s your name and where are you from? 

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  Kyle Thompson, one liberal Democrat left in Oklahoma. 

SHUSTER:  What‘s your name and where are you from? 

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  Deborah Welcher, Augusta, Georgia. 

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  I‘m Steve Perla from Anandale, Virginia. 

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  Sheila Thompson, Brooklyn, New York!

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  I‘m from Alexandria, Virginia. 

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  Obama from Virginia. 

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  Republican from Atlanta. 

SHUSTER:  So we‘re all having a great time tonight, right? 

(CROSS TALK)  

SHUSTER:  What‘s going to happen tomorrow?  Barack Obama‘s inauguration.  We‘ve got a great crowd out here.  We have had about 10,000 people all night long.  Let‘s go back the other direction.  I think we hear some people over here.  What‘s your name and where are you from? 

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  David Singer from Montgomery, Alabama. 

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  Greg Shulkie, UCLA. 

SHUSTER:  UCLA Bruins.  What‘s your name and where are you from? 

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  Eden from Ethiopia. 

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  From Ethiopia.

SHUSTER:  What do Ethiopians think about all of this?  

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  Oh, exciting. 

SHUSTER:  What‘s your name and where are you from? 

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  My name is Michael Harris, and I‘m from Bitter Springs, Louisiana.  Glad to be here.  God bless America. 

SHUSTER:  Glad to have you here. 

What‘s your name and where are you from? 

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  I‘m Asia Bill from Chicago. 

SHUSTER:  Chicago.  What‘s your name and where are you from? 

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  -- from Waco, Texas. 

SHUSTER:  What‘s your name and where are you from?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  I‘m Sherri from Chicago. 

SHUSTER:  What‘s your name and where are you from? 

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  My name‘s Michael from Texas.  Don‘t hold that against us.  We voted Kerry and Obama, baby.  Don‘t hold that.  We‘re from Texas.  Don‘t hold—

SHUSTER:  Go Longhorns.  What‘s your name and where are you from? 

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  I‘m Desira from Texas. 

SHUSTER:  You know what‘s coming up next?  “HARDBALL” with Chris Matthews.  “HARDBALL” with Chris Matthews, a live show coming up.  That does it for us.  If you want to sign up for the Shuster daily briefing, Shuster.MSNBC.com.  We‘re going to have a lot of extra content on there.  I‘m David Shuster.  That does it for this hour.  “HARDBALL “with Chris Matthews starts right now. 

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

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