Guest: Evan Thomas, Bob Shrum, Howard Fineman, Mayor Michael Nutter, Michelle Bernard High: Barack Obama is sworn in as the 44th president of the United States.
Spec: Politics; Government
CHRIS MATTHEWS, HOST: Welcome to the MSNBC‘s coverage of the inauguration of Barack Obama, and welcome to our NBC stations joining our continuing coverage this evening.
Good evening. I‘m Chris Matthews. And what a good evening it is. Norah O‘Donnell and Eugene Robinson are with me still here on the Washington mall, and our Washington bureau chief, Mark Whitaker, is also with us right now.
It‘s an astounding afternoon in American history, big changes, and with them, out goes the old and in comes the new. As fresh and as crisp as a new penny, this new president stands before us right now with all kinds of new policies. He laid them out today, all kinds of rejection, implicit or explicit, of what‘s gong out today and what flew away on what was once Marine One and Air Force One. George Bush left. Barack Obama‘s here. A dramatic day.
Elections matter. They‘re not just about parades and new clothes, they‘re about a brand-new policy in this country, a rejection of what we‘ve had for eight years, something brand-new. We‘re going to have to discover exactly how brand-new it is.
But there were words spoken today, Gene and Norah, that matter, words spoken about foreign policy and American ideals that remind many of us that there are issues at stake here and differences. And this new president made it clear that he is going to find a way to reconcile the ideals that are resplendent in those uniforms with American interests. There‘ll be no more bullying of the world, no more acting like one of the bad guys on occasion. We‘re going to try again to be the good guy of the world and to get along with our fellow democracies. It is a dramatic change that‘s come.
EUGENE ROBINSON, “WASHINGTON POST,” MSNBC POLITICAL ANALYST: And we‘re going to—and we‘re going to extend a hand to other nations, as well. And he warns those who wish to be America‘s enemies that he will oblige. But especially to the Muslim world, he extended a hand of friendship in a way that I think will likely have more credibility coming from—and more impact coming from Barack Hussein Obama than it has...
MATTHEWS: You said it.
ROBINSON: I did say it.
MATTHEWS: Barack Hussein Obama.
MATTHEWS: You know, a Midwestern congressman said to me, Gene and Norah, way in the middle of this campaign, which seems 100 years ago, Indiana doesn‘t vote for guys named Obama, Barack Obama. Well, it actually did—it didn‘t matter because most of...
ROBINSON: No, Indiana did. Indiana went for Obama.
NORAH O‘DONNELL, NBC CORRESPONDENT: And then his name was used as a slur...
MATTHEWS: Didn‘t Indiana go for Obama?
ROBINSON: Indiana went for Obama. Narrowly, but it went for Obama.
MATTHEWS: (INAUDIBLE) wrong. I‘m sorry.
O‘DONNELL: And his middle name, Hussein, was used as a slur in this campaign against him, and he proudly said his middle name as he took the oath of office, even though Chief Justice Roberts led him a little astray on the...
MATTHEWS: What happened there? Do you remember? It was a little...
O‘DONNELL: The word “faithfully” was out of order, and then Barack Obama paused to allow the Chief Justice to correct himself.
ROBINSON: Revise and extend his remarks, right?
O‘DONNELL: Revise and extend his remarks. So there was a little bit of a slip-up there, but nevertheless...
MATTHEWS: Well, there‘s so much (INAUDIBLE) as you‘ve been reminding us, that‘s traditional and the kind of the hoopla and boosterism and Babbittry we all love, a bit of that today in the Statuary Hall, a lot of that old “Here‘s your crystal trophy” and all this kind of stuff that goes on in every meeting in America, every luncheon.
But here we have the American bands. It could be “Mr. Smith Goes to Washington” here, but it‘s Mr. Obama comes to Washington. There‘s Andy Stern, by the way, of the SEIU standing there, with his card check bill ready to come to the floor.
MATTHEWS: There‘s going to some crackle in the politics, like it or not. There are issues at stake, and the Democrats have a full plate.
And sometimes, when you‘re in a political party, Gene, you got to take the full plate special, the blue plate special. You may not like card check. You may believe in free trade. You may not like this protectionist stuff. But it all comes with a new policy, and we‘re going to argue this stuff, as well as enjoy the hoopla of this stuff, before that beautiful parade reviewing stand there. And it‘s nice and warm in there. By the way, again, SEIU president Andy Stern standing so close to the president—that makes a statement right there.
O‘DONNELL: And I have a seating chart in front of me. It shows who is inside that...
MATTHEWS: Give me the politics of the seating chart, as well.
O‘DONNELL: ... pointed that out. Not only, of course, are the family members, the Robinsons, and of course, Michelle Robinson‘s mother—Marian Robinson‘s going to be living in the White House—and the Biden family, but I noticed in row two is, I believe, Said (ph) Obama, Auma (ph) Obama, Akyini Obama. These are his relatives from Kenya, who have traveled all this way, who are now there with him, who wanted the make this trip to be with him.
Also of course, the Daleys are there inside the box, the King family, Martin Luther King III, as well, there, as well as some of his other political advisers and Podesta and members of the cabinet inside that. But that‘s what stuck out at me, the additional Obamas that perhaps we haven‘t all met yet.
MATTHEWS: Wow. Look at Obama, the president, doing his little nuyeling (ph) there, whatever that dance is.
O‘DONNELL: This is his high school...
MATTHEWS: Is that his high school?
MATTHEWS: Wow. From Hawaii. So we‘re watching this—this Americana here, and we‘re also watching the changing of the guard. I was struck, Norah, by the statement of the new president about how we‘re going to live up our ideals and how we‘re going to change things, and a lot in there about the energy crisis we face, about climate change, about science, odd things to say in a new inaugural, but the president says we‘re going to reinstill the role of science.
Look at this! It‘s hard to say too serious when people are doing tumbling acts, but—there they are. And by the way, I‘m not going to get in your way if you want to talk a little bit about the color. Let‘s take a look. There is—just get that seating arrangement—Barack Obama up front, the Daleys, Bill and Richie—are they behind him? Where are they? The Daleys, Richie Daley, the mayor of Chicago, which has been so much in the news because of Blagojevich‘s appointment of Senator Burris, of course, which was a major distraction for a week or two there. Penny Pritzker, the hotel heiress, major player in the administration—in the campaign of Barack Obama, Julianna Smoot, who‘s one of the stars of putting together the state-of-the-art campaign with the on-line brilliance of it that really blew McCain away.
O‘DONNELL: Finance team.
MATTHEWS: She won here—well, she‘s did the finance on line, a lot of it, a lot of it state-of-the-art, small donations, where you can keep pumping them for more money every time you need money. And then we have the Americana again.
ROBINSON: That is the famed Florida A&M University marching band, and it is a sensational phenomenon to watch. It is a force of nature and a delight to see and hear.
MATTHEWS: And that‘s the new team, of course, Joe Biden, who seems to be having the time of his life today. Don‘t you notice? I mean, he doesn‘t have a lot of responsibilities as vice president, but he has a hell of a job coming his way, a great opportunity to see the world and represent our country without the burden, really, of leadership. It‘s an amazing position, the vice presidency, if it‘s played right. You don‘t have to be the brains behind the throne, if you don‘t want to be. That‘s not required of you.
We‘ve got the daughters. I got to tell you, Gene, “My daddy‘s the president.”
MATTHEWS: You know, I just think of these kids trying to take this all in.
MATTHEWS: What do you do when you grow up and you have that memory from when you‘re, like—you know, before you were even a teenager, you remember walking out on the West Front of the Capitol to two million people adoring Daddy, if you get it all. I guess you get it all.
ROBINSON: Yes. Yes. It must be amazing. Must be amazing.
This band used to come to Orangeburg when I was a kid, when Florida A&M played South Carolina State, and they marched through the streets and we‘d go out to listen to Florida A&M. We had to acknowledge back in the day, they were actually better, although right now, I‘d say South Carolina State band is better now, but I have to say because that‘s politically correct (INAUDIBLE)
MATTHEWS: Well, I got to tell you, this is going to be a night game here because this thing got started so late. This is going to be a late—this is going to be a twi-nighter here, in baseball terminology. We‘re going to have a late night parade coming down Pennsylvania Avenue there.
yes, I miss it. One thing I don‘t like about—well, I don‘t like anything about the age of terrorism, but one thing I really dislike about it is we used to be able to drive past the White House in the old days and blow your horn if you didn‘t like the president, which was very democratic. And now you can‘t even drive your car past the White House. That is a unique experience, to see things happening on Pennsylvania Avenue in front of the president, in front of the White House.
Boy, talk about old style, this could have been Herbert Hoover‘s parade here. Look at this stuff, and full headdress.
O‘DONNELL: And of course, this is Crow Nation of Montana.
MATTHEWS: Of course! I knew that!
MATTHEWS: I didn‘t think it was Sioux! I could tell who it was.
MATTHEWS: Just kidding.
O‘DONNELL: I‘ve got the parade itinerary, of course. And Montana was a state that Barack Obama went to and campaigned in. And people raised questions about whether that was a waste of time, a waste of money for him to try and secure some of the delegates from Montana, as he launched this very unconventional, mathematically smart way of winning the primary over Hillary Clinton.
MATTHEWS: It really is a cowboy and Indian state, still. I bumped into Brian Schweitzer the other day. What a cowboy he is. And Tester.
MATTHEWS: They‘re all crewcut guys with regular clothes, and they‘re wandering around town here like, I guess, 21st century cowboys. And now we‘ve got the wonderful tradition of native Americans on display here in full regalia. It‘s—only in America.
OK, Mark Whitaker joins us right now, the Washington bureau chief for NBC News. I mean, Mark, we‘re trying to mix together some intelligent discussion of the dramatic development today, the election—rather, the coming to power of a brand-new government and a head of state and a chief of state, a totally new family in charge. And well, America to be (ph), to some extent, a mood ring. These people are changing our mood here.
MARK WHITAKER, NBC NEWS WASHINGTON BUREAU CHIEF: Chris, you see the Capitol behind me. And you know, NBC was pool for the Capitol, which means all the cameras that you saw this morning shooting the swearing-in and the speech were our cameras.
And I remember going to visit the build, the set-up earlier in the week and thinking about that this was going to be an event where we‘re not only going to want a lot of shots of the president, the new president, but also a lot of shots going down the Mall of the crowds. And sure enough, it was an incredibly exciting scene today, and kind of two million people on the Mall symbolic of an American people that for the first time in 20 years are actually embracing a new president as one, 70 percent of Americans wishing him well. No questions about the legitimacy of his presidency that you had with both Clinton and Bush.
But then you turn the cameras around, and the speech itself, I think, was—although it was obviously a very historic and moving moment, Obama reminded us that we‘re in a time of crisis. And as you were saying earlier, if you parse through the poetry of that speech, it was a very tough indictment of the Bush years, of abdicating our position of responsibility in the world, of abandoning our highest values when it came to civil liberties, of not taking care of the environment, of contributing the selfishness at the root of the current economic crisis. So I think an extraordinarily powerful mixture of both emotions and messages today.
MATTHEWS: You‘re right. He talked about the greed that led us to our economic crisis we‘re in right now, which grows deeper and deeper each month, with higher unemployment. And then he said but also the irresponsibility on the part of some and the collective failure to make hard choices and prepare the nation for a new age.
Gene, you jump in here. I mean, he‘s saying...
ROBINSON: No, he did.
MATTHEWS: ... that the guys have been asleep at the switch, that Katrina was not just an incident, but it was reflective of eight years—or maybe longer because he‘s never been particularly kind to the Clinton era—of failure to meet America‘s challenges.
ROBINSON: No, he hasn‘t actually. And he‘s talking about something that, as you said, goes beyond a return to the Clinton years. He‘s talking about things that were wrong even during the Clinton years, and that in his view, got worse during the Bush years. But he‘s really talking about a kind of back-to-basics renewal of some—some—some bedrock American values and a reconstruction of our system to make it function in the 21st century and to make it work for us, instead of failing us the way it has.
O‘DONNELL: But I also think, too, in this talking about an era of responsibility, in many ways, it was an indictment of our past leaders that they had not been acting responsibly.
ROBINSON: Absolutely. Absolutely.
MATTHEWS: How about this line, Norah and Gene and Mark—“Our capacity remains undiminished, but our time of standing pat, of protecting narrow interests, of putting off unpleasant decisions—that time has surely passed. Starting today, we must pick ourselves up, dust ourselves off and begin again the work of”—what have we been doing, if we‘re lying in the dust?
MATTHEWS: I mean, he‘s saying, I picked up a country that was lying in the dust, that was standing pat, that wasn‘t making any decisions. It was basically brainless, mindless and irresponsible, is what he‘s saying here. It was softly stated, but think about it, if you‘re Bush flying home, reading this stuff.
MATTHEWS: And by the way, he had to sit there and listen to it.
MATTHEWS: And he knew what it was about. And by the way, the two million people that showed up here today—I don‘t like it, but they booed him.
ROBINSON: They did.
MATTHEWS: It was bad form, but that was an attitude. It wasn‘t just limited to minorities out here, it was limited—it was basically reflective of about 75 percent of the American people that said, Good riddance.
ROBINSON: Right. I mean...
MATTHEWS: That‘s not nice, but it‘s true.
ROBINSON: The fact is that a lot of people did come, in addition to celebrating Obama, to send George Bush on his way. I mean, that‘s just a fact, and we should report it as a fact.
MATTHEWS: What‘s the name of the song, “Na, Na, Hey, Hey”?
ROBINSON: Yes. Right. They did that song. One thing that struck me about the speech is the section that says, Now, there are some who question the scale of our ambitions, and he basically tells them, You ain‘t seen nothing yet, you know? I mean, and that he‘s not going to scale back his ambitions and that he is really planning to go at this on many different fronts in a comprehensive way, and he‘s kind of warning us to prepare for that.
MATTHEWS: What were those lines, Gene? What were they? I thought there was a great line about that stuff. We‘re all becoming biblical experts here...
ROBINSON: “What the cynics fail to understand is that the ground has shifted beneath them, that the stale political arguments that have consumed us for so long no longer apply.” And then he goes on to say, “It‘s not whether government is too big or too small, it‘s whether it works.”
MATTHEWS: OK, we‘re going to take a break here. I want to thank Mark Whitaker, Eugene Robinson. Norah O‘Donnell is staying with us. Our coverage of Barack Obama‘s inauguration will continue in a minute. Much more from the National Mall, where we‘re at, watching the parade down Pennsylvania Avenue, which has all the tradition of yesterday. But God, the speech today and what‘s coming is big-time and it‘s brand-new. Elections matter. You‘re going to see that today, tomorrow and the months ahead.
HARDBALL‘s live coverage continues after this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: What the cynics fail to understand is that the ground has shifted beneath them, that the stale political arguments that have consumed us for so long no longer apply. The question we ask today is not whether our government is too big or too small, but whether it works, whether it helps families find jobs at a decent wage, care they can afford, a retirement that is dignified.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
OBAMA: Today I say to you that the challenges we face are real. They are serious and they are many. They will not be met easily or in a short span of time. But know this, America, they will be met!
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: Welcome back to HARDBALL. Joining me right now is MSNBC political analyst Pat Buchanan and “Newsweek‘s” Evan Thomas, whose new book about the Obama campaign is called “A Long Time Coming.” And it‘s a fantastic book. Evan, congratulations.
EVAN THOMAS, “NEWSWEEK”: Thanks, Chris.
MATTHEWS: It is great candy for those of us who love politics, great stuff about the Clinton campaign, naughty information. I love it. It‘s not nice, it‘s just great.
MATTHEWS: And I really love the coverage of Barack Obama. And a lot of—I underlined a lot in this book, which means I love it.
THOMAS: Thanks, Chris.
MATTHEWS: And I also thank you, Pat.
OK. Let‘s take a look. We‘re looking at the Marine Band. What do we got right now? What is this now? Delaware volunteer firemen. Obviously, Joe Biden probably knows half these people, because Delaware is a very small state.
Look at this guy strutting. There‘s a grand marshal for you. Look at this guy. That takes self-confidence, to say the least.
The Delaware band here. We got—we‘re going to have a lot of Delaware people coming by, Delaware home state float. We have the Alexis duPont High School Band. Sounds like Delaware to me.
And coming up in a moment, the famous Tuskegee Airmen are coming here. And the Peace Corps community is coming by. That‘s of interest to people like me.
But there‘s—look at the great shot of the White House. Is that the actual White House or a picture of it? Oh, it is a picture of the White House. It looked a little bit surreal there, Norah.
NORAH O‘DONNELL, NBC CHIEF WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT: No, that is the White House right behind the reviewing stand.
MATTHEWS: And that‘s the actual White House, not a picture of it?
O‘DONNELL: Yes, absolutely.
MATTHEWS: My God, it looked—it looks so perfect tonight.
O‘DONNELL: It does.
MATTHEWS: It looked like a picture of the White House.
There‘s the kids. Now, what are their names, Norah?
O‘DONNELL: Sasha and Malia.
MATTHEWS: Sasha is the older.
And how old are they?
O‘DONNELL: Seven -- 9 and 5 -- 7 and 5.
MATTHEWS: Five. Those kids are going to grow up. You do the math, they could be there for seven or eight years. They could be high, mid teens.
O‘DONNELL: Forgive me, Chris. I have been standing outside all day.
They are 10 and 8.
MATTHEWS: Well, they‘re the only ones that will care about that mistake, but we will hear about it.
MATTHEWS: “Did you hear about Norah O‘Donnell getting our ages wrong in the middle of my daddy‘s parade?”
MATTHEWS: I go back to this, Norah. And I want to go to—let‘s get some sentiment out of Pat Buchanan for once in his career here.
Can you imagine growing up and being these young girls and seeing their daddy give an inaugural address to two million people in front of them on the west front of the Capitol?
Patrick Buchanan, here‘s your chance to show you got a heart, buddy.
PAT BUCHANAN, MSNBC POLITICAL ANALYST: Well, I was talking to someone, Chris, when that...
BUCHANAN: ... when that little of—the youngest of them was walking with their daddy.
And I was saying how sort of proud—she was almost strutting, how graceful she was. She‘s very tiny. I think she looks like—doesn‘t look like she‘s 8 years to me. But they are really beautiful, poised, well-behaved children that reflect enormously well on their parents. I mean, it is—it‘s visible in them.
Gentlemen, we—and Norah—we just got a statement from Senator Kennedy‘s office, obviously about his health today.
“Senator Edward Kennedy experienced a seizure today while attending a luncheon for President Barack Obama at the U.S. Capitol. After testing, we believe the incident was brought on by simple fatigue. Senator Kennedy‘s awake, talking with family and friends, and feeling well. He will remain at the Washington Hospital Center overnight for observation and will be released in the morning.”
So, that‘s great news. We worried about the word convulsions. That doesn‘t make you too happy about a guy‘s condition. But, apparently, it was short-term. He is back on his feet, back fighting for health care.
Evan Thomas, elections matter. The scene we‘re watching today would have been very different had McCain won, had Hillary Clinton won. Can you give me a sense of that importance?
THOMAS: Well, the country wouldn‘t have been—have been paying such close attention. I mean, there was a different feel to this.
I have—I have—just like you, I have been through a lot of these inaugural days. I have never seen one as freighted with emotion and feeling as this one, ever, since I was a little kid watching JFK. That was a function of Barack Obama and his race to some extent, but the idea of hope that he brings.
So, just it was more amped-up than it would have been with the other two.
MATTHEWS: Did you guys get down on the Mall and see the faces of people? Did you see them on TV, Pat and Evan...
BUCHANAN: Sure, Chris.
MATTHEWS: ... the gleaming radiance of people, who were thrilled at this event?
THOMAS: And they were crying. They were crying. It was hard not to cry at moments.
I—you know, I thought the speech itself was not all that memorable. It didn‘t have really memorable turns of phrase. But I thought Aretha Franklin was pretty memorable, and the quartet was memorable. And the whole thing, the whole feel of it, is, I think, something that people are going to remember forever.
BUCHANAN: Chris, I was down there with you, as you recall. There must have been, yesterday and the day before, 3,000 people outside the studio cheering and laughing, enjoying this, greeting all of us as we went from the trailer to the booth.
And, today, the camera work was excellent. They took photos of people breaking out in tears when Aretha Franklin spoke.
BUCHANAN: You could hear the cheers in the background at various points in Barack Obama‘s speech.
But there‘s no doubt he didn‘t reach for some famous phrase. But this was a commander in chief calling the nation to account and saying, shape up. You know, we got to put off childish things, all these quarrels and petty arguments and divisions and old dogmas.
There is more realism and old right in this speech, Chris, than there is any conservative, you know, we‘re going to plant democracy all over the world and end tyranny in the world that we heard in the last inaugural.
MATTHEWS: Well, the illusion, of course, gentlemen and Norah, was to Corinthians 13: When I was a child, I used to talk as a child, think as a child, reason as a child. When I became a man, I put aside childish things.
What did that mean to you, Norah? The putting aside of childish things is such a—almost a real putdown of what came before. We were kids. We were not grownups. We didn‘t accept responsibility for...
O‘DONNELL: ... to grow up.
O‘DONNELL: Trying to grow up and take responsibility, to stop this nonsense.
I mean, there was clearly—and I kept thinking this uncomfortable moment, with Bush just sitting right there...
O‘DONNELL: ... and the vice president sitting right there, this delicate dance that was even delicate, of him putting forth change and saying why we have got to mark a clear delineation between the past and the future.
MATTHEWS: You know, every president that gets elected is a solution to the mistakes of the guy he succeeds.
And the sad thing is, the guy he succeeds, whether it‘s Jimmy Carter or Herbert Hoover, has to sit there, or George W. Bush—go ahead, Pat—and take it...
MATTHEWS: ... in the chin.
BUCHANAN: But, Chris, I think this—I think there clearly are lines there that are directed at Bush and a break with Bush.
I thought this was directed at both parties, at the Congress, at the whole city: You people have been arguing over these silly things.
BUCHANAN: You‘re at each other, your old quarrels from the ‘50s or ‘60s. We‘re sick of that. We have got to break with that and put off those childish things. We have got serious business as a country.
I mean, this was an admonition. It was really a call—I mean, a disciplining, if you will, and very authoritative.
Before we get too united in this, Pat, before you and Evan and me and we all agree with Norah, there‘s—the use of the term special interests is a term that has totally different meaning depending what party you are.
A lot of conservatives would say gay rights is a special interest.
They would say labor causes, like card check...
MATTHEWS: ... is a special interest.
Can Barack Obama claim to carry the mantle of general interest and opposition to special interest if he pushes for those changes on his first watch?
BUCHANAN: I think, Chris, every—look, one man‘s special interest is another man‘s ideal solution. So, it‘s going to be very....
MATTHEWS: Right. Right.
BUCHANAN: It‘s going to be very difficult.
And both parties—you‘re right—have things that they‘re deeply committed to, and the other party say that‘s their special interests.
So, I don‘t know if he can do that. But what got me was the petty grievances, the false promises, the recriminations, the worn-out dogmas, the stale political arguments. Put that behind us.
THOMAS: Chris, I think this is all about...
MATTHEWS: Evan Thomas, can you take the high ground on—on opposing special interests, when you have clear constituencies that got you there?
THOMAS: Well, Congress is—and the government is run by interest groups. That‘s how democracy works.
But I think the whole game here is whether Obama can build up a political head of steam to get entitlement reform. He‘s going to be asking for sacrifice, I think, in a way that no president for a long time has asked for sacrifice.
He is going to ask the American people to do with less on Social Security and possibly less on Medicare. That‘s going to take a kind of political courage—courage that we just haven‘t seen for a long, long time.
I think all of this—all of this talk about responsibility is politically a ramp-up, a setup for that moment when Obama has to tell, look, folks, we‘re going to—we‘re going to—we‘re going to reform these entitlement programs, and you‘re going to have to do with less.
I think Evan is dead-right.
MATTHEWS: Well, a spoonful of sugar helps the medicine go down, but we got some strong medicine coming, if you listen to Obama, in terms of Medicare reform, Social Security reform. That mean benefit changes, benefit cuts, tax increases, all kinds of things that nobody likes, nobody.
Pat Buchanan and Evan Thomas are staying with us.
Norah O‘Donnell is my partner there.
You‘re watching HARDBALL‘s live coverage of the inauguration and the parade. There it is. And, by the way, that really is the White House behind it. I thought it was a—I thought that was a matte behind there, as they say in Hollywood.
We will be right back to salute again the 44th president of the United States. The elections are over. The parades are on. We have a new president.
(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: On this day, we gather because we have chosen hope over fear, unity of purpose over conflict and discord. On this day, we come to proclaim an end to the petty grievances and false promises, the recriminations and worn-out dogmas that for far too long have strangled our politics.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: We‘re back watching the inaugural parade.
And we have got the—there it is, the Allentown Drum and Bugle Corps, the cadets, actually, they‘re called. And there‘s Barack Obama, of course, reviewing them, Pennsylvania being a key state to his victory, an increasingly blue state, I guess it‘s fair to say.
But there‘s—look at that crack team there, a lot of brass.
Anyway, this is a mixed bag tonight. We‘re covering the real event here, which is the parade. Of course, it is only a symbol of what has happened in America. We have a new president, of course. And he‘s reviewing, as president and as chief of state of our country, the symbol of our country, as well as the head of the government, alongside his running mate and now vice president, Joe Biden, being very formal there in attention to this.
This parade is way late in time. It‘s going to run well into the evening. It‘s going to obviously—Norah and I were talking. It may well put off their attendance at these big mass balls they go tonight.
Norah, what‘s the schedule?
O‘DONNELL: In fact, they have got to—they have got to visit 10 different inaugural balls tonight, starting at 8:30. They are expected at the Neighborhood Ball.
So, you have got to wonder, with it 5:30, whether Michelle and Barack Obama are going to have time. Will they have break away early to get ready for those balls tonight, at least have some dinner or something to eat? Because they are going to be at these balls until 3:00 in the morning. The very last visit is to the Eastern Regional Ball from 2:35 to 2:55 a.m., is the current schedule.
This is a long night of celebrating, where the Obamas are expected to do a dance at each one of these balls, so that the people that have come from all across this country to celebrate can catch a glimpse of them. And he‘s going to make remarks, too, at each of these balls.
It‘s going to be a late night, certainly, for his first day in office.
He will be up late and probably up early.
MATTHEWS: Well, having gone to a number of these things last night until about 1:00 in the morning, I—I‘m not sure I want to do this again.
I got—I gave Val Kilmer a ride home last night.
MATTHEWS: I met—let‘s go through the names of who I met, John Cusack. I love—I always wanted to meet him. He said he always wanted to meet me. That‘s kind of cool.
And Ed Harris. And Robert De Niro, I met him last night, and Norman -
what‘s his name? Norman...
MATTHEWS: No, not—he‘s dead.
MATTHEWS: No, the guy that made all those TV shows. I met him. “All in the Family,” whatever his name is. And—Norman Lear.
O‘DONNELL: Norman Lear.
MATTHEWS: Getting the help in my ear.
A lot of celebrities last—it‘s amazing how they suck up this politics. I would think they would be bored to death with it. These Hollywood people love to come to Washington and hang out with people like us. It‘s—it‘s surprising to me. I thought it was all worship from our end.
O‘DONNELL: I ran into a woman up on Capitol Hill...
O‘DONNELL: ... who was exclaiming how excited she was that her seat was actually two rows in front of Oprah Winfrey...
O‘DONNELL: ... and that she had called her mother to sort of say, look, I‘m in front of Oprah Winfrey down here.
But there were a number of stars down watching the inauguration of Barack Obama in those special seats.
MATTHEWS: Well, we will be right back to talk about Ted Kennedy and his condition.
There‘s, of course, Michelle Obama, and her husband, the new president. It‘s really something to think about, that he is clearly our president, will be for four years. Bush is gone.
We will be right back with Pat Buchanan.
And, Evan Thomas, thank you for joining us.
When we return—by the way, the book is called “A Long Time Coming,” a fabulous book on American politics. I love it. Every page is candy. I underlined a lot of it. Fantastic writing, as always—well, especially this time, Evan Thomas. Great work.
Anyway, we‘re going to come back and talk about the condition of Ted Kennedy. He had something of a bad medical experience today, convulsions and everything. Took him to the hospital. Apparently, he is OK, but let‘s get the word when we get back.
We‘re continuing our coverage, a mixed bag tonight, an amazing parade, major history being made today. The speech today was a statement we will thinking about for years to come and what it meant.
We will be right back with the inauguration parade of Barack Obama—here on MSNBC.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
OBAMA: With hope and virtue, let us brave once more the icy currents, and endure what storms may come.
Let it be said by our children‘s children that, when we were tested, we refused to let this journey end; that we did not turn back nor did we falter; and with eyes fixed on the horizon and god‘s grace upon us, we carried forth that great gift of freedom and delivered it safely to future generations.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: What a bright, shining day it was today in America. Welcome back to HARDBALL‘s coverage of Barack Obama‘s inauguration. Let‘s get to the latest now on a bit of the sad news from today, or at least concerned news. Senator Ted Kennedy was taken to a hospital after being stricken during the inaugural luncheon at the Capital. NBC‘s Tom Costello is with us from the Washington Hospital Center. Tom, what‘s the condition of Senator Kennedy right now?
TOM COSTELLO, NBC NEWS CORRESPONDENT: As we understand it—we‘re hearing this not only from sources within the Kennedy‘s offices, but almost most directly from Senator John Kerry, who came out and said to us that Senator Kennedy is inside. He is in good spirits. He‘s joking. He‘s, quote, got his Irish dander up. And he is looking forward to getting out of the hospital and returning to work as soon as tomorrow.
That may be optimistic, but that is what Senator Kerry says Senator Kennedy wants to do. He has been moved to a private room here at Washington Hospital Center.
Senator Kerry described what happened as a seizure, his words. He says, I‘m not a doctor, but that‘s what it looked like there in the Capital Building. He said this is unfortunately something that happens when you‘re dealing with the issues that Senator Kennedy is dealing with. As we know, he‘s been fighting brain cancer since last May 20th. They‘ve done one operation. And according to Senator Kerry, this has happened before, these types of seizures.
But, again, at the moment tonight, at Washington Hospital Center, he is described as being in good spirits, as being in a jovial mood, joking and anxious to get out of here and, quote, get back in the saddle. Chris, back to you.
MATTHEWS: OK. Thank you, Tom Costello. Let‘s go right now to Bob Shrum, who‘s a friend of the Kennedy family and a long-time aide to Senator Kennedy. We‘ve also got Howard Fineman joining us here with Norah O‘Donnell. Bob, what do you know? You have been with the senator for so many years, going back 30 at least years you‘ve been his ally and friend.
BOB SHRUM, DEMOCRATIC STRATEGIST: Yes, I mean, he said to me at one point in summer when we were in Denver—he said, well, we‘ve gotten the hang of this. We‘ve been doing it for 30 years. And he is a very close friend. Look, the seizures—he had two of them I think at the beginning, which is how they found the disease in the first place. The time I‘ve spent with him, last summer a lot of time, a lot of time around Thanksgiving, he was full of life. He was at Thanksgiving getting ready for his Harvard honorary degree, where had to give a speech.
We were telling old stories. I mean, this is someone who has enormous significance in American history, who I think as a senator has achieved more than some presidents has, and who wants to come back to the Senate. And he‘s got his Irish up, because after stimulus is done, he wants to pass national health reform.
MATTHEWS: Well, he didn‘t get that hat from Ireland, I‘ll tell you that. That is one hell of a hat he had on today. He reminds me of Don Corleone going around with the bug spray in the vines of the movie. He looks—I say that with the greatest adoration.
SHRUM: Chris, all you had to do was look at him today on that inaugural platform.
SHRUM: The joy he felt—I know from a week and a half ago when I talked to Vicki and him, I know how much he was looking forward to this day. And he did a lot to make this day happen.
MATTHEWS: Well, you know, Howard, there‘s so much Kennedy going on right now. We have this story, which luckily has turned out to be just an incident, of course, part of a bigger story, of course, his health, which is a real problem for him. But we have got this Caroline story, which Andrea was pecking away today at David Paterson, pecking away at him, trying to get—worm something out of him, to mix my metaphors. And all she could get out of him was it looked like he was near a decision. He had basically made up his mind. And that he would probably, according to Andrea‘s report, get to a decision this Friday, by the end of this week, this work week, picking a successor to Hillary Clinton.
HOWARD FINEMAN, “NEWSWEEK”: The point here is that the Kennedys loom large in American history and also in Democratic party history. Don‘t forget, even though this is a day for the whole country, this is a Democratic president who was just sworn into office.
MATTHEWS: I forgot. I completely forgot. Hah!
FINEMAN: As well you should. As well you should, really.
FINEMAN: Well, because, it is a day for the whole country, for everybody to join together, as two million did. But Kennedy and the Kennedy family means a tremendous amount to Barack Obama and vice versa. They‘re bound together. Don‘t forget, it was Teddy who was one of the first important people at a critical time from the establishment of the party who endorsed Barack Obama, who really helped put Barack Obama—
MATTHEWS: Caroline apparently was a part of that.
FINEMAN: And Caroline was a big part of that. Caroline was on the committee that chose Joe Biden.
MATTHEWS: Wrote that big article in the “New York Times” that basically said the Kennedys are passing the torch to Barack Obama. And then there‘s the Ethel Kennedy story.
FINEMAN: And even though Kennedy‘s name was not mentioned here directly, the talk about challenges in the world, the talk about a new generation, the talk about a sense of renewal, all of the notes that Barack Obama struck today as president were ones that the Kennedys have struck repeatedly. And his commitment to health care is one that Kennedy‘s been on for 25, 30 years.
MATTHEWS: And having Ted Sorenson help write the speech.
FINEMAN: All of that. So it was—
MATTHEWS: I love competing with you for information. You‘re always a better reporter. Go ahead.
FINEMAN: It‘s a sad grace note to the day to bring up Teddy‘s health. But it‘s part of the story of life and changing generations. And I think Teddy will be back. And I guarantee you, if there‘s going to be a health care bill of any kind, he is going to be around to try to see it through.
MATTHEWS: Back to the news. Bob, do you think that Ted Kennedy really wants Caroline to be a senator from New York?
SHRUM: I‘m sure he does. Look, Governor Paterson is going to make that decision. I think I‘ve said to you before that she is a wonderful choice for the state at a time like this, because she‘s going to have influence, and New York needs it, before she has seniority. Some of the arguments that have been made against her actually remind me of the arguments that were made against Ted Kennedy in 1962, accept she is considerably older than he is, and has written considerably more books.
MATTHEWS: From your chair at NYU, do you endorse Caroline Kennedy for senator.
SHRUM: Sure, absolutely. But look --
MATTHEWS: I just wanted to get it officially.
SHRUM: Governor Paterson makes the decision and—
MATTHEWS: I know that.
SHRUM: We are clear about that and, you know, it is not a conventional campaign.
MATTHEWS: You know, the definitional stuff is fine, but I wanted the behavioral. You support her, right?
MATTHEWS: And so does Teddy Kennedy, right? OK, that‘s news.
MATTHEWS: The decision is near. And I think it may well be near in her favor. That is my guess.
SHRUM: I have no idea.
MATTHEWS: That is my guess.
SHRUM: I really honestly don‘t and I don‘t think anybody does. And I think he himself has kept his own counsel. He‘s done exactly—
MATTHEWS: Every time you say it is up to the governor, it makes me think you know he made the appointment.
FINEMAN: I think it is the way you talk if you‘re prudent and you understand what the situation is.
MATTHEWS: Thank you, Bob. You‘re the best. You‘re the best speech writer in the world. Thank you, Bob Shrum. Thank you, Howard Fineman, as always, my friend, best reporter around. He was in the pool today at the Capitol. Extra duties, the guy keeps working. Of course, it‘s been an historic day in America. We will have more on that. Never forget, everything changes today, everything. Who‘s running the country? Barack Obama. Who ain‘t running the country? George W. Bush. Something of a change in one day, wouldn‘t you say?
The significance of the day in American politics, especially perhaps, you might argue, to African-Americans, but hardly exclusively by any means. We are going to talk about that when we return. This is HARDBALL‘s coverage of the inauguration, what a day this is. Long day coming, as “Newsweek” put it. The inauguration of President Barack Obama.
MATTHEWS: Welcome back to this special inaugural edition of HARDBALL. The turnout for today‘s inauguration was unprecedented, both in size and makeup. We had two million people right outside this window. Two million people. I‘ve lived in Washington for quite a few years. I‘ve lived in Washington for quite a few years. I have to tell you, I‘ve never seen so many African-Americans come downtown. This was, as someone put brilliantly, D.C. comes to Washington.
The neighborhoods emptied out through this baby, mayor. I know you‘re a Philadelphia guy. I got to tell you, having lived down here for a while, this is so unusual to see this city so integrated. Let‘s talk about it. We‘ve got our first president in history that ever took mass transit. This guy went on the L in Philly, in Chicago. He‘s a city guy. How‘s it going to help cities like Philly.
MAYOR MICHAEL NUTTER (D), PHILADELPHIA: The great thing about President Obama is during the campaign he talked about Wall Street, talked about main street, but I also know that he knows about 52nd Street and he knows about Frankfort Avenue in Philadelphia, because he spent some time with us. He‘s going to be great for cities. The recovery plan is already shaping up in such a way that he and his top team know that getting money to cities for projects that are ready to go is how he‘s going to accomplish three million jobs over the course of the next two years.
MATTHEWS: How does he put it together? How does he put together the excitement of this crowd, the racial thrill these people—I‘ve never seen so many teeth in my life. Everybody was smiling, looking at me. Gleaming happy people. They‘re all around here. They‘re still here.
NUTTER: People are always happy to see you, Chris.
MATTHEWS: Sometimes. But I—on a serious note, this is a change in American history.
NUTTER: It is. We saw a different kind of America today. You ask what can he do, what will he do? One, he‘s going to keep being himself. President Obama has a message for everyone. He is crystal clear about personal responsibility, the need for Americans to rally around each other, people taking responsibilities not only for their own actions, but stepping up in this time of crisis, because that‘s what we do as Americans.
The economic recovery plan will do a great deal, but the government cannot do everything. It‘s much of the same message that I try to deliver back home. We have our own budget challenges. We have our own needs. I think the economic recovery program coming to cities and metro areas, helping with infrastructure, housing, mortgage foreclosure challenges—the unemployment rate is up in many cities across America, and, of course, in the country. Getting African-Americans, Latinos and women more opportunities, whether on the construction side, increasing diversity all across the board are the kinds of things President Obama is focused on. It‘s very important for America.
MATTHEWS: Michelle Bernard, you‘re watching from the studio. Tell me of this picture of Barack. There‘s our chief of state, our head of state, the symbol of our country, as well as the head of our executive branch, Barack Obama, with his number two guy. The symbolism, the reality of this and American life, tell me what it means you to you as an observer of this thing.
MICHELLE BERNARD, MSNBC POLITICAL ANALYST: It looks like it is the dawn of a new day here in Washington. We talk about how cold it is. It‘s been frigid all day. But I think there‘s not one person in the world today who does not feel they are basking in sunlight. You know, to watch Barack Obama take the oath of office today, and then to give the speech that he gave—I know some people felt that he needed to smile and that it was overly somber.
But if you really listen to every word that he said today, the symbolism was absolutely amazing on so many different fronts. When he talked about—about people not being able to be broken, he talked about us as a nation, but as an African-American, I can tell you there were many African-American souls today that felt that was directed to them.
When he talked about, you know, remaking America and the symbolism of Hurricane Katrina and when the levees broke—let‘s face it, quite frankly, all of those faces of African-American people drowning and standing on the roofs of their homes, waiting to be saved. And he drew on the picture of America of remaking America when he talked about fire fighters stepping into buildings to save people‘s lives. It made me think about 9/11 and the goodness that we saw in our people coming together and making this nation good and true and strong once again.
You can‘t help but be taken by the fact that these words are being spoken by a black man and in a nation that started in slavery. The most important man in the entire world is a black man. It‘s just unbelievable. I don‘t think there will ever be words to describe how proud I feel today.
MATTHEWS: Last word, Mr. Mayor. Michelle had a lot to say there. I think you agreed with a lot.
NUTTER: I did. It‘s a great moment in American history. People will be talking about this hundreds of years from now, just like we talk about 1776, Declaration of Independence, the Constitution. This is a singular moment in American history. We‘ve come a long way. We have much more work to do. I‘m looking forward to working with President Obama to turn this country around.
MATTHEWS: Mayor Michael Nutter of Philadelphia, thank you, sir, for joining us. Thank you mayor. Thank you Michelle. We are staying here for another two hours of live HARDBALL coverage of the Obama Inaugural Parade. That‘s what it is. A lot of black bands coming through. These guys are good. A lot of them coming here to see, and, of course, to entertain and represent in many ways the first African-American president. There they are. They‘re famous, a lot of these bands, like Florida A&M, the one here from Piney Bluff, Arkansas, just passed in review.
We‘ll see a lot more of the entertainment and a lot more discussion of the politics. Stay with us.
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Guest: Pat Buchanan, Artur Davis, Steve Hildebrand, Lawrence O‘Donnell,
Bill Press, Michelle Bernard, Beverly Young, Sonny Young
Spec: Politics; Barack Obama
CHRIS MATTHEWS, MSNBC ANCHOR: MSNBC‘s coverage of the inauguration of Barack Obama continues.
Good evening. I‘m Chris Matthews. And what a good evening it is, live on the National Mall, where two million people came earlier today to experience history as Barack Obama was sworn as our 44th president.
This evening, we have a new president, Barack Obama, a new head of government, and a new chief of state. As bright and fresh as the sunshine was on this cold day, a country excited by change, real change, the kind that historic elections do bring.
Yes, we saw and felt with the new fullness of our democracy today that elections do matter. And matter immediately. In comes the new with all its new promise. Out goes the old with a smack on the way by.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BARACK H. OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: As for our common defense, we reject as false the choice between our safety and our ideals. Our founding fathers—our founding fathers, faced with perils that we can scarcely imagine, drafted a charter to assure the rule of law and the rights of man, a charter expanded by the blood of generations. Those ideals still light the world, and we will not give them up for expedience sake.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: “We reject as false the choice between our ideals and our safety.” What a line. And it‘s my favorite.
At the inaugural luncheon today that followed the ceremony, Senator Ted Kennedy, the lion of the U.S. Senate, at the age of 76, and suffering from brain cancer, was removed from the Capitol by stretcher and taken to a nearby hospital. The senator is said to be awake and answering questions and being evaluated by doctors. He‘ll be out by tomorrow, we hear.
Meantime, the inaugural parade continues with all its color and excitement. The new first family watching—there it is. It‘s America, our country, with all the color of our history on display and on review.
There‘s the first lady, Michelle Obama. No more “elect,” they are the real thing now, watching from the warmth of that reviewing stand in a very frigid day.
I‘m joined by the host of “1600 PENNSYLVANIA AVENUE,” David Shuster, and Chief Washington Correspondent for MSNBC, Norah O‘Donnell—who has also been in the cold for much of this day—MSNBC Political Analyst Pat Buchanan and NBC News Washington Bureau Chief, Mark Whitaker.
I could ask all of us to give their first-hand experiences of being cold today. I had to put toasty toe (ph) stuff on my fingers to get them alive again today after standing out there a few hours.
Shuster, did you just come in? Did you get out there? Norah was in the cold. Were you?
DAVID SHUSTER, MSNBC ANCHOR: No, I was walking all over the Mall. I walked all the way here from north Georgetown, where I live. So I was with the people today, Chris, shivering with all of them for much of the day.
But you know, I‘ve got to say, we just saw video of Jon Tester, Senator Tester on a horse. We had been told that he and Max Baucus were going to ride in the parade on a horse. I think we just saw that a moment ago.
MATTHEWS: And what did that do for you?
SHUSTER: Well, it said to me that if you are with an animal, if you‘re riding on a horse that—if you‘re involved, that you stay warm, or at least you are having fun.
MATTHEWS: And if you‘re from Montana, it doesn‘t hurt to look like a cowboy, a real one.
By the way, I met Brian Schweitzer the other day. He is a cowboy. He seems like a cowboy. You know, with his jobber (ph) on he looks kind of tough walking around town, as you did today, like a regular person, which was very Democratic of you, to act like a regular person, which you are. I‘m glad you know it.
SHUSTER: And to be serious for a second here, Chris, I mean, the thing that struck me the most today was not so much, you know, the people that we all know. It‘s the people that we are meeting for the first time who worked their hearts out for this campaign, who felt like they were involved for the first time.
Coming up later this hour, you‘re going to meet a couple that runs a barbershop and a beauty salon in Springfield, Ohio. They, themselves, organized for Barack Obama when he wasn‘t there, when his campaign wasn‘t in that city, in a very tough town.
They organized, they got more than 500 people registered to vote. They came to Washington without inauguration tickets, without a place to stay, and battling illness. That‘s the passion, that‘s the drama of this day through millions of people just like that. You‘re going to meet them coming up, and it‘s one of the most remarkable stories I‘ve heard.
But again, that‘s what this day, to me, at least, seems like it‘s all about.
MATTHEWS: It‘s also, David, pageantry.
We‘re watching the first lady, Michelle Obama, looking splendid as she reviews the troops, reviews our countrymen as they go by with all the colors of our states. It‘s still America.
And some of this stuff could have been the Hoover parade. It‘s totally the same as its always been. The more things change, the more they stay.
Pat Buchanan, I know you love this old Americana stuff.
PAT BUCHANAN, MSNBC POLITICAL ANALYST: Right.
MATTHEWS: I‘m telling you, it‘s so familiar. It was there when you were there with Ike. Look at these people—pompons, the whole works. Horses, cowboys, Indians.
BUCHANAN: You know, Chris, when I was there, my father was the accountant for the inaugural committee, or he worked for the accountants. And so we got tickets across from Ike. And I remember some guy saying, “Look at that, that cowboy just lassoed Ike.”
I don‘t think they would try that in this day and age, but he they threw a lasso around Eisenhower. It was the 1952 parade. It was very positive. Well, you know from reading how divided the country was when old Harry Truman went home at 23 percent, similar in some ways to this, today, Chris, but a very positive thing moving forward.
MATTHEWS: Wouldn‘t it be great, Mark Whitaker, if they could open up Pennsylvania Avenue again and so we could actually drive that parade route again instead of having it all closed off by tiger teeth as it is today?
MARK WHITAKER, NBC NEWS WASHINGTON BUREAU CHIEF: That‘s true. But I‘ll tell you, I was impressed that the Obamas actually got out of their motorcade, out of “The Beast,” and walked as much as they did, going up to Lafayette Park. And what it made me think of was talking to a very old friend of Obama who talks about how he really doesn‘t have any fear.
We‘ve talked about how calm he is, but he‘s also fearless. It‘s one of the things that made him, allowed him to run for president against all odds.
And, you know, I think, you know, he was criticized during the campaign for not having that much of a record. And the fact is, that‘s true. But in the end, what America voted for was an intellect and a temperament. And he‘s going to need it now, because if there was ever a time when we needed somebody who was just cool and fearless in the face of very daunting problems, it‘s now.
MATTHEWS: You know, it is actually great, fellows—Norah, start here—to watch these regular people chatting with each other like regular people. You know, they‘re actually equals, it seems, Barack and Joe Biden. They‘re not, you know father/son figures or anything like that. And they‘re very modern, and they just chat like equals.
It‘s a very modern marriage, very equal, obviously. There‘s nothing traditional about it. It‘s very hip. And to watch them behave, it‘s fun to watch.
NORAH O‘DONNELL, MSNBC CHIEF WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT: Well, they‘re not royalty. And even though the presidency comes with some of the trappings of royalty, they‘re not royalty.
And following up on Mark‘s point about being fearless, there was something I underlined in Barack Obama‘s inaugural address when he said, “This has been a nation of risk-takers, the doers, the makers of things. Some celebrated, but more often men and women obscure in their labor who have carried us up the long, rugged path toward prosperity and freedom.”
MATTHEWS: We have people with lawnmowers here or something. I don‘t know what they‘re doing here with lawnmowers.
Go ahead. I‘m sorry. It‘s a little addictive. Go ahead. I‘m sorry.
O‘DONNELL: Those are the doers. Those are the doers.
MATTHEWS: They‘re cutting the lawn. Do you cut your own lawn is the question for America—I‘m sorry.
O‘DONNELL: But his point that in “... reaffirming the greatness of our nation, we understand that greatness is never a given. It must be earned.”
This message, too, from Obama today that it has to be earned, not given, that there is a hard road ahead. That people are going to have to suffer still a bit until it gets better.
MATTHEWS: Well, we‘re going to see how that goes over with America.
Because the festivity is one thing, the pain is another.
I go back to this wonderful—I guess Jill, Dr. Biden, has had enough of this scene. She has taken a powder here.
The three of them are still standing up here enjoying every moment of this thing. And of course, they‘ve got 10 -- as Norah points out, 10 balls to go to tonight. This guy has got an energy challenge ahead of him.
But by the way, we‘re watching Pennsylvania Avenue as its been all these years. It‘s a beautiful thing.
The great thing about Washington, Shuster, and Pat and Mark and Norah, I welcome every American watching right now, come to your capital sometime soon. It‘s all free.
If you can get a hotel room, everything else is free. The Smithsonian, the Capitol, the White House, all the museums, all the art museums, the archives, the National History Museum, Mt. Vernon, everything is absolutely free. It‘s the only place—and by the way, you paid for it, it‘s not exactly free. You paid for every nickel of it.
But if you paid for it, you ought to come to your capital. It‘s all here for you.
I hope I‘ve encouraged a few vacations, maybe less expensive vacations here right now.
SHUSTER: Well, I mean, I think one of the persons who is probably happiest today is Mayor Adrian Fenty. I mean, most of these people who came today, Chris, I got the sense—not most of them, but a lot of them had never been to Washington before.
SHUSTER: They had never involved in the political process, they never really felt like they had a reason to come to Washington. And I mean, for them, Washington has always stood for division and political divide and things that don‘t work. This may be the first time in their lives for so many of them that they actually can celebrate something in Washington.
MATTHEWS: You know, the Air and Space Museum, even the Holocaust Museum, as much as it seems odd, is one of the most educational, in a very graphic and tragic way, museums you‘re ever likely to visit. It‘s right near here, it‘s state of the art.
But there we are. We‘re watching the White House, of course, the backdrop there. And, of course, the parade moving past the reviewing stand, which will be gone in a couple of days.
But what will remain, Mark Whitaker, is the new president. The importance of his office, could you delineate a bit? I‘ve been trying to get at it, Mark, and as a former editor of a major magazine, “Newsweek,” you may be able to draw a distinction.
The role of the president, he‘s got three or four hats to wear. He will be our commander in chief, our military portion. In fact, he is already. He does carry the football which can start a nuclear war and fight one.
He is also head of the executive branch as chief executive. He‘s also chief of state, or head of state.
He is the symbol of our country the way a king is. It is amazing how many hats he wears right now.
WHITAKER: And mood is going to matter. I think the tone he sets in Washington is going to be very important.
He‘s already being compared to JFK and the Camelot era, but, you know, we‘ve got to remember that the early years of JFK in terms of events and his handling of events was very rocky. You had the Bay of Pigs, you had the Cuban Missile Crisis, you had Vietnam, the beginnings of our entanglement in Vietnam. And yet, what carried him through with the public during that period was the—that America fell in love with him and his family, their charm, their image, and so forth.
So among the many things that the Obamas have going for them, that is something that they are going to need, I think, to keep people positive as he grapples with these very serious problems domestically and overseas.
MATTHEWS: Pat, the role of president, the head of state role, talk about that, if you might, the role of a democratic monarch in a way.
BUCHANAN: Right. Chris, the president of the United States combines the role of monarch, the queen of England, with the prime minister as well. And what a president does and what his staff should do is repeatedly return him to this role of the unifying monarch.
When he goes abroad, he represents the United States of America in
order that you gain money in the bank, if you will, for your role as prime
minister, where you have policies clearly that the loyal opposition opposes
and you strengthen your forces to drive through your policies. Clearly,
the one president who combined the most, I think, in my lifetime certainly
well, FDR certainly did—but I think was Ronald Reagan.
He was just terrific representing America abroad. You were proud to see him standing up there were foreign leaders.
He had wit and dash, as did John F. Kennedy. And when Reagan came home with that, of course, he said, now, we‘ve got this unpopular program for contra aid or MX missile or tax cuts. And you use that cash you‘ve built up as the monarch to succeed as prime minister.
And the best of presidents, you know, they‘re head of party, they‘re head of—as you mentioned, they‘re head of the executive branch. They‘re a prime minister, they‘re a monarch. They try to succeed in all those roles. And you can break those roles down and see, frankly, where I think FDR and Reagan pretty much succeed in all of those roles.
MATTHEWS: We just saw the Massachusetts 54th, which I believe is the unit, the outfit that, of course, was glorified, and appropriately so, in the movie “Glory.”
Anyway, thanks, Mark Whitaker.
Thank you, Pat Buchanan.
David Shuster and Norah O‘Donnell are staying with us tonight as we continue our coverage of everything tonight. This extraordinary day still being played out in color as we go from the parade, at some point tonight, about halfway through it right now, to the balls.
We‘re going to cover everything tonight. And a lot more politics coming tonight as we begin to look at what this all portends.
We‘re going to talk to some of the people who traveled, by the way, a great distance to get here today. Two million people stood on the Washington Mall today in frigid weather to watch history.
HARDBALL‘s live coverage continues after this.
MATTHEWS: We‘re back watching the reviewing stand, of course, with our new president and vice president reviewing the troops. Well, they are troops, actually, right there.
Welcome back to HARDBALL.
Joining me right now is U.S. Congressman Artur Davis. He‘s a Democrat from Alabama and an honorary co-chair of President Obama‘s inauguration.
Steve Hildebrand, sitting right next to me, he‘s the deputy national campaign manager for President Obama.
Let me start with the congressman.
Today‘s event, the historic meaning of this today, what happened, what matters coming out of today, this history as we live it?
REP. ARTUR DAVIS (D), ALABAMA: Chris, as someone who‘s from the South, this is a remarkable validation of the American spirit today. I was thinking about older African-Americans who fought for their country in World War II, Korea, Vietnam, who served their country valiantly, came back home to a country that in some cases literally sent them to the back of the bus, and certainly sent them to second-class status in American life.
They love their country anyway. They fought for their country anyway. And so many of the dreams and ideals they had for their country were validated today.
MATTHEWS: Steve Hildebrand, how do you—how do you take today‘s inauguration parade and everything that goes with today and have it mean something a year from now, 10 years from now?
STEVE HILDEBRAND, DEP. NATIONAL CAMPAIGN MANGER FOR PRESIDENT OBAMA:
Well, I think, you know, we‘ve got a lot of work to do and a lot to prove, and a lot of problems to solve. And I think what we saw today and heard today was a very serious guy, knowing the seriousness of the office that he‘s going after, or coming into.
MATTHEWS: He‘s in it, buddy.
HILDEBRAND: He‘s in it.
MATTHEWS: You‘re there. You won. It‘s over, you won. He had the inauguration today.
HILDEBRAND: And the serious problems that we face in this country. And, you know, we‘ve got a lot of—a lot to prove. We‘ve got a lot of work to do.
But I think his call to the American people to say, we‘re in this together, we‘ve got to do this together, we succeed or fail together, and he‘s going to constantly call on the American people to help pass his agenda in Congress, to solve problems out in America, to get involved in your communities, to, you know—it really was a call to service in a lot of ways, Chris. And I think that‘s the kind of president he‘s going to be for the next four or eight years.
MATTHEWS: Let me ask an ethnic question to Congressman Davis.
How does this change black politics in America? Does this open the door, at least theoretically, to going statewide for a lot of people? Not to simply be limited to the aspirations of a politician representing a constituency, but does this open the door to—I mean, I still know the odds, but does it open more people to perhaps taking a chance on a statewide race who are black?
DAVIS: Well, Chris, two things. First of all, if Barack Obama governs well—and I have no doubt whatsoever that he will—if he governs from the center, a lot of white Americans are going to see his excellence in the White House, they‘re going to see his skill on display every day. And yes, that inevitably will make it easier for them to consider voting for someone of color.
The second lesson of Barack Obama as far as black candidates go is, if you‘re a black candidate in most states, whether it‘s myself in Alabama, or Steve‘s client, Kendrick Meek, in Florida, the Democratic Party establishment is almost going to say, you don‘t need to be the one who runs. You‘re black, you‘re the less electable of the alternative candidates that we have.
You know what? All that was said about Barack Obama, even when he ran for the Senate in Illinois, much less when he ran for the presidency. I hope that he will galvanize some people to say that local political establishments aren‘t the best judge of who‘s the most electable candidates.
MATTHEWS: OK. Let me go back to Steve Hildebrand.
Let me ask you, how do you activate—you know, everybody knows who covers politics that this has been a really participatory campaign. A lot of people that never worked in politics were out there going door to door, a lot of people were involved online in the new politics of voter financing, of election financing, and voter organization, and the whole thing.
How‘s that going to continue now that you‘ve won?
HILDEBRAND: Well, several million of them showed up today to experience this phenomenon and, you know, people didn‘t just work in the campaign to win the election. They worked in the campaign to change America.
And I think people really understand that November 4th was a date that was pretty important. January 20th is important, but the next four years is what matters. And people want to solve these problems.
They‘re scared. People have lost serious amounts of income, pre-retirees are devastated in the stock market. The housing, the job losses, you know, people are scared. People in my home community of Sioux Falls, South Dakota, are scared about the future, and that‘s all over the country.
I don‘t think it‘s going to be hard to keep people involved, and I think people are going to keep Democrats and Republicans in Washington accountable for solving these problems. They‘re tired of it.
And I‘ve got to make this comment about your question to Congressman Davis, because I don‘t believe that the American people are looking at the same profile of politician that they‘ve always looked for. If we‘re going to look for a bunch of middle-aged white men, a lot of American people look at the middle-aged white men who sit in Congress, and women, and believe that they‘re part of this big mess that they‘ve created. They‘re not the only part, but they‘re a part of it. And so I think that Barack‘s success in predominantly white states is just the start.
The mayor of my hometown in Mitchell, South Dakota, probably five other African-American in this small town of 14,000. African-American for 14 years. He‘s no longer with us, but I think you see that all over the place, Chris.
You see it in legislative races, in mayors. You know, you see it in a lot of congressional districts.
So I think that the color of skin, the gender of a person, is not going to be the first thing that people look for. They‘re going to look for somebody who‘s going to pay attention to the real problems that we face and whether or not they‘re going to get their hands dirty when they get to Washington and make bold choices.
MATTHEWS: OK. We‘ll be right back.
Thank you, Congressman Artur Davis.
Thank you, Steve Hildebrand.
You‘re watching HARDBALL‘s live coverage of the inauguration, and the celebration thereafter of the 44th president of the United States, Barack Obama.
We‘re watching all the history. We‘re also watching the pageantry and the promise that Steve Hildebrand laid out for the future.
We‘ll be right back.
MATTHEWS: Well, there they are. Look at them, former president George W. Bush and Laura Bush down in Midland, Texas, where they met and had their first date, saying hello and thanking people for receiving them so well down there tonight.
We will get back if we get something fascinating from them. We‘re going to come back and cover it.
We‘re right back now on the Mall.
Well, let‘s listen a bit. Go ahead. Let‘s do them a favor.
(JOINED IN PROGRESS)
GEORGE W. BUSH, FMR. PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: And I am thankful that I had the honor of being the president of the United States for eight years.
I would like to thank the governor and the attorney general for joining us today, and all the state officials.
I thank Representative Tom Craddick for joining us, and Nadine.
I thank the mighty congressman from this district, Michael Conaway, for flying down from Washington.
I thank my friend, the Gatlin Boys, west Texas raised.
Rodney Adkins (ph), I appreciate Rodney coming.
MATTHEWS: OK, that‘s the president, the former president.
We‘re going to get back to him if he gets to something substantive. And he may well in the next couple of minutes. But in the meantime, we‘re going to go back to the Mall.
We‘re on the Washington Mall right now in our special setup, our pavilion here.
And with me now is strategist Bob Shrum, who was also a speechwriter, of course, for Ted Kennedy. And Lawrence O‘Donnell, famed screenwriter, also former chief of staff to the Senate Finance Committee and MSNBC political analyst.
Lawrence, you‘re my hero.
LAWRENCE O‘DONNELL, MSNBC POLITICAL ANALYST: Hi, Chris.
MATTHEWS: You do everything I want to do. You write speeches, you think big about politics. And you write television shows like “The West Wing.”
And I was thinking of you the other day when we look to the future
when Jimmy Smits, who wins the presidential election—his character does
in “West Wing,” and he offers the secretary of state job to the person he beats, Alan Alda‘s character. And I was thinking, do you think that inspired Barack Obama to give the job to Hillary Clinton?
L. O‘DONNELL: You know, Chris, I think the one guy in American politics who did not need any inspiration from “The West Wing” seems to be Barack Obama. He seems to have a natural inclination to these kinds of moves, Chris. There were many, many parallels and many articles written over the course of this campaign about the parallels between the “West Wing” and the campaign we ran there prior to this presidential election. I really think Barack Obama does his own thinking. I hope he saw a few episodes of the show.
I‘ve got to say, he‘s way ahead of anything we could have written on that show. Way ahead of the best we could have imagined.
MATTHEWS: You know, it‘s amazing, today, to see the small role played by the people that don‘t win, Bob Shrum. The Clintons made an appearance, today, but really it‘s not their day in any really significant way, I—
Hillary Clinton and Bill have not been invited to the reviewing stand. They‘re not part of the festivities tonight as far as I know. It is amazing that there‘s no—you don‘t come in second in this business really, do you?
SHRUM: Well, except that I think Hillary Clinton has gotten a second lease on public power, public light, public prominence in this new administration and new generation by becoming secretary of state. What did strike me today, with respect to the Clintons, was that the speech was not only a charter for generational change from Bush, it was also a charter for generational change from Bill Clinton, who in 1996 told us the era of big government is over.
Today, Barack Obama said those old arguments don‘t matter. It‘s not whether the government is big or whether it‘s small, it‘s whether it works. Now Clinton was trapped in a Republican era, a Democrat president-elect with 42 percent, 43 percent of the vote.
I think we‘re in a new era. Obama announced that today in his speech where I thought a lot of the phases were cut with a diamond.
MATTHEWS: I‘m watching, of course, as we all are—I hope you can see this, Lawrence, the amazingly brilliant band. Look at this sharp band coming out of Ohio State, Columbus, Ohio. The president‘s reviewing them right now. Your sense, now, of our new head of state, Lawrence O‘Donnell, in his role as head of state.
O‘DONNELL: Look, he‘s writing the most interesting first chapter of a presidential memoir I think we will ever read, Chris. This is the best writer to take this office in a very long time. He‘s taking this office at one of the most complex situational moments in our history. And I can‘t wait.
I was thinking of it this morning, watching him get into that car. I just can‘t wait for him to tell us in autobiographical form what this has been like and what it‘s been like stepping up to this job. It‘s the first time I‘ve seen someone do this where I really have no sense of—he doesn‘t feel predictable to me. It doesn‘t feel like, oh, this is what his next move is. This is the way he‘ll handle that. This is the way he‘ll handle that.
He‘s teaching me moves, Chris, when I‘m watching him do this.
MATTHEWS: You know, the great thing—by the way, that‘s the OSU band. Do you have a thought on this band? You seem to be focused on it.
SHUSTER: The OSU Buckeye Band. They‘re from Columbus, Ohio. Columbus is a crucial part of Ohio for Barack Obama‘s victory. The Ohio State band is actually pretty well known, at least in Big Ten circles, because they form this Ohio script at Buckeye games. And the senior tuba player gets to dot the I on Ohio.
MATTHEWS: Going back, I want to ask you about the writing ability, Shrum. Bob Shrum and Lawrence both great writers. I was looking at that great new book by “Newsweek,” Evan Thomas penned it. He quotes the writings of Barack Obama where he talks about being a United States senator. Both use have worked there.
He talks about being in the Senate chamber and looking around and imagining Hubert Humphrey there and Paul Douglas, the great senator from Illinois, and imagining Joe McCarthy over in the corner making lists of names of communists or imagined communists. He imagines Daniel Webster. He goes over to his desk and imagines what it is like to be Daniel Webster.
He is an imaginative guy. You‘re right. Let‘s go back to Shrum on this one, Bob, imagine his imagination as he‘s thinking, hey, I‘m just one of many presidents who have sat here in this reviewing stand.
SHRUM: You know, I think he isn‘t just one of many. You‘ve been talking about the parade. I really enjoyed it and enjoyed your conversation about it. And I thought of something that happened in 1960. And it was the Naval Academy that was marching by and JFK looked out, because he‘d been in the Navy, and he noticed something. When he got into the White House, we called the commandant of the Naval Academy and he said, why are there no black cadets, no black midshipmen?
He was told there wasn‘t anybody who was qualified to get in. Well, today, 48 years later, there‘s somebody who is qualified to review the parade as president of the United States. It gives me a lot of faith in America.
O‘DONNELL: Chris, another item—
MATTHEWS: Lawrence, the imagination of our new president as he thinks and imagines and experiences all this as a writer. I mean, he‘ll write about this someday, what he‘s doing right now.
O‘DONNELL: He has the writerly mind and he has that writerly set of observations. That‘s the—when you send a writer into the Senate chamber, that is what they‘re going to think about, Daniel Webster, all those predecessors.
I just want to add one more anecdote about that 1960 inauguration march up Pennsylvania Avenue that should be of interest to viewers tonight and the way Pennsylvania Avenue looks now. Another thing that happened at the end of that inaugural march is that JFK said, President Kennedy said, why does Pennsylvania Avenue look so bad? One of his young aides, Daniel Patrick Moynihan, got to work on the case and made it a lifetime commitment to improve Pennsylvania Avenue, which he did.
His last address, himself, in Washington was on Pennsylvania Avenue. It‘s a really, as you know, Chris—there has been an incredible change over the last few decades into what Pennsylvania Avenue is now. It is really a beautiful place for a national parade.
MATTHEWS: It‘s now our Champs Elysee. It‘s our great national parade route. It‘s also our great avenue. You‘re right. It used to be nothing but waffle shops and fire cracker stores. It was an embarrassment. It was honky-tonk. You had to sort avert your glance as you watch the presidential inaugural parade.
Thank you for that bit of history from Lawrence O‘Donnell and Bob Shrum as well. Thank you, gentlemen, as always.
When we return, we‘re going to continue to watch the inaugural parade with the Obamas. There‘s Michelle Obama. Hand over her chest saluting the passing of midshipmen. This is HARDBALL‘s coverage of the inauguration of President Barack Obama on MSNBC.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
OBAMA: With hope and virtue, let us brave once more the icy currents and endure what storms may come. Let it said by our children‘s children that when we were tested, we refused to let this journey end, that we did not turn back, nor did we falter. With eyes fixed on the horizon and god‘s grace upon us, we carried forth that great gift of freedom and delivered it safely to future generations.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: Welcome back to HARDBALL‘s special coverage of the inauguration of Barack Obama as our 44th president. Right now with me is Bill Press, who is a nationally syndicated radio host, and MSNBC political analyst Michelle Bernard, who is also president of the Independent Women‘s Forum.
I want to break to my colleague, Norah. This may not be Alfred Hitchcock for everybody. It‘s an interesting question of suspense. What‘s Michelle Obama going to wear at the balls?
NORAH O‘DONNELL, MSNBC ANCHOR: Well, we‘re mixing the serious and the pomp that goes on a day like today. I‘m told by Savannah Guthrie, who covers the White House, that Michelle Obama has apparently still not picked out what dress she is going to wear tonight. Of course, the parade is running late. It is 6:41. They have to be at their first parade by 8:30. They‘re going until 3:00 in the morning.
They have not had dinner yet. There‘s a lot still that the Obamas have to do. Yet, the parade, you know, still continues on. It‘s remarkable that all this has to happen tonight and he has to get up early tomorrow morning to meet with his national security team.
MATTHEWS: You know, it‘s usual that they make a decision weeks ahead of time. It‘s a big designer, and it‘s big deal. They usually do write ups on it before it occurs and it‘s a big rollout. You‘re telling me there‘s an assortment of expensive designer gowns lying on her bed. She‘s going to pick one out?
O‘DONNELL: According to her staff, she still has not decided. They are want to communicate the message that she has had other important things to do than spend time picking out what dress to wear.
MATTHEWS: I want to bring in Bill Press on that answer.
BILL PRESS, RADIO TALK SHOW HOST: Easy for the guy. You just put the black tie on, right?
MATTHEWS: The charcoal or the Navy. That‘s the big decision we all have to make. Mr. Press, I haven‘t heard you lately. You have Democratic credentials, oftentimes mentioned by yourself. This event, a Democratic president replacing a Republican president after eight years. Is it anything more than the usual changing of the guard here, You know, flipping eight years Democrats, flipping eight years Republican? Is it just flipping the pillow over to get to the cold side? Is that all this is?
PRESS: I think it‘s a lot more than this time for a couple of reasons, Chris. Number one, I mean, major, major change in policy. You go from a president who is pursuing an unnecessary war to a president who has vowed to end it. I thought it was incredibly unusual and courageous of Obama to mention those differences right at the top of the speech today.
The president basically ignored universal health care to a president who is going to deliver on it. A president who denied global warming to a president who said he‘s going to take the lead in trying to end it. That‘s the first big difference.
The second difference is the inauguration of the first African-American president of the United States. Chris, growing up not so far from you, on the banks of the Delaware River, in a segregated small town, I never thought in my lifetime I‘d see the day when an African-American would stand up on the steps of that Capitol and take the oath of office.
MATTHEWS: In all truth, I didn‘t see this fellow coming until four years ago. He came out of nowhere in many ways. It wasn‘t like he had a long political career that led to this.
PRESS: If anybody, I think, represents the American story, it‘s Barack Obama. I mean, the son of an immigrant, the son of a mixed racial marriage. You know how—those days, most Americans couldn‘t even tolerate the idea of that.
MATTHEWS: Well, in my day—my parents said a mixed marriage is when one of us married a Protestant.
MATTHEWS: That was big enough for us to talk about.
PRESS: They didn‘t like that either, right?
MATTHEWS: It was a matter of discussion. Without going further, because my parents were like that stuff. We have Protestant and Catholics starting off too. They got together on the RC side of that aisle. Let me go to Michelle Obama and the interesting thing about our—Michelle Bernard—we couldn‘t get Michelle Obama right now. We‘re going to go with Michelle Bernard. You‘re standing—
MICHELLE BERNARD, MSNBC POLITICAL ANALYST: That‘s a good one, Chris.
MATTHEWS: I made that mistake last night. I can only get one Michelle in my head at the same time. I used to do that with Clarence Thomas and Clarence Page to my—if I had embarrassment, that would be my embarrassment. Let me ask you about this wonderful thing about our political process which comes to me. We don‘t have a traditional parliamentary system where you work your way up the system. You go from education minister to work your way up to foreign minister, then defense minister, then you‘re finally a prime minister.
In this country, you come out of nowhere. You beat Allen Keyes for a Senate seat in Illinois. Next thing you know, you‘ve got a good shot at the presidency. Next thing you know you‘re the nominee. Next thing you know you‘re the president. It all happens in four years. Out of nowhere this guy cane. When did you first hear about Barack Obama? 2004?
BERNARD: At the 2004 Democratic convention. I watched that speech that he gave. I was completely awe struck, jaw dropped. Who is this man? What kind of a name is Barack? What an incredible gift he had for speaking. It was not just his oratorical skills, but the way he was able to deliver a speech that from day one reached out to the right, reached out to the left, reached out to centrists, to blacks, to whites, to women, to children.
I had never seen anything like it. I knew that he would be a force to be reckoned with.
MATTHEWS: Well, as I‘ve shown the tape, I did predict he would be our first black president that night when I heard it.
BERNARD: A completely different new—sorry to interrupt. I was going to say, important to note, a very new and different type of black politics that we see in Barack Obama. He did not come out of the church as we‘ve known leaders like Martin Luther King to do. He did not, you know, march on the streets of Selma. A lot of people thought that when we saw our first African-American president, it would be someone like John Lewis or someone, you know, from that era.
We‘ve seen in Barack Obama, in a lot of the new mayors, black mayors that we‘re seeing across the country as well, a very different type of black leadership. They look at issues differently, reach out to women, reach out to blacks, reach out to whites. Look at issues like education very differently than what we saw in traditional black civil rights leadership.
It‘s literally as if Barack Obama stands on the shoulders of so many of the great civil rights leaders that came before him. But it‘s a very, very different generation. We see a huge generational divide I think in terms of his rhetoric and the way he will govern the country.
MATTHEWS: OK. We‘re back. We‘re watching Michelle Bernard doing the brand new windshield wiper wave, which has become very popular. Michelle Obama.
BERNARD: That was Michelle Obama, Chris.
MATTHEWS: OK. You know what, I‘m getting a little punchy here. Michelle Bernard is with me. Michelle Obama is on the stage there waving at the crowd as they go by. I also saw somebody doing the Monkey as they were dancing by there. A dance from my era. Thank you Bill Press. Thank you Michelle Bernard.
The parade is winding down. Actually, it‘s about two-thirds of the way through. But the night is young. We‘ll be reporting from all the events from Washington tonight. We‘re still out here on the national mall. This is HARDBALL‘s coverage of the inauguration. What a history day it was, history in the making, the inauguration of Barack Obama.
MATTHEWS: Welcome back to HARDBALL. We‘re watching right now the dozens of parade bands going by. We‘re about to reach the end of the parade here. The inauguration parade is coming to an end. In a minute now, the president and first lady are going to be leaving. Are you used to that yet? The president and first lady, Barack Obama and Michelle Obama.
There‘s an interesting float going by. That‘s a NASA float.
Obviously, that‘s one of our space vehicles on wheels as it goes by.
They‘re going to be leaving right now.
This has been a very quick parade. It started a bit late. They obviously zipped it up a bit. It had all the color of American history. I‘ve said before, today, this parade could have been done for Herbert Hoover. This is a very traditional parade, complete with cowboys and Indians in full regalia and head dresses and horses. All kinds of stuff, very American.
Now we have the state of the art space program on display. Actually, looks like we‘re going to have something of an event. Extra terrestrial event here. Look at this. It does look like the moon. He‘s planting the flag on Pennsylvania Avenue. Obviously, simulating a space shot.
I want to go to David Shuster. There are so many stories from this inauguration day. Many of them belong to the people who traveled so far to get to Washington from all across this great country. Two of the people were Sonny and Beverly Young, who came to D.C. from Springfield, Ohio.
SHUSTER: Chris, the reason I wanted you to meet them is that of all the stories I‘ve heard out of this past year from the campaign and related to this event as people came from so far was theirs. Sonny and Beverly Young, they organized in Springfield, Ohio for Barack Obama, out of their barber shop and beauty salon, when the Obama campaign wasn‘t there yet.
They got 500 people to vote. They came here, like so many people, without inauguration tickets. They just sort of showed up. And I just wanted you to meet them. They‘re the most interesting people I‘ve met this past year related to this entire election.
MATTHEWS: Tell us about yourselves. You first, Beverly.
BEVERLY YOUNG, OBAMA SUPPORTER: I just want to let you know it is such an honor and privilege to be here to represent Springfield and represent the people that worked so hard for Obama.
SHUSTER: Explain what you did with your beauty salon.
B. YOUNG: We needed a place. I have a spot in the back of the barber shop, Hers and His Beauty and Barber Salon in Springfield. I have a shot. We cleaned it out, organized it, put up posters all in the back of Obama. And we set up tables and we invited everybody in to use this space to organize, to start our committee organizing to get Obama elected.
SHUSTER: And in the barber shop, Sonny, it became a central meeting place. People would get their haircut. They would register to vote. They would watch the campaign unfold on television from the barber shop?
SONNY YOUNG, OBAMA SUPPORTER: That was the focal point of our whole setup there. When people came in, we would talk to them about getting registered to vote. It‘s traditional in a lot of barber shops and beauty salons, that‘s what you talk about, especially with this election going on.
And so we kept looking around the town and we couldn‘t find anything with Obama‘s name really on it. And so we and several other, about five or six other people—we decided that we would go find an Obama headquarters. We went to our Capitol in Springfield.
MATTHEWS: What do you make of that picture, Sonny and Beverly? There is the president and the first lady walking into their new home. They‘ve been there before. We‘re going home, going upstairs now.
B. YOUNG: They‘re representing everybody. They are representing everybody. What we saw with the organizers that we worked with, they love them. They love her.
SHUSTER: Sunny, I know you‘re battling some health issues. A lot of folks told you not to make this trip. I heard through my wife that you regretted not going to see Martin Luther King in 1968. You vowed because of that you were not going to miss this no matter what?
S. YOUNG: I was 17 years old when the March on Washington came and I wanted to come but I couldn‘t because I had school things I had to do for pre-testing for school as a senior. I didn‘t get to come. I was very disappointed. In some great way, I knew that this would make up for it 45 years later.
MATTHEWS: OK. Sonny, congratulations on your success. Mission accomplished.
B. YOUNG: Thank you.
MATTHEWS: Thank you. We‘re going to come right back. I want to thank both Sonny and Beverly for coming here. We‘re staying here for another hour of HARDBALL. We have a regular show coming up of HARDBALL, with the usual political smack down coming on this inaugural day. We‘re going to show you political—well, some argument coming up here. Stay with us. We‘ll be right back with a real HARDBALL show.
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