January 17th, 2009
08:51 PM ET
6 years ago

Obama to issue a call to action

A construction worker put the finishing touches on a massive version of the presidential seal Saturday as part of preparations for President-elect Obama's upcoming inauguration
A construction worker put the finishing touches on a massive version of the presidential seal Saturday as part of preparations for President-elect Obama's upcoming inauguration

WASHINGTON (CNN) - President-elect Barack Obama's inauguration speech on Tuesday will be a call to action that diagnoses what he'll call a troublesome "anything-goes" mentality in the nation, a transition source said Saturday.

The speech, which the source said currently runs about 20 minutes, will call on industries and individuals to behave responsibly, saying it was that mentality, in part, that led to the harsh economic times the nation now faces.

But he'll say that no problem is too big to be solved using the values that have always defined Americans, the source said.

It also will seek to "define the moment we're in," for Americans, with two foreign wars ongoing and a financial crisis at home.

The speech will not go into the details of Obama's agenda - keeping with the historical nature of inaugural addresses. According to the source, Obama has been working on the speech "in earnest" for the past week and will continue fine-tuning it after Saturday's train ride from Philadelphia to Washington.

January 17th, 2009
07:10 PM ET
6 years ago

Malveaux: Many - without tickets - are happy just to be here

President-elect Obama collected his daughters after detraining in Washington Saturday evening.
President-elect Obama collected his daughters after detraining in Washington Saturday evening.

WASHINGTON, AT UNION STATION (CNN) - It was quiet near the president-elect's train when it arrived, but inside Union Station, there was a lot of activity and a lot of noise from folks who knew they would not even get a chance to see him.

Watch: Obama arrives in Washington

People from all over the country and all over the world were at the station.

Asked what Obama meant to him, Terry Kinney of Georgia said it was how he will affect the future. "When I think about the Supreme Court justices that he might appoint and how it's going to affect my son," he said. "The economy is important, but when he appoints the Supreme Court justices, it's going to change my son and all of our kids' lives for over 50 years."

Eleven-year-old Grant Ibeh said Obama's presidency shows him that "my dreams can come true."

"I'm really excited of having him as our new president, and he's going to do well for this town," Grant said.

There are a lot of people in Washington who are eagerly awaiting the inauguration and happy just to be here, a lot of people who will be sleeping on cots, staying with family and staying with friends. A lot of them don't even have tickets, but they're here to share in this moment.

January 17th, 2009
06:25 PM ET
6 years ago

Crowley: The Obama Express arrives in Washington

 Michelle Obama's birthday was Saturday.  She celebrated it aboard the Amtrak train that brought the President-elect and his entourage from Philadelphia to Washington
Michelle Obama's birthday was Saturday. She celebrated it aboard the Amtrak train that brought the President-elect and his entourage from Philadelphia to Washington

ABOARD THE OBAMA EXPRESS, JUST OUTSIDE WASHINGTON (CNN) - It is pitch black as the Obama train heads to Union Station in his new hometown of Washington, D.C. Still, you can see the outlines of people standing near the rails, waving as we whiz by.

Walking through the train, I spotted Michelle Obama dancing with her girls and friends in one of the cars decorated for her 45th birthday.

We are pulling into Union Station. The day is done.

January 17th, 2009
05:10 PM ET
6 years ago

Obama to meet with military commanders Wednesday

 Members of the military participated in a recent rehearsal for Tuesday's inauguration.
Members of the military participated in a recent rehearsal for Tuesday's inauguration.

WASHINGTON (CNN) - Incoming President Barack Obama is planning to meet with top military leaders on Wednesday to discuss the war in Iraq and move to begin implementing his campaign promise of removing all combat troops within 16 months, according to two transition officials familiar with the matter.

The meeting with the Joints Chief of Staff and other top military commanders will be on Obama's first full day in office, which suggests the new President wants to send a signal to supporters that despite his heavy focus on the financial crisis he will also address Iraq early in the new administration.

In an interview with CBS' "60 Minutes" shortly after his election victory, Obama indicated he would move quickly to start implementing his plan to withdraw troops when asked when the redeployments would begin.

"Well, I've said during the campaign, and I've stuck to this commitment, that as soon as I take office, I will call in the Joint Chiefs of Staff, my national security apparatus, and we will start executing a plan that draws down our troops," Obama said. "Particularly in light of the problems that we're having in Afghanistan, which has continued to worsen. We've got to shore up those efforts."

January 17th, 2009
04:35 PM ET
6 years ago

Tears for Obama in Baltimore

President-elect Obama spoke to a crowd that numbered nearly 40,000 after his train stopped in Baltimore Saturday evening.
President-elect Obama spoke to a crowd that numbered nearly 40,000 after his train stopped in Baltimore Saturday evening.

BALTIMORE, Maryland (CNN) - You could see people crying during Obama's speech in Baltimore. Some people told us ahead of time that they would. They said they had cried out of happiness so many times during this election, and they were pretty sure they were going to be emotional seeing Barack Obama here today.

This is a rare treat for them. Maryland was firmly in Obama's column in the general election, so folks here didn't get to see him campaign a whole lot. This is one of the few times they have been able to see him in person.

January 17th, 2009
04:34 PM ET
6 years ago

Chertoff says massive security ready for inauguration

Chertoff believes this is the largest and most complex security event in history.
Chertoff believes this is the largest and most complex security event in history.

WASHINGTON (CNN) – If anything were to go seriously wrong at the inauguration of Barack Obama, Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff is the man who would manage the crisis response. He is trying to make sure everything goes right.

"I don't anticipate anything disruptive. Part of my job is to hope for the best and plan for the worst," Chertoff said during a final tour of key sites around Washington. CNN exclusively accompanied Chertoff on the tour.

Chertoff said authorities are not aware of any credible threat to the inauguration.

"We are constantly scrubbing and rescrubbing intelligence to see if there is a threat that we should be concerned about. And that is going to continue, frankly, through the inauguration itself," he said. "We are literally going to be watching this every minute between now and the conclusion of events on the 20th."

FULL POST


Filed under: Michael Chertoff
January 17th, 2009
04:20 PM ET
6 years ago

Malveaux: They have come from as far as Liberia

WASHINGTON, AT UNION STATION (CNN) - They have come here from as far as Liberia. Eager and anxious Obama fans have descended on Washington.

They are impatient to get a glimpse of the man who in just a few days will become president. While they wait, we are their biggest curiosity. There are camera lights and a table, and a TV monitor is tuned to CNN's coverage. They huddle around us, and the question is always, "When is he arriving?" As the last stop on his whistle-stop tour here at Union Station, we've had a chance to hear the stories from those who have traveled from Seattle, Miami, Atlanta and frigid Cleveland.

One man wearing a black down coat is covered in Obama buttons that blink in red lights. A proud father from Chicago hands me an 8×10 poster of Obama that he says his son, an artist, drew, of Obama's face, that also includes the flag of Kenya, Illinois and the United States.

Even though we're indoors, it's cold here, as we are sitting by a train station exit. Everyone is bundled up, from snow gear to elaborate fur. An Au Bon Pain store farther inside the station is selling specially made Obama sugar cookies, with an Obama face and a flag. There is a dish of crumpled sample pieces to entice customers. At another popular corner here, people are lined up to take their picture at a life-size cardboard placard of Obama.

Though there will be no arrival sighting here, as on the other stops on the tour, or even a chance to get a glimpse of Obama coming off the train, there is a contagious buzz about how the next 48 hours will unfold. Red, white and blue balloons decorate the entrances of several restaurants as Union Station will host a Latino inaugural gala tomorrow. A red rope line cordons off a small stage.

Outside, there are a handful of protesters wearing black shirts with white lettering that say "Arrest Bush." They say President Bush is guilty of war crimes and are calling for him to close the Guantanamo Bay prison. It's a controversy Obama has already addressed, pledging to use his executive power next week to shut down the facility.

But inside Union Station, the mood is light, even if most of the out-of-towners are shivering. Unfortunately, they'll have to wait for tomorrow to get a glimpse of the new first family when official events kick off here in Washington.

– CNN White House Producer Jamie Crawford contributed to this report

January 17th, 2009
04:00 PM ET
5 years ago

Obama: 'People who love this country can change it'

President-elect Obama waves to the crowd from the steps of Baltimore's City Hall Saturday evening.
President-elect Obama waves to the crowd from the steps of Baltimore's City Hall Saturday evening.

BALTIMORE (CNN) – President-elect Obama addressed a crowd estimated at 35,000 to 40,000 according to local officials.

In the final stop of his train tour before arriving in Washington, Obama linked the nation's history and values to the domestic and international challenges the country faces now.

Watch: It's time to take up the cause, says Obama

(Read Obama's entire prepared remarks after the jump)

FULL POST

January 17th, 2009
03:40 PM ET
6 years ago

Crowley: The Obama Express arrives in Baltimore

 Passengers detrained from the Obama Express after it arrived in Baltimore for its last stop before proceeding to Washington Saturday evening.
Passengers detrained from the Obama Express after it arrived in Baltimore for its last stop before proceeding to Washington Saturday evening.

ABOARD THE OBAMA EXPRESS (CNN) - The train is rolling into Baltimore, past some of the most economically distressed areas in the country.

Six little kids jumping up and down and waving greeted the Obama Express as it approached the city.

Much of this trip we have seen the people with the highest hopes and greatest need for a successful Obama administration.

The President-elect will speak from the steps of city hall. We're detraining and heading there now.

January 17th, 2009
03:30 PM ET
6 years ago

Obama, Biden have buttoned up support from some D.C. visitors

,
Ohio school teach Norm Huber sported a half dozen buttons as he walked along the inaugural parade route Saturday afternoon.
Ohio school teach Norm Huber sported a half dozen buttons as he walked along the inaugural parade route Saturday afternoon.

WASHINGTON (CNN) - Visitors were showing off their Obama pride outside the White House Saturday as the reveled in the anticipation of the President-elect’s impending inauguration.

School teachers Pat Hargis from Bucyrus, Ohio and Norm Huber from Crestline, Ohio showed off their best Barack Obama buttons as they perused the inaugural parade route on Pennsylvania Avenue. The teachers were in town with their colleague Carolyn Helbert to see as many of the events as they could. As for their students, they'll have to wait until February to come to Washington. Right now, "it's too crazy," said Hargis.

The inauguration won’t be the first time the three friends have crossed paths with the President-elect and the Vice President-elect. The three previously met Barack Obama and Joe Biden on the campaign trail when the two men courted voters at rally in Dublin, Ohio last year.

Helbert told Biden he had a cute smile and Biden said she had a cute smile too.

"That's Carolyn's claim to fame," Hargis said Saturday.

Not far from the three friends, a group of dancers from Washington calling themselves "Dancers for Change" was also staging what they called a "happy protest.”

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