CAMPBELL BROWN: NO BIAS, NO BULL
Barack Obama’s Inauguration
Aired January 20, 2009 – 19:00 ET
One of the Obamas’ first stops tonight is at the national building home of the commander in chief ball. Vice president and Mrs. Biden are expected there in just a few moments. Our Randi Kaye is there already.
Randi, this is really the most formal event of the night, isn’t it?
RANDI KAYE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: It absolutely is, Campbell. It’s a wonderful event. It started back in 2005. It was started by President Bush and it’s really to honor the members of the armed services, the military troops, the spouses of deployed soldiers are here, the spouses of former soldiers are here. It’s a free ball for the military troops. About 2,000 troops are expected here. President Obama is expected to speak here just before 10:00 tonight and that will actually be broadcast on the Pentagon channel to all of the military bases overseas.
Now, I did speak to some of the family members here. About 300 family members, Campbell, who are at this event tonight, have lost loved ones. And even given that, there is a great sense of hope here, which is truly remarkable. There’s a hope, there’s camaraderie among this group. It’s really a special night for the troops and their spouses, because they don’t often get a date night. So this is a really big deal for them.
They’re honored to be here. Many of them told me they’re very excited about their new commander in chief. They think he’s a great innovator. They need more attention focused on them and they think he’s going to deliver.
And the most important thing one told me was that it feels like Veterans Day. This is what Veterans Day should feel like, he said. This is why they serve, they serve for the freedom to vote, and that’s what they did.
BROWN: Randi, I hear there’s quite a special treat at the ball tonight. What’s it all about?
KAYE: Actually, it’s coming all the way from Obama’s home state of Illinois. It’s a giant cheesecake from Eli’s Cheesecake, which is a great dessert maker there. 500-pound cheesecake, Campbell, it’s three tiers, red, white, and blue with a chocolate inaugural seal on it. It was going to be filled with apples, because Lincoln — Abraham Lincoln was a big fan of apples, and as you know, there’s been a real Lincoln theme in Obama’s inauguration. So it will be filled with apples. And just to give you an idea, 100 pounds of cream cheese is what it took to make that cheesecake.
BROWN: OK. Sounds fabulous. Randi Kaye for us tonight. We’ll be checking in with you again a little bit later.