Obama’s Nuclear ‘Football’ Briefing

By Jennifer Parker

Jan 20, 2009 7:30am

Right now the president-elect is in Blair House getting ready for the inauguration.

It’s astonishing to see the energy of all the people on the National Mall who are going to share in the public rituals of the transfer of power today.

But some time in the next hour, Barack Obama  will have a private ritual that symbolizes that change of power.

He will have his national security briefing, as he has throughout the transition.

But at the end of that briefing, the military aide that carries the briefcase with the nuclear "football" — the codes for launching any kind of a nuclear strike — will instruct the president-elect on how to do that.

That will happen before he goes to the church service at 8:25am this morning.

He won’t get the actual card to launch the strikes until after he is sworn in.

But this morning, in that final presidential briefing in the next hour or so, he will receive those codes.

The true transfer of power has begun.

–George Stephanopoulos

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