Inauguration Nation

Dennis Brack/Bloomberg News

By MICHAEL FALCONE ( @michaelpfalcone )


  • WHAT THE INAUGURATION MEANS TO OBAMA: The Presidential Inaugural Committee released a new web video this morning in which President Obama discusses what the inauguration means to him and to the nation: "a celebration of the American people's strength and determination," he says. As ABC's Devin Dwyer reports, Obama also talks about his admiration of President Lincoln and Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., on whose bibles he will place his hand as he takes the oath of office on Monday. He also recalls the most meaningful moments from the 2009 Inaugural, including participating with his family in the National Day of Service and honoring the troops and their families at the Commander-in-Chief's Ball.
  • OBAMA CAMPAIGN MORPHS INTO NEW ORGANIZATION: "President Barack Obama's vaunted political organization is being turned into a nonprofit group - funded in part by corporate money - to mobilize support behind the president's second-term agenda," reports the Associated Press. "Democratic officials familiar with the plan said Thursday the tax-exempt organization will be called Organizing for Action and seek to harness the energy of the president's re-election campaign for future legislative fights. Officials said the group will be separate from the Democratic National Committee and advocate on key policy issues such as gun control and immigration, train future leaders and devote attention to local issues around the nation. The president's 2012 campaign manager, Jim Messina, will serve as the group's national chairman, and White House official Jon Carson is leaving the administration to become its executive director."
  • THIS WEEK ON 'THIS WEEK': As President Obama counts down to his second inauguration, White House Senior Adviser David Plouffe speaks to George Stephanopoulos Sunday, on a special inaugural edition of "This Week." Plus, the powerhouse roundtable debates President Obama's second term challenges, with ABC News' George Will and Cokie Roberts; political strategist and ABC News political analyst Matthew Dowd; former Michigan Governor Jennifer Granholm, host of Current TV's "The War Room"; and 2012 Republican presidential candidate Rick Santorum, chair of Patriot Voices. And as Washington prepares for a party, actress and Presidential Inauguration Committee co-chair Eva Longoria comes to "This Week" to discuss the weekend's inaugural celebrations. Tune in Sunday:


ABC'S RICK KLEIN: If Democrats thought President Obama was more interested in his own brand than his party's before… The decision to set up a separate entity, outside the Democratic National Committee, to house the president's political team may be the most efficient way to channel the enthusiasm that propelled him to a second term against so many odds. But that doesn't necessarily make it the most effective strategy. As Organizing for Action sets up shop - funded in part by, yes, corporate cash - remember that the man whose name provides the "O" in OFA is the one office-holder who will never be on a ballot again. The Democrats and even Republicans the presidents needs to bring along for his agenda represent parts of the country where the "O" name doesn't carry the kind of weight he wants or needs. One focus of the Democratic Party in Obama's second term will be defining the post-Obama vision; this step doesn't look likely to help that effort.

ABC's DEVIN DWYER: This weekend in Washington, 4,000 Obama campaign die-hards will huddle at the Hilton to re-imagine the grassroots political organizing network that made history in 2008 and 2012. Never before has any presidential campaign apparatus survived for so long and across so many states. Never has one had such potential influence - or an email list of 4-million strong - to bolster the agenda of a sitting president. With its Election Day turnout operation, PR war during the "fiscal cliff" fight, and now a National Day of Service orchestrated across all 50 states, "Obama for America" has proven itself a force to be reckoned with. But will its next incarnation, as a nonprofit advocacy group, be as potent? Can it make history again? Those answers could come soon enough, with the group poised to aggressively join the uphill fight for Obama's gun-control package. While passage of any gun-control legislation would itself be a feat, so too, it seems, would be the active engagement of thousands of progressives over an issue that doesn't touch their pocketbooks or hinge on the personal popularity of a man who would be president.

ABC'S SHUSHANNAH WALSHE: Alaska is the latest state to not only say it will refuse to enforce federal gun control laws, legislators there are also proposing "to charge any federal employee trying to execute one of the President's executive orders with a misdemeanor." Republican House Speaker Mike Chenault said in a statement, "Alaskans deserve the right to protect themselves how they see fit, under the law of the land duly passed by the Congress, not presidential fiat." Guns and hunting are undoubtedly part of life in the 49th state, but is it constitutional? Mark Kamin, the director of the Constitutional Rights and Remedies Program at the University of Denver Law School says no, citing the Supremacy Clause in the Constitution. "If there is a valid federal law, the federal government can enforce it in any state," Kamin said. "Some have gone further, saying they would prevent federal officials from enforcing federal law and that is patently unconstitutional."

ABC's STEVEN PORTNOY: For those keeping tabs on how far and wide the initial story of Manti Te'o and the woman who was thought to be his dead girlfriend spread, back on December 12, Rep. Colleen Hanabusa, D-Hawaii, gave a one-minute speech on the House floor praising Te'o for making his native state proud. "He is not only gifted, but a very humble young man," Hanabusa said. "But many may not know that he may not have played his senior year because he lost his girlfriend and grandmother within 4 days of each other. He did play because he promised his girlfriend that he would." Hanabusa concluded, "Manti, you have made many of us all proud, especially those of us from Hawaii." In her remarks, placed in the Congressional Record, Hanabusa noted Te'o joins President Obama as a distinguished alum of Punahou High School. (The Hill newspaper first noted the congresswoman's remarks online yesterday.)

BIDEN 2016? NOT SO FAST. Analysis from the Cook Political Report's Amy Walter: "Vice President Joe Biden is the most popular person in Washington these days. That's right, the guy who spilled the beans on gay marriage and got caught telling a big bleep*%^ing swear word on national television is now being lauded by many in the DC for being the only real grown up in town. Where President Obama and Speaker John Boehner are no longer on speaking terms, Biden is the 'McConnell whisperer.' … Biden's success at playing the inside game, however, isn't the kind of thing that voters are pining for in a presidential candidate. That is, if the Vice President is indeed thinking about running in 2016. Campaigning as an 'insider' has never been a particularly promising path to the presidency. There's a reason that most presidents in the modern era haven't been members of Congress. Those of us who work in Washington have tremendous respect for the guys (and let's face it they are mostly guys), who know how to work the system, grease the skids and get things done. And, while voters may be frustrated with the paralysis and partisanship in Washington, they don't see a creature of Washington as the solution. … More important, while the inside-the-Beltway crowd is warming to Biden, it's not at all clear that regular voters have reached the same conclusions. Biden's image make-over in Washington is not as important as the one he has to do in places like suburban Denver, Milwaukee and Columbus."

ABC NEWS ANNOUNCES SPECIAL COVERAGE OF THE INAUGURATION. ABC News will provide extensive coverage of the second Presidential Inauguration of Barack Obama on the ABC Television Network, its digital platforms including and ABC's mobile apps, Yahoo!, and radio.

-Coverage will begin on Sunday morning with a special edition of "This Week with George Stephanopoulos" where George and the powerhouse roundtable will examine the big issues confronting the President as he begins his second term.

-Minutes before noon on Sunday, Diane Sawyer and George Stephanopoulos will anchor a special report to the ABC Television Network on Sunday as the President is formally sworn in during a ceremony at the White House. On Sunday evening "World News with David Muir" will originate from Capitol Hill.

-On Monday ABC's live broadcast coverage will begin at 7:00 a.m., ET with a special two and half hour edition of "Good Morning America" co-anchored by George Stephanopoulos in Washington D.C.

-At 9:30 a.m., ET PT Diane Sawyer and George Stephanopoulos will anchor special coverage of Barack Obama's second Inauguration on the ABC Television Network from the Newseum on Pennsylvania Avenue. Coverage will include all events from the swearing-in ceremony and Obama's Inaugural Address to the Inaugural Procession as well as reaction from around the nation. Plus, Sawyer and Stephanopoulos will speak former Secretary of State Colin Powell. Sawyer and Stephanopoulos will be joined by a team of ABC News anchors, correspondents, and analysts.

-Coverage will continue on Monday evening with a special edition of "World News with Diane Sawyer" from the Newseum at 6:30 p.m., ET. A special edition of "Nightline" will look back on the events of the day and will take viewers inside the Inaugural Balls. "Nightline" airs at 12:35 a.m., ET.

-ABC News Digital and Yahoo! News will jointly produce live-streamed coverage of the 2013 Presidential Inauguration kicking off on Sunday with a special report on the President's official oath of office at 11:55 a.m., ET followed by continuous coverage on Monday from 9:30a.m. - 5:00p.m. ET. Coverage will be anchored by ABC News' Dan Harris along with Yahoo! News reporter Olivier Knox. Evening coverage will continue with a live feed from both inaugural balls. ABC News and Yahoo! News will also stream a special post-inaugural show "After: The Second Inauguration of President Barack Obama" on Tuesday at 10:00a.m.ET, anchored by ABC News' Dan Kloeffler and Yahoo! News' Phoebe Connelly.

-ABC News Radio will provide one-minute Presidential Inauguration status reports starting at 5:30 a.m., ET on Sunday. Aaron Katersky will anchor a live one-hour report at 11:00 a.m., ET as the President is formally sworn in at the White House on Sunday. On Monday ABC News Radio will provide live coverage of the inaugural ceremony anchored by Aaron Katersky between 11:00 a.m. and 1:00 p.m., ET. ABC News Radio's team of correspondents including Ann Compton, Vic Ratner, Steven Portnoy and Andy Field will contribute on-the-ground-reporting and analysis of the Inaugural ceremony and parade; Sam Donaldson will report on the swearing-in of Barack Obama from the steps of Capitol Hill; and Trey Hardin and Steve Roberts will provide insight from ABC News Headquarters in Washington, D.C.

EXCLUSIVE: MARTHA RADDATZ INTERVIEWS LEON PANETTA ON ALGERIA. In the latest installment of ABC/Yahoo! video series "On the Radar," Defense Secretary Leon Panetta tells ABC's Martha Raddatz that motivations are unclear for the al-Qaeda-related group that has taken hostages in Algeria and called called for a multilateral approach to terrorist groups in the North African region. "The best way to address that is with the international community working with African nations to determine exactly, you know, where is AQIM located, where are the targets of opportunity and how can we address those targets together," Panetta told On the Radar. WATCH:

PANETTA ON BEING PLAYED BY GANDOLFINI: 'THANK GOD IT WAS AN ITALIAN.' More from Martha Raddatz's "On the Radar" interview: On being played by James Gandolfini in the new film "Zero Dark Thirty," Panetta said, "Well, you know, thank God it was an Italian. That's probably the best I can tell you. … I like him, I like him as an actor. I've met him before. And- he did a great job in the movie."

BOTTOM LINE: HOW WILL OBAMA'S GUN PROPOSALS WORK? In the latest installment of ABC/Yahoo! videio series "Bottom Line," ABC's George Stephanopoulos breaks down the new gun-control proposals offered up by President Obama and says that his executive orders almost certainly won't violate Second Amendment rights. WATCH:


-WHAT WILL SASHA AND MALIA WEAR? In the latest installment of "Politically Dressed," ABC's Shushannah Walshe went to Saks Fifth Avenue and spoke with political fashion expert Lauren Rothman about the first daughters' possible fashion choices for Inauguration Day, recommending full skirts, tweed, and maybe some neon. WATCH:

-LINCOLN'S BIBLE TO GET MORE HISTORIC. ABC's Arlette Saenz reports: When President Obama is sworn in for a second term on Monday, he will use two historic bibles - one belonging to Martin Luther King Jr. and the other used by only one other president - Abraham Lincoln. "It's such an iconic moment for Lincoln and this is a hotly contested campaign," said Mark Dimunation, chief of the Rare Books and Special Collections division at the Library of Congress. "It, in that way, kind of has a rise to the presidency that President Obama had - this kind of: From the fields of Illinois emerges this profound president. It's always been an object that's heavily identified with Lincoln," Dimunation said, "but now, [it] certainly has the electricity of two centuries worth of presidencies."

- GREEN BALL FEATURES SECRETARIES CHU, VILSACK, SOLIS, LAHOOD AND BILL NYE, THE SCIENCE GUY. Attendees at the Green Inaugural Ball this Sunday night will include Secretary of Energy Steve Chu; U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood ; Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack; Secretary of Labor Hilda Solis ; Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus; Governor Elect Pat Quinn (IL); Senators Tammy Baldwin (Wisc.), Maria Cantwell (Wash.), Angus King (Maine), Bernie Sanders (Vermont) , Sheldon Whitehouse (R.I.); and Representatives Ed Markey (Mass.), Bennie Thompson (Miss.). Television legend and American science educator Bill Nye will also be attending.

-YOU BREAK IT, YOU BUY IT. The Joint Congressional Committee on Inaugural Ceremonies announced that today U.S. Senator Charles E. Schumer, chairman of the committee, will unveil the donated Inaugural Luncheon gifts from Lenox Corporation. "For the seventh consecutive Inaugural Luncheon, Lenox Corporation, has created the official Inaugural gifts from the American people, to be given to the President-Elect and Vice President-Elect of the United States."


THE MAN BEHIND MICHELLE OBAMA'S BANGS. On her 49th birthday, the first lady debuted a new hairstyle Thursday, ABC's Reena Ninan reports: As Washington prepares for Inauguration Day, First Lady Michelle Obama revealed her new do…bangs! The new haircut was tweeted out from her newly minted official twitter account @Flotus. Cameras caught more of her new look Thursday night as Mrs. Obama entered Washington D.C.'s Cafe Milano to celebrate her 49th birthday with the President and close friends. So who's behind the new look? Johnny Wright. He's been styling the First Lady's tresses since right before they moved into the White House. While he won't reveal Mrs. Obama's salon secrets, he did offer this take on a previous Michelle Obama first-term trim. "The haircut was not really calculated," said Johnny Wright, the hairstylist to Michelle Obama said in 2010. "It was something that, you know, I just felt that it would be nice and fresh and it would make her look even more youthful." WATCH:

BIDEN DEFENDS GUN CONTROL, OWNS SHOTGUNS. ABC's Sunlen Miller reports: One day after President Obama unveiled the administration's plan to curb gun violence, Vice President Joe Biden on Thursday defended their intentions, answering critics who have spoken out against the plan for potentially infringing on the Second Amendment rights of Americans. "The president and I support the Second Amendment," Biden said definitively. … "I have two shotguns, a 20-gauge and a 12-gauge shotgun," he said. Later in the speech he said his son Beau was a better shot than he is but that is because Beau is in the Army.

SOME STATES REJECT OBAMA GUN PROPOSAL. ABC's Shushannah Walshe reports: Even before President Barack Obama laid out his gun control proposals Wednesday, calling on Congress to act as well as signing executive orders, several states responded by saying they would try to block the enforcement of any measures. From the Mississippi governor to lawmakers in Texas, Missouri and Wyoming, even local sheriffs in Oregon and Kentucky, many of those who oppose the president's proposal believe it is within their legal right to not only refuse to enforce federal legislation, but to make it a crime for a federal agent to try and enforce the law in their states. But, is that approach constitutional? Theodore Ruger, a constitutional law professor at the University of Pennsylvania Law School, says no. The Supremacy Clause, which is part of the Constitution, ensures that. "These state statutes are outrageously unenforceable," Ruger said. "They have no grounds and there has not been any grounds for 200 years for a state to criminalize the enforcement of a valid federal law."

CHRISTIE: NRA VIDEO 'REPREHENSIBLE.' New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie isn't a fan of the National Rifle Association's online video calling President Obama an "elitist hypocrite" for sending his daughters to a school with armed guards, ABC's Shushannah Walshe reports. At a press conference in New Jersey on Thursday, he said: "To talk about the president's children, or any public officer's children, who have-not by their own choice but by requirement-to have protection, and to use that somehow to try to make a political point, I think is reprehensible. … As it said in the commercial, the president has armed bodyguards for his children but he doesn't think it's good enough for your children-the president doesn't have a choice, and his children don't have a choice of whether they're going to be protected or not. … I think it's awful to bring public figures' children into the political debate. They don't deserve to be there. I think for any of us who are public figures, you see that kind of ad, and you cringe. … Don't be dragging people's children into this-it's wrong, and I think it demeans [the NRA]." WATCH:

PANETTA ON BEING PLAYED BY GANDOLFINI: 'THANK GOD IT WAS AN ITALIAN.' More from Martha Raddatz's "On the Radar" interview with Leon Panetta: On being played by James Gandolfinia in the new film "Zero Dark Thirty," Panetta said, "Well, you know, thank God it was an Italian. That's probably the best I can tell you. … I like him, I like him as an actor. I've met him before. And- he did a great job in the movie."

GUN STORE OWNERS REACT TO OBAMA PROPOSAL. ABC's Susanna Kim reports: "It's not going to have an impact on our sales," Jerry Aday, a store owner in Topeka, Kan., told Kansas First News. "As such, what's having the impact on it is the fact that people are fearful they might not be able to buy anything, and our government is going to start tracking guns and that type of thing." … At a shooting range and gun store in Raleigh, N.C., Lynn Howard, owner of the PDHSC gun shop, was anticipating the effects if national legislation is enacted. "This is the doors being opened. If this goes forward, what will fall next?" Howard said in an interview with ABC station WTVD.


-ANTI-HAGEL GROUP FORMS. A new organization called Americans for a Strong Defense, announced today that it will actively work to oppose former Sen. Chuck Hagel's nomination as Secretary of Defense. From the group's press release: "Americans for a Strong Defense will make the case to voters and elected officials that Senator Hagel holds out-of-the-mainstream views that send a dangerous message to our adversaries and weaken our ability to defend ourselves. While ASD lauds Hagel's service to our nation both in uniform and public office, his record on a range of foreign policy and defense issues is deeply troubling. The former Nebraska Senator supports massive defense cuts and the elimination of our nation's nuclear weapons, which would result in huge job losses, invite challenges from our rivals and weaken America. Furthermore, Hagel's stances - his opposition to sanctions, his belief that America is too powerful and plays too prominent a role in the world, his view that America can convince rogue states to disarm only if we disarm first - send a dangerous signal to nations such as Iran and North Korea." The group's board members include former Romney campaign aides Danny Diaz and Brian Hook and Mauricio Claver-Carone, the executive director of Cuba Democracy Advocates. Former Romney spokesman Ryan Williams will handle communications for Americans for a Strong Defense.

-HAPPENING TOMORROW: GUN APPRECIATION DAY. A coalition of groups is calling tomorrow - Jan. 19 - "Gun Appreciation Day" and is urging supporters to line up "around the block" at gun stores, gun counters, gun shows, and gun ranges to protest what it calls "the Obama administration's post Sandy Hook assault on gun rights." Allied groups include the Second Amendment Foundation, Citizens Committee for the Right to Keep and Bear Arms, Special Operations Speaks, Revolution PAC, Citizens and Country, Social Security Institute, Committee to Draft Judge Andrew Napolitano, Conservative Action Alerts, Women Warriors PAC, Conservative Action Fund, and Political Media, Inc. Gun Appreciation Day chairman Larry Ward, president of Political Media, Inc. said in a statement, "If the American people don't fight back now, Obama will do the Second Amendment what he has already done to the First with Obamacare - gut it without a moment's thought to our basic constitutional rights."


@stephenfhayes: Major league hire for Marco Rubio's foreign policy team, adding @jamiemfly. A sharp mind, sober thinker.

@ItsDavidFord: RT @secupp: Whose PR strategy was worse? Tiger's press conference, Lance's Oprah interview, or Te'o's media dodge?

@TonyFratto: I guess I'm saying, have heroes. You won't know if they're frauds, & if they, are you'll deal with disappointment. But it's still better.

@pbsgwen: Take a break from reading about lying athletes & read this abt a real man. Thanks @ktumulty …

@matthewjdowd: Good Friday am! Headed to dc for inauguration for abc news. Should be fun. Enjoy your moments this beautiful day and new beginning.