Barack Obama arrives to his inauguration as the 44th President of the United States of America at the Capitol today in Washington, DC.
[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/POLITICS/01/20/inauguration.balls/art.obama.dress.pool.jpg caption="Michelle Obama, wearing a dress by designer Jason Wu, and President Barack Obama at the Neighborhood Ball."]
CNN Washington Correspondent
Joel De La Rosa, the CNN Dallas photojournalist who shot a piece on designer Maria Pinto with me, ran into Pinto within the last hour at the Obama Home State Ball and she told him she still didn't know if Michelle was wearing her dress or not.
Or not, it turns out.
Quite an upset...consensus in fashion circles was that she'd probably go with Pinto. In the past Pinto has insisted she doesn't know when Michelle will wear her clothing until she shows up somewhere wearing it.
Despite the unexpected choice of Jason Wu, it does fit Obama's pattern of supporting younger, up-and-coming American designers.
What did you think of the dress?
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[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/POLITICS/01/20/obama.inauguration/art.obama.speech.cnn.jpg caption="President Barack Obama told a crowd at the National Mall that America's challenges are real."]
President Barack Obama, our newly inaugurated 44th president, showed the millions watching around the world and the freezing millions there in person on the Mall why he won the election - and why so many believe he can lead us in these troubled times.
I don't believe any other American at this time could have brought this country together in the same way and made Americans feel as good as they do about our new president.
Obviously, being the first African-American president, he brings great pride and hope to millions of those who thought this day might never happen. But it is far more than that.
Julian E. Zelizer
Special to CNN
The Obama administration starts its work today with the highest of ambitions.
As President Obama said in his inaugural address: "For everywhere we look, there is work to be done. The state of our economy calls for action, bold and swift, and we will act - not only to create new jobs, but to lay a new foundation for growth.
"We will build the roads and bridges, the electric grids and digital lines that feed our commerce and bind us together. We will restore science to its rightful place, and wield technology's wonders to raise health care's quality and lower its cost.
[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/POLITICS/01/20/obama.people/art.obama.crowd.parade.cnn.jpg caption="Crowds at the inaugural parade cheer and snap photos of President Obama on Tuesday."]
Joe Johns | Bio
Ok, it's participatory history. But is it fun?
One of the things many people don't realize about inaugurations is that, while historic and glamorous, they are also amazing ordeals.
The inauguration gauntlet begins with the schlepp to the swearing in ceremony. Today was incredible. My producer Justine Redman and I walked over a mile around and through literally countless security checkpoints to get to our appointed location to listen to the speech.
The police could not tell us where to go or how to get from point A to point B. One problem was, there were two separate and almost mutually exclusive events, which happened to be quite close to each other.
Wthen we had to cross the parade route - before the parade started - to get to the Mall. And the security plans changed along the way.
Then there is the weather. Generally it's freezing cold–some of the worst weather of the year comes around inauguration time. My ears rang for hours when I left the Mall today.
My face was frozen.
Program Note: Tune in for Erica Hill's report on the Obama daughters on AC360° tonight at 9 p.m. ET.
Jenna and Barbara Bush
For The Wall Street Journal
Sasha and Malia, we were seven when our beloved grandfather was sworn in as the 41st President of the United States. We stood proudly on the platform, our tiny hands icicles, as we lived history. We listened intently to the words spoken on Inauguration Day service, duty, honor. But being seven, we didn't quite understand the gravity of the position our Grandfather was committing to. We watched as the bands marched by - the red, white, and blue streamers welcoming us to a new role: the family members of a President.
We also first saw the White House through the innocent, optimistic eyes of children. We stood on the North Lawn gazing with wonder at her grand portico. The White House was alive with devoted and loving people, many of whom had worked in her halls for decades. Three of the White House ushers, Buddy, Ramsey, and "Smiley", greeted us when we stepped into her intimidating hallway. Their laughter and embraces made us feel welcome right away. Sasha and Malia, here is some advice to you from two sisters who have stood where you will stand and who have lived where you will live:
[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/POLITICS/01/20/obama.international.reaction/art.obama.speech.gi.jpg caption="Barack and Michelle Obama pictured before the inauguration Tuesday in Washington."]
Aspiring French journalist and Parisian resident
Another day in the coldness of Paris. Another day in the French subway, but I can feel something different and it has nothing to do with the weather, nothing to do with my everyday life.
People talk, a lot. Obama is on everyone’s lips, his face on every single newspaper’s front page.
I’m on a bus, back from work in the Parisian suburbs where riots erupted in 2005.
I’m listening to “Yes we can” by Will.I.am on my iPod, thinking of the excitement there must be in DC’s streets.
A small group of 20 year old guys from the suburbs, Arabics, blacks and a white, are usually loud but today they are quiet. They are watching Obama’s speech live on their cell phones. “I’d like to be American today,” they say to each other.
[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/POLITICS/01/20/inauguration.balls/art.obama3.afp.gi.jpg caption="President Barack Obama and his wife, Michelle, are expected to attend all 10 official inaugural balls."]
Program Note: See Gary's full report tonight at 10pm ET!
Gary Tuchman | BIO
You saw and heard Barack Obama and Joe Biden get inaugurated. But I concentrated on seeing and hearing the lucky Americans who won the equivalent of Willie Wonka's Golden Ticket.
The tickets for the front seats to view the ceremony were highly prized and very practically priced. They were free. As I walked onto the Capitol grounds, I had a woman offer me 200 dollars for mine. I wish I had another one to give her for free. I told her sorry and found a seat in the section where I was assigned.
What immediately struck me was the number of older people. I noticed that because it was so very cold, particularly while you were sitting still. Typically, when the weather is that frigid you wouldn't see so many elderly people outside for hours at a time. But these people were not going to be denied their chance to be an eyewitness to history.
Behind me was a woman who told me she watched Martin Luther King Junior's famous "I Have a Dream" speech in person. When Barack Obama was introduced, tears started streaming from her eyes. When he finished the oath, she was overwhelmed with emotion.