CBS’s Smith Climbs Aboard the Obama Train

Harry Smith and Patricia Stiles, CBS On Monday’s CBS Early Show co-host Smith recounted being a passenger on Barack Obama’s inaugural train on Saturday: "On a freezing cold Saturday, people stood for hours just to get a glimpse. They wanted to be able to say in the years to come, ‘I was there that day when the train went through.’ In his fawning report, Smith used poetic language to describe the train ride from Philadelphia to Washington: "Barack Obama spoke of perfecting the Union, he spoke of common hopes and common dreams, he spoke of recognizing ourselves in one another...This was no mere victory tour, this was something more."

Smith found two particular passengers, Patricia and Ted Stiles, who showed bipartisan support for Obama: "Patricia and her husband, Ted, are lifelong Republicans who supported Obama. What did you see when you looked out the windows today?" Patricia declared: "This is a once-in-a-generation opportunity for this nation. I'm excited, Harry, let me tell you." Ted exclaimed: "I saw large groups of people, I saw small groups of people. They were standing on their cars. It's like watching a regeneration of our country." A Sunday article in The Denver Post quoted Patricia Stiles, a Colorado native, about hugging Obama at the beginning of the trip in Philadelphia: "President-elect Barack Obama, the greatest, most articulate speaker I've known in my lifetime, standing there to my left. I just melted away."

After describing the trip to Washinton, Smith concluded his report by interviewing people at the inauguration: "The Ervins were carried there by a force they could not resist...The Peterson-Davis family came from Ohio. This is what they felt." Kerri Peterson-Davis excitedly gushed: "Hopeful, hope-filled, just a sense of the best that we're to be and that it's more than just Republicans and Democrats. It's Americans coming together to be who we're supposed to be as people."

At the start of the show, co-host Maggie Rodriguez remarked: "A new day is dawning here in the nation's capitol on the eve of the inauguration of Barack Obama as the 44th President of the United States...Does it get any better, or more beautiful, or more spectacular, than this? I don't think so." Smith agreed: "What a great seat to be right literally in the front row of where history is going to take place in just a little over 24 hours as Barack Obama is inaugurated as the 44th President of the United States."

In a report just prior to Smith’s, correspondent Jeff Glor explained that despite the inaugural celebrations: "...the incoming administration is trying to send a message that this is as much about work as it is about celebration. The administration has confirmed to us this morning they'll have shuttle vans ready to take some staffers directly from the inauguration into the White House so they can be sitting at their desks tomorrow afternoon to start working." Rodriguez added: "Wasting no time."

Here is the full transcript of Smith’s report:

7:05AM SEGMENT:

HARRY SMITH: It is a special time. We're going to talk about that a lot more as the morning continues. But I was fortunate enough to be able to ride along on the train for part of the journey from Philadelphia to D.C. Saturday afternoon.

RODRIGUEZ: Oh, wow.

SMITH: Check this out.

[TAPED REPORT]

SMITH: On a freezing cold Saturday, people stood for hours just to get a glimpse. They wanted to be able to say in the years to come, 'I was there that day when the train went through.'

BARACK OBAMA: Hello, Baltimore!

SMITH: Barack Obama spoke of perfecting the Union, he spoke of common hopes and common dreams, he spoke of recognizing ourselves in one another.

OBAMA: See you at the next stop!

SMITH: This was no mere victory tour, this was something more.

PATRICIA STILES: This is a once-in-a-generation opportunity for this nation. I'm excited, Harry, let me tell you.

SMITH: Patricia and her husband, Ted, are lifelong Republicans who supported Obama. What did you see when you looked out the windows today?

TED: I saw large groups of people, I saw small groups of people. They were standing on their cars. It's like watching a regeneration of our country.

BRUCE SPRINGSTEEN: Come on up for the rising!

SMITH: On the Mall Sunday afternoon, hundreds of thousands came to hear Springsteen and Beyonce-

BEYONCE: Stand up,sing with me!

SMITH: -and celebrate the inauguration. The Ervins were carried there by a force they could not resist.

NAKEIA ERVIN: Were all family. My family's come here from Georgia, and North Carolina, and Pennsylvania, so we're very far traveled.

SMITH: Why are you here?

ERVIN: It's a monumental, historical event. It -- there was no question of being here, it was just how we were going to get here and when.

SMITH: The Peterson-Davis family came from Ohio. This is what they felt.

KERRI PETERSON-DAVIS: Hopeful, hope-filled, just a sense of the best that we're to be and that it's more than just Republicans and Democrats. It's Americans coming together to be who we're supposed to be as people.

Here is the full transcript of the show intro and Glor’s report:

7:00AM TEASE:

BARACK OBAMA: There is no obstacle that can stand in the way of millions of voices calling for change.

MAGGIE RODRIGUEZ: A final call for change and patience from the president-elect.

UNIDENTIFIED MAN: We've shown the world that we can elect a person that crosses all boundaries. This is a proud day for us.

RODRIGUEZ: As the countdown to history ticks into its final day, millions of Americans descend on D.C. to witness the inauguration of Barack Obama. From the foot of the Washington Monument and the place that has been the crossroads of so much history, the nation's capitol prepares for a moment like no other.

HARRY SMITH: We have complete inauguration coverage here live from Washington this morning. From security to souvenirs, even First Lady fashion.

RODRIGUEZ: And live here on the Mall, Stevie Wonder. Plus, Il Divo performing 'Amazing Grace.' As history echoes.

MARTIN LUTHER KING JR: One day right down in Alabama little black boys and black girls will be able to join hands with little white boys and white girls as sisters and brothers. I have a dream today.

RODRIGUEZ: Early this Martin Luther King day, Monday morning, January 19th, 2009.

7:02AM SEGMENT:

RODRIGUEZ: A new day is dawning here in the nation's capitol on the eve of the inauguration of Barack Obama as the 44th President of the United States. Good morning, everyone. I'm Maggie Rodriguez along with Harry Smith here on the Mall in Washington, D.C. Julie Chen is off this morning. Does it get any better, or more beautiful, or more spectacular, than this? I don't think so.

SMITH: What a great seat to be right literally in the front row of where history is going to take place in just a little over 24 hours as Barack Obama is inaugurated as the 44th President of the United States. Look at the view behind us. As the sun comes up over the capitol building, it is gorgeous. It is a gorgeous, chilly morning here on the Mall. Have so much to do here this morning. Lots of stories to tell. We're also going to get you a little update this morning on what's going on with the investigation into the plane that went down in the Hudson River Thursday afternoon. Part of the news of that is the fact that the pilot and the co-pilot and the crew had been invited here to Washington for the inaugural activities. You can see the plane has been dragged out of the Hudson, and the investigation continues. They've got the black boxes and everything else. The great news, of course, is everybody survived. And we're keeping our fingers crossed that Sully and company come to enjoy the inauguration.

RODRIGUEZ: I don't know who would get more attention, Sully or Barack Obama? It may be a toss-up. What we do know, is that Sully and crew, if they come here, will be joined by 2 million plus people who are expected here on the National Mall for the inauguration of Barack Obama tomorrow. To kick off the three-day celebration, Barack Obama, his wife and daughters took a train ride. Jeff Glor is at Lafayette Park with a recap of the weekend. Good morning, Jeff.

JEFF GLOR: Hey, Maggie, good morning to you. Yeah, here at Lafayette Park, this is the viewing stand where the president, and he will be the president by then, will watch part of this parade tomorrow. The White House is then directly behind that. That comes up tomorrow, but there was a big day yesterday. For Barack Obama, Sunday was both somber and celebratory. Under cloudy skies, the president and vice president-elect began by laying two large wreaths at the Tomb of the Unknowns. Followed by church service at 19th Street Baptist.

UNIDENTIFIED PEOPLE: Obama! Obama! Obama!

GLOR: One of the oldest and most historic African-American churches in Washington.

BRUCE SPRINGSTEEN [SINGING]: Come on up for the rising!

GLOR: But the event that got the most attention was an afternoon concert at the Lincoln Memorial, attended by hundreds of thousands spread long across the National Mall. Big-name actors, sports stars, and musicians took the stage. Bono, Bruce Springsteen, Garth Brooks.

GARTH BROOKS [SINGING]: We all were singing bye-bye miss American pie.

GLOR: The presidential party watched from the side, behind bulletproof glass. Obama sitting but singing along-

BROOKS: Good old boys drinking whiskey and rye, singing this will be the day that I die.

GLOR: -before eventually giving a speech himself, standing in front of the president he admires most.

BARACK OBAMA: As I stand here today, what gives me the greatest hope of all is not the stone and marble that surrounds us but what fills the spaces in between. It is you.

GLOR: Even though there will be a great deal of pomp and circumstance today and tomorrow, the Obama Administration, the incoming administration, is trying to send a message that this is as much about work as it is about celebration. The administration has confirmed to us this morning they'll have shuttle vans ready to take some staffers directly from the inauguration into the White House so they can be sitting at their desks tomorrow afternoon to start working. Harry and Maggie.

RODRIGUEZ: Wasting no time. CBS's Jeff Glor. Thank you, Jeff.

Kyle Drennen
Kyle Drennen
Kyle Drennen is a News Analyst for MRC