39, 41 and 42 applaud 44-to-be and family
The new prez tells it like it is
Hasta la vista W
Quite a day - it felt bigger than the night in Chicago somehow, I guess because in a nation of laws the whole deal is now legally sealed. But there was more to it than that. Us radio guys are used to being kept in the basement somewhere, this time we had a ringside seat on the Capitol steps, just 50m or so from the new president. Adding to the sense of occasion were the superstars of US politics gathered around him - a lonely looking Senator McCain, the Clintons, the whole Bush clan from George H. via W to the twins, Cheney looking frail in a wheelchair, Jimmy Carter and his wife (surely the lowest profile first lady ever).
The focus of all the media coverage is rightly on the whole first-democratically-elected-minority-leader-on-the-planet-and-in-this-so-recently-segregated-country-to-boot thing and the attendant popular adulation, but the bit I cant get over is that great democratic moment when a whole governing philosophy is swept away and replaced with another just cos some guy says about 50 words with his hand on a book. For once I had the presence of mind to take a camera and by far my favorite photo is the one of Bush's helicopter taking a final sweep past the Washington monument over the jubilant masses. Reagan's chief of staff told us in an interview recently that it was at that point in 1988 that he first saw his great leader cry.
Did I mention how cold it was?