During his 18-minute inaugural speech on Martin Luther King Jr. Day, President Barack Obama used the platform of his swearing in ceremony to frame his second-term agenda.
The president also laid out an ambitious vision for the future regarding the advancement of gay rights, tolerance toward illegal immigrants, preserving social welfare programs, and stopping climate change. This morning Peter Sprigg, a senior fellow at the Family Research Council, joins “Starting Point” to weigh in on the inaugural address.
Sprigg says he liked that President Obama began his speech with a quote from the Declaration of Independence, “and was attempting to root it in the principles of our nations founding.” On the other hand, Sprigg says he was not sure Obama “went on to correctly interpret what those principles mean for today.”
Sprigg adds that social conservatives like himself “do not agree with the president’s attempt to link the modern homosexual movement with the women’s right’s movement or the civil rights movement for African-Americans.” He says “homosexuals already have all the same civil rights as anyone else – but the fact that all people are created equal as individuals does not mean all sexual behavior is equal or that all personal relationships have an equal value to society at large.”
Inaugural poet Richard Blanco on being the first Hispanic and openly gay poet to read at a presidential inauguration. This morning on "Starting Point." Blanco talks with Soledad O'Brien on what it was like to make history.
"It is an incredible honor," Blanco says. "I do feel in some ways that the inaugural poem is something that is sort of a continuum or there's something to be said about what each poem says about where America is in that moment and place and time. And so I wanted to pay sort of honor to the poets that had come before me as well."
See more from the interview in the clip above.
Presidential historian Doug Wead weighs in on President Obama's second inauguration.
"Early Start" co-host John Berman highlights the run moments of President Obama's second inauguration.
President Barack Obama came out swinging in the second presidential debate, but some have questioned whether he successfully outlined an economic plan for the next four years. Maryland Governor Martin O’Malley joins “Starting Point” to answer those questions and discuss Obama’s performance in the debate.
O'Malley says Obama "dominated the debate," explaining how the president was able to draw "sharp and clear contrasts between policies that are causing us to recovery jobs versus the policies of the past that Governor Romney wants to take us back to that caused the job losses in the first place."
“As I look at it, we’ve had 31 months in a row of positive, private sector job growth. Our plan for the future is to continue to grow jobs,” the Maryland governor explains. “In fact, even some of the forecasts say there will be more jobs created in the next four years if we continue on this better path than if we go to the failed policies of the past.”
O’Malley also highlighted the importance of “moving forward with a balanced approach,” citing investing in infrastructure and clean energy as well as the ability to increase the number of stem graduates as ways to boost the economy.
On “Starting Point,” facial coding expert Dan Hill takes a closer look at the body language and expressions of the candidates and their wives in the second debate.
Hill argues that non-verbal cues may indicate how candidates feel and play a significant role in how viewers assess their performance in the debate. “25% of the brain is devoted to processing visuals. That's going on all the time. It's really decisive because it feeds into your emotional response,” Hill explains.
The facial coding expert also argues that Obama’s expressions were noticeably different in the second debate compared to the first. “Last time, he showed a lot of sadness and a lot of resignation. Sadness as an emotion means I kind of have resigned and given up. This time he was fighting for his issues. He was emoting strongly,” Hill explains.
Hill adds that the success of each candidate last night was further reflected in their wives’ faces after the debate. “I knew right away who lost this debate before it got to the poll. Ann Romney right after the debate showed embitterment,” Hill says. “[Her] mouth is pulled tight and you have upward thrust from the jaw area. The mouth goes down a little bit. That is anger and disgust and it was in the eyes and in the mouth and it was in the lips.”
Despite polls showing a close race between President Barack Obama and Mitt Romney, Delaware Gov. Jack Markell says he believes the president will be much stronger in the second presidential debate whereas it remains unclear "which Romney will show up." He also argues on “Starting Point” that enthusiasm for Obama’s campaign remains strong.
On “Starting Point,” former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani argues that Mitt Romney will be “very, very good” on Tuesday night in the second presidential debate. Looking ahead to debate night, the former mayor says President Barack Obama’s performance is “more of a question,” considering Obama's "troubling" first debate.
Mark McKinnon, former McCain presidential campaign adviser and contributor to the Daily Beast, offers the candidates advice on “Starting Point” for the upcoming second presidential debate.
“The bar is really low for the president now, given the first performance,” McKinnon says. “I think all he has to do is have a couple cups of coffee and show up with a smile and look like he wants to be there and that will be a win… You remember in the Gore/Bush debates, he had the one that was really too hot and then to cold. So, the caution that I would recommend for the president [is] that he not be too overheated.”
With 32 days until the election, both President Obama and Mitt Romney have changed tactics and adjusted comments in an effort to win the election. Romney re-adjusted his comments about the “47%” in an interview with Fox News late Thursday. Similarly, President Obama tried to re-energize his campaign after negative reviews on his debate performance on Wednesday. Howard Kurtz, host of CNN’s Reliable Sources, and Lauren Ashburn, contributor to The Daily Beast, join “Starting Point” to weigh in on the candidates shifts.