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Coverage of Democratic National Convention

Aired July 26, 2004 - 19:00   ET


ANDERSON COOPER, HOST: And good evening, live from the floor of the Fleet Center in Boston, Massachusetts. I'm Anderson Cooper.
John Kerry's coming-out party has begun, but can he outshine the stars of the past?

360 starts now.

Democrats begin their nominating convention, but with Kerry still on the road, tonight will former president Clinton steal the show?

She was off, then on, and now she's ready to go. Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton tonight takes to the podium. We take an in-depth look at the lady and her life.

The Gore factor. Tonight a 360 exclusive, Karenna Gore Schiff, the daughter of the former vice president talks live about Dad, the Democrats, and a possible run for office.

Democrats aren't the only ones watching tonight. Republicans ready to respond in real time, facts, figures, and faxes. We'll take you inside the GOP war room.

And Teresa Heinz Kerry's run-in with a reporter, what she said and didn't say. The raw politics of swearing, tonight on 360.

ANNOUNCER: This is a special edition of ANDERSON COOPER 360, live from the Democratic National Convention in Boston.

COOPER: And welcome to day one of the Democratic National Convention. It is just a couple of hours old here at the Fleet Center, and the folks are still working out the kinks of what doors to use, what credentials get you where, that kind of thing.

Four days of image building and message honing for candidate John Kerry, who isn't even here yet. Tonight is a night for the big guns of the past and perhaps the future, the Clintons, along with Al Gore and President Carter, just to name a few. It should be a very interesting night.

We have three reporters standing by right now to tell us what to expect tonight and in the nights to come. Frank Buckley is about as far south of Boston as you can get with the convention's soon-to-be anointed candidate. Dana Bash is here in town (UNINTELLIGIBLE) candidates (UNINTELLIGIBLE) which is keeping a close on him tonight. And Candy Crowley is here in Boston as well, looking ahead at this and the convention's other evenings and tonight.

We begin tonight with Candy.

CANDY CROWLEY, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: Anderson, 14,000 volunteers, 15,000 members of the media, 4,353 delegates, 100,000 balloons. Here we go.


CROWLEY (voice-over): The four-day Kerry-fest in Boston is open for business. So far, 30 speakers down...


CROWLEY: ... 156 speakers to go.

It would be a long four days were it not for the night. The night belongs to heavy hitters. This night, to the ghosts of conventions past. Former president Bill Clinton, the party still crazy for him. Former president Jimmy Carter, who's post-presidency has endeared him to his party more than his actual presidency. And almost-president Al Gore, whose very presence is enough to get Democrats lining up to wait for polls to open November 2.

AL GORE, FORMER VICE PRESIDENT: How dare they drag the good name...

CROWLEY: Do not expect that Al Gore to show up. If conventions had logos, this one would use the smiley face. Ix-nay on the Bush- bashing. Camp Kerry has sent forth the word, upbeat, optimistic, forward looking, John Kerry-centric talks for the next four days.

SEN. HILLARY RODHAM CLINTON (D), NEW YORK: What we want to do is get them to feel very comfortable in the choice of John Kerry for our next president.

CROWLEY: Newswise, slim pickings so far, unless you count Teresa Heinz Kerry's few choice words for a reporter from a conservative homestate paper.






TERESA HEINZ KERRY: I understand it was you.


TERESA HEINZ KERRY: You said something I didn't say. Now shove it.


CROWLEY: Apparently Mrs. Kerry didn't get the memo.


CROWLEY: Why all this accent on upbeat and positive? It's pretty simple, Anderson, and really basic politics. It is now down to 5 to 10 percent of the American voters who have not made up their minds, and they don't like all those negative attacks, Anderson.

COOPER: People say they like optimism. Candy Crowley, thanks very much. We'll be talking to a lot over the next week.

The man of the hour, of course, when that hour comes some nights from now, isn't in Boston, as we mentioned, at the moment. That, of course, is standard operating procedure for these events. He's on the same seacoast but considerably due south, and CNN's Frank Buckley is there as well.


SEN. JOHN KERRY (D-MA), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: There is no better place to launch something than right here at Cape Canaveral.

FRANK BUCKLEY, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): As his party's convention kicked off in Boston, Senator John Kerry was at Cape Canaveral, Florida, enlisting former senator and spaceman John Glenn in his quest to stress positive and American themes.

As his Democratic Party prepared to nominate him for president, Kerry issued a challenge to independents and even Republicans to consider voting for him.

KERRY: Stop and think about what's happening in America. As John said a moment ago, if you're a conservative, there is nothing conservative about piling debt on the shoulders of our children and driving the deficits up as far as the eye can see.

BUCKLEY: Senator Kerry and President Bush are locked in battle over Florida, which went to Bush in the 2000 election of the chads by a mere 537 votes. A new CNN-"USA Today" Gallup poll suggests President Bush has a 3-point lead here now, but it's within the margin of error. Other polls also indicate a dead heat. It could still go either way.

And as Kerry continued campaigning on the road to Boston, he took a detour there.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We have a melding of the ball game...

BUCKLEY: Where he threw out the ceremonial first pitch in a Boston Red Sox-New York Yankees game. Some cheered, others booed, and Kerry won valuable publicity, front-page photos in newspapers across the country pitching his candidacy, as his convention was getting underway.


BUCKLEY: And tonight, Senator Kerry is here in Norfolk, Virginia, where he's preparing for an event tomorrow in which he will pay tribute to the military, also, no doubt, reminding them of his own wartime credentials.

Meanwhile, we're told that tonight Senator Kerry continues to make adjustments to his own acceptance speech, which, Anderson, he'll be delivering to the convention on Thursday, Anderson.

COOPER: Frank Buckley, live from Norfolk, thanks, Frank.

News note on Kerry's running mate, John Edwards. He cut back his campaign schedule today in his home state in North Carolina to protect his weary voice. We're told Edwards wants to make sure his vocal cords are in good shape when he accepts Democratic vice presidential nomination in a speech here Wednesday night.

The Democrats are in Boston in a big way, of course, not just in the convention hall, but all over the streets. This is their convention, after all. But there are Republicans here as well, spotters, you might call them, lookouts, political operatives keeping an eye on the doings, the comings and goings, the way one team scout will go and watch the other team work out.

CNN White House correspondent Dana Bash is here in town watching the watchers.



DANA BASH, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Seven- thirty a.m., the conference call to map out strategy for opening day of the convention -- the other party's convention, that is. Some 30 Republican staffers are set up behind enemy lines to try to combat the themes and theater inside the Fleet Center just down the street.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Today is a busy day, TV.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We've got a press conference which is going out live, and we have the chairman's doing "Inside Politics."

SCOTT HOGENSON, REPUBLICAN NATIONAL COMMITTEE: On WQXI Atlanta, it's Wisconsin Public Radio, it's NPR Evening Analysis. You name it, if they're pulling numbers, we're on it.

BASH: Rapid response operations and war rooms are not new. But this year, Republicans are pushing hard to make their presence known.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It is a classic example of the kind of flipflopping we've expected from this senator.

BASH: Even before a Democrat utters a word in here, Republican players like Colorado Governor Bill Owens, enlisted for the occasion, are up on the satellite.

Oh, and in case you missed their message...

GOV. BILL OWENS (R), COLORADO: They're having to make themselves over to become a moderate, mainstream party again.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: If you're a hard-core extreme Democrat, this is your dream ticket.

BASH: It's all mapped out on the wall, whose speeches to respond to and when.

JIM DYKE, RNC COMMUNICATIONS DIRECTOR: And then we'll see what everyone says, and if anything needs to be corrected or updated, we would put something out after the speeches.

BASH: When unfavorable articles about the other side appear, like this one about the governor of Iowa's wife, somehow they're prepared to respond.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: She may consider apologizing for those remarks.


BASH: And Republicans are just a few blocks from here right now waiting for the big-name speakers like Al Gore and the Clintons to start. They're going to watch Al Gore in particular to see if he does, in fact, tone down that fiery speech of late to keep with the Kerry campaign's be-positive mandate. If he does, Republicans think that would be the ultimate fit for their extreme makeover theme, Anderson.

COOPER: Hmm, all right, Dana Bash, thanks very much. Might get some information on that.

Coming up next, a 360 exclusive, a rising political star behind the scenes. Karenna Gore Schiff, daughter of former vice president Al Gore, joins us live in a 360 exclusive. She's going to talk about her dad, the Democrats, and those rumors that she may run for office.

Plus, Hillary Clinton in the spotlight, and speaking on the podium tonight. Will her own aspirations overshadow Kerry and Edwards?

And a Heinz says, Shove it, as you saw earlier. The aspiring first lady trades words with a reporter. He joins us live to tell us what happened from his perspective.


MAYOR TOM MENINO (D), BOSTON: ... Boston Latin, the Boston Public Library put knowledge and culture into the hands of people who work with their hands. America's...

COOPER: And you're looking at Boston's mayor, Tom Menino, speaking, just got on the podium just a short time ago, one of the many speakers we will hear tonight.

Much has been made this year of the Bush daughters and the Kerry Heinz clan and even the two young Edwards children. No doubt, all will have some small role in their parents' campaigns. But probably no child of a candidate played a more important role in their parent's campaign than our next guest, Karenna Gore Schiff, daughter of Al Gore. She was a key, perhaps even the key, adviser to her dad during the 2000 election.

She's with us tonight for an exclusive interview as the former vice president prepares to address the convention, and we're very pleased she's joining us tonight.

Thanks very much for being with us.


COOPER: Is it bittersweet for you to be here tonight?

SCHIFF: I'm actually enjoying it a lot more than I thought I would be. There are some emotions about what might have been, of course, but it's also just so great to see so much energy and so much hope, and it feels like an exciting election year.

COOPER: What have you advised your dad to talk about tonight?

SCHIFF: Oh, gosh, he's really very intent on just having a lot of his positive energy toward electing Kerry and Edwards, and I think that he is also -- one of the special things about the speech is that so many people around the country, certainly in this hall, have a lot of strong feelings about what happened in 2000, which wasn't really an ordinary election.


SCHIFF: And this speech will give them someplace to put those feelings, and to channel them towards electing Kerry and Edwards.

COOPER: So is he going to be talking a lot about what happened in 2000 in his speech?

SCHIFF: He will reference that, mainly in the context that every vote counts, and also that it really matters who is president, and what's happened in the last four years with this change of administration. We've seen that the country can go in a radically different direction. So he will be emphasizing how people should get out and vote and make sure that what happened in 2000, with the closeness and not counting all the votes, doesn't happen this time.

COOPER: There are some who say that your dad's speaking style has changed, has evolved, that his, his -- you know, he's much more sort of a fiery orator, perhaps, than we saw while he was vice president. His role has changed. Are we going to hear the strong words, the strong language? I mean, some felt the language he's recently used, he's called the sort of the GOP war room, I think he called them digital brownshirts, some of the operatives. SCHIFF: Well, he certainly will be talking about the same themes in terms of the mistakes that this administration has made. I think that this speech is also, though, very much about this election and what's at stake. And it's true that his speaking style is no longer at all dependent on polls and focus groups and everything that a candidate sort of has to pay attention to.

And he'll continue, he has that kind of a fiery style, and he'll continue that. But tonight's really about Kerry and Edwards.

COOPER: Yes, I mean, does he feel liberated to, to, I mean, you say he's sort of not paying attention as much to polls and to focus groups. Is that a sense of liberation, then?

SCHIFF: Yes, absolutely. I think he really feels -- he really believes so strongly that this country can be even greater, and that a change of leadership is needed, and he's very excited to see that it seems we really do have a chance to do that this year.

COOPER: What do you think is the issue that is going to bring Democrats, going to bring undecideds to John Kerry?

SCHIFF: You know, I really think, just personally, I think fiscal discipline's really important. I think people are kind of surprised to see that the deficits are piling up, and there's nothing really conservative about that.

COOPER: So you don't think the war. You think more economy, fiscal discipline.

SCHIFF: I think people I know are divided in how they feel about the war. Certainly the management of the war has been severely flawed, and I think that that is another issue that can sway undecided voters.

COOPER: What -- how personal are politics for you? I mean, I've talked to a lot of the kids who have been in campaigns, and, I mean, what is it like to hear stuff said about your dad? I mean, do you develop a thick skin?

SCHIFF: No, I wish. I wish.


SCHIFF: I really wish I had one. It's very personal. But I think that it is personal for a lot of people, whether, you know, their issue is choice, or whether they have a son enlisted who's in Iraq. A lot of people feel that things are very personal that are at stake. But I do too.

And I definitely think back to the 2000 campaign and some of the promises that Bush made that he has since broken. And I do feel very strongly that he does not deserve to be elected in 2004.

COOPER: Do you think -- I, I -- as you look back on your dad over the last year, I mean, he initially backed Howard Dean. Now the Dean people are kind of now say, Well, that was sort of a turning point for them in a negative way, though they're thankful for his endorsement, that, that that, in the words of Howard Dean, I think I talked to him awhile back, he said that that sort of put a target on his back that sort of anointed him, and people went after him. Do you think that's a fair assessment?

SCHIFF: It's certainly not been my experience in talking to people who were behind Dean, or you know, who were just against the war, which was really what was driving my father's endorsement of Howard Dean. He just felt strongly that this was a poorly planned invasion of Iraq that was really draining resources and attention from fighting the terrorists, the network of al Qaeda. So he doesn't regret that at all.

And, you know, I'm sure there are a million armchair analyses about what happened to the Dean campaign, but it really is sort of irrelevant at this point, because we have such a strong candidate. And I feel that the party is more united than ever, and it's going to be an exciting election.

COOPER: It's interesting, because you look around the hall, and you see not a lot of Kerry and Edwards buttons, but you also see a lot of anti-Bush buttons. And yet, we're also hearing (UNINTELLIGIBLE) the, the Kerry-Edwards campaign are sort of telling people, Look, don't be too anti-Bush, don't be too in the rhetoric that people are using. Do you think that there's a danger in not sort of capitalizing on whatever anti-Bush sentiment there is here?

SCHIFF: I think actually, and this is something my father does very well in the speech that he's about to deliver, I do think it's very important to reach out to people who did vote for Bush in 2000, and to say, just judge honestly, without any personal vendetta, do you think that you've gotten what you expected and wanted? Did -- is he really conservative in the fiscal discipline? Is he really compassionate in how he's treating, for instance, the people that were being locked up without being able to see a lawyer?

And I think that those are the people that are important to reach out and bring in. So I actually think it would be better to focus on positive, and not so much negative, because the people in this hall, most of them, are already won over. It's the people that are out there watching in swing states that are really undecided, or may even come over from the Bush column.

COOPER: (UNINTELLIGIBLE) like the Paul Wellstone memorial, where people were sort of very, you know, it became sort of a political, it seemed negative to some critics?

SCHIFF: I think that there are other lessons from that, because from the people that I heard who were there, a lot of hay was made on sort of right-wing networks that did not reflect what actually happened at the Wellstone memorial.

But your point is well taken, that to have the real sort of just very passionate, over-the-top energy of people who are already on the team, it's important to also guard that, and so people who are... COOPER: It can alienate as well as attract.

SCHIFF: Yes, it's important that it not alienate, of course.

COOPER: All right. Karenna Gore Schiff, I know you're really busy tonight. We appreciate your stopping by.

SCHIFF: You too, and thank you so much...

COOPER: It's great to see you.

SCHIFF: ... Anderson.


Well, 360 next, a lightning rod takes center stage. Bill Clinton steps up to the podium tonight. Will it hurt or help John Kerry? Find out what Democratic insiders are saying.

Plus, here comes Hillary. No, she's not running, but her very presence is still making headlines.

And a little bit later, party politics, letting it all hang out after the convention. Get the scoop on what's really going on behind the scenes. We'll be right back.


COOPER: Well, the man creating a lot of buzz here tonight is former president Bill Clinton, who will be speaking here tonight, the last speaker, speaker to hear. He'll be, of course, introduced by his wife, Hillary Rodham Clinton, the senator from New York.

(UNINTELLIGIBLE) Jim Barnes of "The National Journal" has been just conducting a poll among Democratic insiders to see what they want to hear from former president tonight. Some interesting results to talk to him about.

Jim, thanks for being with us.

What surprised you most about what they want to hear? We're going to put on this on the graphic on the screen of what the poll actually said. What surprised you most?

JIM BARNES, "THE NATIONAL JOURNAL": Well, I think that there's a real unanimity (UNINTELLIGIBLE) about the Democrat Party insiders that President Clinton should really spend his time promoting John Kerry tonight, not taking a trip down memory lane, not talking about himself, but really pitch this convention forward for John Kerry.

COOPER: There is a concern, I guess, among some that Clinton will use it as an opportunity to take a trip down memory lane, as he is sort of wont to do.

BARNES: Yes, I think that in the 2000 convention in Los Angeles, President Clinton really spent very little time promoting his heir, Al Gore, at that convention. And I think that some of the Gore people wish that Clinton had really said more about the former vice president and less about his record.

Tonight, I think most party insiders are confident that the president will spend most of his time talking about John Kerry.

COOPER: And Hillary Clinton, what do you expect her to be talking about?

BARNES: Well, I would imagine that Hillary Clinton will also follow suit. I don't think she's going to stray off and start talking about her husband. I would imagine she'll talk about John Kerry too.

COOPER: Ah. What is the danger of speaking too much about the past here tonight, do you think?

BARNES: Well, I think the idea is that you really want to pitch a convention forward, and that's what you want the focus on, you want the focus to be on John Kerry. And if the president really spends a lot of time talking about his record, as popular as that might be here on the floor, among all these delegates in whom he's held in high regard, that's really not helping John Kerry. And then that might tend to overshadow John Kerry a little bit.

It's important for Clinton to keep the focus on Kerry, not on anything else.

COOPER: And I guess part of the idea tonight being, have a lot of speakers from the past, former president Carter, former vice president Al Gore, get that over with on Monday, and the rest of the week really focusing on Kerry, on Edwards and the future.

BARNES: I think that's right. But I think the Kerry planners and the campaign people, they really want this to be four days about John Kerry, not much of anything else, quite frankly.

COOPER: All right. Jim Barnes, thanks very much, good to talk to you.

BARNES: You're welcome.

COOPER: All right.

That leads us to today's buzz question. It is this. What do you think? Do you think Bill Clinton's speaking here tonight will benefit or hurt John Kerry? That's the question. Will his appearance at the Democratic convention help or hurt John Kerry? Log on to Cast your vote. We'll have results at the end of the program tonight.

She was off, then on, and now she's ready to go. Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton tonight takes to the podium. We take an in-depth look at the lady and her life.

And Teresa Heinz Kerry's run-in with a reporter, what she said and didn't say. The raw politics of swearing.

360 continues.


COOPER: And you're looking at a live shot here at the Fleet Center in Boston. Welcome back to 360 and the first night of the Democratic National Convention at the Fleet Center here in Boston, Mass.

We're about halfway through our time for the evening, but the night is young for the thousands of delegates gathered here to talk with and listen to one another and to many of their party's notables.

At the podium this evening will be one man who was nearly elected president, Al Gore of Tennessee, and two who (UNINTELLIGIBLE) -- two others who were, in fact, elected, James Earl Carter, commander in chief from 1977 to 1981, and William Jefferson Clinton, who of course occupied the White House from 1993 to 2001. Mr. Clinton will be introduced by the woman who was his first lady, Hillary Rodham Clinton, who of course is now a senator and a party power in her own right, and perhaps a contender for her husband's old job someday. CNN's Judy Woodruff has this portrait for us tonight.


JUDY WOODRUFF, CNN ANCHOR: In 1992, Bill Clinton promised America...


WOODRUFF: And that's exactly what America got.

HILLARY RODHAM CLINTON, FIRST LADY: You know, I suppose I could have stayed home and baked cookies and had tea.

WOODRUFF: She went with plan B, taking on an unprecedented role in her husband's administration.

Health care reform is not an isolate the legislative goal.

H. CLINTON: And you know, health care reform is not an isolated legislative goal.

WOODRUFF: But health care crashed and burned, and the first lady publicly recused herself from policy making, retreating into more traditional first lady activities and standing by her man.

B. CLINTON: I did not have sexual relations with that woman.

WOODRUFF: She fiercely defended the president, famously attributing the Lewinsky pile-on to a vast right-wing conspiracy. When the president owned up, she remained stoic and steadfast, keeping her public cool, with an eye on the future.

H. CLINTON: I am honored today to announce my candidacy for the United States Senate from New York. WOODRUFF: Steeled by years of scrutiny, she set out to win over voters of a state she had never lived in. Sure, sometimes she looked like she was trying a little too hard. But in the end, New Yorkers were convinced. Senator Clinton has won praise as a hard-working member of the ultimate boy's club. But many think she's got her eyes on a bigger prize, getting her old house back. She's demurred.

H. CLINTON: I've got a position and a responsibility that I'm going to do my very best.

WOODRUFF: But her husband has gushed, considering the senator's polarizing presence even within her own party.

Take tonight, for instance. Initially, she wasn't slated for a star turn in Boston. She said she was fine with it. But few believed her. And when her story threatened to overshadow the nominee, the Democrats caved, and Hillary Clinton is on stage again.

Judy Woodruff, CNN, Boston.


COOPER: And they're singing "We Are Family" here, (UNINTELLIGIBLE) here.

Joining me to talk a little bit more about Hillary Clinton's impact on the Democratic Party, Liz Marlantes, a great writer from "The Christian Science Monitor." Good to have you here.


COOPER: You know, a lot was made about Hillary Clinton not speaking here, then she is speaking here. How important is what she actually says?

MARLANTES: I think not all that important. I mean, to be perfectly honest, all of the flap over whether or not she was going to speak I thought was more of a media story. I'm not even sure it was coming from her people, because frankly I'm not sure she needed to have a big role at this convention. I mean...


MARLANTES: Hillary Clinton, you know, gets all the attention she needs. I mean, she's the one senator who never has to worry about being in the spotlight. And so, I think, you know, she's going to play a dignified role, she's going to show that she's there to elect Kerry. There's no downside to her doing that. But if there's any suggestion that she is trying to steal the spotlight from him, I think that doesn't help her at all.

COOPER: And how does the Kerry campaign use her successfully on the campaign trail? Because I mean, you know, the oft-noted phrase about her is that she's a polarizing figure.


COOPER: There are people who feel very strongly about her. I mean, I guess she energizes the base. But do they need to do that at this point?

MARLANTES: Yeah, no, I mean, they really don't. In a way, in a way, the Kerry campaign is already looking to mobilize swing voters. I mean, they've got such an energized Democratic base that they don't need that kind of rollout of greatest hits Bill Clinton. They will use Bill Clinton, but I think they're going to use him selectively, and I think they're going to do the same with Hillary Clinton.

COOPER: Because she's polarizing, might alienate the swing voters.

MARLANTES: She's good for the base, but it's a less clear thing with swing votes, and that's really who they're starting to look to target, because they feel really confident about the Democratic base.

COOPER: How much tonight do you think you're going to be hearing about the past, about the election of 2000, about, you know, the Clinton years, from Vice President Al Gore, from Bill Clinton?

MARLANTES: I think you will hear some. We had breakfast this morning with Mary Beth Cahill and Tad Devine, and they sort of explained that they want to kind of at the convention set sort of a progression. They want to start with 2000, and then they want it to build so that it ends up looking forward. And they do recognize that the 2000 election was an important thing for Democrats and an upsetting thing for many Democrats, and it's important to recognize that and use that as a touchstone.

COOPER: And yet is there -- is there -- I mean, the word has gone out, we're told to not be too critical, to not be too harsh in rhetoric. Is there a danger, though, there's so many people here who are wearing anti-Bush buttons, not just pro-Kerry buttons but anti- Bush buttons...


COOPER: If this does become a referendum on the incumbent, are they losing potential momentum by not talking tough about Bush?

MARLANTES: I don't think so. I mean, I think that sentiment is so strong that I think they don't have to worry about that at all. I think the Kerry campaign knows that they have the Democratic base energized, and in a way, one of the ironies is that in some ways it's prevented them from really focusing on Kerry, because so much of the attention up to now has been anti-Bush. And so the Kerry campaign wants to use this to really focus on what's positive about him and get people looking forward as opposed to really just criticizing the president.

COOPER: I enjoy your writing. I appreciate you being on the program.

MARLANTES: Thank you very much.

COOPER: Liz Marlantes, thanks very much.

Joe Johns is standing by. We're told he has former Democratic presidential candidate, Howard Dean, with him -- Joe.

JOE JOHNS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Anderson, Howard Dean has gotten something of a rock star welcome here as you walk through the crowd over in the Vermont delegation. Welcome to the convention. I think the first question obviously for you is that the -- a number of people here have been told, we're told, that they should temper their remarks, especially about George Bush, in order to reach the swing voters. Do you think speakers ought to be told to temper their remarks?

HOWARD DEAN, FORMER GOVERNOR OF VERMONT: Well, I think it makes sense to send a positive message here. Everybody knows what George Bush has done to this country: half-trillion-dollar deficits, a war with no understanding of why we're there since the president didn't tell us.

But this convention is an opportunity for John Kerry to tell his story. We know that many Americans would like to change presidents. Now they have to decide they want John Kerry as their president. They got to get to know him first.

JOHNS: Now, you're going to address this convention. Will you temper your remarks about George Bush? And have you vetted your remarks with the Kerry campaign?

DEAN: My remarks were actually written by two former speechwriters of ours, who now are working for the Democratic National Committee. So I didn't have any trouble vetting my remarks.

JOHNS: Are you going to temper your remarks?

DEAN: I'm going to say what I'm going to say, and you're going to have to wait until Tuesday to finds out what that is.

JOHNS: The other question, obviously, you today released your delegates, and tell me a little bit about that. Is there some concern that some delegates who are still fervently Howard Dean will actually want to vote for Howard Dean?

DEAN: The best thing our delegates can do for me is to vote for John Kerry. One of two people is going to be president of the United States, John Kerry or George Bush. I believe that John Kerry would be a far better president, far better in foreign affairs, far better in balancing the budget, bringing jobs back to here.

So I want John Kerry to be president. That's what I asked my delegates to do.

JOHNS: Now, what is going to be your message when you speak to this convention? DEAN: It's going to be about empowerment, not a surprise, about being proud of who we are. The Democratic Party needs a strong message to win, and I think we've got one.

JOHNS: What did you think about John Edwards as a selection?

DEAN: I think it's a great addition. I think he's a great campaigner. He's got a strong populist message. I think he'll be a very strong candidate for vice president.

JOHNS: All right, thank you very much, Dr. Howard Dean. And hopefully we'll see you again. All right, we'll listen to your remarks. Take care.

All right, back to you, Anderson.

COOPER: All right, Joe Johns, thanks very much.

Teresa Heinz Kerry and what happens when push comes to shove it. Next on 360, the potential next first lady tells a columnist how she really feels. We'll talk to the man who made her so angry.

And a little later, party blogger, the gossip on the stars, the convention, and what it takes to get into some of the hottest parties in town. We'll be right back.


COOPER: We are live here at the Fleet Center in Boston. She is outspoken, she is certainly candid and she certainly doesn't shy away from speaking her mind.

But is Teresa Heinz Kerry a help or a hindrance to her husband's presidential ambitions.

That's the question following her blunt on-camera exchange with a conservative columnists.

Some Democrats may fear her off-the-cuff remarks may do more harm than good but in the world of raw politics, sometimes it pays someone exactly how you feel. Take a look.


COOPER (voice-over): Yesterday in front of Democrats from Pennsylvania, Teresa Heinz Kerry called for more civility in politics.

TERESA HEINZ KERRY, SEN. JOHN KERRY'S WIFE: We need to turn back some of the creepy unPennsylvanian and sometimes unAmerican traits that are coming into some of our politics.

COOPER: After the speech an editor from the "Pittsburgh Tribune Review" asked her about the comment.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'm just asking what you said.

HEINZ KERRY: Well, why did you put those words in my mouth?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: But you said something about unAmerican...

HEINZ KERRY: No, I didn't say that. I did not say "activity" or "unAmerican."

Where do you work?

COOPER: Moments later, Teresa Heinz Kerry came back to the editor.

HEINZ KERRY: Are you from the "Tribune Review." Of course. Understandable. You said something I didn't say. Now, shove it.

COOPER: Yes, she said what you thought she said.

Her spokeswoman later explained it was an expression of quote, "sheer frustration aimed at a right-wing rag" but she did not apologize for it.

Nor did Dick Cheney a few weeks ago after he threw the "F" word at Senator Patrick Leahy on the Senate floor. Rather, he went on TV and said he quote, "felt better after I'd had done it." Why don't they apologize? Because experts say candor and spontaneity work in the tightly scripted world of presidential politics.

CARLOS WATSON, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: To the extent that their words come across not simply as foul language but actually as here's someone who's saying what they really think, who's kind of showing their intensity and showing some real passion. That actually can help.

COOPER: Maybe that's why John Kerry did not apologize either.

SEN. JOHN KERRY (D-MA), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: My wife speaks her mind appropriately.

COOPER: In the world of raw politics, foul language is not necessarily foul play.


COOPER: But it is certainly getting a lot of attention tonight. For the record, in her speech, Teresa Heinz Kerry said, quote, "unAmerican traits" not "unAmerican activity."

Joining me now is Colin McNickle, editorial page editor and columnist for the "Pittsburgh Tribune Review." The man who Heinz Kerry told to shove it. Thanks for being with us. Describe the confrontation. We saw it on video. How surprised were you by what went on?

COLIN MCNICKLE, COLUMNIST, "PITTSBURGH TRIBUNE REVIEW": I was taken aback. I had asked her or the purpose of my question was to get a little clarification on what she meant.

COOPER: What did you actually say to her?

MCNICKLE: I said, "what do you mean by unAmerican activity?" She said "unAmerican traits." She said, "I didn't say activity." I said, "well, you said unAmerican what?"

MCNICKLE: She said, "I didn't say activity and I didn't say unAmerican." Which clearly she did. But then she went off, she said I was putting words in her mouth. She actually came back, pushed through the security detail and then told me to shove it.

COOPER: A spokeswoman for her had this to say. I'm going to put it on the screen. "It was a moment of extreme frustration aimed at a right-wing rag that has consistently and purposely misrepresented the facts when reporting on Mrs. Heinz Kerry"

Conservative newspaper, what do you think about this quote?

MCNICKLE: We're a very conservative editorial page (UNINTELLIGIBLE). We're very right down the middle of the road newspaper, very objective on the news pages. What is right wing about seeking clarification on a public figure's comment?

COOPER: Do you think a candidate should apologize? Would you rather see as we're seeing more and more candidates using this language, whether it's off the cuff or prethought out. Is it OK?

MCNICKLE: She's a public figure. I asked the question. She has the right to respond in any way she so desires.

COOPER: We'll leave it there. Colin McNickle, thanks for being with us.

MCNICKLE: Thank you.

COOPER: Well, time to step in the "CROSSFIRE" and talk more about Hillary Clinton, the others who will step up to the podium tonight looking down at the crowd gathered here in the Fleet Center. CNN's "CROSSFIRE" co-hosts Paul Begala and Robert Novak.

Good evening, guys.

Paul, let me start off with you. You just heard Colin McNickle talking about it. What do you think, is this much ado about nothing?

PAUL BEGALA, CO-HOST, "CROSSFIRE": I think it's great. So much of these conventions are so carefully scripted. Here's a woman who speaks her mind, it's somebody who has been annoying her and she let him have it. I think it's fine. I think it's great. It shows some authenticity which sometimes these events lack.

COOPER: Bob, what do you think?

BOB NOVAK, CO-HOST, "CROSSFIRE": I think it's a real problem for the senator. A lot of the Democrats I talked to privately say she's a problem. She's out of control. I think when you have a billion dollars in your pocket, you tend to be a little bit arrogant and I think she has on several occasions said things and I think they ought to keep a pretty tight control over her because this is going to be a close election.

COOPER: Paul, would you agree with that? Is she an asset?

BEGALA: She's an enormous asset. Senator Kerry has a lot of great qualities but he needs to be warmed up a little. He needs to be humanized and Teresa does that for him, and the fact that he fell in love with such a strong outspoken brilliant woman I think speaks very well of him. It's the most important choice he's ever made in his life and I think when the country gets to know Teresa, they're going to fall in love with her because what you see is what you get. She's not one of these plastic, phony Barbie dolls.

NOVAK: Anderson, the Democrats I talked to think that Elizabeth Edwards is just terrific, she's motherly, she's an asset. They are worried to death that Teresa's going to be a train wrecker.

COOPER: Paul, I guess you're talking to different Democrats.

BEGALA: Well, I am a Democrat. I actually know -- Bob, I know does a lot of good reporting, I don't mean to say that. But I used to run campaigns for a living, and I dealt with the spouse who was very outspoken. The country fell in love with her and they won two terms in the White House. I think the same thing is going to happen when this country gets to know Teresa. I just think she's terrific. She's a wonderful woman.

COOPER: Bob -- let's move on to a different subject. Bob, how much do you think tonight in the speeches from Hillary Clinton, from Bill Clinton, from Al Gore in particular are we going to hear about the 2000 election and about the Clinton years?

NOVAK: Well, I think the less the better. I think tonight, as many Monday nights are in the modern political convention is something to get over with. It's not going to help very much. The things that are going to help maybe Senator Obama's keynote address certainly. Appearances by Edwards and Kerry are going to be helpful. Bill Clinton is the past. Jimmy Carter, goodness knows, is the past and we hope Al Gore doesn't go into a rant. I would say that the only future person here is Hillary and that's a future a lot of people are afraid of.

COOPER: Paul, Bill Clinton is the past, it certainly is a past which feels very present tonight here on the floor. Do you think Bob is right?

BEGALA: No, Bob's never right. He's far right, but he's never correct. No, I think What president Clinton's going to want to do is frame up the choice as he does better than anybody on the American political scene. There's a Democratic way to look at things he believes and a Republican way to look at things. And I think that's how he'll frame it up. In a way that benefits John Kerry. Nobody can frame issues better than Bill Clinton.

NOVAK: Anderson, what you've got to remember is that the left wing delegates here are not only the left wing of America, but the left wing of the Democratic party. They're going to love anything that is said but this convention is not directed to those 5,000 people out there. It's directed to the millions and I think they've had enough of Bill Clinton. The polls indicate they don't approve of him as a person.

BEGALA: His approval is 20 points higher than George W. Bush's. So let's repeal the 22nd Amendment and put Clinton back in.

COOPER: And we'll leave it there. Paul Begala and Bob Novak. Good to talk to you guys.

Coming up, the blogs and the bloggers making their presence known in Boston. You don't know what a blog is? Well, you've got to get with it. Next on 360, the inside scoop on a lot of things going on here, getting to the hottest parties from this new breed of journalists -- trying to use that loosely -- covering the convention.

But first today's buzz. What do you think? "Will Bill Clinton's appearance at the Democratic convention help or hurt John Kerry?" Log on to Cast your vote now. Results when we come back.


COOPER: Time to check on some lighter side of convention news and its players in tonight's politically minded "Current." Teresa Heinz Kerry received flack for telling a reporter to shove it, as we've telling you. Political insiders point out Mrs. Kerry could have dropped the "F" bomb but didn't want to step on Dick Cheney's toes.

The Kerry campaign is hoping to mobilized young people this summer. Some Kerry supporters feel his message needs updated to try to grab the youth vote. One suggestion, modifying his campaign theme, a stronger American, to a stronger America fashizzle. There we go.

The number of -- it's all about timing. The number of supplies and equipment is staggering, miles of cable, 4,000 tons of steel, supply of hot air unlimited.

And the big three broadcast networks are limiting coverage to conventions, so they can show more reality TV shows. Next election the networks may be willing to increase coverage provided politicians agree eat bugs, trace (UNINTELLIGIBLE) and undergo extreme makeovers.

Among the 15,000 journalists covering the convention is a new breed of reporter. Filing stories over the Internet, they're bloggers, the crazy, kooky kids and their blogs are offer up a personalized, sometimes off beat, alternative to mainstream media.

Joining us now is blogger Ana Marie Cox and MTV's special correspondent and editor for, thanks for being with us.


COOPER: So, blogging, if you don't know what it is, we don't even need to explain it because you're already lost to the digital age.

What's the big blogging item here these days?

It seems, you're a obsessed with Blackberry these days, everyone has them.

COX: We'll they're the new crack. And it was also really funny, (UNINTELLIGIBLE), it's kind of great because it provides unprotective coloring really, because it let's everyone in Boston know who the real freaks are.

COOPER: Why, because they're readily identifiable.

COX: You can take your credentials off, but it's not like you're going, you know, to quit your Blackberry.

COOPER: Well, I quit Blackberry cold turkey.

COX: You got the Blackberry monkey off your back.

COOPER: I did. It was like methadone, I went to the cellphone.

COX: I just started.

COOPER: Because your. You just become rude to anyone around you.

COX: It's the biggest high.

COOPER: You become totally rude to everyone.

COX: It's true, and you don't even think about it. And what's funny is like, if people have been doing it long enough, they start to do this. And your like, yes, right, go ahead.

COOPER: And how important -- there's no news.

COX: Oh, I think, you know what, I'm not sure about this. Maybe you can tell me, I'm pretty sure people covered politics before there were Blackberries.

COOPER: You'd think?


COX: You know, and the thing is -- it's not like any news happens that fast or you get things done faster with a Blackberry. It's like the only thing you get to do is not talk to people.

COOPER: I've been surprised at how many parties there are at these conventions. I was unaware there's this whole thing, and it seems to be largely about getting into parties for a lot of people.

COX: Well, the think is, like the way you judge a party in Washington is whether or not there's free booze and free food, and all the parties here have free booze an free food. COOPER: So they're all considered good?

COX: Well, no, you have to go to another rubric.

COOPER: Which is?

COX: Who's getting in and how many people can get in. Like, if you just decided -- if you and I decide to make this a party, it would be the hottest party like in here because we'd have two people.

COOPER: I've got to ask you about something you put on, you put a picture of me, I think we have it, comparing me to a little dog, wasn't even my own dog. What was that about.

COX: That's scooter.

COOPER: That's scooter.

COX: You're both very beautiful animals.

COOPER: All right.

COX: Good breeding.

COOPER: You left me -- your leaving me blushing. We're going to leave it here. Ana Marie Cox, well, hope to talk to you later in the week.

COX: Thank you.

COOPER: All right.

Time now for "The Buzz." Early, we asked you will Bill Clinton's appearance at the Democratic Convention help or hurt John Kerry. More than 88,000 of you voted, 69 percent say it will help, 31 percent think it will hurt. Not a scientific poll, but it is your "Buzz" and thanks for voting.

And tonight, taking the convention conch and the advice versa to "The Nth Degree." I'm not big fan of conventional wisdom, conventional meaning unordinary, commonplace, tripe. The conventional wisdom is that nominating conventions, events like this don't really matter. You can prove that by looking around here though, for an event largely dismissed as journalistically unimportant, the Democratic National Convention sure does has a lot of journalists covering it. Three times as many delegates to it. There are local, national and foreign print; people, local, national and foreign TV people; the cable TV people; the radio people; the Internet bloggers, there are even children walking around with press credentials. How they got them, I don't know. For all I know some of the bomb sniffing dogs may also be writing for alternative media outlets, you know sniffing out the news and all.

Do conventions matter -- look that's really up for you to decided. It seems to us in a time of war where Americans and others are fighting and dying for the ideals of democracy spending four days watching a demonstration of democracy is not such a bad thing to do. Getting closer to the prime time portion of the convention. Back in a moment with more.


COOPER: That's it for 360 tonight. I'm Anderson Cooper, thanks very much for joining us for this special edition of 360.

CNN's continuing coverage, though, prime time coverage begins right now with CNN's Wolf Blitzer, Judy Woodruff and Jeff Greenfield. Good to see you guys. Take it away.


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