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JUDY WOODRUFF'S INSIDE POLITICS

Democratic National Convention: Day Three

Aired July 28, 2004 - 15:00   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)
SEN. JOHN KERRY (D-MA), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Thank you, Boston, for an absolutely extraordinary return, a great homecoming.

ANNOUNCER: John Kerry's journey to the Democratic nomination is nearly complete. We're tracking the man and his message and the Republicans who accuse him of veering off course.

John Edwards gets ready for his convention close-up.

ELIZABETH EDWARDS, WIFE OF SENATOR JOHN EDWARDS: He always gets a little nervous. That's what he says. I have never been able to tell it.

ANNOUNCER: Elizabeth Edwards tells Judy about her husband's big speech tonight and much more.

He wowed the crowd. Now, what does Barack Obama do for an encore?

BARACK OBAMA (D), ILLINOIS SENATORIAL CANDIDATE: I actually feel like a guy who has got to get back to Illinois and round up some votes.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

ANNOUNCER: Now, live from Democratic National Convention in Boston, a special edition of JUDY WOODRUFF'S INSIDE POLITICS.

JUDY WOODRUFF, CNN ANCHOR: Thank you for joining us.

Well, with John Kerry's arrival here in Boston, the entire Democratic team is in place for what Kerry is likening to the Super Bowl. Tonight, running mate John Edwards will carry the ball inside this arena when he delivers his convention speech. The party here in Boston gets back under way just about one hour from now.

In addition to Edwards and his wife, Elizabeth, the speakers roster includes several Democrats who had hoped to be in Edwards or Kerry's place on the FleetCenter stage, Senator Kerry saying he looks forward to his turn to speaks to the delegates and the nation tomorrow night. He is resting up right now after what you have to say was a picturesque homecoming rally.

CNN's Frank Buckley joins us from nearby Charlestown -- hi, Frank. FRANK BUCKLEY, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Hi there, Judy.

Those pictures of John Kerry's arrival here in Boston among the images that the campaign would like to place into the minds of voters to remind them of John Kerry's wartime experience, his credentials as a wartime leader. He arrived by boat into a city he knows so well, traveling with 13 fellow Vietnam veterans, most of them swift boat crewmates from Vietnam, the campaign hoping the pictures will help to remind voters of John Kerry's Navy background, his wartime experience, to assure voters who want to know if he can be a wartime president that, yes, he has led men in war in the past; he can lead America as commander in chief.

Kerry arrived to a rally, as you say, here in Charlestown Navy Yard. He spoke to supporters after capping a weeklong trip around the country. Here's what he had to say.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

KERRY: This has been an amazing journey for me over the last few days. The whole thing's been an amazing journey. From the beginning of reaching out to Americans and going into people's homes and having people just share their personal stories and hopes for our nation, nobody can ever properly give the honor due to that privilege, that gift of being able to listen to you and try to translate it into a vision that lifts our country up and takes us to a better place.

This is a gift, but, most importantly, it's a responsibility and a challenge. And it's not one that I bear. It's one that we, all of us together, bear as the privileged citizens of the freest, greatest democracy on the face of this planet.

(APPLAUSE)

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BUCKLEY: The road to Boston for John Kerry took him from, as we were told, his birthplace to the birthplace of America, Boston. So he began in Colorado, his birthplace, and that was one of the bubble states, if you will, one of the states that has gone Republican in the past.

But the Democrats, John Kerry, they've spent some money there, spent some time there. Another state that falls into that category that we went to on this trip, Virginia. Then four key battleground states were also visited, Iowa, Ohio, Florida and Pennsylvania.

Judy, the rest of the day, we're expecting John Kerry to stay in his home here in Boston to rest his voice and to prepare for his speech tomorrow night -- Judy.

WOODRUFF: And that's what everybody is waiting for. All right, Frank Buckley, thanks very much, out on the harbor.

Well, right now, let's get a preview of tonight's main attraction, John Edwards' convention address. CNN's Elaine Quijano is at Edwards' hotel here in Boston -- hello, Elaine.

ELAINE QUIJANO, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Hi there, Judy. From swaying jurors to swinging voters, Senator John Edwards will put his oratorical and political skills to the test tonight.

The senator is actually spending date in his hotel. We are told by aides that he has not left. He is spending some time with his family and putting the finishing touches on that speech. Now, today, he was originally supposed to go to the FleetCenter and just get the lay of the land, do a walk-through there this morning. Instead, though, the senator decided to do that last night around midnight.

He and Mrs. Edwards went up on stage. They stood behind the podium. The senator did a brief mike check. And when asked how it felt to be there, the senator said, it felt great. Now, he is expected to give a three-part speech about John Kerry, about himself, and their vision for the country. Now, according to a senior campaign official, Senator Edwards will mention Iraq, as well as the concept of two Americas, something that is familiar from his primary run, a source also saying that Edwards will not mention by name President Bush or Vice President Dick Cheney.

Again, though, the senator preparing here on what will be a big night for him -- Judy.

WOODRUFF: We're sure. Elaine Quijano in Boston, thanks very much.

Well, Elizabeth Edwards will set the stage for her husband tonight. She's going to be introducing him in his new role as the vice presidential nominee.

I spoke with Mrs. Edwards today and I asked her if she's nervous about her speaking duties.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

E. EDWARDS: I think I have one of the easiest roles because I've got great material to work with.

I'm a little nervous, of course. Walked up on the stage last night to sort of get a look at it. It was a little less intimidating from that perspective actually than it is from this perspective.

WOODRUFF: You're going to be introduced by your daughter, Cate, who I gather just a few minutes ago was hit. What happened?

E. EDWARDS: We were just walking past one of these displays in the FleetCenter, because it's a great athletic center when it's not hosting conventions, and there was a display of hockey lockers and a hockey stick. Just whether someone brushed at her or not I don't know, but it just came and hit her in the side of the face.

So I hope she's -- she's actually -- we saw, as we were walking here, saw a first aid center, so she stopped and is getting some attention.

WOODRUFF: She must be a trooper.

E. EDWARDS: She's a great trooper.

WOODRUFF: Still planning to introduce her mother tonight?

E. EDWARDS: That's right. She hasn't begged off yet.

WOODRUFF: Now, what about your husband? You've already been saying or he's already acknowledged I guess that you've made some comments about the remarks, his speech. Along what lines? Can you tell us?

E. EDWARDS: Well, very little. I heard -- I think it's gone through a few changes, as he's tried to hone it to be the best speech possible. And so I only heard -- I really haven't heard the most recent versions at all. And the first version sometimes I might, you know, say, "Well, you've also said it this way, and I liked it that way better." It hasn't exactly been major tinkering from my perspective.

WOODRUFF: He said he's going to, in a way, talk about the same things, try to recreate what you had in Iowa when he met with small groups, with families. Are we going to be surprised?

E. EDWARDS: I think that John will try to meld a lot of different things. He'll meld the message that he and John Kerry have both had. John spoke about it in one way, and John Kerry spoke about it in another. But he's melding that overall message, overall theme, into a speech that includes what John sees when he looks at John Kerry, somebody he's known for a number of years and has known in close combat for the last year, and then in partnership in the last months, as John worked first to help him across the country, and now as his partner on the ticket.

So he's going to try to meld those things together and introduce the country to both those things and also give some specifics about where it is they want to take the country, so that people know, as they deserve to know.

WOODRUFF: How much anti-Bush?

E. EDWARDS: This is not a campaign strategy. That is not the way John ever presents anything. He might make the contrast, this instead of that, and I don't know, because I haven't seen the last version.

He might say, you know, they want A and B, we want D and E. But he doesn't engage in that kind of personal attack. Never has. He doesn't think people want to hear it. He knows that when he was a listener in this process he didn't want to hear it.

WOODRUFF: Is he nervous at all?

E. EDWARDS: He always gets a little nervous. That's what he says. I've never been able to tell it.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

WOODRUFF: And a quick update on the Edwards' daughter, Cate. As you heard, she hit when a hockey stick fell as they walked through the FleetCenter this morning. But I just checked with the campaign. They say she's doing fine, still plans to introduce her mother tonight.

And we're going to have more of my interview with Elizabeth Edwards a little bit later when she talks about her children and Teresa Heinz Kerry's habit of speaking her mind.

Well, the Democrats may be a heartened by a new poll out today that suggests undecided voters see Senator Kerry as more caring and knowledgeable than President Bush and less reckless, stubborn or arrogant. One of the more significant examples of that in the Annenberg survey, 41 percent of so-called persuadable voters said Kerry cares more about people like me, compared with 27 percent who said that about George W. Bush.

Well, if you took a survey of the convention crowd last night, there seemed little doubt that Barak Obama would get rave reviews. Up next, Obama talks to me about the hoopla over his speech and who his political role models are.

Also ahead, actor Richard Dreyfuss tells me why he's here in Boston and responds to critic of so-called liberal Hollywood.

And a gathering of young Democratic women who have experienced presidential politics as a family affair.

With 97 days until the election, this is INSIDE POLITICS, the place for campaign news.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

WOODRUFF: One of the highlights of last night's convention session was the keynote speech by U.S. Senate candidate Barack Obama of Illinois. It's no exaggeration to say he wowed these delegates.

I talked to him just a short time ago today, and I began by asking if he had heard from Senator Kerry after last night's speech.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

OBAMA: I did. John Kerry actually called last night Teresa Heinz Kerry was very gracious in inviting me into her suite right after I got off, and she was very gracious. And then John Kerry called later in the evening.

WOODRUFF: What did he say?

OBAMA: He said that he was happy with the message that we were delivering at the convention, and he thought I'd made a contribution, which was gratifying.

WOODRUFF: You are what, 42 years old?

OBAMA: I'm 42.

WOODRUFF: Part of the younger generation Democrats. How is your generation different in what it wants and needs from the older generation of Democrats, whether it's Teddy Kennedy or anybody else?

OBAMA: Well, you know, I think there is great consistency in terms of core values, what we want to see happen and what it means to be a Democrat.

I do think that this generation of Democrats, and certainly previous generations that are even younger, are less sharply ideological and I think more practical and looking for common-sense solutions to problems, and willing to experiment in terms of how we accomplish some of these goals.

WOODRUFF: Less liberal?

OBAMA: I'm not sure less liberal, because I think the Republicans have invested a great deal of time, money and effort in making that a dirty word.

What I would say is that we affirm those same values and those ends, but we're more flexible in terms of means.

WOODRUFF: President Bush last week spoke to the Urban League. Among other things, he asked: Is the Democratic Party taking the black vote, the African-American vote for granted? Is the party doing that?

OBAMA: I don't think the Democrats are taking African-American community for granted. I am glad that the president went to the Urban League. I think he should have gone to the NAACP, despite the fact that I understand he probably wouldn't have gotten a lot of votes there. He's the president of all people, and he should address even his critics.

But I want the Republican Party to compete for the African- American vote. I think it's a healthy thing for each party to compete for all votes. The reason, though, that African-Americans have been voting Democratic is because the Democratic Party has offered a platform and an agenda that seems to speak more to the needs of working families.

WOODRUFF: Two quick things.

You, at this point, don't have any opposition in your race for the Senate. Competition tends to make people better. Do you think you'd be better off if you had significant opposition?

OBAMA: Well, keep in mind that we had a brutal primary of seven candidates. Not brutal because it was negative, it wasn't, but very tough competition that required me to slog it out for 18 months from relative obscurity to winning the nomination. So I joke with people: I was David for 16 months, I've been Goliath for one month. And I don't want people thinking that this is sort of an accidental candidacy.

I'm sure the Republicans will come up with a candidate who can articulate their views. And I look forward to the competition. I think that's what Illinois voters deserve, is a healthy debate.

WOODRUFF: Role model in the Senate, if you are elected?

OBAMA: There are so many terrific senators. There are a couple who I would just mention. I am an enormous admirer of Hillary Clinton's because she's a work horse and not a show horse. I think the way that she has won over skeptics, who assumed that she was just a media darling, by just applying herself to the nitty-gritty of legislation is to be greatly admired.

People like Russ Feingold who are willing to stand up for their convictions, even when they're not popular; John McCain on the other side is the same thing. And one of my hopefully future colleagues is our senior Senator Dick Durbin, who is as effective an advocate as anybody out there.

Now, my real role model, though, is Paul Simon, who was a dear friend and mentor. He taught me that you can disagree without being disagreeable. And I think that's a brand of politics that's sorely missed in this slash-and-burn era of partisan bickering.

WOODRUFF: Barack Obama, last night's keynote speaker.

Well, there's no shortage of celebrities in Boston this week. When we come back, an interview with actor Richard Dreyfuss. Plus, they're a fashion statement at every Democratic and Republican Convention. Bruce Morton gives us a look at some of the hats delegates are wearing this week.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

WOODRUFF: Nice picture of the harbor there in Boston.

Well, the stars are out here in Boston as Democrats hold their national convention. Among the Hollywood heavyweights attending the event, actor Richard Dreyfuss.

Earlier, I had the chance to talk with him.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

WOODRUFF: Richard Dreyfuss, what is a successful, phenomenally successful actor, movie star, stage star, doing at a Democratic National Convention?

RICHARD DREYFUSS, ACTOR: I had nothing better to do.

(LAUGHTER) DREYFUSS: I'm a citizen. This is what makes -- gives me my happiness. And it's great. It's been an extraordinary opportunity. And my son could come with me. And so his eyes are popping and having a great time. But it's, you know, the essence of being a good citizen, come and participate.

WOODRUFF: Are you sensitive to this whole discussion about what is Hollywood, what are entertainment people doing involved in politics?

DREYFUSS: Am I sensitive to it?

WOODRUFF: Do you think about it?

DREYFUSS: I laugh at it. I think it's one of the few public debates that only deserves sarcasm.

I wonder what the Republican actors are thinking when -- when liberal actors are told that they should shut up. And I'm wondering what plumbers and teachers are told -- are thinking when they're told that actors should shut up. Actors are citizens like anybody else and it's a kind of silly waste of stupid people's time to think that they should be quiet about being a citizen.

WOODRUFF: Well, the Republicans, as you know, have tried before, and they are going to presumably try again to make an issue out of the fact that liberal Hollywood is associating itself with the Democratic Party.

DREYFUSS: There's a pretty diverse community of liberals and conservatives, Bruce Willis and Kelsey Grammer and Arnold Schwarzenegger, who is governor of California and may be more some day.

And it's not true anymore that there's a monolithic left and a tiny little right. And this is a community that sustains and nurtures "The Passion of Christ." So you can't really say that this is a bunch of lefties anymore.

WOODRUFF: Do you think there is what some people like to refer to as a cultural divide in this country, where you've got, you know, solid mainstream values on one side and something different altogether on the other side?

DREYFUSS: I think that there are two Americas. There always have been. There always probably will be. And it's not as if one is superior to the other, but they are very, very different.

One is loyal to the idea of the nation as an entity south of Canada and north of Mexico to be defended at all costs physically with the lives of our children, if need be. And the other is attached to the idea of America as an idea of representational democracy, which is a place within the mind and less within geography.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

WOODRUFF: Richard Dreyfuss.

And now we're back on the floor. What do you see there? Hmm, some hats. Well, political signs and campaign button are certainly part of the scene at every political convention, but there's another way delegates show off their political pride. They top everything off with a hat.

And, as our Bruce Morton shows us, there's some unique hats here in Boston, some silly and some serious.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Where are you from?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I'm from Georgia.

BRUCE MORTON, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Funny hats? Sure. This is a convention.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We're from North Dakota.

MORTON: But maybe fewer funny hats this time or serious hats like these. Still, there are some classics.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I've had this hat 50 years.

MORTON: Red Lackey (ph) is a Florida delegate. And why not a donkey hat at a Democratic Convention? Still, Lackey's is special.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This donkey is potty-trained. You see here. Watch that. Have a cigarette.

MORTON: Impressive. Still, maybe the boss hatter here is Frances Williams from New Mexico. She was at the Michael Dukakis convention in 1988.

FRANCES WILLIAMS, NEW MEXICO DELEGATE: I made a hat. And I just did it because I was -- thought it would be a great idea. And the hat went to the Smithsonian Museum and it went into the political memorabilia session.

MORTON: So this time, another hat, of course, New Mexico themes to honor her home state. This one, she says, should more than make the Smithsonian, maybe the Boston Museum of Fine Arts?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: And Ohio is going to

(CROSSTALK)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: And Ohio.

MORTON: Ruby Gillum and Sandra Weiser (ph) are having a good Ohio time. But Ruby did have a hat problem when art and security collided, so to speak.

RUBY GILLUM, OHIO DELEGATE: I did have a bottle of ketchup, Heinz ketchup, on here, but they kept it. They wouldn't let me bring it in because it was glass.

MORTON: That happens at this very security conscience convention. Pauline Applegate is a Kentucky delegate with a fine fancy hat, but...

PAULINE APPLEGATE, KENTUCKY DELEGATE: Well, it was much prettier, but I had sticks on my little flags and they told me I could bring them and then they said I couldn't.

MORTON: So Pauline wonders what to do with her stickless flags.

APPLEGATE: I had to take my flags off my hat. But we sure don't want to cause a problem.

MORTON: Oh, the horse, Seabiscuit, of course.

So they're here, the delegates, hats, the man in the plastic green grass skirt.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's a hula skirt from my wife.

MORTON: Who could argue?

And there are no sticks in it. It isn't made of glass. Wear it in good health, sir.

Bruce Morton, CNN, Boston.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

WOODRUFF: All right. Watch out, you Republican delegates. Bruce is going to be coming after you to check out your hats when we get to New York.

But we're not waiting. We're going to hear the GOP point of view next when I talk with strategist Matthew Dowd of the Bush-Cheney campaign.

Also, how did Michael Moore find himself seated with former President Jimmy Carter Monday night? There's more than one version of events.

Plus, the high-profile daughters of Democratic candidates bring a new dimension to the campaign trail.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

WOODRUFF: Welcome back to this special 90-minute edition of INSIDE POLITICS. I'm Judy Woodruff, live again from the floor of the FleetCenter here in Boston. We are about a half an hour away from the start of day three of this Democratic National Convention.

Tonight, vice presidential hopeful John Edwards takes center stage, giving a prime-time address. It is also homecoming day for John Kerry. The senator from Massachusetts arrived here in Boston just a few hours ago. As the Democrats prepare to formally nominate Senator Kerry, Republicans are sticking with their convention week strategy. President Bush remaining out of sight at his Texas ranch, but Vice President Dick Cheney has arrived in Utah, where he's campaigning for a congressional candidate, John Swallow.

When Cheney was presented with a Utah Jazz basketball jersey, we're told that he said, "I'm not sure I should put this on. I might look like John Kerry did in that suit at Cape Canaveral."

Well, for more on the GOP response to this convention and the GOP campaign strategy, I'm joined by Matthew Dowd, senior strategist for the Bush-Cheney campaign.

Matthew Dowd, good to see you again.

MATTHEW DOWD, SENIOR STRATEGIST, BUSH-CHENEY CAMPAIGN: Glad to be here, Judy.

WOODRUFF: Your colleague, Marc Racicot, the chairman of the campaign, told me yesterday the Republicans weren't going to say anything much about that appearance by John Kerry in a spacesuit. But there you go again?

DOWD: I just think, you know, obviously things get a lot of discussion, and I'm sure there will be a lot of comedians talking about it. So, you know, we'd just as soon talk about the agenda and the vision. But I'm sure there will be a ton of discussion about it.

WOODRUFF: Matthew Dowd, last night here at the convention, keynote speaker Barack Obama, as you know, running for the United States Senate seat in Illinois, electrified the delegates here, talked about unity, reached out, talked to -- reached across party lines, talked about Republicans. What did you think?

DOWD: He's an impressive speaker. He's obviously a rising politician in Illinois, and, you know, he's got an election that he's right now favored to win. But, you know, he was -- he's an impressive person -- he's an impressive person. I...

WOODRUFF: But is he on to something, though, when he says -- and I'm just -- a quick quote -- he said -- he said, "The country is not as divided as many claim," and he talked about you can be a patriot even if you oppose the war in Iraq.

DOWD: Oh, I agree with him. I actually think the country is more unified on certain things. There's some political polarization, but I think the country is unified in wanting low taxes and wanting a war on terror that deals with it from a military basis, as opposed to law enforcement.

They want somebody that stands up for -- for family values. I do think that the country -- country is united. I actually think the Democrats are more off on the sort of out of the mainstream side than -- than the rest of the country. But I do think there's some unity in the country about what they want in a president. WOODRUFF: Let me ask you about this video that your campaign is putting out today about John Kerry and his record on the war in Iraq and on national security. You know, the Democrats have come right back, and they put out a 17-page statement arguing -- and I'm quoting them -- they say, "This is just the latest attempt by the Bush-Cheney campaign to distract the voters," a stale old attack by the campaign who, for the life of them, can't find anything positive to say.

DOWD: Well, Judy, I think it's -- find it very interesting, and I think the media should find it interesting that every time we bring up Senator Kerry's record in the Senate, which you haven't heard much of in this convention thus far, and I'll be surprised if you do, or we bring up John Kerry in his own words, they consider that attack. So I think it says more about them, that they don't think discussing their record or discussing what they say is a good thing.

All that -- all that video was was a series of clips of John Kerry. And as generously as you could put it, his evolving position on dealing with the war in Iraq and on Iraq and Saddam Hussein. And I think it tells a lot about somebody that -- that said one thing a number of different times and then reversed himself.

And it's all John Kerry's own words. There's no editorial. It's just laying it out in his own words.

And, you know, I hope as many people as possible see this so they can get sort of an idea of who John Kerry is. But we're not attacking. It's John Kerry's words or John Kerry's record. We're just wanting to present it to the public for them to decide for themselves.

WOODRUFF: Matthew Dowd, just presenting it to the public. Thank you very much.

DOWD: You're welcome. Thanks, Judy.

WOODRUFF: Matthew Dowd a senior strategist for the Bush-Cheney campaign. We'll talk to you again soon.

DOWD: I'd love to. Thank you.

WOODRUFF: We appreciate it.

And now checking the headlines in our "Campaign News Daily," Florida election officials have new questions to address about the integrity of their electronic voting machines. Detailed records from electronic machines used in Miami-Dade County in 2002 were accidentally destroyed last year in turns out in computer crashes. Critics argue the glitches are another reason why a paper printout of ballot choices should be made in case a recount is ever needed.

There's new information about filmmaker Michael Moore sitting next to former President Jimmy Carter and his wife, Rosalynn, on Monday night at this convention. Moore told reporters yesterday, "President Carter invited me to sit with him and his family." But a source close to Carter tells CNN that the seating arrangement was not planned, and that Moore used a convention floor pass to make his way into the seating area, where he sat down next to the Carters.

This saga may not be over.

We mentioned yesterday that this convention was missing the traditional variety of signs printed to honor various convention speakers. Well, that all changed last night. When Senator Edward Kennedy took to the stage, Kennedy signs were everywhere, and customized posters also greeted keynote speaker Barack Obama, as well as Teresa Heinz Kerry.

Joining me right now here on the convention floor, someone familiar to all of you, the Democratic Party's 1972 nominee for president, former United States Senator George McGovern.

Senator McGovern, very good to see you again.

GEORGE MCGOVERN (D), FMR. PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: It's a pleasure to be back with you.

WOODRUFF: It was just, what, 32 years ago this summer that you were doing what John Kerry's going to be doing at a convention in Miami.

MCGOVERN: That's exactly right, 1972. There's going to be a difference this time. I gave my acceptance address at 2:30 in the morning, after practically everybody across the country, except my mother, were asleep.

WOODRUFF: Had gone to sleep.

MCGOVERN: I think that John Kerry will be on in prime time.

WOODRUFF: You, Senator, originally supported General Wesley Clark in the primaries. Are you fully with John Kerry now?

MCGOVERN: I'm fully with John Kerry. I said from the very beginning I would support the nominee of the party. I make no apologies for supporting General Wesley Clark. I think he's a brilliant man, a great military figure, but also a very knowledgeable man. But he's doing everything he can to help John Kerry, and so am I.

WOODRUFF: Senator, when you ran for president, you mentioned 32 years ago, the Republicans were criticizing you and the party of being too liberal. They're still accusing the Democratic Party of being too liberal. Are they going to be able to get away with that argument this year?

MCGOVERN: I don't think so. John Kerry is a moderate liberal. He's not way out in either right field or left field.

WOODRUFF: Well, they say he's got the most liberal record in the U.S. Senate.

MCGOVERN: That's not too bad. I think if I were in this present Senate I would want to be the most liberal member of the Senate. I happen to think that liberalism is the tradition that has been responsible for most of the forward gains in this country.

You know, if I were running this time, I would ask my critics of liberalism, "Which part of the liberal program do you want to repeal, Social Security, Medicare, civil rights? Which part of it do you want to repeal?"

WOODRUFF: What about the argument we just heard from Matthew Dowd, who's, of course, an important strategist in the Bush-Cheney campaign, saying John Kerry has been all over the map on Iraq, that the -- the country doesn't know what to believe about John Kerry's position and what he really thinks?

MCGOVERN: Well, I think his positions will come across loud and clear when he gives his acceptance address. You know, this business about it being a sin to change your mind puzzles me. I think sometimes changing your mind is just a way of saying I'm wiser today than I was yesterday.

George Bush Sr., who happens to be a friend of mine, when Medicare was proposed, he said, "If we approve this, it will destroy the American health care delivery system." He changed his mind. He's now a strong supporter of Medicare. And many times public officials change their mind on issues as they get more information.

WOODRUFF: You started out by mentioning you gave your speech at 2:30, 3:00 in the morning. Any -- any other -- other than doing it earlier in the evening, any other advise for John Kerry?

MCGOVERN: You know, I hope that John Kerry will just get up there tomorrow night and say what he honestly believes, what's in his heart and soul, or in his gut, if you prefer. Say what he thinks is in the best interest of America. I hope John Edwards will do the same thing tonight.

You know, that doesn't always win you an election. It sometimes does win you an election. But even when it doesn't, at least you end up with a clear conscience and the feeling that you've leveled with the voters.

You know that I'm a long-time friend of Bob Dole. We respect each other because each one of us knows the other one is saying what he honestly believes. Even when we differ, we have that assurance.

WOODRUFF: We hear you. Former Democratic nominee for president, George McGovern, it's always good to see you. Thank you very much for stopping by.

MCGOVERN: Thank you, Judy. It's good to be on again.

WOODRUFF: And you're going to be recognized tonight...

MCGOVERN: That's what I understand.

WOODRUFF: ... before these delegates.

MCGOVERN: I get to take a bow. WOODRUFF: We'll be watching.

Well, coming up, it's all in the family here in Boston. I'll explain.

And later, Bill Schneider has noticed something that's missing from this Democrat gathering here in Boston this week.

Plus, a recipe for cookies turns into a batch of controversy.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

WOODRUFF: The adult daughters of John Kerry and John Edwards got some free advice today from two women who know what life can be like when your dad is running on a presidential ticket. Our Kelly Wallace has that story.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: And welcome.

KELLY WALLACE, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Daughters helping daughters on how to cope when your dad's job changes from senator to member of the Democratic ticket.

KARENNA GORE SCHIFF, AL GORE'S DAUGHTER: It can be both an incredible privilege and also a bit of a rollercoaster ride.

WALLACE: And so Karenna and Kristin Gore hosted a brunch for women who are now in their shoes. Vanessa and Alex Kerry...

ALEX KERRY, JOHN KERRY'S DAUGHTER: I'm not sure that Vanessa and I would have such strong voices if they hadn't sort of paved that path.

WALLACE: And Cate Edwards.

CATE EDWARDS, JOHN EDWARDS' DAUGHTER: And obviously they've been through this a number of times, so they've been such a great resource for us, and they've reached out to us. And it's been fantastic.

WALLACE: Tip number one, get ready for life as you know it to change.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Well, it was really intense. And I was 15 in '92. And, you know, it's amazing how quickly things change and all of a sudden the Secret Service are at your tenth grade dance.

WALLACE: And, of course, don't forget to pace yourself.

GORE: It can be very draining when every time you leave your room, there's a camera on you.

WALLACE (on camera): Are you getting used to all these cameras?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: This is definitely a very new experience. WALLACE (voice-over): After all, not every 20-something gets to meet and become friends with Ben Affleck, and has to prepare a speech that will be seen on national television.

(on camera): How much are you thinking about your speeches tomorrow night?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I think I'm in a state of denial. Yesterday I finally -- I was on the -- I was on the rug. I was in the prep room on the floor sort of writing, and I felt like I was in eighth grade again, sort of, "No, that doesn't sound right."

WALLACE (voice-over): Maybe this final piece of advice from women who have done what they're about to do will help.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

WALLACE: And the first to cope with some butterflies tonight, Cate Edwards, who will be introducing her mother just hours from now. Cate Edwards saying this is very exciting, but also very scary. But she says having the Gore and Kerry daughters on her side really helps -- Judy.

WOODRUFF: OK. Kelly Wallace, thanks very much.

Coming up next, grading last night's speeches by Teresa Heinz Kerry and Barack Obama. We'll hear from the "CAPITAL GANG."

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

WOODRUFF: Boy, do we have a treat for you. Two days in a row, the "CAPITAL GANG" gracing our presence on INSIDE POLITICS.

Mark Shields, before I turn it over to you and the gang, I want to hear all of you grade big speeches last night, Teresa Heinz Kerry and Barack Obama.

MARK SHIELDS, "CAPITAL GANG": Well, that's it from Judy Woodruff, our schoolmarm. I'm Mark shields, with Bob Novak, Margaret Carlson, Kate O'Beirne and Al Hunt.

Margaret Carlson, Barack Obama, gangbusters, right?

MARGARET CARLSON, "CAPITAL GANG": You know, you'd like to be different and say no, but there -- it was a flawless speech. It was well written, but it was given better than it was written. There is no way...

SHIELDS: What's your -- what's your grade?

CARLSON: An A+.

SHIELDS: A+.

CARLSON: And on Teresa Heinz it's pass-fail. All you have to do is pass-fail, and she was a little calm, maybe a little too calm. But she passed.

SHIELDS: Bob Novak, Barack Obama, a new star?

BOB NOVAK, "CAPITAL GANG": I give him a B- because it was an excellent oratory, but there was no substance it to. He's an extreme leftist, a member of the legislature. You talk to people in Springfield and they say there's nobody to (ph) elect him. And he just didn't get into substance.

I would say that Mrs. Kerry, I give her a D. I thought -- I don't think she's likable. I think she's a big problem for -- for the nominee.

SHIELDS: Al Hunt, Barack Obama, one of the things Bob objected to, he said, "If there's a senior citizen somewhere who can't pay for her prescription and has to choose between medicine and the rent, that makes my life poorer even if it's not my grandmother because the fundamental belief is that I am my brother's keeper, I am my sister's keeper." Is that leftist?

AL HUNT, "CAPITAL GANG": Bob Novak hates touchy-feely stuff, but touchy-feely, Bob, is America. We care about our brother, we care about our sister. And if Bob Novak is giving those kinds of grades, that means this convention is doing terrific.

Margaret's right, Teresa Heinz at least passed. And as for Obama, the expectations were so high, and he exceeded them. In language that Margaret would understand, it's like saying we're waiting for the next Michael Jackson and he was LeBron James, plus, Margaret.

CARLSON: Oh, good. Now I get it.

SHIELDS: Kate O'Beirne, bring some sanity into this discussion.

HUNT: I didn't get that.

O'BEIRNE: I would give him an A. First, I think for the Democrats it was a sign of real progress.

Let's not forget, in 1992, Jesse Jackson at the convention was comparing Dan Quayle to King Herrod. And last night, Barack Obama, it was a very moderate speech. It couldn't have been delivered by anybody at the Congressional Black Caucus, but he was -- it was well delivered.

He's clearly a real political talent. I think he helped himself. I'm not clear how that speech last night helped John Kerry.

SHIELDS: I agree with Kate O'Beirne. I think he is so good he could probably go to an avant garde club in Illinois and still win that Senate seat.

But let's -- what has to happen tonight? I mean, John Edwards has made his career talking to small groups of 12 people in a jury room in quiet. Can he talk to this bedlam here tonight and be a hit? NOVAK: Well, where he got to be a hit in Iowa was -- was really class struggle populism. He was talking about two Americas.

There are not two Americas. And that's -- people who think there are two Americas are in a minority. Everybody's going to be watching if he can step up with something interesting and inspiring which is not demagogic.

CARLSON: Listen, Bob. The other America is cleaning your room today and her husband is probably working two jobs. And that's the other America he's talking about. It's not a class struggle.

And, you know, John Edwards has performed before a big group. The expectations of him are fairly high because he's done it before, and he will do it again.

O'BEIRNE: Look, George Bush has a big lead on strong leader and big lead on keeping America safe. So the number one priority here is to boost national security credentials of John Kerry, because they have such a traditional deficit, the Democrats. The second aim here is to change the subject from national security, and I think John Edwards' job tonight is to change the subject.

SHIELDS: Change the subject.

HUNT: Listen, John Edwards -- you know, not only is there another America, Bob, that's cleaning your room, but they're also taking care of your vacation home. Believe it or not, most welders and librarians don't have things like that.

I think John Edwards, Mark, it doesn't matter what he does for the hall, really. It's what he does to that viewing audience out there. I think he'll be terrific. But I'll tell you one thing, his speech, there's two words that are not going to be in his speech, "Bush" and "Cheney."

NOVAK: You know, I'll tell you...

(CROSSTALK)

NOVAK: ... I get nauseated...

HUNT: Wait a minute, Bob. Bob, it will be in very sharp contrast to Dick Cheney's speech four years ago.

O'BEIRNE: There are a lot of words: gay marriage, abortion. A lot is not going to be in that speech.

SHIELDS: Let me say -- let me just say, I think the Democrats have laid the predicate the last two nights who they are, what they believe, what they've stood for. I think they've got to move it to the future. I think that really -- I think that's what Edwards...

(CROSSTALK)

NOVAK: I've got to say, I get nauseated by multimillionaires talking about the class struggle, whether they're politicians or members of the "CAPITAL GANG."

SHIELDS: Well, I would say this, Bob, that class...

O'BEIRNE: Then we're OK, Margaret.

CARLSON: Yes.

SHIELDS: This is a hell of a class war election because the class of 1966 at Yale against the class of 1969 at Yale...

(CROSSTALK)

SHIELDS: I will say this about Teresa Heinz, my wife cautioned me afterwards, when she made the point that Teresa Heinz drove home, that next time a woman is not called opinionated. When was the last time a man was called opinionated? And that was something I had overlooked in a man.

CARLSON: Right on, sister.

NOVAK: In the first place, I don't believe these candidate's wives have any place in the convention at all.

SHIELDS: Thank you, Bob. That's the spirit.

CARLSON: Opinionated Bob.

SHIELDS: (UNINTELLIGIBLE) lives.

Judy, back to you.

WOODRUFF: Well, happy or nauseated, we're always happy to hear from the "CAPITAL GANG."

And we've been talking a lot about the speakers at this convention, no shortage of speakers. But Bill Schneider has been listening closely. He's found something interesting that has not been said.

Also ahead, I'm going to visit a (UNINTELLIGIBLE) state that hasn't gone Democratic since LBJ was in the White House.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

ANNOUNCER: A Beantown homecoming for John Kerry. But tonight, the spotlight shines on his running mate. What will John Edwards say in his prime-time speech?

ELIZABETH EDWARDS, JOHN EDWARDS' WIFE: I think that he -- that John will try to meld a lot of different things.

ANNOUNCER: Point.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's hard to tell what their policy is. Maybe by Thursday night, when Senator Kerry takes the stage, we'll know or he'll know.

ANNOUNCER: Counterpoint.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We put together a video that goes through the Bush statements in his own words, that have led to the erosion in his credibility with the country.

ANNOUNCER: Spinning the spin. Both parties are playing the game.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

ANNOUNCER: Now, live from the Democratic National Convention in Boston, a special edition of JUDY WOODRUFF'S INSIDE POLITICS.

WOODRUFF: Welcome back to the FleetCenter, as the Democrats are about to start the third day of their John Kerry love-fest. Well, we don't expect the almost nominee to be here in the hall, but he is in this convention city now, and no doubt his TV will be on tonight to watch the parade of speakers, headlined by his running mate, John Edwards.

Other featured Democrats include Edwards and Kerry's former presidential rivals, Bob Graham, Dennis Kucinich and Al Sharpton. John Edwards, we know, is a polished and effective speaker. But Americans will be assessing him tonight on what he says, as well as how well he says it. Our John King is on the convention floor with a preview.

John, what are you learning?

JOHN KING, CNN SR. WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Well, Judy, Kerry aides tell us that Senator Edwards tonight wants to continue the Kerry campaign theme, which they say to draw contrast, not blood, with the Bush administration at this convention. Senator Edwards has put the finishing touches on his speech today. We're told it ran more than 30 drafts. They're obviously testing a bit of music for tonight now.

We're down here in the North Carolina delegation -- prime real estate on the convention floor and a key hotbed of activity tonight. We're told Senator Edwards, in his speech, will not mention either President Bush or Vice President Cheney by name. They do not want to do that. But he will draw some sharp contrasts.

We are told he will focus a bit on the economy and tax cuts and say a Kerry/Edwards administration would be very different, especially for lower and middle class Americans. And he also will spend some time, we are told, rebutting the Bush administration policy on Iraq.

And that is the particularly delicate balance for this Kerry/Edwards ticket, because of course, both senators voted to give the president the authority to go to war in Iraq, what they now say, Judy, is a key theme in this convention. And this night of this conviction, they say Mr. Bush mismanaged the war, that they gave him the permission to wait. WOODRUFF: All right. And John, before I come back to you, I want to say that the convention is open for the third day in a row on time, 4:00 Eastern time. We give them a little credit, at least, for being on time. That's Bill Richardson, the governor of New Mexico, the chairman of this convention.

John, as we listen, let me ask you: How does what John Edwards say tonight set up what John Kerry is going to say tomorrow night?

KING: Well, everything said at this convention is designed to build toward Senator Kerry's speech tomorrow night, and almost everything said at this convention is meant to deal with what the Kerry campaign concedes is its biggest hill right now, if you will.

You see the words stronger America everywhere in this hall. If you look at the polling, the American people think that the war in Iraq, the situation in Iraq has gone south. They are worried about it, believe increasingly that the war was not justified.

And yet, even though they do not like what they see in Iraq, President Bush still has a significant 10 to 12 points in most polls, advantage over Senator Kerry. When it's asked who would best handle the situation in Iraq, President Bush also has an even bigger advantage -- 18 points in our most recent CNN poll -- when the voters were asked who did they trust to handle the war on terrorism.

For this Democratic ticket to beat an incumbent president in the middle of a war, they know they must overcome that credibility test. That is the big challenge at this convention. Senator Edwards will address it tonight and, of course, that is Senator Kerry's big challenge, Judy -- the biggest challenge when he speaks tomorrow night.

WOODRUFF: No question about it. John King, on the convention floor, where he will be tonight, all day tomorrow, and tomorrow night. John, thank you.

KING: Thank you.

WOODRUFF: As for John Kerry, he is at his home in Boston right now after returning to the city with a good deal of fanfare. He cruised into Boston Harbor with the swift boat crewmates from the Vietnam war at his side. Then, he worked to whip up an audience for his running mate's convention speech and for his own.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEN. JOHN KERRY (D-MA), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Tonight, you're going to hear from John Edwards, and I'm -- I can't tell you how much I'm looking forward to my opportunity, a little more than 24 hours from now, to share with you and all of America a vision for how we're going to make this country stronger at home and respected in the world.

That's exactly what we're going to do.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

WOODRUFF: You won't be surprised to know that Kerry and his party are being very careful about the vision of America they present at this convention.

Let's bring in our senior political analyst, Bill Schneider -- Bill?

BILL SCHNEIDER, CNN SR. POLITICAL ANALYST: Well, you know, what's interesting about this convention is not just what's being said, it's also what's not being said.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

(voice-over): This is the first political convention since 9/11. Security is pervasive.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Well, I think the police and others are very much on guard. We're being asked to show our identification everywhere we go.

SCHNEIDER: The Bush administration is continuing to issue strong warnings.

JOHN ASHCROFT, ATTORNEY GENERAL: The extremist terrorist al Qaeda is determined to hit the United States. I believe they have a plan to hit the United States again this year.

SCHNEIDER: Democrats call it fear mongering.

REP. NANCY PELOSI (D-CA), MINORITY LEADER: If the administration has information to that extent, they should immediately share it with Congress or stop the fear mongering.

SCHNEIDER: Fear does not seem to be pervasive at this convention.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Nothing's going to happen. It's going to be great.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I think there's been a lot of hype about it, and I think it's going to be overrated.

SCHNEIDER: In fact, the convention speakers have made a point of playing down the fear factor.

TERESA HEINZ KERRY, WIFE OF SEN. JOHN KERRY: John believes that we can and we must lead the world as America unique among nations, always should, by showing the face not of its fears, but of our hopes.

SCHNEIDER: Democrats accuse the Bush administration of spreading fear in order to gain political advantage, something they say John Kerry would not do.

SEN. EDWARD KENNEDY (D), MASSACHUSETTS: He knows that a true leader inspires hope and vanquishes fear. This administration does neither. Instead, it brings fear.

SCHNEIDER: If the Democratic convention is downplaying the fear factor, you can be sure the Republican convention will not.

Want a preview?

DICK CHENEY, VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: If terrorists get their hands on that deadly technology, there can be no doubt they will inflict catastrophic damage on America and our allies.

SCHNEIDER: We know what the message of the GOP convention will be...

CHENEY: Terrorist attacks are not caused by the use of strength. They are invited by the perception of weakness.

SCHNEIDER: ... and how that message will be received by some voters.

BERNARD KERIK, FMR. NYC POLICE COMMISSIONER: I fear another attack, and I fear that attack with a John Kerry, Senator Kerry being in office responding to it.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

SCHNEIDER (on camera): Republicans will say what world are the Democrats living in? The Republicans will say they live in the real world, where fear is not a political issue, it's a fact of life.

WOODRUFF: Bill Schneider, thank you very much.

And we're going to close out by listening to the remainder of the National Anthem.

SABRINE STAPLES (ph): ... that our flag was still there. O say, does that star-spangled banner yet wave o'er the land of the free and the home of the brave?

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

WOODRUFF: Beautiful rendition by Sabrine Staples as this convention gets underway, its third day in session.

Well, John Kerry's wife, Teresa, promised last night that no one would defend the nation more vigorously than her husband. Tonight, Elizabeth Edwards has her turn at the podium.

In my interview today with the prospective Second Lady, I asked her if Mrs. Kerry's acknowledged outspokenness would inevitably keep getting her into trouble.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

E. EDWARDS: I think trouble's, you know, sort of the wrong word. I think that we have been -- that there is no sort of model for First Lady and that the modern woman is a woman who is well-informed, who is intelligent, who cares about the direction the country is going and who -- at least in my hometown -- the people at the PTA, you know, express their opinion about what they want.

And Teresa is just a great example of exactly the same thing, except that she's better informed than most people in this country because she's been so involved in the important issues that create a better country for us.

WOODRUFF: She talked a little bit about a double standard for women, about women when they're opinionated -- they're being -- they're called opinionated when they're simply well-informed.

Is there a double standard for women out on the campaign trail? You've been doing this now for many months.

E. EDWARDS: There might be a double standard, but I have to say that we make an advantage of that. I think that you all go easier on us, which is great. So, you know, I have to say I'm willing to take that part of the double standard.

WOODRUFF: It's been a long time since the American people saw young children out on the campaign trail...

E. EDWARDS: Yes.

WOODRUFF: ... like Jack and Emma Claire, age four and six.

E. EDWARDS: Yes, you got it right.

WOODRUFF: What's that like? You can't script children that age. How does that work? How does it work?

E. EDWARDS: Well, I mean, you try to do the best that you can to prepare them for what they're going to see so that, you know, they're not surprised. I have a very precocious four-year-old who loves people and loves the crowd and will -- you know, will wave to people and speak to people and wants to hold up the sign and a slightly shyer six-year-old who doesn't want to be left behind by her little brother.

So, what you just have to do is prepare them and hope that you've, you know, taught them a little bit of manners. That doesn't mean that they won't occasionally take the cheeseheads they've been given by the staff and headbutt one another. You do get that -- yes, that's right, and you -- you know, you try to sort of stand between them so they don't knock one another down, but they're children.

WOODRUFF: Is there any downside to having them out traveling with you?

E. EDWARDS: No. I mean, you know,the truth is they travel with us, at times people don't see them. I think, you know, we try to have them be at events where it's -- the whole family is gathered, because that's a great opportunity for them -- for people to see these men in their complete roles.

You know, because I think when people are looking for leaders, they're looking for a lot of things. Some of them are policies that are attentive to the issues in their life, but some are atmospheric things that are hard to judge.

If he's a father, is he a good father? If he's a husband, is he a good husband? If he's a man of faith, that's part of the equation. They want to know about the complete person, because that tells, just like in normal human relations, it tells you a lot about a person.

WOODRUFF: Another question about your family: Before you and the family left Raleigh, North Carolina, your home, yesterday, you visited the gravesite of your son Wade. Is there a special connection here given what's going on this week?

E. EDWARDS: These events are some ways bittersweet to us because we wished that Wade were here sharing them with us, but visiting the grave was just something that we do when we're home. And since we're home less frequently now, of course, we wanted to make certain that we did that. So that was just a trip any parent in our position would have taken.

WOODRUFF: Make it any harder on what you're doing this week, does it?

E. EDWARDS: It doesn't change. It's the same degree of hard no matter what you're doing, but we try to know that what we're doing is something he'd be proud of.

WOODRUFF: One last question. The Kerry-Edwards campaign calls you a tremendous asset.

E. EDWARDS: That's nice.

WOODRUFF: So, secret weapon, in a way. So, where are you going to be campaigning? Are you going to be campaigning with your own schedule? I mean, how much are you going to be doing?

E. EDWARDS: I don't -- I mean, this is such an important election that I have expressed my willingness to do whatever I need to do to get this ticket elected in November. And I don't know where I'll be.

I mean, I suspect because I have so many family ties in Florida and since Florida is -- or is expected to be a crucial state that I will spend some time in Florida. That's where I was born, but I expect to spend some time campaigning with Teresa. Sometimes, perhaps all four of us. And if I go out alone then that's great, too. I'll do whatever this campaign asks me to do because it is so important.

WOODRUFF: All over the country?

E. EDWARDS: All over the country.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

WOODRUFF: Elizabeth Edwards. We'll be seeing her tonight. She'll be introducing her husband in primetime. A quick glance up at the podium now. This third day of the Democratic Convention has gotten under way. This is one of the nine Democratic senator -- women Democratic senators, Mary Landrieu of Louisiana.

SEN. MARY LANDRIEU (D), LOUISIANA: I am also proud that just in the few hours we are going to nominate a vice presidential candidate.

WOODRUFF: Coming up next, one of our favorites, veteran journalist Jack Germond joins me to share his thoughts on the convention.

Also inside the Democrats' media operation as they work to refute the Republican response to their convention message: the oppo oppo.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

WOODRUFF: We've heard a lot about what the Republicans like to call their "rapid response operation" here in Boston designed to counter the Democrats' convention message. Well, as our Dana Bash reports, it was just a matter of time before the Democrats organized a team to respond to the GOP response.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

DANA BASH, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Day three of the Democrats' convention, day three of the GOP rebuttal. Today, national security.

SEN. SAXBY CHAMBLISS (R), GEORGIA: There were 49 public hearings held by the intelligence committee. John Kerry was absent at 38.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We have to continue the war against terror. The person to get us there is President Bush.

BASH: Across town, Democrats are in their own war room, watching Republicans in real-time, preparing to fire right back.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: So we're sort of countering the counter- response which is something a little new.

BASH: Today's main point of convention, Republicans release an 11-minute video they say illustrates Senator Kerry shifting positions on Iraq.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP FROM "HARDBALL")

CHRIS MATTHEWS, HOST, "HARDBALL": Are you one of the anti-war candidates?

KERRY: I am -- yes.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We prepared a rapid response. We were up until 3:00 in the morning drinking Red Bull.

BASH: They won't reveal how, but Democrats got the tape in the wee hours of the morning and prepared a document they say shows the GOP video takes their candidate out of context.

(on camera): You got a copy of their ad seven hours before -- eight hours before it came out.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes. So it allowed us to really put together a very tight response to their thing before they even got a chance to put it out.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: This is basically control central.

BASH (voice-over): It's not just defense here, after all, this is their convention and these staffers are making sure the Democrats' message is actually getting out like a group of generals endorsing their guy.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We'll walk through with all of the networks why this is unprecedented.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

BASH: And the main event, of course, for the Democrats tonight, as we've been hearing, is John Edwards. He made his name as the optimistic candidate. Republicans are already trying to debunk the idea that he'll help set a positive tone. Judy, one GOP senator saying at their spin session this morning, just because it's said with a smile doesn't mean it's not an attack.

WOODRUFF: Hmm. OK. We'll see what they have to say tomorrow, Dana, thanks very much. The opposition to the opposition.

Well, he has watched history unfold in the political arena. When we return, a live interview with veteran political columnist Jack Germond.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

WOODRUFF: Political columnist Jack Germond has covered every national election since 1960. He's out with a new book, "Fat Men Fed Up. How American Politics Went Bad."

Jack Germond, welcome. We're not going to talk about the book. I want to ask you about this convention. The Democrats, have you ever seen them this united?

JACK GERMOND, POLITICAL COLUMNIST: I've never seen a situation where either party was as intensely committed to driving out the other people and the intention is very obvious here.

WOODRUFF: Is the job getting done for John Kerry so far at this convention?

GERMOND: I think so. Bill Clinton even gave an unselfish speech which is really unusual and he made a joke at his own expense. That's getting on board.

WOODRUFF: Who has done well, Jack Germond, as a speaker? GERMOND: The Senate candidate of Illinois, obviously was the star.

WOODRUFF: Barack Obama.

GERMOND: And I thought Clinton gave a good speech. I thought Jimmy Carter gave an excellent speech, but I have a soft spot for Carter, I guess.

WOODRUFF: Anybody bomb? Anybody done worse than expected?

GERMOND: No. There's a lot of (UNINTELLIGIBLE) but my eyes glazed over so I couldn't see.

WOODRUFF: You write, Jack Germond, in this book among other things about how the media has sort of dumbed down the political process. Do you see that going on at this convention?

GERMOND: It goes on everywhere. We take all these minor stories and we try to make them -- they had the story about Teresa Heinz telling a guy from a state newspaper to shove it. Big deal. It was not a regular legitimate newspaper man. He was trying to sandbag her, she told him to shove it. Good. It's not a four-day story. The republic is not going to collapse.

WOODRUFF: You didn't think it was worthy of all the coverage that it got. Jack Germond, what are you going to be looking for from here on out from tonight and tomorrow night?

GERMOND: I know -- like everybody else, I think John Kerry is in a position to win the election but he hasn't closed the deal yet.

He has to make people feel comfortable with him. He has to show a little of himself. I want to see if he can do that.

When you're running against an incumbent president, you're asking people to take a little bit of a risk and Kerry's doing that and he's got to show that he's a comfortable candidate to support and that's what we'll look for.

WOODRUFF: Do you think he can do it? Do you have a gut feeling about it?

GERMOND: I think he can because he has in the past. He had a great solid campaign here that did well in 1996. (UNINTELLIGIBLE). He was way behind, came on, he learned. I think he's quite capable of it. We'll see.

WOODRUFF: Jack Germond, it's terrific to see you. The latest book, "FAT MAN FED Up." It's a good book. You've got to go out and buy it.

Before we leave, let's take you quickly up to the podium, Senator Maria Cantwell, another of the nine Democratic women senators, she hails from the state of Washington as this convention gets underway on day three. John Kerry had a little trouble in last February's Virginia primary, racking up 51 percent of the vote, but this November is more of a challenge. In a minute I'm going to visit the delegation from a state that has gone Democratic only once in more than 50 years.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

WOODRUFF: The last Democratic presidential candidate to win the state of Virginia was Lyndon Johnson back in 1964. In 2000 the Old Dominion went to George W. Bush over Al Gore by 52 to 44 percent. I'm here with one of Virginia's delegates. She is Yvonne Miller, a state senator. You're from Norfolk. Is this a completely uphill climb for John Kerry?

YVONNE MILLER, VIRGINIA DELEGATE: Not really. There are a lot of people in Virginia who are very unhappy with the current leader of our country because of many of the problems we're having with our military people seeking help healthcare, because of the fact that many families are suffering unnecessary pain, because education is underfunded although we're winning the name game about No Child Left Behind. It costs money and we aren't putting the money there. There are a lot of people who want...

WOODRUFF: But it hasn't gone Democratic since 1964.

MILLER: But I'm a teacher. I believe in miracles and we plan to educate the people about how we can change things in Virginia. Remember, they said our governor couldn't win. He won.

WOODRUFF: Yvonne Miller who was a delegate from the state of Virginia, from Norfolk. Very good to see you. Thank you for talking with me.

MILLER: And thank you so much.

BLITZER: Well, that's it for INSIDE POLITICS. I'm Judy Woodruff. Hope to see you right back here 8:00 tonight. I'll be with Wolf Blitzer as our coverage of tonight's session of the Democratic National Convention gets underway. Have a good afternoon. "CROSSFIRE" right now.

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