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Democratic National Convention -- Day Four

Aired July 29, 2004 - 15:00   ET


ANNOUNCER: John Kerry takes center stage in Boston. What does he need to say to voters tonight? And can he pull it off?

SEN. JOHN EDWARDS (D-NC), VICE PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I can't tell you how excited I am about hearing tonight from the next president of the United States, President John Kerry.


ANNOUNCER: John Edwards' great expectations. How are convention watchers rating his performance at the podium?

RUDOLPH GIULIANI (R), FMR. MAYOR OF NEW YORK: I think this is an extreme makeover of two candidates, John Edwards and John Kerry.

ANNOUNCER: Republicans roll out big guns to echo the party line about the Democratic ticket.


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, as they kick off day four of this Democratic National Convention, just finishing the national anthem.

As you know, for three afternoons and evenings already, this hall has been filled with talk about John Kerry. Tonight, the Democratic presidential nominee gets to speak for himself. And it doesn't take a political pundit to understand that Kerry will have a once-in-a- campaign opportunity to appeal at length to voters in his own words and on his own terms.

Among the other featured speakers tonight, Kerry's children will show his softer side, we assume. And several former colleagues and rivals will be on hand to portray him as a strong commander in chief.

And look for a nine-minute film on Kerry's life to be shown in prime time. None other than Steven Spielberg had a hand in the production narrated by actor Morgan Freeman.

Let's get a preview now of Kerry's speech and find out how he's been spending his day.

CNN's Frank Buckley is here in Boston.

Hello again, Frank.


We're told that John Kerry has been spending the day relaxing, spending some time with family and practicing his speech. We know earlier today he stopped by the FleetCenter to conduct a technical walk-through, a rehearsal of how it's going to be when he appears there to deliver his speech.

We couldn't hear it in the hall, but some of the pool reporters who were standing nearby heard John Kerry joke with reporters, saying, members of the fourth estate, I have called you here to tell that you your reign is over, obviously not what Senator Kerry is going to be talking about tonight.

He is scheduled to deliver what a campaign adviser described as a very personal speech that comes from the gut. He will talk about what he wants to do for the country if he is elected. His life story will be told. Major themes to be covered include family, values, security. It is going to be a positive and optimistic speech, we are told, in terms of its tone.

Now, after this speech, he is expected to attend a Boston Pops concert and fireworks display this evening here in Boston. And then tomorrow, with Senator John Edwards, they will embark on a coast-to- coast journey that begins with the first three states of Pennsylvania, West Virginia, and Ohio. By the time it's over, a couple of weeks later, they will have traveled across 21 states, 3,500 miles, using planes, trains, automobiles and buses -- Judy.

WOODRUFF: Frank Buckley with the nominee who is in Boston and at his home waiting for tonight.

Well, we've been hearing about John Kerry's swift boat crewmates from Vietnam and how they're going to be featured prominently on stage tonight, as they have been throughout this campaign.

CNN's Bruce Morton has been talking with veterans about Kerry.


BRUCE MORTON, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): They were with him when he got here. They are with him everywhere, the band of brothers, the veterans, especially the Vietnam vets who shared his war, vets like Jim Rassmann, blown out of his boat in Vietnam whose life Kerry saved.

JIM RASSMANN, VIETNAM VETERAN: The fifth time I came up for air, the cavalry was coming back around a bend in a river to the rescue. And John's boat driver ran over me and I grabbed a hold of a cargo net over the bow of the boat and started to muscle up, but it was too steep. I couldn't get over the lip.

All this time, we were under intense fire. And John took it upon himself, wounded, to come up to the bow and expose himself to fire and he helped me over that bow. And I was saved.

MORTON: And there are veterans for him here, of course, from Vietnam and other wars.

CAPT. DAVID HARRIS, IRAQ WAR VETERAN: I don't think it had any overwhelming degree of whether I got involved or not. I would have supported him no matter what. But being that he's a veteran, that just makes him even better to me. He knows what I've gone through.

BILL GONZALES, KOREAN WAR VETERAN: What we've got now is a commander in thief. Now what we need is a commander in chief.

MORTON: The four Bolanos brothers all served in Vietnam and all survived. Two are delegates.

RICK BOLANOS, VIETNAM VETERAN: I think that John Kerry's experiences were forged in the cauldrons of combat. And because of that, we have a kinship with him. We know that he's a leader. We know that he's a patriot and he answered his country's call, the same way the four brothers and I did.

MORTON: These are Kerry backers, of course. Other Vietnam veterans, including some who served with him, challenge his record and oppose him. A CNN/"USA Today"/Gallup poll taken last May showed President Bush leading among vets, Kerry among non-vets. But he's with friends here.

HARRIS: Yes, I'm willing to give him the support that he needs to get him elected and give him a chance to make the United States united again. We need the money that we're spending over in Iraq here in our homeland.

MORTON: And President Bush?

BOLANOS: The most indefensible moral travesty is when you have a president of the United States who owes the United States a duty of probity, a duty of honesty and a duty of truthfulness, and George Bush hasn't done that.


MORTON: The band of brothers, powerful enough to elect their brother? We'll find out.

Bruce Morton, CNN, Boston.


WOODRUFF: Another Vietnam War hero, former Senator Max Cleland of Georgia, introduces John Kerry tonight. I'll talk with him a little later on INSIDE POLITICS.

Well, when Senator Kerry gives his speech tonight, some Republicans may be listening even more closely than a lot of Democrats. They are part of the GOP rapid response team, literally counting every second convention speakers criticize President Bush. CNN's Dana Bash tells us who earned the distinction of trying to be -- trying to counter Kerry's big night.


ED GILLESPIE, REPUBLICAN NATIONAL COMMITTEE CHAIRMAN: Please welcome America's mayor, the honorable Rudy Giuliani.


DANA BASH, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): GOP spinners saved this one for last, the popular politician on the front lines of 9/11, saying John Kerry's not up to the challenge.

GIULIANI: What we need is a strong, principled leader who is going to stand up for what is needed when it is popular and when it is unpopular. And that's President George Bush.

BASH: Oh, and he got the talking point on the Democrats' convention speeches too.

GIULIANI: Reinvention convention.

BASH: Also in the GOP lineup, someone who knows what it's like to run against the Democratic nominee.

WILLIAM WELD (R), FMR. MASSACHUSETTS GOVERNOR: He can be a master at the art of changing the subject.

BASH: Bill Weld lost a close 1996 race for Kerry's Senate seat. He coined a new phrase for what team Bush calls Kerry's flip-flops.

WELD: I would call analysis paralysis, seeing so many sides of an issue that it's difficult to make a decision and get on with it, which is something in government sometimes you simply have to do.

BASH: But Weld had a warning for Mr. Bush too. He had eight high-profile debates with Senator Kerry and says he's hard to pin down, hard to beat.

WELD: Nobody better and the senator is very articulate. I think it's an uphill fight against John Kerry in a televised debate.

BASH: Before the fall debates, though, Republicans will hold their convention. Giuliani and other moderates will have the spotlight. So given the president's recent appeal to cultural conservatives, look for Democrats to throw Republicans extreme makeover line right back at them.

GIULIANI: I haven't had a makeover.


GIULIANI: No makeover. I'll be the same as I've always been. And so will -- and so will all the speakers. It will show the broad range of the Republican Party. (END VIDEOTAPE)

BASH: Democrats, of course, have their own spin machine here. They say that Weld was simply trying to lower expectations for the president.

And as for Mr. Bush, he is back on the campaign trail tomorrow. We are also told he is expected perhaps as early as tomorrow to unveil his ideas for how to reform the intelligence community. Aides say that that could track largely with what the 9/11 Commission has recommended -- Judy.

WOODRUFF: And we're going to be expecting to hear something from John Kerry on that tonight as well.

Dana, thank you very much.

WOODRUFF: We also talked with Bill Weld today a little more on some of the themes that you picked up when you talked to him.

Dana Bash, thanks very much.


WOODRUFF: Well, President Bush, just heard about him. He is wrapping up a weeklong stay at his Texas ranch before returning to the campaign trail tomorrow, just in time to compete with John Kerry's post-convention tour.

Today, Bush led a video conference meeting with aides back at the White House on the 9/11 Commission's report, as Dana was just telling us, and ways to carry out some of its recommendations. He's also giving interviews to TV advice giver Dr. Phil and the outdoor magazine "Field and Stream." Vice President Cheney enjoying down time back home in Wyoming today.

Well, John Kerry's journey to the presidential nomination should have begun with a warning to fasten his seat belt. Coming up, we'll revisit the highs, the lows and the lulls of the Kerry campaign to this point.

Plus, it hasn't exactly been hell on wheels. We'll update you on the protest scene in Boston.

And next, a Democratic rising star from a largely Republican state, Governor Kathleen Sebelius.

With 96 days until the election, this is INSIDE POLITICS, the place for campaign news.


WOODRUFF: Joining me now, a woman considered one of the Democrat's rising stars.

Governor Kathleen Sebelius leads the largely Republican state of Kansas, which hasn't gone for a Democratic presidential candidate since Lyndon Johnson in 1964.

It's been a long time ago. Is Kansas feeling a little out of it at this convention, since you haven't voted Democratic in so long?

GOV. KATHLEEN SEBELIUS (D), KANSAS: Well, I think that Kansans respond often to the person. I wouldn't be elected if people just went on party registration. They're listening to what the views are, what the vision is, and they're interested in a candidate they can relate to. I think John Kerry and John Edwards will play very well in Kansas.

WOODRUFF: How well do you think they'll do? George W. Bush did very well there four years ago.

SEBELIUS: Well, I'm not guaranteeing that Kansas can be delivered for the Kerry-Edwards ticket.

But I think -- I'm very comfortable that this is a ticket who will resonate with the views and values of Kansas voters.

WOODRUFF: Governor Sebelius, are you not new to conventions or certainly to politics. You're the daughter of the late John Gilligan, who was the governor of...

SEBELIUS: Oh, he's very much still alive.

WOODRUFF: I'm sorry.



WOODRUFF: He's alive. My mistake. My mistake.

John Gilligan, who was the governor of Ohio.


WOODRUFF: So you've been coming to Democratic events, Democratic Conventions, I assume, for a long time. How does this one compare to the others?

SEBELIUS: Well, when I came with him as a child -- and really the only one I really attended with my dad was 1968 in Chicago, which was a pretty tumultuous convention. In fact, I arrived and he ordered my brothers not to come. We knew that there would be trouble. And we were in and out of Grant Park.

I didn't come back to a convention until my own rite, 1996 in Chicago. So it was -- and I brought my own child with me. So these experiences have been quite different.

WOODRUFF: This convention, is John Kerry getting done here what he needs to get done to help himself on the way to November?

SEBELIUS: Well, I think we'll see tonight. I think, so far, the convention has been very positive, has had all the right messages. We've gotten to meet John Edwards and his family in a whole new way.

We've seen a number of very impressive speakers, the military force here. But John Kerry needs to meet the American people tonight and explain his vision and his values and why he is the right commander in chief and leader for the future. And I think he'll do that.

WOODRUFF: How does he make that case? The Republicans, as you know, are all over the place saying Vietnam is one thing, but he has not proven since then -- Senate record, they say, not very distinguished. What has he really done for national security in the last 30 years?

SEBELIUS: Well, I find it remarkable that there is such a revisionist history.

John Kerry and my father have very similar backgrounds. My dad accelerated his college graduation to go to the Second World War, came home with a Silver Star and went into public service, dedicated the rest of his life to public service. John Kerry volunteered for Vietnam, came home with a Bronze Star, Silver Star, three Purple Hearts and has dedicated his entire life to public service with a number of remarkable traits.

And I think he's ready for the big job. I think he's ready to lead this country. And to say, oh, that doesn't really count, his war record doesn't count, his public service doesn't count, is ludicrous.

WOODRUFF: What are you hearing from your constituents back in Kansas? Are they watching this convention?

SEBELIUS: You know, I don't know how much conventions are paid attention to. But I think they're watching bits and pieces of it. And people are more tuned in than certainly they were four years ago or eight years before that. But what I hear from Kansas is, they want a leader who talks about jobs, how are we going to keep jobs in this country, who understands their desperation about healthcare, whether they are students or seniors or farm families. What's going to happen to my insurance? How do I keep it?

And wants to know how we're going to educate our kids, what's going to happen to our schools. Those are the issues that Kansans talk to me about. And I think that's what the Kerry-Edwards team is talking about.

WOODRUFF: Governor Kathleen Sebelius of Kansas, thank you very much, the daughter of the very much alive former Ohio Governor John Gilligan. Very good to see you. Thank you for coming. We appreciate it.

SEBELIUS: Nice to be here.

WOODRUFF: Thank you. Well, whatever John Kerry does during tonight's speech, it will be hard to top last night's barn burner by the Reverend Al Sharpton and John Edwards. We're going to grade their speeches coming up on INSIDE POLITICS.


WOODRUFF: A closer look at Monday and Tuesday's convention speeches offers an interesting, but kind of unscientific look at the Democrats and their priorities.

For instance, the words healthcare were used 112 times by speakers, and strong or strength were used 78 times. Hope was used 49 times, though John Edwards pushed that number much higher with his remarks last night. The name Bush was mentioned nine times, Saddam Hussein only once.

Well, with me now to talk more about this convention, political -- veteran political reporter Dan Balz of "The Washington Post." And we hope that Walter Mears of the Associated Press joins us any minute. He's working on getting his badge, I understand.

DAN BALZ, "THE WASHINGTON POST": That's right. He's on his way.

WOODRUFF: You have to have credentialed or they don't let you on the floor.

Is John Kerry, Dan, getting what he needs from this convention so far?

BALZ: I think it's hard to know for sure on that until he finishes his speech tonight. He's gotten some of what he wanted. Certainly, they had a very good night on Monday night. There have been high points on both Tuesday and Wednesday nights.

But these are events in which they start, but they build toward one moment. And that moment is tonight. And I think until Senator Kerry delivers what everybody around him hopes he can deliver, we won't really know.

WOODRUFF: Well, how do you grade the buildup? Given what he needed to do to build up to tonight's crucial speech, did he -- has he gotten the buildup?

BALZ: I think they've gotten some of that buildup.

I think President Clinton on Monday night framed an argument for the Democrats that was important for them to make. Certainly the issue of strength vs. wisdom not being opposing values was a way that crystallized an argument the Democrats have been trying to make, I think Senator Kerry has been trying to make. But President Clinton being the kind of candidate and politician he is, encapsulated it I think better than anybody else in the party had done. That framed one element of it.

I think the fact that Senator Kerry has been surrounded by his crewmate pals and buddies from Vietnam has been another kind of affirmation of the biography that they wanted to get out. I think that the military, the generals who were on the stage last night supporting him were important. And Senator Edwards, who is a good trial attorney, made a very strong case on behalf of Senator Kerry last night.

WOODRUFF: Dan Balz, what's more important for John Kerry tonight? Is it that coming across as a strong leader, which polls show he still has work to do, or is it making that personal, human connection with the voters, which we also know that he needs to do?

BALZ: I think it's hard to say that one is more important than the other. Certainly, he has to make a personal connection that he hasn't made. And for Senator Kerry, who is a somewhat, I don't know, shy and aloof politician, that's difficult.

And from what we've been told about the speech, this will be a personal speech. It will be an attempt from Senator Kerry to link his own record and his own biography to the fights he's made through the years to give people a sense of why he stands where he stands and, therefore, where he would go in the future. But he has to show, Judy, that he is somebody who is capable of being commander in chief.

Now, there are a lot of people around him who believe he's already crossed that threshold. And yet we know from all objective evidence that there are still people out there who wonder whether that's the case.

WOODRUFF: Dan, is there any chance that we are building up, putting -- investing too much importance in this speech tonight? After all, there are 96 days left in this campaign. There are going to be maybe three debates in the fall. There is a lot of water to flow under the bridge between now and then.

BALZ: There is. It's an important moment. It's not the only moment in the campaign. It's important for Senator Kerry for all the reasons that everybody knows. It's his one unfiltered moment in this campaign.

WOODRUFF: Big audience.

BALZ: And a huge audience, the biggest audience he will have until the debates. But this is a campaign in which outside events have dictated much more than candidate performance so far. We don't know what's going to happen in Iraq between now and November. We don't know what people are going to think about the economy. And the debates will be very important. So it's a big moment. It's not the only moment.

WOODRUFF: Very quick, has anything at this convention hurt John Kerry, you think?

BALZ: I don't think so. I don't think that there's any -- there has been any problem that has caused him -- that he'll have to try to repair when it's over. WOODRUFF: Dan Balz with "The Washington Post," we appreciate your stopping by. I guess Walter Mears is wandering around the halls of the FleetCenter.

BALZ: He's somewhere. He's somewhere close by. Thanks, Judy.

WOODRUFF: We'll catch up with him soon.


WOODRUFF: Thanks a lot. We'll see you tonight on the floor.

The delegates have partied, they've cheered and they've not gotten a lot of sleep. Do they have any energy left for what's supposed to be the biggest night of all? We'll check just ahead.


WOODRUFF: Welcome back to our special 90-minute edition of INSIDE POLITICS. I'm Judy Woodruff, live from the FleetCenter in Boston. We're just half an hour away from the official start of the final day of the Democratic National Convention.

Earlier today, John Kerry paid a visit here at the FleetCenter checking out the podium. Tonight, of course, the Democratic nominee will be taking center stage giving his acceptance speech.

Well, for more now on the last day of this convention and what the delegates hoping to hear from John Kerry just a few hours from now, let's go to CNN's Joe Johns. He's down on the convention floor -- Joe.


Just a little while ago, Willie Nelson was up on the stage in a rehearsal performance. A lot of delegates came into the hall here, and I got to talk to a few of them about last night.

Edwards apparently was the consensus hit among the people I spoke with and said his life story was compelling. A lot of people like the fact that he touched on military themes. One of the veterans said he was very happy with Edwards' discussion of veterans' affairs, because he said veterans had really been ignored for so long by the administration. A number of people also said they really caught up in that theme of "Hope is on the way."

Looking ahead, of course, to tonight, John Kerry, the big event. He is expected to come right down this aisle behind me this evening before he makes his way to the stage. Among the things people said, one person from New Hampshire told me he wants to here a very personal story from John Kerry. "We want to hear the pulse of his heart," one man said.

They're expecting him to electrify obviously the audience. A lot of people saying it's got to be personal. On the other hand, talked to Senator Byron Dorgan just a little while ago, and he's downplaying that notion. He says many times John Kerry is not a warm person, but is he a competent person, and that's what he's hoping the party will focus on.

Judy, back to you.

WOODRUFF: And Joe, that's what we were hearing just a moment or so ago from Dan Balz, who has been covering this campaign and covering John Kerry for a long time. So hearing some of the same things. Joe Johns, thank you very much. Seeing a lot of you tonight.

John Kerry's journey to this arena tonight has been a long one, with some unexpected twists and turns along the way. An early favorite among his party rivals, Kerry's campaign stumbled out of the starting gate. But he regrouped at just the right time to claim the nomination.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What's your name?


WOODRUFF (voice-over): This time last summer, it seemed a safer than safe bet, John Kerry would be the Democratic nominee.

KERRY: OK, real-deal warriors. I want to thank you all very much.

WOODRUFF: He waited his turn, paid his dues. And now was his time to shine. It was supposed to be smooth sailing. It wasn't.

Democrats and the reporters who covered them seized on a fresh storyline, the maverick small state governor bashing the war, rallying the young, harnessing technology in unprecedented ways. And Kerry, the front-runner, seemed like yesterday's news.

KERRY: It's time to fight back. Clearly I have to. I understand that. I'm in a fight. But I'm a fighter.

WOODRUFF: Locked in an old-fashioned political brawl with Howard Dean, struggling to explain his vote...


WOODRUFF: ... in support of an increasingly unpopular war, and trying to mend rifts in his own campaign which had long begun to drift. In November, he shook up his operation, firing his campaign manager, taking out a personal loan against his Boston mansion in December, rededicating himself to battleground Iowa, which is where things started to turn around.

KERRY: We're rolling. We've got great energy.

WOODRUFF: Things were gelling for Kerry, just as they were falling apart for Dean.

KERRY: Thank you, Iowa, for making me the comeback Kerry.

WOODRUFF: A January upset in Iowa. Then triumph in New Hampshire. On Super Tuesday in March, the nomination was his. And team Bush was waiting...

KERRY: I actually did vote for the $87 billion before I vote the against it.

WOODRUFF: ... launching an unprecedented barrage of attack ads. Kerry's much heralded Vietnam War record came under new scrutiny, forcing him to play defense. But Democrats were energized, uniting around the candidate, pouring record amounts of money into the campaign. Then, the waiting game.

KERRY: I have said again and again, I'm not making any comments at all.

WOODRUFF: The decision...

KERRY: ... will be Senator John Edwards from North Carolina.


WOODRUFF: ... the rosy picture for sure, creating a wave of good press that John Kerry's ridden all the way back home to Boston.


WOODRUFF: And checking the headlines in our "Campaign News Daily," new presidential polls find close races in two showdown states and a potential battleground in a state few would have predicted.

In Iowa, the American Research Group finds the race a dead heat, with Bush and Kerry both receiving 47 percent among likely voters. The survey of West Virginia voters gives Senator Kerry a four-point lead over the president in a head-to-head match-up, 48 percent to 44 percent.

And in New Jersey, a state that Bush lost by 16 points four years ago, John Kerry holds on a slim two-point lead, according to a poll by Fairleigh Dickinson University.

The Democratic National Committee is stepping in to keep John Kerry on the TV airwaves once this convention is over. In an effort to save money, the Kerry campaign is pulling its own TV ads, like this one, once Kerry accepts the nomination. The AP says the DNC is spending (AUDIO GAP) Kerry will have to make his money last five weeks longer than Bush.

By the way, the convention has been a bonanza apparently for Kerry's last-minute fund-raising efforts. We're told the campaign brought in about $3 million just yesterday over the Internet.

Well, Max Cleland was in the Army instead of the Navy, but these days the former senator and Vietnam veteran is one of the most prominent members of John Kerry's band of brothers. He joins me in a moment.

And remember the days when a Democratic convention meant plenty of protesters? That's not holding true this year. We'll ask organizers why.


WOODRUFF: Well, it's normally -- that's a beautiful shot of the Boston Harbor, but, you know, it's normally just the girls when I talk to Donna Brazile and Bay Buchanan. But we decided to let a guy join us today.

He's Walter Mears of The Associated Press, a familiar face to all of us who have covered politics. Donna Brazile, former campaign manager for Al Gore, she's with us right here on the convention floor. And also, Bay Buchanan, she's with us from somewhere up in the rafters in Washington overlooking the Capitol.

Bay, let me start with you. You know, at this convention, they're -- they're trying to make their points, saying they're being more positive, but they're still getting in their shots. Are they not at this administration? And my question is, is that going to do the job for them?

BAY BUCHANAN, PRESIDENT, AMERICAN CAUSE: You know, Judy, first of all, they're -- what they're doing, it's a fraud what they're saying. They suggest on the one hand that they hate John Edwards (INAUDIBLE) hateful negative politics, going to be positive and all. And you heard nobody denouncing Sharpton when he call the president of the United States a racist.

That's the kind of thing. It's two-sided. There's total -- it's a total hypocrisy being -- being presented here to the American people. They want both things. They want to look positive but be negative, and you can't have them both.

WOODRUFF: Is that what it is, Donna?

DONNA BRAZILE, FMR. GORE CAMPAIGN MANAGER: Absolutely not. What Al Sharpton last night did was respond to President Bush, who last week went to the Urban League and essentially questioned the Democratic Party's commitment to African-Americans. So, you know, when the holy spirit got a hold of him last night, when he went off script and spent a couple of hours clarifying himself, that's what he tried to do. He tried to respond to the Bush administration.

Bay, it's very difficult to be positive about George Bush when there are so many problems that the American people face under his leadership. And I think that's what the Democrats have been trying to explain.

BUCHANAN: Donna...

WOODRUFF: Let me ask Walter Mears -- let me just interrupt. WALTER MEARS, ASSOCIATED PRESS: I've met a lot of politicians. And I've never met one who didn't want to talk negative and say it was positive. Comparative, that's the copout.

BRAZILE: Comparative.

MEARS: And we'll hear it in New York, just as we're hearing it here.

WOODRUFF: But my question is, you know, when they say -- you know, we heard a lot of hope and positive and optimism last night from John Edwards. But normally the vice presidential candidate is the attack dog.

MEARS: Well, there was some attack there. There was some, you know, they're on the low road, what -- where are they trying to take us. It was -- you know, it wasn't a friendly speech.

BUCHANAN: You know, Judy...

MEARS: If you can't bash George Bush at a Democratic National Convention, where are you going to hear him bashed?


WOODRUFF: Bay -- Bay?

BUCHANAN: Judy, I think you make an excellent point here. I agree, at a convention you should hear a lot about the other side and why you're against him and what he represents and why that's bad. And you do expect that.

But your point is an excellent one. They're saying we're above all that, we're positive, and yet they trash the president of the United States and they let stand some of the vicious lies that have been out there. And then say, oh, we're so positive.

It doesn't work. What keeps the Democrats together right now at that convention and across this country is their hatred for George Bush. They cannot hide that as much as they'd like.

BRAZILE: Oh, Bay -- Bay, it's -- the word is not "hatred." What has unified the Democrats, and what's going to unify this country, is that Democrats have a plan for the future. But what Democrats have been saying all over the week is that we're pro-security, we're pro- jobs, we're pro-equality.

You know, it's been a very positive convention. I can only tell you, Bay, that I've never seen delegates from places like Mississippi and Wyoming, where I went this morning. They're enthusiastic. So let's -- let's just understand that this is joy emotion, Bay, something that Republicans should probably take a chapter and come to -- go to your convention with a little joy this time.

BUCHANAN: I'm all for that joy and festive spirit. But listen, Donna, you and I both know when they get up there and John Edwards says we're all about cutting taxes, we're all about building the military, that is deception. Their records mean something, it stands for something. And it's time for the media to have a little bit -- call -- call upon a little bit of accountability here. Let's have a little bit more honesty at this convention.

WOODRUFF: Very quickly.

BRAZILE: Bay, that will happen. I'm sure when we challenge the Republicans on their fiscal conservatism and the fact that the deficit has risen under the so-called conservative president, Bay.

WOODRUFF: Walter Mears, you've been doing...

BUCHANAN: Yes, and I would agree with you on that point, as long as you will denounce Sharpton for calling the president of the United States a racist.

BRAZILE: You have to -- I don't want to put words in Al Sharpton's mouth.

WOODRUFF: Well -- all right. Let me -- I want to bring Walter Mears in here.

You're not only reporting, you are working with these so-called bloggers, Web blogs. But you're hearing from delegates. And you were just telling me some of them are a little concerned about what?

MEARS: I sense that there's -- you know, you've got the enthusiasm that you're always going to get at a national convention, all the cheerleading, all the right things for -- for the Democrats. But there is a certain undertone of, "Can we really handle this guy?" There was one delegate who was saying at a caucus this morning that, you know, Bush has convinced a lot of people that he can keep them safer from terror, and that worries her.

WOODRUFF: If that's the case, Donna, how does John Kerry deal with it?

BRAZILE: Well, I think tonight is John Kerry's moment. This is his moment to not only shine, but to also deliver to the American people a real substantive speech on where he intends to take this country on issues like safety and security. He is ready for the challenge. And we all know this is going to be a major issue in this election, and Democrats are prepared to address it tonight.

WOODRUFF: And Bay, from a Republican perspective, no nervousness at all? I mean, your sense that the convention has, what, hurt John Kerry? Is that what you're saying?

BUCHANAN: No, no. I think it's clear that they're trying to make the American people believe that this party and these candidates are something they are not. And I think that's going to be harmful in the long run, because all we have to do as Republicans is present the record.

The record speaks for itself. It has real strength. And these guys are not what they say they are. And the fact that they have to say they're something they're not tells me that they're the weaker party.

BRAZILE: Well, Bay, let's say this for the record, that the Republicans are in control of the Congress, they're in control of the government. And the record unemployment, the record deficit is something you'll have to explain at your convention.

WOODRUFF: We're going to leave it there. And we are going to be covering that convention in New York next month.

Bay Buchanan joining us from Washington, near the Capitol. Donna Brazile, here in the convention center.

Walter Mears, thanks for visiting.

MEARS: Thank you.

WOODRUFF: Great to see all three of you.

MEARS: Good to see you, Judy.

WOODRUFF: Thanks very much.

Well, outside of Boston's FleetCenter, the sprites have been pretty quiet all week. Coming up, deflated protesters take a final shot at being heard.


WOODRUFF: What if you threw a protest and nobody came? Well, that seems to have been the case this week in Boston, where extreme security measures have reduced open dissent to barely a whimper. But things have picked up a little today. CNN's Dan Lothian joins us live with the latest.

Hi, Dan.


We are watching a developing story now that's taking place outside the FleetCenter, where several hundred protesters came up to the gates in front of the FleetCenter less than an hour ago. We understand that a small fire was started there. That was put out.

And we also understand that at least one person has been arrested. We're keeping an eye on this developing story. We'll have more details as it becomes available to us. But all of this, of course, happening as many of the problems that were expected did not materialize.


LOTHIAN (voice-over): In the final hours of the Democratic National Convention, protesters showed a bit of life after days of quiet, mounting bikes and riding around Boston while challenging police to follow them. Later in the morning, another group, anti-war, anti-government, marched in the streets. Organizers assessing a week of low turnout blamed law enforcement.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I think that the police intimidation and what the police have done has really scared people.

JAMES CLAIRBORNE, BOSTON POLICE SUPERINTENDENT: I think a demonstration, particularly a demonstration of a national political convention, there is always a strong police presence. I think ours is no different.

LOTHIAN: Police say a tempered approach is what they credit for law and order. So far, only one DNC-related arrest.

Meantime, sour notes from Boston's business community, which had been hoping for a boom from DNC traffic. While the city says some have benefited, shop and restaurant owners who typically enjoy a steady stream of business...

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: There is always like a wait all night. It's always packed.

LOTHIAN: ... now say they have taken a hit, empty tables, empty streets.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It's like it is when there's a blizzard. I mean, everyone kind of backs out.

LOTHIAN: Mayor Tom Menino says he understands the frustration but promises to do more to bring business to the city in the future.

MAYOR TOM MENINO (D), BOSTON, MASSACHUSETTS: We can't run and hide, we can't say blame legislature, blame somebody else. We take the hit. I'll take the hit.

LOTHIAN: Counting the hours, business owners ready for traffic, police ready to relax.

CLAIRBORNE: I think it will be relief when it's over. We're in the middle of it now. It's time to remain vigilant. There's still a level of tension, there's still a level of apprehension.


LOTHIAN: The mayor is trying to make good on all the -- rather to all the residents and the business owners in the Boston area. He's taken out full-page ads in the local newspapers, offering free parking for a couple of hours this weekend, offering discounts at restaurants and businesses and museums. This is an effort to kind of help people get over some of the disappointments from the DNC -- Judy.

WOODRUFF: Sounds like there have been. Dan, thank you. Thank you very much.

Well, joining me now is somebody who has been a tireless campaigner for John Kerry. He is the former United States senator from the state of Georgia, Max Cleland.

And you have a pretty important spot tonight. You are introducing John Kerry to this convention, Senator Cleland. You nervous?

MAX CLELAND (D), FMR. GEORGIA SENATOR: No. The great thing about John is that he has this band of brothers around him. We're all a circle, we're all friends, and we all are brothers. And that's what keeps us together.

So John is our leader. But we have a great sense of support for one another. So we'll be up on the stage supporting him, and he'll be there leading us.

WOODRUFF: What is it about that bond of Vietnam, Senator Cleland, that for those of us who didn't fight in Vietnam, or especially for those who were too young to know Vietnam, what is that bond?

CLELAND: Yes. When people go through adversity together, in many ways a determining point in their life or determining element in their life. John Kerry has said that the experience of Vietnam seared his soul.

And when you get your life seared like his, his was, with his brothers going into harm's way every day, getting shot at, getting hit, bleeding and almost dying, right there together, that experience never leaves you. And that friendship, that bond that helped save your life stays with you. And that's one reason why John wants the band of brothers and his crewmates up on stage.

WOODRUFF: Let me ask you a tough question that I'm hearing not only from Republicans but even from some Democrats. Everybody knows John Kerry was a hero in Vietnam. You were a hero in Vietnam. But about him, how is that relevant to today?

The world has changed. That was 30 years ago. How is that relevant to the needs of this country right now?

CLELAND: Well, I think that is the point. Why all this stuff about John Kerry that -- the authentic American hero is because this country was attacked September the 11th. It's because President Bush has committed us in many ways to a quagmire in Vietnam, with no strategy to win, no strategy to get out. It looks like another Vietnam.

All of a sudden, this country needs a commander-in-chief who knows that you don't go to war because you want to, you go to war because you have to. And he know the price of war. He's been there, done that, gotten a few holes in his T-shirt, and he cares about those who come home.

All of that is now relevant. And that is part of John Kerry's powerful, searing experience in Vietnam. It makes him really highly qualified to be the commander-in-chief we need now, because he knows in this country we're all a band of brothers, we're all in the same boat together. And that's the kind of leader we need.

WOODRUFF: But to be very brutal about it, I hear some people saying, "Very good, but that was 30 years ago. What has he done since then to prove..."

CLELAND: No. What happens in adversity...

WOODRUFF: "... to prove that he's ready?"

CLELAND: Judy, what happens in adversity, particularly in war, it doesn't create character, it reveals it. John Kerry's willingness to risk his life to save his boat and his crew is a powerful object lesson in the leader that he will become and the leader he has been for 20 years in the United States Senate.

John Kerry, several things you know about him. One, when he gross to war he defeats his enemy, he brings his boat home safely to port, and he brings his crew back alive. That's the kind of commander-in-chief we need now, because we are in a dangerous situation on the world -- world stage.

And we need allies and friends. But more importantly, we need a great leader who understands how to go to war and how to be successful at it, and how to take care of the crewmates not only in war, but when they come home.

WOODRUFF: The man who will be introducing John Kerry at this convention tonight, former United States Senator Max Cleland. Very good to see you. Thank you for talking with us.

CLELAND: Thanks, Judy.

WOODRUFF: We appreciate it.


WOODRUFF: And coming up, the road to the Democratic nod ends tonight for John Kerry. He will be nominated here.

And coming up, as the nominee polishes his acceptance speech, our senior political analyst, Bill Schneider, considers his next challenge.

And later, we talk to an old political nemesis, a man who gave Kerry a run for his money eight years ago.



ANNOUNCER: Getting ready for his big night. John Kerry prepares for the most important speech of his life. What will he say tonight in primetime?

EDWARDS: Well, I hope you all got more sleep last night than I did. (LAUGHTER)

ANNOUNCER: The morning after the speech of his life. Did John Edwards do his job setting the stage for John Kerry?


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

WOODRUFF: Welcome back. The Democrats kicking off the fourth and final day of their convention, the day their presidential hopeful finally gets to take part himself in the festivities.

Most of the speeches and hoopla inside the FleetCenter so far have been designed to build up to the moment when John Kerry accepts the nomination. His children will set the stage for him tonight, along with Max Cleland, who we just heard from, Madeleine Albright, Wesley Clark and Joe Lieberman, among others.

Whatever Kerry says tonight, many Democrats saying they're hoping he shows some umpf, a quality keynote speaker Barack Obama once suggested the senator lacks. CNN's Candy Crowley is at the podium, where Kerry is going to try to prove himself.

Candy, what are you hearing about what he's going to say?

CANDY CROWLEY, CNN SR. POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, you know, it's interesting, because when you talk to aides about what he's going to say, they give you actually what they want to come across. And really that's what this is about.

This is the stage for John Kerry, his biggest so far, including the television audience, especially the television audience. What they want is for people to tune in and see a presidential-caliber material.

This is the time you hear all these phrases, "seal the deal," all of that kind of thing. And while Kerry himself has said, "This isn't the most important speech of my life," it's pretty darn close. And what they want to do tonight is to use some of his personal stories to show how he shaped his moral values, how he shaped his political values, and how he views policy.

So, you know, having said that, you're absolutely right. They also need to make that, you know, mysterious connection that happens between a politician and voters where people go, yes, I trust him. That's what they want to have, if not come out tonight, completely at least begin.

WOODRUFF: Well, the hall is getting dark. We are getting ready for the beginning of -- official beginning of this fourth night of the Democratic convention.

Candy, thank you very much, and I know we're going to be talking to you tonight, as throughout our live coverage. Thanks very much. Well, to better understand the challenge Kerry faces tonight, it helps to look at the poll numbers and to talk to our senior political analyst, Bill Schneider.

What are they showing?

BILL SCHNEIDER, CNN SR. POLITICAL ANALYST: Well, you know, it's just like your mother told you: You never get a second chance to get make a first impression. And for John Kerry, his first chance comes tonight, because surprisingly, a lot of voters don't know much about him.


SCHNEIDER (voice-over): What do voters see as John Kerry's strengths? Several polls have asked people whether different qualities apply more to Kerry or to George W. Bush. Voters say Kerry cares about people like themselves, and he understands their problems, at least more than President Bush does. That's empathy.

Kerry? Empathy? He's supposed to be a New England patrician -- aloof and distant -- but he's also a Democrat. For Democrats, empathy is a given.

BARACK OBAMA (D), ILLINOIS SENATE CANDIDATE: ... a belief that we're all connected as one people. If there is a child on the south side of Chicago who can't read, that matters to me even if it's not my child.

SCHNEIDER: Kerry's weaknesses: not as strong or decisive. So far, others have been pleading Kerry's case.

EDWARDS: ... decisive, strong, is this not what we need in a commander in chief?

SCHNEIDER: Tonight, Kerry has to make the case for himself.

Steadiness is another Kerry weakness. The Republican party has just released a video detailing Kerry's support for the war in Iraq...

KERRY: We have to be prepared to go the full distance, which is to do everything possible to disrupt his regime and to encourage the forces of democracy.

SCHNEIDER: ... and his opposition to it.

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

KERRY: I am -- yes.

SCHNEIDER: Tonight, voters will be listening closely to hear exactly what Kerry's position is on Iraq -- just one, please.

Another Kerry weakness: Voters don't really know him, but they like President Bush. Some famous filmmakers, like Steven Spielberg, will try to change that tonight.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: He really cares about fairness.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I respect him. He's got a big heart.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He's a tough customer.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: John's got a very deep sense of family.


SCHNEIDER (on camera): Now, here's the surprise: When it comes to having the right experience for the job, Kerry is seen as equal to Bush, the president of the United States. That is where Kerry's war experience has really paid off -- Judy?

WOODRUFF: All right. Thanks for getting inside those numbers. Bill Schneider, thanks very much.

Well, running mate John Edwards will be rooting Kerry on tonight, 24 hours after giving his own convention speech. CNN's Elaine Quijano is on the Edwards beat.

Elaine, hi.

ELAINE QUIJANO, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Good afternoon, Judy. Senator John Edwards made his case before a national audience last night for why John Kerry, he thinks, should be president. It was also a chance for Senator Edwards to reinforce his small-town roots and proclaim the Kerry/Edwards ticket as a team in step with American values.

Now, last night, the crowd was on its feet when his wife Elizabeth introduced Senator Edwards at the FleetCenter. The senator took time to thank to his parents, who were in the audience, and then ran through a number of themes -- themes he's emphasized on the campaign trail already, including retelling the story of how John Kerry saved a man's life in Vietnam to underscore the idea that Kerry is a man of decisive action and has the leadership it takes to be president.

We also heard a couple of new things from Senator Edwards that we've not heard before. First, a strong warning to al Qaeda and other terrorists. At one point, Senator Edwards said, "We will destroy you." And secondly, at a time when the White House says it's putting intelligence reforms on the fast track, Senator Edwards said, basically, it wasn't enough.


EDWARDS: We're approaching the third anniversary of September 11th, and one thing I can tell you, when we're in office, it won't take three years to get the reforms in our intelligence that are necessary to keep the American people safe.

We will do whatever it takes, as long as it takes, to make sure this never happens again in our America.


QUIJANO: Now, after his speech, Senator Edwards attended a party here in Boston. He thanked the crowd for its support and shook some hands before returning to the hotel for the evening.

This morning, Senator Edwards met with a state delegation, starting with North Carolina, also visited a number of other state delegations. But at that North Carolina session, the senator told the delegates there that John Kerry needed their support, he needed their hard work. And he also mentioned that he spoke to Senator Kerry before and after his own convention speech last night.

He said that Senator Kerry is very happy with how things have gone so far. He also said that he felt the senator is very excited to tell the American people what is on his mind, including his ideas for keeping America safer -- Judy?

WOODRUFF: All right, Elaine Quijano on the Edwards beat. Elaine, thank you very much.

You know, political junkies still remember the monumental Senate race between John Kerry and William Weld. In a minute, my talk with the former Republican governor of Massachusetts who gave the senator quite a scare back in 1996.

We'll also check in on which politicians have and have not dropped by the Iowa and New Mexico delegations this week.

Plus, I'll visit the delegation of a state that only Bill Clinton has managed to pry out of the red state's column since 1964.


WOODRUFF: The fact is that John Kerry's political journey to the Democratic presidential nomination has not always been smooth sailing.

In 1996, he went head to head with former Massachusetts Governor William Weld in a very close race that nearly cost him his Senate seat. I spoke with Senator Kerry's old GOP nemesis earlier today and asked him how much of the Democratic convention he's watched.


WELD: I've seen most of it, Judy. I think it's been very entertaining, maybe a little bit light, but an entertaining story -- storyline.

WOODRUFF: What do you mean light?

WELD: Well, I don't think it's been about the substance of the candidates' positions. That's probably not what the Democrats are going to come front and center with. They've got, you know, the number one and number four rated liberals in the U.S. Senate. They don't want to tell that story to the entire American public. They might tell it to just Massachusetts, if they could, but that's not possible in this day and age.

So, I think it's -- you know, there's a good amount of raconteuring (ph) going on, but I don't think they're getting to the meat and potatoes. I think you'll see the meat and potatoes next month in New York, because the Republican Party is proud of our meat and potatoes which is the Bush-Cheney record.

WOODRUFF: Right. I want to ask you, though, do you think they're doing anything here that's helping John Kerry?

WELD: I don't think they're hurting him. I mean, they've got to -- I think substance matters and they've got to play, if not defense, at least hide the ball a little bit given Senator Kerry's voting record over 20 years. There was a poll done in Massachusetts a couple of days ago that showed that 65 percent of the voters here think that Senator Kerry, if elected president, would raise taxes and cut defense spending. And that's the people that know him best.

So I don't think the Democrats want to tell that story. I think they're running the race that they've got to run if they're going to have any chance whatsoever, and that's to distract attention from substance.

WOODRUFF: When you ran against John Kerry, everybody remembers those extraordinary eight debates that you did. What do we have to look forward to in the fall debates from him? There's an "Atlantic Monthly" story this month. You are quoted as saying "he's an acrobat who won't be stampeded."

WELD: It could be brutal. Kerry is so good in televised debates. He has been doing it since he was at Yale in the '60s. He is an international grandmaster of the fine art of changing the subject on no notice; which you have to do when you're on live TV in the middle of a debate and someone looks like they're about to land a punch on you.

I don't think he has any peer in that particular realm. So I think the president has just got to go in there, be himself. It won't be hard for him of course, he's comfortable in his own skin. And I think those debates should be a big plus for Senator Kerry.

WOODRUFF: Two other quick things. Governor, you write in "Newsweek" that you talked about having a beer with John Kerry after you lost the Senate race to him, but you also suggest that he lacks personal warmth. What do you mean by that?

WELD: I think the president has probably greater personal warmth. I have a good relationship with John Kerry. I think most people would say that the president greets voters more easily, is more comfortable with them. There's something intangible there, I can't even define it.

But I think -- as I said in the "Newsweek" piece, that Lyndon Johnson had it, Bill Clinton was the master of it and I think George Bush has it as well. And I think that gives him an edge, particularly when coupled with his toughness. George Bush is a tough guy.

WOODRUFF: Friends and even reporters who have covered John Kerry for a long time say that when the crunch comes and the stakes are high he can summon all of his energies and be a strong closer. Do you agree with that?

He really wants to win. He really wants to win and he bends every energy to the task. So that statement -- I do agree with that. I think this is a nationwide race, 50 states. The spotlight is going to be on him and both candidates have records. And when the stakes are that high, there's nowhere to hide. So I'd give advantage to the Republicans in November.

WOODRUFF: No surprise coming from former Republican governor of Massachusetts, Bill Weld, thank you very much. Good to see you.

WELD: Thanks a lot, Judy.


WOODRUFF: And a post-script, when I asked Governor Weld about the state of civility in politics today versus a decade ago, he told me, quoting here, "it's a different world now, civility," he said, "started to go out the window in '94"; which we noted was the year of the Gingrich revolution.

Well, there's no longer doubt about who will be the Democratic nominee in 2004. So what about 2008? It isn't too early. A check on who's been visiting the Iowa and New Hampshire delegations here next.


WOODRUFF: We have some news just in to CNN. Pakistani security forces have captured a high-level al Qaeda operative wanted in connection with the 1998 U.S. embassy bombings in Africa. Pakistan's interior minister says Ahmed Khalfan Ghailani, captured a few days ago, shows that the Pakistani government is committed to fighting terrorism. In all, 224 people were killed in the embassy bombings in Kenya and Tanzania.

Well, back here now to the floor of the Democratic Convention. And in this era of what some call the perpetual campaign on this final night of the convention, it isn't too soon to start thinking ahead to 2008. Joining me to do that, Chuck Todd, he's the editor-in-chief of "The Hotline," an insider's political briefing produced every day by "The National Journal."

All right, and while I talk to you, Chuck, we want to show our viewers, John Kerry isn't just working on his speech. He's out taking a bicycle ride around his home. I think we have some pictures we can show. There we go. You just said to me -- what did you say about this?

CHUCK TODD, EDITOR, "THE HOTLINE": I just hope he doesn't fall. This is not the day to fall, right?

WOODRUFF: Not a picture you want on today.

TODD: We know President Bush has been falling too much lately on bikes.

WOODRUFF: Yes, He did a little mountain bike turn.

TODD: But there are no camera, though, following President Bush.

WOODRUFF: That's right, no cameras, there's a good reason for that. All right, Chuck, quickly, on to 2008. Iowa has been the first in the nation contest with its caucuses. Is it going to hold on to that?

TODD: Well, it is now in the hands of John Kerry and John Edwards. There had originally been a plan sort of almost a convention floor debate about whether there would be the special rules that protected Iowa and New Hampshire. And they now have a commission that is going to set it aside after the election.

Why? Because who finished first and second in Iowa? John Kerry and John Edwards. I've talked to Iowa Democratic officials and they -- basically like power, they are all-in. If Kerry wins, they're going to be first in the nation in 2012 and 2008. If he loses, they're in trouble.

WOODRUFF: OK, what about New Hampshire, first primary state, what do they say?

TODD: Well, we've seen some conflicting things. Joe Biden was talking to the New Hampshire delegation today and he said, oh, you're safe, don't worry about it. But Terry McAuliffe spoke to them, chairman of the Democratic Party, and said, I think you'll be OK. You've got some work to do and I'm not there to help you anymore because I'm out of here in six months.

WOODRUFF: He's leaving after this election.

TODD: He's leaving, so the next chair of the Democratic Party is going to have a lot to say about this.

WOODRUFF: All right. What about the candidates, assuming John Kerry didn't win this year? Of course, everybody here hopes he did does, but if he didn't win, what are the potential candidate who are making the rounds in Iowa and New Hampshire?

TODD: Well, one of the things that junkies like you and I love to hear about is who visits the Iowa and New Hampshire delegation breakfasts that they have every morning, all the state delegations do. And here are the people that visited both: Bill Richardson, governor of New Mexico; Janet Napolitano governor of Arizona; Evan Bayh only visited New Hampshire; Tom Vilsack, governor of Ohio, of course he -- governor of Iowa, of course, he's from Iowa, but he visited the New Hampshire delegation. But there was one person who didn't visit either one of them and that was Hillary Clinton. And I've had a lot of people say to me that she didn't do it because it would have gotten too much attention and it would have been too over the top. But they were all doing the get- to-know-yous. And Evan Bayh actually also went to the New Hampshire primary.

WOODRUFF: So, have you talked to the Hillary Clinton people? Is this just speculation about why she didn't do it, because -- you're right, people would have read too much into it.

It's too much. It would have been over-read into it. And you know, the Hillary Clinton tell me all the time, "Stop thinking we're running for president." They don't think they're running for president. It's the "New York Post" and the "New York Daily News" who love to think about that they're running for president.

WOODRUFF: It's just our imagination that would even enter -- even enter her mind.

Chuck, very quickly before I let you go, what are you hearing from delegates and people? Or even people out of this building, out around the -- are you able to get a sense of how this convention's coming across?

TODD: Well, it's coming across I think a lot differently than it is in here a little bit. I mean, it is -- this is a very suddenly centrist, almost pro-military message that people are seeing out and about because they're only seeing pieces of this convention.

I think, inside, we're seeing a little bit more, but I'm surprised that everything's been so hunky-dory over this military stuff, I'll be honest with you.

WOODRUFF: Yes, you have the generals on the stage and admirals on the stage last night.

TODD: It's a Democratic convention.

WOODRUFF: And you had John Edwards saying terrorists, you know, you will not stand.

TODD: "We will destroy them."

WOODRUFF: We will destroy you.

TODD: It was an amazing statement from a Democratic national candidate, and I think it just goes to show how there is only one issue in this election, and that's security.


TODD: And they need to project strength, and it ends tonight with John Kerry.

WOODRUFF: Are you hearing anything about the speech? No? TODD: Not a lot, other than I know that there are a lot of Democrats that have their fingers crossed that it doesn't become a laundry list. I've heard some nervousness about the fact that they think it will be 50 to 55 minutes. That sounds like a State of the Union, not an acceptance speech.

And so, there are nervous Democrats who are outside the circle. They don't have a lot of clues, in that respect, but they won't -- a lot of Democrats want it to be about one thing: that's strength and security.

WOODRUFF: We may hear those two words tonight.

TODD: A lot -- count them. Use it as a drinking game, I think.

WOODRUFF: Chuck Todd -- "The Hotline," an insider political briefing produced daily by the "National Journal." You can go online to for subscription information.

As we leave to the sound of these Chinese drummers, we head to Montana next. I'm going to pay a visit to the Montana delegation to talk with a young delegate who was also an Iraq war veteran.


MARY SNOW, CNN FINANCIAL NEWS CORRESPONDENT: I'm Mary Snow at the New York Stock Exchange, where stocks ended the day modestly higher as oil prices retreated just a bit from the record high set yesterday.

Strong profits from big names like ExxonMobil, Gillette, and Aetna also helped lift investor's sentiment. But a couple of negative brokerage calls on General Motors held back the blue-chip average.

Taking a look at the closing numbers: The Dow ended the day up 12 points; the Nasdaq gained 22 points, fueled by strength in semiconductor stocks.

JUDY WOODRUFF'S INSIDE POLITICS continues in a moment.


WOODRUFF: I'm here in the Montana delegation. This is a state not normally considered Democratic territory. In fact, George W. Bush won the state by 25 points over Al Gore four years ago.

I'm talking to a delegate. His name is Kevin Furey. You're 21 years old. You were in Iraq for eight months in the United States Army. You're back, and you're a delegate for John Kerry. Why?

KEVIN FUREY, MONTANA DELEGATE: Well, there are several different reasons. I love Montana and I love the United States, and so does John Kerry and John Edwards.

They have a great message of positive change for Montana and the United States. We want to work on providing decent healthcare, accessible healthcare that people in Montana can afford and people across the United States can afford. And John Kerry and John Edwards will provide that.

WOODRUFF: What do you think, as an Iraq veteran, when you hear the Republicans say that John Kerry just is not qualified to be commander in chief?

FUREY: You know, John Kerry is a decorated Vietnam veteran. As the co-chair of the Montana Veterans for Kerry, I know that. He has three Purple Hearts. This man, John Kerry, is a very proud patriot. He's a veteran. He knows what it means to serve, and he knows what it means to be in the line of fire.

WOODRUFF: But there are those who say, "But that was 30 years ago. What relevance is that today?"

FUREY: But that's still a very important part of his life. You know, when I'm John Kerry's age, I'll still go back to my experience in Iraq, even though it wasn't the same thing. I will still rely very heavily on that, and John Kerry is doing the same thing right now.

WOODRUFF: Any chance John Kerry's going to carry your state of Montana this November?

FUREY: John Kerry is going to carry Montana. You know, Montana is not a Republican or a Democratic state -- it's an Independent state. And if we have John Kerry and John Edwards visit, out delivering their positive change and their positive message to Montana, we have a very hopeful November.

WOODRUFF: 21-year-old Kevin Furey, now a member of the Army Reserves. An articulate spokesman...

FUREY: Thank you.

WOODRUFF: ... for John Kerry. Thank you very much for talking to us and letting me come up here...

FUREY: You're welcome.

WOODRUFF: ... to the Montana delegation. Thanks very much.

That is it for today's INSIDE POLITICS. I'm Judy Woodruff, but please, tune in tonight at 8:00, Wolf Blitzer will be here, Jeff Greenfield. This is our coverage of the last night of the Democratic National Convention. You don't want to miss it.

I'll be back tomorrow on the CNN Election Express with another 90-minute special edition of INSIDE POLITICS. That starts 3:00 p.m. Eastern.

Have a great night. We'll see you in a couple of hours. "CROSSFIRE" right now.


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