Return to Transcripts main page
CNN ELECTION CENTER
Special Coverage of the Democratic National Convention
Aired August 25, 2008 - 19:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
WOLF BLITZER, CNN ANCHOR: This will be a very, very emotional moment for a lot of people. Suzanne Malveaux is out on the floor as well right now as we're continuing our special coverage of this Democratic National Convention. Suzanne, the highlight of the night for a lot of people will be Michelle Obama and her speech. And I know you've been looking into that and you can give us a little preview.
SUZANNE MALVEAUX, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Wolf, we were actually on the floor earlier in the morning when she was practicing her speech with the teleprompters. She actually was testing the microphones with her two daughters, Sasha and Malia (ph) at her side, as well as Maya, Barack Obama's half sister. Her brother, Craig Robinson, all of them getting set for this very big moment.
It is arguably the most important speech that she has to make tonight. Essentially, she has said that she is not going to talk about him as a candidate but she is going to talk about him as a man, as a husband, a doting father, somebody who she likes to tease a little bit about his wardrobe saying he has got the same pants and shoes from when they met some 15 years ago when they actually got married.
So what she is trying to do is humanize her husband. She essentially is saying, we are just like you, like other Americans. She is also going to try to counter as well, Wolf, the perception by some Republican critics who have tried to paint either her or her husband as being arrogant or elitist. They're going to talk about their humble upbringings from the south side of Chicago, of modest means.
Barack Obama being raised by a single mother, abandoned by his father. They are going to try to string this kind of consistent story line. You're going to hear this in the months, the weeks to come. They want the American people to get to know them and they want to counter this kind of caricature, if you will, of this couple. Her friends, Wolf, she tells me, calls -- they teasingly call her the task master. It is her task tonight to really convince the American people that they would be an attractive first couple -- Wolf.
BLITZER: Suzanne, how is she prepped for this kind of speech? I assume she'll have teleprompters. It is not that easy reading from a teleprompter unless you've practiced quite a bit. How has she prepared herself for this major address tonight?
MALVEAUX: Sure. She doesn't usually use a teleprompter. She has been coming out and speaking before large groups, before veteran groups. She has really become a lot more comfortable on the stage. Obviously, she is a professional woman. She's an Ivy League graduate. She is very successful in her own right.
There is an equal partnership between these two and they've gone through some challenges here, obviously being on front and center stage, a lot of things they didn't necessarily expect. But she has gotten used to these big audiences, these big crowds. She is really expected to deliver something that is very powerful but also we are told very, very personal -- Wolf.
BLITZER: All right, Suzanne, we'll be watching this speech. We'll be watching the whole night. It will be emotional when Ted Kennedy speaks. It will be rather important politically. Probably pretty emotional when Michelle Obama speaks as well. We want to welcome our viewers who are watching in the United States and around the world. I'm Wolf Blitzer reporting, along with Anderson Cooper.
Anderson is here. You've been here for a few days now, Anderson. Give us a little flavor of what you're seeing because you feel the excitement. I feel the excitement. We'll feel it next week in Minnesota, with the Republicans, but take us behind the scenes a little bit.
ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: Well it's nice to be here. We've been in this auditorium now for two days without seeing a lot of people in here. It is nice actually to see it relatively packed. It is getting quite full, no doubt by the time Michelle Obama and Senator Kennedy is introduced, the entire place will be packed.
There is certainly a lot of excitement. It's a little bit like the first day of school. A lot of people kind of bumping each other in the hallways not sure exactly where to go. People from all around the United States, very excited to be here. Clearly, you know with the poll that we released just yesterday showing this race a dead heat, there is certainly some anxiety in some quarters, some questions about how this week will play out. But overall, everybody you talk to no matter where they are in the United States, very happy to be here.
BLITZER: And I'd like to say and I know you'd like to say it as well, we're joined by the best political team on television...
COOPER: I haven't heard that phrase before.
BLITZER: We say it because we believe it happens to be true. Gloria Borger is here, Donna Brazile, John King, doesn't get much better than that, but stick around. We have more. Hilary Rosen is here and Leslie Sanchez (ph). They're in Denver with us. And over at the CNN Election Center in New York, our own Campbell Brown is there with more of the best political team on television. You see Jeff Toobin, Alex Castellanos (ph), Ed Rollins, Carl Bernstein, David Gergen.
There is Campbell herself. They're all smiling. They're happy because they know, Anderson, they know what you and I know. That this is in fact the best political team on television. If there are any doubts...
(CROSSTALK) BLITZER: If there are any doubters out there, they won't be doubting by the end of tonight, certainly by the end of this convention and next week's convention. Let's talk a little bit about what is happening and let's look forward, Anderson, to what we expect tonight.
COOPER: Well it's interesting to hear Barack Obama speaking earlier tonight, not at this hall, but to potential voters out there. And he said he wants to get two things out of this week. One is to make the choice between himself and John McCain as clear as possible. That's what he said.
But he also said and I think in relation what is going to happen tonight, he said I hope the convention conveys who I am. I want people to come away saying what I'm voting for -- come away saying whether or not I'm voting for or against this guy. I know what he stands for. I know where he comes from and I know what he believes. And that's probably going to be a big part of the show Obama speech tonight.
BLITZER: And I want to go to John King right now. You've been looking at the changing face of our country, of the United States, and the political impact of the minority groups, Hispanics, Latinos in particular.
JOHN KING, CNN CHIEF NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Let's take it over the wall. I'll give you a close look. I was actually at a focus group of Latino voters this morning right here in Denver and it was fascinating because many of them are leaning Barack Obama's way but a lot of them still have questions. But I can show you over at the map here -- it's hard.
We don't have a camera on the base right now, but I'll show you a couple of things if I can bring it up to show you. First I want to go back to the electoral map from 2004. And look at the states right hear. Here we go. We got close (INAUDIBLE). Look right here.
George W. Bush won where we are, Colorado, New Mexico, Nevada, Utah, of course a Republican state, Arizona as well. George W. Bush won so big out in this area. I want to show you something else and I want to bring you to where we are this year. This is our electoral map for this year and lo and behold.
Look at these toss-up states right here. Right now these states are toss-ups. Colorado where we are for this convention, nine electoral votes. About 15 percent, anywhere from 10 to 15 percent of the population here will be Latino voters. It is a critical constituency.
Down here in the state of New Mexico, only five electoral votes. Perhaps 35 percent of the electorate, maybe even higher will be Hispanic voters, Latino voters. And over here in the state of Nevada, five electoral votes right there. The Democrats believe if they can pick up these states, and I'm going to give them -- here's where we start this thing right here, 221. Imagine, George W. Bush again won all three of these last time. If we give these to Barack Obama, if he can somehow get that Latino vote and other voters, and he's registering a lot of voters out here, and take them out West and out here in Nevada. Look at this. We get him to 240, 240 electoral votes.
Under that scenario, Barack Obama could win the White House without picking up Ohio and without picking up Florida. He could get the other 30 electoral votes out here in the Midwest, maybe over here in the state of Virginia. So there are possibilities and the map expands the possibility of an Obama presidency is much more likely, Wolf, if he can pick up these states out here in the West where the Latino vote was hugely important.
And where right now, Barack Obama leads, but at the focus group this morning, it was very interesting. They were asked what do you know personally about Barack Obama and they couldn't answer the questions very well. What would he be like in your carpool? What would he be like at your barbecue?
They didn't have good answers. That is why what happens tonight is a critical piece of the puzzle. Michelle Obama's job is to say this is who he is. He's like you. He's had the same pressures in his life. That was the most striking part of this focus group. They just -- they said give me a word association. One guy said he plays basketball. Another people said he is smart, but they knew nothing about his life.
COOPER: The Republicans have worked very hard to try to define Barack Obama on their terms. It is up to Michelle Obama tonight to try to redefine him in a sense, but there is a danger in too much biography.
GLORIA BORGER, CNN SR. POLITICAL ANALYST: Well, I think at this point, given the fact as John says, that so many voters don't think they know who he is, I think you can't repeat it enough in a way because voters don't feel that they are comfortable with Barack Obama yet. Comfort level is very important when you push that lever or you press that button when you're voting for president. And so her job tonight, as John was saying, is to make voters feel like they know him and expect to hear the word, values, values, values, over and over again. They share your American values.
DONNA BRAZILE, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: Gloria is absolutely right. Senator Obama has a very compelling personal story that Michelle will begin to unfold tonight. This is a young man who lived the American dream, raised by a single mother, really worked hard to you know get in college.
He struggled like many kids of his generation to go to the best schools. And yet he decided to do something early in his life and that was to become a community organizer. Going to one of America's toughest communities to help people fight for their jobs, to fight for health care. And tonight we'll hear that story. And I think what Michelle Obama will do is to help us connect the dots between Obama's life story and the struggles of everyday Americans. COOPER: I want to bring in David Gergen in New York. David, how does Barack Obama now or how does Michelle Obama try to redefine Barack Obama tonight?
DAVID GERGEN, FORMER PRESIDENTIAL ADVISER: Well, I think all of us understand that for millions of Americans, this is Michelle Obama's debut. This is her chance to tell her story and Barack Obama's. And I think it is very important that people walk away -- Americans walk away tonight feeling not only more comfortable with Michelle Obama, but feeling comfortable about the idea of the Obamas in the White House. In fact, feeling proud.
But I also have to tell you, Anderson, I do think that -- I think you're right about asking is there a danger of too much biography. Part of this convention is about re-telling the Obama story, but the more important part is about telling the American story and telling Americans where the country will go with Barack Obama as president, as opposed to where it might go under John McCain.
That's the essential question that Barack Obama is going to try to pose on Thursday night and he's going to need some help before he poses it on Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday night from Michelle and from others. So I think it is more than Obama biography. I think it's also the American story.
COOPER: Jeff Toobin also in New York. Telling that American story, he is clearly going to try to separate himself from John McCain and connect John McCain to a third term of the Bush administration. Are we going to hear that -- anything directly from Barack Obama? Or is that the message from Joe Biden and just about everybody else who will be speaking here?
JEFFREY TOOBIN, CNN SR. LEGAL ANALYST: Well I think you will see George W. Bush and John McCain essentially treated as one person throughout this convention. Everyone will treat this as the -- will treat John McCain as the would be third term of George W. Bush's presidency. I think Barack Obama will do that the least.
He is the one who is going to take the high road, but this is not going to be a convention like 2004 where the Democrats, for whatever reason, decided not to attack George Bush. This is going to be no holds barred. It's also going to be personal. They -- you know we started to see that last week when Democrats pounced on John McCain's inability to remember how many houses he has.
That's something that's going to come up a lot. This is going to be a very negative convention. It is the one thing that keeps the Hillary people and the Obama people together. They're loathing for George Bush and John McCain.
COOPER: John King, as you have watched Michelle Obama out on the campaign trail, has she evolved as a spokesperson for her husband's candidacy?
KING: Absolutely. She's done a lot of things on her own. Number one, she's gone out early on her own and she's gotten a little bit tougher. You know both of the prospective first ladies have had their own role in the campaign, called in a question at some point and both of them are trying to politely fire back.
Remember, Michelle Obama walked into a controversy when she said once that she had for the first time she was proud of her country. And everybody makes mistakes on the national political stage and so you know everyone -- that became a big moment for the Republicans. They seized on it. They will continue to push on it.
She had to go out and fire fight herself, but you see the poise grow and the comfort level grow. It is a new world running for president. Even for people who have been in politics for 20, 30 years. They start running for president, they realize it is a completely different game. A completely different stage.
And she got up when she fell down and that is the true test. I remember Hillary Clinton when she said what was I supposed to do, stay home and bake cooks, in many ways, Michelle Obama is a similar figure in that she's an accomplished professional, Harvard Law School graduate. And so people are asking her questions like what is your role here?
Are you an official adviser? Are you just a spouse? Do you just take care of the kids or do you have an impact on policy? And if you haven't been out doing it before, it's hard the first time. It was even hard for Hillary Clinton back when she -- before she was thinking she was going to be a senator from New York and she was the first lady of Arkansas.
COOPER: In the latest CNN Opinion Research poll that I saw, from August 22, Michelle Obama had about a 50 percent favorability rating. The people who had not made up their mind about her was about 18 percent. Is it important? I mean how much does it really matter, Donna Brazile, for a candidate's wife to change people's perception of her?
BRAZILE: Well look, women make up the majority of the electorate. And one thing that Michelle Obama will be able to speak to tonight in addition to talking about Barack Obama, the man, the person, the American dream, and where we've come, she will also appeal to women voters. This is a woman who comes from two working poor family members. She also embodies the American dream and so I think what you'll see tonight is Barack -- Michelle Obama appeal to women voters across this country.
COOPER: We're going to hear from Michelle Obama somewhere in the 10:00 hour East Coast time.
BLITZER: And yes, that's when the broadcast networks pick up their coverage, 10:00 p.m.
COOPER: Their very limited coverage I should point out...
BLITZER: One hour a night...
COOPER: Is that all they're doing? One hour... (CROSSTALK)
COOPER: I'm not sure.
COOPER: I think it's around the clock.
BLITZER: ... a lot more coverage, we do a lot better coverage (INAUDIBLE)..
COOPER: They would podcast us...
BLITZER: Let me...
BLITZER: Let me remind our viewers, if you want to see what's happening behind me, up on the podium, all the time, all the speakers that are going on, this is what you do. You go to CNN.com. You can get all the streaming of what's happening. All the information you need. A lot of political coverage, CNNpolitics.com, CNN.com. That's where you want to go.
Coming up, we're going to continue our coverage from the floor here at the Democratic National Convention in Denver, Colorado. Stay with us. We've got an exciting night for you.
CAMPBELL BROWN, CNN ANCHOR: Welcome back, everybody, to our coverage of the Democratic Convention in Denver and in New York, in the Election Center. We have got the best political team on television covering this from every possible angle tonight and every possible city as well. But as we wait for the big event of the evening, which is going to be Michelle Obama's speech in the 10:00 Eastern hour of our convention coverage, we want to also talk about a topic that has been getting a lot of attention and a lot of chatter today, which is what is going on between Barack Obama's campaign and Hillary Clinton and her supporters?
And on that subject, I want to bring in Hilary Rosen who is with us in Denver. And Hilary was a long-time Hillary Clinton supporter. And Hilary, this convention is supposed to be all about unity. And yet what we have been hearing so much about, especially today, is a continuing rift between the Obama camp and the Clinton loyalists. A wedge especially between their staffers as they try to negotiate their role. What's going to happen over the course of the next week? Tell us what is really going on.
HILARY ROSEN, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: Well, you wouldn't be surprised at the end of the day is a little different than the beginning of the day. I think you saw Hillary Clinton address the New York Delegation today and gave a rousing speech and a huge endorsement for Barack Obama. Senator McCain had issued an ad overnight that tried to get Hillary Clinton voters over to his side. And she went out there and said, my name is Hillary Clinton and I do not approve of this ad.
She was forceful for Barack Obama. And I think the conflicts over speeches and topics and all of that has really died down this afternoon as people realize, you know, this is our shot. And we got to do it this week or we're going to lose a lot of momentum. Two other things I think are going on, which is there's a lot of emotion here tonight about Ted Kennedy and his illness. There is a lot of enthusiasm about Michelle Obama's story. I just think these things are going to overshadow these silly little receptions and feuds. And I don't think it's going to be a big deal past tomorrow night.
BROWN: But Hilary, you do have to admit, I've been surprised by it as our correspondents have been talking to people there at the convention, many Clinton loyalists who are there are still very angry. And they're expressing that anger. What has Barack Obama done or do you believe he has done enough to reach out to these people because clearly they're still not satisfied.
ROSEN: You know there are a few that are not satisfied, but there are many fewer. I could tell you I've been in the CNN work room all day and it is getting harder for the reporters to find unhappy delegates. That's something, so the notion that you know there is this massive uprising I think is not the case.
There are some people outside the hall, perhaps, unhappy. But I think that these delegates here are actually ready to win and ready to move beyond this. And the two or three that aren't are going to get their say, you know, in a roll call and hearing Hillary Clinton. And I don't think this is going to be a big issue. And I know I've said that for a while, but I really believe it tonight.
COOPER: It is interesting, Donna Brazile, to hear Hilary Rosen saying she thinks this is kind of much ado about nothing. Do you agree with that? I mean first of all, polls are indicating as many as 27 percent of Clinton supporters say they're going to vote for John McCain. On the flip side of that, I've been getting e-mails all day from people who support Barack Obama who say that the media is making this up.
That there isn't this lack of unity. Politico had an article. Their headline was "Tensions are Boiling" earlier this morning, which was flatly denied by spokespeople for the Obama campaign as well as for Hillary Clinton.
BRAZILE: I spent two hours in the boiler room with the Obama and Clinton people.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What's the boiler room?
BRAZILE: The boiler room is a small little enclave here at the convention center where you see all of these people (INAUDIBLE) with this. They (INAUDIBLE)...
COOPER: It's like a traffic cop. BRAZILE: Well I'm a super Web. This is an opportunity for people. The Clinton delegates and the Obama delegates, they're one, they're working together. They are talking to each other. They are making sure that everyone is on the same page and so, this so-called rift is really overblown. Yes, there are people who are passionate about Hillary. They have on their Hillary Clinton buttons, but they also are wearing their Barack Obama buttons as well.
COOPER: Carl Bernstein in New York, I want to read you something that Hillary Clinton said earlier today at a breakfast for the New York State Delegation. She said "I just want to make it absolutely clear we cannot afford four more years of George W. Bush's failed politics -- policies in America and that's what we would get with John McCain. I understand the McCain campaign is running these ads trying to divide us and let me state what I think about their tactics and these ads. I am Hillary Clinton and I do not approve that message." Do you believe the rifts have healed?
CARL BERNSTEIN, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: I don't think it is that simple. I think first of all the Clintons are not good losers and we've seen a lot of that in the past couple of months. But they also are great Democrats. Bill Clinton is the only Democratic president reelected since Roosevelt. He and Hillary have spent their adult lives fighting what she called the vast right wing conspiracy.
They believe in the same basic political principles as Barack Obama. And they also have their own legacies at stake here. You know they are the ones, Bill Clinton particularly, coming out of the primaries, really hurt, Bill was. Hillary's stature was enhanced. But he has got a heck of a job to do at this convention, Bill Clinton, to help regain his own stature among the Democratic faithful and he's going to do it or he's certainly going to do from what I'm told, everything he can do in his power to do it.
There is no question in my mind that they believe Barack Obama ought to be the next president of the United States. And there comes a point at which you know this is Barack Obama's convention. It's going to have his stamp on it, including ushering the Clintons off of center stage and into supporting roles, however less than graciously they might go off.
COOPER: You're also, as Carl is talking, you're seeing Congressman Dennis Kucinich shaking hands warmly with the crowd. Obviously, he ran for president as well this year. He is going to be speaking, I believe, tomorrow night if I'm not mistaken. But he is certainly getting a warm reception in the crowd.
Tonight, David Gergen also in New York. Carl Bernstein mentioned what Bill Clinton is going to talk about and how important his speech will be, not only for Barack Obama, but for Bill Clinton's legacy. There was some back and forth today about what Bill Clinton would be speaking. Some unnamed sources reporting and Politico some sources saying that Bill Clinton was upset that he was going to be speaking on a night when the topic was foreign policy.
That he wanted to also speak about the economy and the difference between his administration and the Bush administration. Barack Obama earlier today saying point blank Bill Clinton can speak about whatever he wants to.
GERGEN: Anderson, Barack Obama needs Bill Clinton to speak about the economy because the economic performance of the Clinton years versus the economic performance of the Bush years is a contrast that works well for Democrats. It is a contrast, you know back in 2000, (INAUDIBLE) ran away from the Clinton economics. In fact, he ran away from the whole Clinton record.
I think that hurt him in retrospect, so it's good to get Bill Clinton out there. And I -- here's a question I would like to ask to our Republicans who are here tonight, starting with Ed Rollins and that is the ads that John McCain is -- and company are now running, using Hillary Clinton to try to drive a wedge, try to drive a wedge among Democrats. In my opinion, there is a good chance those ads may backfire.
That it may really sort of irritate the Democrats and drive them together, rather than working the other way. So I'm just very curious whether our Republican friends here think these are a good idea or not a good idea?
COOPER: Ed Rollins.
ED ROLLINS, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: Alex is the expert on advertising, but what I would say is that ads are not working this year and A stock exchange expert on advertising. What I would say, ads are not working this year and I think there's going to be such a saturation of them in the fall that an ad like this really is not going to have a big impact. You're still going to spend millions of dollars and they're still going to be very creative and the media will still cover them.
But one thing I want to say about the convention, getting delegates in line is no big deal. These are the die-hards of the party. These are the precinct chairmen, these are the people. If you walk out of a convention and you don't have every single delegate supporting you, wanting to beat John McCain, you're really in trouble.
The problem out there is when you lose one out of four, one out of five Democrats, it gets awful hard to get the numbers together to win an election and I think to a certain extent, they may get all these people that are there for Hillary to be supporters. They can say all the nice things but are they going to get those people out in the country who feel that their voice was not heard?
COOPER: I want to go to Alex Castellanos after our break in a little bit to talk more about the Republican commercials that they've been running, but I do want to get one more chance to talk to Donna Brazile before we move on to a commercial break. How do you see from here on out, Bill Clinton, Hillary Clinton being used on the campaign trail?
BRAZILE: There is no question that I think Bill Clinton should be sent to every battleground state to rally Democrats, to go into those rural areas, those suburbs, and to try to draw Democrats and Independents and others. He has such a way appealing to voters on a gut level. And I think Bill Clinton will be a superb candidate, a superb validator (ph) for Obama. Likewise, Senator Clinton can rally blue-collar Democrats (INAUDIBLE) there are so many Democrats, Hispanics that will be needed to win those states.
COOPER: Bill Clinton speaking on Wednesday night. Hillary Clinton speaking tomorrow night.
BLITZER: Those are going to be very, very widely watched speeches. Doesn't get much better than that. Hillary Clinton followed by Bill Clinton. We'll be watching that. And Thursday night of course Barack Obama will have 80,000 people (INAUDIBLE)..
COOPER: And Bruce Springsteen we're told.
BLITZER: Bruce Springsteen -- that will be pretty cool, too.
Anderson, I want to tell our viewers, we've just received some excerpts from Michelle Obama's speech that she's going to be delivering later tonight. We'll share a little bit of what she's going to be saying. That's coming up.
Also remember, CNNpolitics.com. That's where you want to go. You want o listen to all the speeches that are going on behind me. We're streaming that uninterrupted. We're also providing a wealth of information about what is going on. Here's a good idea.
This is what you should do if you love politics as I do and as all of you do. Watch us. You'll see the best political team on television. You'll get all of the highlights, all of the major news. But also to go your laptop and go to CNNpolitics.com for additional information. You can multitask here as we continue our coverage of the Democratic National Convention.
BLITZER: We're here at the Democratic National Convention. We're here on the floor right here in Denver, Colorado. We're awaiting the major speakers that will be addressing all of us and millions of people in the United States and around the world in the coming hours. We're watching all of this.
Even as we get ready later tonight to hear from Michelle Obama, she will be speaking about her husband. They just released a little excerpt of what she will be saying. Let me tell you a few lines of what we will be hearing from Michelle Obama later tonight.
I want to get to that in a moment unless you want to hear a little of what, some of the music that's going on right now. Maybe we should listen in. It is John Legend. He is singing right now. I think this would be worthwhile.
JOHN LEGEND, SINGER: I'm calling every woman I'm calling every man we're the generation we can't afford to wait. The future started yesterday and we're already late. We've been looking for a song to sing. We have searched for a melody. We searched for someone to lead. We've been looking for the world to say you feel the same and go on and say if you're out there sing along with me. If you're out there come to believe that you're out there. If you're out there tomorrow is starting now. No more broken promises. No more call to war, unless it's love and peace that we are really fighting. We can destroy hunger. We can conquer hate. Put down your raging voice. We're joining hands today. Search for a song to sing. Search for the leaders, the leader to go on and say if you're out there, sing along with me. If you're out there I'm trying to believe that you're out there. Stand up and sing aloud, if you're out there tomorrow is starting now.
Now if you're ready we can face the world, believe again, start again. We don't have to wait. We can be the change that we want to see. If you're out there oh, oh if you're out there, if you're out there, if you're out there, if you're out there help us. Sing aloud if you're out there, tomorrow is starting now. If you're out there, if you're out there, the message wherever you stand. I'm calling every woman, calling every man. We're the generation we can't afford to wait. The future started yesterday and we're already there.
BLITZER: If you're out there, John Legend. You know Anderson, we're covering this convention like no one else. We're going to show all of our millions of viewers out there, not only the 20,000 or so who are inside this Pepsi Center, but we want everyone to get a feeling of the pop, the music, the chaos sometimes, the controversy. We're going to get everyone inside this convention.
COOPER: We want to bring across the atmosphere if you're sitting at home watching it because it is an atmosphere unlike any other. It is obviously unlike a political convention. There's a gathering of people passionate about politics but it's also, obviously, entertainment. There is controversy. There is drama always. These things have become incredibly tightly scripted but there is always something that happens that's unexpected. Again, we're trying in our coverage to give you not just the raw politics but also a sense, the feel of being here.
BLITZER: And my goal is to make sure whenever we have music like that, like John Legend, we'll take that live and let our viewers really enjoy this convention as the thousands inside. Next week, I suspect it will be country western at that Republican convention and we'll take that live as well.
COOPER: They call it country now. They don't even say country western.
Also by the way, I said earlier before, Bruce Springsteen was going to be playing on Thursday. That's not confirmed apparently. There is a report out there. We have not been able to independently confirm that. That would obviously be something a lot of folks here would like to see.
BLITZER: Do you think we should take that live?
COOPER: I'm guessing we might. I think Donna Brazile would get mad at us if we didn't. Donna tonight, how important do you think for this crowd in this hall on this night, the appearance of Senator Edward Kennedy will be?
BRAZILE: It is a very emotional moment. He is without question, one of the most prodigious lawmakers. He is a champion for equal rights, civil rights, for children. We want to see Ted Kennedy. We want to tell Ted Kennedy we love him, to keep fighting because we know that as long as Teddy Kennedy is out there, his voice, he will always speak out for those in America.
COOPER: Gloria Borger, what are you hearing about the likelihood of a, him being here, and b, him speaking?
BORGER: Well, I was talking to people who were very close to him and one who is with him. And I think he wants to be here. I think he will be here. I think it is really an open question still about whether he'll be able to speak. There is a short speech that has been prepared for him. Whether or not he speaks though, Anderson, you talk about party unity in the Democratic Party. If Ted Kennedy were to get up there and say, you know, guys, stop it. We need to win. I think that would be a very strong message. If there is an icon in the Democratic Party that everybody loves right now. It's Ted Kennedy.
KING: I think that's the mystery here. when he ran against Jimmy Carter back in 1980, the party left the convention not fully unified and some say that's one of the reasons you had an election in which Ronald Reagan was able to win. Now most would say that was different times and dissatisfaction with President Carter would speak but within the party, at least there was some people had the argument to blame Senator Kennedy. Senator Clinton wants to leave here with nobody able to make that argument about her. He would make a powerful argument.
And just to follow up on Gloria, I started going back and forth with some old sources in Massachusetts ast night on this and I know Vickie Kennedy, his wife and his doctor told him they didn't think it was such a good idea for him to make this trip. He essentially said you don't have to come with me if you don't want to. He knows he believes this is his last convention and some of his doctors have suggested that he doesn't have all that long with us and so he wanted to get here. He said the only way he could speak is if he got here, tried to rest up and tried to do it and anybody who knows Ted Kennedy knows that even if it's tough at this hour, he's got a few hours left and he's going to try to speak.
BORGER: His endorsement of Barack Obama was so important to Barack Obama in terms of the Democratic Party and I think Obama owes him a lot.
COOPER: We'll be talking about that no doubt a lot through this evening as the hour approaches when Senator Kennedy will enter this arena. Our coverage continues. Also continues online CNNpolitics.com, the source. We'll be right back.
BLITZER: They're dancing. The music is great here on the floor of the democratic national convention. Everyone, as you can see, is getting into it. They have an excellent band. I was listening to them yesterday during the rehearsals. We'll be hearing a lot from this band over the next four days, Anderson.
COOPER: This is like the warm-up of the Ellen Degeneres Show. You know where everyone is dancing.
BLITZER: These democrats, they like to party and they like to dance here in Denver. We'll be seeing a lot of this. Let's go down to the floor. One of the best dancers we know, Suzanne Malveaux, she is partying in the delegation with Texas.
Suzanne, give us a little sense of the festivities.
MALVEAUX: There is definitely a sense of energy and excitement here. But also we've been talking to some Hillary supporters who are not quite satisfied that the Obama camp has won them over. One of those is from Beaumont, Texas. You and I were talking about this. You took a lot of heat, particularly from the black community for supporting Hillary Clinton. You met with Bill and Hillary Clinton during the primary season. What do they need to do in the Obama camp? Have they done enough to win you over?
REV. MARK SMITH, PASTOR, HOLY TEMPLE CHURCH: They've done enough for me but they haven't done enough for a lot of others. In the Hillary camp, they feel like they have not been courted. They feel like they've been taken advantage of.
MALVEAUX: What do you want to hear from Michelle Obama? Can she tell you anything of Barack Obama to convince those supporters otherwise and will release your own vote for Obama when she releases the delegates?
SMITH: I want to hear her reach out to the Clinton supporters. That was 18 million votes out there that Hillary got. We'll need all those to win in the polls. I want to hear her reach out that we are one party, one party behind one candidate trying to win the presidency.
MALVEAUX: And Hillary is giving you enough guidance? She is saying vote for whoever you want to vote for? Who are you going to vote for? Are you going to do something symbolic and say I stand for Hillary Clinton?
SMITH: Yes. I'm here because of Hillary Clinton. And she is our leader. And from a child I learned the game, follow the leader. Whatever our leader says, we'll follow. And I understand it will be her decision to ask us to vote for Barack when she speaks on Tuesday night.
MALVEAUX: And you would you do that? You would vote for Barack?
SMITH: I would vote for Barack.
MALVEAUX: OK. Thank you so much, Pastor Smith, for your time.
Obviously Wolf, still some folks looking for more reassurances from Barack Obama and particularly from Michelle Obama this evening. To say, look, let's come together. This is the time to come together. Obviously, Texas was really a turning point for Hillary Clinton. A lot of folks that we talked to in the Texas delegation who are looking for more. Wolf?
BLITZER: All right. Suzanne, thanks very much. The music continuing here on the floor of the Democratic National Convention. Anderson Cooper and I, you know Anderson we're the only cable news network that's broadcasting live from the floor of the convention. And we can get the feeling of what is going on. If we were up in some sky booth, way up in the nosebleed section, we wouldn't appreciate all the fun. This isn't boring politics. This is a show business kind of atmosphere as well.
COOPER: There's no doubt that this is a lot of show business. They are putting on a lot of performance every night. This thing is tightly scripted but down on the floor, there really is a lot of energy. This is where all the delegates, all the people who have come here tonight are milling around, taking pictures of each other, meeting and greeting each other. Again as we said, it is an atmosphere unlike any other that you find. You find this in the democratic convention. Very similar in the same way to the republican convention as well -- Gloria?
BORGER: There's Governor Ed Rendell just walking down, waving to us, trying to get our attention while you guys were talking. When you're down on the floor, it is kind of a political reporter's dream because you get to see every person that is hard to reach on the telephone right here.
BLITZER: Where else, Gloria, where else would you see our good friend Donna Brazile dancing with Paul Begala here on the floor of the democratic convention? That was a sight that I wish our cameras were rolling. We'll make sure our cameras can see that.
COOPER: It's a pretty safe bet that it's somewhere going to be on You Tube. There were a lot of cameras.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We'll file on it I-report.
COOPER: I want to go to Bill Bennett standing by in New York. I'm not sure if he is been dancing with anyone in the New York studios.
Bill, in term of the reports, what the republicans have been saying about Michelle Obama, about Barack Obama, how affected do you think John McCain's ads have been in the last several weeks? In particular, we're talking about before this ad in which he directly tries to reach out to some of Hillary Clinton supporters.
BILL BENNETT, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: I'm not an ad man either so I really can't tell you how effective that is. I think the thing speaks for itself, the tension that are here, the fact that on the record, it is all unity and fine and I think they will end unified for the reasons Ed Rollins said, these are political activists. This is what they do but whether they'll bring everyone in the party with them, is another question.
The other thing is, off the record or on background they continue to talk and complain about things, about the treatment of Hillary Clinton and so on so I don't think that has died by any stretch of the imagination.
COOPER: Alex Castellanos, on the question of the ad, how effective do you think they've been?
ALEX CASTELLANOS, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: They weren't effective, they wouldn't run them, on both sides. So clearly, the McCain ads have been effective in moving the spotlight from back to Barack Obama and that doesn't help.
It's not just that Hillary Clinton has been complaining and whining and saying they've been treated with disrespect and not getting this do the speeches they'd like to do. It's her message. She was saying late in the Democratic primaries that Barack Obama wasn't ready to answer the phone at 3 o'clock in the morning, that he wasn't experience, that he wasn't ready to lead. That campaign was working against him not with independents and Republicans, but with Democrats and with dividing the party. So she actually has maybe a legitimate point she's making that Barack Obama can't actually deal with. I think the hard part is of course she will do the right thing this week. Of course she's going to hug Barack Obama and say, let's go to work, let's leave it all out on the field. The problem is what she's already said. And it's like losing your virginity, by saying you didn't mean it, it won't change things.
COOPER: Alex, will you be making the same argument if John McCain picks Mitt Romney. I remember there was a lot of ice water and daggers going between John McCain and Mitt Romney.
CASTELLANOS: Absolutely not, Anderson. I'll be on the other side.
COOPER: There's a big difference.
BENNETT: He was winning. John McCain was winning off those states while Hillary Clinton was winning on the states while Barack was the nominee. There's a big difference there.
BLITZER: All right, Anderson. Let's listen in. They're getting a little respect out there. These Democrats, they want respect. They're dancing to Aretha Franklin's popular song, r-e-s-p-e-c-t, we all know from the old days. As we go to break, we'll get a little respect. Go to CNNpolitics.com/live, where you can watch all the politics uninterrupted. Remember also this important note. We're the only cable news network anchoring from the floor of this convention. We're standing by for Jimmy Carter in the next hour and a lot more as our coverage continues.
(COMMERCIAL BREAK) BLITZER: We're back at the Democratic National Convention in Denver, Colorado, where the Democrats are very excited right now. They think they have a winner in Barack Obama. But it's not going to be easy, by any means. The polls right now, show it's dead heat. John King is here. He has a special guest involved in one of the key battleground states right now, I think it's fair to say Pennsylvania is pretty important, John.
KING: Very important state. In 2004, I spent a lot of time on the floor with Governor Ed Rendell from Pennsylvania. He's joined us up here on the platform and will get a chance at the magic map.
Now governor, here's the question I want to ask you and I want to show you first, I want to go back in time. This is 2004 and this is your state of Pennsylvania. We're going to show who won this state. John Kerry carried it by wing here, the blue is the Democrat and he won it here. Now, I will fast forward to the Democratic primaries in 2008. The light blue is Senator Clinton. Can Barack Obama win your state if he does not win those counties?
GOV. ED RENDELL, (D) PENNSYLVANIA: It will be hard. He could win it with a massive turnout in Philadelphia and winning the Philadelphia suburbs by a significant margin. I think, to be safe, we have to win a few counties in each of those areas, where working class white Democrats are. I think with Joe Biden, we can.
KING: Let's look at that specific county here. Lackawanna County right here, that is the birthplace of Joe Biden; 74 percent for Clinton, 26 percent for Barack Obama. That is more than a problem with white working class voters, that is a crisis, is it not?
RENDELL: It is. We have to do two things. One, having Joe helps. But two, we have to tell the working class voters what's at stake here, the difference between the McCain economic plan and Obama economic plan. For example, if they get health care from their company, senator McCain wants to make that taxable. That's a tax increase for them.
KING: You're making that case up here with us. Is Barack Obama failing to make that case as aggressively as you just did?
RENDELL: I think he will in the weeks to come. We'll be in Pennsylvania in one of those areas on Friday.
KING: I want to show you one more place before we go. You said John McCain is right out here, Washington County, right out here on Saturday. That was a tie, 50-50, between Bush and Kerry. Look at this area, Democratic county, Republican county, Republican county; I talked to a pollster who just conducted a poll out here. He said right now, McCain is running strong where you have the mid-western. This is Philadelphia, eastside, more eastern mid-Atlantic voters. This is much more like Ohio than Philadelphia. Is this Barack Obama's biggest problem?
RENDELL: We have to make the economic case. For the voters it is the economy and we have to make that case all over the southwest. We'll carry Allegheny County no matter what. Washington and beaver would be a bellwether of what's going to happen.
Ironically, Senator McCain is in Washington announcing his VP pick Saturday, but Senator Obama and Biden are in Beaver County on Friday, touring the county, making a couple of stops, having a small rally. I think we need to get Barack Obama interchanging with those voters, not just one big glorious speech, listening to their questions, answering their questions, pointing out the difference in the economy. Those differences are dramatic. When we do that, I think we'll turn a lot of those voters.
KING: We're going to get back to our coverage but I'm going to take from that that you think Barack Obama has made a big mistake in these kind of communities not going man-to-man, face to face, instead doing the big speeches at rock star rallies, that will not sell out here.
RENDELL: Rock star rallies are really preaching to the converted. You have to go in where people are Democrats but have doubts. I know Senator Obama can do that when he starts talking about the economy. That's what he's got to do and it starts Friday.
KING: First governor to touch the map. Welcome up here on the platform, Governor. Thank you.
RENDELL: It's little too small a map.
KING: Well Wolf, as you can see, that's a pretty candid assessment I think from the governor of Pennsylvania. He was a Hillary Clinton supporter and a very passionate one but acknowledging as he goes through those counties that Senator Obama still has a long way to go. And any Democratic will tell you, Paul Begala used to work for Bob Casey, the late former governor of Pennsylvania and he will tell you - if the Democrats are struggling in Pennsylvania, when we go from August into September and into October, then they are in trouble across the country from the electoral map perspective.