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Hillary Clinton Calls for Party Unity; Bill Clinton to Speak Tonight; Day Three Preview
Aired August 27, 2008 - 08:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
CANDY CROWLEY, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: Kiran and John, it was Hillary Clinton night at the convention. She came, they saw, and she delivered.
CROWLEY (voice-over): In the final scene of her presidential campaign, Hillary Clinton asked her supporters to come home.
SEN. HILLARY CLINTON (D), FORMER PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I want you to ask yourselves, were you in this campaign just for me? Or were you in it for that young Marine and others like him? Were you in it for that mom struggling with cancer while raising her kids? Were you in it for that young boy and his mom surviving on the minimum wage?
CROWLEY: In a speech she knew would be parsed and picked over for any sign of hesitation or false note, Clinton was all in. She mentioned the name Barack Obama a dozen times, trying to bring along disappointed supporters, transferring their hopes to his campaign.
CLINTON: I ran to stand up for all those who have been invisible to their government for eight long years. Those are the reasons I ran for president. And those are the reasons I support Barack Obama for president.
CROWLEY: It was not the speech she thought she'd be giving 19 months ago when she launched her bid. But it was the speech she had to give. Not just for Obama, but for her own future in the party.
There can be no Hillary Clinton presidential candidate now. There is only Hillary Clinton, party player.
CLINTON: It makes perfect sense that George Bush and John McCain will be together next week in the Twin Cities because these days they're awfully hard to tell apart.
CROWLEY: She put the period on her historic campaign on the 88th anniversary of the day women won the right to vote. A piece of history she segued into advice given Harriet Tubman who helped shepherd slaves to freedom.
CLINTON: If you hear the dogs, keep going. If you see the torches in the woods, keep going. If they're shouting after you, keep going. Don't ever stop. Keep going. And remember, before we can keep going, we've got to get going by electing Barack Obama, the next president of the United States. (END VIDEOTAPE)
CROWLEY: Next stop along the road to unity, this afternoon's roll call vote. Barack Obama's name will be placed in nomination as will Hillary Clintons. Something both she and her supporters wanted for the history of it.
Kiran and John?
KIRAN CHETRY, CNN ANCHOR: Candy Crowley for us, thank you.
Well, he served in the halls of Congress for more than 30 years, given hundreds and hundreds of speeches, but Tonight Senator Joe Biden will deliver arguably the most important speech of his life. CNN's Mary Snow joins us with more on Biden's big night as the presumptive Democratic vice presidential nominee.
MARY SNOW, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Hi, there, Kiran. A mouthful there but this will be the first time Senator Biden addresses the Democratic National Convention since being tapped as Barack Obama's running mate. He told reporters last night that he is almost finished with his speech and as he gears up for his moment, he took out some time yesterday to thank supporters. At one point getting emotional.
SEN. JOSEPH BIDEN (D), VICE PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: This is a great honor being nominated vice president of the United States.
SNOW (voice-over): Senator Joe Biden choked up as he addressed the delegation from Delaware for the first time since getting the VP nod.
BIDEN: But it pails in comparison to the honor that I've had representing you. I apologize for getting emotional.
SNOW: He thanked supporters from his home state as he prepped for his primetime moment. He got some help from Michelle Obama who made the rounds with him, playing up his hard scrabble roots as the Obama camp hopes Biden will draw blue-collar workers.
MICHELLE OBAMA, WIFE OF SEN. BARACK OBAMA: Both Barack and Joe grew up in families that struggle at times to make ends meet.
SNOW: CNN political analyst David Gergen says Biden may be needed to use the scrappiness in another way.
BIDEN: Now, you better love me.
SNOW: To be the brawl that goes after Republicans.
DAVID GERGEN, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: He loves a great fight. There are two big things for now in the election. Vice president has to give a great acceptance address and he has to be a great in the debate.
SNOW: Gergen cautions Biden's willingness to speak out could also be his drawback if he speaks out too much. Biden's other assets, his foreign policy credentials and Senate experience. Gergen also points out, an added pressure on Biden.
GERGEN: Well, he's not Hillary Clinton. And you know, there's no candidate who can be Hillary Clinton if it's not Hillary.
SNOW: And as we saw last night after Hillary Clinton's speech last night, he certainly has a tough act to follow.
CHETRY: But in some ways, does it sort of take the pressure off of Biden as well. The fact that she's already spoken, that was yesterday.
SNOW: Yes. And the real pressure obviously is reaching out to her supporters. And last night, you know, he did a walk through at the convention center. And reporters shouted out a couple of questions asking him about Hillary Clinton's speech. She said she hit it out of the park. But one of the things he also said is this is a unified party. So, to that end, yes, it takes a bit of pressure off of him in terms of unified but, of course, this is such a big speech for him tonight, and what people are going to want to hear, Democrats are going to want to stress, that he continue these attacks on Republicans and keep up the pressure and also the contrast between Obama and Democrats and John McCain.
CHETRY: And you know it is so interesting because as we said, he served for more than three decades. But this will be for some people the first time that they're meeting Joe Biden when he gives a speech tonight on the national stage.
SNOW: In a whole different light. And as you know, he has been known to give very lengthy speeches at times. He's acknowledged that. And that's one of the things strategists say that he's got to rein it in. Stay on message.
CHETRY: All right. And we'll be watching for sure. Mary Snow, good to see you. Thanks.
CHETRY: Well, some of the other political developments we're following this morning. A source close to Bill Clinton says the former president will not attend Barack Obama's acceptance speech in INVESCO Field tomorrow night. Senator Hillary Clinton, though, will.
Accept and attack. Will Joe Biden go after John McCain once he accepts the nomination for vice president tonight? We're going to ask our panel what we can expect from Barack Obama's running mate.
ROBERTS: Biden's better half.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BIDEN: My wife Jill who you will meet soon is dropped dead gorgeous.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ROBERTS: Alina Cho introduces us to Joe's wife Jill.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: After one date I can say I was smitten.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ROBERTS: You're watching the "Most News in the Morning."
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JAY LENO, HOST, "THE TONIGHT SHOW WITH JAY LENO": Barack Obama has chosen Delaware Senator Joseph Biden to be his vice presidential running mate. Well, Biden has 35 years experience in Washington. 35 years. So between the two of them, that's almost 36 years of experience.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ROBERTS: Jay Leno and "The Tonight Show" last night. Barack Obama's lack of experience has been a strong Republican talking point. Meantime, The Democrats were criticized for being too soft on John McCain during the convention's first night. Did that change last evening and can we expect Joe Biden to go on the attack when he speaks tonight?
Our panel joins us again. Democratic strategist Jennifer Palmieri is here, along with Republican strategist Chip Saltsman who headed up the Huckabee campaign for a while there. And political analyst and author of "The Independent Nation" John Avlon is back with us again.
In addition to trying to unify the party and convince her supporters to vote for Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton's larger job during the rest of this campaign will be to convince independent voters to come over and cast their ballot for John McCain.
Recent CNN Poll -- CNN Opinion Research Corporation Poll asked who is a better leader. Here's what we found. 51 percent said John McCain. 41 percent said Barack Obama.
John Avlon, in what she said last night, did Hillary Clinton go any distance to try to narrow that gap?
JOHN AVLON, INDEPENDENT POLITICAL ANALYST: Well, she didn't try to make the commander-in-chief argument. She didn't try to answer the experience argument. And I think that -- maybe saying that Bill Clinton tries to do tonight in a speech about foreign policy commander-in-chief evening.
Bill Clinton has enormous credibility with independents. And I do think as the Democrats shift from a civil tone on the first night to more partisan red meat, as the prosecution continues as it should, they've got to be careful with independents.
The reason independents are the fastest-growing registration is because they're sick of harsh, predictable partisanship. And so this is a bounce you got to work. But Obama has got to make the case for independents to win. That's what he's going to win this election.
ROBERTS: Here's another interesting statistics that we found. John McCain leads on who would be the better leader. He also leads on who would be the better commander-in-chief. But take a look at this. Who more likely to bring about change, 54 percent of respondents said Barack Obama, 36 percent said John McCain. I can almost predict what your answer's going to be, Jennifer, but which figure would you rather have?
JENNIFER PALMIERI, DEMOCRATIC STRATEGIST: We will discuss this part. I would rather -- this year, I would rather have the figure where you have the advantage on being the candidate that's going to bring about change. You know, it's not 2004. It's not 2002. Even in terms of having security being such a big issue and I think that you want -- that change is --
ROBERTS: Which was more important, Chip, or do they balance each other out?
CHIP SALTSMAN, REPUBLICAN STRATEGIST: They do balance each other out, but I've always said that and I'll try to make things very simple -- I'm a country boy from Tennessee, and I'm with some really smart people, so I try to make it simple so I can understand it.
I think at this point in the election, people like Obama, they don't necessarily like McCain. They trust McCain, they don't necessarily trust Obama. Right now, trust triumphs like. And Obama has got to paint a picture of why people should trust him as commander-in-chief during his speech and during the debate. He's got those two opportunities to do that. Right now, they like him but they don't trust him. And until they trust him, they're not going to vote for him.
ROBERTS: All right. So, Joe Biden is going to be on the stage tonight following Bill Clinton.
What are you expecting to hear from him tonight, John?
AVLON: A lot of red meat. And I think his main task is can he get the crowd there forget about Hillary Clinton's speech and really establish himself as the right V.P. He was brought on because he's witty, because he's experienced. So, he's going to have to rowel up the crowd and prosecute that case against John McCain.
ROBERTS: All right. Folks, thanks very much for joining us this morning. We'll be back again tomorrow. Hope to have some of you with us then. All right. Appreciate it.
Which candidate really has the better plan for keeping America safe? John McCain or Barack Obama? CNN's Michael Ware with new information on the security issue.
And, the fight for Hillary Clinton's vote. How far will John McCain go to get them? You're watching the "Most News in the Morning."
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. HILLARY CLINTON (D), FORMER PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: And we know that President Obama will end the war in Iraq responsibly, bring our troops home, and begin to repair our alliances around the world.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CHETRY: That's Hillary Clinton on stage last night. There's a new CNN Opinion Research Poll, though, that suggests Americans actually think John McCain is the better man for the job in Iraq. 53 percent of voters saying McCain would better handle the situation in Iraq compared to 44 percent for Obama.
So, whether it's Barack Obama or John McCain in the White House come January, the war in Iraq and other potential -- another potential Cold War with Russia will be at the top of America's foreign policy agenda. And CNN's Michael Ware spent a lot of time in Iraq. He joins us here in studio.
It is interesting when you look at those polls because the majority of Americans do think, you know, it's time to get out. Yet, when you ask who's going to handle it better, it's John McCain. What are you hearing from some of the military leaders behind closed doors about, you know, what their dream plan would be?
MICHAEL WARE, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, obviously, senior American commanders play their cards close to their chest when it comes to politics because they know they do not operate in a vacuum. Even in a war, politics is very much a part of it. Now, what I can tell you is that from a military man's point of view, it's more of a McCain tendency in the sense of we stay, we consolidate, and we let conditions on the ground tell us when we go, when we add on, when we subtract.
However, I can tell you that the military itself is much more broad-minded on issues like engagement with some of the countries in the region or other groups. For example, it's the military who started talking to the Ba'athist insurgency. It's the military who's got the Ba'athist insurgency now on the payroll -- 110,000 plus insurgents on the U.S. government payroll. So, it's a little bit of both.
CHETRY: (INAUDIBLE) should the big reason for the sectarian violence drop?
WARE: Absolutely. And it's also done in a whole number of things doing that. Basically, it's an American militia to counter the Iranian militias and also keeps your very troubled Arab allies much happier because they now feel they have a stake in Iraq.
CHETRY: So what happens when we leave? Do those Ba'athists still continue to be able to be that countermeasure?
WARE: That is a huge question. Now, you get lip service from the government in Baghdad about maintaining the program, developing it, this, that and the other. But from day one, the Shiite-dominated Iranian-backed central government hated this program, came out and openly attacked it. Now, American commanders say that, well, they've matured in their attitude, they're more embracing.
What do we see just a few days ago? The government hunting down some of these U.S.-paid security people who were former insurgents and arresting or killing them. I mean, these guys are not hiding their true intention in the government. They have come to these blows.
CHETRY: That, of course, as we know, is a huge challenge that either of these two men will inherit as president. Another one, though, is the Russia situation. And what we saw between Russian and Georgia and some of the comments by Russia's president about a Cold War.
Are we facing the real distinct possibility of entering into another Cold War with this very powerful and it seems a little bit aggressive country?
WARE: Yes. Well, I think -- you know, it's very easy for people to band around the rhetoric at the moment, from Moscow to Washington to Tbilisi. And Cold War in the sense that we all grew up knowing it, I suspect not. But a new kind of international dynamic with an opposing force from Russia, expansive, aggressive, wanting descent -- absolutely.
And we're going to see it across all sorts of fronts. For example, what happened in Georgia is not unrelated to the fact that Russia is helping Iran with its nuclear program. And that America needs Russia's help in the Security Council to sanctions or other measures against Tehran. And the Russians deny that. So, they need it when they went into Georgia. There was only so much America can do because Georgia here but they know that America needs Russia over here.
CHETRY: It was very interesting here. And delicate diplomatic dance as well on that front. A lot of problems.
WARE: Oh, yes.
CHETRY: That's why we're glad we have you with the insight. Thanks, Michael Ware. Good to see you as always.
WARE: Great pleasure. ROBERTS: The Clintons' next act.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: His mindset now is the past is the past.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ROBERTS: Is Bill really on board? Dana Bash looks at lingering doubts ahead of Bill's big night. You're watching the "Most News in the Morning."
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CLINTON: Whether you voted for me or you voted for Barack, the time is now to unite as a single party with a single purpose.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ROBERTS: Senator Hillary Clinton last night throwing her political weight behind her one-time rival Senator Barack Obama. But was the rousing call for unity enough to convince her supporters to line up behind the man who defeated her in the primaries?
Joining me now is Faye Wattleton. She's the president of the Center for the Advancement of Women.
Your organization stayed neutral. Can we say who you voted for?
FAYE WATTLETON, CENTER FOR THE ADVANCEMENT OF WOMEN: Well, in the primaries I voted for Senator Clinton. But I might also point out that it was a very, very difficult decision because it was a historic moment. In my lifetime, I didn't think I would ever confront a non- white candidate for president and a woman. So this is really been an amazing moment in history to live.
ROBERTS: And you said that when you went into the voting booth you hadn't made up your mind?
WATTLETON: Yes. I mean, I don't mean it to sound melodramatic but I was looking at the lever and -- at the both of the levers and I really didn't know who I was going to vote for. And, in the end, I realized that my gender was stronger identity for me than my racial classification. I was raised as a girl before I understood what it meant to be an African-American girl.
ROBERTS: So what did you think about the speech last night?
WATTLETON: I thought that it was really an incredibly strong and powerful speech. And I just wish that Mrs. Clinton had made those speeches earlier. I think that she called upon her supporters to put the party above the candidate. She said if you did this for me, just because of me, then you did it for the wrong reason. We should do it because we really need to move the country forward. And the party needs to come together to do that.
ROBERTS: And as someone who voted for her in the primaries, did you see what she said as a compelling argument to get you fully behind Barack Obama, and do you think that other people who are hold-outs may be convinces?
WATTLETON: I think that many people who are skeptical about Mr. Obama this morning still want to hear more from him. So, she did her part. She said that these are the issues that are facing us, there are going to be difficult times ahead, they're not easy, they're very complex. She did her part. Now, the ball is in Mr. Obama's court to convince those people, those women who were supportive of Mrs. Clinton to accept his candidacy and to feel very passionate and work hard for his candidate.
ROBERTS: So what does he need to do? As a woman, what would make you comfortable?
WATTLETON: I am comfortable with Mr. Obama as the candidate. I'm certainly not a John McCain supporter because of the position that he has taken.
ROBERTS: But just give me some idea of what it would take.
WATTLETON: But our research had shown that women -- we do research only on women, say that he has to really come forth with issues and really speak to the issues of health care. That's at the top of the list. Equal pay for equal work. I think now we have to get beyond it's time for change, but rather how is this going to affect my personal life. That's what women are looking for.
The secondary issues such as the war and security are also very, very important. But the capacity to make changes in policy that make it possible for women to get through the day will be really the important element here that he has to signal.
ROBERTS: Taking Joe Biden as his running mate, many analysts believe that it shores him up on the national security issue. But when you look at women's issues with Joe Biden, he has only got I think about the 36 percent to 40 percent rate with the National Abortion Rights Action League. When it comes to this idea of abortion, very important for most Democratic women, what are you thinking about that?
WATTLETON: Well, I think that the party has a very strong platform on Roe v. Wade and the plank around abortion rights and reproductive rights is very strong. It calls for prevention as the lead to the -- the need to reduce the prevalence of abortion because, you know, abortion is not a life-affirming experience for women. So, let's reduce the need for abortion.
And so, the party is very, very clear about it. We are hearing voices within the party that are increasingly louder, that we have heard -- that we have not heard before. But this is an open forum and a debate under discussion. The question is whether that will move to the next level of supporting laws that restrict a woman's right or roll back the clock of time for women's reproductive rights. And that's when we will certainly resist every effort to do that within the party.
ROBERTS: Faye Wattleton, it's great to talk to you. Thanks for coming in this morning.
WATTLETON: Always great. Thank you.
ROBERTS: All right. Enjoy the rest of the convention.
28 minutes after the hour. Coming to you live from the Pepsi Center in Denver, Colorado. Live pictures from INVESCO Field where Barack Obama is going to give his big speech tomorrow. And looking ahead to what's on tap tonight at the convention. Nominating the Democratic presidential ticket. Senators Barack Obama and Joe Biden's names will be officially placed in nomination. Vice presidential hopeful Senator Joe Biden will be one of the evening's big speakers. He was practicing at the podium late last night. The other headliner, former President Bill Clinton, talking foreign policy.
It's the burning question about tonight's convention lineup. Will Bill Clinton follow in his wife's footsteps and fire up the delegates on behalf of Barack Obama? CNN's Dana Bash has got a preview of the former president's speech.
DANA BASH, CNN CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Bill Clinton's friends insist, like his wife, he's ready to bury the hatchet.
TERRY MCAULIFFE, FMR. CHMN., HILLARY CLINTON CAMPAIGN: I speak to the president frequently, almost every day. And I know, you know, he is -- his mindset now is the past is the past and we've got to move forward.
BASH: Yet on the eve of his convention speech, the former president raised a question that raised eyebrows about whether he's really ready to push for Barack Obama.
BILL CLINTON, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Candidate X agrees with you on everything, but you don't think that person can deliver on anything. Candidate Y disagrees with you on half the issues, but you believe that on the other half the candidate will be able to deliver. For whom will you vote?
BASH: Whether or not that was one last moment that Hillary was better, associates promise tonight he'll play the dutiful role of unifier-in-chief.
MCAULIFFE: Make the case that it's an important year for a Democrat to win the White House, House, Senate, and we have to get behind Barack Obama.
BASH: But some Clinton confidantes tell CNN he's frustrated Obama has not done more to seek his counsel in battling Republicans. He plans to use his public address to offer some advice, draw parallels with criticisms about inexperience he thinks as a young candidate.
GEORGE H.W. BUSH, FMR. U.S. PRESIDNET: My dog Millie knows more about foreign affairs than these two bozos.
BASH: And not so subtly urge Obama to step up the tactic he used successfully in his campaign of change, pound away at Republicans for a broken economy.
MCAULIFFE: Get this economy moving again. And the real differences between Senator Obama and Senator McCain, and that's what he's going to focus on.
BASH: Now, Hillary Clinton has been out on the trail a little bit for Barack Obama, John, since the end of the Democratic primary battle. But we have not seen Bill Clinton out there at all. And It's because his friends say he hasn't been asked. Barack Obama, nobody in his campaign has asked him to go out there. It really fueled part of the lingering tensions between the two camps. However, a senior Obama aide did make clear to reporters yesterday that they are going to have Bill Clinton go out and campaign in some of the battleground states after the convention and it's one of the things that maybe is another illustration of some of those lingering hostilities. Tomorrow night, Hillary Clinton will be at Invesco Field to be there to listen to Barack Obama to give his big speech. Bill Clinton is not going to go.
JOHN ROBERTS, CNN ANCHOR: Dana, campaign officials are often known to say one thing in public and another thing in private, behind the scenes. From talking to folks who are close to the former president, do you get a sense that he is going into tonight enthusiastically?
BASH: Enthusiastically probably isn't the word anybody would use to describe it. I think he's going into it dutifully. He understands what he has to do. He understands his role here. He is - they say that he's probably - has harder feelings even than his wife, the candidate, for lots of reasons. Maybe because they just have different personalities. But they say if he's going to do what he has to do.
ROBERTS: Well, it will be interesting to watch it tonight. No question about that. Dana, thanks so much.
BASH: Thank you.
KIRAN CHETRY, CNN, ANCHOR: The Republicans are trying to spoil the Democrats party. Our Ed Henry reports on a series of sharp new attacks. Ed.
ED HENRY, CNN CORRESPONDENT: John, Kiran, tonight Joe Biden takes center stage in Denver for national security night at the Democratic Convention but John McCain trying to preempt all that here in Phoenix by launching a whole new series of attacks on Barack Obama.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: From the department of Arizona, Senator John McCain.
HENRY (voice-over): John McCain teetered on the edge of questioning Barack Obama's patriotism, charging the Democrat is more confident in himself than in America's ability to provide moral leadership around the world.
SEN. JOHN MCCAIN (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: My opponent had the chance to express such confidence in America when he delivered a much anticipated address in Berlin. He was a picture of confidence, but in some ways, confidence itself and confidence in one's country are not the same.
HENRY: McCain also claimed his opponent is naive about world affairs, citing the lesson he says Obama took from the end of the cold war.
SEN. BARACK OBAMA (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: There is no challenge too great for a world that stands as one.
HENRY: McCain slammed that by mentioning his time as a prisoner of war.
MCCAIN: I missed a few years of the cold war as the guest of one of our adversaries. But as I recall, the world was deeply divided during the cold war, between the side of freedom and the side of tyranny. The cold war ended not because the world stood as one, but because the great Democracies came together, bound together by sustained and decisive American leadership.
HENRY: While Democrats feel the selection of Joe Biden as Obama's running mate helps inoculate them against attacks on foreign policy, McCain plans to harp on the inexperience at the top of the ticket to woo independent voters. A key part of the Republican strategy is to target Hillary Clinton supporters by using some of her words against Obama, like recycling her old 3:00 a.m. ad in a new pitch released by McCain.
ANNOUNCER: Rogue nations, radicalism.
SEN. HILLARY CLINTON (D), FMR. PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I know Senator McCain has a lifetime of experience that he will bring to the White House and Senator Obama has a speech he gave in 2002.
ANNOUNCER: Hillary's right.
HENRY: McCain is also still firing away at Obama's reaction to Russia's invasion of Georgia as two too weak.
MCCAIN: Confusion about such questions only invites more trouble, violence, and aggression. To promote stability and peace, America must stand firmly on the side of freedom and justice.
HENRY: The Obama camp called this a false attack, noting the senator in Berlin also said he loves America because the nation sacrifices so much for freedom around the globe. But that's not stopping McCain . He believes this race is a dead heat because of all the tough questions about Obama's experience and his advisers are promising they're only going to ramp up the attacks at next week's Republican convention. John, Kiran.
CHETRY: Ed Henry for us, thanks.
And what one Grammy Award winning musician is doing to get young people to stand up and be counted. Wyclef Jean is here live with a new plan for rocking the vote. You're watching the most news in the morning.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. DENNIS KUCINICH (D), FMR. PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Up with healthcare for all! Up with education for all! Up with home ownership! Up with guaranteed retirement benefits! Up with peace! Up with prosperity! Up with the Democratic party! Up with Obama- Biden! Wake up America! Wake up America! Wake up America!
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ROBERTS: A rather, shall we say, enthusiastic endorsement of Senator Barack Obama from former presidential candidate Congressman Dennis Kucinich, here at the Democratic National Convention. Of course, Hillary Clinton also delivered her endorsement last night in what many people say and analysts at least say was one of the best speeches that she has given in her political career.
House Majority Whip James Clyburn endorsed Barack Obama back in June. He was also critical of the Clinton campaign throughout part of the primary season. He joins me now to talk more about this. During the primary season, Congressman, you had accused Hillary Clinton surrogates of, "marginalizing, demonizing and trivializing Obama during the primaries." What are you thinking this morning after that speech last night?
REP. JAMES CLYBURN, HOUSE MAJORITY WHIP: That is a great speech. I thought she hit all the right notes and it was a great tone. It was a historic day as far as women suffrage is concerned. I thought she did well on that. So I though she did well. I loved the speech.
ROBERTS: Let's listen to a little bit about what she said last night.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. HILLARY CLINTON (D), FMR. PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: That is our mission, Democrats, let's elect Barack Obama and Joe Biden for that future worthy of our great country.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ROBERTS: Did she, congressman, really do all she could last night? Because some political observers, John Dickerson from "Slate" magazine wrote this morning that she didn't really say much about his leadership qualities and certainly that has been a lingering question here. And it's an issue that she raised a lot of very, shall we say, strident points about during the primary campaign?
CLYBURN: Well, I think last night she drew contrast between issues, the issues. And I think that was - as she should have done. Now, Barack Obama on Thursday night will have to close this deal. I don't think she can do it for him. I don't think Bill Clinton can do it for him. He has to do it for himself. What she did last night, I think, is created a climate within which he can deliver a speech, connect with the American people, and sell himself on leadership. When it comes to whether or not you feel he has the qualities, that's one thing. The only way the American people will feel he's got the qualities is for him to present himself in a way that would get them to that point.
ROBERTS: Well, further on that point. Recent CNN, our brand new rather, just released this morning, CNN opinion research corporation poll finds that Senator Obama is leading Senator McCain on the bread and butter issues, but on issues like leadership, terrorism, Iraq, the ability to be commander in chief, he still lags. What can he say tonight or tomorrow night in his speech to reach out to independent voters to say, trust me on all of these issues?
CLYBURN: Well, I think a lot will deal with where we are in the world. This young man at 47, of course, he's older at this point than Bill Clinton was at this point seeking the presidency, and he will have to get people comfortable with the way he sees the world. The fact of the matter is, people still see this world in the old notions, Afghanistan and Iraq. We still are not at the point where we ought to be in looking forward. We're still caught in our history. The new generation will have to move to a point where we have never had any experiences. And so that's why I think, you know, you aren't going to have the same kind of World War II environment going forward.
ROBERTS: You know, one of the most memorable quotes, at least for me, at the primary campaign is when you sat behind me just before the South Carolina primary. We were talking about Bill Clinton. You said to me, as they say in (Galagichi) country, I wish you would just chill a little bit.
ROBERTS: What do you want Bill Clinton to do tonight?
CLYBURN: I want Bill Clinton to be Bill Clinton. I love the guy. I have a great deal of admiration and respect for him. I thought he was a great president. I don't have any animosity at all. I remember 12 years ago when he was up for re-election and everybody thought that he would be thrown out the back door. I had a conversation with him at that point me said to me, you know, Jim, these campaigns, they are all about the future. Bob Dole is in the past. I am to going to build a bridge to the 21st century. He went out, he laid that out, and I think he's absolutely right. This campaign is about the future. It's about future generations, the future of this country that we love so much, and the future of the world. And so that's what I'm looking for him tonight to help continue building that bridge throughout the 21st century.
ROBERTS: Congressman Clyburn, it's always great to see you. Thanks for coming in early this morning. I know there were a lot of late nights. It's nice when you can give us an early morning.
CLYBURN: Oh, thank you so much for having me. Good to see you.
ROBERTS: Getting young people out to vote. What one Grammy award winning musician is doing to make it happen. Rocking the vote live Wyclef Jean is here with a plan.
ROBERTS (voice-over): Biden's better half.
JOE BIDEN, VICE PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: My wife Jill, who you will meet soon, is drop-dead gorgeous.
ROBERTS: Alina Cho introduces us to Joe's wife, Jill.
JILL BIDEN, WIFE OF SEN. JOE BIDEN: After one date I can say I was smitten.
ROBERTS: You're watching the most news in the morning.
CHETRY: Breaking news right now. And these are some amazing shots of what hurricane - well, what tropical storm Gustav is doing right now. The Gulf coast is bracing for the possibility this storm could become a hurricane. It is expected to become a major hurricane by the time it enters back into the Gulf of Mexico this weekend. Right now lashing Haiti. Residents in Cuba also preparing for the storm which will pass just between that island and Jamaica tomorrow. Gustav hit Haiti as a hurricane yesterday causing a landslide that left one man dead.
And Gustav could force Louisiana's governor and potential McCain running mate to Bobby Jindal, to miss next week's Republican convention. Jindal said he won't go if the storm continues its track toward his state. The storm could hit the Louisiana coast three years to the week after hurricane Katrina struck. Jindal has vowed that officials will be prepared.
Well, we've been hearing much about the potential for the next first ladies. But what about the second lady? Alina Cho is here with a look at Senator Joe Biden's wife, Jill. Hi, Alina.
ALINA CHO, CNN, CORRESPONDENT: We don't know much about her but you're about to learn something, Kiran. Good morning. And good morning, everybody. For the past 31 years of her marriage to Senator Joe Biden, Jill Biden has remained largely out of the spotlight. Well, that's just the way she likes it. Of course, all of that is changing now. The college professor and grandmother of five is moving fast from private to very public life. So who is she?
JILL BIDEN: After one date I can say I was smitten.
CHO (voice=over): Jill Biden first caught the senator's eye in a photograph. She was beautiful, smart, and not interested in politics. That peaked Joe Biden's interest. So he called her. It was 1975. She eventually agreed to a date. She told the senator she had voted for him in 1972 and was aware he had lost his wife and baby daughter in a tragic accident. They married two years later and raised his two surviving sons and a daughter of their own.
KATHY GREENWELL, JILL BIDEN'S FRIEND: She cooks dinner every Sunday for all of her children, grandchildren, so she's a very strong mother. She's a very supportive wife.
CHO: Jill Biden is a professor of English, with two master's degrees and a doctorate who friends say isn't known to flaunt her marriage to a powerful senator.
STEVEN CLEMONS, "THE WASHINGTON NOTE": Her students generally don't know that she's the wife of senator. If it comes up she says she's part of the family or related. She doesn't try and trade on her status.
CHO: The 57-year-old grandmother of five has lived a relatively private life. In part because the Bidens live in Delaware and her husband commutes home from the Capitol every day. But all that is changing now that Senator Biden is on the Democratic ticket catapulting Jill Biden to the world stage.
JOE BIDEN: My wife, Jill, who you will meet soon and who is drop dead gorgeous. My wife, Jill, who you will meet soon, she also has her doctorate degree which is a problem.
CHO: Those who know her say she never wanted the limelight, but will make the most of it to champion the causes she cares deeply about, education and health care.
GREENWALL: I think she's going to be a very active vice president's wife.
CHO: Of course that makes sense that she would care about education. She's a college professor and has been teaching for nearly 30 years. In fact, it was Jill Biden who encouraged her husband to run for president this year. She was said to be so unhappy with the re- election of President Bush that she said to her sons, you know what, we have to go to dad with this. And Kiran, by all accounts this is a couple that is still deeply in love, smitten by some accounts after 31 years of marriage. You know you can see that last night when Hillary Clinton introduced Jill Biden to the crowd. Joe Biden got right up and give her a mini standing ovation and as the potential second lady. She's going to have to get used to it. She'll be on the trail a lot.
CHETRY: She's very young, 57 for a grandmother of five.
CHO: She looks incredible.
CHETRY: She really does. And what about her son? She has a son who is in politics as well?
CHO: Joe Biden's son, her stepson, Bo Biden. He's actually Delaware's attorney general. And he's also a member of the state's National Guard. And they've been called to duty in Iraq and they could be deployed as early as this year, Kiran.
CHETRY: All right. Thanks so much, Alina.
CHO: You bet.
CHETRY: Well, the youth vote played a bigger role than usual in a number of primary contests this year. So can we expect the same turnout in November? Musician and activists Wyclef Jean on his efforts to rock the vote.
ROBERTS: Six minutes now to the top of the hour. More than 6.5 million young voters took part in the 2008 presidential primaries and caucuses. That's up 8 percent from the year 2000. But will this new enthusiasm translate into votes come November? Joining me now is Grammy Award winning musician Wyclef Jean who is working with the organization Rock the Vote. It's great to see you this morning.
WYCLEF JEAN, GRAMMY AWARD WINNING ARTIST: Rock the vote.
ROBERTS: You were out last night playing the Nancy Pelosi party and here you are early this morning.
JEAN: I was out but you got here earlier than me. Yes, your call time is one in the morning.
ROBERTS: I also wasn't playing a party last night. Wyclef, you have admitted that you don't follow politics that closely. You do have discussion with family and friends about it but why did you want to get involved with Rock the Vote?
JEAN: It was important. Rock the Vote, I've been supporting it since the '90s, with the Fujis coming from a country like Haiti, which was under the dictatorship of Baby Doc and Papa Doc. So Papa Doc was like, OK, Baby Doc will be the president for life. So what I want kids to understand is that in America, like your vote really matters because there's places around the world where you say you have no vote and we'll tell you who the president of your country will be. So that's why I always encouraged, whenever I come to America I said I will always encourage kids to go out and vote.
ROBERTS: For so many years, young people, when we interviewed them around the political conventions or during the election campaigns, would tell us that they feel disenfranchised, disillusioned with the electoral process. Lately, maybe it started in 2000, they've become more empowered. They're getting more interested in the process. Do you have any idea why that is?
JEAN: I mean, really what happened was I would say traveling around the world and performing, especially in the States, I play lot of universities, you know, in the time of when the election went down with Al Gore, you know, we did feel a little sour because it was like did our votes really count. And this time it just feels like their engagement feels like it really, really is going to count. This time the energy just feels more real than last time.
ROBERTS: Did they go out and voted during the primary campaign? Do you feel that that will carry through to the general election?
JEAN: I mean, that's our jobs. We're supposed to push that and encourage them to go all the way. You know, I was watching Hillary Clinton last night and what she said about Harriet Tubman, you hear the dogs, keep going. And the whole thing is we got to keep them going all the way to get to the valley.
ROBERTS: Music in the 1960s which was sort of the formative years that I grew up in were very, very politically oriented.
JEAN: I grew up in the '60s, too.
ROBERTS: Come on, you've got to be younger than me.
JEAN: Yes but I'm saying like but I have music from the '60s.
ROBERTS: OK. Got you.
You know, that music was all, a lot of it was very politically motivated. Hip-hop likes to think of itself as being political music. But Scholar John McWhorter recently wrote a book called "All about the Beat" which he says it's not political at all, it's not a force for political change, it's just music. Do you agree with that?
JEAN: Well, I mean, we have to go back and see hip-hop's the culture. I grew up on groups like Public Enemy. Public Enemy back in the day with CNN. So when you needed the information, the information would come from the streets. So rap was definitely the tool that I used to get my message across. And a lot of people that are watching that would agree with us. The tone of what you see comes from the streets when you hear the rappers are rapping is exactly what's going on in the street. If you notice now, you know, rappers are saying, Obama, Obama, Obama, because that's the tone of what's coming from the streets.
ROBERTS: All right. Well, regardless of your political stripes, it's great that you're getting out there trying to motivate young people to come out to the polls. Wyclef, great to see you. JEAN: Good to see you, too.
ROBERTS: Enjoy the rest of the convention.
And later on this morning I'm going to be sitting down with Michelle Obama for a one-on-one conversation. That interview will air tomorrow right here on AMERICAN MORNING. Kiran.
CHETRY: Well, finally this morning as we wait for day three of the convention, the kickoff, we've got one more unique look at Hillary Clinton's big speech, through the eyes of her husband. Jeanne Moos has the look at the faces of Bill Clinton in this un-conventional moment.
JEANNE MOOS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: With a kiss of the hand, Bill Clinton settled in to watch his wife's speech. The faces of Bill were all on display, from lip biting to nail biting. As Hillary was cheered, his eyes seemed to fill. And mouthed, I love you. Barack Obama watched Bill watch Hillary.
SEN. BARACK OBAMA (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: He's choking up. Look, when my wife was up there, I was like whoa.
MOOS: But near tears soon turned to laughter.
SEN. HILLARY CLINTON (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: No way, no how, no McCain.
MOOS: And bill loved the pantsuit joke.
CLINTON: To my sisterhood of the traveling pantsuits -
MOOS: Barack liked it, too.
CLINTON: To my sisterhood of the traveling pantsuits.
MOOS: Those pantsuits have traveled to this same stage hours earlier for what was described as a light test, apparently the orange won. With an un-conventional moment, I'm Jeanne Moos, CNN, New York.
CHETRY: And we'll be right back here to do it all again tomorrow. Thanks so much for joining us on this AMERICAN MORNING. John Roberts and I hope to see you back here tomorrow at 6:00 a.m. Eastern time. Our convention coverage now continues with Soledad O'Brien. Hey, Soledad.
SOLEDAD O'BRIEN, CNN HOST: Hi, Kiran. Thank you very much. Good morning and good morning to everybody from the CNN Election Center, right here in New York. We're bringing you continuing coverage of another very big convention tonight as well as a look back at that electrifying night that just went by.
Right now it's sunrise in the Mile High City. Another bright, clear day expected. Dry weather forecasted for tomorrow night's acceptance speech, which is going to be outside. That's why the weather is so critical. In front of an estimated 75,000 people. Tonight though a very full schedule, including Barack Obama's name placed in nomination, a roll call vote, running mate Joe Biden taking the mike and Bill Clinton.
A little drama there. Earlier in the week he was said to be unhappy about the topic that he was assigned to talk about it. But you saw him a moment ago beaming with pride as his wife the senator gave what some people have argued is the best speech of her life. For more on that and also what on top tonight with CNN's Dana Bash joins us from the convention site.
Hey, Dana, the speech -
DANA BASH, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Hi, Soledad.
O'BRIEN: It's understating to say that it was highly anticipated. So first let's listen to a clip and then let's talk about if she accomplished what she set out to do.