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CNN LIVE EVENT/SPECIAL
Bill Clinton Addresses the Democratic National Convention
Aired September 5, 2012 - 23:59 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
WOLF BLITZER, HOST, "THE SITUATION ROOM": A long emotional night that began in controversy is now ending in unity for the Democrats here in Charlotte, North Carolina. Delegates to the Democratic national convention are renominating President Barack Obama after a long and electrifying nomination speech by the former president, Bill Clinton.
ANDERSON COOPER, HOST, "AC360": Point by point, often with humor, Clinton answered the attacks made last week at the Republican convention in Tampa and lobbed back plenty attacks of his own. Watch.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BILL CLINTON, FMR. PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: In Tampa, the Republican argument against the president's reelection was actually pretty simple, pretty snappy. It went something like this. We left him a total mess. He hasn't cleaned it up fast enough, so fire him and put us back in.
(CHEERS AND APPLAUSE)
CLINTON: But they did it well. They looked good. They sounded good. They convinced me that they all love their families and their children and were grateful they'd been born in America and all -- really, I'm not being -- they did.
(CHEERS AND APPLAUSE)
CLINTON: And this is important. They convinced me they were honorable people who believed what they said and they're going to keep every commitment they've made. We've just got to make sure the American people know what those commitments are...
(CHEERS AND APPLAUSE)
CLINTON: ... because in order to look like an acceptable, reasonable, moderate alternative to President Obama, they just didn't say very much about the ideas they've offered over the last two years. They couldn't because they want to go back to the same old policies that got us in trouble in the first place. They want to cut taxes for high-income Americans even more than President Bush did. They want to get rid of those pesky financial regulations designed to prevent another crash and prohibit future bail-outs.
They want to actually increase defense spending over a decade $2 trillion more than the Pentagon has requested without saying what they'll spend it on.
And they want to make enormous cuts in the rest of the budget, especially programs that help the middle class and poor children. As another president once said, there they go again.
(CHEERS AND APPLAUSE)
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: A lot of references in his speech, both subtle and direct, of former Republican president (INAUDIBLE) that one obviously to former president Ronald Reagan. After Clinton spoke, President Obama came out on stage. The two men shared a hug, a show of appreciation for a speech that may have gone a long way in helping Obama's campaign.
A lot to talk about. Quick reactions from our panelists, in terms of the top takeaway for all of you for tonight -- John.
JOHN KING, CNN CHIEF NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: He knows how to frame an argument. He knows how to make a case. He has great passion. And he speaks in a folksy manner that is something President Obama sometimes fails to do. Bill Clinton's record as governor and as president is making (ph) connection on the substance of an economic argument powerful.
GLORIA BORGER, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL ANALYST: You know, we've spent both of these conventions talking about how the candidates needed to be humanized by their spouses, or whatever. You look at Bill Clinton. He's somebody who talks about policy from his heart, and that is something he lived and he lived it when he was president. Agree or disagree, this is a man who loves the journey of ideas, loves thinking about it, loves talking about it. And nobody else can drill down on the substance and tell a story...
COOPER: And loves...
BORGER: ... the way he can.
COOPER: ... the politics.
BORGER: Of course.
COOPER: I was struck just by how different -- you know, four years ago, this was a man who was campaigning vigorously for his wife, saying some very tough things about then candidate Obama, not making the Obama campaign happy. Four years later, he's now playing a critical role for the Obama reelection.
DONNA BRAZILE, DEMOCRATIC STRATEGIST, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: I mean, look at the -- look at the party tonight. It's a party that is more energetic, a party that is diverse, a party that is going to work overtime to help reelect President Obama.
You know, we had a very difficult moment in 2008. It was two wonderful, credible candidates fighting against each other. But they came together and they're still together. And tonight, Bill Clinton once again validated President Obama as someone who's up to the job and getting America back on...
COOPER: But they're not -- they're not probably hanging out tonight together, having a beer after this. They've gone their separate ways, probably.
BRAZILE: It depends on the recipe, as you well know.
COOPER: Carly Fiorina?
CARLY FIORINA, FMR. MCCAIN ADVISER, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: Well, I agree. I think Bill Clinton is an incredibly skillful and fantastic story teller. And we heard a story just in that little clip that you played. His story was that all the problems were caused by Republicans for the last eight years.
It was Bill Clinton that signed financial deregulation. It was Democrats who sat and stood in opposition to reining in Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, which helped create the mortgage crisis.
So he told a great story. The problem is, he used some facts that helped him and ignored some facts that didn't help him. But it was vintage Clinton. It was great to watch. It was a great story.
DAVID GERGEN, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: I'd like to go back to something I said last night. The Democrats have now had two very good, surprisingly strong nights.
COOPER: The stumble over the platform, you think...
GERGEN: There was a stumble tonight. It had a slow start tonight. It was quiet. But they ended on -- they had a tremendous finish.
If they can -- if Barack Obama tomorrow night can make it three for three, they could break out in this election. They've been trying to do that. The dynamics have been steady all along. But they have a chance. I think it's a chance. I don't think it's certain. I think they have a chance...
COOPER: We've seen bounces before on -- for Democrats that then have faded away.
KING: It's been a while. It's been a while. Bill Clinton got a bit of a bounce. The Kerry-Bush race, they both got 8 points. They matched up. Because of the polarization, because of the cable era, because of the blogosphere, the bounce -- President Obama just got 2 points four years ago against John McCain.
Now, most of us knew it was a Democratic year. Carly was involved in the McCain campaign. You sort of knew it. But here's my big question, though. I think David's right, they've had a very good show. Republican will take issue. Carly rightfully points to the decisions Bill Clinton made. We'll have a debate about the issues.
But if you have three good nights here, my question is, what happens over breakfast Friday morning? The government will release the latest unemployment report. That could be a 2-by-4. If it is positive and they have three good nights, then they might get that glide path (ph), or at least the beginning of a glide path. If it's negative, it's going to take the air out of the balloon.
BORGER: But you can always argue that people's opinions on the economy are already cooked, you know, that there isn't going to be anything so surprising that will change the way people feel about...
KING: In that -- in that...
BORGER: ... what's going on in their lives.
KING: ... small slice that's available. This is -- this is -- all these speeches, all this money, all this coverage, it's about this tiny percentage of people in eight states. If they start to come over and then get whacked with a bad economic report...
COOPER: Let's go down to Wolf Blitzer on the floor -- Wolf.
BLITZER: All right, they're only about 100 votes away from -- it's not a huge surprise -- Barack Obama clinching the Democratic presidential nomination. Behind us, the role call is continuing.
But Kate Bolduan is on the floor. I want to go right to Kate. Kate, what have you got?
Well, it doesn't look like we've connected with Kate right there. They're getting ready to clinch this. There's the -- Senator Klobuchar of Minnesota. I guess they're almost there. It's all but official that this nomination has been clinched. It's a procedural thing. They got to do it to make it legal.
Jessica Yellin is here. Candy Crowley is here. Let's listen as they do go over the top.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You will understand when Mississippi passes at this point for Ohio.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Thank you, Mississippi. Mississippi passes to Ohio. Ohio, you have 191 votes. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Thank you, Alice (ph). Madam secretary, I'm Chris Redford (ph). I'm chairman of the Ohio Democratic Party.
(CHEERS AND APPLAUSE)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Ohio -- Ohio, from Puttin (ph) Bay to Portsmouth, Ohio, the battleground state, Ohio the state that elects presidents, as we did in 2008, Ohio, the home of American heroes and American icons, the home of Neil Armstrong and John Glenn, the home of Senator Sherrod Brown and Governor Ted Strickland...
(CHEERS AND APPLAUSE)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And Ohio, in spite of Mitt Romney's efforts, the home of the Chevy Cruise (ph) and the Chrysler Jeep and 850,000 American jobs!
(CHEERS AND APPLAUSE)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Ohio, madam secretary casts all 188 votes for the president and the next president of the United States, Barack Obama!
(CHEERS AND APPLAUSE)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Thank you, Mr. Chairman. Ohio casts 188 votes for Barack Obama.
BLITZER: All right, that's not a surprise, Ohio, not a surprise at all that Ohio puts President Obama over the top.
Those who are remaining here, the delegates and the guests, they're cheering because he now once again officially is the Democratic presidential nominee. So they can move forward on this.
It's not going to be a surprise, Jessica and Candy. You know what? I believe that Joe Biden will get the vice presidential nomination later tonight, as well, Candy.
CANDY CROWLEY, CHIEF POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: (OFF-MIKE) this arena is about one third as full as...
BLITZER: Yes, of course.
CROWLEY: (OFF-MIKE) for his speech. So (OFF-MIKE)
BLITZER: All right, hold on a second. We want to get that microphone of yours working. We're not hearing you.
Biden will get the official vice presidential nomination tomorrow, Jessica. Give me a takeaway of what has really stuck out in your mind as a result of what we've seen on this second day of the Democratic convention.
JESSICA YELLIN, CNN CHIEF WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Well, former president Clinton had a three-fold mission, to energize the party base, to draw a strong distinction for the Democrats and Republicans, and to sort of establish President Obama's credibility on his economic vision. That was his challenge. Obviously, he met the challenge.
As we've been saying, it's up to President Obama to make his own case tomorrow night. I think questioning whether he'll give a good speech is silly. We know President Obama can give a good speech. Will he embrace Simpson-Bowles tomorrow night? No. They've been very clear that's not a position they're going to take. He says it's more extreme than sequestration.
But the question is, what happens in the coming days? So I think you can expect a strong speech. And the case the president -- president Clinton has laid out, it will be interesting to see if President Obama picks up on some of these themes to come.
BLITZER: Candy, give me a takeaway. What do you think?
CROWLEY: I think that Bill Clinton did a lot of things that President Obama cannot, in some cases, and will not do tomorrow night. It was defensive of the Obama record, which now he doesn't need to do. It was wildly, aggressively partisan, even though it was cloaked in that, Oh, I like the Bushes, and I worked with Reagan, and then he just -- you know, smash mouth. I mean, it was -- it was a pretty aggressive partisan speech.
President Obama doesn't have to do that tomorrow night. So what does it free the president up to do? It frees him up to do what he does best, which is that rhetoric and the flourishing. And he -- he can move forward because Bill Clinton has done the smashing. He has done the defensiveness. And now Barack Obama can come in here and do what he does best.
BLITZER: Two for two, as David Gergen says. Michelle Obama did a great job last night for the president. Bill Clinton did a great job for the president tonight. Tomorrow night, it's up to the president of the United States to do a great job for himself.
President Obama certainly has some hard acts to follow when he speaks to this convention tomorrow night. Can he live up to the speeches given by his wife, given by the former president, Bill Clinton? Stay with us.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CLINTON: We believe that "We're all in this together" is a far better philosophy than "You're on your own."
(CHEERS AND APPLAUSE)
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: Former president Bill Clinton electrifying the crowd here at the Democratic national convention earlier this evening.
The crowds have largely gone away. The role call is still under way, so a number of people do remain here. The bars, the restaurants in this area are filling up, people trying to make their way back to the hotels, some of them staying very far away.
As we continue to watch this roll call, though, let's check in with Piers Morgan, who's at the CNN Grill with CNN contributors Paul Begala and David Frum.
Piers, take it away.
PIERS MORGAN, HOST, "PIERS MORGAN TONIGHT": Thanks, Anderson. Yes, there's a (INAUDIBLE) buzz here, guys, after what was an extraordinary speech. What did you make of it? I mean, we got two ends of the spectrum here, former George Bush speaker (SIC) and you.
Start with you, Paul. To me -- I lay my cards on the table -- that was pound for pound, dollar for dollar one of the great modern political speeches I have ever heard.
PAUL BEGALA, DEMOCRATIC STRATEGIST, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: Yes, this guy -- 20 years-plus I've been with President Clinton, and he continues to amaze and continues to raise the bar.
Here's one really important thing. He never calls it a speech, like when he's, like, working on it with his staff. He always calls it a talk. He does not like the lift and loft and grand oratory that I hope we'll tomorrow see from President Obama. They're the sort of yin and yang of the Democratic Party.
He was both wonky and emotional. He -- and it's very hard to do both, but I thought if you can make substance riveting, you're probably doing a pretty job, and that's what he did.
MORGAN: A great tweet has come in from someone on "The Washington Post" saying that, apparently, he had 3,136 words prepared, he delivered 5,895, including audience applause. Classic Bill Clinton, go with the flow, ad lib. I mean, the teleprompter froze at one stage, but he carried on.
DAVID FRUM, FMR. BUSH SPEECH WRITER, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: It was ad libbed, but it was also deeply considered. Clinton put his finger on the H-bomb of this election, and that is the issue of nursing homes. The Ryan/Romney plan proposes to hold harmless people who are seniors or over 55 from any cuts to Medicare. Seniors vote in enormous numbers. And so it might seem like they have nothing to worry about.
But the Ryan/Romney plan proposes to make big cuts in Medicaid, and that is the program that increasingly pays for more and more of nursing home care. And by talking about nursing homes, Clinton put the senior vote back in contention by reminding them of their fears.
Before people congratulate Bill Clinton too much for this speech -- and it was a good speech -- but it's important to remember that the reason it was powerful was because of the strategic decision by Republicans to endorse the Ryan plan.
They didn't have to do that. And some of us have been pleading with them for a year, Do not do this, do not commit this election -- do not make this election campaign (ph) about restructuring the welfare state. Make it about Obama's jobs record.
And the Republicans chose not to do that and they set themselves up for this comeback tonight. But that is not just Clinton's credit, that is an utterly unnecessary Republican mistake.
MORGAN: Paul, Bill Clinton obviously loved every second of tonight. Larry Sabato, director of the Center for Politics, tweeted -- I love this -- "Clinton loved it so much because Obama needed it so much."
MORGAN: Which I thought was a very, very apposite comment to make.
BEGALA: Absolutely. You know, the Clinton/Obama relationship is a lot better off than it was four years ago, and I think this is part of it. But I think they have bonded on their agenda.
David makes a really powerful point. I can tell you -- I've been talking to President Clinton these last few weeks -- putting Paul Ryan on the budget -- the budget chairman, Paul Ryan, on the ticket really did energize President Clinton. He was going to do his best for President Obama, no matter what. But David is exactly right. Bill Clinton balanced the last balanced budget we had. He knows a lot about the budget. And he is appalled by the Ryan budget.
And that is -- you know, I think he felt a little like a mosquito in a nudist colony, anywhere you land is a fertile opportunity in a target- rich zone. And David's exactly right. This Romney budget, it is now, is going to be the agenda for the last 60 days of this election.
MORGAN: What does this mean for the Republicans going forward? They had a little bit of a bounce after last week, but you've got to say that the double whammy of Michelle Obama and now Bill Clinton giving two very different, incredibly powerful speeches, and you've still got the top dog to come, Barack Obama tomorrow night -- if they haven't had the distractions of hurricanes and so on -- all right (INAUDIBLE) speech indoors tomorrow, but we saw from President Clinton tonight, it won't make much difference. It's going very, very well for the Democrats. I heard some of our panel say earlier this could be the game-changing 24 hours. What do you think?
FRUM: Well, I wonder about that. This is going to be a very interesting test in the next 24 hours about what does TV do in the modern era. Romney had very poor ratings for his speech and a very small bounce. And the question is, is that a Romney story or is that a TV story? Is that a story about how people consume information? Do they watch it on YouTube?
And are we now so partisan and locked in that conventions don't bounce? Small bounces in 2080 and 2004, as well, for both the winners and the losers.
MORGAN: But Paul, I mean, you've got to be jubilant, I would think, on the Democrats' side tonight because Bill Clinton came along -- and when even Wolf Blitzer says -- is (ph) the media (ph) reaction (ph) on air -- the best Bill Clinton speech I've ever heard -- and he's made some amazing speeches.
But (INAUDIBLE) cock-a-hoop. What is the danger for Barack Obama? Is it that he can't live up to what we've just heard tonight? Is it like following Sinatra at the Sands in Vegas?
MORGAN: Where do you go?
BEGALA: Well, maybe it's following Sinatra if you're Elvis, right? I mean, President Obama is one of the great orators of our time. He is blessed that his predecessor in his party is also one of the great orators of our time -- very, very different styles, though.
And I have every hope and expectation -- this guy -- I mean, I brought my 12-year-old son to the convention to see President Clinton and President Obama, and he'll remember this the rest of his life. We didn't even know we were going to get such a magnificent speech out of the first lady and out of Julian Castro, the San Antonio mayor, the rising star of my party, always (ph) outstanding.
MORGAN: I thought he was brilliant, too.
MORGAN: We'll leave it for now. We're going to come back after the break with Sandra Fluke, another woman of the moment tonight, who gave a great and very different speech.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CLINTON: I want to nominate a man who's cool on the outside...
(CHEERS AND APPLAUSE)
CLINTON: ... but who burns for America on the inside.
(CHEERS AND APPLAUSE)
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MORGAN: Welcome back to the CNN Grill, where I've been joined by three new guests, Cecile Richards of Planned Parenthood -- welcome -- Sandra Fluke, women's rights advocate, law student -- great speech tonight (INAUDIBLE) -- and the honorable Steve Israel, chairman of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee.
Big, big night. I love that line from Bill Clinton there, Barack Obama is cool on the inside (SIC) but burning for America on the outside. (SIC)
Steve, what did you make of that?
REP. STEVE ISRAEL (D-NY), DCCC CHAIRMAN: You know, there's only one Bill Clinton, and boy, did we hear from him tonight. It was riveting...
MORGAN: Best speech you ever heard him make?
ISRAEL: One of the best speeches. Every speech I hear him make I think is the best. And I think he topped that.
It was riveting but it was also a reminder of what happens when you invest the right priorities in the middle class. Bill Clinton's economic priorities -- longest peacetime expansion in -- economic expansion in history, 25 million jobs, new startups, innovation, entrepreneurship.
The Republican policies under George Bush -- debt, deficit, tax cuts for the rich, a middle class that imploded. That's what this election is all about.
MORGAN: Sandra, I watched your speech with great admiration. I tweeted to that effect. I wonder what Rush Limbaugh was thinking, watching it, probably spitting blood with indignation, I would imagine, at how eloquent you were. I was instantly...
SANDRA FLUKE, WOMEN'S RIGHTS ADVOCATE: I couldn't even care less what Rush Limbaugh was thinking.
MORGAN: I'll bet you didn't! Do you have a message for him tonight?
MORGAN: Nothing? Just a stony silence?
FLUKE: That's right.
MORGAN: A lot of people were tweeting -- as you might expect, whenever you speak in public, a lot of rather unpleasant, abusive stuff on the right. How do you deal with that? Because I was pretty appalled by what I was reading.
FLUKE: You know, if nobody's disagreeing with you and nobody's coming after you, then you're not standing up for something. And in my life, I intend to stand up for things, so I don't worry about it.
MORGAN: After all you've been through, standing there tonight, the warm-up for Bill Clinton, I mean, one of the great moments, how did you feel looking out at everyone?
FLUKE: You know, I just felt a lot of gratitude because it was such a -- you know, a passionate room and they were so supportive. I really appreciated that. And it was just so fabulous to see how fired up they are about the choice that we have this fall because when I was talking about the policies that are on the table and what could be at risk for women in this country, the crowd really responded because they know what kind of choice we have between President Obama and Mr. Romney's plans for the women in this country.
MORGAN: When you realized that the GOP platform had absolutely no exceptions for abortion, not for rape, not for incest, not for the health of the mother, you must have felt -- I don't know how you felt. How did you feel?
FLUKE: Like, I'm not a priority to them, you know? That's -- I think that's what it comes down to, that women aren't a priority.
MORGAN: Cecile, from your perspective, how important has Sandra been as a kind of standard bearer for what many would view as just basic decency for women's rights in America?
CECILE RICHARDS, PRES., PLANNED PARENTHOOD ACTION FUND: Oh, absolutely. I think -- and Sandra tonight was I think outstanding, as she always is, I think speaking for a whole 'nother generation about the importance of basic access to health care.
And I loved the fact that she talked about it's not only an issue for young women, it's an issue for young men, as well. And I think that's really -- I couldn't agree more that this -- this whole night tonight and last night was about whether we want to move forward as a country or we want to go back to the 1950s.
And I think the crowd tonight, you heard it over and over, folks want to go forward, not back.
MORGAN: I mean, I thought that the powerful thing tonight in Sandra's speech, for example, was where that it suits Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan to keep the whole focus on the economy, where they think they have a straight fight that they may win, you know, the argument being is America better or worse off?
Well, depending on what you believe and statistics you read, and how you spin them, it could go either way. But if the debate gets extended to women's rights, to gay rights, to all the social issues, well, the conservatives have gotten themselves into a bit of mess over, frankly. That's got to help Barack Obama, hasn't it?
ISRAEL: Well, it helps Barack Obama; it helps House Democrats. And by the way, Piers, there's a connection between these vitally important women's issues, women's rights and the economy.
The Republican majority in the House of Representatives has had two years to focus on opening up new businesses. Instead, they chose to spend two years focused on closing down Planned Parenthood.
Now how can an economy grow, how can a middle class grow, how can small businesses be created when you spend every day of every week of every month thinking about shutting down Planned Parenthood? That is not an economic strategy.
And that's why I think we're going to win back the House because people have had it with those extreme priorities. They want us focused on jobs, small businesses, entrepreneurship.
MORGAN: Sandra, at the end of your speech, you got a huge ovation from the convention. It must have been very moving for you to receive that.
Where do you go now? I mean, you've got such a high profile. People will be looking at you and thinking, you should come into politics full-time.
ISRAEL: We'll find a district for you.
FLUKE: Thank you. But, you know, maybe some day, but that's not what I'm focused on right now. I'm just focused on getting us to November, making sure that we re-elect the president, who has stood with women over the last four years, because we've got a lot more to accomplish for women in this country.
We have got to get the Violence Against Women Act reauthorized. We've got to get the Fair Pay Act reauthorized. We've got to get funding protected for Planned Parenthood. So we need him for another four years.
MORGAN: Thank you all very much for now.
Anderson, back to you.
ANDERSON COOPER, CNN HOST: Piers, thanks very much.
Stand by for a fact check of the some of the numbers that former President Clinton threw out to defend President Obama's handling of the economy and his own record. Fact check ahead.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BILL CLINTON, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Their number one priority was not to put America back to work; it was to put the president out of work. Well, wait a minute. Senator, I hate to break it to you, but we're going to keep President Obama on the job.
WOLF BLITZER, CNN HOST: That's Senator Mitch McConnell, the Republican leader in the Senate, and President Clinton going directly after him, mincing no words at all.
Let's go to Brianna Keilar; she has got a celebrity on the convention floor, this one with a special connection to President Obama.
BRIANNA KEILAR, CNN CORRESPONDENT: That's right. I'm here with Kal Penn. You probably recognize him as a famous actor, but he's a former member of the Obama administration.
You were actually written off of the hit TV show "House" so that you could go work in the Office of Public Engagement, essentially to be a liaison to young Americans. That's really what you're doing for the campaign. So how does the president reignite that enthusiasm among young voters?
KAL PENN, ACTOR, OBAMA ADMINISTRATION: So in a lot of states that enthusiasm we think hasn't really dropped off. He's had offices in different places; a lot of organizers have been working on stuff. I think now what we've seen, at least in our youth events, you have got a lot of young folks that made a lot of promises to their friends. Why should you register to vote? Why should you care? And now they're seeing the fruits of that.
Their friends are home from Iraq, Pell grants got doubled, college is a little more affordable. We still have a long way to go, and that's why the president wants a second term. And I think that's the case that we're -- we've been making.
KEILAR: A little bit of pressure on you: you're in charge of the live stream that goes out from the campaign, and this is key, because this is where a lot of those people, the 65,000 people who don't get to see the president now, since he's not speaking at B of A Stadium, they're going to be watching you.
Are you feeling the pressure?
PENN: I'm feeling some fun pressure. I think, obviously, a lot of the folks that can't make it into the stadium, we hear they're setting up house parties. This is in addition to like the 4,000 house parties that are already tuning in.
We have got a really fun program planned for them, a lot of special guests, some policy experts, some fun celebrities and other surrogates, have a nice conversation for about an hour, 8:00 to 9:00 before the speeches, and then a wrap-up afterwards. It should be a lot of fun. It's the first live stream ever, I think, from a convention.
KEILAR: But you're going back into acting, you're back into acting now. You're out of the administration.
What about going back into the administration, would you do that?
PENN: I love -- I'm shooting a pilot right now for CBS; I'm having a great time with my first love. I would obviously be honored if there was a chance to serve in President Obama's administration again.
I'm not going to rule it out, but I just feel really blessed that I can do two things that I love. I feel like only in America can you do something like that (inaudible).
KEILAR: All right. Kal Penn, thank you so much.
So there you have it, Anderson. Who knows, maybe we'll be seeing Kal Penn serving in a second Obama term, if there is one.
COOPER: Thanks very much.
I want to check in with Erin Burnett and Tom Foreman for a CNN fact check on the economy now, the economy under President Clinton based on some of the things president Clinton said during his speech.
ERIN BURNETT, CNN HOST: That's right. And you know what? There were lots and lots of numbers in here, some of them accurate, some of them not.
But obviously, Bill Clinton's administration, you know, it's amazing. It's not just Democrats that look back at him with great fondness --
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Oh, sure.
BURNETT: -- it's Republicans, it's Republicans (inaudible). They say, this guy was great, I mean, he's amazing in his ability to reinvent. A lot of people, big fans of his. It touched on for many Democrats because of his economic record. People look at the job growth, they look at the good times, the Internet boom. And that makes them remember good times.
The challenge tonight, though, is for Democrats to encourage voters to see similarities with President Obama, to say, look --
TOM FOREMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, steering them away from the problems, obviously.
BURNETT: -- and say, look, this is -- you're like Clinton.
FOREMAN: Yes, exactly, but not too much. And that's what they tried to do tonight.
Listen to some of what the president had to say.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CLINTON: President Obama started with a much weaker economy than I did. Listen to me now. No president -- no president, not me, not any of my predecessors, no one could have fully repaired all the damage that he found in just four years.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
FOREMAN: Now, see, that was a key, key line in terms of context here. Because (inaudible) try to say really is vote for President Obama because he'll be like me, but now let me explain why he didn't succeed the way I did. And look at the comparison here, because I think this is important context, no matter how you look at this.
Like President Obama, President Clinton came into office with soaring joblessness,7.1 percent for Mr. Clinton. That's within just a few points -- tenths of a point of what Mr. Obama faced. But there the similarity ends. Under President Clinton, the rate steadily dropped down to the 5 percent range at the end of his first term, deep down into the 4 percent range by the time he left office, pretty much full employment at that point.
Not the case for Mr. Obama. In the Clinton years, average wages rose about 30 percent; nothing like that really happened during the Obama years. Wages did not rise anything -- nothing like that.
Clinton inherited a $290 billion deficit, changed it to a $236 billion surplus by the time the Clinton years were done. Mr. Obama has inherited a $459 billion deficit. Yes, that's worse, but it's even worse now, $1.3 trillion.
And homeownership rose to a record high during the Clinton years. It's declined under President Obama, and the mortgage crisis, although we have to be fair about that, it still is quite high in the mid-60 percent range.
But it's really clear when you look at those numbers, very different economic performance from these two administrations, and they're at pains now to explain this and try to make that context work for them and not against them.
BURNETT: That's right. You know, another interesting thing I noticed in here, President Clinton again bringing up, President Obama has an approach proposed by the bipartisan Simpson-Bowles Commission. We've talked so much about the Simpson-Bowles Commission.
BURNETT: And yet they keep stumbling into this thing. It's -- this is a commission that came up with a plan to fix the debt problem in this country. The president did not endorse Simpson-Bowles, a lot of his closest allies think that was a massive failure and a mistake.
But yet President Obama -- President Clinton brings this up. And you know, everyone may notice this last week, Paul Ryan brought it up, and he also was on that commission and didn't vote for Simpson-Bowles.
So both he and President Obama failed at that, but now they're bringing it up as if they were on board. It's another inconsistency.
FOREMAN: Yes, it can be a completely fair point -- a completely fair point to say the times are different than they were under President Clinton. But if they're so different, then why are we talking about the similarities? Or else we have to talk about the similarities -- it's kind of like, hard to have it both ways.
BURNETT: And there's some other factors in here, but we'll save this for another time.
We'll send it back to you, Anderson. COOPER: Erin, Tom, thanks very much. We continue to watch this roll call vote, which is playing out. And let's talk to our panelists who are here.
(Inaudible) Van Jones has now joined us again.
What are you -- we didn't get your take on what you heard from President Clinton tonight. Did anything surprise you?
VAN JONES, FORMER OBAMA SPECIAL ADVISER: Well, I mean, you heard Michelle Obama give such a powerful testimony to his heart, and you saw Bill Clinton give a powerful testimony to his head -- going through, making the arguments, why he did a good job, and giving people real context.
I think for Democrats, also for good Americans, it was like going to school. I mean, it was like -- it was -- he was a professor in chief, helping people understand. It was a talk, it wasn't a speech. I think people were thrilled with it. My friends were just totally thrilled to hear also just a full-throated defense of the president. No holds barred, this man did a good job. I could not have done a better job.
COOPER: So what do you think President Obama has to do tomorrow?
JONES: Well, I mean, listen, I think he now needs to make the case for the future. I think his heart has been defended; I think his head has been defended. His judgment has been defended. So OK. Now what are you going to do going forward?
And I think if he pulls that off tomorrow night, you have almost a perfect performance, at least on the main stage. The platform committee does something else. On the main stage, a perfect performance, a trifecta. And I think the Republicans are in deep trouble.
COOPER: So who is he trying to reach out to tomorrow night? Is it the base? Is it everybody? Is it the small group of people who are still undecided?
JONES: I think he'll be reaching out tomorrow to the people who have heard a lot -- look at their pocketbooks, look at the kitchen table, who feel bad about themselves, who feel bad about the country, who have heard bad things about them. I think he's going to be reaching out to them, saying, listen, I understand your pain. Here's where I'm going to take you.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He wants the 2008 coalition to come home. The young people, the women, (inaudible), people who have been disappointed. He's (inaudible) -- you know, Bill Clinton and Michelle Obama have given them fresh reasons, fresh hope, fresh conviction. And if they can -- you know, it's hard to make a souffle rise twice, but it's possible in this case that they can do it. CARLY FIORINA (R), FORMER SENATE CANDIDATE: I think there's one thing that's changed from 2008 that's really important. We heard wonderful speeches tonight and last night. What's different is, in the last four years, people have figured out that delivering a good speech is not the same as delivering solid results.
There is a level of cynicism, skepticism about beautiful words, that I think didn't exist four years ago. So while they were great speeches -- and I'm quite sure Obama will give a great speech -- the bar is much higher now, because people are looking at all these fancy words through the lens of what is going on in my life. And what's going on in a lot of people's lives is not very good.
COOPER: Well, there are also those who would say that, four years ago, Candidate Obama was relatively unknown; it was a Rorschach test. People could project whatever they wanted onto him. They know him now.
JOHN KING, CNN HOST: It's very different being an incumbent. You have been in charge. And even the Republicans can see he did inherit a ditch, he did inherit problems. Doesn't matter. Life and politics are often not fair. He's been the president for three years.
I think sometimes the question for me is, do people give him that second chance? The American people are pretty forgiving, but this was an aspirational, inspirational candidate four years ago, who made a whole lot of promises. And you can go through a list, and some he has kept and others he has not.
The big one of making Washington different and better, making people's lives better, that's a giant question mark. He used the term "incomplete"; Republicans say that's (inaudible). Is he a credible messenger tomorrow when he says trust me and believe me again? That's the question of the election.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You know what, what we saw tonight, though, was sort of the king of second chances. I mean, you look at Bill Clinton, talk about comeback, second chances. This is a man who was impeached by Republicans in the House of Representatives. He was tarnished --
COOPER: (Inaudible) in his party.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: -- right -- by a sex scandal. You know, this is a man who has come back and he tonight was such a triumph. So --
FIORINA: He delivered results. What Bill Clinton did was deliver results.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Right, and what he delivered tonight was not fancy words, though, Carly, it was a substantive drilling down of the last four years.
COOPER: A lot more for us to talk about. We're going to take a quick break, more on what President Obama needs to do tomorrow, what he's likely to do tomorrow and talk about what (inaudible).
CLINTON: -- the man we decide to champion the cause for which our founders pledged their lives, their fortunes, their sacred honor -- the cause of forming a more perfect union. My fellow Americans, if that is what you want, if that is what you believe, you must vote, and you must re-elect President Barack Obama. God bless you, and God bless America.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BLITZER: A rousing speech from the former President of the United States, urging everyone to go ahead and re-elect the president.
As he was speaking, we got a statement in from his wife, the secretary of state; she was in China. She's now in Timor (ph). Secretaries of state do not attend political conventions, but she did issue a statement, among other things saying this -- she said, "This is the first convention I have missed in many, many years.
"But on a personal level, let me also say that my husband read parts of his speech to me over the last few days. I received the as- prepared version, which I'm anxious when I can to compare to the as delivered version"
She then laughs. "So it's a great honor for him to be nominating the president."
We got Jessica Yellin and Candy Crowley here.
You spent some time with Hillary Clinton leading up to this speech. You know what, I'm sure she would have liked to have been here, but she also feels as secretary of state, she needs to stay away.
JESSICA YELLIN, CNN CHIEF WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: And the national security team always does.
A funny joke, though, because she knows that her husband riffs -- and he did go off script a bit, especially when he made those comments about how glad he is that Secretary Clinton and President Obama have been so close, because it shows to the rest of the world that democracy is not a blood sport.
YELLIN: That was not in the prepared remarks.
BLITZER: And he had a little reference to the secretary of state, saying that Barack Obama, he even gave her a chance.
YELLIN: Yes, absolutely.
BLITZER: (Inaudible) primary.
CROWLEY: Exactly. And all's fair in love and war and politics. And in the end it's like the Bushes and the Reagans, and now there's the Clintons and the Obamas, and we knew this is how it was going to end, even when it was bitter and during the primary season four years ago.
So, listen, they have, over the course of the last two days, teed up President Obama beautifully. And he can come in, and he can give an eloquent speech about the future. We've all heard him give eloquent speeches about the future.
And the business has been done by those kind of beforehand. And he's got -- I think he has to be a little bit specific and say, well, how is the next four years different than this four years?
But having said that, I think a lot has been said that he no longer has to say (inaudible) --
BLITZER: Well, Candy, one thing is very important, these conventions are important, but those three presidential debates that you'll be moderating, one of those presidential debates (inaudible) cover, those will be critically important as well, especially for those remaining undecided or switchable voters.
CROWLEY: Sure. And believe, I get a lot of people saying, are there actually going to be undecided voters on October 16th, which is when the second debate is, which is the one I'm doing. And, yes, there are. I mean, there really are, and you want to know who these people are, folks that go into that voting booth that sometimes aren't really sure what they're going to do.
And I think what we're talking about now, that very small group are gut voters. I mean, those people that just go, OK, I'm going to go with him.
YELLIN: And that's the one other point I would make about the president. We all know he has to make the economic case tomorrow; he has to be specific on policy. But the other point is that in 2008, he ran as this candidate of hope and change. There was an emotional connection he had with the voters.
He lost that to such a great extent in office. He never explained his policies effectively. He seemed so aloof and cold. He is -- does have a challenge to reconnect emotionally with the public.
BLITZER: Thanks so much. Good work, excellent work, we'll be looking forward to seeing the (inaudible) presentation of your documentary, Candy. Thanks very much to you as well.
Thanks to all of our analysts, all of our reporters.
Anderson Cooper, thanks to you as well.
I'm Wolf Blitzer here on the floor of the Democratic convention. And our coverage of the Democratic National Convention continues right after this. More on President Clinton's big speech and other highlights.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We will return home and -- (COMMERCIAL BREAK)