Return to Transcripts main page


Talks Under way for Sanders to Officially Nominate Clinton to Quiet Sanders Supporters; Michelle Obama Delivers Key Speech at DNC; Warren Economy Speech Falls Flat. Aired 11-11:30a ET

Aired July 26, 2016 - 11:00   ET



[11:00:02] SARAH SILVERMAN, COMEDIAN: To the Bernie or bust people, you're being ridiculous.




SEN. ELIZABETH WARREN, (D), MASSACHUSETTS: We are not going to be Donald Trump's hate-filled America.

MICHELLE OBAMA, FIRST LADY OF THE UNITED STATES: There is only one person who I believe is truly qualified to be president of the United States.

SANDERS: Hillary Clinton will make an outstanding president, and I am proud to stand with her.


JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: Hello, everyone. I'm John Berman.

KATE BOLDUAN, CNN ANCHOR: Hello, everyone. I'm Kate Bolduan.

We're live from the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Another beautiful day with a little less humidity. Democratic convention, round two, and like Rocky 2, will this be where Hillary Clinton not only catches the chicken, but wins the fight? What will happen after 24 hours in Philadelphia that has seen just about everything, shouts, boos, cheers, tears, joy, euphoria, cats and dogs living together, and Paul Simon. Is there anything left?

BERMAN: The answer is yes, there's history left. Hillary Clinton will be the first woman to be officially nominated or picked as the presidential nominee of a major political party.

The roll call is this afternoon. We have breaking news on that front. We'll get that to you in a minute. The question is, will this all happen without the PDU's, public

displays of umbrage, like the ones here you see from Bernie Sanders supporters on the floor.

Tonight, the featured speaker, a man by the name of William Jefferson Clinton.

CNN's Manu Raju, live inside the convention hall.

Manu, the breaking news on how this roll call will go. Explain.

MANU RAJU, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL REPORTER: That's right, John. Actually, right now, what we're hearing are discussions under way between the Clinton camp and Bernie Sanders camp, for Bernie Sanders to formally nominate Hillary Clinton to be the next president of the United States. This is an effort to show unity, a symbolic move, but a move that could be significant nonetheless because of the concerns you're showing of Bernie Sanders supporters disrupting the proceedings, shouting down speakers on the floor because they're not sold on Hillary Clinton yet. We'll see exactly what happens, what process they agree on. We're hearing from a senior Democratic Party source that these talks are happening. This would happen after a roll call vote of 57 states and territories vote and put Clinton into nomination. That symbolic move potentially of Bernie Sanders nominating Hillary Clinton, that will be the interesting drama, and how do Bernie Sanders supporters react to that. It's unclear, John, that they'll actually sell that on this move.

BERMAN: Manu, that looks like that's Bernie Sanders on the floor inside the Vermont delegation, or is that Bernie Sanders giving a second speech on stage?

RAJU: It's unclear at this point, John. I think he could probably make a motion from the floor to nominate her. I doubt there would be any sort of second speech. You don't know exactly, because these are private discussions that are still on going, because it will be an effort to showcase that he is behind Hillary Clinton and he wants supporters to get behind her as well.

BERMAN: Manu Raju --

BOLDUAN: Thank you.

BERMAN: -- thank you very much.

BOLDUAN: Thanks so much, Manu.

A lot happening, a lot changing.

Let's bring in our panel, Mark Preston, executive editor of CNN Politics"; W. Kamau Bell, comedian and host of CNN's "United Shades of America"; and CNN political commentators; Bill Press, a Bernie Sanders supporter; Scottie knell Hughes, a Donald Trump supporter; and Dan Pfeiffer, former senior adviser to President Obama.

A whole new day and a lot to talk about. Dan Pfeiffer, symbolic, but significant, Sanders nominating Hillary Clinton. The discussions are under way. It seems when people were wondering how full-floated Bernie Sanders was going to be, he's definitely getting out there.

DAN PFEIFFER, CNN POLITICAL CONTRIBUTOR: He's recognized the revolution he built got a little out of hand here and could potentially contribute to a Donald Trump presidency. It's important to remember, in 2008, Hillary Clinton after our hard-fought primary, she put the president's name in nomination in Denver. I would say we should separate the optics in the room from the substantive reality. Bernie Sanders supporters, nine in 10 in many polls, are supporting Hillary Clinton. There's a particular vocal minority in the delegate section which potentially messes with the message. Overall, you need every vote you can get. But she's doing pretty well with Bernie supporters.

BERMAN: We should note, Joe Biden, vice president of United States, is on the stage checking out the podium and the microphone. He will be speaking tomorrow night as part of the program there. Pennsylvania born, we should note, Joe Biden, on that stage.

Bill Press, on the subject of Bernie Sanders, a famous man named Bill Press, not 24 hour ago --


[11:05:13] BERMAN: -- sat at this table and you said you were everything with the e-mails and the rigging of the system. After last night, after listening to Elizabeth Warren, Michelle Obama, Bernie Sanders, has that gone away for you?

BILL PRESS, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: First of all, let me just say I was pissed off not at Hillary Clinton or Tim Kaine or Bernie Sanders. I was pissed off that Debbie Wasserman Schultz had not done the right thing. Yesterday is. At first very messy, very much like Democrats are, and then it came together with Michelle Obama, Cory Booker and Bernie Sanders knocking it out of the park last night. As a Sanders supporter, I'm with the program. Dan is right. I'd say 9.5 out of 10 Bernie Sanders people are with the program. The revolution is not over. The revolution has just begun. That was Bernie Sanders' message. The first step of the revolution is to make sure Donald Trump never becomes president.

BOLDUAN: Bill Press, pleasantly un-pissed.


BOLDUAN: Bill Press with a smile. I don't know what I'm doing here.


Let's talk about Michelle Obama. Bill brought it up. I'm kidding you.

Michelle Obama, one of her most memorable lines last night, everyone has heard it. I want to play it again for our viewers when she talked about waking up every morning in the White House. I think we have that sound bite. Let's play it.


MICHELLE OBAMA: I wake up every morning in a house that was built by slaves.


MICHELLE OBAMA: And I've watched my daughters, two beautiful, intelligent black young women, playing with their dogs on the White House lawn.



BOLDUAN: Michelle Obama got emotional when she was talking about that.

Kamau, when you were listening to that, what did you think?



I think she did a great job. As we know, the Obamas and the Clintons haven't always been the best of friends. She clearly went full- throated for Hillary. She may be a better surrogate for Hillary than Hillary is. She was an incredible public speaker and really connected across all sorts of lines last night. Even that slavery comment, that's not about a Bernie versus Hillary thing. Some of us don't feel we're in that conversation at all.

BERMAN: Let me ask you this. In philosophy, we ask are things good for themselves and their consequences. Was it a good speech because it was a good speech or was it good because, from the political standpoint, you think it actually helps Hillary Clinton?

BELL: I think it helps Hillary Clinton for the Obamas and the Clintons and the Democratic Party to look connected. It was a very full-throated endorsement of Hillary Clinton. We know they haven't always been the best of pals.

BOLDUAN: Kamau Bell, he knows how to write stuff.


BOLDUAN: Scottie, Hillary Clinton did not say -- Michelle Obama did not say his name, but made several distinctions, and took some hits at Donald Trump last night, talking about you can't sum everything up in 140 characters, don't let anyone tell you America isn't great. When it's delivered by the first lady, does it connect on a different level? What did you think of it? SCOTTIE NELL HUGHES, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: As expected, we knew

she was going to hit -- it's a very smart decision --


BOLDUAN: I don't know if it was so expected though.

HUGHES: Oh, I expected her to deliver a great speech. When has she not delivered an amazing impassioned speech to her base? She did exactly as she should. I think it's a smart move that she did not mention his name, for her. When you sit there -- I thought it was interesting, we went into last night, she was not the keynote. I said it on air. I said, listen, I think Michelle Obama is going to give the best speech of the night. Yet, they gave the keynote position to Elizabeth Warren, who a very tepid kind of speech compared to the other speakers. I wonder why the Clinton campaign and why the DNC decided to put, instead of the first lady, probably the most distinguished on that stage.

But let's remember some of the comments from our side. You could take my Twitter feed and several others and them next to each other and they can't be more polar opposite.



HUGHES: There more polar opposite, which is very sad, because it shows the divide within our country. It started immediately with the comment when she talked about this is a great country. Let me remind you, go back in time, 2008, "For the first time in my adult life, I'm proud of my country." Same woman said that. So I guess in eight years, the country has changed that much that she's proud?

BOLDUAN: Scottie, are you outraged at Donald Trump for saying America isn't great right now.

HUGHES: He's right. Last night, 61 speakers talked, none of them addressed terrorism or ISIS or talked about any of the threats we have in the world today. Yet, they talked about global climate change and demonizing their opponents. Let's talk about the priorities right now. That's why when you ask most Americans, voters are talking about the economy and national security. They missed the mark last night, 50 percent.

[11:10:14] BERMAN: Mark Preston, Elizabeth Warren was there to talk about the economy. That was the aim, to address those voters facing economic anxiety. Did it fall flat? Is Scottie right? It was wedged in between two speeches with a lot of electricity.

MARK PRESTON, CNN POLITICAL EXECUTIVE EDITOR: Obviously, incredibly hard to follow Michelle Obama last night. No doubt about that. I thought Elizabeth Warren came off a little flat. I thought it could have been more energetic. You're following a first lady who delivered a political speech, and now this. She has not been political for eight years. She came out last night. She was political and she delivered really hard and very impressive. And then you have Bernie Sanders on the book end closing it out. Look, it was a hard thing for Elizabeth Warren to do. Make no bones about this. Elizabeth Warren is going to be on the campaign trail, the number one attacker of Donald Trump and Mike Pence. You'll see the likes of Joe Biden, Tim Kaine and Michelle Obama out there humanizing Hillary Clinton.

PRESS: John, can I say -- I think the most damaging words about Donald Trump last night came not from Elizabeth Warren and Michelle Obama, from Donald Trump himself. I've never seen this before, but I thought those clips of Donald Trump on marriage, on the disabled, were killer.


PRESS: And they're going to be every single night, and you can't complain about it because it's Donald Trump speaking for himself.

HUGHES: Now we have the words of the DNC, thanks to the e-mails, where they're just as bigoted, just as racist, just as homophobic --


PFEIFFER: There's nothing true about that.


HUGHES: Really? You don't endorse the words of the DNC used in those e-mails?


BOLDUAN: Hold on.

Go ahead. Go ahead, Dan.

PFEIFFER: At the convention, in prime time, said speaker after speaker to try to make racial comments, attack Muslims.

HUGHES: They were not racist comments.


HUGHES: In your opinion, they were.

PRESS: But in your opinion, the e-mails were racist.


HUGHES: You mean the word -- making fun of a black female's name because it's African-American, not a traditional one, that's racist?


HUGHES: No. There are many -- there are numerous staffers.

(CROSSTALK) HUGHES: There's numerous -- these are people that have run of this party.


BOLDUAN: Hold on.

I've got an idea. Kamau --


BELL: I'll let you white people figure out what's racist. You've done such a great job so far.


BOLDUAN: W. Kamau Bell.



BOLDUAN: Sarah Silverman, fellow comedian, last night. In speaking, when she called Bernie or bust, saying you guys are ridiculous, how did that land with you?

BELL: I think thank god there was that weird moment where they had to stretch. I felt up until that point it was awkward. That was a weird point when not everybody is paying attention. Thank god for the comedians. We can cut through it. She's making a good point that they're being ridiculous. She's not the one to unite those people. Hillary Clinton has to bring those people on board.

BERMAN: It was interesting. It almost like, after she said it, she and Al Franken were up there, like, what did we just do? What did we just do?



BELL: It was a moment. They memed themselves. Instantly, it was on Twitter as a meme.

BERMAN: Sanders guy, Bill Press, how did it play with Bernie Sanders fans.

PRESS: Look, I'm 100 percent Sanders. We fought hard and won a lot. At some point you've got to follow your leader, follow your heart, follow your brain. I thought her comments were right on. I've been there -- look, my first campaign, 1968, Eugene McCarthy lost. I wouldn't vote for Hubert Humphrey. I wouldn't vote for Richard Nixon. So I didn't vote for anybody. And we got stuck with Nixon. I learned my lesson the hard way. Some of these young people are going to learn their lesson the hard way. Sarah Silverman was speaking to them last night saying grow up. (CROSSTALK)

HUGHES: This revolution is not about this revolution is about what Bernie Sanders brought to their attention. You can't sit there and say -- we have thousands protesting right now that it's not about Bernie Sanders anymore. They've got to find a way to bring those people together.

PRESS: It's not about Donald Trump. They're never going to go with Donald Trump.

HUGHES: They might just stay home.


BOLDUAN: Dan, give us your final thought on last night as we look ahead to tonight?

PFEIFFER: I thought the first lady knocked it out of the park. It was a good start. You compare the prime-time lineup, you had Cory Booker, Michelle Obama, Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth Warren, and compare that to what we saw last week, you have to feel good about that.

BERMAN: Mark Preston, how nervous are the Clinton people in talking to them, that there might be demonstrations on the floor as the week progresses, or do they think it's of the system?

PRESTON: It's not out of the system. It will be a bit of a distraction. I think to Bill's point about being teed off -- because I don't swear --



PRESTON: This is a big issue in the Democratic Party, a big issue, and there needs to be reforms. This is something that will play out over the next couple years. Don't you laugh. Over the next couple of years.

BOLDUAN: I'm going to start calling myself John and you call yourself Kate.


[11:15:15] BOLDUAN: We are all apparently lying to the American public.

BERMAN: Special invited guest, you want one word on last night?

BELL: As a comedian, I was hoping for a little bit of Melania shade during the Michelle Obama speech.

BERMAN: But that was interesting that she chose not to do it.

(CROSSTALK) BELL: It was smart. I'm just saying, as a comedian, I --


BOLDUAN: There was a lot of talk, was she or was she not?



BOLDUAN: All right, everyone.

BELL: I like your show.

BOLDUAN: That was fun.

BERMAN: All right, guys, thanks so much.

Big question about tonight, does the big dog still have his bite? Bill Clinton on stage in really what could be his most important speech, politically speaking, since his presidency. What will he say and what will he do if he gets shouted at from audience? His former speech writer joins us live.

BOLDUAN: Can he help himself?

Plus, Sarah Silverman and the call-out heard around the political world. The Clinton campaign is joining us this morning. What they make of that moment and what are the plans to keep protesters in line tonight.

This is CNN special live coverage from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.



[11:20:11] SANDERS: What we must do or forever look back in regret is to beat Donald Trump and elect Hillary Clinton.

It is easy to boo, but it is harder to look your kids in the face who would be living under a Donald Trump presidency.



BERMAN: That's Bernie Sanders just this morning, hurting my ears he's talking so loudly, continuing to push for unity in the Democratic Party. Responding to boos at the California delegate breakfast, he told his supporters to get behind Hillary Clinton or, in his words, to forever look back in regret.

BOLDUAN: Also this morning, talks are under way for Bernie Sanders himself to be the one to formally nominate Hillary Clinton after today's roll call vote. Joining us is Jess McIntosh, director of communications outreach for

Hillary Clinton's campaign. She's joining us here.

Jess, thanks for being here.


BOLDUAN: We learned this from Manu Raju there are talks under way to have Sanders formally nominate her. Can you walk us through the process? What's going on?

MCINTOSH: I'm learning as you are. It's really exciting. I think there's been a nice coming together between the campaign infrastructures in the last couple days. The truth is we agree on 99 percent of the Democratic platform. I think Bernie Sanders' contribution to Democratic politics this year can't be overstated. We have the most progressive party platform in history, and Hillary Clinton is going to be running as one of the most progressive nominees we've ever had. The campaigns are working closely together. You saw Jeff Weaver come out and say nice stuff with that. Everyone seems happy with the DNC chair move. I'm not in those rooms, but I would be thrilled to see it.

BERMAN: 99 percent agreement. We heard Dan Pfeiffer say 99.5 percent of Bernie Sanders supporters are behind Hillary Clinton. That may be so, but there's this .5 percent that's awfully loud on the floor of the Democratic convention, awfully loud, and America is hearing them. My question is, what are you doing, or are you doing anything that tomorrow test on the floor to tonight?

MCINTOSH: I think it's important to remember that the people in that hall are the most passionate supporters of both Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton. Those are the people that have worked the hardest. So of course they feel the strongest. I noticed a really big difference being in the war room watching the TV and being in the hall with the delegates. It's a vocal minority. But they should be heard and this is the time for them to be heard. I think you saw their candidate talk about Hillary Clinton's progressive credentials, talk about their shared vision for America, an economy that works for everybody, not just those at the top. I think we'll see more of that tonight. We'll come out of this convention more unified. It's been a while since we've seen one of these. This is what democracy looks like.

BOLDUAN: Jess, before the California primary, even right after it, you heard Bernie Sanders saying we're taking this all the way to the convention. So they definitely weren't always together and unified, if you take a look at that one piece of the primary. Now that we're here and you guys have been in the hall for one night, is Bernie Sanders doing enough? Are you happy, satisfied with his endorsement? Do you want to see him do more?

MCINTOSH: Yes. I think he could not have full-floated a throated and impacted. This morning to see him go to the California delegate breakfast -- clearly that was the loudest last night. He said it's about supporting Hillary Clinton or looking in the eyes of your children during a Donald Trump presidency and say you didn't. I don't think it can be more forceful than that. And Bernie and Hillary agree on so much. Everyone in the room wants to see expanded health care and lower tuition costs. Everybody is on the same page about progressive ideas.

BERMAN: So you think this convention is going well.


BERMAN: We get that point. There is some news today that doesn't sit the same way. Gallop out with new favorability ratings. It says Hillary Clinton is at the lowest point in her 24-year career, at 57 percent. If that's what America thought 24 years leading into today or yesterday, how can this week change that?

MCINTOSH: I think polls go up and down obviously. Today, in fact, at the convention we're going to see some of the most important personal elements of Hillary Clinton. I think she's been such a factor on the national stage for so long that everybody has this idea that they know everything there is to know about her, and that's just not true. In fact, most people don't know what drives her, what motivated her to get into public service and to stay in the face of such serious adversity.


BERMAN: Did she forget to tell them?

[11:25:01] MCINTOSH: She's been busy. She's a work horse, not a show horse. That means she doesn't always toot her own horn when she talks about what she's doing. Today, we'll see people tell the stories about the people she's helped who have been forgotten, those small fights she took on. She champions that get left behind by our political system. She has her whole life.

BOLDUAN: Can you sum up in a sentence what Bill Clinton will do tonight?

MCINTOSH: I think he knows her better than anyone else. He'll talk about the woman he's been a partner to for the last four decades.

BOLDUAN: Jess McIntosh, thank you so much.


BOLDUAN: Thank you.

Will Bill Clinton respond to protesters tonight, if he's interrupted? Can he help himself? He's already had some run-ins on the trail this campaign season with some protesters. Clinton's former speech writer is going to be joining us coming up on how he should handle it and what his goals should be and what he knows about the process behind those speeches.