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AT THIS HOUR WITH BERMAN AND MICHAELA
Joe Biden Walk-Through to Prepare for DNC Speech; Poll Results Following RNC; Bill Clinton to Speak at DNC Tonight; Interview with Alexandra Pelosi. Aired 11:30a-12p ET
Aired July 26, 2016 - 11:30 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[11:30:21] KATE BOLDUAN, CNN ANCHOR: A short time ago, we brought you the video of Vice President Joe Biden on stage in the convention site. He actually spoke to reporters right after.
Manu Raju was there. Let's get to Manu Raju, who is inside the convention hall with more.
Manu, what did he tell you? What do you know?
MANU RAJU, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL REPORTER: I asked Joe Biden if he's concerned with the outburst from those Bernie Sanders supporters. He really down played it and dismissed it. He said those people need some time, we, referring to Democrats, need to show a little class, give them some time, some effort to come around to Hillary Clinton, don't just expect them to back Hillary Clinton. But he also did not think they were going to vote for Donald Trump. He said, hey, show of hands here, who believes that Donald Trump will actually get the support of these Bernie Sanders supporters. He said I don't think anyone does. In one sense, he says don't get too worked up. Don't get too concerned about the fact that we're seeing these outbursts at this convention has gotten off to a rough start. He thinks at the end of the day it will be fine but the party shouldn't take any pointed jabs at these folks, but probably part of that message. We saw some of that last night.
The vice president doing a walk through. He spoke with some African-American youth who were visiting before talking to some reporters on his way out and told them to stay involved in politics. Getting ready for his address here as well as trying to send that message that, hey, maybe those Bernie Sanders supporters are outraged, it's OK.
One other thing. The Bernie Sanders folks earlier today are showing no signs of restraint. At a California delegation breakfast meeting, they shouted down Xavier Becerra, the congressman from California, a top Hillary Clinton supporter, chanting "Bernie, Bernie, Bernie." This is after Bernie Sanders addressed the California delegation breakfast. So we could be in for more theatrics this afternoon, guys.
BERMAN: Manu Raju on the floor of the convention.
You see Joe Biden checking out the stage. Wondering if he's thinking about what might have been. BOLDUAN: Oh, John.
BERMAN: Subject for another time.
Joining us to discuss tonight, Edward Espinoza, a former DNC super delegate, executive director of Progress Texas; Margie Omero, Democratic pollster and co-host of "The Pollster" podcast; Alex Conant, was communications director for Marco Rubio's presidential run and now a partner with Firehouse Strategies; Carl Bernstein has dabbled in journalism from time to time.
BOLDUAN: One in a while.
BOLDUAN: He's a CNN political commentator and author of "A Woman in Charge, The Life of Hillary Rodham Clinton."
Carl, I want to start with you. Tonight, the big speaker is Bill Clinton. What is the challenge for Bill Clinton tonight? How much pressure is on him tonight and what does he need to do as an advocate for his wife?
CARL BERNSTEIN, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: He needs not to stumble as he has occasionally. My guess is he's not going to stumble. Look, they made a terrific case last night for Hillary Clinton as president of the United States. A much better case was made by Michelle Obama, by all the speakers last night, especially Cory Booker as well, a better case than Hillary Clinton has made for herself. The big speech of this convention is going to be hers. She has got to make the case for herself, move beyond to serve her, move beyond the distrust. Bill Clinton needs to do that, too.
Finally we're on message. If you are a Democrat, they're on message now, they are unifying. I wouldn't make Joe Biden much out of the reluctance of somber any supporters. This is coming together. What you saw last night and Bill Clinton tonight is the road show itself. If Hillary Clinton is going to win this election, the people you saw last night as her surrogates, plus the president of the United States, plus Hillary Clinton, that's how she wins this election with the messages we're hearing. And particularly don't underestimate the power of the young woman, the young disabled woman, and the ugliness of Donald Trump as an issue in this campaign.
BOLDUAN: Looking ahead to tonight, in the speech tonight, Bill Clinton's speech tonight, Edward, performance reviews of Bill Clinton through the campaign this cycle have been a bit mixed in terms of him on the stump. Does the big dog still have his bite?
EDWARD ESPINOZA, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, PROGRESS TEXAS & FORMER DNC SUPER DELEGATE: Absolutely. The thing about Bill Clinton, this is his element. He loves party politics. He's a political animal. There's no reluctance there. Get him in front of that room, that room will light up. They will respond to him. The message that comes from Bill Clinton, probably from Barack Obama tomorrow night as well, the president sets the tone for how the nation goes. When you compare that to what's happening, what's coming out of Donald Trump's mouth these days, it's a striking contrast. I think Clinton is going to own it.
[11:35:15] BERMAN: Margie Omero, you've been polling. You talked to people after the Republican convention, I imagine undecided voters. What do they tell you they need to see here in Philadelphia?
MARGIE OMERO, DEMOCRATIC POLLSTER & CO-HOST, THE POLLSTER PODCAST: The first thing that's notable from what we looked at, we tested actual speeches from the Republican convention and they moved people. You see the bounce in a lot of polls that have come out in the last few days. Even Democrats say they moved a little bit, became a little more favorable toward Trump, not that they'll rush to vote for him. Ivanka -- this is important for a lot of Democrats -- she moved a lot of Democrats. She became increasingly popular, in part, because she used language and policies that are, in fact, Hillary Clinton policies, not Donald Trump policies, on making sure it's easier for moms and parents to work and raise kids. We're going to see some of that same language. It was popular in the Republican convention. it will be popular in the Democratic convention, too.
BERNSTEIN: How much of the numbers were moved toward, by Democrats? Were there really that many Democrats moved?
OMERO: It was incremental. We showed that Trump was up three initially. In a similar poll, a couple of weeks ago, he was down four. So that's overall movement.
BERNSTEIN: Talking Democrats --
BOLDUAN: Alex, I want to ask you about this. Donald Trump was tweeting this morning. Surprise. He tweeted this, "Why aren't the Democrat speaking about ISIS, bad trade deals, broken borders, police and law and order. The Republican convention was great."
You're no fan of Trump. But does Donald Trump have a point?
ALEX CONANT, PARTNER, FIREHOUSE STRATEGIES & FORMER COMMUNICATIONS DIRECTOR FOR MARCO RUBIO PRESIDENTIAL CAMPAIGN: He does. It was jarring to see how different the messages were here compared to what we saw in Cleveland last week. They painted very different pictures as to where we are as a country. Trump was trying to unite Republicans in Cleveland. Hillary Clinton is still having trouble uniting Democrats here in Philadelphia. Everything about last night was about trying to unite the Democratic Party. She's still struggling to do that. It will be interesting to see if she does pivot later this week and make a case similar to what Ivanka Trump did and try to reach Independent voters. Right now, no one is speaking to center right Independent voters.
BERMAN: Those issues Donald Trump brought up, Edward, let me ask you -- do they need to come up when you're talking about law and order, borders, trade deals?
BERMAN: Do Democrats --
ESPINOZA: I think the issues will come up. At the Republican convention, they didn't come up until night three. We're only in night one. We've got some time. There's an important element between the Democratic convention and the Republican convention, the messages coming out of this are more forward looking, more optimistic, more what our agenda is for, as opposed to the Republican convention which was four days of what we're against.
BERMAN: Four days, but your friend, Margie Omero, said worked.
OMERO: Yes. It worked more with Republicans than Democrats. It does show how divided we are as a country. Another striking difference is the diversity, diversity of views, inclusiveness. How we talk about race and gender and ethnicity is so strikingly different from what you saw last night, from what we saw out of Cleveland, which was worrying and troubling to a lot of Democrats watching.
CONANT: I think the Republican Party is much more diverse than what we saw in Cleveland. A lot of next generation conservatives didn't show up last night.
BERMAN: Like for instance?
CONANT: Like, for instance, my former boss, Marco Rubio --
BOLDUAN: He spoke in a video --
CONANT: He spoke in a video. But where was Senator Tim Scott? Where was Governor Nikki Haley? These are the next-generation of Republican leaders. They weren't in Cleveland last week. But it's interesting because we're not seeing next-generation leaders here either. All the voices we're hearing in primetime are all the voices from yesterday. They are not pointing us towards the future here in Philadelphia.
BOLDUAN: All right, guys.
Good stuff. Thanks. Appreciate it.
BERMAN: Thanks, guys.
Coming up from us, President Bill Clinton will take the stage tonight, speaking not on behalf of himself, not in support of just any other candidate, but in support of his wife. What will he say? His former speech writer joins us next.
(COMMERCIAL BREAK) [11:43:43] BERMAN: In just a few hours, Hillary Clinton will be the first woman to become the presidential nominee, officially, of a major political party.
BOLDUAN: A historic for her husband. Former President Bill Clinton is set to take the stage. His speech at the Democratic convention four years ago earned him the title secretary of explaining stuff. What will he be explaining?
With us, Michael Waldman, Bill Clinton's former chief speech writer.
Michael, great to see you. Thanks for being here.
MICHAEL WALDMAN, FORMER CHIEF SPEECH WRITER FOR BILL CLINTON: Thanks for having me.
BOLDUAN: Of course.
You have written many a speech with Bill Clinton. What is the process?
WALDMAN: Especially for one of these big convention speeches, he puts a lot of thought into it, a lot it graft. It will go into the teleprompter and then he'll improvise off that, which is, as you know --
BOLDUAN: How much improvising?
WALDMAN: Well, in 2012, at least half the speech was --
WALDMAN: Ad-libed or thought through in advance. He's done these convention speeches every year since 1988. This is like Bruce Springsteen at the Meadowlands. This is his room. It's an unusual night because it's not like he's the nominee or just giving backing to someone.
BERMAN: Michael, when you say he improvised half the speech, there's a room over there in the convention center where the Hillary Clinton campaign, their hearts just skipped a beat.
BERMAN: I think that's the last thing they want. I think they want discipline. They want a focused, laser-focused message from Bill Clinton. Will it be different tonight?
[11:45:12] WALDMAN: Of course, they know him pretty well. I think he's got to make the case for the Democrats, as he always does. He's got to talk about her personal qualities in human terms in a way to show why he's so supportive of her, even if he wasn't married to her. I think he's got to stick to the script and avoid the temptation to respond to hecklers and all the commotion we see in the room.
BERMAN: We've seen a lot of that.
BOLDUAN: That's what we were wondering, should he respond. You know him well. Do you think he can resist responding?
WALDMAN: Any great stump speaker -- and he is, without a script, a great stump speaker, knows that sometimes you get interruptions and hecklers. He cares so passionately about her that I think he might be tempted to really hit back. I'm sure he's trying not to do that. I think -- he watched the speeches in the room yesterday and I think that's often a way for somebody to kind of get their head in the game and know what it's going to be like. But I think we've seen in this campaign that sometimes when he's challenged about his record or hers, that's when he can push back with some heat. I'm sure that's not what he wants to do or what they want him to do. I would image.
BERMAN: Michael, people are wondering, if Hillary Clinton does win, what role will Bill Clinton have in the White House? Will that come within a million miles of the speech tonight?
WALDMAN: I would be surprised if it did. It's important people see her as the nominee and not as part of a family. People need to understand their strengths, her story, her views. But he is absolutely tremendous at bolstering other people. Remember, his speech for President Obama did a better job --
BERMAN: But, Michael, he's been criticized because he's been a good advocate for himself, a good advocate for other candidates. But people have questioned whether he's a good advocate for Hillary Clinton.
WALDMAN: What I understand is he's back kind of in the back rows, in the smaller markets and doing very well. But this is a big stage.
BOLDUAN: Big stage. Big night. It's not a speech for him, not a speech for a politician. It's a speech for his wife, which adds to it.
WALDMAN: A lot of emotional heft to it. He's got Michelle Obama's tremendous speech. He's got the speeches at the Republican convention. He's got to play a lot of notes all at once, but he's good at that.
BOLDUAN: We'll see. We'll see.
Michael Waldman, good to see you. Thank you so much.
WALDMAN: Thank you. BERMAN: We just talked about it. Michelle Obama last night, she
talked to the crowd in really strong terms. She had the crowd eating out of her hand. You're going to hear more of that speech, coming up.
[11:51:53] BOLDUAN: She's the highest ranking woman in Congress, and tonight, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi will take the stage here to speak at the Democratic convention here in Philadelphia.
BERMAN: But another Pelosi is making news this morning. Her daughter, Alexandra, taking on money and politics. She directed "Meet the Donors, Does Money Talk," which gives viewers a behind-the-scenes look at big political donors. That debuts August 1st on HBO.
Alexandra Pelosi, I have known you for a minute or two.
ALEXANDRA PELOSI, FILM DIRECTOR & DAUGHTER OF NANCY PELOSI: 16 years, and he has to jumble my name.
PELOSI: We were on the bus together with George Bush in 2000.
BERMAN: Thank you.
So, Alexandra Pelosi, there's money in politics. You're kidding me?
PELOSI: We see the delegates and the politicos on TV but you don't see the sky boxes which is where all the big money is to pay for this election. It is expected to cause a couple billion dollars. So who is going to pay for that? The big donors.
So at this convention, what you see is money. And you didn't see it in Ohio, because they weren't really out there for Trump. The big donors haven't been behind Trump until now. He's recruiting them. But Hillary is going to need them to pay the bill, to run the ads, to talk about how Donald Trumps going to destroy America. That's where the billions of dollars are going to go into the ads. Who is paying for those ads? What are they doing here? They are having parties. Snoop Dogg is here. Fergie is here. Lady Gaga is here. These are primetime good parties at this convention.
BOLDUAN: You dug into this conversation about money and politics and where it stands. We heard from the states last night and we heard a lot of people talking about it, Elizabeth Warren, Sarah Silverman, Bernie Sanders talking about it. What's the nugget? Where is the conversation about money and politics today? And is it changing?
PELOSI: Well, I feel like Bernie brought it into the conversation. He was the one that said the billionaire class are buying our democracy and he was the one giving the speech last night about how the lobbyists are -- the "Star Trek thing, I don't get it. BOLDUAN: Don't worry about it.
PELOSI: The whole -- I do documentaries. This whole thing audio -- so anyway, but Bernie was the one that brought it to the table. And that is the message that all those people -- I saw signs in the hall last night saying she's with money. That's what people were protesting. They were chanting all the big bank names during the speeches. A lot of the Bernie delegates are the biggest complaint is that they feel like the corporations own this candidate. That's the problem she has going into the election. People feel the election is bought.
BERMAN: Does any part of you think it will change?
PELOSI: No. Of course not. You know what is really frustrating is the red meat of we are going to overturn Citizens United. There was money in politics before Citizens United and there will be big money even if they overturn Citizens United. It is just a red meat thing that makes the crowd happy. But you could reduce the influence of money in politics. There are steps you can take. But at this point -- you remember in 2000, George McCain was running against George Bush on this very same platform. So you also --
BOLDUAN: You have a famous politician, you understand money and politics more than probably the average American, because it's been around you your entire life, pretty much. Did anything surprise you then in what you learned in shooting this doc?
[11:55:04] PELOSI: It's just getting so -- the numbers are so astronomical. My grandfather ran for Congress in the '40s. It cost him nothing. You could take my mother running for Congress in the '80s, it cost her nothing. The fund-raisers were potlucks. And now are high-class affairs. It is just real big money that we are talking about. And that is why people stay home, because they feel like their voice is not being heard in the democracy.
BERMAN: They stay home because Alexandra Pelosi says it is a zero percent chance it is going to change.
PELOSI: You're welcome, America.
BERMAN: Great to see you.
PELOSI: Good to see you.
BERMAN: Thanks so much for coming on.
BOLDUAN: And thank you so much for joining us.
Our special coverage of the Democratic National Convention, day two, continues, next.