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Look at the First Night of the DNC Convention. Aired 12-12:30p ET

Aired July 26, 2016 - 12:00   ET



[12:00:17] JOHN KING, CNN ANCHOR: Welcome to this special convention edition of INSIDE POLITICS. I'm John King.

It is day two of the Democratic Convention here in Philadelphia and it is a day for the history books whatever your politics. In just a few hours, a roll call that will make Hillary Clinton the first woman nominated for president by a major political party in the United States.

Also a first, Bill Clinton in a unique starring role tonight, a former president making the case his spouse deserves to be the next president.

It's a fascinating day ahead. We'll talk all about it.

But first, about last night.


MICHELLE OBAMA, FIRST LADY: This November, when we go to the polls, that is what we're deciding. Not Democrat or Republican, not left or right, no, in this election and every election is about who will have the power to shape our children for the next four or eight years of their lives.


KING: "Trust," you could hear it there, "trust" a key word from Michelle Obama. "Unity" a key theme for Bernie Sanders.


SEN. BERNIE SANDERS (D), FORMER PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: This election is about which candidate understands the real problems facing this country and has offered real solutions. By these measures, any objective observer will conclude that based on her ideas and her leadership, Hillary Clinton must become the next president of the United States.


KING: Team Clinton was grateful for that. But it was not all Kumbaya. Some diehard Sanders supporters, well, they're having a hard time accepting the results. And one unscripted moment last night captured this tension. Sanders supporter, the comedian Sarah Silverman, responding to interruptions, some jeers as she said it was time to rally around Hillary Clinton.


SARAH SILVERMAN, COMEDIAN: Unity, unity, unity.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Hillary, Hillary, Hillary.

SILVERMAN: The Bernie - can I just say to the Bernie or bust people, you're being ridiculous.


KING: That one of the many priceless moments on day one.

With us to share their reporting and their insights as we head into day two, Julie Pace of the Associated Press, Jackie Kucinich of "The Daily Beast," Jonathan Martin of "The New York Times," and CNN's Nia- Malika Henderson.

Let's begin our conversation, though, with the message of Michelle Obama.


MICHELLE OBAMA, FIRST LADY: I wake up every morning in a house that was built by slaves. And I've watched my daughters, two beautiful, intelligent, black young women, playing with their dogs on the White House lawn.

And because of Hillary Clinton, my daughters, and all our sons and daughters, now take for granted that a woman can be president of the United States.

Don't let anyone ever tell you that this country isn't great. That somehow we need to make it great again. Because this, right now, is the greatest country on earth.


KING: How about that for a not-so-secret weapon?

JULIE PACE, ASSOCIATED PRESS: That was quite the convention address. It had everything that I think you want to accomplish as a speaker. It was emotional. It was powerful. It was politically pointed without being over the top in terms of mentioning Trump. She actually never mentioned his name.

And for Hillary Clinton, I think she did something really important, she was speaking to women. And she was saying, think about your children. I'm telling you a story of my children and the future I want for them. Think about your children and who they want to see in the White House. It fits in perfectly with the voters that Hillary Clinton needs to swing in this election. And I think that a lot of Democrats would like to see Michelle Obama out on the campaign trail for the next couple months pushing that message.

JACKIE KUCINICH, "THE DAILY BEAST": You know, another thing she mentioned that I thought was really interesting was that - how her kids have had to listen to some of the birther attacks and their -

KING: But let - let me stop you there because I want to play that and you comment on the other side -


KING: Because you're right, Julie, she did not mention Donald Trump by name, but she left no secret about this. And that's one of the reasons both Obamas are critical to Secretary Clinton. And for both Obamas it seems this is very personal.


OBAMA: How we urge them to ignore those who question their father's citizenship or faith. How we insist that the hateful language they hear from public figures on TV does not represent the true spirit of this country. How we explain that when someone is cruel or acts like a bully, you don't stoop to their level. No, our motto is, when they go low, we go high.


[12:05:18] JONATHAN MARTIN, "THE NEW YORK TIMES": That's pretty skillful, you know, rhetoric, too, because she wasn't actively denouncing Trump. She was sort of casting it through the projective (ph) of their conversation with their daughters.

KUCINICH: Totally.

MARTIN: It sort of dulled the knife a little bit but not too much. So I thought it was pretty effective (INAUDIBLE).

KUCINICH: And it's easy to forget that these kids have grown up hearing this and that they had to address it. So you're absolutely right, it was a good construct by which to address Trump without ever saying his name.


KING: Such an all hands on deck moment for the Democrats if you think about it.


KING: You had Elizabeth Warren. We'll get to Bernie Sanders in a second. The president will be here. The vice president was in the hall today. We'll show you a little bit of him in a moment. But they think Michelle Obama, to go not only into inner city Philadelphia, the African-American community, but put her out in the suburbs -

HENDERSON: That's right.

KING: Where most close presidential elections are decided in the suburbs.

HENDERSON: Yes, I mean if you look at what she's done so far in 2010 and 2014, she was in Wisconsin, for instance. She was in Nevada. She even went to Georgia in 2014. They very much feel like she can play with young people, with African-Americans, with Latinos, and then with suburban voters, too, suburban white women. I mean if you look at the strengths of Hillary Clinton so far, she is - it looks like she's benefiting from something of a realignment in terms of college educated white voters shifting to the Democratic Party. I mean the loss is among non-college white voters, but it looks like she's gaining some ground among those college educated white voters and Michelle Obama will be helpful in pressing that case.

KING: Right. Team Clinton was thrilled, not only in what she said but how she said it and how eager she seemed to be part of this, to be very much a part of the campaign. Bernie Sanders, I want to get to now.

But before we get to Bernie, the vice president will speak tomorrow night. He was in the hall today doing a test run. He was asked after that test run, you know, seems to be a lot of frustration with the Sanders people. Some of them having a hard time accepting themselves (ph). Joe Biden says, give them a minute.


JOE BIDEN, VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Right to have an outburst. They're going to be fine. Look, they worked hard. We ought to show a little class and let them be frustrated for a while. It's OK.

QUESTION: How long is a while, do you think, vice president?

BIDEN: Hey, they're all going to end up voting for Hillary. Come on, man. You think any of these guys are going to walk in and vote for Trump? Raise your hand if you think any of the people who are protesting here, who are hollering, are going to go vote for Trump?


BIDEN: You're wrong (ph).

QUESTION: Some say they will.

BIDEN: Oh, come on here.

QUESTION: Some say they will.

BIDEN: Well, they - they - then they didn't support what Bernie stands for.


KING: It's not every day you get to be down on the convention floor with the vice president.

MARTIN: Yes. Yes.

KING: (INAUDIBLE) security. He was supposed to be in Wilmington, you were saying.

PACE: Yes.

KING: He got a little bored, apparently. Decided to come up and be at the convention.

Let's show, before we get to Bernie, I just want to show the energy in the hall last night. About 40 to 45 percent of the delegates are Bernie Sanders supporters. They're all wearing their t-shirts. They all have their buttons. They all have their signs. They - some of them are moving in the unity way, but they want to celebrate one last time. Look at this energy last night.




KING: Now, he earned that. Bernie Sanders earned that. He was a PT vote against a battleship I used to say during the primaries, and the PT vote put a lot of dents in the battleship. He made the case for Hillary Clinton last night. He made it quite aggressively. But he understands the skepticism among his supporters. So here he is this morning, I believe this is the California delegation, Sanders trying to make the case again. And as you see, there are some skeptics.


SANDERS: What we must do or forever look back in regret is defeat 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.


MARTIN: That's some of the toughest stuff he's said.


MARTIN: And I think it was off the cuff there. It may have been better for the party if he said that kind of thing last night at the convention to millions of people instead of this morning at the California delegation.

KING: I think, like the vice president, he wanted to let his people sort of let off a little steam last night.

PACE: Absolutely. I think you had a -


PACE: Right.

KUCINICH: I mean the emotions in that room, if I didn't know any better, I would have thought I was at Bernie Sanders' convention last night.


KUCINICH: It was to the rafters.

PACE: There was a sense last night, I think, that - from the Clinton campaign, that they needed to let the Sanders supporters have Monday, have opening night.


PACE: He's the headline speaker. Elizabeth Warren, also a favorite of liberals, was the keynote speaker. They added actually extra Sanders supporters to the lineup at the last minute to give them more of a voice. I think they feel like now we can move on. I don't know if some of these Sanders' supporters, you know, feel that way.

[12:10:07] MARTIN: I was going to say -

KUCINICH: Yes, and that -

PACE: I think it was important to let them have this day.


MARTIN: Right.

HENDERSON: And part of the reason they're having such problems moving on is because Bernie Sanders, for a year now, has talked about Hillary Clinton as being captive to Wall Street, as captive to the 1 percent, taking money from big donors. I mean she was the enemy of the Sanders' supporters, those die-hard folks. And so now he's got to unwind that and he's only been doing that for a while. It could take time.

KING: And the question is - the question is, how long does it take? I think we have a photo. Our Maeve Reston was on the floor last night. You guys were talking about the energy. And it was quite amazing. And they're excited to be here. Some of them are disappointed. They were crying when Bernie came out. We have - I think we have a photo from Maeve, she put on Instagram, about some of the Sanders people on the floor. I also read on the air last night, I found a fabulous tweet, a "Des Moines Register" reporter with the Iowa delegation had a Sanders supporter who said, "well, Bernie gave us Mt. Dew for months and now he's telling us to go to bed."

PACE: Yes. That's right (INAUDIBLE).

MARTIN: You can't put a revolution back in a box that easily.

KING: Right. MARTIN: Right. You're storming the bastille. You'll just go back to your - you know, your house that afternoon. So it's difficult.

I want to also point out to you -

KING: But Republicans want to say - Republicans want to say, ah-ha, disarray. Is it disarray and (INAUDIBLE) or is it the healing process?


PACE: Notably different -

KUCINICH: (INAUDIBLE) about the Sanders voters all of a sudden -

KING: Right.

KUCINICH: They're like, look at them, they've been betrayed. But they're going to go to Trump. They're not going to vote. And so the concern from Republicans has been kind of funny to watch all of a sudden.

PACE: I really think that this is different than what we saw in the Republican Party last week in their convention.

MARTIN: Of course it is. Yes.

PACE: I mean, optically, it certainly is because you actually do have the whole Democratic Party here. You didn't have that in Cleveland. But I also think that some of these Sanders' voters already when you talk to them say, I don't like her, I don't trust her, but I'm going to vote for her. You are seeing that movement happen.

KING: Right. Right, there were a lot - there were a lot of Republicans in Cleveland who don't think Trump belongs in their party.

PACE: Yes.

HENDERSON: Right. Exactly.

KING: Sanders voters just think Hillary's not liberal enough or progressive enough but they don't question that she's a Democrat.


PACE: Right.

MARTIN: And two fast points. The polling reveals that right now there are more Sanders supporters that will support Hillary Clinton than this time eight years ago than Hillary supporters who said that they were going to back Obama.

And then secondly, real fast, a lot of the people in the hall aren't really event Democrats. And I think it's important to keep that in mind. There are some hard-core Bernie people there who have no labels at all to the party. They don't care about unity. They are there for Bernie only. KING: That's a key point, Bernie became a Democrat last night

officially, toward the cementing. I don't mean that disrespectfully at all. He was an independent when he started the campaign.

MARTIN: Right.

PACE: Yes.

KING: A lot of Democrats questioned his commitment to the party. They don't - they don't today because of what he said last night, because of what he said this morning. Team Clinton is thrilled with what he said. The question is, can he bring his supporters along.

Again, on to day two now. Philadelphia again making history. And, Bill Clinton, you won't want to miss this, Bill Clinton makes the case for Hillary.


[12:17:14] KING: The role of the states, it's always one of the most colorful convention moments. We get to see the funny hats, the pins on the floor, a refresher course in state nicknames. I'm a bay state guy, for example. Hillary Clinton, she was born in the prairie state. And this evening, we get to watch both a historic moment for Hillary Clinton, and the country, plus a reminder, Bernie Sanders gave her a run for her money.


SEN. BERNIE SANDERS (D), FORMER PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: And let me thank the 13 million Americans who voted for the political revolution, giving us the 1,846 pledged delegates here tonight. I look forward to your votes during the roll call.


KING: He's clearly looking forward to this. But last night we just talked about was Bernie's night. Tonight, make no mistake, this is Hillary Clinton's night, that she will make history. The Democratic Party will nominate the first woman major party candidate for president. And we're told this morning my colleague, Manu Raju, reporting there are conversations now between the Clinton and the Sanders camp because he placed her name into nomination, or maybe does he have his Vermont delegation, at the end, after Sanders gets a lot of votes, move to have the nomination of Hillary Clinton by acclamation. So clearly, again, unity tonight and history.

PACE: And I think that that's really important to remember. We're in this election cycle where everything has been so heated. And you can forget, especially with Hillary Clinton, who has been in our lives for so long, that she is making history. A woman has never crossed this line in politics before. It's really an amazing thing.

I think she feels more comfortable with that idea than she did in 2008. I think you're going to see her and others embrace that over the next couple of days. And I think she also hopes that reminding people of that may be - will generate some excitement that is lacking among her supporters.

KUCINICH: And this will also be a night where people are reminded what a fighter -- Hillary Clinton always talks about how she's a fighter. Well, there's going to be stories from people in her past that will talk about that narrative exactly and just reintroducing Hillary Clinton to the public that, you know, they might - they might not know.

KING: She better be a fighter because if you talk to Democrats here, Democrats are not involved in the presidential race, they're voting congressional races or Senate races or helping super PACs out there, it's striking to me the number who tell you, I was polling last week, I did focus groups last week, Trump is on the move.

PACE: Yes.


KING: Hillary Clinton has a fight on her hands. So it's every second here matters.

HENDERSON: Yes, and you saw that in the poll we released yesterday, a six-point bump for him out of this convention. You'll have to check again, obviously, after this convention. But they've got some work to do in terms of - in terms of Hillary Clinton. Skip Gates (ph) wrote an article in "The New Yorker" where he talked about Hillary hatred as a national pastime of the elite and the non-elite. He wrote that in 1996.

PACE: Wow.

HENDERSON: So they've got some work to do -

[12:20:01] MARTIN: Right.

HENDERSON: In terms of reversing these very, I think, core ideas that people have come to feel and think about Hillary Clinton.

MARTIN: I think they're going to try to reintroduce her the best they can and tell some stories about her that aren't that broadly known in the country. But let's be honest, the next few months for her campaign is going to be about trying to define Donald Trump and making him totally unacceptable to the broader electorate. That's what Michelle Obama was doing last night. I think that's going to be the tenure of the ad campaign from here through November.

KING: Right, interesting you make that, because I - I always ask, you know, how do they deal with her honesty and trustworthy numbers, which are bad. And you can't really. Some of that's in concrete. But I thought Michelle Obama, it was interesting last night, trying to build up other personal characters, sort of the balance, if you will.

PACE: Right.


KING: You can trust her. She's a mom. She's a steady hand. She's tenacious. She's persistent. I think something like that.

Now, one of her chief character witnesses tonight will be her husband. And this is it's own piece of history.


KING: A former president of the United States standing up there saying, my wife, my spouse should be the next president of the United States. Now, Bill Clinton, this will be speech number ten. Speech number ten to a Democratic Convention. I was standing on the platform back in 1992 when he was a Democratic nominee. That's when a lot of Americans probably remember Bill Clinton. He was a new Democrat then. Boy, has the party moved to the left since Bill Clinton. But here's a little flavor, 1992.


BILL CLINTON, FORMER U.S. PRESIDENT (1992): Embraced by her challenges but never struggling alone. With family and friends and a faith that in -

With endless dreams, a country that once again lifts its people and inspires the world. Let that be our cause, our commitment and our new conveyance.

My fellow Americans, I end tonight where it all began for me.


KING: Bill Clinton. I had color back in my hair in those days, too, back in 1992. That's 1992. Bill Clinton speaking for Bill Clinton. The Obama people would tell you, despite the testy relationships over the years, in 2012 Bill Clinton came into the hall and they say made perhaps even a better case for the president's re-election than the president did. Here's 2012.


CLINTON (2012): We simply cannot afford to give the reins of government to someone who will double down on trickle down.

We believe that we're all in this together is a far better philosophy than you're on your own.


KING: I'm fascinated by this moment.


KING: They call him the big dog. And, let's be honest, he likes to talk about himself. And he's had a few moments during the primaries where he got into fights, if you will, debates with Black Lives Matter movement protesters and others who don't like the 1994 primary.

HENDERSON: Right, his own legacy. KING: But he's not here to talk about himself tonight. He's here to

talk about her. What's the test?

PACE: Well, I think Clinton people will tell you he gets that. He understands that this is not a speech about Bill Clinton and it's not about relitigating things that he did in the 1990s. This is solely about selling Hillary Clinton, not just as a politician, but as a person, but the woman that he knows. I think that this will be a fascinating moment, though, because we've just never seen him in this role, on this kind of stage before. And he so famously in 2012, you know, handed in a speech and then went off script and really got the crowd going.

KING: Been there.

PACE: Can he keep himself from doing that tonight? I think there are - this is going to be one of the most fascinating moments of this week.

HENDERSON: Yes. He should read Ann Romney's speech from 2012 and Michelle Obama's from 2008 because that is his role.

KING: Not Melania's?

HENDERSON: And he's - he's - probably not Melania's. I mean he - if he reads Michelle Obama's speech, it's sort of the same thing as the Melania speech. So, yes, I mean, that's his role here. He's the spouse. He's the one who's up there, I think, to soft her rough edges. So we'll see if he can do that. Michelle Obama's speech last night was ten minutes, right? If he can keep it in that range, God knows he probably won't be able to. That would be -

KING: We'd need the "breaking news" banner if that happens.


KUCINICH: Yes, seriously.

KING: A speech in 10 minutes.

MARTIN: But you played that clip from the 2012 convention, and I was struck watching that because he was making such a conventional familiar case to us that a Democrat makes against a Republican, right? Sort of standard issue populism. It's different this time around.

KUCINICH: It's personal.

MARTIN: It's much more personal. And so, of course -

KING: And it's not Democrat/Republican really.

MARTIN: It's not.

KING: It's Democrat/Trump. Trump doesn't fit. Trump doesn't fit the Republican box.

HENDERSON: Yes, it's something else. PACE: Right.

MARTIN: And so how does he respond to that? In the course of making the case about his wife and for his wife, does he move at all toward the prosecution of Trump? Keep in mind, Trump has said some really tough, tough things about Bill Clinton and his personal conduct. Can he resist taking a few swipes back at Trump? Or is it all about Hillary?

KING: A trademark of Bill Clinton in 1992, when he came under the character attacks, they're trying to make it about me. This election's about you. I suspect that will be part of this Trump foil tonight.

MARTIN: My past, your future. Remember that?

KING: Trump's personal attacks. It's not about them, it's about you.

[12:24:51] All right, everybody sit tight. Up next, Donald Trump, surprise, tweets his scorn for the Democratic Convention speakers and today he rebuts critics who say he lacks the temperament to be commander in chief.


KING: Welcome back. Live at the CNN Grill in Philadelphia. This is the Democrat's week, of course. But the Republicans are busy. Just this morning, Donald Trump and running mate Mike Pence both speaking to the VFW convention down in North Carolina and this echo was no accident.


DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENTIAL NOMINEE: ISIS, a word you didn't hear last night at the Democrat Convention. You didn't hear it. They don't want to talk about it. Because in a very true way they really established ISIS because of weakness. The people in this room know better than anybody else or any other audience what I mean by weakness. But because of weakness, ISIS has been established.