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Speakers Struggle to Unite Party during Convention; Bill Clinton to Speak at DNC Tomorrow Night; Attack on Normandy Church, Priest Killed in Name of ISIS. Aired 1:30-2p ET

Aired July 26, 2016 - 13:30   ET




[13:31:17] HILLARY CLINTON, (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE & FORMER SECRETARY OF STATE: Although we weren't able to shatter that highest, hardest glass ceiling this time, thanks to you, it has about 18 million cracks in it.


CLINTON: And the light is shining through like never before filling us all with the hope and the sure knowledge that the path will be a little easier next time.


WOLF BLITZER, CNN ANCHOR: Hillary Clinton there back in 2008 during his first presidential bid.

During this, the 2016 election, Hillary Clinton fought a long, hard battle against Senator Bernie Sanders to get to Philadelphia. In the end, Sanders has now endorsed Hillary Clinton. But many of the Bernie supporters are not yet willing to let it go, injecting discord into the convention. The roll call vote that would seal the deal, make it all official, is set to take place a few hours from now on the convention floor. We've got live pictures from inside the Wells Fargo Center. A senior party source tells CNN that the Clinton and Sanders camps are in serious talks to have Senator Senators formally nominate Hillary Clinton.

Kristina Schake, the deputy communications director from the Hillary Clinton campaign, joins us now live.

Thank you so much for joining us, Kristina.


BLITZER: What is the status? What are you hearing as the Bernie Sanders cp is out there, what do you want the Bernie Sanders camp to do as far as the nominating process is concerned?

SCHAKE: First of all, we were thrilled with the speech he gave last night with a full-throated endorsement of Hillary Clinton. He got out there to talk about the issues they share, the values they share and what she would do as president and why he's supporting her. So we were just thrilled with last night. Our campaigns are working very closely together to bring our two teams together. And I think we're going to have a really great night tonight but we are working out the details.

BLITZER: Is it a done deal right now, the spokesman for the Bernie campaign, has told us that Vermont goes last. Bernie Sanders is the spokesman for Vermont. He goes ahead and calls for the nomination of Hillary Clinton at the very end by unanimous acclimation.

SCHAKE: We are working out the details right now. Our teams are talking to each other, so we'll have more to say on this later. But we are just thrilled to be working closely together.

BLITZER: Because Terry McAuliffe was picked to go over the top once he announces Virginia's delegates.

SCHAKE: There are a lot of supporters who want to play a part in this. And we are pleased to be working closely with the Sanders campaign.

BLITZER: It would be an extraordinary moment, Kristine, I think you would agree, Kristina, if Bernie Sanders were the one to announce the Vermont delegates to put her over the top and she became the first woman in American history to be the nominee of a major political party. That would be something you would warmly welcome, right?

SCHAKE: I have to say we have warmly welcomed his support. As I said, he gave a speech last night talking about why she needs to be everyone's choice for president of the United States, really bringing his supporters over. You know, they have so much in common. We are really proud our campaigns came together to put together the boldest, most progressive platform any Democratic party has had at a convention. So it would be great, as he said, to get out there to campaign coast to coast to make sure she's elected president of the United States. We really appreciate his support.

BLITZER: He'll do whatever he can to convince his supporters to vote for Hillary Clinton. A lot of them, you heard some heckling going on, what else do you need to do to convince those remaining Bernie Sanders voters? A lot of young people, Millennials, they voted in big numbers for him. He got 13 million votes. You need that. You need that.

[13:35:16] SCHAKE: He ran an extraordinary campaign. Hillary has said that over and over and so proud of the campaign both candidates ran really focusing on issues. I will say that you're going to see tonight she's going to -- we're really going to reach out to talk to people about the fights of Hillary's life. A lot of people know what she's done as secretary of state or as first lady. But a lot of people don't know about her history really being a fighter for children and families. We're going to get out to tell that story tonight. And I think that I was in the room last night and I also watched some of it on TV, there is a small group of people here who were pretty vocal last night in the room. But overall the Sanders supporters have really come on the team and are supportive of this candidacy. I have to say, Wolf, we really understand this. In 2008, you remember there were a lot of tears in the room when Hillary Clinton spoke. There were a lot of her supporters that were having a hard time coming over to then-Senator Barack Obama. In fact, 40 percent of her voters at that time said they wouldn't support him and they word really hard to bring the party together and that is what we are going to do with Senator Sanders.

BLITZER: Years ago, she put him over the top at the convention.

Let me play a quick clip. This is Hillary Clinton speaking about her husband, the former president, who will speak later tonight. Listen to this.


CLINTON: I think it's an all hands on deck time.

SCOTT PELLEY, ANCHOR, 60 MINUTES: When we wrote that question, I expected you to come up out of your chair at me and tell me that there was only going to be one president.

CLINTON: Well, no, because I will be the president. But it does happen to be a historical fact that my husband served as president for eight years. And there's a lot that happened which helped the American people during those eight years.


BLITZER: What are we going to hear from President Bill Clinton tonight?

SCHAKE: Last night we had an extraordinary night with First Lady Michelle Obama just bringing down the house with that speech. We had Cory Booker, Senator Warren, it was an incredible night, but people should get ready for a show tonight with President Clinton to talk about the Hillary he knows. They met back in law school and have been together all these years. He's going to talk about the fights of her life, what she stood up for, who she is, the advocate she is. She's writing it and working on it today. He'll really speak from the heart. And we'll have other people she has helped in her life to stand up to talk about Hillary Clinton, who she is, and the real difference she's made in their life.

BLITZER: We all remember President Bill Clinton's speech four years ago that really helped then-President Barack Obama -- he's still our president -- get re-elected. We all remember.


BLITZER: Kristina, thanks very much for coming in. We'll be watching this every step of the way.

Coming up, Bill Clinton is getting ready to take the stage tonight to make the case for his wife as president of the United States. Is he her strongest surrogate? We're live here at the CNN Grill at the Democratic National Convention

in Philadelphia. We'll be back right after this.


[13:42:28] BLITZER: Moments ago the White House gave us a preview of the speech President Obama is said to deliver to the Democratic National Convention tomorrow night. Listen to this.


ERIC SCHULTZ, WHITE HOUSE DEPUTY PRESS SECRETARY: I think tomorrow night's speech will much more focused on how Secretary Clinton has the judgment, the toughness and the intellect to succeed in the Oval Office. Lastly, I think the president will talk about who we are as a country and that we are better united than divided. And that we are better together than apart. I think you'll hear that as a theme, not just because of the stark contrasts between the candidates on the ballot this year, but because it is also a principle that has animated the president's life-time in public service. It also happens to be a distinctive American tradition, one that the president believes is fundamental to our nation's identity.


BLITZER: Former President Bill Clinton is set to be the star tomorrow nigh night, tonight at the Democratic National Convention. It's a role he's certainly played several times before for Democrats. A role he's played several times since he left the Oval Office.

Sunlen Serfaty takes a closer look now at his speech and the influence Bill Clinton still has within the party.



SUNLEN SERFATY, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Tonight, Hillary Clinton is calling on her biggest advocate.

BILL CLINTON, (D), FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: She's a walking, breathing change agent.

CLINTON: Pretty good warm-up ad, don't you think?

SERFATY: As Bill Clinton embraces his supporting role.

BILL CLINTON: She's got the best ideas. She's got the best record of working with Republicans. She'll be the grown up in every room and give us safe and give us space.

SERFATY: The former president taking personal ownership of his address tonight, planning to make the case for his wife's role as a change agent throughout her life.

BILL CLINTON: I believe she's the best qualified person for this moment in history that I've ever had a chance to vote for.


SERFATY: An effective messenger for the party with a unique ability to fire up the base. Bill Clinton remains a beloved figure among Democrats with 79 percent viewing him favorably.

But the former president's favorable rating stands at 50 percent among all Americans, falling from 65 percent in March of 2015 just before his wife launched her campaign --


SERFATY: -- as GOP nominee, Donald Trump, has seized on Bill Clinton's past --

TRUMP: Have you ever read what Hillary Clinton did to the women that Bill Clinton had affairs with? And they're going after me with women? Give me a break, folks.

SERFATY: Attempting to blame Hillary Clinton for her husband's personal failings, while also hammering Clinton-era policies.

[13:45:04] TRUMP: She doesn't understand trade. Her husband's signed perhaps in the history of the world, the worst trade deal ever done.

SERFATY: Hillary Clinton has tied to make clear she's running on her own record.

CLINTON: I'm not running for my husband's third term.

SERFATY: Having to clean up for him at times, most recently when Bill Clinton held an impromptu meeting with Attorney General Loretta Lynch, who was overseeing an ongoing investigation into Hillary Clinton's use of a private e-mail server while secretary of state.

Still, Hillary Clinton sees her husband as an asset, pledging to give him a role in a potential administration.

CLINTON: My husband, who I'm going to put in charge of revitalizing the economy, because you know he knows how to do it.


CLINTON: And especially in places like coal country and inner cities and other parts of our country that have really been left out.

SERFATY: Beyond just pioneering a new title.

BILL CLINTON: My Scottish friends say I should be called first laddie --


-- because it's the closest thing to first lady.


CLINTON: The first dude, the first mate, the first gentleman. I'm not sure about it.

SERFATY: Sunlen Serfaty, CNN, Philadelphia.


BLITZER: Let's bring in our panel to talk a little more about this. Joining us, David Gregory, CNN political analyst, host of "The David Gregory Show" podcast; Ryan Lizza, our political commentator and Washington correspondent for "The New Yorker."

And he gave a speech four years ago, Bill Clinton, to help President Obama get re-elected. How will he do tonight?

DAVID GREGORY, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST & CNN HOST, THE DAVID GREGORY SHOW PODCAST: I think he has a different role. He can be much more personal. It's so unique, a former president talking about his spouse running for president herself. A unique moment in history. He can talk about her record but wants to talk about her more personally, her call to service, how they fell in love. They've had a very public, difficult relationship that people know about. But he's still offering the private testimony that nobody else can. And can also make an appeal about her to parts of the electorate that doesn't trust her. That he's -- we can't forget how popular he is as a Democrat in the party.

RYAN LIZZA, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: That's the asset he has that most politicians in elected office in the arena fighting don't have. He has a positive approval rating. He and Obama the two politicians in our public life right now healthy above 50 percent. Hillary Clinton is not there. Donald Trump is not there. Most of the Senators and governors are not there. So it's a unique asset to deploy. I do think he has a much harder job than four years ago. Four years ago, when Obama was in a relatively tough re-election campaign and a lot of people didn't think the White House campaign for themselves, Clinton came from the outside to be the person aggrieved from the 2008 campaign and made this powerful case. There was no sense he necessarily owed Obama anything. They fought a tough -- his wife and Obama fought a tough campaign. This time it's tricky. It's his wife. Everyone knows he's going to stay or say nice things about her.

BLITZER: I remember in '92 when he was running and she was helping him, he would say you'll get two for the price of one. Is she going to say that this time?

GREGORY: In a manner of speaking, I think she has said that. It's a label now. But it is unique, if she's president, to have another president in the West Wing. What does that mean? He can have a portfolio on the economy. And if you think about his potential as a campaigner, he can work in the Rust Belt to shore up some of her weaknesses with white working class white men and allow her to concentrate on parts of the new Democratic coalition.

BLITZER: It can be effective in Michigan, Iowa, Pennsylvania, states like that.

LIZZA: Absolutely. He's always done well in those states, and those are states where Trump has unique popularity, and it could lend him some Democratic support. I do think the Clintons and this campaign owes the public a more specific explanation of what Bill Clinton would do as first laddie. I think people want to know that. She pointed out at one time he would be in charge of the economy, and the campaign backed off that because people said, what does that mean? They have not spelled out what his role would be in the Hillary Clinton administration and I think they should.

GREGORY: I think that would be product. I also think he has to be careful about being defensive. They are already in defensive crouch. That hurts her credibility. He has to watch that.

BLITZER: The economy was good when he was president during eight years and there was a balanced budget and a surplus.


BLITZER: He will cover that in his speech.

LIZZA: He has to be careful not to say things were so great in the Clinton era, not so great in the Obama era.

GREGORY: Yeah, right.

LIZZA: And we want to go back to that.

[13:49:46] BLITZER: Thanks very much.

Coming up, much more on what will be happening in Philadelphia.

But there's other important news that we're following. Yet another terror attack in France. This one leaving a priest dead. We're going live to Normandy. That's coming up next.


BLITZER: Welcome back. We're live here in Philadelphia. Only a few hours away from the historic nomination of Hillary Clinton, the Democratic presidential nominee. The first time in American history a woman will be nominated by a major party to run for president. We'll have much more on that coming up.

But I want to bring you a story out of Normandy, right now, very disturbing development. The French president, Francois Hollande, says a deadly terror attack on a church was carried out in the name of ISIS.

Our international correspondent, Phil Black, is with us.

Phil, take us through the sequence of events. Tell us what happened. PHIL BLACK, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Wolf, it was early this

morning, local time, the morning mass in this church only a few blocks from where I'm standing was under way when two men walked in to the church with knives. What we've heard from witnesses is that they carried in knives, they were videoing themselves, they were talking in Arabic. In the words of a nun, in there at the time, she says the men performed some sort of sermon around the altar of the church. And then they took an 86-year-old priest and forced him to his knees, and cut his throat. He died. Another person there was injured with life- threatening injuries, we are told. A bunch of other hostages were freed. That was because the police arrived relatively quickly, confronted these men outside the church, and these two attackers were shot and they were killed.

So now the authorities are working to investigate precisely who they were, why they did this, why they selected this church. They know at least one of them -- authorities have told CNN that one of the men is known to have tried to travel to Syria twice. On one of those occasions, he got to Turkey, at least one of those occasions, was intercepted by authorities there, sent back to France, spent some time in jail, was released earlier this year, but ordered to wear an electronic tracking bracelet. We don't know if he was still wearing it, if he was wearing it at the time of the attack. But all of these, no doubt very important questions for the investigation, which is now under way here in a country that shocked yet again by another deadly attack by a small committed group of people with pretty primitive means. And in a country where the government is under real pressure to stop these attacks from taking place -- Wolf?

BLITZER: Phil, what's been the reaction from the Vatican?

[13:55:12] BLACK: Well, it is with great sorrow, great outrage, really. We know that the French president, Francois Hollande, has spoken by phone to the pope today. Both men have expressed their condolences, to some degree, their anger as well. Not just, yes, another attack in France, but one like this that's been so violent and taken place in such a sacred place as well. So the Vatican and, indeed, the Catholic community of France are asking for prayers for people, to try and prevent further hatred and violence. Francois Hollande is saying this is a war with Islamic radicals, that France must not be divided, and it is a war they must win -- Wolf.

BLITZER: Phil Black reporting for us from France. A horrific terror attack. Thank you very much for that report.

That's it for me. I'll be back 5:00 p.m. eastern in "The Situation Room."

The news continues next right after a quick break.