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Day Three of Democratic Convention Underway; Trump Urges Russia to Find Clinton's Missing Emails; Interview with Jane Sanders; NYC Mayor Speaks at Democratic Convention; Aired 5-6p ET

Aired July 27, 2016 - 17:00   ET


[17:00:14] WOLF BLITZER, CNN ANCHOR: Hello, again from the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia. I'm Wolf Blitzer reporting. Anderson Cooper will be joining us shortly. We want to welcome our viewers in the United States and around the world.

A very big hour ahead. It's day three of the Democratic National Convention already under way. We'll be listening live throughout the night. The headliners are the vice president, Joe Biden, who chose not to run, Michael Bloomberg, who chose not to run specifically so he wouldn't be helping elect Donald Trump, vice presidential candidate, Senator Tim Kaine, and of course President Obama.

We're expected to learn more shortly about what's in President Obama's speech and we'll bring you that once we get it.

We'll also dive into the latest controversy Donald Trump has kicked up over his remarks about Russian hacking. But let's start on the floor to get a sense of what's going on right. Our chief political correspondent Dana Bash is joining us with more.

Dana, at the convention tonight, as I mentioned several Democratic heavy hitters will be speaking. The most notable of course being the current president, President Obama. So what can we expect from that tonight? What's their basic message?

DANA BASH, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: Their basic message is that there should be a third Democratic term, which we have not seen, and certainly on the Democratic side since a post-World War II when Truman was elected after FDR. We're going to hear that theme, as well as personalizing who Hillary Clinton is, why she's the best for the job from, as you said, Barack Obama, the current president, from the current vice president, and from the man who wants to be the next vice president, Tim Kaine. He's going to give his big debut speech on the national and international stage.

Another thing that we should be looking for is a speech from Michael Bloomberg. The former New York City mayor, independent but has endorsed Hillary Clinton. As somebody who obviously made his name, made his billions as a business person, so we should watch for him to talk about the Republican nominee, Donald Trump, and why he thinks as a business person Donald Trump is not up for the job.

BLITZER: Dana, the last two nights of the convention clearly have been among other priorities, the main purpose was trying to unite this Democratic Party. You're on the convention floor, you have been talking to a lot of delegates. Does day three seem more unified?

BASH: A little bit, and I think that is mostly because a lot of the Bernie or bust delegates have taken off. They gave up and some in protest and some in disgust yesterday after the roll call vote. But maybe in answer to that question is what our colleague Jeff Zeleny just reported, which is that the formal nominating process for Tim Kaine just happened as they open the convention here this afternoon.

And what was supposed to happen is that Congressman Bobby Scott was supposed to give a brief nominating speech and that didn't happen because there were still pro-Bernie Sanders supporters and delegates who started to boo and so instead of having an embarrassing moment with Bobby Scott speaking, they decided to scrap that quickly, and the acting chair, Marcia Fudge just put Tim Kaine's name into nomination and they moved on.

So as Jeff was reporting, that was a formality but certainly an illustration of the fact that the wounds are still not healed with some of those diehard Bernie Sanders delegates -- Wolf.

BLITZER: Not healed yet completely. All right, Dana. Thank you.

Now to Donald Trump, someone who, it's fair to say, hates being upstaged. Today he grabbed for the spotlight in a very, very big and deeply controversial way. He invited a rival super power, appeared to do so, at least, I'm talking about Russia, to meddle in the campaign. He set off a huge firestorm.

Let's go to our senior White House correspondent Jim Acosta with the latest, the fallout.

Jim, you were there at that news conference in Doral, Florida, when Donald Trump, he seemed to suggest that he would like Putin, A, to stay out of the election, but also for the Russians to get involved in meddling in the whole e-mail controversy involving the Democratic National Committee.

JIM ACOSTA, CNN SENIOR WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: That is right, Wolf. You have Democrats and even some Republicans saying that Donald Trump today basically jumped the tsar when it comes to his comments on Russia and Vladimir Putin. I asked Donald Trump during this news conference that was held earlier today here in Miami whether or not he would call on Vladimir Putin to stay out of the U.S. election, he declined to go that far.

He even declined to say that the U.S. would honor its commitments to NATO in protecting the Baltic States against Russian aggression. But it was on that question about whether or not he would ask Vladimir Putin to stay out of the U.S. election that he suggested that the Russians get involved in finding Hillary Clinton's missing e-mails after that e-mail controversy over at the DNC. And here's what Donald Trump had to say about that.


[17:05:05] DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENTIAL NOMINEE: I will tell you this. Russia, if you're listening, I hope you're able to find the 30,000 e-mails that are missing. I think you will probably be rewarded mightily by our press. Let's see that happen.


ACOSTA: Now a Donald Trump spokesman Jason Miller earlier today sent out about seven tweets trying to clarify what Donald Trump said at this news conference, saying that Trump by no means was calling on the Russians to hack into any U.S. servers to find those e-mails. Instead saying that the GOP nominee was really just saying if the Russians have these e-mails they should turn them over to the FBI.

But, Wolf, consider that Donald Trump's vice presidential running mate, Mike Pence, put out a statement shortly after Donald Trump's remarks, saying that this would be met with serious consequences if the Russians are indeed behind all of this -- Wolf.

BLITZER: The fallout from the comments, Jim, are very, very significant. We aren't only hearing from Hillary Clinton's campaign, a lot of Democrats, but also as you point out from some key members of his own party.

ACOSTA: That's right, Wolf. The Clinton campaign was very quick to put out a statement slamming Donald Trump for all of this. That was to be expected, but Paul Ryan, the speaker of the House, said through a spokesperson earlier today that Vladimir Putin is a thug who should stay out of the U.S. election.

Wolf, that is right after Paul Ryan was essentially presiding over the Republican convention in Cleveland. For the speaker of the House to come out and essentially go off on his own party's nominee and his comments about Putin today was just another astonishing development from what's really just an astonishing day to hear the Republican nominee talk in this way about the Russians. Really sort of have everybody's jaw dropping in that press conference room -- Wolf.

BLITZER: Yes, I think that's fair. Donald Trump was also asked whether or not he would eventually release his tax returns. What did he say today?

ACOSTA: Right. You'll recall that earlier this morning his campaign chairman Paul Manafort said on one of the morning talk shows that don't expect to see Donald Trump's tax returns before the election. I pressed Donald Trump on this during the news conference. He didn't close the door on it, but he once again went back to that talking point, went back to that explanation that he is under this routine audit. Until that audit is finished, he's not going to be releasing his tax returns, saying he gets legal advice from all sorts of people saying he should not do this.

But, Wolf, he did not close the door on releasing those tax returns but it didn't sound very promising either -- Wolf.

BLITZER: All right, Jim Acosta in Doral, Florida, for us. Thanks, Jim, very much.

Anderson, over to you.

ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: Wolf, thanks very much. Let's bring in the panel, CNN chief political correspondent and "INSIDE POLITICS" anchor, John King is here. Senior political reporter Nia-Malika Henderson, Sirius XM Radio talk show host and anchor of CNN's "SMERCONISH," Michael Smerconish. He's a Philly native. Also chief political analyst Gloria Borger. Former Philadelphia mayor, Michael Nutter, a Clinton supporter. Trump supporter and former South Carolina Lieutenant Governor Andre Bauer. Democratic superdelegate and former New York City council speaker, Christine Quinn. Radio talk show host Bill Press is joining us as well. Also a Sanders supporter.

John King, let's start with you. Just these comments by Donald Trump about Russia and e-mails. Have you ever heard anybody at this stage of an election or in public office make a comment like this?

JOHN KING, CNN CHIEF NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Lyndon LaRouche maybe? A fringe gas-like candidate for president? The Trump campaign is trying to pull this back. And to have your own vice presidential candidate within moments of you saying something issue a statement that essentially Trump was A, Pence was Z, and then to have the Republican speaker of the House come out and think that we as the Republican Party have to call Putin a thug, it's a problem.

Trump likes to be in the mix. Trump likes to be contrarian. Trump is Trump and he says what he thinks. But they're saying it's ridiculous to interpret his remarks as saying he was -- by any way encouraging or condoning hacking, just listen to what he said. You know, the words speak for themselves. If he didn't mean them, he didn't mean them. If he misspoke, he can say he misspoke. But if you look at what he said, Russia, if you've got those e-mails, let's see them. He said he'd like to see them. He said the press would like to see them. And then he tweeted after, saying, well, they should turn them over to the FBI.

I think you call that clean up on aisle two.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: He also said they would be --

NIA-MALIKA HENDERSON, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: Newt Gingrich came out and said, it was a joke. I spoke to one Republican strategist about this. He said this was evil genius on the part of Donald Trump because he is now in the news stream. He is now having people focus on Hillary Clinton's e-mails. And he is going to get another bite at the apple on this and he is trying to clean them up, but this is what we're talking about.


GLORIA BORGER, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL ANALYST: OK. But there are two issues. There are two issues here. One is Hillary Clinton's e-mails, separate issue.

HENDERSON: Right. BORGER: The other is the hacking of the DNC. And I was talking to a

former national security official today who was really kind of alarmed at this because he said, look, this kind of -- it converts a collection of information, which people -- which countries do when spying on each other into a covert operation.

[17:10:03] COOPER: It weaponizes it.


BORGER: Exactly. Exactly. And they call it active measures now. So it takes it to a whole other level. Hillary Clinton's e-mails, I understand the joke, if there is a joke, but they're two separate issues. And the question is, why would somebody who is running for the presidency of the United States not just come out and say I don't think the Russians ought to be hacking the DNC.


ANDRE BAUER, TRUMP SUPPORTER: He didn't say do it.

SMERCONISH: But the problem is he's diluted.

BORGER: No, he --

SMERCONISH: He's now diluted the impact of what happens if an e-mail does come forth. If an e-mail had come forth from the Russians that showed that her private e-mail server had been hacked, it would have been a game changer. Now the impact of that will be influenced by the fact of whether Donald Trump is on the American side or the Russian side.

BAUER: Well, he just said if you got them, turn them over.


COOPER: That's not what he said.

MICHAEL NUTTER, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Go back to what John -- go back to what John said. The immediate reaction by the speaker of the House. You can think whatever you want to think about the speaker of the House. I'm a Democrat, he's a Republican. But he's a, you know, sane, rational person. Senator Pence. These are people who know things, who understand how the world works and know that you should not say something like that in jest or in lack of knowledge. That's the big issue here.

QUINN: And I think the end of what he said, you know, from what John said, the end of it is really important. He said, and I'm paraphrasing, and you will be rewarded by our friends in --


BORGER: By the media.


NUTTER: By the media.

COOPER: By the media.

QUINN: But that's really even worse, in my opinion.

BAUER: And that's not Republican's friend, I assure you.

COOPER: So, Andre, were you -- do you think he was just --

QUINN: Well then it's not your press.

COOPER: Andre, do you think he was just kidding?

BAUER: I don't know, Anderson. I don't know what he was --

COOPER: Does it concern you at all?

BAUER: It concerns me because of the way it's being interpreted.

COOPER: Why does that mean?

BAUER: Well, my interpretation was look, if you have information and you're holding it, you've already got it, turn it over to the FBI.

COOPER: But he -- he didn't make any mention of the FBI and said --

BAUER: Well, turn it over to -- to America. If you've got it, we'd like to know you have it.

QUINN: He never said America.


QUINN: I don't know him. I don't know.

NUTTER: When was the last time that Russia has turned anything over the FBI.


BILL PRESS, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Let me tell you, I think the person who got the worst job in the world today is whoever the staffer is that every morning has to say to Paul Ryan, "Here's what Donald Trump said last night."


PRESS: This is not on the outrageous. I think this is really dangerous. And when you compound it with what he said about holding on out NATO, or willingness to, when he said today that he'd consider recognizing Crimea, which Putin stole from the Ukraine, and now the e- mails, I can see the ad, that's why disagree that this is just going to go away or this doesn't have any political implications. The ad is, whose side are you on? (CROSSTALK)

KING: This will go to the temperament debate.


COOPER: Let's just play what he said again.


TRUMP: I will tell you this. Russia, if you're listening, I hope you're able to find the 30,000 e-mails that are missing. I think you will probably be rewarded mightily by our press. Let's see that happen.


QUINN: He said able to find. Not if you have, turn over. Able to find, which clearly implies an action of search.

PRESS: Inviting them to do so.

QUINN: Yes. Clearly.

KING: Now the server -- but the server has been wiped. And whatever forensic evidence the FBI has been able to do, it's not plugged in anywhere is my point right now.

NUTTER: Right.

KING: But we assume it's -- I'm not sure hacking the FBI to see what they have in their investigative files, but what he said is impossible if the server has been wiped and if it's unplugged.


KING: But just that he said it.

NUTTER: Right.

KING: What we expect -- and listen, and sometimes this is part of Donald Trump's gift. Sometimes. He speaks in a way -- unconventional way the way other candidates don't and people think he's so different that he's good. But what Paul Ryan was jumping at, and what his own vice presidential candidate was saying is, that a candidate for major office in the United States, the answer is, I condemn and repudiate. It is reprehensible.

NUTTER: Right.

QUINN: Right. Of course.

KING: For any foreign state actor to be hacking into.

NUTTER: Right.

KING: Whether it's a government, or business, or political party. And if Russia is doing that, stop. That's the answer.

COOPER: I mean, and you know, and we've asked this question a million times already in past incidents. Do any of his supporters actually care?


COOPER: I mean, you know, is this just another --

QUINN: I doubt --


BAUER: That's the question. That is the real question.

QUINN: Independent voters do. And I think the independent voters about Donald Trump's temperament and his chance of the significance of this job, and I think that is going to give independent voters tremendous concern and it underscores what Hillary has been saying. He is not fit temperamentally to be president.

NUTTER: That's what Nia said.


NUTTER: It's all about the fact that we've been on for a few minutes and we've been talking about Donald Trump. That's all he really cares about.

BORGER: Right. But the question --

NUTTER: He's in the news cycle.

BORGER: What we're talking about is, you know, to Bill's point, will the voters believe that what Donald Trump did today was actually taking Russia's side in this? OK?

PRESS: Remember --

SMERCONISH: And said something that a lot of people are thinking. He may be the one who was so foolish as to give voice to it, but I assure you many people here and particularly among Republicans are wondering aloud is there an October surprise coming?


SMERCONISH: He's just giving voice to it.

HENDERSON: Or an August surprise or a September surprise. I mean, I think --

[17:15:03] PRESS: All of the above.

HENDERSON: Yes. Yes. I mean, I think we have more to come. And Trump will -- PRESS: I think he's getting again into quick sand here. Remember

back with the buildup to the Iraq war, in whatever election that was, and they put your picture up with Saddam Hussein on the other side and the implication was, if you're not for this war, you're for Saddam Hussein. This gives ammunition for the Democrats to say, Donald Trump and Vladimir Putin, they're on the same team.

COOPER: But also just in terms of being a leader. I mean, I understand that a political party kind of taking glee at the DNC having their e-mails, you know, published, and the embarrassment that it causes them, and it shows that they were colluding with Hillary -- you know, in support of Hillary Clinton. But shouldn't any political party in the United States, any entity, be concerned about the possibility of a foreign government hacking their systems?


COOPER: As a patriotic --

PRESS: Anybody but Donald Trump.

KING: Well, that's what the Pence statement said.

COOPER: Right.

KING: The Pence statement was pretty clear in condemning the behavior. I will say this though, and this is, again, it's part of the confusion of Donald Trump, it's part of the criticism that the Democrats would have, that this proves he is temperamentally unfit or he doesn't study up on the rules of being a president, understand the protocols of being a president, there is another side of this coin in the sense that the conversation again is about 30,000 e-mails deleted from Hillary Clinton's private server.

Now Donald Trump could come out and say maybe I carelessly chose my words today, but the FBI director says she carelessly handled classified information. The conversation continues.

COOPER: It'll be interesting to see Donald Trump ever says he did something carelessly. We've yet to hear that.

We got to take a quick break. Coming up next, Wolf is going to talk with Bernie Sanders' closest partner in politics and life, his wife Jane. Also shortly New York Mayor Bill de Blasio addresses the convention as our day three coverage continues live from Philadelphia.


[17:21:29] BLITZER: Welcome back. It's day three of the Democratic National Convention. Day three has now begun. We're here once again on the verge of a very big night of speakers in Philadelphia. Not just in primetime but also this hour and the hours ahead. Wherever you stand politically, you can't deny the political and personal drama we've already seen including Senator Bernie Sanders' powerful speech Monday night, his acknowledgment of his many supporters and his endorsement -- robust endorsement of Hillary Clinton. Joining us now, his wife Jane Sanders who's been such an active part

of this campaign.

Thanks very much for joining us.


BLITZER: So are you and Bernie on the same page now? You robustly endorse Hillary Clinton?


BLITZER: What's it like to look back now and to look forward? You must be pretty, I guess, sad that it didn't work out.

SANDERS: Well, you know, a little bit sad, it's a little bittersweet. But one of those things that Bernie did right from the beginning was say it was a two-pronged approach. One was a quest for the presidency, the other was to begin a political revolution and transform this country. He came very close to the presidency and now the political revolution continues.

BLITZER: He came very close to the Democratic nomination.

SANDERS: The Democratic nomination. We all know --


SANDERS: The Democrat is going to win.

BLITZER: Well, we don't know that for sure yet, but --


BLITZER: We still got a contest.

SANDERS: You have to think it.

BLITZER: We'll talk a little about Donald Trump in a moment. But, you know, your supporters, Bernie Sanders' supporters, they're so passionate and some of them still have not come on board. Just a few moments ago Representative Bobby Scott of Virginia who was supposed to sort of introduce the nomination of the vice -- the Democratic vice presidential candidate, and you know what, they were afraid, the Hillary Clinton campaign, the Democrats, that he would be booed when he formally introduced him so they pulled him. They just performed -- went ahead with the acclimation of Tim Kaine as the vice presidential nominee because they thought that there would be an ugly moment with some of the Bernie Sanders supporters.

You're shaking your head.

SANDERS: I guess I -- you know, I don't understand. Democracy is not always chapter and verse, written out in advance. I mean, people are passionate, but they're positive. I mean, we went -- and one of the hardest meetings for me was going to meet with all our delegates. There were 2,000 people there, and they were so upset that Bernie was not winning, not going to win, and was going to endorse again. And -- but we didn't -- people said, oh, they were booing, did you close control of your supporters? No, we never wanted to have control of our supporters. We wanted to engage them in the political process.

BLITZER: But what --

SANDERS: And they're passionately feeling that and that's OK.

BLITZER: What's your message to the Bernie or bust folks out there?

SANDERS: That -- I know we've all said over and over again, vote -- you have to vote against the Republicans. This is different. Donald Trump is a different kind of Republican. And that's not just coming from us. It's coming from the Republican core. So I think it is a very pivotal election. We just had 7 1/2 years of President Obama really making some significant change in this country for the better. And to protect his legacy and to move and pass all of the platform agenda issues that we won by working very, very hard, and the higher education plan and the health care plan, the only way that will happen is if a Democrat is in the White House. So we have to be supportive of Hillary.

BLITZER: Will you and Senator Sanders go out there and campaign for her in the coming weeks and months?

[17:25:02] SANDERS: Yes, we will.

BLITZER: Aggressively?


BLITZER: So we'll see, you will be very visible?


BLITZER: There was one side of Senator Sanders yesterday when his brother Larry, representing Democrats abroad. They were doing the roll call exactly 24 hours, you were sitting right up there in the Vermont sect, he got so emotional, your husband.


BLITZER: I've known him for years. I've never seen that really sentimental side of him. You could see the tears coming down when his brother Larry spoke about his parents.


BLITZER: Immigrants, they came from Europe. Jewish immigrants that were escaping prejudice over there, hatred, coming to the United States, moving to Brooklyn. You could see your husband, 74 years old, cry. Have you seen him publicly like that often?

SANDERS: He was -- no. He's very -- he was moved by his brother talking about how proud his parents would have been tonight or last night, and throughout this last year. It's occurred to him every now and then and he's mentioned that. I mean, he's a family man. I mean, he's a fantastic husband, father, grandfather, but he was a very loving son and he lost his parents very young.

BLITZER: I know.

SANDERS: You know? So 19 and 21 he was when -- alone in the world. And so to have Larry there and be nominating him, and just the thought of it was something.

BLITZER: And then when he stood up at the end of the roll call and announced by acclimation, everyone should go ahead and support Hillary Clinton, he got emotional there, as well. He could barely speak.

SANDERS: Well, I wouldn't say -- I mean, he was -- of course it's an emotional thing. We have spent our life, our life, our family has spent their life for the last 15 months working on this campaign. Working on this revolution. And we're -- you know, the transition is, you know, of course, emotional. But he is positive and so am I, and we realize that this is a new chapter, but not the end. Very -- it's extremely important that we elect people up and down the ballot to state legislatures, to city councils, and to get a Democratic Senate and move toward a Democratic House.

BLITZER: And you want Hillary Clinton to be the next president.

SANDERS: And we want Hillary Clinton to be the next president so that we can move forward as a country.

BLITZER: Jane Sanders, thanks very much for joining us.

SANDERS: Thank you.

BLITZER: Always good to have you here.

SANDERS: Good to have you.

BLITZER: Thank you.

The New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio, he's getting ready to take the stage right behind me. We're going to bring you his speech after we take a very short break.


[17:32:18] MAYOR BILL DE BLASIO (D), NEW YORK CITY: With both presidential nominees. But despite sharing --

BLITZER: The mayor of New York City, Bill de Blasio speaking right now.

DE BLASIO: These two people are worlds apart. I was honored to manage Hillary Clinton's first campaign for the U.S. Senate. And here's the Hillary I know. When she graduated from law school, she could have begun a lucrative career at the prestigious law firm of her choice. Instead, her heart led her to take a noble job at modest pay at the Children's Defense Fund. Advocating for poor families and children who needed a champion. That is who she is.

What did Donald Trump do? He was born rich, then he made a career out of ripping people off, racking up billions in debt, and bankrupting his companies. Instead of public service or philanthropy, he became one of the least generous billionaires our country has ever seen.

When Hillary Clinton was first lady of the United States, she made it her personal mission to take on the insurance giants, to get health care for every American. Now despite millions of dollars spent attacking her, she never gave up. And she helped deliver the Children's Health Insurance Program against all the odds.


DE BLASIO: Who did Donald take on? The small business owners he contracted with on his real estate projects. Too many times, Donald simply stiffed them.

Now we know Trump is the great pretender. But how can he pretend to be for American workers when he didn't even pay his own workers what he owed them.


DE BLASIO: When Hillary Clinton was in the Senate, she helped secure $20 billion for our recovery after 9/11 protecting, protecting our hero first responders who sacrificed so much.

[17:35:04] Who did Donald protect? Certainly not the students at Trump University. A place his own employees call a scam. Americans were pushed to spend mo and more money on worthless classes. The only person Donald took care of was himself.

As secretary of state, Hillary fought for the dignity of women and girls. Passionately, passionately fighting the scourge of human trafficking and the horror of child marriage in Saudi Arabia.

What did Donald do? He called women dogs. And fat pigs. And blamed military sexual assault on the presence of women in our armed forces. He's degraded women to make himself feel big, while showing us the truly little man that he is.

When -- when Hillary Clinton raises her right hand on inauguration day, she will be armed with the most progressive agenda in modern times. One that rewards work instead of wealth. One that flips the script on economic policies of and by and for the 1 percent. From paid sick leave and paid family leave to universal pre-K and debt-free college. From ending tax loopholes for Wall Street and billionaire investors, to addressing the needs of American cities on housing, infrastructure, immigration.

Hillary Clinton will tackle inequality and be a real force for real progressive change in this nation. Now how does Donald see the economic realities facing the American

people? Actually he roots for economic turmoil for his own personal gain. You want a real-life example? When asked in 2006 about a possible real estate crash, he said, quote, "I sort of hope that happens because then people like me will go in and buy." That is the very definition of the predator class. And now he wants to go further and repeal the new rules we put in place to get Wall Street more accountable.

Throughout her career, as we heard so clearly last night, Hillary Clinton has taken on the tough battles for one reason. Because standing up for those without much money and without much power has been her life's calling.

Hillary Clinton. She is smart, she is steady, she is right, and she is ready.


DE BLASIO: Donald Trump, he's reckless, he's risky, he's wrong, and he's scary.

If you care about fighting income inequality, about lifting up families and children, about building up America's great cities, let's come together, fight together, and let's elect Hillary Clinton, the next president of the United States. Thank you.

BLITZER: Bill de Blasio, the mayor of New York City, strong defense of Hillary Clinton and a sharp attack on Donald Trump.

Now an in memoriam video, Democrats -- Democratic Party leaders who have passed away over the past four years since the last Democratic convention. This day three of this Democratic convention. We're still awaiting after this video, more major speakers.

Let's listen in and watch this video.

REP. MARCIA FUDGE, CHAIR, DEMOCRATIC NATIONAL CONVENTION: Each of us have friends or family who we will remember fondly as we watch this memorial highlighting some of our passionate Democrats who have helped us all in so many ways.


[17:40:20] UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is our country, and we are engaged in a time of great testing.

MAYA ANGELU, ARTIST/HUMANITARIAN: History, despite its wrenching pain, cannot be unlived. But if faced with courage, need not be lived again.

MARIO CUOMO, FORMER GOVERNOR OF NEW YORK: Brothers and sisters, for the good of all of us, for the love of this great nation, for the family of America, for the love of God, please make this nation remember how futures are built. Thank you and God bless you. JULIAN BOND, STATE REPRESENTATIVE, CIVIL RIGHTS LEADER: I'm going to

talk about civil rights tonight because I believe that gay rights are civil rights.

MUHAMMAD ALI: God is watching me. God don't praise me because I beat Joe Frazier, God don't give nothing about Joe Frazier. God don't care them about England or America as far as your wealth, it's all his.

[17:45:02] He wants to know how do we treat each other, how do we help each other.


BLITZER: In memoriam. A very, very powerful video.

Just ahead, President Obama now only hours now from taking the stage here in Philadelphia. He's the headliner tonight. He took on Donald Trump this morning. Will he go at him again in prime time? His speech. What can we expect? Much more coming up in a moment.


[17:50:15] BLITZER: This is his fourth Democratic convention speech. He is without doubt the headliner tonight. The main event.

So what can we expect? Our White House correspondent Michelle Kosinski is with us tonight. They've just released --


BLITZER: Some excerpts of the speech.

KOSINSKI: Right. So we're seeing just a few paragraphs of this. But it's the themes that we have expected. It's sort of moving on from what we heard him speak about lately. First of all optimism, the grit and determination of the American people. It's going to be about unity, not just Democratic unity, but he wants to get the point across that America is better united than divided.

Of course he's got a lot to contend with here. I mean, America is very divided on virtually every poll. Sanders supporters are here. We know that he's going to make mention of those. He's going to acknowledge them. And he wants to focus on Hillary Clinton's qualifications.

Before he speaks, there's going to be an eight-minute video highlighting his accomplishments so that within his speech he can really talk about the relationship professionally between himself and Hillary Clinton. How they went from being rivals to being friends and trusted colleagues.

And you know, the president is feeling how impactful this could be. How impactful he wants it to be. I mean, think of the pressure following his wife, following Bill Clinton. Try to make it as impactful hopefully as his 2004 convention speech was that really propelled him on to the national stage. And some thing that that speech propelled him to the presidency.

So to try to bring something that is that impactful, he's been working on it for more than two weeks. They've been through six drafts. And today the White House told us that when he saw Michelle's speech two nights ago he stayed up until 3:30 in the morning honing this. So we'll see if you can -- you can see the work and hear the work that went into it tonight.

BLITZER: I know he tries to avoid saying the word Donald Trump.

KOSINSKI: Right. Right.

BLITZER: But there will be veiled references there. And thinly veiled.

KOSINSKI: Yes. I mean, it's gone to the point that it's so conspicuous that he doesn't say the name. So when you -- and Michelle Obama did the same thing in her speech the other night. And you can see what they're trying to do. They want to stay above the fray and we've heard the White House mentioned, you know, when the opponent goes low, we want to stay high. They don't want to get into this back and forth fight.

But it's really noticeable that they say the Republican nominee without saying his name. So tonight he is going to say Donald Trump's name. That's going to be a little bit of a switch. He's not going to focus on that. He's -- I mean, we're told he's going to say it less than half a dozen times but he will -- it's a sign that he is at least sort of addressing him more directly than he has these last few weeks and month.

BLITZER: Donald Trump is the Republican nominee. He will also say this. He will say, in praising Hillary Clinton why he admires her. "That's why I can say with confidence, there has never been a man or a woman more qualified than Hillary Clinton to serve as president of the United States of America."

Michelle, thanks very much.

KOSINSKI: Thank you.

BLITZER: Let's go back to Anderson.

COOPER: Wolf, thanks very much. Back with our panel.

I mean, it is a difficult thing both for Hillary Clinton and for President Obama with the amount of people who are not happy with the direction the country is taking. The argument that she's a change maker, how does President Obama argue that when in fact this is also about continuing his legacy?

KING: The point you said about the direction of the country is pivotal. Absolutely pivotal. He talks in these prepared remarks, the excerpt has given us, about people being shocked and saddened by the madness of Orlando or Nice. Donald Trump wants you to think the arrow is this way. That we're in crisis. Things are getting worse. That our leadership has failed. That president and his friend Hillary Clinton don't get it, can't fix it and don't know how to get you out of it.

The president wants you to think you're having a hard time, but the arrow is going this way. Yes, we're shocked sometimes but the economy is getting better. Who wins the battle for how people perceive? Are we -- yes, things are tough but we're going up the hill or down the hill? That will decide who wins this election. Plain and simple.

BORGER: And you know it's difficult when, you know, it's a danger incumbency, right? You have a two-term president and he can take you back to seven and a half years ago and the economic crisis and say, OK, look at the unemployment rate. But the truth of the matter is that people like they haven't had a raise in 15 years because they haven't had a raise in 15 years.

COOPER: Right.

BORGER: And that's propelled Donald Trump. And what I think he has to do tonight and Hillary Clinton is say she's a leader and can take you to the next level because we have unfinished business. You know part of it being defeating ISIS, part of it being the economy.

SMERCONISH: It feels like a changed cycle. I think that's really what she's up against. Rise to Bernie Sanders and how well Donald Trump, the outsider, has done. And she's perceived as the status quo candidate. And I think that was really the serious theme that Bill Clinton tried to address last night.

COOPER: Right.

HENDERSON: Yes. And I think one of the things they're also trying to do and Bill Clinton did this last night was talk about how hard change is.

[17:55:01] It's often boring, it's tedious. And they're trying to portray Donald Trump as someone who likes the limelight, who speaks in grand themes, but doesn't want to do the hard work.

COOPER: We got to take a short break. Want to thank everybody on our panel. Stay tuned to CNN throughout the night. Speeches from the president, vice president and Hillary Clinton's vice presidential pick, Senator Tim Kaine.

Our coverage continues in just a moment.