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Trump Urging Russia to Hack U.S.?; Democratic National Convention Day Three; Awaiting Speeches of Biden, Kaine & Obama. Aired 6-7p ET

Aired July 27, 2016 - 18:00   ET



WOLF BLITZER, CNN ANCHOR: We're back at the Democratic National Convention, Hillary Clinton now on the ground here in Philadelphia, as President Obama prepares to make the case that she has what it takes to be commander in chief.

I'm Wolf Blitzer with a special edition of THE SITUATION ROOM.

Tonight's program is jampacked with a mix of big-name Democrats, everyday Americans and an emphasis on national security. The marquee speaker, President Obama. We're told he will talk about Hillary Clinton as a person, a public servant and as his secretary of state.

Also tonight, Vice President Joe Biden, he is expected to outline Hillary Clinton's record of standing up for the middle class. Senator Tim Kaine will accept the vice presidential nomination and introduce himself to voters.

Dana Bash and Jeff Zeleny are out there on the convention floor. Pamela Brown is over on the podium.

First to you, Dana. You're getting new information on the latest uproar involving Donald Trump and national security.


You talk about the fact that one of the major themes we will hear tonight is an explanation about why the Democrats, including and especially the current commander in chief, believe that Hillary Clinton best understands what it's like to take the job.

And the former Defense Secretary and former CIA Director Leon Panetta will be giving a speech before the big names tonight. I'm told that he changed his speech this afternoon, changed it, and inserted a direct attack on Donald Trump for Trump's rhetoric, again according to the source, suggesting that Russia meddle in the election.

We have been reporting all day that -- we saw it live on CNN -- that Trump said that Russia should continue, sort of send a signal to Russia perhaps to hack the DNC's e-mails to try to get more. That is something that the Democrats clearly feel played right into their hands, into the theme tonight about how he is not ready, he doesn't understand the gravity and the complexities of being commander in chief.

We will first hear that from Secretary Panetta and then of course from Barack Obama, Vice President Biden and the man who wants to be the next president, Tim Kaine.

BLITZER: We certainly will.

All right, Dana, thanks very much.

I want to go to Pamela Brown. She is up on the podium right now. We will also be hearing from the former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg. And he will go after his fellow billionaire, Donald Trump.

What are you hearing, Pamela?


It's very rare for a non-Democrat to have such a prime-time spot in a Democratic Convention. But that's what's going to happen here tonight with Mayor Michael Bloomberg. He will have a prominent speaking role. It will be one millionaire going after another billionaire. The Clinton campaign hopes that he will be able to reach out to a wider swathe of voters, moderates, independents, swing voters.

His advisers tell us that he will really be focused on the economy and he is going to be talking about his business record and why Hillary Clinton is better for the economy than Donald Trump. He knows Donald Trump from being in the business world in New York. He's said he's been on friendly terms with him.

He wrote in an op-ed he's become increasingly concerned about how divisive his presidential campaign is. And that is a big reason why he's taking this unusual step to speak here tonight against Donald Trump and for Hillary Clinton -- Wolf.

BLITZER: Very interesting, Pamela Brown up on the podium.

I want to go to Jeff Zeleny. He's on the convention floor.

Set the scene for the other major speech, the vice presidential nominee, Tim Kaine.

JEFF ZELENY, CNN SENIOR WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT: Wolf, this is going to be Tim Kaine's biggest introduction of his long political life.

He's risen from city hall in Richmond now to be a candidate for the vice president of the United States. I'm here at the Virginia delegation. I talked to several Virginia supporters here of Tim Kaine's, including a lot of Bernie Sanders supporters who literally are working this hall, this arena to try and remind some Bernie Sanders supporters that they believe he really is a progressive.

In the words one supporter, one woman, Sean Brown (ph), who is wearing a Bernie Sanders hat and a Tim Kaine button, she said she is telling people that he is a moral progressive. But, Wolf, that cheerleading may be needed, because when his name was formally placed into nomination just about 90 minutes or so ago, there were some boos and some cheering saying roll call vote.

It was done by a voice vote. The speech was changed until later this evening. Congressman Bobby Scott of Virginia will be giving a speech on Tim Kaine tonight. He told me a few moments ago he know there's some concerns about Tim Kaine. But he believes once they get to know him, this hall and Democrats across the country will come to like him -- Wolf.

BLITZER: Lots of major speeches coming up tonight. It will be jampacked. Jeff, thanks very much -- Anderson, over to you.



One of the things Van Jones talked about last night was concern that perhaps ISIS -- the first time they mentioned ISIS was last night. I think there were two references to it. But that Van's concern was perhaps they're not taking seriously enough or in touch enough with the fear that is out there that many Americans have about terrorism, about crime in the United States, something that clearly the Republican Convention was front and center.

We are certainly going to be hearing a lot more about national security tonight.

GLORIA BORGER, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: Well, we have the former secretary of defense and head of the CIA Leon Panetta who will clearly be talking about ISIS.

And we're told he's also going to bring up Russia, of course, given Mr. Trump's comments today. I think you will hear the president talk about terror. You might here Joe Biden talk about it.

Obviously, I do believe it's an issue that while it -- correct me if I'm wrong, John, it polls number one among Republicans, doesn't poll quite so high among Democrats. They have gathered the base for the first couple of days. Now I think they really do need to talk about it because people are afraid. And it may not be the top issues for their voters, but it's a high issues for independent voters that they have to attract if they want to win.


NIA-MALIKA HENDERSON, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes. It looks like they are going to talk about it in three ways, security, economic security, gun legislation, because they know a lot of Democrats, particularly -- and independent voters as well, particularly women, are really nervous about gun laws and want some change in terms of that.

Then it will be the national security piece as well.

MICHAEL SMERCONISH, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: I'm not surprised to hear the president remarks have been amended so as to provide the opportunity to take into consideration what was said pertaining to Russia today. I reflect back on the 2011 White House Correspondents Dinner. And I know it was a Meatloaf, Gary Busey moment, but there was something going on there. I think this president relishes the opportunity to go after Donald Trump. I think he's very dismissive of the idea that Donald Trump could possibly succeed him in office and looks forward to mixing it up with him.

CHRISTINE QUINN, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: I think Donald Trump's candidacy offends President Obama's intelligence, as offensive, in addition, as it was that Donald Trump said Obama is the most ignorant professor ever -- ignorant president ever, when he's an acclaimed professor.

And he usually gets attacked for being too smart, too cerebral. But today, he was the dumbest president ever, which is a ludicrous thing to say and I think correctly President Obama is offended that someone with no knowledge, experience in this area, who will say reckless, dangerous things like today, thinks he can be president.


COOPER: As a Trump supporter, do you think it's been a big mistake that they have not really focused on terrorism, on ISIS in the first two nights?

ANDRE BAUER, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: I don't know that the first two nights -- they chronologically are working through what they polled and think are important. They have got four days to do it.

I don't know that it matters. They have got time to do it. And tonight and tomorrow night, they may very well take care of that issue. The fact that we're talking about it gets people saying I'm going to listen for it now. I'm not sure that really hurts.

COOPER: We have to take a quick break. We will have more with our panel.

Still ahead, President Obama, he is certainly the big draw at this convention tonight, Vice President Joe Biden also speaking, the Democrats' vice presidential nominee, Senator Tim Kaine.

Coming up next, an emotional issue. The convention focus turns to the water crisis in Flint, Michigan. We will be right back.



BLITZER: The Democratic National Convention, where the biggest name on the stage tonight will be the president of the United States, Barack Obama.

Right now, the Reverend Jesse Jackson.



Tonight, I stand proudly in support of the next president of the United States, Hillary Rodham Clinton.


JACKSON: Let me also congratulate Bernie Sanders for energizing this campaign with his ideas of hope. The Bern must never grow cold.


JACKSON: Paul Tillich once said, where hate abounds, love must abound even more. Where fear abounds, hope must abound even more.

In the stormy seas of the violent campaign rhetoric, we're called to be steady in the face of the whirlwind. There's a tug of war for America's soul. We have a clear choice. Take down walls of separation, build bridges of hope and unity.

Love must trump ignorance and fear and hatred and violence. We love under one big tent. We're all-inclusive. None must be left behind. We have learned to survive a problem we must now learn to live together as brothers and sisters.

I met Hillary decades ago in the Delta of Arkansas, delivering legal protection for the poor people in the Delta and that region. We brand her trusted and tested and tried. Hillary can be trusted to appoint to our Supreme Court a skilled administrator, including a man of faith like Senator Tim Kaine, can be trusted to ban assault weapons that turn our communities into killing fields, with 300 children shot in Chicago this year, nearly 250 killed this year alone.


Ban these assault weapons now.


JACKSON: She can be trusted to honor the most progressive platform our party's ever had. She will never forget our pain. She will never forget us.

Nationally, there are 45 million people still illiterate, more blacks incarcerated than graduate from college. They are scarred. There must be a change.

Hillary understands the extraordinary dimensions of the agony, hope and promise of Black Lives Matter. She knows our scars and our suffering, from Trayvon Martin to Michael Brown to Alton Sterling and far too many others.

The shootings of young black men must stop. And we deeply regret the killing of police officers with powerful assault weapons. They resonate deep in us. Those police should be alive today. Ban assault weapons now.


JACKSON: We must choose reconciliation over retaliation and revenge today and stop -- we can trust Hillary not to insult our Hispanic neighbors.

She share 2,000 miles of border with Mexico. They're our neighbors, our eternal neighbors. We trade more with Mexico than we do with China and Japan every day. Stop insulting Hispanics. Stop insulting Muslims now.


JACKSON: We can trust her not to mass-deport 15 million people and disrupt our families now, to expand African trade and development.

She will support historically black colleges, where 42 percent of our black engineers come from and teachers and lawyers. She will grant in the lineage of Mr. -- President Obama more jobs.

When he came to office, we had lost 800,00 jobs. We have not lost a single job a single month since Barack has been president. She will sustain that drive and keep the hope alive.

We have never lost a battle that we have fought -- never won a battle unless we fought. That journey began in 1984 and '88. We built a winning coalition, the Rainbow Coalition, registering and empowering millions of voters.

This is a new day. Someone has to win, lose in the primary. And now we're beyond the primaries. Now it's Super Bowl time. November 8 is Super Bowl time. It's another day.

My words rang true in '84 and they do true today. If blacks register and vote in great numbers, progressive whites win. It's the only way they win. If blacks and Hispanics vote in great numbers, women win. When women win, children win. When women and children win, mothers win.

We must all come together and win and fight for hope and go forward by hope and not backwards by fear. This land is our land. And we all come together, red and yellow, brown, black and white. We're precious in God's sight. It's healing time. It's hope time. It's Hillary time.


JACKSON: I know it gets dark sometimes, but morning cometh.

The lord is our light and salvation. Whom shall we fear? Don't let opposition break your spirit. It's healing time. It's hope time. It's Hillary time.


JACKSON: (INAUDIBLE) says if my people will call by name, will honor themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear their prayer and forgive their sins and heal their land.

It's healing time. It's hope time. It's Hillary time. It's healing time. It's hope time. It's Hillary time. It's healing time. It's hope time. It's Hillary time. It's healing time. It's hope time. It's Hillary -- louder. It's healing time. It's hope time. It's Hillary time. It's healing time. It's hope time. It's Hillary time.

Keep hope alive. God bless you.


ANNOUNCER: Ladies and gentlemen, please welcome Star Jones.


STAR JONES, LAWYER AND TV PERSONALITY: I will fight for you, she said, no matter how long it takes.

I have known Hillary Rodham Clinton for over two decades now. And years ago, when she visited us on "The View," I told her, when you decide that you are ready to be the first woman president of the United States, I will be there to help.


JONES: Here I am, but most importantly, here we all are. And we are all with her, because she has always been with us.

As a former prosecutor, you know I like to deal in facts. Here's a fact. There has never been any man or woman more qualified for this office than Hillary, ever.


JONES: The 44th president of the United States, Barack Obama, said that.

Here's another fact. Nobody else in the race has the same unique connection to women, children, families and our day-to-day challenges. I'm saying that.

And that's very different from some very loud, obnoxious, race-baiting folk on the other side who I also know. Shade. Boy, bye.


JONES: And we all know there's nowhere do we need a president who cares about all Americans more than in the place we're about to visit, Flint, Michigan.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We need a count down.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Three, two, one.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's not proper for people to be drinking. I can smell it. This is not a big debate. UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You can see, that's what it looks like.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Can you imagine when you have a community that's saying, hey, this water is poison? Something's wrong, and you have Governor Snyder and his staff that won't recognize what is wrong?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: In April, this will have been two years.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You can't drink the water. You can't bathe with the water. You can't cook with the water.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: In my household, there's a total of six. Look, for all of today, without water, you kind of have to ration out water. Sometimes, it breaks my spirit.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I was pregnant with twins. In July, I lost them. I went through a horrible miscarriage. When I came home, I got something from the city of Flint that said pregnant women and people 55 and older should not be drinking this water.

But my son has really been having problems. He's only in the first grade. And he's tested positive for lead. And they're saying that it causes behavioral problems. So, we really need to get some help.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Is there anything that you really wanted to say tonight that you haven't gotten the chance to say?

HILLARY RODHAM CLINTON (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Well, Lester, I spent a lot of time last week being outraged by what's happening in Flint, Michigan.


CLINTON: I think every single American should be outraged. We have had a city in the United States of America where the population has been drinking and bathing in lead-contaminated water.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It was her voice that let it be known, hey, they got a problem over there. We need to do something about this.


CLINTON: This is not merely unacceptable or wrong, though it is both. What happened in Flint is immoral.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You know, when you have somebody like that fighting for you and supporting you and saying, I have got your back, can't ask for much more, because we have been able to get things moving, and we have been able to get it out there.

CLINTON: You take a picture of me and your sister, OK? Oh, nice.

His interest in camera shows his concentration, shows his ability to follow through and focus. We need to make sure he gets a chance to learn how to do that. I'm serious. We need action now. I will not for one minute forget about you or

forget about your children. And I will make sure, in any way that I can, that America stays with you too.

This is the most important work we are ever called to do, to reach out in every way we can to lend that helping hand for every single person in Flint.

ANNOUNCER: Ladies and gentlemen, please welcome Mayor Karen Weaver from Flint, Michigan.


KAREN WEAVER (D), MAYOR OF FLINT, MICHIGAN: Good evening. I'm Karen Weaver.

And I am the mayor of the great city of Flint, Michigan.


WEAVER: Flint is a community of 100,000 strong, hardworking people living in the birthplace of General Motors and the place where the great sit-down strike led to the creation of the United Auto Workers.


WEAVER: Flint is also a city in crisis.

Five years ago, our Republican state government used a Michigan law to take over control of the city. In 2014, the state switched our water source to a polluted river to save a handful of dollars, causing lead contamination to leech into our drinking water, poisoning, poisoning a whole community and leading to health impacts that may haunt our children for generations.

The problems in Flint are not over. The water is still not safe to drink or cook with from the tap. Our infrastructure is broken, leaking and rusting away. Our local economy struggles to rebound. And there are many more Flints across the country where environmental issues are hurting our kids and families.

Today, the help we need from our federal government to start rebuilding our drinking water infrastructure still sits blocked in the Republican-controlled U.S. Congress.


WEAVER: I am a voice for Flint. And we need your help.


WEAVER: Do you know who has also heard the call from Flint? Hillary Clinton.


WEAVER: She came to Flint when the water crisis hit. She joined with our community groups, our civic leaders and our churches.

Hillary said, "I will do everything I can to help you get back up and to help you get your strength and resilience flowing through Flint again."

With direct help from Hillary Clinton's team, the Flint WaterWorks program is now putting the young adults of Flint into new jobs and rebuilding their own community.


WEAVER: Hillary's wonderful daughter, Chelsea, even came to Flint to bring people together to start this work and to create new opportunities for our families.

A month later, Hillary Clinton came back to Flint again and called out to say that lead poisoning, broken infrastructure and struggling cities are a national crisis, not just a Flint crisis.

She made a commitment that, as president,, she will work for a lead- free America. And that's why I'm with her.


[18:30:08] So, join with Flint to get behind Hillary Clinton, to raise our voices for Hillary Clinton and make her the next president of the United States.

God bless Flint and God bless America.

WOLF BLITZER, CNN ANCHOR: Coming up, much more on what President Obama will say tonight. Very high stakes at this convention. As we also wait to hear from Vice President Joe Biden and vice president nominee Tim Kaine, giving the biggest speech of his life. Stay with us.


[18:35:24] BLITZER: Welcome back to the Democratic National Convention.

This will be a packed house tonight when President Obama delivers the fourth Democratic Convention speech of his career. We're standing by for the main event. That's coming up later tonight.

Meantime, I want to go back up to Anderson.

ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: Yes, in addition to Vice President Biden, vice presidential nominee Tim Kaine and President Obama, also New York's former mayor, Mike Bloomberg, is going to be speaking in the 9:00 hour.

It really gives you a real sense of the importance they are putting on this audience and the audience more importantly around the country, hearing from potential independents and others, hearing from Mike Bloomberg. MICHAEL SMERCONISH, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Gallup says 43 percent

of Americans are I's. They're not R's. They're not D's. They're independents.

I also think there might be something else going on here if you keep your eye on what's going on with the third party candidates, I know that Gary Johnson, according to CNN and ORC has been as high as 13 percent. If he gets to 15 percent and he makes it to debate stage, I think that Bloomberg is probably there to try to staunch that growth.

NIA-MALIKA HENDERSON, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL REPORTER: And it's the business record. You're right. And not only does Bloomberg know business, he knows Donald Trump. He can really I think prosecute that case that Democrats have been trying to make in pits and starts. Throughout these last two nights, I think he'll be able to make it. He has the credibility to make it because he's a billionaire too.

CHRISTINE QUINN, CLINTON SUPPORTER: And he also served with -- he started his mayoralty obviously when Hillary was in the Senate. But remember, he started as mayor right after September 11. So, he can also speak to how on the ground, how critical she was to our city rebuilding and moving forward.

GLORIA BORGER, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL ANALYST: Of course, the big issue is gun control.


BORGER: So, he's clearly going to talk about that. He's much more in alignment with the Democrats than with the Republicans on that.

But to what Nia is saying, I think, you know, one of Donald Trump's core arguments is that as a good businessman, he can streamline the government. He can make it run wetter. He can be more efficient because he's so successful in building the New York skyline. I'm wondering whether Bloomberg is going to talk about Donald Trump's success in New York and what he's done for New York or not done.

BILL PRESS, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: The real concern I have which going back to what we talked about in the last discussion here is that for Americans, this terror and national security is a huge, huge issue. Two nights have gone by, it wasn't touched on really. So, tonight's the night, right?

Now, so Michelle Obama didn't do it. Bernie didn't do it. Tonight, Bloomberg's not going to do it, right?

QUINN: Well, he can from a post-9/11 perspective.

PRESS: That's not his long suit. Joe Biden's probably going to focus on the middle class. I don't think Tim Kaine is going to do it. He's going to talk about himself. So, it's up to President Obama.

QUINN: Panetta.

PRESS: Or Panetta, but Panetta is not going to come in primetime. And I think -- I'm just saying as a Democrat, I think they may be missing an opportunity to hit an issue that Americans, particularly independents really, really care about. Somebody's got to deliver that message this is the number one threat facing the nation. And that Donald Trump solution which is to carpet bomb ISIS or carpet bomb Syria or ban on Muslims in this country is just going to make it worse, not better. Obama's got to deliver that message.

JOHN KING, CNN CHIEF NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: I think you're going to hear from -- the other players tonight will make the case that Donald Trump's not ready. He's still temperamentally unfit. Maybe Bloomberg will talk about what he knows. You know, he may have personal insights. He comes from New York.

I agree with you, Bill, there's a lot of criticism of why haven't they gotten there. But remember, three days in the Republican convention, we thought we were covering kind of clown car event, and then Donald Trump gave a big speech and he got a bounce. Will he sustain it? We don't know. But he got a pretty healthy bounce.

And that's not just from the public polling. Talk to the Democrats down here doing Senate races, doing House races, working back in their states, and they feel it. They see it in their focus groups. They see in their testing.

This comes down to Hillary Clinton. Donald Trump made the case in Cleveland that the country is going in the wrong direction.

His point essentially was, Obama didn't take ISIS seriously. They've grown into a huge threat, they don't get. They don't understand your fear. They don't understand your anxiety. They don't understand the threat. They don't have a plan to deal with it.

She has to convince them.

God forbid, you hate to have this conversation, but if there's a Nice, if there is another Orlando, if there is another San Bernardino, who do you want at the podium? Who do you want talking to the country? Who do you want meeting with the families and victims going into the church? Who is it? Who do you see as your president at that moment? As for a test, the other people can build up.

As I say, they have to build a ramp for her and try to take Donald Trump down. Some disqualify him some. But this comes down to her.

BORGER: And that's where Trump made the case on Benghazi, right? I mean, his convention talked about Benghazi and about how she wasn't there and she wasn't there for the mother.

[18:40:05] And she -- you know, the mom said she lied to her. So, they made that case very strongly and kind of hammered it in. I agree with Phil. I think he got to hammer that to make the temperament case for Hillary Clinton which I think the president will do.

QUINN: I want to say --

BORGER: Yes, yes? QUINN: So, there's no question, we will, I believe, tonight and tomorrow, particularly in Hillary's speech, to hear more about ISIS. But I just want to remind us to go back to the Republican convention for a second. I know that's terrifying for many of the viewers. But go back there. You know what? You never really heard about the word you rarely ever heard -- jobs.


QUINN: And that is a critical issue. I'm not diminishing the terror threat of ISIS. But jobs -- you ask Americans, you ask the women in the homeless shelters that I run, 46 percent of whom are working but still in shelter, we need more good jobs.

BORGER: We haven't heard a lot of that tonight either.

HENDERSON: That's tonight too.

QUINN: But that's part of tonight. Clearly, you're going to hear that from Tim Kaine. You're going to hear that from Vice President Biden. You're going to hear that, I also believe, in some ways, from Mike Bloomberg, to make it clear that being a billionaire doesn't make you a good manager, a thoughtful leader or somebody who can move into government from that podium.

MICHAEL NUTTER, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: This is all so bad, just convention time management. We had a lot of things going on in the Democratic Party that we need to deal with before we get to some of these other issues. You want the audience to pay attention, not only listening but hearing what you're saying, and you can't do that if people are shouting and screaming on the floor all night long.

COOPER: We're going to have a lot more coming up. Important speeches as we said by Vice President Joe Biden and the Democrat running for his job, Senator Tim Kaine, and the man who wants to hand the keys to the White House to Hillary Clinton, President Obama.

Stay with us.


[18:46:32] BLITZER: We're back live in Philadelphia where President Obama will have a hard act to follow. Can he top the first lady's speech at the convention? We're about to find out.

The president of the United States, the main attraction tonight here at the Democratic convention.

Coming up, there's going to be a tribute to Harry Reid, the Senate Democratic leader.

Dana Bash has covered Harry Reid over the years up on Capitol Hill. She's joining us right now.

Dana, let's talk about the president's speech coming up tonight. They did release some excerpts, a few excerpts from the speech. But the president is going to go forward with the very, very robust endorsement, obviously, of Hillary Clinton.

DANA BASH, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL ANALYST: That's right. And in the excerpts that they released, focus is very much on what it takes to be commander in chief, spoken by somebody who is commander in chief. As he will say, she's been in the room. She understands the gravity of the situations that presidents have to deal with and the decisions they have to make that have real world consequences. That's clearly what the Clinton campaign and perhaps the White House want, you know, the focus to be leading up to be somebody who will explain why Hillary Clinton should be president.

But make no mistake about it (AUDIO GAP) argue why Donald Trump should not be president. By name, we're told about a half a dozen times he's going to say specifically that Donald Trump is not ready for the job, should not have the ability to sit in the Oval Office as he does to make those kinds of decisions.

So, it's going to be pretty political speech from a sitting president. We haven't seen it this kind of dynamic in several years because in the past, recent history, sitting presidents have been kind of pushed aside for various political reasons. Because he's so popular, he's invited to give that kind of speech.

BLITZER: Critically important speech by the president coming up.

Jeff Zeleny is on the convention floor as well.

Jeff, his mission is to help Hillary Clinton recreate that coalition that got his twice elected.

JEFF ZELENY, CNN SENIOR WASHINGTON CORRESPONDEN: It absolutely is, Wolf. And that coalition includes younger voters, African-American voters, Hispanic voters, liberal voters and others. And what he's going to do here, as Dana just said, is going to put out those policy specifics, but also, he's going to have an optimistic speech, I'm told.

What his speech tonight is designed to really to complete the circle between Clinton and Obama, a very complicated relationship. Wolf, 12 years ago today, as we've been talking about all day long, he was on that stage in Boston in 2004. He arrived with one aide, wrote himself by himself on a yellow legal pad. He was still a state senator from Illinois. He would go onto win the Senate, of course, four years later, the White House and the rest is history.

Tonight, I'm told by some very close friends of his in the Illinois delegation I was talking to earlier, tonight is personal for him, and he wants to help Hillary Clinton as she did for him eight years ago to complete that relationship that has been really one of the most interesting ones in political history here in America -- Wolf.

BLITZER: And if anyone can deliver a powerful speech, it is, of course, the president of the United States. This will be his fourth appearance at a Democratic convention. A lot of us remember 2004, he was just a young state senator in Illinois. He made that remarkable speech. Four years later, he got the Democratic presidential nomination. He was elected president and then reelected.

[18:50:00] We're getting ready for Harry Reid, a tribute to Harry Reid, the outgoing Senate majority leader. Here's a video that will start it off.


SEN. ELIZABETH WARREN (D), MASSACHUSETTS: In the depths of the financial recession in 2008, markets are still crashing. No one knows what's going to happen. I got a call at home in the evening and this man, a very soft-spoken man said, "This is Harry Reid," to which my first respond was, "Who?"

SEN. BERNIE SANDERS (D), VERMONT: He was often criticized for being very blunt. I appreciate that.

SEN. CHUCK SCHUMER (D), NEW YORK: He didn't like it that I never shine my shoes. He'd slip me $20 bills. He said, "Here, here's $20," because he knew I was cheap. "Go shine your shoes."

REP. NANCY PELOSI (D), CALIFORNIA: Anyone who has had a phone call with Harry reed knows that at some point, you'll be talking to yourself because he was long gone.

WARREN: He said, "Harry Reid, I want you to come to Washington and try to put some account into what's happening in this bailout of the big banks," and it totally changed my life.


PELOSI: Adjective that comes to mind when you say Harry Reid -- fighter.

SEN. HARRY REID (D-NV), MINORITY LEADER: We've had some proud fights, real fights, and the first person I knocked out, and then the other fights I've had, not dealing with my fists.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Senator Harry Reid is telling Republicans to back off of Social Security.

H. REID: These votes said, if you want to discriminate, it has no place in America.

SEN. DICK DURBIN (D), ILLINOIS: And what he did with President Obama is to bring the Affordable Care Act across the $ finish line. He did it with barely no votes to spare.

H. REID: All of this stuff with healthcare, I think of my mom and my dad. My mom not being able to go to a doctor and my brother breaking his leg laying on a bed for days writhing in pain. My mother had no teeth, as she got older, she had a few teeth, and pretty soon, they were gone.

SANDERS: With great courage, he has stood up to the powers that be and taken on the big money interests that have so much interests in this country. SEN. BARBARA MIKULSKI (D), MARYLAND: Well, Harry has always joined

with me in the barricades to make sure that we were fighting for, particularly the economic empowerment of women. He is a master legislator to see him operate is to see a master at work.

H. REID: The one thing that I did that I'm always proud of -- the first time I got money. I worked all one summer at a service station. I bought my mother some teeth. If I do nothing else in my life, I got my mother some teeth.

L. REID: He's really proud. A lot of times, you know, on a personal level it's the way that he interacts with our children and the kind of father he is.

SCHUMER: What Harry Reid has taught our caucus and our family.

BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Millions of people are better off for the work we did. Harry, we've had a good run. You and I, we fought the good fight and we did it together.

REID: You have to stand up even if you think you're not going to win if you think something's right.


ANNOUNCER: Please welcome, the Senate Democratic leader, Harry Reid from Nevada.



H. REID: Thank you, everybody. Thank you.

Thank you very much.


Thank you very much. Thank you. Thank you.

You know, I spent a lot of time in the Republican Senate, so it's nice to be in a room that respects reason and facts.

[18:55:04] I appreciate the tribute. I really do. I appreciate the tribute.

But anything I've accomplished in the Senate, I owe to the great teammates I've had, my Democratic Senate caucus, Nancy Pelosi and the House.


President Barack Obama.


Vice President Joe Biden.


And I give a never-ending tribute to our next president, Hillary Clinton.


As a team, we fought for the belief that affordable health care is aright, not a privilege. As a team, we fought for the idea you shouldn't get the bill for Wall Street's bad bets.

As a team, we fought for the promise that your hard-earned Social Security is a sacred trust. Donald Trump and Mike Pence want insurance companies back in charge of your health.

Donald Trump and Mike Pence want to let big banks run wild again, and Donald Trump and Mike Pence want to gamble with your retirement benefits in the stock market. Republicans want to tear down the pillars of middle-class security.

We won't let that happen.


And I have never seen anything more craven than Mitch McConnell and what he's done to our democracy. His Republican Party decided that the answer to harboring American dreams is to slander our African- American president, stoke fear of Muslims, sow hatred of Latinos, insult Asians and, of course, wage war against women.

In other words, the only thing Republicans like Mitch McConnell have accomplished is setting the stage for a hateful con man, Donald Trump.

When Trump decided to run for president he probably said to himself, "I'm an egomaniac. I don't believe in science. I think women are inferior. Where would I feel at home?" We know where that is.

Parents, you're right to worry about your children hearing what comes out of Donald Trump's mouth. Republicans, you should have been careful also because Donald Trump learned it from watching you.


You know, they say they believe in country first. What a joke. Republicans that won't stand up to Trump, believe in one thing and one thing only -- party first. And this year, 2016 they've gone even further nominating the poster child of me first. Trump knew that hateful rhetoric and dangerous policies are the way to win in today's GOP, but that's not how you win in America, and that's not how America wins in the world.

Democrats know we win with an economy that works for everybody. With a strong, smart national security, that values our allies and doesn't invite a cyber attack on our country, and we know winning is the work of a team. With Hillary in the White House and a majority in the Senate, Democrats will keep fighting for immigration reform that keeps America true, clean energy that keeps America strong, and a Supreme Court that keeps America just.

And background checks for gun buyers and an assault weapons ban that keeps America safe.


Since my boxing days I've fought my share of fights. In my 50 years for fighting for Nevadans, I've also realized a leader is actually a corner man. A corner man, someone who stands on your side who has your back in a fight. Middle-class families fighting to give your kids a better life, Democrats stand in your corner. Americans fighting for the equality and respect our nation promised you, we're in your corner.