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ANDERSON COOPER 360 DEGREES

DNC Kicks Off Wednesday; Trump Stymies USPS; The Obama Factor And November 3rd; July Third Hottest In History; Former POTUS' Role On Biden's Campaign; Health On Top Of Voter's Mind; Woman Behind Joe Biden's Life. Aired 9-10p ET

Aired August 16, 2020 - 21:00   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

ANDERSON COOPER, CNN HOST: And good evening. We're looking ahead to the Democratic National Convention which begins -- it's a convention unlike any Democrats have seen.

They've nominated candidates during world wars, the Civil War, the Great Depression, in good times and bad. And now.

This time, though, it's going to look and sound different when Joe Biden and Kamala Harris accepts their party's nomination. So will the Republican edition a week from tomorrow.

The reason is obvious and unprecedented as we cross another grim milestone tonight. More than 179,000 lives lost to COVID-19 in this country, nearly the triple the death toll of the entire war in Vietnam.

And the coronavirus is also, obviously, affecting the way people will vote. More Americans than ever expected to vote by mail or at least try to.

Yet all week we saw examples of the postal service being uprooted or changed. That, amazingly, is a factor.

So is the wildcard of a president who has openly and repeatedly said the outcome may be rigged. And that mail-in voting is not -- is too open to fraud, which it is not. There's no evidence of that.

So the economy, the incredibly polarized nature of the electorate. It is a high stakes, high-pressure election at a moment unlike any we've seen before. And we'll talk about that tonight.

Our first guest in this hour knows more than most about the importance of every single vote. Nor has the importance diminished, especially to this convention, of the technology that he was championing when he accepted the Democratic nomination 20 years ago.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

AL GORE, FORMER VICE PRESIDENT, 2000 PRESUMPTIVE DEMOCRATIC PRESIDENTIAL NOMINEE: At a time when there is more computer power in a palm pilot than in the spaceship that took Neil Armstrong to the moon, we will offer all our people lifelong learning and new skills for the higher-paying jobs of the future.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

COOPER: Joining us now, former vice president, 2000 democratic presidential candidate and one time palm pilot enthusiast, Al Gore.

I hadn't thought about a palm pilot for quite a while. It took me back.

AL GORE, FORMER VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I know.

COOPER: Mr. Vice President, thanks for joining us. So I'm wondering, just on the eve of the Democratic National Convention, I'm unclear what this is going to look like, how it's going to work.

But what message do you think Vice President Biden and the Democratic Party need to deliver to the American people this week?

GORE: Well, that he's going to make the country better. He's going to get us out of this incredible morass that the president has put the country in.

The economy has gone into the deepest downturn since the Great Depression. We've had 170,000 Americans die, many of whom would have lived, except for the incompetence and the gross mismanagement of the pandemic.

We have seen a whole series of measures taken by the -- this latest, by the way, with the postal service I think will also be an issue.

Before I go any further though, Anderson, I do want to pause and offer my condolences to the president's family on the loss of his brother.

I lost my only sibling during a heated campaign and I know that all Americans feel sympathy for him.

But I want to say the way that he has mismanaged our country is really historic. And I think that Joe Biden and Kamala Harris are conveying an image of competence and stability, and bring back the American spirit. I think it's really wonderful.

And on the postal service, if I could say what I wanted to say about that.

I think he's kind of panicked that the announcement of Kamala Harris went off. It was a ten out of ten, it was amazing. And he went to that stupid, ridiculous, false birther thing right away and then had to take it back.

And on the postal service, this is an act of desperation.

And Americans understand, Anderson, that during a pandemic, there are lots of older voters and voters of all ages with a pre-existing condition who are worried that they can't breathe safely (inaudible) standing in line to vote.

[21:05:00]

So in effect by tampering with the postal service he is, in effect, putting his knee on the neck of American democracy. And trying to make it impossible for people to vote by mail.

And they may react the way they did in Wisconsin when the governor there tried to do a similar thing and it made people mad.

I think this Democratic ticket is going to be showcased this week in a spectacular way.

COOPER: Nancy Pelosi is asking the house to come back early in order to try to address the concerns over the postal service. What do you think can be done?

GORE: Well, of course, the president has stiffed the Congress on subpoenas, he has refused to let people testify.

I suspect that he's gone too far on this, even for him. Because the Republican members of the House and Senate are really hearing from outraged voters. Veterans who aren't getting their medicine, people who aren't getting their paychecks. People who are expecting things in the mail and not receiving them.

This is really an outrageous assault on an American institution that goes back to the very beginning of our country.

COOPER: What happens though? The postal service has sent out letters to states saying, essentially, we may not be able to -- if people are using mail-in votes, we may not be able to get them in time and they'll be disqualified.

What happens if millions of votes are disqualified simply because the U.S. postal system couldn't handle the number of ballots?

GORE: We cannot allow that to happen. You see them going around with flat-bed trucks and picking up the mailboxes outside of senior citizen centers and schools and places, libraries, places where people are used to dropping off their mail. We cannot allow this to happen.

And if Republicans in the House and Senate continue to be so frightened of a tweet from Donald Trump that they just turn back flips whenever he asks them to, even if it means destroying the United States Postal Service during an election when people need it more than ever because of the pandemic, I think there will be a verdict rendered at the polls that will be truly historic.

It goes way more than partisanship. This is about what our country is made of. We cannot allow this kind of behavior.

COOPER: The president said out loud last week that if the postal service doesn't receive the 25 billion in funding Democrats want for the agency, then the post office won't be able to handle the influx of mail-in ballots.

He then later kind of walked that back saying he's kind of -- he's using it as a bargaining chip.

I'm wondering how you heard that comment from the president.

GORE: Well, I heard -- the first comment you quoted from him was said on "Fox News" in a kind of a knowing way, so that he could alert his partisans that this is part of the scheme to fix the election. To prevent people from voting by mail.

And you know all of the research, Anderson -- it's important to say this -- there's never been any evidence that voting by mail favors Democrats or Republicans.

COOPER: Yes.

GORE: It's even steven. Now this pandemic election may be different because he has grossly mismanaged the nation's response but it's not a partisan issue.

And during a pandemic, people need the option to vote by mail. And the states that have pioneered this have shown that there's virtually no fraud whatsoever. No partisan effect, as I've said.

So he is simply trying to jerry rig and fix the election in his favor. I don't think he's going to be able to do it.

I think that enough Republicans will stand up and say no, this is a bridge too far, I'm not going to go along with Donald Trump and jump off the cliff with him in this.

COOPER: I talked to the secretary of state in Washington State who is in charge of mail-in voting there. She's a Republican and she said they've had a long history of doing it there.

They have great results, they have really high turnout or usually within the top turnout in the state -- in the country. And out of the millions of votes cast, I think they had about 100 or so questionable ones.

GORE: Yes.

COOPER: Some people double voting and a couple of people signing somebody else's name, and they're being adjudicating and punished. But out of the millions of votes cast, it's statistically insignificant.

GORE: Yes.

COOPER: And it doesn't favor one party over the other.

GORE: Right, 0.0000 something percent.

[21:10:00]

And you have a paper trail so you can immediately find out --

COOPER: Yes.

GORE: -- if anybody tried to cheat somehow. You can't do it with the mail-in voting.

COOPER: When you ran for president obviously in the 2000 election it took 36 days until eventually the supreme court declared George W. Bush the winner, you gave a speech accepting defeat saying for the sake of our unity as a people and the strength of our democracy, I offer my concession.

When you think about your words from 20 years ago, how it must have felt to deliver them -- I'm wondering what you make of President Trump refusing to say that he'll accept the results of the election.

GORE: Well, he's a different breed of cat from anyone who has ever served in the Oval Office, including even Richard Nixon. He does not seem to me to share the basic bedrock beliefs -- the values the United States of America is based on.

The bedrock principle, even before the constitution, was from John Locke, that all just powers derive from the consent of the governed. The way the governed give consent is through voting.

And the way we make the best choices as a nation is through the collective wisdom of the American people when everybody's perspective is combined together over more than 200 years.

We used to make better decisions than any other nation.

But when they start tinkering with the voting process and try to take away from the American people their right to give their consent in an honest and open way, that is a direct assault on the idea of the United States of America.

And I think it's a criminal conspiracy to subvert the election for partisan purposes.

Now where there's anybody that has enough standing to bring that emergency injunction in court, you'll have to go to someone who knows the law on that.

But I know that the Congress can take action immediately, next week -- and thanks to Nancy Pelosi for calling the House back in -- if enough Republicans listen to their constituents, who I know I'm hearing from a lot of Republicans who are outraged by this.

And if they listen to them, they're not going to go along with President Trump on this.

COOPER: You really think this is a criminal conspiracy?

GORE: Well, I think that it is -- I'm not a lawyer, and I haven't researched the criminal law.

But this -- there's no question in my mind that this big contributor for Donald Trump who was put in charge of the postal service just before the election and then had a Friday night massacre to get rid of a couple of a dozen people in order to put more henchmen in there. And then they start taking the mail boxes away and they start disassembling some of the mail sorting machines and they come up with these excuses and they're tiptoeing around it and trying to dance as fast as they can.

But people see through it. They know that this is exactly the kind of stunt that Donald J. Trump would try to pull when he is feeling desperate.

He's afraid that the majority of the American people have made up their minds that he is not fit to be president of the United States. He's afraid that there's going to be a vote against him.

And so he is now trying to subvert the vote. That's what I think. And I've seen no evidence to disprove that way of explaining it.

COOPER: If Trump were to lose, and that's obviously a big "if," I would never even normally ask this question. But do you think he will leave the office willingly?

GORE: Oh, yes. He'll leave. It's not up to him. When he loses -- if he loses the election, it's not up to him whether he leaves or not. At noon on January 20th his term is over and the new president's term begins.

So it's not as if people will say well, do you think you'll accept this verdict? Well, yes, he will. Because the constitution says so.

And all of the White House police, the White House secret service, the military, whoever you want to talk about they will then be responsible to answering the commands of the new president of the United States. It will not be up to Donald Trump if he loses the election.

But let's not get ahead of ourselves. I'm among those who feel like I know that the American people at this point are really eager for a change to get back to sanity in the American way. But there's a lot of time between now and the election.

[21:15:00]

And I just want to encourage everybody in both parties, independents, whatever. Vote and pray over it and think hard about the kind of country that we want.

Look at what's happened under Donald Trump. We have the worst handling of the pandemic of any advanced country in the entire world.

Our economy has gone down, down, down. We have seen racial tensions intentionally inflamed by this guy. He flatters and compliments the worst racists in our society, people carrying Ku Klux clan garb and swastikas, and saying Jews will not replace us. And he calls them very fine people. Even after one of them has murdered a peaceful protester driving his car into the crowd.

And I could go through the litany. But people have watched this, we've lived through it. We cannot have another four years of this, the damage to our country would be catastrophic. It's already bad enough that we have to got to have the Biden-Harris

Administration to start straightening this out and getting us back on the right track again.

COOPER: Do you want to see Americans who can vote as early as possible?

GORE: Yes. I think -- well, some states will start voting pretty soon but all of this is covered by state law. Some states will start opening the polls very soon.

But with the backlog that Trump is engineering with the postal service, until it's straightened means the earlier you can do it, the better.

If it keeps on going, if they're telling people to start thinking about mailing their ballots in the middle of August for a November election, what's going to happen in October when people start thinking about sending Christmas presents to their children and grandchildren?

Are we going to mail Christmas presents in October because Trump will be accused of having his own war on Christmas?

COOPER: Vice President Gore, I appreciate your time tonight. Thank you.

GORE: Thank you.

COOPER: Coming up next. The Obama Factor and how it plays out on a very different campaign playing field than ever before.

And later, the biggest single issue out there. The pandemic. And what voters make of it.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[21:20:00]

COOPER: When former president Obama speaks to the convention Wednesday night he'll be talking in part to voters who see a potential Biden Administration as a return to the politics and personal dynamics they once knew and appreciated.

Drawing on that notion wasn't quite so simple for Hillary Clinton for many reasons. It was difficult for Vice President Hubert Humphrey in the wake of LBJ and Vietnam and virtually impossible for Walter Mondale after Jimmy Carter.

This time though, it's hard to argue that the Biden Campaign sees President Obama as anything but a plus for their candidate.

More on that now from CNN's M.J. Lee. . (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BARACK OBAMA, FMR. PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: This gives the internet one last chance to talk about our bromance.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

M.J. LEE, CNN CORRESPONDENT:. They call each other brothers, family. Former president Barack Obama and former vice president Joe Biden have long publicly flaunted their friendship.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

OBAMA: Same time next week?

JOE BIDEN, FMR. VICE PRESIDENT AND PRESUMPTIVE DEMOCRATIC PRESIDENTIAL NOMINEE: Same time next week.

OBAMA: All right.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

LEE: Now Biden's former boss could play an outsized role in helping him take on President Trump in the fall.

One of the most famous and popular Democrats in the country --

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

You're all feeling a sense of urgency.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

LEE: Obama already making several high-profile campaign appearances on Biden's behalf. A virtual fund-raiser in June --

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

OBAMA: There's nobody that I trust more to be able to heal this country and get it back on track than my dear friend, Joe Biden.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

LEE: Raising a whopping $11 million in one night.

And there was this lengthy video recorded by the Biden Campaign.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

OBAMA: It all starts with being able to relate.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

LEE: Featuring the two men discussing everything from COVID-19 to President Trump.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BIDEN: He ran by deliberately dividing people from the moment he came down that escalator.

And I think people are now going, "I don't want my kid growing up that way."

(END VIDEO CLIP)

LEE: Obama not often going after Trump by name but making clear that his successor is very much on his mind.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

OBAMA: But even as we sit here, there are those in power who are doing their darndest to discourage people from voting.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

LEE: The Obama-Trump feud dating back years. Trump infamously embracing birtherism, relentlessly casting doubt on Obama's eligibility to be president.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Why doesn't he show his birth certificate? If he wasn't born in this country, which is a real possibility, then he has pulled one of the great cons in the history of politics.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

LEE: Trump, yet again, flaming conspiracy theories this week.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BIDEN: Kamala Harris.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

LEE: This time, about Senator Kamala Harris. Biden's newly named running mate who was born in Oakland, California.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP: So I just heard that. I heard it today, that she doesn't meet the requirements.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

LEE: Obama's advice on handling Trump?

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

OBAMA (Voice Over): "You are not going to out-controversy this president. You are not going to get more attention. The circus that he runs is not something that Joe should try to compete with."

(END VIDEO CLIP) LEE: Now former president Barack Obama will be speaking on Wednesday night. This is the third night of the Democratic National Convention.

And we are told that the theme of that evening will be a more perfect union where the Democratic Party tries to speak about the importance of moving the country past the Donald Trump era.

Now that evening is, of course, also when we will hear from Senator Kamala Harris, as she officially accepts her nomination from the party for the vice presidency.

M.J. Lee. CNN, New York.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

COOPER: Well, just ahead. How much of a factor will former president Obama be during the final stretch to the White House when they start campaigning. Former advisor David Axelrod weighs in. So too do Gloria Borger and Van Jones.

[21:25:00]

CHAD MYERS, CNN METEOROLIGIST: I'm CNN Meteorologist Chad Myers. And here's a look at your July 2020 climate update.

July 2020 was the third warmest July on record ever. In fact, 1.12 degrees C. above the pre-industrial levels.

Now there were cool spots but there are more warm spots than cool, for sure. One of them, up here in the Arctic, 27 percent below where the sea ice should be. It is the lowest July sea ice on record. And there's still more melting to go, all the way through September.

Down in the Antarctic, only 3 percent below normal for that same average time.

Something else that happened, though, in China, all the way through Japan, very heavy rainfall. Precip that totaled 250 percent of normal. Some areas picking up flash flooding, picking up mudslides. And in many places, it's still raining.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[21:25:00]

COOPER: Welcome back. We want to continue the discussion about the relationship between President Obama and Joe Biden and how that will play out in the months leading up to the election.

Joining me now Gloria Borger, David Axelrod and Van Jones.

David, how big a factor do you think President Obama is in this race not just to Democrats but to Republicans?

DAVID AXELROD, FMR. SENIOR ADVISOR, OBAMA ADMINISTRATION: Yes. No, I think he -- well, obviously he's a organizing tool among some Republicans who don't like him.

But remember, he is the most popular politician in America. There was another poll today, this "Wall Street Journal NBC" poll that affirmed that. And universally liked by Democrats, loved by Democrats.

So he will be very useful.

[21:30:00]

But, Anderson, I think the greatest role that he can play here and that you'll see it on Wednesday night is as a testifier for Joe Biden. Nobody knows Biden other than his family better than Obama who worked closely with him for eight years.

I was there first in the two years when Biden was very, very active running the Recovery Act, running to Iraq to put a government together there, you know, negotiating with Congress, doing a series of things that were really consequential, and of course, their personal friendship which grew over eight years.

They were in fact close when he began the vice presidency, it was like, you know, like every vice presidency, a shotgun wedding. This one grew into -- did grow into a bromance. And they did become close friends. And he has a real appreciation, Obama does for Biden's personal qualities.

I think his ability to explain Joe Biden and share those elements of Joe Biden with the country are very important. Because people need to know who Joe Biden is, what he's done and what they can expect in the future.

COOPER: And Gloria, I mean, obviously, Vice President Biden wants to demonstrate that he can lead, that's something that President Obama is uniquely suited to speak about.

GLORIA BORGER, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL ANALYST: Sure. Well, and as David is saying, I think President Obama will do that. I mean, when they first took office, the vice president said to him, look, I want to be your key adviser without portfolio, which means that I want to be in on everything.

And President Obama let him be in on everything and let on a lot of things including the Recovery Act, you know, they used to call him the sheriff because he was in charge of the oversight of the Recovery Act so there's no malfeasance on that, he sent him abroad. He was involved in Iraq and Afghanistan. And while he didn't always agree with the president, remember he was against the surge. He then kept his mouth shut.

And he's not known for keeping his mouth shut, but he did, saluted the president, and said, OK, I'm going to do what you want. And that's the kind of things that I think Obama is going to talk about. And also, as David was saying, talk about their personal relationship, and how they grew close, and how Biden did his job as vice president while his son Beau was deathly ill, and how he managed to do that.

COOPER: Van, how active do you think President Obama and Michelle Obama will be moving forward on beyond just this week?

VAN JONES, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Well, I mean, I think they're going to leave it all on the table. They're going to put it all on the court. Look, I think if you are Barack Obama, Michelle Obama, to sit here -- I mean, if you think we feel heartbroken, terrified and just, you know, miserable about what's going on, imagine how they feel.

And to have one, you know, of their close friends who they've got confidence in with chance to put it all back right, they're going to do everything they can. You know, I got a chance to work for Biden, I actually worked more closely with Biden than with Obama during my brief tenure in the Obama administration, I got a chance to see up close.

Look, you know, to the extent that you think about Obama as solution for Dubya, you know, Dubya was all emotions and he was a little bit of reckless, a little bit of a cowboy. He brings in Obama, he's cool, he's calm, he's an intellectual.

You know, in the same way, Biden is kind of a solution for Trump. Trump just doesn't seem to have a sense of empathy for people not named Trump. And here is, you know, Biden, just overflowing with empathy for everybody. And I think that Obama can speak to that.

I mean, you know, Gloria mentioned how he's not known for being other than long winded, it is true, Biden will talk a lot. But he's telling stories about other people. He's telling stories about other leaders. He's telling stories other people's pain.

When he talks a lot, that's true, but he doesn't talk about himself a lot, he's talking about other people. And I just think that he is going -- I think Obama can give kind of a witness and a kind of testimony about the kind of leader that he is that nobody else can.

COOPER: David Axelrod, what does supporting a candidate for President Obama or Michelle Obama look like in the months ahead? I mean, obviously they make a speech this week, they're not campaign rallies as far as we know --

AXELROD: Right.

COOPER: -- that they're going to be headlining.

AXELROD: No. I mean, and I think they'll do a lot of what they've been doing, especially he's been doing which is big Zoom meetings and interviews, but I think it's going to be very strategic, Anderson.

I think on the one hand, no one can speak to Joe Biden's qualities and the longing this country has for a restoration of decency than Barack Obama, and he'll be very powerful. I think they also have to be a little bit careful not to overuse Obama. He'll be very important getting young people out and getting the black community out and others out, but you don't -- you don't want him to be the leading man.

BORGER: Right.

[21:35:00]

AXELROD: Joe Biden has to be the leading man. And so they have to be careful not to overuse Obama. And I think that they will. He'll be strategic in his interventions, but rest assured, he will be there as Van pointed out. Not because of his own legacy but because of what he believes about where the country should go.

He's obviously distraught about the direction in which Trump has led and feels a sense of urgency about this election. So, he's not going to be idle, but he has to be used strategically.

BORGER: Well, I guarantee you when they do their Obama -- when they do their Biden biopic, when they do his biography, which they're going to do, I think Obama is going to have a very big speaking part in that, talking about the Joe Biden that he knew over those eight years in the White House.

COOPER: Yes.

BORGER: He will be a key character witness for him.

COOPER: Gloria Borger, David Axelrod, and Van Jones, thank you very much.

Still to come, the issue that's dominating the election, the coronavirus, the findings from a new CNN poll, and the discussion of how Democrats are shaping their message around voter sentiment.

[21:40:00]

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

COOPER: Perhaps, the most important campaign issue this election cycle, the coronavirus according to our new CNN poll just released. When asked which candidate would better handle the virus outbreak, 52 percent said Joe Biden, 43 percent said President Trump.

Here joining me with their perspective, Jennifer Granholm, former Democratic governor of Michigan and CNN senior political commentator, and Scott Jennings, former special assistant to President George W. Bush and a CNN political commentator as well.

Scott, do you think COVID-19 and by extension I guess the president's handling of it is the single biggest issue in this election for voters?

SCOTT JENNINGS, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Yes, there's no question about it. I mean, it's been the biggest issue since this started back in the spring. And you know, in some ways there really is no campaign other than coronavirus. And it explains why Trump is having a hard time catching up with Biden in the polls.

I think moving forward, what the president has to do is try to reframe his administration's response because right now people don't believe it's been good. And also, really, I think, Anderson, talk about the future. Like, you know, where we go from here, we're going to get a vaccine, we're going to restart the American economy, we're going to get people back to school. We're going to, you know, for lack of a better phrase, make America normal again.

You know, that's the vision that Trump is going to have to try to use I think in his convention to lay out. But there's no question. This is the biggest issue and it's the single biggest thing holding him back right now.

COOPER: Yes. I mean, Governor Granholm, according to new CNN poll, 24 percent of Trump voters say coronavirus is critically important, 70 percent of Biden voters say that. It's an interesting kind of comparison. Why do you think, you know, why do you think that is?

JENNIFER GRANHOLM, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: I just think it's reflected in the polarization of America. I'm most interested in those -- in that kind of situation what the independents are thinking. I know there was another poll out this week that said that 85 percent of voters are concerned about coronavirus spreading and more than half of them, 54 percent, think the federal government has failed to respond to the outbreak seriously enough and that it's not under control.

And honestly, you know, I mean, Al Gore said this just a few minutes ago on your -- on your show. I mean, Trump promised America first, but instead, we got America worst or first in death rate. I mean, our death rate is six times that of other advanced countries. The infection rate is eight times. I mean this is not -- should not be American exceptionalism. Instead of having other countries emulate the United States. They're now pitying us.

This is so terrible in terms of at least looking to how others have addressed this. So, I think voters are reacting to that despite the fact that the hard-core Republicans are still with their guy, they're not going to move this.

There has been, you know, solidifying on either poll, but those independents are going to be key and those independents are strongly believing that the coronavirus has been mishandled, and it has been, 170,000 deaths, it's been mishandled.

COOPER: Scott, just, I mean, I hate to sort of talk about the politics of a -- of a, you know, of a pandemic, but you know, we are in an election.

When the director of the CDC is saying that the U.S. could be in for what he called the worst fall from a public health perspective that we've ever had, what is -- I mean, what does the impact of that just -- I mean, obviously, you know, there's the economic impact, which is obvious. There's the human impact, which is front and center. But how do camp -- how do the campaigns deal with that? I mean, I don't even know what campaigning looks like in that kind of environment.

JENNINGS: Well, yes. I mean, it's obviously upended everything. It's upended the conventions and a lot of about what we know about modern political campaigns. I mean, I think that the thing for the incumbent president is that, American morale, the psyche of the average American is greatly rattled right now. Every parent with kids who are getting ready to try to send them back

to school now faced with the idea of homeschooling them for another open-ended period of time, those folks have rattled nerves. People who rely on going to work every day and their jobs haven't come back yet.

I mean, you can see the upending of American life with really no light at the end of the tunnel. That's what people need. I think Americans will sacrifice and put up with a lot if they believe just over the horizon, you know, there's a return to normalcy.

That's the message and that's what President Trump has to get people to believe, is that he has the plan to make America normal again. I would also just say putting my political science hat on, the cohort of voters that I would be most concerned about are older voters, age 65 and up. Trump did well with them in 2016, he's been a little softer with them against Joe Biden because they frankly don't hate Joe Biden the way they hated Hillary Clinton.

But at the same time, I do think they are the ones most concerned about their health and the pandemic because, obviously, by the statistics, older people are the most likely to die if they get it.

[21:44:58]

And so, I think that cohort of voters specifically the president needs to talk to them about what he can do to keep them safe. Until we get a vaccine and then how to get a vaccine to them as quickly as possible when one is developed.

COOPER: Scott, isn't the most important to thing --

(CROSSTALK)

GRANHOLM: Anderson --

COOPER: OK, go ahead, governor.

GRANHOLM: I just want to build on that point, this senior question is really accurate. I just a saw a poll out of Pennsylvania that Joe Biden now leads among seniors by 10 points. Whereas, Trump won them by 10 points. A massive swing all because seniors are seeing the incompetence of the administration of this virus.

COOPER: The messaging from the White House though, I mean, the president, you know, in terms of light at end of the tunnel, if you talk about light at end of the tunnel as they did early on in the Vietnam War, and then it stretches out longer and longer and the tunnel gets longer and longer, then, you know, that's almost worse than just being upfront and saying look, we don't know how long this tunnel is but here's what we're doing.

This president continues to just say it's going to, you know, disappear, it's just going to one day disappear. Earlier he would say it was going to magically disappear.

JENNINGS: Yes. What I would do if I were him is focus relentlessly on what his administration has done on Operation Warp Speed. I think this is the one area of response they've gotten exactly right by working with the private sector to get a vaccine in production as quickly as possible. They've already front-loaded dosage in the event that one of these vaccines works.

And so, if they really focus on that and get people to understand that they really got that part of it right, and then if a vaccine does come around which we all pray that it does as soon as possible, I think then people might have a different view ultimately of how his administration handled it.

I mean, nobody has done everything perfect here, that goes for governors in a lot of states as well. But getting a vaccine and getting it distributed and having his administration having been judged to have gotten it done and out the door and into the hands of American people as quickly as possible, that would be a dramatic improvement over what he's getting right now.

COOPER: Yes. And yet, governor, as you know, what he's been focusing on is testing, claiming it's been perfect and great and that everybody can get tested when everybody knows they can't. That they will get --

(CROSSTALK)

GRANHOLM: I mean, the logistics of this, can you imagine, yes, people they're just not confident that when you get to the distribution of a vaccine even if you get there that this administration can handle it. They're watching what's happening in --

COOPER: Yes.

GRANHOLM: -- in them exhorting kids to go back to school and parents are like freaking out about that.

COOPER: Yes.

GRANHOLM: It is insane. So, people are not confident.

COOPER: Governor Granholm, I appreciate it. Scott Jennings, as well.

GRANHOLM: Yes.

COOPER: Up next, the woman who's likely Joe Biden's number one adviser and cheerleader his wife Jill Biden, focus on her and how she's made an impact when we continue.

[21:50:00]

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

COOPER: No doubt Joe Biden's wife will be by his side this week in the Democratic National Convention. Jill Biden has been by his side for decades in his many important roles, wife, mother, professor, protector.

Here's CNN's Kate Bennett. KATE BENNETT, CNN CORRESPONDENT: When Jill Biden takes the stage

Tuesday for her prime time Democratic convention speech, it will be the latest in a long line of remarks from a seasoned political spouse, school teacher and Ph.D. earner. Only this time for Biden the stakes are even higher.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JILL BIDEN, JOE BIDEN'S WIFE: I've never felt this kind of urgency before. People have been coming up to me for months and saying, Joe has got to win. Joe has got to win. I mean, people seem like they're just, they feel the division and the hatred and the bigotry that's in this country right now. And I think that people are exhausted by it.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BENNETT: After four decades of marriage, the Bidens present a united front.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JOE BIDEN (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: My name is Joe Biden. I'm Jill Biden's husband.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BENNETT: Jill Jacobs married then Senator Joe Biden in 1977. Five years after his first wife and baby daughter were tragically killed in a car accident. Jill quickly took on the additional role of mother to Biden's two young sons.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JILL BIDEN: We dated two years, actually, with Beau and Hunter. We went on dates together. We ate dinner together. We went on vacations together. And we actually all got married together and Beau and Hunt were on the altar.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BENNETT: The couple had a daughter together, Ashley, now 39. Biden credits Jill for giving him a new chance at family. Something Biden's late son Beau once said.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BEAU BIDEN, JOE BIDEN'S SON: It's not just my dad that rebuilt our family. It's my mother.

(APPLAUSE)

B. BIDEN: Because they together truly rebuilt our family.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BENNETT: But Jill Biden has a tough side as well. It was she who jumped up to protect her husband after two women tried to rush the stage at an event in March. An advocate for education, women's health and military families, Biden worked closely with her friend and former first lady Michelle Obama on those issues during the year she served as second lady, while also keeping her day job teaching.

And Biden recently announced she intends to keep that job if she becomes first lady, working at a community college near Washington, D.C., which would be another first of its own.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JILL BIDEN: I guess I hope they'll see that I have a sense of independence from my husband but I do support him. And I'm out there working for that.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BENNETT: She is certainly is out there working for him as one of his most vocal supporters.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

[21:54:54]

JILL BIDEN: This is how we've always done things. I've campaigned in every election. I take one, you know, I go one way, he goes the other way so we can cover more grounds and talk to more people. And it's, you know, he's always supported my career.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BENNETT: Friends and colleagues say Jill Biden is supportive, loyal, and has a fun streak. And no doubt, she will continue to push to the finish line this November.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JILL BIDEN: I have always said that I thought Joe would be the best president and I've always supported him. And I know where his heart is, I know his values. And I think he's in such direct contrast to what we have now with President Trump.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BENNETT: Kate Bennett, CNN, Washington.

COOPER: We'll be right back. More ahead.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

COOPER: Tune to CNN for special coverage of the Democratic National Convention when it kicks off tomorrow night starting 8 p.m. Eastern. Former First Lady Michelle Obama will be speaking, also former Democratic presidential candidate Senator Bernie Sanders, and New York's Governor Andrew Cuomo. Our coverage begins at 8 p.m. Eastern tomorrow night. Thanks for being with us for the special convention edition of 360.

Right now, W. Kamau Bell with the new episode of "UNITED SHADES OF AMERICA." I'll see you tomorrow.