Return to Transcripts main page

CNN Newsroom

Senator Biden Introduced as Democratic Vice Presidential Nominee

Aired August 23, 2008 - 17:00   ET


RICK SANCHEZ, CNN ANCHOR: Either way, Obama picks his man. What does Joe Biden add to the Democratic ticket? What does he subtract? We're going to hear from both sides on this.
Here's another big story we're following that we can't seem to keep our eyes off of. This is what Tropical Storm Fay is doing now, turning into a house guest that never seems to want to leave. Where is it going next? What kind of mess is she leaving behind? You are in the CNN NEWSROOM.

Hello again, everybody. I'm Rick Sanchez. Here it is, your Democratic ticket for the White House. You saw them make their formal debut live on CNN. Barack Obama unveiling Joe Biden as his running mate, saluting the Delaware senator as a scrappy kid from Scranton who beat the odds. His words, Biden known strong on foreign affairs, left of center domestically, never shy about speaking his mind, occasionally to his detriment. What does Biden bring to the table, Senator Obama?


SEN. BARACK OBAMA (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: For months, I've searched for a leader to finish this journey alongside me and to join me in making Washington work for the American people. I've searched for a leader who understands the rising costs confronting working people and who will always put their dreams first; a leader who sees clearly the challenges facing America in a changing world, with our security and standing set back by with eight years of failed foreign policy; a leader who shares my vision of an open government who calls all citizens to a common purpose. Above all, I searched for a leader who is ready to step in and be president.

Today, I have come back to Springfield to tell you that I've found that leader, a man with a distinguished record, a man with fundamental decency, and that man is Joe Biden.

SEN. JOE BIDEN (D), VICE PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Ladies and gentlemen, these are no ordinary times and this is no ordinary election, because the truth of the matter is -- and you know it -- that American dream under eight years of Bush and McCain, that American dream is slipping away. I don't have to tell you that. You feel it in your lives. You see it in your shrinking wages and the cost of everything from groceries to health care to college to filling up your car at the gas station. It keeps going up and up and up, and the future keeps receding further and further and further away, as you reach for your dreams. You know, ladies and gentlemen, it is not a mere political saying; I say with every of fiber of my being I believe we cannot as a nation stand four more years of this. We cannot afford to keep giving tax cuts after tax cuts to big corporations and the wealthiest Americans, while the middle class America, middle class families are falling behind and their wages are actually shrinking.

We can't afford four more years of a government that does nothing while they watch the housing market collapse.


SANCHEZ: Sometimes the best way to get an assessment of how a speech goes, especially in this case, when it's back to Springfield where Barack Obama has given so many of his keynote addresses, is to ask a correspondent who's there for an immediate response, the moment that the speech ends. Candy Crowley is probably as good as anybody in this business. She's our senior political correspondent. Here what's she had to say when she was asked just after these two speeches were delivered.


CANDY CROWLEY, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: This is a man who understands the toll a bad economy can take on a family. This is a man who, perhaps, at least the Obama campaign is hoping, can take some of that elite discussion about Barack Obama away, who can go into the rural areas, who can go into working class neighborhoods and cities and say, I can vouch for this man. This is the son of a single woman who had to go on food stamps sometimes to support him and to support herself.

So they're trying to mesh Joe Biden's background with Barack Obama's background, to appeal basically to the Hillary Clinton voters, those white rural voters who are very, very slowly coming to Barack Obama's campaign, and not in great numbers. They're hoping that Joe Biden can be helpful to Obama in Pennsylvania, in Ohio, in West Virginia, where there are large numbers of working class voters.

So that stuck out to me. Also, the other thing, of course, that happened is that this is about being number two, and being number two is about being the attack dog. And certainly Joe Biden began to play that role here today.


SANCHEZ: Let's talking about what's coming in from the other side of this equation. Obviously, the Republicans are going to have their own reaction across the aisle from Senator John McCain privately; he has thus for congratulated Joe Biden. Publicly, the McCain camp has been using Biden's own words to slam Barack Obama. McCain spokesman said, and we quote, "there has been no harsher critic of Barack Obama's lack of experience than Joe Biden. Biden has denounced Barack Obama's poor foreign policy judgment," he says. He goes on to say, "he has strongly argued in his own words what Americans are quickly realizing, that Barack Obama is not ready to be president."

Then there's this TV ad that we found rolling today. It rolled out, in fact, just after sunrise this morning, again, using Biden's own words.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: -- Barack Obama's running mates say about Barack Obama?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You were asked, is he ready? You said, I think he can be ready, but right now I don't believe he is. The presidency is not something that lends itself to on the job training.

BIDEN: I think I stand by the statement.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And what does he say about John McCain?

BIDEN: I would be honored to run with or against John McCain. I think the country would be better off.

SEN. JOHN MCCAIN (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I'm John McCain and I approve this message.


SANCHEZ: So is this a good choice, or is this a poor choice? Let's go to the GOP tent, RNC deputy chairman/ring leader Frank Donatelli is good enough to join us. He's live at McCain headquarters in beautiful Arlington, Virginia. Beautiful usually this time of year. You know, I have to ask you, if you were to pin-point one thing -- start with the negatives -- one reason why this is a poor choice, what would you say?

FRANK DONATELLI, RNC DEPUTY CHAIRMAN: Well, Rick, I'll be brief but I'll give you two. The first is on the seminal issue of whether or not Barack Obama is ready to be president, Senator Biden said no, not once but twice. He's got a lot of explaining to do on that.

SANCHEZ: But, Frank, come on. This is the same -- everybody who runs against somebody says bad things about them, because they want the public to choose them and not the other guy. I mean, Romney said it about McCain. McCain said it about Romney. Hillary Clinton said it about Barack Obama. Barack Obama said it about Clinton. Isn't that just politics as usual?

DONATELLI: No, I don't think so. This is not a minor ideological difference. This is not one candidate saying that another candidate is too conservative or too liberal or whatever. On the seminal issue, Rick, of whether or not his opponent was ready to be president, he said no. It seems to me that's more -- that says it all right there.

SANCHEZ: Do you think that Barack Obama's gaffe when he introduced him as the next president of the United States is going to come back to bite him for that very reason that you just stated, because people are going to say, see, even Barack Obama knows this guy is more experienced than he is?

DONATELLI: Well, anybody can make a mistake. But I will tell you this, you don't import credibility if you don't have it at the top of the ticket with the vice president. That's what I think he tried to do here. It is clear that there -- a wide portion of the American people are really doubtful that Senator Obama can be commander in chief and is ready to be president and has the judgment to do that. You don't shore up those credentials, Rick, by picking a vice president that you think does.

SANCHEZ: We also have to remember that many of the people who are voting for Barack Obama are voting for him because they're sick and tired of the people who have all that experience. They think it's a plus that he doesn't have experience. Let's move to another --

DONATELLI: And look who he picked. He picked somebody that was first elected to the Senate when Richard Nixon was elected.

SANCHEZ: Sixty five years old.

DONATELLI: Thirty six years, and this is Obama's change? This is the new mantle that he's talking about? I don't think so.

SANCHEZ: Yes, he's 65 years old, Frank. Although, I've got to tell you, I think you'd agree, he looks pretty good for a 65-year-old man who survived two aneurysms.

DONATELLI: He's a fine fellow, but he is the not the new politics.

SANCHEZ: Do you think the aneurysm thing is going to bug him? Do you think the plagiarism thing is going to bug him? I didn't know those two words rhymed.

DONATELLI: I don't know. We'll have to see. I don't think so right now. I think the bigger issue is that on a whole host of foreign policy issues, he apparently disagrees with the top of his ticket. That's going to be a problem. I'd like to see a debate between the top of the Democratic ticket and the bottom of the Democratic ticket.

SANCHEZ: One final question for you, only because I'm truly curious; everyone is talking about this guy is going to deliver Pennsylvania and maybe a lot of other areas that Barack Obama would not have been able to get by himself. Do you think that is true?

DONATELLI: He'll deliver Delaware. He ran in Iowa, Rick. He ran in Iowa for a year, and he finished last. He was not selected because he has broad appeal outside of Capitol Hill.

SANCHEZ: Shakespeare would love the alliteration; "he will deliver Delaware," stop quote. Frank Donatelli, good stuff man, I appreciate talking to you. Fun talking to you. He's gone. We'll get him back at some point.

Some 35 years in the Senate, sometimes suffering from foot and mouth disease, some would say, a former Obama opponent and critic early in the race for the White House. But there's much more to the man willing to be a heartbeat away from the presidency. We're going to bring in my buddy and senior political analyst Bill Schneider now for some deep background on Senator Joe Biden. What do we need to know about this fellow?

BILL SCHNEIDER, SR. POLITICAL ANALYST: Well, change and experience, that's the ticket.


SCHNEIDER (voice-over): What does Joe Biden bring to the ticket? The ability to speak knowledgeably about issues like these:

BIDEN: What's going on in Pakistan this very moment, as I speak to you, what's going on in the subcontinent overall, the Korean peninsula, China, Hugo Chavez rewriting the constitution to make himself leader for life and the de-democratization of Latin America. Ladies and gentlemen, there's a great deal at stake.

SCHNEIDER: Biden is the chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. He's been in the Senate for 36 years. He knows Washington. He knows the world. Two areas where Barack Obama's credentials are a little weak. And he's from Delaware. Delaware? Just three electoral votes. Pretty reliably Democratic.

How does Biden help Obama politically? Biden is a Catholic and Catholics are swing voters. He has roots in Pennsylvania and Pennsylvania is a swing state, one that Obama lost to Clinton in the primaries.

MARK PRESTON, CNN POLITICAL EDITOR: Joe Biden can immediately put to rest any fears people might have about Barack Obama's lack of foreign policy experience. Also, he can really appeal to these working class white voters in states such as Ohio, Pennsylvania, and even Michigan.

SCHNEIDER: Biden talks a great deal. Sometimes saying things he shouldn't say.

BIDEN: I mean, you've got the first, sort of, main stream African American who is articulate and bright and clean and a nice looking guy. I mean, that's a storybook, man.

PRESTON: Joe Biden can be long-winded. And in the past, he has had to go back and apologize for some of the statements that he's made.

SCHNEIDER: Can Biden control his tendency to say too much? He certainly is trying.

BRIAN WILLIAMS, NBC NEWS ANCHOR: An editorial in the "Los Angeles Times" said, in addition to his uncontrolled verbosity, Biden is a gaffe machine. Can you reassure voters in this country that you would have the discipline you would need on the world stage, senator?



SCHNEIDER: Biden has held two of the top positions in Washington, chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee and chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. That could be reassuring to voters who worry about Obama's inexperience. Rick?

SANCHEZ: You know, I was talking to Frank Donatelli, and you heard his response when I asked him, does this guy deliver something other than Delaware? He said, he delivers only Delaware. From watching your report, it does seem like there's some other things that Joe Biden might be able to bring to an Obama/Biden ticket, is there not?

SCHNEIDER: Well, there are a few. Look, he's a Catholic. Catholics were a group where Obama didn't do well in the primaries in almost every state. Catholics voters, white Catholics as well as Hispanic Catholics, voted overwhelmingly for Hillary Clinton. And he also has ties to Pennsylvania, not just Delaware. He's from Scranton, visits there a lot. He's called the third senator from Pennsylvania, a very important swing state.

He has good relationships with trade unions, and that could help bring some support from those white working class voters. Again, Obama had trouble with them in the primaries. So he does bring some benefits to this ticket. And one other thing, I heard the comment, you can't import experience by putting a vice president on the ticket. It occurred to me, isn't that sort of what George Bush tried to do when he put Dick Cheney on the ticket?

SANCHEZ: Most would definitely argue that. Let me ask you this question. My mom used to always say, son, you never want to take two steps back just to take one forward. And some people might argue whether Obama might lose -- you know, he's got that Gen-X generation, that very youthful vote, those people who are really tech savvy. Are they going to like Joe Biden or is he going to hurt them there?

SCHNEIDER: They like Barack Obama. He is at the top of the ticket. If Joe Biden is Barack Obama's man, they're going to like Joe Biden. Remember, Kennedy put one of his harshest critics, Lyndon Johnson, on the ticket. They didn't get along at all. But if you liked Kennedy, you voted for Kennedy. You paid no attention to Lyndon Johnson. I think the Obama supporters, if they don't care for Biden, they won't pay any attention to him.

SANCHEZ: Thanks for the historical reference. It fits. Good job. Bill, see you later.

The Democratic ticket is set. Now, Joe Biden is all the buzz heading into the Democratic Convention. A lot of updates are coming from Denver. We'll stay on this story as reaction continues to come in. And there is a bevy of it.

Then there's Tropical Storm Fay. It now has forced a nursing home to evacuate its residents -- there's some of the pictures -- by boat. What does that remind you of? The latest on the fourth Florida land fall, fourth Florida land fall. One storm, four land falls, and a rising death toll. We'll be back.


SANCHEZ: You are looking live at pictures from the Democratic National Convention floor in Denver. There it is. All the action is going to be kicking off right there at the Pepsi Center Monday. The convention finale is going to be a speech by Senator Barack Obama Thursday at Investco Field. It is a 76,000-seat stadium. They're saying every single seat will have a derrier on it.

Welcome back to the CNN NEWSROOM. I'm Rick Sanchez. It's a massive production. So, not surprisingly, preparations are well under way. Let's go to our CNN senior political analyst Gloria Borger. She is standing by live in Denver. I understand, Gloria, they had to take you inside. We're having some kind of weather issues there, is that right?

GLORIA BORGER, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: Yes. We're about to get some thunderstorms, so I think they decided to protect us.

SANCHEZ: How is this thing going off with some of the folks you've talked to there, this Biden decision and the speech he gave this afternoon?

BORGER: I think -- don't forget this is a Democratic crowd here in Denver.


BORGER: But the speech went over really well, because there's a sense that a vice presidential candidate has to be able to take on and attack the presidential candidate of the other party, and you saw in this speech today that, on occasion after occasion, with a smile, talking about his friend John McCain, his good friend John McCain, he took him on. He said at one point, you know, what we need in this country is more than a good soldier, but we need a wise leader. That's a pretty tough line.

SANCHEZ: Are they taking it a step further and saying that this guy can do what Barack Obama has perhaps not been doing, at least in the last month or so? Or what Dems wanted him to go further in his statements about John McCain?

BORGER: Well, you know, in a presidential campaign, it's always kind of a mommy, daddy thing. One is the good guy, and one is the bad guy. It's usually the vice presidential candidate that does the attacking. There is still a sense that Obama does need to sharpen his message, that he needs to talk a little bit more about substance and what he would do to make people's lives better. I think you're probably going to hear a bunch of that in his convention speech. But for today, what you saw was Joe Biden becoming, if you will, the character witness for Barack Obama's values.

SANCHEZ: But let me ask you this question before we let you go: have you got any sense from Hillary Clinton supporters that they are either disappointed or worse with the decision of Joe Biden? And, further, are you hearing that they're going to have any kind of manifestation as a result of this?

BORGER: In fact, it's just the opposite. Hillary Clinton supporters would have been very upset, for example, if he had picked an untested candidate on the national scene, such as a Governor Tim Kaine of Virginia. Then they would have been able to say, wait a minute, how did you pick this guy with no experience over me? Joe Biden is a peer of Hillary Clinton's. He has served with her in the Senate. They are friends. He is someone who did not endorse anyone even after he dropped out of the race. And they are very quick to say that of all the choices, aside from Hillary Clinton, whom they would have preferred obviously, that Joe Biden is the one that they think makes the most sense.

SANCHEZ: Senior political analyst Gloria Borger, certainly smart enough to stay out of the rain, and delivering some great guidance for us. We appreciate it, Gloria.

BORGER: Thank you.

SANCHEZ: The day's other big story, Tropical Storm Fay, making a fourth land fall all in one state. It's got to be a record. A look at the rising death toll there, the rising waters, and the damage that was left behind in Fay's wake.


SANCHEZ: Tropical Storm Fay is now being blamed at least 11 deaths across the state of Florida. It has made another land fall early this morning. At this time, the storm is creeping west across the Florida pan-handle. It's dropping four to six inches of rain an hour. This thing does not stop. It has got to be some kind of historic storm, at least in terms of the Xs and Os that it's putting all over the state of Florida. Since Monday, Fay has just drenched the state. Some areas getting more than two feet of rain.

Jacqui Jeras is keeping tabs on this system from the severe weather center. On top of everything she's done, because Florida is so different or varied geographically, she's been in an area now that's more hilly, thereby more apt to create flash flooding.


SANCHEZ: It does get more curious and more curious. As some have said -- as Yogi Berra would probably say, curiouser and curiouser. Thanks so much, appreciate it. By now, Floridians are pretty tired of Fay. Yes, duh. The storm that won't go away. CNN's Susan Candiotti is reporting now from Panama City Beach.


SUSAN CANDIOTTI, CNN CORRESPONDENT: For vacationers at Panama City Beach, Florida, maybe it's a washout for the weekend, but there's been a far greater impact for thousands and thousands of Floridians who have put up with Tropical Storm Fay for about a week now. This is an historic storm. It has made four land falls, starting last Monday across the Florida keys. Then it made land fall again on the west coast of Florida, crisscrossed the state to the northeast end, and is now in the middle of passing over the Florida pan-handle.

Now, the winds here haven't been too bad in this part of the state, but they're predicting gusts of up to 60 miles per hour and the possibility of up to 12 inches of rain. On Friday, more than 100 residents of a nursing home near Jacksonville had to be evacuated by boat. No one was injured. All of those residents were moved to other facilities. No injuries, as we said.

However, in the state of Florida, more than 1,500 homes have been damaged. Of course, it has been declared a disaster area, and relief will be on its way from FEMA. Fay may not be a hurricane, but tropical storms can be just as dangerous. People here are hoping that the storm will finally pass through the state when the weekend is over and move on out. The message here, Fay, Fay, go away, but there is still a lot of cleanup to be done.

Susan Candiotti, CNN, Panama City Beach, Florida.


SANCHEZ: The Obama/Clinton ticket, the so-called dream ticket is now just that, a dream. So how do Hillary Clinton supporters feel about the so-called scrappy kid from Scranton getting the ticket? We'll bring you that.



SANCHEZ: The power to make yourself invisible, it's a sci-fi staple. But get this, some scientists and engineers are actually trying to develop special materials that may someday make this fantasy a reality. Let's switch gears now and go to Dan Simon. He just filed this report.


DAN SIMON, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Hollywood is quite good at making stuff disappear.


SIMON: From Harry Potter to James Bond ...

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We call it the vanish.

SIMON: The effects keep getting more advanced.


JASON VALENTINE, UNIV. OF CALIF. BERKELEY: You should really think anything is possible.

SIMON: But Jason Valentine isn't talking about the movies. He's a 26-year-old scientist at Berkeley working to make invisibility cloaks possible.

VALENTINE: I mean, it's cool. It makes it fun to come to work.

SIMON: He and his colleagues have engineered a microscopic material that can bend light, the stuff called metamaterial is no bigger tan a speck of dust. This is what it looks ling magnified about 50,000 times.

VALENTINE: So to cloak something, you have to bend light around it. It's like a stone sitting in a stream of water. So to bend light around the object, you have to make it bend in a way that it doesn't exist in normal materials.

SIMON: The material, of course, would have to be a lot bigger, and configured in a way where it could be a cloaking device, say, a blanket like in Harry Potter.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Some kind of cloak.

VALENTINE: You see the stuff in the movies and you think, that's never really going to be possible.

SIMON: If you're not an engineer, what they say probably will make very little sense. But their breakthrough has the scientific community quite excited.

(on camera): Part of their funding comes from the U.S. military. Making people or things disappear could be quite useful in combat. Let's not get ahead of ourselves. You're not going to find invisibility cloaks at your local mall anytime soon.

VALENTINE: We won't see anything certainly within 10 years. However, maybe in our lifetime something will be made that resembles maybe something in science fiction movies.

SIMONE: If you're a non-believer, consider this. 50 years ago, do you think people conceived iPhones or robots on Mars? Harry Potter special effects?

Well, maybe one day they won't be so special. Dan Simon, CNN, Berkeley, California.



SEN. JOE BIDEN, (D) VICE PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: You talk about how much you're worried about being able to pay the bills. Well, ladies and gentlemen, that's not a worry John McCain has to worry about. It's a pretty hard experience. He'll have to figure out which of the seven kitchen tables to sit at.


SANCHEZ: Let's go to one of the reactions we have been talking about. You heard Gloria Borger mention this a little while ago. The Hillary Clinton camp. In fact here is a statement from Hillary Clinton's camp. It says, "In naming my colleague and friend Senator Joe Biden to be the vice presidential nominee, Senator Obama has continued in the best traditions for the vice presidency by selecting an exceptionally strong, experienced leader and devoted public servant. Senator Biden will be a purposeful and dynamic vice president who will hope Senator Obama both win the presidency and govern this great country."

That's coming in from the Hillary Clinton camp. There you see the rest of the words. How about you? I've been on Twitter since we started this newscast. Listen to what you're saying. "Biden, real passionate, real biting, like him." "On the air now, by the way, i like what's going on with Biden as well. However, it was my second best pick. I wanted him to pick Hillary Clinton."

So there's some of the reaction coming in right now. One person says that Biden's going to work because he's got a personality that Obama lacks. We'll have it all for you coming up in a little bit. We'll talk to one of our other reporters. Stay with us.


SANCHEZ: All right. I'm getting all kinds of reactions here from people. Since I started on the air logging my own twisters, I've been getting reaction from people who say things like this - "Obama picked my second choice for his V.P. I like Biden, but my first choice would have been Hillary Clinton." "I like Biden. Very little B.S. says Olfson Speiter (ph)."

I want to give you one more good one. "I think Obama made a good choice." This one says - "I like Biden because he's got a lot of fire in his belly. That's what makes a difference."

Let's go to Josh Levs. He's been looking at some of the reaction coming in from people. Everybody seems to be talking about this. Generally I think people are OK with this except for those who didn't want him as much as they wanted somebody else. Namely, Hillary Clinton.

JOSH LEVS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yeah. That is part of it. You were talking about the Hillary Clinton camp. How they are responding to it. I am actually going to show you an example of that. Some people not very happy actually even with Hillary's statement out there. So why you are doing your Twittering I'm getting the I-Reports over here. Some of the coolest ones are the videos. Where you make these videos, then you get to be on CNN saying what you think. We're going to start off with one of those. Here's Clayton Anderson.


CLAYTON ANDERSON, SAVANNAH, GEORGIA: Americans are always complaining that their politicians don't tell them the truth. Obama selects a candidate who shoots straight from the hip and always tells you exactly what he's thinking. During the debates I admired that tremendously about him. I think Obama was a better presidential candidate. But how can you be mad at him selecting Biden?


LEVS: Well, some people have an answer to that probably rhetorical question. Some people are mad about it. You can see this picture right behind me, Hadia Shefia (ph), this was what she has to say. Let's go to the quote we pulled up from her had. She says this, "Biden is not a strong choice, not compared to Hillary. Obama just didn't want to have someone as strong as her next to him. I will be voting for Hillary Clinton in 2012."

We have another one here from Kelly Evans. Let's go to that one. There you go, that's the one. Kelly Evans. "Biden was a great pick. As a conservative mother of two I can no longer afford to be a Republican. Biden sealed the deal for me." So that's where she's weighing in.

And we've been having this debate, Rick, all day long with people weighing in on all different sides of all these issues. You can join us at any point at You can send us your photos, your videos, stories. We love to hear from you. We'll share more tomorrow. So Rick, let's keep up the conversation here in it Twitters.

SANCHEZ: Look at these Twitters I got just a little while ago. Listen to this. This is from X Waver (ph). "Congrats, Obama. You've chosen the least electable running mate. Biden, change?"

Matthew, "How is Biden a safe pick? He runs for president every four years and no one votes for him. Why is he suddenly a uniting V.P.?"

Mike says, "Great show. Biden is good, blue collar, doesn't meet with lobbyists, lives in Delaware, foreign affairs expert, attack dog."

There you go.

LEVS: I'm not seeing any, Rick, I am not seeing anybody who is just lukewarm, who doesn't have an opinion either way. Sometimes people say, it's OK. Doesn't really change my mind. Here, so far pretty much everything I'm seeing is pretty intense one way or the other from Republicans and Democrats. Like you just saw. SANCHEZ: And we are Twittering live as we bring you this newscast. It's Join me there and maybe I'll tell folks what you have to say.

Thanks so much, Josh.

LEVS: Thanks.

SANCHEZ: Long a red state, Colorado's gotten bluer. Democrats hope to deepen that come November. A live interview with Colorado's Democratic governor. That's straight ahead.


SANCHEZ: For elite runners, a fraction of a second at the finish line can make a huge difference. So scientists have started looking beyond legs and lungs for new ways to see if they can gain some kind of edge. Here's Sanjay Gupta with tonight's "Fit Nation".


SANJAY GUPTA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: A shot of adrenaline for any competitive runner. Months and months of training, all for this moment. Sure, they run, they do drills, strength train. But should they be training their brain as well?

DR. AMADEUS MASON, SPORTS MEDICINE SPECIALIST, EMORY UNIVERSITY: Just as bodies are designed better to run or swim, their brains being better or more reactive, having a better reaction time, would be definitely.

GUPTA: Consider this -- according to a small study, starting with the right foot back may make a difference. A small one, but in the world of competitive running, perhaps enough to be the difference between winning and losing.

It's all about how your brain works. The left side of your brain controls the right side of your body, but it's also slightly better at executing the movement in the first place. Getting someone off the blocks just a little bit faster. But every sports medicine expert Dr. Amadeus Mason says that's only part of the equation.

MASON: Being comfortable in the blocks would probably be more important and getting power out of the blocks more important to your overall start.

GUPTA: I'm right-handed. I'm not a competitive runner, but I like to run. What would you tell me?

MASON: I would say, first off, be comfortable. If you're comfortable in a start with your left foot forward, great. If you're comfortable with the right foot forward, do that. Because I think comfort will trump that millimeter of a second that you'll get because you'll get it back with your stability and how fast you're going to be transitioning into full sprint. He's carrying himself well, he's standing straight up. That conserves his energy. He's carrying his arms close to his body and bent. That also is conserving energy. But his stride is not as long or as even as it should be.

GUPTA: The bottom line, says Dr. Mason? Good form, good strength, and a sharply tuned brain. Dr. Sanjay Gupta, CNN reporting.



SANCHEZ: Welcome back. Colorado was once the reddest of states, but Democrats are hoping those days are over. The state's capital city is hosting the Democratic convention, and Barack Obama's campaign believes that Colorado could be a new battle ground state. Governor Bill Ritter is good enough to join us, he is one Democrat that's hoping that happens. Well, what are the chances that Colorado could go to the other column, governor?

GOV. BILL RITTER, (D) CO: Oh, I think the chances are excellent, Rick. The last few years in particular, the last two election cycles, we've seen massive movement in favor of Democrats in Colorado.

SANCHEZ: What's your take on the Biden choice?

RITTER: I think the bide choice is a great choice. I was the district attorney of Denver before I was governor of Colorado. As district attorney we did a lot of things with the United States Senate with the Senate Judiciary Committee, particularly under Senator Biden's leadership. He wrote one of the very first pieces of legislation that addressed domestic violence from a federal perspective. So the Violence Against Women Act was an important tool for prosecutors, police officers, putting 100,000 cops on the street, that was part of Clinton's initial law enforcement agenda, but Biden ushered that through. There's so much he's done from a law enforcement perfective I'm really happy to see.

Secondly, I think this attack on Obama that has to do with national security, foreign relations issues, Joe Biden really fills the bill at a time where we certainly have challenges. He's the right person to answer the right person to answer the challenges. So I am happy about the selection.

SANCHEZ: Is Denver ready? What do you make of the speech given outside of the convention hall? Do you like that idea?

RITTER: Well, I like that idea. I was part of the host committee and we are out here planning and have been planning for a long time, so we call that a bit of a pivot, right? When they told us in early July they wanted to do it. I think it was a shrewd move politically, because this speech is a very important speech, and I would say it's a historic moment for America for a lot of reasons, and to do it outside in the open air in front of 80,000-plus people is the right way to think about it.

SANCHEZ: Let me read you a couple of responses I have gotten from folks here. One of them says, "Congrats Obama, you have chosen the least electable running mate." Give me a shot, Roger right there. And this one, "How is Biden a safe pick? He runs for president every four years and nobody votes for him." So what do you say to my friends on who are e-mailing me these messages, governor?

RITTER: I would say America is a great country and people get to express their opinions and even, I think, if those opinions are wrong. Biden has run twice in '88 and ran again this year, and at the end of the day, he was not the person who emerged. But John McCain was, you know, in single digits and over time, he emerged but a lot of people a year ago would have said that is would not be the case. So Biden is now the vice presidential pick. The question is, does he complement Barack Obama? Is he the right person to have on the ticket? And really from the perspective of where we want to go as a country, does he think of the 21st century the right way?

What I know about Joe Biden and what I see about the ticket is that they think differently about the 21st century than their opponents do and they think the right way in terms of the way we in Colorado want to behave going forward.

SANCHEZ: Governor Bill Ritter, we thank you, sir, for taking time to talk to us, and good luck tomorrow.

RITTER: Thank you.

SANCHEZ: Put on a good show.

RITTER: Appreciate it, Rick. Thanks.

SANCHEZ: Appreciate as well having you on. Standing up for disabled, we will introduce you to a CNN hero who really makes a difference in rural Mexico.


SANCHEZ: In a lot of undeveloped countries artificial limbs are a luxury and forced men and women forced to drag themselves along the ground because they cannot get them. But in rural Mexico those lucky enough to know this week's CNN hero have a chance. Here is David Puckett.


ANNOUNCER: This is CNN heroes.

DAVID PUCKETT, HELPS POOR MEXICANS WITH ARTIFICIAL LIMBS: We're here in southeastern Mexico, where medical care is poor, it is almost impossible to overcome an amputation. They don't have opportunity to get out, much less get accepted. The very first time I came to Mexico, it was stamped on my heart, some day you will make a difference here. When I finally got into the field of orthotics and prosthetics I said, a ha! I know what I can do.

I'm David Puckett and I bring artificial braces and limbs to those in need in Mexico. There is always a plethora of donations, and we take casts into southeast Mexico and make new limbs and braces from the components that we have recycled.

Delivering a limb or brace is still the beginning. Because we have to come back to make sure that they have what they need. When we help one person, it actually affects an entire community.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: My life was not nice before because I had to crawl on the ground. He lifted me up to where I am today.

PUCKETT: I didn't really realize how much sacrifice it was going to be, but you know what? Where there is more sacrifice, there is more blessing.

ANNOUNCER: Get involved.


SANCHEZ: A couple of quick ones here. Tommy Bailey says that "Biden was a favorite of mine all along."

This one, John B. from Tennessee says "Biden comes a across as an intelligentsia wannabe. Obama can't even speak straight when no one preps a speech from him."

Reaction coming in from both sides. By the way, you can go to or you can also go to MySpace and Facebook as well and find the same things as well and connect to my comments throughout the show. Thanks for being with us. We will be back with an update, but let's go to my friend Tom Foreman right now in DC.