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Campbell Brown

Democratic National Convention

Aired August 27, 2008 - 23:00   ET


WOLF BLITZER, CNN ANCHOR: All right. So there it is; it's official. There is a vice presidential nominee now that the Democrats have selected. It's Joe Biden. And you heard his speech. You heard the case that he made not only for Barack Obama but against John McCain.
And then Barack Obama came out here and electrified this crowd. There's the Biden family.

Anderson, as we see this, we're joined by Campbell Brown as well. It's -- you know, it's all of these conventions, whether Democratic Conventions, Republican Conventions, these are electrifying moments.

ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: And I don't think we have seen this week more of an electrifying night as tonight. I mean each night has been building but certainly Joe Biden's speech. Doing what so many people said he needed to do, putting meat on the bones, defining what change means, coming full bore after John McCain -- attacking John McCain's judgment, saying Barack Obama is ready to lead. And certainly this hall tonight agrees.

BLITZER: And Campbell, what do you think?

CAMPBELL BROWN, CNN ANCHOR: Well, it was a great night for Democrats. I mean these were fantastic speeches. Clinton, of course, is masterful as a speaker. I think anybody can see that, Democrat or Republican.

But Biden, I have to say, gave especially his attacks on John McCain probably the most effective I think we've heard in any of the speeches given. And he speaks with an authority that most people lack, which is the fact that he knows McCain well, that they go so far back, that they have such a close relationship, that they are friends.

COOPER: It's remarkable looking at them on the stage, looking at what we heard of the past couple of nights. The Democratic Party a few years ago, there were a lot of people in the Democratic Party who could never have imagine the kind of energy that we see on the stage tonight behind the Democratic Party and the chances that they have to take the White House.

PAUL BEGALA, DEMOCRATIC STRATEGIST: I think we're seeing a remarkable rebirth of the Democratic Party. I think it was electrifying when Barack walked out there. And it has some precedent. It reaches back to some of the other moments in his party's history.

John F. Kennedy, Christian, entered the hall before he was formally nominated. Bill Clinton did the same thing. Now Barack has done that. It gives you a whole new excitement and energy.

And to couple that with Joe Biden with the rhythms the cadence right out of the heart of the middle class. It seems like a perfect balance to the lift and loft you get from Barack Obama, who sort of half preacher, half professor.

Joe is sort of half steelworker and half statesman, terrific combination.

BLITZER: As you know a lot of our viewers may not know that he was introduced by his son Beau Biden, who's the Attorney General of the state of Delaware, who also happens to be a Captain in the U.S. Army. And his National Guard unit the Delaware National Guard, about to be deployed for a year to Iraq. So he's leaving the country. And that's what they were alluding to.

I just wanted to explain, John King, if our viewers had any doubts when he said I'm not going to be there right now for my dad.

KING: And that service, in his personal service will help rebut a lot of the story we're going to hear next week the Democrats hope. Look, they officially have their ticket tonight. They have peace with the Clintons and their enthusiastic support.

The political economics, the political fundamentals of the country, the economic fundamentals of the country, with the Democrats back in this election. And I think if you look at the talent at the top of the Democratic Party especially now that the Clintons are on board, the Republicans have a communications challenge coming to them.

BLITZER: All right, let's take a quick break. We have a lot to assess. We're going to be here for another hour.

And remember at midnight in one hour "LARRY KING" we'll have a special live program getting reaction from a whole bunch of folks including a lot of Republicans.

Much more of our special coverage from the floor of the Democratic National Convention right after this.


BLITZER: All right. We want to thank the band. Can't praise this band of local musicians in Denver -- they were put together -- the music they've been providing, the vocals the guitarists, all the musicians. We want to thank them for helping us enjoy this Democratic National Convention. We want to welcome back --

COOPER: Wolf Blitzer --

BLITZER: This is a great band. I've been listening to this band and enjoying the music, the singers.

COOPER: I want to thank the band. I don't know.

BLITZER: They're terrific. Are you telling me, Anderson, you don't like the band?

COOPER: No, the band is fine. I'm just hearing Wolf Blitzer thanking the band.

BLITZER: I love the band. Campbell, do you love the band?

BROWN: I love the band. But I think we're learning something new about you, Wolf. We never fully appreciated your appreciation for music.

BLITZER: If Donna Brazile were here, we'd be dancing right now but she's not here. Another time, another time we'll be dancing.

Let me just reset what has happened here on this historic day. The Democratic Party has now nominated an African-American to be the Democratic presidential nominee. This is the first time in our history this has happened. It's history in the making. We were eyewitnesses. We saw it unfold.

The vice presidential nominee has now been selected, Joe Biden. You heard his powerful speech making the case for himself, for Barack Obama and against John McCain. Next week we'll see a similar process unfold in St. Paul when the Republicans go through all of this.

We have our team of correspondents. We're going to assess what's going on. Anderson and Campbell are here, of course with Gloria, Paul Begala, John King and we have our excellent team of analyst in New York as well.

Let's show a picture of who is standing by because you're going to get special insight from Jeff Toobin and Amy Holmes, and Ed Rollins, Carl Bernstein and of course David Gergen.

Hilary Rosen and Leslie Sanchez, they're upstairs here in our CNN suite. They're watching and appreciating what's going on, the history. We've got a team of reporters including Candy Crowley. She's up there on the podium near all the action. She's been watching this about as closely as anyone. And Jessica Yellin and Suzanne Malveaux are on the floor as well today.

Did I mention everyone?

COOPER: Yes, Wolf "Roadie" Blitzer, you did.

BLITZER: Yes, I want that dance and I want that dance and I like that dance.

COOPER: And let's check in with some of the folks in New York who have been listening.

Jeffrey Toobin, I mean certainly what we saw too on this stage particularly when Barack Obama came out, I mean there has been a real generational shift. So much of his support is among young people. So many new people coming into the process and you really had that sense tonight of sort of a new generation of Democrats. JEFFREY TOOBIN, CNN SENIOR LEGAL ANALYST: He sure did. He just looked different. I mean Barack Obama looks a lot younger than Joe Biden, looks a lot younger than Bill Clinton. This is a new group of people running the Democratic Party.

But, Anderson, I've got to say, I really do disagree with what I heard from you folks about the Biden speech. I thought it was by far the weakest speech of the major speeches we've heard. I thought he stumbled a lot in delivering what he thought were his best lines. I thought it was not thematically together the way Bill Clinton's speech was. I thought there was not a single memorable theme.

Yes, he kept saying, that's not change -- what was he -- he said, that's not change, that's more of the same. But, boy, I did not think it was a very effective speech.

COOPER: Well, it might be a difference between how it played in the hall and how it played on television.

David Gergen, what did you think?

DAVID GERGEN, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: I think Jeffrey Toobin is on to something. I thought it was a fine speech. It was a serviceable speech. I don't think it's a memorable speech. It will never make Bill Safire's anthology.

But what was most important in the speech, Anderson, and what I think worked both in the hall and on television was the tableau that unfolded here over the past hour.

And that I thought the Democrats had their best hour of television of the convention starting with the moment they rolled out that Spielberg film on the veterans, on honoring the Veterans in a poignant way, moving on to Beau Biden's speech, which I thought was a home run.

That was a remarkably good speech. And then when the cameras went to Michelle Obama and you saw her tearing up as she heard again the story of the loss of the family early on, I thought that was a revealing moment for television viewers, some of whom have thought she's an angry woman. That wasn't an angry woman you saw tonight. She was very human.

And I think it was consistent with her own speech earlier in the week. And then Joe Biden gave a good speech. It was a solid speech but then -- but what I think really helped was Barack Obama coming on. And then, it was as if the Democrats brought it all together tonight for the first time.

And I must tell you, I think the importance of tonight is that perhaps the Democrats have begun to reverse the momentum of the campaign.

John McCain has been coming on very strong against them; he's caught up with them. They desperately needed to reverse momentum if they were to win in November. I think they started to turn it. My one single voice, it's really the voters who counts about this, it's the public who counts on this. We'll wait to see what they did. But I think tonight and tomorrow night if they can reverse momentum, the Republicans will have their chance to take it back next week but I think that's very, very important as a potential opening for the Democrats to reverse the momentum.

COOPER: Gloria Borger, you seem to disagree vehemently.

GLORIA BORGER, CNN POLITICAL CONTRIBUTOR: I'm going to disagree with my friend Jeffrey. Because I think Joe Biden tied it all together. He spoke from the heart as he always does. He's was authentic, he's honest, he told his life story. He's 65 years old. And what he did was he said to older voters, this fellow has the judgment to be commander-in-chief of the United States. And he also spoke about foreign policy. And I think that -- and he spoke about pocketbook issues.

So as the vice presidential nominee, I think he did everything he had to do. And as David was saying, the tableau, the word David used that was set out here was that across generational tableau. I mean Barack Obama can hold his own child in his arms and Joe Biden was holding his grandchild in his arms.

BEGALA: I have not talked to him yet but I promise you David Axelrod, the guys running this campaign for Barack are thrilled with Joe's speech. And here's why. When you're running a campaign, you want to grow and grow and grow.

Barack's base is terrific. It was enough to get him here and to make history. It is not enough to win the White House. He's got the Arugula vote. He needs the ham and cheese sandwich vote. Joe Biden's speech was ham and cheese. Man, I can take that speech and send it to every county commissioner in America and hear you can get up and repeat that at the Rotary Club. They can't repeat Bill Clinton; they can't repeat Barack Obama.

We got to have -- the very first time we did this I say Barack needs to put this jam on the low shelf for the little people can reach it. That's what Joe Biden did. And Jeffrey is not one of the little people thank goodness, but you know there's a whole lot more of them than there are people up there.

BROWN: It was reassuring I think as to a lot -- to a constituency that Barack Obama may not have reached yet but I think it also marked a moment where this became Barack Obama's convention.

BEGALA: Right.

BROWN: And there was a little bit of a risk up until tonight and the end of tonight that he was going to be outshined by the Clintons. And when Biden got up there and started speaking the way he did about Obama, it was the first time you saw it and then having Obama come out on the stage, it's the first time you thought "Oh yes, this is why we're here."

KING: And I think Obama coming out on stage was the punctuation at that point that now we have a ticket, now this is my party. After the supporting cast, including Bill and Hillary Clinton for whom I think that was genuine gratitude and appreciation from Barack Obama because they are so critical to going forward.

But, but the supporting cast has done its job. Tomorrow night is the night that counts in this convention. And Barack Obama has a lot to prove.

COOPER: It was also interesting, Carl Bernstein, to see Bill and Hillary Clinton standing up repeatedly throughout Joe Biden's speech, clapping along with others as they stood up.

CARL BERNSTEIN, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: Well, look, this convention on the floor and in that hall, has come together and it's hit all the themes, including the war. The war is coming back as an issue. One of the other things that Barack Obama has had to do is define himself and his family.

Watching Michelle Obama, I kept making notes up there, throughout this. She has come through this convention, through her own speech, the video of her life, as a real figure, likable. I think anybody that couldn't see her in the White House before this convention without a really nasty free predisposition could certainly see her there now.

Also, though, you've got to keep thinking about John Kerry and John Edwards four years ago. You know, they left the convention also on a very high note. But this party has come together. If anybody would have said three weeks ago you were going to see them on the eve of Barack Obama's speech where they are tonight, as I said, and wrote earlier on a blog, Obama has pulled off his convention.

Now it's up to him to go into that great stadium with the generals and the panoply of all these folks and pull it all together and be formidable. That's the real question. Can he be formidable enough?

BLITZER: All right. Carl, thank you. Stand by. I want to go down to the floor.

Jessica Yellin has a special guest, a very influential guest, a guest potentially that could help get Barack Obama elected by bringing the key battleground state of Pennsylvania into play.

JESSICA YELLIN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: That's right. Senator Casey was an early supporter of Barack Obama. And we heard Joseph Biden talk a lot about his Scranton roots. I'm wondering a new CNN poll out today Senator shows Obama ahead by five points in your state. Can you guys now take Pennsylvania for granted?

SEN. BOB CASEY JR., (D) PENNSYLVANIA: No, I don't think we can. I think Pennsylvania is a very close state. It will be competitive. But think Senator Obama's message of change in Pennsylvania is going to resonate.

But I think people are beginning to understand when we talk about some of the differences that John McCain wants to privatize Social Security. He voted against the children's health insurance, very important to the people of Pennsylvania and our families.

And I think when those distinctions are drawn along with the great story of Barack Obama's life of struggle and sacrifice, that he's a husband, a father of two daughters, a man of deep faith and Joe Biden's story, understanding how people have to struggle in this economy. When we get that message out about their story and the real McCain record we're going to win Pennsylvania.

YELLIN: Let me ask you more broadly, obviously, people in this hall are excited tonight, but these are die-hard Democrats. So this convention is designed to really reach out to other voters. What do you think has been communicated so far? Are you happy with the convention?

CASEY: I am. And I think we've communicated a message of change, a message of hope. But, also, a message about the life story of both of these individuals, Barack Obama and Joe Biden.

And part of what we have to do is make sure that people know the difference between more of the same and a commitment to change. And I think we're starting to do that.

Tomorrow night of course, Senator Obama will have the ultimate opportunity to deliver on that message. And I think he'll do it as he has throughout this campaign.

YELLIN: And let me ask you finally, you said you were snuck backstage at the last minute and got to see Barack Obama come out, what did you say to him, what was it like up there?

CASEY: We had a meeting on the foreign relations committee, at least the Democratic side. But now, we had an opportunity to watch Senator Biden's speech and watch some of the nomination speeches. And then we were surprised by the appearance of Senator Obama.

We were told there was going to be a surprise. We weren't told what it was. But it was great to see them together. We're looking forward to tomorrow night.

YELLIN: Right, thanks so much, Senator Casey. We appreciate your time.

Back to you guys.

BLITZER: All right. He's going to be a very, very busy guy, Jessica. Senator Casey, Governor Ed Rendell of Pennsylvania, they've got a major mission ahead of them to carry that state for Barack Obama.

We're going to take a quick break but I want to show you a few pictures first of all, Invesco Field actually that's one of a CNN grill, first that's right here at the Pepsi Center, it's our headquarters.

COOPER: Is there a band there?

BLITZER: There's no band there but there's a lot of people and they're eating and their actually drinking a few things as well, Anderson. THEY'RE having a good time at the CNN grill. We're going to go back there, all of us, right after we're off the air.

That's Invesco Field at Mile High Stadium. All of our attention will move to there, tomorrow --

COOPER: Look at that. We're going to invite the band.

BLITZER: I would love to invite the band come over there. Invesco Field that's where Barack Obama is going to be accepting the nomination tomorrow night; he's going to be going forward with his big speech.

We're going to be broadcasting and we're going to be anchoring our coverage from the field there tomorrow night. No longer on the ground here at the Pepsi Center. We're moving over to the Invesco Field for our complete anchoring tomorrow from there. Our "Situation Room" will be there as well starting at 4:00 p.m. Eastern.

We'll take a quick break.

We're excited because this is a political convention and there has been a great band performing all night. Much more of our coverage right after this.


COOPER: I will just say that during the commercial break we learned something about Wolf Blitzer we had never heard before. I'm not going to tell you just yet. You're going to have to wait for that to see if Wolf is willing to reveal it. But we'll wait. That's for later on as the midnight hour approaches.

Let's check in with Candy Crowley who is on the platform as she has been throughout this convention.

Candy, it's interesting to hear the perspective of people who where here in the auditorium versus some of our folks in New York in the way they saw Joseph Biden's speech. How did you see it?

CANDY CROWLEY, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, I think Joe Biden grounds this ticket where people live, where most people live. Probably not in New York, but I have to tell you that in this arena, Joe Biden, not just Beau Biden who introduced him and brought people to tears but Joe Biden when he was explaining, look, I know what they're talking about around the kitchen table, should mom move in now that dad's dead, what about gasoline prices, how are we going to pay this $70 for -- you know, to fill it up.

So this is a man that they picked precisely for this. Because no matter how often they try to explain that Barack Obama came from humble roots and he's the son of a single mother. You know, he grew up in Hawaii; there is an exoticness that people see around him, rightly or wrongly.

Joe Biden is Joe. And he understands where people come from, where most people live. And I just think he grounds this ticket and that's what they wanted him to do. It grounds him where people live and that's around the kitchen table.

They think he's a huge asset. You will see him all over the place giving just this speech, by the way, to people who do connect with that. He is very good -- I mean, is a big auditorium Joe Biden's best place? Absolutely not, he's much better in those -- I followed him around in Iowa, in New Hampshire for several days.

And in those living rooms, in those small crowds, in the small Town Hall meetings inside little restaurants, he connects. And that's what he did tonight in this auditorium with people who understand what he's talking about, because he kind of gets them.

And then they bring out the family. It's not just his story of tragedy. It's his son saying, well, dad comes home every night on the train and when we were little, he came home late, he came in to kiss us good night. He always makes his grandchildren's birthdays. This is connective material that the Democratic ticket really needed, Anderson.

COOPER: Hilary Rosen, who's been watching also from inside this auditorium. Hilary, is there any doubt that now this is Barack Obama's party? I mean at the end where he came out after Joseph Biden's speech?

HILARY ROSEN, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: You know, I think that what we saw tonight was the new coalition, in essence, that Barack Obama has built. And I heard somebody earlier refer to sort of, well, you know, everyone was happy after Kerry/Edward. In some respects, I think this is a more rounded ticket where you really have multiple factions of not just Democrats but really Americans represented.

And I think that Joe Biden, you know, as Candy talked about, he actually speaks in real speak, not politician speak. And people understand him when he talks about that.

The second pillar of what he did was the foreign policy real speak to the domestic policy real speak. John McCain was wrong in saying that we shouldn't talk to Iran. John McCain was wrong in saying that we should give up on Afghanistan. John McCain was wrong in saying that we should have an indefinite amount of troops in Iraq.

Barack Obama was right. Don't buy it when John McCain says that Barack Obama can't be commander-in-chief. He's been the one who has been right. And the way he said it and the way he presents it, you know, with the credential of being the chairman of the senate foreign relations committee, I think Joe Biden, while not as artful perhaps as some of the other speakers over the last couple of days really did what needed to get done tonight which is, put sort of the meat and potatoes around this ticket.

COOPER: Ed Rollins, are we overestimating the impact things have as they play out here, in this Pepsi Center and not paying enough attention to how things they maybe playing in households which aren't so partisan Democrat? ED ROLLINS, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: I'm glad you asked that question. As I sit here thinking of how you've all drank the Cool-aid, I hope next week you drink our Cool-aid.

Here's the bottom line. One of the reasons a strategist never sits in a stadium as you guys are and get caught up in the crowds or you never sit watching a debate in person, you watch it on television, because that's where the millions and millions of viewers watch, on television.

This was a great show. They had a tremendous convention so far. Joe Biden kind of gave a pedestrian speech and maybe Paul thinks those talking points are great for the county leaders but it was compared to the other speeches of the night it was not a great first impression.

The bottom line is the Democrats did what they had to do. They're going to come out here with a unified convention and they're going to go into battle.

But the idea that the vice presidential candidate as a fellow senator can give credibility to his nominee to be commander-in-chief or that a whole bunch of other candidates, they all have compelling stories. Bill Clinton had a compelling story. Everybody else has had a compelling story. John McCain has a compelling story.

At the end of the day, the country has to make a decision. Who is the leader, who has the experience to be the leader and who can take us to the next decade? And that's what voters get to make that decision in about ten weeks.

COOPER: There's clearly no band playing in this CNN election center in New York.

Amy Holmes, it's interesting, you know, a couple of people here have talked about how speeches here brought people in the auditorium to tears. It's not exactly hard to bring people to tears in this crowd. I saw some people posing with Wolf Blitzer for a picture and they were crying; they were so excited. I mean, I would be excited to get a picture with Blitzer, too. But I mean there's been a lot of tears and this is a heightened atmosphere inside here.

AMY HOLMES, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: Oh, certainly. Certainly that's what it is. I mean, this is prom for political parties. These are where the true believers get to come and hold hands and share in this emotional euphoric moment. But us in New York, we're seeing it on screen; we're not getting swept up into the banners and the bands and all of the hoopla.

And I look at this sort of little mix of what everyone is been saying. I wrote down in my notes that Joe Biden, he was really giving those personal, vivid, grounded anecdotes which Obama often seems to not be able to do, that he was able to get down to earth whereas Obama is abstract.

But when he got into foreign policy that's where he really pointed up the contradiction of his selection as VP when he talked about judgment. Let's remember Joe Biden, he voted for the Iraq war. This was also someone who voted against the first Gulf war.

When he started talking about John McCain that he lacked judgment, it was John McCain who was a vocal supporter and critic -- I am sorry, a vocal supporter of the surge and critic of George Bush for not putting enough troops on the ground.

So as a conservative sitting here and listening, I was like, boy, there are a lot of points along in this speech where I could really rip this apart and next week you'll be hearing Republicans to do just that.

COOPER: And Leslie Sanchez, Republican who has been in this Pepsi Center, your thoughts.

LESLIE SANCHEZ, CONTRIBUTOR: And it's really fun up here.

I agree. I think they're laying the right foundation in terms of what they're doing. It was an emphatic and emotional speech. Parts of what Candy talked about. You did have just pretty much every wet eyeball in here in terms of feeling that emotion and then the speech went flat.

He started talking foreign policy. He just started -- basically, the Democratic talking points. I think there are some other interesting things overall with the night. If you look in terms of unity, which is the big message for all the Democrats talk about it, I think the one thing they did in hauling out Bill and Hillary Clinton for the last two nights is unify the Republican Party. Nothing does it better than seeing those two.

And it was also interesting in listening to him in terms of he said what Hillary Clinton could not. He said the term ready so many times and talked about that tone that it was almost like he was trying to convince himself. And I think the last part of that deals definitely with, like, why is the scope of this -- he's saying inexperienced -- people thought he was inexperienced at the time. Well, he was inexperienced at the time.

Don't forget that two years -- he made all these gaffs and two years after he was elected you saw the Republican takeover in 1994; that hadn't happened in 40 years.

So I think that the American people were right on track there. He didn't have the experience. And this is a post-9/11 world. Another thing we didn't hear about was 9/11. So I think in many cases it's still a very limited conversation in this hall.

KING: She makes a very critical point. Though we all need to remember, it is very festive in the hall and we will drink the Kool- aid next week, I promise, as long as there's a good band for Wolf.

But most of the people making the decisions are watching at home on television. And we should also remember it's a very limited group of people who matter in that we live in such a time of polarized politics most Democrats and most Republicans have made up their mind. Now, the Democrats think they have more room to grow because of the disaffection of independent voters with the Republicans and this President of the United States at the moment. And that's John McCain's challenge next week to try to reconnect with that group.

But it is a very small slice of the American electorate that was actually sitting out there with a decision still to make. And this election is very close.

BORGER: But presidential votes are very personal. You vote very often on character. And tonight, for example, one speech we haven't really spoken about is John Kerry's speech. John Kerry took on the issue of patriotism, which I know he feels very personally because his patriotism was attacked when he ran for the presidency in 2004. That's been an issue for Barack Obama.

So they've tried to settle these issues for the independent voters that John King is talking about. I mean they don't really have to appeal to the people in this hall, who they already appeal to.

BLITZER: But, Paul, you agree with Ed Rollins that it's one thing to observe it and see it and feel it here on the floor of this convention, but from the political perspective, it's much more important to just be; knowing how people watched it on television and what they thought.

BEGALA: Absolutely. And the whole time I worked for Bill Clinton he never once gave a speech. He always called them a talk.

And when I talk to my friends who are at the Obama campaign I said when Barack speaks tomorrow night, I know there's going to 72,000 people at Mile High Stadium. Talk to a couple, a middle class couple in Parma, Ohio, a senior single, Ethel, what do you think of this young man? Right that to -- he's connected to that --

This election is going to be about this economy. 82 percent of Americans think we're moving in the wrong direction largely because of the economy. And I know there's a lot of criticism of Joe Biden's speech, people saying well, it's just kind of Democratic talking points.

Joe got to the middle class economic needs that are going to determine this election. And he used their language. He talked about sitting around the table saying how in the name of God can we afford this?

COOPER: You don't buy that this election becomes just a referendum on Barack Obama?

BEGALA: If it does, he loses. It needs to be a referendum on Bush and McCain; this is still my criticism of my party. I still have not heard enough about Bush and McCain and I've heard plenty about Barack Obama.

You need to do that. A change agent has to reassure somewhat. But mostly a change agent needs to make the case for change which is indicting the status quo. If it's only a referendum on Barack Obama he loses. If Barack can make this a referendum on Bush and McCain, he wins.

BORGER: Don't you think Obama does that tomorrow night?

BEGALA: Sure, I do think he will, he better.

COOPER: Do you think up until now, though, it's been just a referendum on Obama?

BEGALA: For the last 60 days before this convention, yes. I think this is the one thing McCain and Obama have agreed upon from June to August and it's about Barack.

COOPER: And next week isn't -- I mean how much of the Republican convention is going to be about Barack Obama?

BORGER: A lot.

BEGALA: It was like spinal tap and the speaker could go to 11 instead of 10, everything they say. Do you think like they're going to have like we said, two Clinton nights here? Do you think they have two Bush nights, give Cheney a night, give Bush a night? Are you kidding?

BLITZER: Monday night Cheney and Bush will be speaking before the convention, Monday night.

BEGALA: I hope they do it two nights.

KING: One thing they will say is there hasn't been an attack since 9/11. Remember the Republicans have tried to turn on strength and security. Paul is right that economy is the number one issue but the President is the commander-in-chief and the Republican goal is to disqualify Barack Obama from being an acceptable candidate from commander-in-chief hoping that if he can't cross that threshold Americans won't trust him with the economy either.

COOPER: By the way, if someone doesn't understand the reference of going to 11 they should rent the movie this is "Final Height."

BLITZER: What was that band we saw when we got to the NBA All-Star game? That Bare Naked Ladies. How good were they?

COOPER: Bare Naked Ladies.

BLITZER: How good were Bare Naked Ladies when you saw them --

COOPER: They made a song, the Wolf Blitzer song and they sang and that's why I think --

BLITZER: They were fabulous.

COOPER: They were very good.

BLITZER: They were terrific.

All right, we've got more secrets to divulge. That's going to be coming up; much more of our coverage coming up here at the Democratic National Convention.

They ended relatively on time tonight, the Democrats, didn't go into the night. We're going to assess what's going to happen next. And look ahead to tomorrow. Right after this.


BILL SCHNEIDER, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: In this election cycle it was the 3:00 a.m. phone call. In 1972 it was the 3:00 a.m. speech. Due to a long vice presidential roll call that year, Democratic Presidential Nominee George McGovern was unable to deliver his acceptance speech until almost 3:00 in the morning.

Both parties have nominated their vice presidential candidates by 5:00 acclamation since 1988.


BLITZER: Welcome back to the Democratic National Convention.

Let's go right down to the floor. Suzanne Malveaux is in the State of Delaware right now.

Suzanne, people are leaving but there's some people still hanging around.

SUZANNE MALVEAUX, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, they're hanging around. They want to talk to us. This is like you take down the net, big basketball game. They've already started taking down the signs for Delaware. Joining us are some of the delegates. What happens -- you're one of the lucky few who gets this, what happens to the sign?

KAREN VALENTINE, DELAWARE DELEGATE: We have all the delegates sign it and we'll take it back and store it in our headquarters.

MALVEAUX: Now this is -- you are Karen Valentine. You told me a story.

You met Joe Biden when you were just 14 years old. He had just started as a senator, he came to your school and you were inspired. The people who saw Joe Biden up on that stage tonight, is it the same guy you met some time ago?

VALENTINE: Absolutely. Inspired me again tonight, and I think he inspired other people. He has not changed since he first was elected as a senator. He continues to talk about the same issues, the family values, the working family, those issues.

And that's what inspired me and I believe it inspired everybody else tonight.

MALVEAUX: Karen, you said because Delaware is so small it's kind of unique, it's different. You run into him in the grocery store, at the gas station, at the train station.

VALENTINE: For us, you see him everywhere. MALVEAUX: And first name basis?

VALENTINE: Most people are on a first name basis with him and his family. As you could see he has quite a large family and they're all part of our community.

MALVEAUX: Sam Lithon, you and I were talking a little in the break. Sometimes it's a little off color, he gets off message but you say you have no concern about that, that you've got his back. Why?

SAM LITHON, DELAWARE DELEGATE: Because he's Joe. And Joe's going to be Joe. And Joe's going to say things that might offend people or people might just take the wrong way. But in his heart Joe means it right. People I think sometimes just make something out of nothing.

But that's -- you know, we're used to it. Is Joe maybe going to misstep? He might. But we'll have his back and we'll take care of him like we've always done.

MALVEAUX: All right. Thank you so much for joining us here, obviously, some proud delegates out of Delaware, Wolf.

BLITZER: Thanks very much, Suzanne. Thank the delegates from Delaware as well.

I want to go right to John King. He's over at the magic map.

John, when Barack Obama speaks tomorrow night at Invesco Field before some 80,000 people at the stadium but millions more around the country, who does he have to appeal to the most in order to become the next president of the United States?

KING: To give you a few examples in a few of the key battleground states that Barack Obama needs to reach. If he wants to change the map and fundamentally we're going to start with looking at the Kerry/Bush map.

But first I want to bring out the state of Florida for you. You've heard a lot of talk about security tonight. Look at this when you go to full county map. I want you to watch this, this is Gore/Bush in 2000. Note the blue at the bottom.

Al Gore won down there. Now I'm going to switch you to 2004. John Kerry lost down there. A lot of Jewish voters as you know Wolf, along the coast right here in Florida. They're worried when they hear Barack Obama say I would sit down with Ahmadinejad. I would sit down with other world leaders as the Cuban audience is the same thing, when it comes to Castro and Cuba.

So he needs to convince these people right down here, because he has the right judgment to be commander-in-chief and then he would he protect their big interest. That is one big challenge for Barack Obama tomorrow night.

Now, I want to pull out the map a little bit and go someplace else for you. Let's go up here to the state of New Hampshire. Now, I give you some color on the map by coming back to the -- this is the 2008 primary.

Hillary Clinton obviously won this state. But who else won this state? John McCain won this state. The battle for Independent voters will play out most of all perhaps this state right here. It is a state where there's high opposition to the Iraq war and yet polls now show people trust John McCain more to be commander-in-chief and to handle Iraq even though they oppose the war. If Barack Obama is going to win over the Independent voters at play, New Hampshire is a good example for that.

Two other quick examples, the state of Michigan and I'll comeback over to the Democratic primary this year now. This primary did not count but I want to bring you back to 2004 and pull up the map of Michigan a little bit.

Come north of Detroit right up in here. This is where the Reagan Democrats live. They are blue collar Democrats who sometimes because of guns or sometimes because of taxes vote Republican. They can swing an election. Barack Obama needs to convince them on the economy that he is a Democrat they can trust.

And just one last example out in the Show Me State of Missouri; President Bush won it twice. If Barack Obama is to carry this state he needs to convince not only the African-American population of St. Louis which he has and Kansas City but he needs to do better in this swathe in here in the suburbs, over here in the suburbs and make some inroads down here.

This is the conservative Bible Belt of Missouri. He has to limit the Republican margins up here and pad them especially, Wolf, in the suburbs right around St. Louis and in Kansas City. Most of those voters there are women. He needs to reach in the suburbs. They're over 30. They tend to be of a little higher income group.

And so those are four target audiences, Anderson, you can look at Independent voters, some commander-in-chief voters if you will including both Jewish and Cuban voters in the state of Florida if he wants to move those margins.

And those are some of the target audience we'll watch after the speech to see if he can move some numbers. Because for all the supporting cast as we said earlier, their performances; this is about him now.

COOPER: And there's the people that matter, John King, thank you very much.

Larry King standing by, he's going to have a full hour of coverage starting at 12:00 midnight East Coast Time. Larry, what do you have tonight?

LARRY KING, CNN HOST: Well, Anderson, as we all know it's official and historic. Barack Obama is his party's presidential nominee. But it's another big night for the Clintons, too and we know what the Democrats in Denver thought about Bill's speech.

What about the Republicans? We have a few of them here to tell us. It's on "LARRY KING LIVE" coming up at 9:00 Pacific, midnight Eastern -- Anderson.

COOPER: Larry thanks so much. That's about 14 minutes from now. We'll all be watching that. And our coverage of course continues.

We're going to take a short break. We'll have more with the best political team on television. Stay tuned.


BLITZER: All right, welcome back. This has been an historic day for the Democrats, an historic day for the United States of America.

A major political party for the first time ever has nominated an African-American to be the Democratic -- to be the presidential nominee. I don't want to lose sight of that, Anderson and Campbell, because that is real history unfolding. We can talk about Joe Biden's speech all night. But the historic moment has to be appreciated.

BROWN: I think one of the most moving things that I heard all night tonight was actually when we heard from Jim Clyburn and when we heard from Representative John Lewis, and they talked about what this meant for them, what they went through.

I mean, they were the guys -- they were there. They were present. They were fighting for this moment, you know, before I was born, before you were born. And the history of it really hit me in a way that you don't fully appreciate, I think, from the perspective they're coming from.

Donna Brazile talked about this a little bit earlier. But this is a profound, incredible moment for a lot of people here.

COOPER: Wolf, that also just within our lifetimes, I mean within this generation, today you really saw how far this country has come. I mean, we all stand on the shoulders of those who came before us. And none of this would have been possible without the sacrifices made by many others.

But there was this incredible moment earlier today when sort of -- I mean, it was interesting, the roll call vote, but it was sort of dry and it was kind of meandering along, it was sort of hard to tell who was up and who was down.

And then all of a sudden it kind of -- the pace quickened, and lo and behold, Barack Obama had been -- had received the nomination, and the place just kind of erupted in a way which kind of -- it went beyond politics. I mean, for a very brief moment in time, it was something other than purely politics in this auditorium.

BORGER: Yes, I keep thinking about how this country -- and I think we talked about it before -- can correct its course when we've strayed and when we've gone wrong. And I think Barack Obama was 3 or 4 years old during Selma. And I think that he represents that change that John Lewis was talking about. He's not John Lewis' generation. He didn't march with John Lewis. And yet he has brought them into the campaign, and I also recall at the beginning of his campaign that lots of African-Americans were wary of Barack Obama because they didn't think he could do it. And I remember hearing Obama say, when they think I can win, they will be with me, but give people time because they don't believe this can happen.

BLITZER: And John, I think it's fair to say that some of that bad blood between the African-American community, the supporters of Barack Obama and Bill Clinton, I think it's fair to say, a lot of that disappeared tonight.

KING: Absolutely. And we know Bill Clinton will be out there on the road. You could see the emotion in the hall. And you could see when Bill Clinton walked in, even for the bad blood, and some of the why was he doing this during the primary campaign, he is a beloved figure in this hall.

He's a more controversial figure, to the political public at-large but in this hall, look, he's the last Democrat who won, and he won twice. And not since Franklin Roosevelt as the Democratic President, won reelection. He's a beloved figure. He'll be important to Barack Obama.

To Anderson's point earlier when we were sitting here the African- American delegates in the front row up here, Minnesota and South Carolina, just the tears coming down their faces because we've known for a couple months this night was going to happen. And yet when it happens, it sinks in.

I grew up in the days of forest bus in Boston, the ugliest thing I remember in my lifetime. And to see these people crying in this room is stunning. A huge challenge still for Barack Obama, but this is a night where I think everyone can just look around and say wow.

COOPER: Let's hear from Amy Holmes, as a Republican who doesn't agree with the policies of Barack Obama, and not supporting Barack Obama, you're an Independent, what was it like seeing -- witnessing that?

HOLMES: It was marvelous. You know, as I said earlier, you'd have to be a curmudgeon not to recognize the historic, moving moment in American politics, in American history that we have an African- American who is leading a major political party into a presidential election.

You know, I would like to remind people to reflect back on a Pew poll that came out this past November, saying that attitudes among blacks, whites and Hispanics, that they feel that our values are converging. And I think that this is a tremendous example of that, that people across the racial, ethnic, sociological spectrum could vote for an African-American proudly and make him the leader of their party going up into this next election.

So for me as a young African-American, it's something that, frankly, I kind of accept. You know, I grew up with integration. I grew up in integrated schools. I once got on buses to actually go to integrated schools. So to me, this is perfectly natural. But it's great to see generationally how important it is.

COOPER: Candy Crowley, you have been to many of these kind of political events. Was there a moment that transcended politics today?

CROWLEY: Oh, history always transcends politics, absolutely, and this was a moment in history. And we know that. And it's a turning of the corner.

I have to tell you, though what's interesting about this is that Barack Obama, as you know, race has always been sort of a below-the- surface issue. Sometimes it bubbled to the top, particularly in New Hampshire and in South Carolina.

But Obama has always not run specifically not run as an African- American. He wanted to run as a person running for president. He is the first one to kind of push back from this in this sense. He recognizes the history of it. He said obviously, you know, I am African-American; I certainly understand the history of this.

But he will say, if I lose this race, and he said this in the primaries, and he said it since, if I lose this race, it won't be because I'm an African-American. It will be because I didn't make my case to the American people.

So it's a really interesting -- I mean, here we have this huge historic moment that is so meaningful to every generation, not just blacks, but whites as well, but it's something that he's kind of tried to steer clear of in so many ways and something that he doesn't see as a major factor in winning and losing. And that's, I think, the difference between the generations.

BLITZER: And Anderson, you know, one of the most moving moments I saw tonight was when John Kerry was speaking, the Democratic presidential nominee four years ago, and he paid tribute to Barack Obama's uncle. His uncle was sitting next to Michelle Obama. We saw it there. And he was a veteran of the U.S. Army, served in World War II, and was part of the U.S. forces that went in and liberated --

COOPER: His great uncle.

BLITZER: -- his great uncle, liberated in Buchenwald concentration camps there. And you saw Michelle Obama, this African-American woman and his great uncle they were sitting next to each other. And it speaks of who Barack Obama is.

You know, this biracial heritage that he has that he's so proud of. And the only thing I can say is this is America. This is our country.

COOPER: It was also interesting to see Joe Biden's mom. We now have a campaign which has two great moms on either side of the political aisle. John McCain's mom is, you know, fantastic, you know, she's been on television a lot.

BROWN: Roberta.

COOPER: Roberta, certainly Joe Biden's mom, you know, just seeing her face, seeing her whisper to the person next to her "That's true," when Joe Biden was telling some of his stories.

KING: Maybe we could refer to McCain, Katherine Biden debate.

BORGER: Mom debate.

COOPER: I think it would be a very sweet and nice debate, I think they'd both be -- I think that people would like to see that.

BLITZER: Our bookers are already working on that right now. I can assure you. They're trying to make that happen. It would be excellent, excellent TV.

I've had a chance to meet with Roberta McCain, and she is a really, really lovely lady; very feisty lady. And you know what? She speaks whatever she says. You know, she's willing to say it.

BORGER: Maybe she'll speak at the Republican convention. You never know.

BLITZER: I suspect Joe Biden's mom is just like that as well. These are special, special women.

COOPER: And it's nice to see that Wolf is still energized and invigorated with the band being silent for the last hour. I was fearful that as the midnight hour approached that you might sort of fade.

BLITZER: It was a terrific band. Great band.

KING: Are you going to reveal your secrets?

BLITZER: You know, I was in a band. I played --

BORGER: Oh, come on.

BLITZER: -- in high school, it was not a very good band.

COOPER: What was the name?

BLITZER: We were the Monkeys, before the real Monkeys, at Buffalo in New York and Wolf Blitzer was doing the keyboards, not very well, I didn't sing.

COOPER: You were rocking Buffalo, though.

BLITZER: We were a little bit. But I'd liked bands ever since.

COOPER: Not too loud. Just a little.

BORGER: We're going to make him do it back at the grill, at the CNN grill.

BLITZER: If we got lucky, I could do a little "Louie Lou-I." something like that not a whole lot of it, the repertoire was sort of limited.

All right, let's move on. We've got serious things coming up.

I want to remind our viewers, Larry King is standing by, he's got a terrific program coming up at the top of the hour.

Let me remind you what's happening right now.

They're breaking down everything here at the Pepsi Center. They're moving over about a mile or so away to Invesco Field at Mile-High Stadium. There you see live pictures. That's where the Denver Broncos play.

Tomorrow night about 80,000 people will gather inside to hear Barack Obama. He'll be addressing them; he'll be addressing the nation as he accepts the Democratic presidential nomination.

They're getting ready right now. They're going to be working all night, and CNN will, of course, be anchoring our coverage from there at 6:00 a.m. Eastern tomorrow morning.

Our own John Roberts will be there for "American Morning." He'll have special programming from Invesco Field. We'll be there throughout the day. I'll be anchoring "The Situation Room" tomorrow from Invesco Field. I'm told here, one of those goal posts that we have built a little set like we have right now. "Situation Room," our coverage starts at 4:00 p.m. Eastern tomorrow. And then we continue all night long.

Thanks very much for joining us.

Let's go to "LARRY KING LIVE."