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CNN Live Event/Special

Second Night Of The Democratic National Convention; The Democratic National Convention Kicks Off With Virtual Event Built On A Theme Of Leadership; Jill Biden - Joe Biden's Leadership Can Bring All Americans Together. Aired 11p-12a ET

Aired August 18, 2020 - 23:00   ET



JILL BIDEN, WIFE OF JOE BIDEN: We are seeing that our differences are precious and our similarities infinite. We have shown that the heart of this nation still beats with kindness and courage. That's the soul of America Joe Biden is fighting for now.

JILL BIDEN: I have always loved the sounds of a classroom. The quiet that sparks with possibility just before students shuffle in, the murmur of ideas bouncing back and forth as we explore the world together, the laughter and tiny moments of surprise you find in materials you've taught a million times.

When I taught English here at Brandywine High School, I would spend my summer preparing for the school year about to start, filled with anticipation. But this quiet is heavy. You can hear the anxiety that echoes down empty hallways. There's no scent of new notebooks or freshly waxed floors. The rooms are dark as the bright young faces that should fill them are now confined to boxes on a computer screen.

I hear it from so many of you, the frustration of parents juggling work while they support their children's learning, are afraid that their kids might get sick from school. The concern of every person working without enough protection. The despair in the lines that stretch out before food banks. And the indescribable sorrow that follows every lonely last breath when the ventilators turn off.

As a mother and a grandmother, as an American, I am heartbroken by the magnitude of this loss, by the failure to protect our communities, by every precious and irreplaceable life gone. Like so many of you I am left asking, how do I keep my family safe?

You know, motherhood came to me in a way I never expected. I fell in love with a man and two little boys standing in the wreckage of unthinkable loss, mourning a wife and mother, a daughter and sister. I never imagined at the age of 26 I would be asking myself, how do you make a broken family whole?

Still, Joe always told the boys, mommy sent Jill to us. And how could I argue with her? And so we figured it out together, in those big moments that would go by too fast, Thanksgivings and state championships, birthdays and weddings, in the mundane ones that we didn't even know were shaping our lives, reading stories piled on the couch, rowdy Sunday dinners and silly arguments.

Listening to the faint sounds of laughter that would float downstairs as Joe put the kids to bed every night while I studied for grad school or graded papers under the pale yellow kitchen lamp, the dinner dishes waiting in the sink.

We found that love holds a family together. Love makes us flexible and resilient. It allows us to become more than ourselves, together, and though it can't protect us from the sorrows of life, it gives us refuge, a home.

How do you make a broken family whole? The same way you make a nation whole, with love and understanding and with small acts of kindness. With bravery, with unwavering faith. You show up for each other in big ways and small ones again and again. It's what so many of you are doing right now for your loved ones, for complete strangers, for your communities.

There are those who want to tell us that our country is hopelessly divided, that our differences are irreconcilable. But that's not what I've seen over these last few months. We're coming together and holding on to each other. We're finding mercy and grace in the moments we might have once taken for granted.

We're seeing that our differences are precious and our similarities infinite. We have shown that the heart of this nation still beats with kindness and courage. That's the soul of America Joe Biden is fighting for now.

After our son Beau died of cancer, I wondered if I would ever smile or feel joy again. It was summer, but there was no warmth left for me. Four days after Beau's funeral, I watched Joe shave and put on his suit. I saw him steel himself in the mirror, take a breath, put his shoulders back, and walk out into a world empty of our son.

He went back to work. That's just who he is. There are times when I couldn't even imagine how he did it. How he put one foot in front of the other and kept going. But I've always understood why he did it, for the daughter who convinces her mom to finally get a breast cancer screening and misses work to drive her to the clinic, for the community college student who has faced homelessness and survived abuse but finds the grit to finish her degree and make a good life for her kids.

For the little boy whose mom is serving as a marine in Iraq, who puts on a brave face in his video call and doesn't complain when the only thing he wants for his birthday is to be with her. For all those people, Joe gives his personal phone number to at rope lines and events. The ones he talks to for hours after dinner, helping them smile through their loss, letting them know that they aren't alone.

He does it for you. Joe's purpose has always driven him forward. His strength of will is unstoppable, and his faith is unshakable. Because it's not in politicians or political parties or even in himself, it's in the Providence of God. His faith is in you, in us. Yes, so many classrooms are quiet right now. The playgrounds are

still. But if you listen closely, you can hear the sparks of change in the air. Across this country, educators, parents, first-responders, Americans of all walks of life are putting their shoulders back, fighting for each other.

We haven't given up. We just need leadership worthy of our nation. Worthy of you. Honest leadership to bring us back to together, to recover from this pandemic and prepare for whatever else is next. Leadership to reimagine what our nation will be.

That's Joe. He and Kamala will work as hard as you do every day to make this nation better. And if I have the honor of serving as your first lady, I will, too. And with Joe as president, these classrooms will ring out with laughter and possibility once again.

The burdens we carry are heavy and we need someone with strong shoulders. I know that if we entrust this nation to Joe, he will do for your family what he did for ours.

JILL BIDEN: Bring us together and make us whole, carry us forward in our time of need, keep the promise of America for all of us.


Hey, everyone. I'm Jill Biden's husband. Excuse me, you can see why she's the love of my life, the rock of our family. She never gives herself much credit, but the truth is she's the strongest person I know. She's backbone like a ramrod. She loves furiously, cares deeply. Nothing stops her when she sets her mind to getting something right.

And you know, for all of you out there across the country, just think of your favorite educator who gave you the confidence to believe in yourself. That's the kind of first lady, lady, lady, lady this Jill Biden will be. God, I love you.


JILL BIDEN: So go to to join our campaign.

BIDEN: Thank you all for watching. I'll see you soon. Thank you.



TRACEE ELLIS ROSS, ACTRESS AND CONVENTION MODERATOR: Thank you so much for being a part of this night. As Dr. Biden just reminded us, Joe is a steady and experienced leader who can bring us together and help us heal, who will support us in getting better. Remember, we bend the arc of justice if we participate, if we vote.

This moment isn't beyond you, it's up to you. Tomorrow night we'll meet Joe Biden's choice for vice president, Kamala Harris, and learn more about their vision for the future of our country, and we'll also hear from Senator Elizabeth Warren and President Barack Obama. Plus, performances from Billy Eilish and Jennifer Hudson. And now with

his song Never Break, here's John Legend.



WOLF BLITZER, CNN HOST: Truly beautiful performance by John Legend, a very, very emotional evening across the board. Welcome back to our viewers here in the United States and around the world.

Jake, I was very moved by the video that John McCain video, underscoring the friendship that he had with Joe Biden. It was very moved by the personal story of Jill Biden and Joe Biden, her words were very powerful.


Of course, we're going to discuss what Bill Clinton had to say about Joe Biden, what Colin Powell had to say about Joe Biden, what they had to say also about the current president of the United States. But it ended on a very emotional powerful scene, and I think it's worth discussing.

JAKE TAPPER, CNN CHIEF WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT: Yes. Those films were really well done, the ones about the McCain/Biden friendship and also the one about Jill Biden. Her speech was remarkable too in the sense that it really was just an affirmative case for her husband. I don't think she even mentioned President Trump, quite stark contrast to First Lady Obama's speech last evening.

What I'm really taking away in terms of the message from the Democratic National Convention on the second night is basically normalcy. That seems to really be a big part of the pitch that Joe Biden is somebody who will allow the country to return to normalcy.

You heard -- first of all as a Philadelphian it's great to hear that Willow Grove accent. Somehow Jill Biden has not shed at all. Seriously, music to my years. But the idea of just like how normal the Bidens seem that with the military service, she's a teacher. She got her graduate degree a little later in life. A blended family, and adversity that they had to work through.

And then of course, you know, we've heard and talked a lot about what the messages are in the sense of Republicans are so featured in this Democratic convention. We had that with General Colin Powell and John McCain, that friendship.

But that is, Dana, that is who Joe Biden is. He is somebody who worked with Republicans and who likes Republicans, whether or not progressives like it.

DANA BASH, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: Absolutely. I really want to drill down on what you said about Jill Biden, the woman who wants to be first lady of the United States. You know, we all know, people don't vote for first ladies. They vote for president. But there is something that is sort of important for people to see the full package and to see what the family who would be in their living rooms a lot would be like, and that clearly was what the goal -- what we saw from Jill Biden, explaining who that family is, who she is, in a way that is very important for people.

Not just sort of in a generic way, but as somebody who they said over and over helped bring the family back together, and they were clearly trying to make the case that she could help bring the American family back together.

I mean, there was nothing subtle about that. And making clear that they are very resilient as the Bidens, and that they could bring that resiliency to America, don't you think, Abby?

ABBY PHILLIP, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: Yes, I mean, I felt like the last hour was so emotional, including Ady Barkan. I mean, when we talk about family it starts with that for me. I mean, his life story is in so many ways tragic, but also a story of a certain kind of perseverance. I mean, all of that, it builds up to what Jill Biden was doing toward the end there.

And you know, I do think a lot about this idea of, what is the balance between the sort of progressive flank and on the Republicans that were pictured? And I do think that they kind of struck the right balance, it seemed.

They had a little bit of a mix of both. They had people advocating for Medicare for all, they had AOC in there giving a really powerful endorsement of Bernie Sanders, but also of that movement and the idea of systemic change.

But then you also had, I think in some of these Republican testimonials, it wasn't all about working across the aisle, it was also just about decency and friendship, and it wasn't so much about politics but just about normal and going back to, maybe, a little bit of boring, too. And I think all of that was -- you know, at the end of the day, put it all together and it seemed to kind of work.

TAPPER: And the idea also, you talked about Ady Barkan and his incredible activism for revamping health care in this country. The idea of Joe Biden cares. This was also part of the theme the first night.

He cares. He has empathy. He was there talking in that recorded conversation with families who have dealt with health-care challenges. It's just a huge contrast with the current president and the way he's talked about people with disabilities.

BASH: Also, can we talk about the roll call? I mean, we all love the roll call, those of us who have had the privilege of being on the convention floor, in a traditional convention whether its Republican or Democrats.

TAPPER: This was better.

BASH: Its' just a great moment.

PHILLIP: I thought so, too.

BASH: It was really, really great. The way not only they go to the states and territory, but they brought in real people. They brought in elected officials and people who are relatable and memorable and recognizable.


Matthew Shepherd's parents. Khizr Khan, who of course, you know, spoke four years ago, and really got under then candidate Trump's skin. Now he's talking about Charlottesville. I was texting with Democratic official, watching that saying, we're probably not going to go back to the original way, because this was so powerful and clearly well received.

BLITZER: You know, Abby, the notion of the emotion that was underscoring the love story, the personal stories that we heard, you know, throughout this last hour especially, very, very powerful. But let's not forget, there was a lot of criticism, very tough criticism, very strong attacks against the current president of the United States.

And when you hear General Colin Powell say, we are a country divided and we have a president doing everything in his power to make it that way and keep it that way -- there's a lot of criticism from Colin Powell, from Bill Clinton, from John Kerry, and others. I'm only bracing for the reaction, Abby, that we're about to get I'm sure from the president of the United States.

PHILLIP: And we know he's watching. Well, he's already been tweeting about the criticism of his handling of the coronavirus pandemic that's come out in some of these speeches tonight.

You know, the president is paying attention to what's going on here and I think he's hearing basically a message -- you heard a couple of speakers say, you know, this is a president who has given up on you. He's given up on the job. You heard even Jill Biden kind of allude to that when she says, you know, Joe Biden is going to work as hard as you do.

It kind of -- it harkens back to some of the other messages, the sharper messages from other speakers, but I do think even though she never said his name, the critique of President Trump in the contrast she was making with Joe Biden was there, and the idea was this is a president who is not present on the job, and I think that one is going to sting for President Trump tomorrow.

BLITZER: Certainly will. You know, Anderson, there's a lot to digest. I know you have an excellent group of analyst who are going to help us better appreciate the history, the historic moment that we just watched.

ANDERSON COOPER, CNN HOST: Yes. It was an extraordinary evening. I'll bring in Gloria Borger, Nia Malika Henderson and David Axelrod. David Axelrod, I mean you've been involved in conventions and what do you make of this -- of night two?

DAVID AXELROD, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Well, I look at it from a strategic standpoint and I felt like going into this convention, one of the really important things that they need to accomplish was flesh out Joe Biden.

You know, going in, he had a lead in the polls, but most of the people who are supporting him said they were supporting him because they wanted to vote against Donald Trump. He needed to flesh out the picture of himself.

And last night, the focus was Trump. Tonight the focus was very much Joe Biden, an affirmation of him as a person, his character, but also his record. And yes, Bill Clinton laid the wood for Donald Trump, Colin Powell and John Kerry, but they also lifted Joe Biden up.

The videos lifted him up. Spoke about not just his character, but his leadership, and I think that's very, very important. They need to leave this convention giving people a much deeper sense of him.

Finally, normalcy, it was said earlier a couple minutes earlier by others, but the contrast with Donald Trump is very clear. And what the Biden did tonight and what Jill Biden did was kind of root themselves in this culturally right in the middle of this country.

I mean, they were relatable and people -- they're approachable, and people can see themselves in them. That would not be said of this president, and I think that was a very important thing that they accomplished here.

GLORIA BORGER, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL ANALYST: You know, I think -- I think we're all living in this kind of crazy dystopian world that none of us could have imagined a year ago, and what Jill Biden and Joe Biden tried to do tonight was say, a, we are like you. We have heavy hearts like you. We are experiencing this. Jill Biden standing in the empty classroom, we get it. We know your anxiety.

But we also feel that our values and the character of Joe Biden as president, whether it is as commander in chief or whether as the father of young children or the husband to Jill Biden, he can take you out of this.

And, you know, we always say, every four years, will character count? Does it matter? Do people vote on character? No, no, no. They vote on their pocketbooks and everything else. They're making the case very strongly at this convention that who Joe Biden is as a human being, particularly in contrast with Donald Trump does count, and that he understands you and your problems, and that is what they were talking about tonight even in terms of being commander in chief.

His son, his son Beau Biden fought in Iraq. So I just think it's kind of one of these moments in American politics where you're looking at the values of a person and saying, that's what matters and that's what they want you to think about overall.


transfixed tonight by the roll call, by that initial keynote address, where they had all of those different leaders from across the country who are abroad and diverse. They were Asian, there were Latino, they were white, they were black, they were queer.

And so, this idea I think we came tonight -- this was a window in both (inaudible) to a miracle. We talk about this idea of normalcy. I thought normal people were some of the most significant speakers and sort of the visual of America all across this country.

I thought was really, really powerful, in particularly, what the woman who met Joe Biden in that elevator had to say, right? She said that he has room in his heart for someone other than himself, and I think that's the question about this country. How big is it, right? Is America big enough to be a multiracial democracy?

And I think by having this tableau of different people all across this country, the answer that Joe Biden is saying is yes, America's big enough for everyone. And so I thought that was really powerful tonight. Yes, the videos were fantastic but I think a lot of people were able to see themselves tonight in a way they maybe haven't before.

COOPER: Gloria, there was -- you know, the intimacy that this format enforces really plays to the strengths of, in this case, Joe Biden, and what they were trying to do. I mean, there was a humanity throughout all this. It was on a human scale. It wasn't a large room with shouted speeches and people cheering?

There was this intimacy and just a lot of focus on human beings. Joe Biden doing something that President Trump cannot do, sitting, talking to various Americans who have had and still may have a life threatening conditions and being able to kind a step into their pain, step in -- you know, meet them in the broken places.

BORGER: Well, and of course this is what, you know, probably as a result of his own grief. He told me it's also a result of his stuttering that he likes to reach out to people, because he understands what they're feeling when they feel different.

COOPER: I mean, he speaks the language of loss.

BORGER: You know, absolutely. But, you know, Jill -- Jill, too. I mean the two of them together seemed like a normal couple that if you had a problem and you were a neighbor, you might knock on their door and say, hey, could you help me out here a little bit? I got an issue. And you know that you would be welcomed in their house, and I think that's what they wanted to get across tonight.

AXELROD: I totally agree, and I think this was a major accomplishment tonight, but also I've said from the beginning it's not enough to feel people's pain. They also have to believe that you're going to do something about it.

And I think the Ady Barkan segment for example gave people a sense that Biden not just that Biden cared but about them, but that he was going to do something about it. That he would fight for them.

And this is a very important loop to close for them in this convention. They need to believe that Biden is not just a guy who has grief and understands grief and has empathy but really is going to take that and make it work for the American people by fighting for them.

COOPER: Also --


Sorry go -- I just want to jump in on Ady Barkan.

HENDERSON: Yes, go ahead.

COOPER: On Ady Barkan -- I just think from a production standpoint, not only meeting him two years ago and then to see him now and to allow him to speak through the, you know, a computer that he uses to speak, it's a daring thing to do, and I just thought it was extraordinary. I mean, I was crying in the office. I just think it was extraordinarily human thing to do.

HENDERSON: And the lives and experiences of people who are going through extraordinarily difficult illnesses and are now disabled, those stories are never centered. And you saw that tonight and it was so powerful.

I think all of those stories were able to kind of, I think underscore this idea about Joe Biden, someone who himself has gone through these tragedies and can see other people, feel their pain, and have a plan for what to do about it.

And you know, arguing his policy about health care. This is something that obviously Americans are thinking about now given where we are with COVID. So I think it was extraordinarily effective to center him in all these different Americans at this time, particularly when we're kind of shut into our own lives.

We're not able to travel and see America in a way that we normally would. And so here tonight was America, the whole 50 states whose roll call into this powerful stories of these normal Americans.

COOPER: We're going to go to Van Jones, Andrew Yang, Governor Jennifer Granholm, Scott Jennings for their takes. Van Jones, what do you think?


VAN JONES, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: I think the America that we love is still here. That's what I think. I thought that the way that they took a roll call vote, which though it wasn't urge like it isn't usually stirring and they turned it into America the beautiful.

And you got a chance to just pull the curtain back and just see the country that we could have again. And I thought it was extraordinary, I thought it is beautiful and I thought that to show Joe Biden as a guy with strong enough shoulders to be a bridge for all of us to come back together, they pulled it off in this fight.

COOPER: Governor Granholm?

JENNIFER GRANHOLM, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: I feel the exact same way. I feel -- I'm not a super emotional person, but that last hour -- I mean, I was welling up a number of times because it made me yearn for a leader who cares about us, who is empathetic but also who sees us. And I think tonight a political star -- I mean, I don't even want to say political, because that almost sullies it -- just a real authentic communicator that Jill Biden was.

I mean, we have all these posters about Dr. B to hold up because she was so authentic and she connected her experience in the classroom with the emptiness of the classroom and the pain that people are going through now. I think the way this was constructed, this night, was so beautiful. My hat is off to the whole convention team, because they did an amazing job.

ANDREW YANG, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Yes, the program gathered emotional force and leap throughout the evening, and I feel like so many Americans feel like we know someone just like Jill Biden, this educator who's positive and indefatigable that everyone turns to for help.

And because we feel like we know Jill, it feels like we know Joe, which is one of the major points I believe tonight. I think they did a phenomenal job leading us to fall in love with Jill Biden and then naturally look to Joe for comfort and leadership.

COOPER: Scott?

SCOTT JENNINGS, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Yes, I thought Jill Biden was terrific frankly. You know, I think political spouses -- I think we ought to lay off and just love them all, because they put up with a lot.

This goes for political spouses in both parties. You know, they love and know their spouses more than we ever will and the fact that they get up and give these national speeches and undergo all this scrutiny -- so good job Joe Biden, Godspeed in the campaign ahead.

A couple of other issues that stood out to me tonight where foreign policy. I thought the Democrats really tried to make a reach on foreign policy tonight using some of the bipartisan voices. Of course there were other people that weren't there. Robert Gates, is somebody who wasn't in there tonight, because he thinks Joe Biden has been wrong about every foreign policy decision for the last four decades. So, opinions vary on that front.

And then the health care video, I agree, extremely compelling. Ady Barkan, very compelling. The production was very compelling. I do think it's interesting though, he gave a searing indictment of the current health-care system, which is Obamacare.

And he's a passionate advocate for Medicare for all which Biden himself fought with Bernie Sanders about in the primary and they still disagree about it. And so, that was a head scratcher for me, honestly, because Biden doesn't believe in the solutions that Mr. Barkan --

JONES: I don't think you have to scratch your head too hard, brother, because you have two parts of our party trying to improve the health- care system and make it better. Meanwhile, Trump is trying to take Obamacare away. So, I think again, you have a big enough party for different ideas about how to move stuff forward.

But I'm going to tell you, what you were able to see with Joe Biden was both somebody who was tough on the foreign policy stuff. And people had made a lot of fun of him, but you know, he has got a track record of being tough on foreign policy and yet he's tough enough to care and help people who need help.

And I think as you rounded that portrait, I think he had a reset for him tonight in terms of how he's being received -- the toughness and the concern for others. I thought it work out really well. I don't think the Republican Party has any room to pick us apart on how we improve it when they're trying to tear it apart.

COOPER: Scott, what do you think the Republicans answer -- sorry Scott, how do you think the Republicans answer this next week? I mean, clearly, you know, this has never been done before.

If there's a Republican television producer I'm sure they're watching this closely to see how it's being done this week. I mean, can, you know, the things that Joe Biden is good at in terms of talking to people, that's not something necessarily that President Trump is strong in.

JENNINGS: Yes. I think, I mean, what you try to do with conventions is emphasize the streaks and the conversation that you want the campaign to be focused on.


JENNINGS: So I would expect there to be some healthy criticism of the Biden record, which is a long record, and they have been picking that apart, of course.

And I would expect them to also focus heavily on the economy. Governor Granholm tonight in our various appearances has talked a lot about the economy. Well, this is the one issue where I think Trump still retains an edge over Biden. So I would look for them to try to emphasize that.

And then I also think, frankly, they're going to bring in a lot of diverse voices from around the country. I know of a few that are being recruited and writing their speeches right now.

I think you're going to see a lot of diversity in the republican convention next week to try to make the case that there is widespread support for what Donald Trump wants to do for the future of the country.

But really, to me, it's try to -- somebody said, let's get back to normal. That was discussed earlier tonight. I think that's what is on Trump's shoulders. Does he have a plan to get America back to normal, and can he get us back to the economy that we had? If he can sell that next week, it would be a win.

YANG: Anderson, I think if there was a missed opportunity for the Democrats tonight, it was the way AOC's speech was used. I'm not sure she actually said Joe's name. She spent her time in this role, commemorating Bernie Sanders's grassroots movement.

I think the DNC underestimates how AOC represents the aspirations and hopes of many, many younger Americans. It would have been a phenomenal opportunity for AOC to come in and say, look, we need to get on board with Joe's campaign. But she wasn't given that opportunity because of her role in essentially nominating Bernie.

I was very glad that Bernie stood with Jane in the roll call with Vermont. I thought that was incredibly generous of him because he clearly didn't have to do it. But seeing him and Jane standing in background was to me an enormous gesture of unity.

COOPER: Governor?

GRANHOLM: I agree. I think -- I completely agree. I think AOC, her voice is singularly compelling, even with few words. And I am so glad that she was part of this. People were on Twitter going, oh, but she didn't say Joe Biden. Well, that wasn't her role. Her role was to nominate Bernie Sanders. So, people shouldn't feel put off by that.

But I did want to say that this -- the notion of leadership, which was the theme of the night, when you compare with Donald Trump, who says, I alone can fix it, you come away from this night knowing that leadership is not a solitary act, it is a community act.

And that Joe Biden is humble enough to allow that community to help him to lead, that he's going to empower others to be able to lead. And to me, that tells me we're going to be all right.

JONES: Well, look, I think that's good, but I don't want to go too far past -- you know, AOC is important and the whole progressive wing of the party is important. And what you didn't see enough -- listen, tonight, you had a lot of good moderates, you had a lot of good Republicans. That's very important, to have this together.

But I think if we go too much longer without feeling some of that progressive fire power, I don't think you heard enough from the Muslim community yet, you haven't heard enough yet from the Latinos, you haven't heard enough from the young progressives.

So, you know, it's a balancing act. The Republicans, I hope that they can try to figure out a way to look more diverse. We really are diverse. And you don't want to leave --


JONES: -- the progressives feeling -- you don't want to have the progressives feeling like this is all going to be for the military and the moderates and nothing for them. That is going to hurt us as well. So, it's a balancing act.

COOPER: Scott, you're all for that --


JENNINGS: I mean, look, I thought we -- I thought we -- we fought about it in the show before the convention tonight, but wouldn't you all have been happier if AOC had had all the time they gave to Bill Clinton? Wouldn't that have made you happier? It would have made Democrats all over the country much happier, I'm sure. And so I think that was, in my opinion, a programming mistake.

COOPER: Let's go back --

GRANHOLM: I think that the young people were addressed in that keynote, can I just say?

COOPER: I'm sorry, governor. What did you say?

GRANHOLM: I was just saying the keynote speech, where you had 17 people who are -- everyone one of them, under 52 years old, was a symbol of how the up and coming, the progressives are included and welcomed and part of this party.

COOPER: I just hit 53, so I'm a little offended by that. But --


COOPER: Let's go to Wolf.


GRANHOLM: You got too much grey.

BLITZER: Seventeen very young rising stars in the keynote addressed 57 states and voting territories in that very dramatic roll call. And let's not forget, that roll call made it official, Joe Biden is the Democratic Party's presidential nominee.

Let's talk a little bit about the former president of the United States, Bill Clinton. Let me play a clip of what we heard from Bill Clinton.


BILL CLINTON, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Donald Trump says we're leading the world. Well, we are the only major industrial economy to have its unemployment rate tripled. At a time like this, the Oval Office should be a command center. Instead, it's a storm center. There's only chaos.

Just one thing never changes, his determination to deny responsibility and shift the blame. The buck never stops there.


WOLF: You know, Jake, it's not very often that we hear a former president of the United States so publicly taking down the current, the sitting president of the United States.


TAPPER: No. It's another norm that has been eroded by this convention, the first one being the first lady, Michelle Obama, being very critical of President Trump.

I have to say, Bill Clinton's speech -- it was fine, it was well done. He really is a people politician, he really rises to the crowd, and he's somebody you can tell he didn't really feel it because there were no people in the room. And that was interesting.

But his basic message, Dana, the idea that, like, hey, I have been there, I know what it's like to be president, and this guy is not doing it, he's not doing the job, was one that I thought he gave with some conviction.

BASH: Absolutely. Obviously, I was looking at it through the lens of business of the former president, two-term president. But he is also the guy who wanted to be the first man four years ago and isn't because Donald Trump beat his wife, beat Hillary Clinton. So, there's that layer of this in there.

I was thinking back to the convention, the democratic convention four years ago, where they just ripped Donald Trump over and over again, but they did it in a way that didn't land, obviously, because he won, on his characters, on his personal foibles.

Now, he's been president for three and a half years, and so the focus was on his failures as a leader from the perspective of Bill Clinton, John Kerry, and others. So it's a completely different attack and in many ways much more biting.

PHILLIP: Yeah. You know, I did spend a lot of time, I think, through the speech wondering about Bill Clinton's place in the Democratic Party today, because it did feel -- it felt classic Bill Clinton in a lot of ways.

In some ways, very understated as he ripped President Trump on all of these fronts, but at the same time, you know, I wonder who he's convincing. I think there are a lot of parts of the Democratic Party who respect what Bill Clinton has to say, but there are a lot of younger Democrats who have kind of moved on.

And then the people who Democrats really wanted to convince tonight, the folks who were in the middle, you know, I'm not sure that a message from Bill Clinton is really going to do it for them. I think that where he ended up in this program tonight, with a relatively short speech for him, tells you a lot about where he is in terms of where the party is.

I think it was a biting speech for a former president, but I do wonder in terms of the effectiveness and persuading people who are persuadable, would it do the job.

TAPPER: We should also note while we are on the subject of a former president, we did hear audio from former President Jimmy Carter, but I don't believe we saw him. He's obviously in his 90s and has had some health difficulties in the last year. So we heard his voice, but we didn't see him, which I did wonder about that.

BASH: Yeah. I mean, he is not a young man nor is his wife either, but the fact that they made a point to be involved the way that they were.

And, obviously, that went with Bill Clinton, another former president, and the fact that that was juxtaposed with the keynote, which was obviously very different with the 17 up and comers.

It was backwards, it wasn't a torch passing, but it did show very clearly -- the party tried to show that they understood that this is what's next and this is the ladder that they're climbing up above.

BLITZER: You know, it was good to hear at least the voice of former President Jimmy Carter and Rosalynn Carter.

BASH: Yeah.

BLITZER: I spent some quality time with them last year. Obviously, they're getting up in age. We wish them only, only the best.

We did hear, Jake, a lot of national security discussion tonight, criticizing the current president of the United States. Former national security, military officials, not just Colin Powell, we heard from others criticizing the current president of the United States in a whole host of other areas.

Sally Yates, the former acting attorney general, really in a very blistering statement that she delivered. It was one after another.

TAPPER: Yeah. Some of them served under President Trump. Brett McGurk, who led the anti-ISIS coalition under President Obama, stayed under President Trump and then resigned, discussed it. I believe it was after President Trump made the decision after talking to the president of Turkey to abandon the Kurds in Northern Syria.

You also saw Masha Yovanovitch, who was the ambassador to Ukraine until she was removed. If you want to know more about that, you can check out the transcript of the Trump impeachment.


TAPPER: And there was an Air Force general. There were others, people who had served with President Trump. But they mainly were there to testify as to Biden's strength. I think Brett McGurk actually referred to Biden as somebody who even though he was empathetic and kind, when it came to dealing with adversaries, he could be very, very tough.

PHILLIP: Yeah. You know, Marie Yovanovitch's presence in this convention, I think it is pretty notable. I mean, this is a 34-year State Department veteran who served for many, many years, and it all came to a screeching halt just before the impeachment hearings, when she was effectively pushed out. The fact that she would be willing to show up at a political event like this tells you a lot about how she feels, the Trump administration has gone and what the direction of the country -- what direction she wants the country to go in.

You know, I think we all know people in the national security world, especially in the diplomatic world, they are not always jumping at the opportunity to be seen as partisan, and so for her to do that, it is extraordinary. Maybe people don't remember her, but she was some of the most powerful testimony in the impeachment hearings.

It is a powerful endorsement for Joe Biden tonight.

BLITZER: Certainly, it was. And we are getting some new information. We have been hearing from former presidents. We are also going to be hearing tomorrow night from another former president, Barack Obama. We are getting some new information on what we anticipate he will be saying.

Much more of our special coverage right after this.




COOPER: We are getting new information about what former President Barack Obama will say in his convention speech tomorrow. Let us go to CNN's Arlette Saenz. Arlette, what are you learning?

ARLETTE SAENZ, CNN POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, Anderson, former President Barack Obama will headline tomorrow's event. We're getting a bit of a preview of those remarks. A spokesperson for President Obama saying that he will speak about Joe Biden and Kamala Harris and how he believes they are prepared to lead the country right now in this crisis, relating to public health and also the economy.

The former president is also expected to speak about Biden's experience in the White House as he witnessed first-hand up close how the former vice president worked along his side during those eight years.

And the former president is also expected to call out what his spokesperson described as the as the cynical moves by the current administration and the Republican Party to discourage Americans from voting and also warning that democracy itself is on the line as he will continue to urge Americans to head to the polls in November.

This is going -- this speech will offer a stark and very personal view also of Joe Biden as the vice president as President Obama has that first-hand experience in the White House and can talk to the character and qualities that Biden has to lead the country. Anderson?

COOPER: Arlette Saenz, I appreciate it. Let us look forward to tomorrow night in terms of what they are going to present. David Axelrod, what do you expect it to be from the president? First of all, do we know -- is it a recorded speech, is it live, do we know?

AXELROD: I believe -- I believe he's giving the speech live, yes.

COOPER: I'm told it's live.



AXELROD: Yes, yeah. But, look, I had a discussion some days ago with someone on this team, and none of it was surprising to me because he sort of tipped his mitt on what he feels.


AXELROD: He hasn't been subtle about it. He believes that democracy is on the line. He -- and I think that he'll be very blunt about it tomorrow night. I also think he's going to speak directly to young people in this country who yearn for change, who are frustrated with the pace of change, and emphasize the importance of this election.

We haven't heard too many people address that, address younger voters in this country and directly talk about their sense of discouragement about the direction of some of the issues they care deeply about.

But he's -- give a motivational chat to them about why this battle is so important, even as he acknowledges -- I expect he'll acknowledge their frustration. Remember, he's got two young daughters, and I think they're as much as his counsellors as anyone on the politics of the country right now. So I think that will help shape his speech, as well.

HENDERSON: Yeah, and I think he probably is the second best speaker in the Obama family, Michelle Obama --


HENDERSON: -- being the best. And you imagine it will sort of be a bookend to what she was saying last night. She kind of, I think, straight away from the hope and change. I mean, it was a lot about fear. You have no idea how bad it can get if Donald Trump gets a second term. She essentially said she also talked to young people.

So I imagine he will pick up on some of the same themes about, listen, maybe Joe Biden isn't your perfect pick, but don't let perfect be the enemy of the good, something he often said as president in trying to govern.

So listen, people will tune in for Barack Obama. We haven't really heard him in this way. We heard him, of course, in dribs and drabs over these last years, particularly at the John Lewis funeral a couple of weeks ago.

But I think this be a real moment where he's reckoning with Joe Biden's legacy, with his legacy, and also trying to pass on that spirit of activism to a lot of young people who quite frankly are little disaffected by these last years in politics and even his years in politics, as well.

BORGER: But I think that's why each of these key speakers had been making the case that Donald Trump is an existential threat to democracy. We heard it from Bernie Sanders last night. We heard it from Michelle Obama, that he's a threat to your family. And I think that you'll hear it tomorrow night, as well.

What's interesting to me and what's different about this convention is that normally at conventions, when political speakers get up, they talk about the other party and say, oh, Republicans want to do this and the Republicans want to do that. And the Democrats -- we want to protect you.


BORGER: You're not hearing that. At least not yet. Because what they're trying to do is appeal to those disaffected Republicans. So you're hearing a lot of Donald Trump.


BORGER: You're hearing a lot of, OK, you know, if you like -- as Bill Clinton said, if you like the guy who sits in his office and watches the TV all the time, he is your guy.

But you're not hearing, those bad Republicans. So, it is a very different kind of convention that day for me to process and listen to. It's much more welcoming to the other party.

COOPER: Let's check in with our other group. Van Jones, what are you expecting tomorrow night from Kamala Harris, as well?

JONES: Well, I expect her to bring it. I expected it to be exciting. It was this kind of a sleepy little thing that was going on for a while because you had kind of Trump doing Trump stuff, you have protests, you have the virus, whatever, and Biden was just kind of scooting along under the radar, and then he brought in Kamala, and it just lit a fire.

A lot of people were scared that kamala was not going to be accepted by the progressive wing of the party. Man, she has become a symbol of hope. I think tomorrow, she is not going to let folks down. I think she knows it's a moment for her, a moment of this country. I think she's going to bring it tomorrow.

GRANHOLM: Let me just say, Anderson, this is the week that we celebrate the 100th anniversary of Nineteenth Amendment, giving women the right to vote. Half of the speakers are women. She is the epitome of the progress women have made. Half of the convention speakers are going to be -- are women, half of the primetime convention speakers. She is the epitome of the progress that women have made.

And so, yeah, I think a lot of people thought that when she was put on, she was going to come and she was going to fight and she is going to punch hard at Donald Trump, and she very well could do that tomorrow, but I also think she is going to represent half of the population in a way that is -- that only she can.

She is a compelling speaker. I think her speech is going to be -- if we had a roof to raise, that we are all under, it would raise the roof. So maybe it will just blow some roofs off of houses across the country. I think she's going to be great.

YANG: I think tomorrow is a chance for millions of Americans to get to know their next vice president. And we feel like we know her because we're in the know in terms of the presidential nomination race. But for many Americans, tomorrow is going to be their first big introduction to as Kamala.

I feel like it's fitting that she is going to be speaking on the same night as Barack Obama because I feel like they're pasts are actually quite similar and there will be something of a torch passing, both the children of immigrants, both incredibly inspirational American stories that I think will excite many, many people about the potential to demonstrate that this country can still have leaders that come up within one generation.

JENNINGS: Anderson, I think Kamala Harris speaking tomorrow night gives the Democrats a chance to exploit what really I think is their most significant advantage, if you look at all the polling, and that is the gender gap in this race.

I mean, you can slice and dice the electorate in a lot of way, but there is a national polling out there that doesn't show a massive gender gap and Biden has a huge advantage with women voters.

It is also something that drove democratic gains in the midterms in 2018. It is I think why Joe Biden wanted to put a woman on his ticket. Well, here she comes tomorrow night to try to give the Democrats a chance to really ramp up and exploit that advantage that we see in all the polling.

So, I think that's what you're going to get out of the Democrats tomorrow night. I am sure that Republicans will, of course, will criticize Kamala's, you know, policy positions and her history and stuff. But just looking at it from a pure operative eye view of this, it is what you get from Kamala Harris, speaking to a lot of women who have decided they're turning against Trump and want to vote for the democratic ticket.

GRANHOLM: This may be the first thing that Scott has said tonight that I agree with. I think you're totally right about exploiting the gender gap. And by the way, can we just give a nod to all of these women who have been moderating? Tracee Ellis Ross tonight did a great job, Eva Longoria. Tomorrow, it is going to be Kerry Washington. How fantastic is that? So, I'm really -- I'm excited about that.

JONES: And Hillary Clinton --

YANG: (INAUDIBLE) talked to Julia Louis-Dreyfus tonight -- today. (LAUGHTER)

YANG: About Thursday. That's fine. I just talked to Julia Louis- Dreyfus today about Thursday. So, yeah, they are primed for something special

COOPER: That's good. And also --

JENNINGS: That is what I love about Democrats, by the way. You will get to text with, like, big Hollywood celebrities.


COOPER: I like the way Andrew just dropped the mike on that. Yeah, you know, I was talking to Julia today, you know.



GRANHOLM: Scott (INAUDIBLE) on the lines.


JONES: Hey, look, I think that Kamala has got an opportunity --


JONES: I think Kamala has got an opportunity tomorrow to do some pretty important note.


JONES: You know, Michelle Obama kind of started this process of bringing the women on, but also talking to the young people and trying to get the young people who are feeling so disaffected.

It's been a whole online onslaught against Kamala, trying to get people to turn on her. You now seen people pushing back, saying, hey, listen, Kamala is our girl, etcetera. I think she is going to probably have one of the most watched speeches to this whole thing. I think it is going to be seen tomorrow night and can be seen online.

I think she has got an opportunity to set the record straight, where she is on criminal justice, where she is on these issues, and to get the young people excited.

COOPER: By the way, it is when you talk to young people, it's good to call them the young people.


COOPER: I'm going to talk to the young people now. Let me tell you, the young people.

(LAUGHTER) COOPER: You, the young people.


YANG: Get off my lawn!


COOPER: A lot to --

YANG: The young people wish they had a lawn.

COOPER: Thank you. I appreciate it. We will have much more ahead. The youngsters are here. Chris Cuomo and Don Lemon, they're going to pick up the convention coverage after a quick break. We will be right back.