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Ted Kennedy Addresses Democratic National Convention

Aired July 27, 2004 - 20:00   ET


JUDY WOODRUFF, CNN ANCHOR: John Kerry and Ted Kennedy, over the years have pretty much agreed on the larger issues of the days. They have parted ways at some points, but I think Iraq is emblematic of the fact that these are not two liberals who see eye to eye.
WOLF BLITZER, CNN ANCHOR: He's an asset among the Democratic party among the base, but a liability potentially nationally.

JEFF GREENFIELD, CNN SR. ANALYST: He is certainly not the voice of centrist moderate Democrat. He is the last liberal lion. He's been in the Senate longer than anyone except Robert Byrd I believe. He is also the fellow, who in 1988 gave that speech attacking the first George Bush, the famous where was George speech. And I'm curious to see whether the intensity of liberal anger toward George W. Bush is going to be challenged through Ted Kennedy or whether it will be muted in the service of a calmer Democratic Party.

BLITZER: I think he's been told to make sure the speech -- and they've been pretty vetted by the Kerry/Edwards campaign. Everybody's been told to tone it down a bit.

WOODRUFF: Well, the one speech we're looking forward to hearing, and we are looking forward to hearing all of them, but Teresa Heinz Kerry. This is a woman, we'll talk about her later, she's been outspoken on so many occasions. Tonight though, we are told she has a text she'll be following. But it is fair to say, wolf, Democrats have gotten better at this, of sticking to the party line. It's something we used to say the Republicans were very good at. The Democrats have taken a page from the Republican playbook. This is a convention, we've talked about it last night, they are unified, they are on time for a change. Hello, it's Democrats.

BLITZER: That will change, don't worry. If we know the Democrats. John King, I want to go back to you, you're down at the Massachusetts delegation, give us a little flavor there.

JOHN KING, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Wolf, the late speaker Tip O'Neill used to say all politics is local. There were no placards on the floor last night when the former Vice President Al Gore spoke. He was the nominee just four years ago. No placards across the floor when on the there are when the former president of the United States Bill Clinton spoke. He, of course, a very popular figure in the party. Look at this, Ted Kennedy has a friend in John Kerry, not only here in the Massachusetts Delegation, but across the floor now, the whips are spreading for the first time, placards to greet the prime time speaker. Again, not for Al Gore, not for Bill Clinton, Teddy Kennedy has a friend in the nominee. That's not a bad thing to have.

BLITZER: All right John, we'll get back to you.

Months ago --Months ago, I was told, few of us were told by important Democrats were involved in putting this convention together, that Senator Kennedy would expectation Tuesday during the 8:00 hour because that's when he wanted to speak. That's the kind of power that he has.

GREENFIELD: Right, I also think that is true. Also, Ted Kennedy has wanted for decades to bring the Democratic party convention to Boston. Maybe he had dreamt of bringing it to Boston when he rather than his junior senator got nominated. By the way when was the last time we had a convention where a Kennedy and a Ron Reagan spoke on the same night to the same party, talk about unprecedented moments.

BLITZER: Can you give us the answer to that?

GREENFIELD: Yes, never.

BLITZER: Ron Reagan will be speaking at 10:00. This was a relatively late addition, but I think he can thank his mother for the decision for him to come here tonight.

WOODRUFF: That's right. I think if Nancy had felt strongly enough about it he wouldn't be here. But he was invited to speak, he wanted to speak. But there's no doubt in my mind if Nancy Reagan, feels very strongly about embryonic stem cell research, and that's going to be the theme of Ron Reagan, Ronald Prescott Reagan's remarks tonight, the son of the late president. If she had felt it was wrong, he wouldn't be here. But she is effective in her blessing, that's why he's here. He's said he's not here to bash Bush.

BLITZER: All right, Senator Kennedy has just been introduced. He's walking out onto the podium right now. Let's watch this reception that he receives.



Thank you, Bob Caro, for that generous introduction.

With the...


Thank you, Bob Caro, for your generous introduction.

And with the continuing support of the people of Massachusetts, I intend to stay in this job until I get the hang of it.


To my fellow delegates and my fellow Democrats, I've waited a very, very long time to say this: Welcome to my hometown. Welcome to my hometown.


To Americans everywhere, whose aspirations have been kindled anew by this campaign, we who convene here tonight in liberty's cradle, say: Welcome home.

Welcome home, for the ideals born in Boston and strengthened by centuries of service and sacrifice; ideals like freedom and equality and opportunity and fairness and common decency for all; ideals that all Americans yearn to reclaim.

And make no mistake: Come November, reclaim them we shall by making John Kerry President of the United States.


These fundamental ideals light the fire in each of us to do all we can, and then more, to see that next January, John Kerry has a nice new home at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.


It fills me with pride to have our Democratic Convention in this city, this hallowed ground that gave birth to these enduring American ideals.

Like my grandfather and my brother before me, I have been privileged to serve this place where every street is history's home: the Old North Church, where lanterns signaled Paul Revere; the Old State House, where John Adams said independence was born; the Golden Steps, where waves of new immigrants entered this new land of liberty and opportunity, including all eight of my own great-grandparents from Ireland.


Here in New England, we love our history, and like all Americans, we learn from it. We breathe it deep, because it sustains us, it guides us, it inspires us.

It was no accident that Massachusetts was founded as a commonwealth, a place where authority belongs not to a single ruler, but to the people themselves, joined together for the common good.

The old system was based on inequality. Loyalty was demanded, never earned. Leaders ruled by fear, by force, by special favors for the few.

Under the old, unequal system, the quality of your connections mattered more than the content of your character. Your voices were not heard. Your concerns did not matter. Your votes did not count.

The colonists knew they could do better, just as we know we can do better today, but only if we all work together...


.. only if we all reach out together, only if we all come together for the common good.

Now, it is for us, the patriots of this new century, to do that, to shape our own better future and make it worthy of our past, to choose a leader worthy of our country. And that leader is John Kerry.


Today, more than two centuries after the embattled farmers stood and fired the shot heard round the world, the ideals of our founders still resonate across the globe.

Young people in other lands, inspired by the liberty we cherished, linked arms and sang, "We shall overcome."

When the Berlin Wall fell, when Apartheid ended in South Africa and when the courageous protest took place in Tiananmen Square, the goals of the American people are every bit as high as they were more than 200 years ago.

If America is failing to reach them today, it's not because our ideals need replacing, it's because our president needs replacing.


We bear no ill will. We bear no ill will toward our opponents.

In fact, we'd be happy to have the over for a polite little tea party.


I know just the place: right down the road in Boston Harbor.


For today, like the brave and visionary men and women before us, we are determined to change our government. I have served for many years in the Senate and have seen many elections, but there have been none -- none more urgent and more important than this one. Never before have I seen a contrast so sharp or consequences so profound as in the choice we will make for president in 2004.


So much of the progress we once achieved has been turned back. So much of the goodwill America once enjoyed in the world has been lost. But we are a hopeful nation, and our values and our optimism are still burning bright.

Those same values and optimism are what brought our forbearers across a harsh ocean and sustained them through many brutal winters, that inspired patriots from John Adams to John Kennedy to John Kerry... (APPLAUSE)

.. and their strong belief that America's best days are still ahead.

There's a reason why this land was called "the American experiment." If dedication to the common good were hardwired into human nature, we would never have had a need for a revolution. If each of us cared about the public interest, we wouldn't have the excesses of Enron; we wouldn't have the abuses of Halliburton.


And Vice President Cheney would be retired to an undisclosed location.


Soon, thanks to John Kerry and John Edwards, he'll have ample time to do just that.


Our country demands a great deal from us, and we rightfully demand a great deal from our leaders. America is a compact, a bargain, a contract. It says that all of us are connected. Our fates are intertwined. Fifty states, one nation; our Constitution binds us together.

Yet in our own time, there are those who seek to divide us: one community against another; urban against rural; city against suburb. Whites against blacks; men against women; straights against gays; Americans against Americans.

In these challenging times for our country, in these fateful times for the world, America needs a genuine uniter, not a divider who only claims to be a uniter.


We have seen how they rule. They divide and try to conquer. They know the power of the people is weakened when our house is divided. They believe they can't win unless the rest of us lose. We reject that shameful view.

The Democratic Party has a different idea. We believe that all of us can win. We believe we are one nation, under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.


And when we say all, we mean all.


Today in this global age, our goal of the common good extends far beyond America's borders. As President Kennedy said in 1963 in his quest for restraint in nuclear arms: "We can help make the world safe for diversity. For in the final analysis, our most basic common link is that we all inhabit this small planet. We all breathe the same air. We all cherish our children's future. And we are all mortal."

Interdependence defines our world. For all our might and for all our wealth, we know we are only as strong as the bonds we share with others. The dangers of terrorism and nuclear proliferation -- our greatest challenges -- are shared by all nations.

And our greatest opportunities, from achieving lasting peace and security to building a more prosperous society to ending the ravages of disease and the despairs of poverty, can all be seized, but only if the world works together, and only if America helps to lead in the right direction.


And John Kerry has the skill, the judgment and the experience to lead us on that great journey.


The eyes of the world were on us and the hearts of the world were with us after September 11th until this administration broke that trust.

We should have honored, not ignored, the pledges that we made.

We should have strengthened, not scorned, the alliances that won two world wars and the Cold War.

Most of all, we should have honored the principle so fundamental that our nation's founders placed it in the very first sentence of the Declaration of Independence, that America must give a decent respect to the opinions of mankind. We failed top do that in Iraq.


And more than 900 of our service men and women have already paid the ultimate price. Nearly 6,000 have been wounded in this misguided war.

The administration has alienated longtime allies.

Instead of making America more secure, they have made us less so. They have made it harder to win the real war on terrorism and the war against al Qaeda.


And none of this had to happen.

How could any president have possibly squandered the enormous good will that flowed to America from across the world after September 11th? Most of the world still knows what we can be, what only we can be, and they want us to be that nation again. America must be a light to the world. And under John Kerry and John Edwards that's what America will be.


We need a president. We need a president who will bind up the nation's wounds. We need a president who will be a symbol of respect in a world yearning to be at peace again. We need John Kerry as our president.


Time and again in America's history we, as Democrats, have offered new hope of a stronger, fairer, more prosperous future for all our people, a society that feeds the hungry, shelters the homeless, cares for the sick, so that none must walk alone.

And when the elderly faced poverty and sickness that threaten their golden years, we created Social Security and Medicare.

And when the voices of many citizens went unheard and their lives were blighted by bigotry, we fought for equality and justice and for civil rights and voting rights and rights for women and for the cause of Americans with disabilities. We fought for those.


And when higher education was beyond the reach of veterans returning home from the war, we created the GI Bill of Rights, and we have continued ever since to make college more affordable for millions more Americans.

And when men and women needed protection in the workplace, we demanded safe conditions for their jobs. We insisted on the right to higher pay for working overtime. And we guaranteed the right to form a union.


And we pledge -- and we pledge -- and we pledge a fair minimum wage, so that no one in America who works for a living should have to live in poverty.


Only leaders who know this history and abide by the ideals that shaped it deserve to be trusted with our nation's future. Sometimes, in recent years, they have fooled us with their rhetoric, but we will not let them fool us twice.

In the White House, inscribed on a plaque above the fireplace in the State Dining Room, is a prayer, a simple but powerful prayer of John Adams, the first president to live in that great house.

It reads: "I pray heaven to bestow the best of blessings on this house and all that shall hereafter inhabit it. May none but the honest and wise ever rule under this roof."

In November, we will make those words ring true again.


All of us who know John Kerry know that he's a fitting heir to these ideals. I've known John Kerry for three decades. I've known him as a soldier, as a peacemaker, as a prosecutor, as a senator and as a friend. And in every role he has shown his strengths.

He was the right man for every tough task, and he is the right leader for this time in our history.

John is a war hero who understands that America's strength comes from many sources, especially the power of our ideas. He knows that a true leader inspires hope and vanquishes fear.

This administration does neither. Instead, it brings fear: fear of rising costs for health care and for college; fear of higher unemployment and lesser pay; fear for the future of Social Security and Medicare; fear of greater bigotry; fear of pollution's stain on our magnificent natural heritage; fear of four more years of dreams denied and promises unfilled and progress rolled back.


In the depths of the Depression, Franklin Roosevelt inspired the nation when he said, "The only thing we have to fear is fear itself."

Today, we say: The only thing we have to fear if four more years of George Bush.


John Kerry offers hope not fear: the hope of real victory against terrorism and true security at home, of good health care for all Americans, of Social Security that is always there for the elderly, of schools and open golden doors of opportunity for all of our children, of an economy that works for everyone.

That's the kind of America we will have with John Kerry in the White House.

And the roots of that, America, are planted deep in New England soil.

Across this region are burial grounds -- many so humble. You find them without intending to. You're in a town like Concord, Massachusetts, or Hancock, New Hampshire. You're visiting the old church there, and behind the chapel you find a small plot, simple stones bearing simple markers. The markers say "War of 1776."

They do not ask for attention, but they command it all the same. These are the patriots who won our freedom. These are the first Americans who enlisted in a fight for something larger than themselves, for a shared faith in the future, for a nation that was alive in their hearts, but not yet part of their world.

They and their fellow patriots won their battle, but the larger battle for freedom and justice and equality and opportunity is our battle, too, and it's never fully won.

Each new generation has to take up the cause, sometimes with weapons in hand, sometimes armed only with faith and hope, like the marches in Birmingham and Selma four decades ago.


Sometimes the fight is waged in Congress or the courts, sometimes on foreign shores, like the battle that called one of my brothers to war in the Pacific and another to die in Europe.

Now, it is our turn to take up the cause. Our struggle is not with some monarch named George who inherited the crown, although it often seems that way.



Our struggle is with the politics of fear and favoritism in our own time, in our own country. Our struggle, like so many others before, is with those who put their own narrow interest ahead of the public interest.

We hear echoes of past battles in the quiet whisper of the sweetheart deal, in the hushed promise of a better break for the better connected.

We hear them in the cries of the false patriots who bully dissenters into silence and submission.


These are familiar fights. We've fought and won them before. And with John Kerry and John Edwards leading us, we will win them again and again and again and make America stronger at home and respected once more in the world.


For centuries, kings ruled by what they claimed was divine right. They could not be questioned. They could not be challenged. The people's fate was not their own. But today, because of the surpassing wisdom of our founders, the constant courage of the patriots of the past and the shared sacrifice of generations of Americans who kept the faith, the power of America still rests securely in citizens' hands, in our hands.

True to our highest and noblest ideals, we intend to use that power. We will use it wisely and well. We will use it, in the poet's words my brothers loved, "to strive, to seek, to find and not to yield." We will use it to heal, to build, to hope and to dream again. And in doing so, we will truly make our country once more "America the Beautiful."


Thank you very much. * BLITZER: Senator Edward Kennedy of Massachusetts giving some red meat to these Democratic delegates who have come to the Fleet Center here in Boston, the Kennedy clan up on the stage right now celebrating this 24-minute speech by the senior senator from Massachusetts. He said among other things, we say the only thing we have to fear is four more years of George Bush. That's precisely what the people in this building wanted to hear.

JUDY WOODRUFF, CNN ANCHOR: Make no mistake about it, he quoted poetry. He cited John Adams, lines in the White House. This was tough language against this president. He talked about fear. He talked about they fooled us with their rhetoric and we won't let them fool us again. He said, we want a president who is going to be honest and wise, suggesting this president is not honest and not wise. Time and again, he pushed the -- I won't say it was a sword, but it was a scalpel. I think he did the job.

BLITZER: One of the toughest speeches so far at this convention Jeff. Among other things he also said, Vice President Cheney would be retired to an undisclosed location if the Republicans lose.

GREENFIELD: You guys are in a different environment. I remember when Ted Kennedy let it rip. I'd say this was about two ounces of red meat and 10 ounces of tofu. He had to give them something to cheer about because these delegates are waiting to be able to vent their feelings. But compared to the Kennedy speeches of old?

WOODRUFF: Compared to what we heard last night.

GREENFIELD: The first time George Bush's name has been mentioned prominently by anyone. I think that's the job Ted Kennedy had. And you'll notice, the band was playing "Still the One." This is a man who stretches back decades. But I guess I'm an old fashioned retired speech writer. But to me, if this was the toughest speech we hear tonight, it's going to be a very gentle convention.

BLITZER: All right. Let's bring in our senior political analyst Bill Schneider. You watched the speech. You listened carefully. It was relatively speaking tough for this convention.

WILLIAM SCHNEIDER, SR. POLITICAL ANALYST: Yes, it was. But let me point something out to you. Did you see or did you notice who was in the stands? One of the honored guests at this convention is Maria Shriver. She is a Kennedy. She will also be an honored guest at the Republican convention next month, because her husband is the governor of California, a Republican who will address the Republican convention, Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger. She's one of the few people who's going to be an honored guest at the Democratic and the Republican convention. So Ronald Reagan is going to speak to this convention. Arnold Schwarzenegger with ties to the Kennedys will address the Republicans.

BLITZER: We saw Maria Shriver sitting here with her mother, Eunice Shriver. Maria Shriver, a well-known Democrat even though her husband, the governor of California, a well-known Republican. CNN's Aaron Brown is watching and listening as well -- Aaron.

AARON BROWN, CNN ANCHOR: First of all, there seemed enough Kennedys in the room to make up a small state delegation. Carlos Watson, one of our political analyst who's with us here in New York. It occurs to me that we see it is a different speech you watch on television than you hear in the hall itself.

CARLOS WATSON, CNN SR. POLITICAL ANALYST: Very much so and what I thought was interesting about this speech is that there weren't the kind of sound bites that you got out of Al Gore's speech. I don't think you'll see sound bites from this speech on the 11:00 news in Iowa and Florida and other places.

BROWN: Was this a speech designed to persuade independents or moderate Republicans in Iowa, Minnesota, in Oregon, or was this a speech for Democrats to inspire Democrats?

WATSON: I think it was a speech within the hall but there were two things he raised here that I think you'll hear more about later on in the campaign: minimum wage, which is an opportunity to turn out voters who last time stayed home, particularly poor voters and two, Enron and Halliburton, this whole issue of corporate malfeasance the Democrats believe is an issue they can run against the president on is an issue I think you'll hear a lot more in ads and in speeches once they leave the convention.

BROWN: And one more (UNINTELLIGIBLE) , I thought I heard another theme. For the second night in a row they talked about the Republicans need to divide us. Bill Clinton said it yesterday, Ted Kennedy said it today. It's an effort to turn a Republican issue back on them.

WATSON: You know whose hands I see on this? I see Bill Clinton, who remember in '96 Clinton took Bob Dole's theme of a bridge to the past and turned it into his own theme a bridge to the future. You see Clinton again and again and again in a number of places turning things around. Yesterday he tried to destigmatize Massachusetts by talking about John Adams, John Kennedy and John Kerry. He used the words patriot as a New England patriot and once again with the idea that you shared, it's another opportunity I think that Clinton first raised yesterday.

BROWN: So Ted Kennedy has done his speech. Wolf and Jeff, I'm inclined to agree with you. If that's red meat that's not even a big Mac yet.

BLITZER: All right. Aaron Brown and Carlos Watson, we'll be checking back with you. Let's check back with our senior White House correspondent John King. He's on the floor in Massachusetts. You've been a Kennedy watcher John for a long time as well.

JOHN KING, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Wolf, they loved the speech down here at the Massachusetts's delegation. One of the lines they loved most, one of the themes was the senator's harsh criticism of the war in Iraq. I heard Jeff say just a couple ounces of red meat. But the harshest criticism of the war in Iraq, Senator Kennedy saying more than 900 servicemen dead. He called it misguided. That is a theme they love here on the Democratic floor. But look for the Republicans to say very quickly that Ted Kennedy is also taking issue with John Kerry and John Edwards because in the United States Senate, both of them voted to give the president the power to wage that war.

BLITZER: All right. John King in Massachusetts. John, we'll getting back to you as well. Still many important speakers this evening including Howard Dean, the former governor of Vermont, the outspoken former presidential candidate. He's coming up later this hour. And after that, Ron Reagan will be speaking about stem cell research, specifically embryonic stem cell research with the blessings of his mother of course. And later, Teresa Heinz Kerry will be speaking. Much more coverage from the Democratic National Convention in Boston. We'll be right back.


BLITZER: Welcome back to the Democratic National Convention at the Fleet Center here in Boston. We're continuing our coverage, a long night ahead, going to be several major speakers we're waiting to hear from. Howard Dean coming up later this hour. Joining us now here on the set, on the floor of the Democratic convention, the governor of New Mexico, Bill Richardson who also happens to be the chairman of this convention. Is it going the way you wanted it to go?

GOV. BILL RICHARDSON, NEW MEXICO: Yes, we had a great first day. A lot of energy, staying positive, great speeches by President Clinton, by Senator Clinton, Al Gore, Jimmy Carter. We're building. The strategy is to build towards Senator Kerry's speech on Thursday. And our objective is to show the human side, the personal side, the Vietnam War record, the experience, the fact that Senator Kerry is ready to be president.

WOODRUFF: But Governor, don't you have an enormous hill to climb? Yet another poll out today, the I believe "Washington Post"/ABC News saying in effect that when people are asked, who do they think is stronger in the war on terror, who's the stronger leader, almost by three to one they prefer President Bush. How does John Kerry turn that around in a matter of days?

RICHARDSON: It's still early. The American people aren't focusing until convention time. I think what Senator Kerry wants to do on terrorism is be bipartisan. He has said that he wants to fix the problem, fix the intelligence system, concentrate on al Qaeda instead of Iraq, make sure we have a counter (UNINTELLIGIBLE) center. And I think whole message here is that we have solutions, that we want to stay positive, that we're not going to - yes, there will be some Bush-bashing. You heard a little bit from Senator Kennedy. But we're exactly where we want to be. The polls are... BLITZER: Governor, Governor, you say the American public is not focusing but your campaign has already spent what, $80 million trying to introduce John Kerry to the American public and a lot of those people are not yet ready to commit (ph).

RICHARDSON: We are at this point the highest poll ratings of any challenger against an incumbent president in history. We're slightly ahead. Most of the average has challenges behind about 16 points at this time. So we're where we want to be. We're trying to get that 10 percent that we say is undecided, moving in various directions, younger voters, independent voters. And this convention is geared to go after them but also to energize our delegates. These are the people that are going to get us our votes, that will do the voter mobilization, voter registration, a lot of the work that we need to get, that Democratic base out. And this is what's happening here.

GREENFIELD: Let's talk electoral politics. Your state went for Al Gore by 366 votes. It's a battle ground state. Nevada is a battleground state, Arizona and people are saying the Latino vote may be the difference. Is it and if so, is cultural conservatism your biggest hurdle to get in the Latino vote the size you need it to be?

RICHARDSON: Well Jeff, we're going to win the Latino vote. The issue is will the Republicans who got 35 percent four years ago, they get 40 percent? We say they can't because their policies are negative towards Latinos. What we see is a very strong concentration that we're going to get basically in four states, in Arizona, in New Mexico and Nevada and Colorado, all with burgeoning Latino populations. These are battle ground states with a few votes either way in the last election. We're going to concentrate there. But we're going to appeal to Latinos, not on just immigration and civil rights issues but issues relating to jobs and education and entrepreneurship, home ownership.

BLITZER: I'm going to ask you Governor to stand by for a moment. I want to bring in one of our contributors, Victoria Clarke, Victoria Clarke, a Pentagon spokeswoman, good Republican, worked for President Bush four years ago. What do you make of what the governor is saying, that the Hispanic vote, the Latino vote is going to be there for the Democrats despite an enormous outreach program by the Republicans?

VICTORIA CLARKE, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: Well, I hope the governor's right, that it's about home ownership and entrepreneurship and providing a great education for your kids because then the Republicans should do better than ever with the Latino vote. I was struck by something he said though. He said if the goal here is to get 10 percent. If it's to get that 10 percent in the middle, then Senator Kennedy didn't get them there tonight. It was a real walk down memory lane and that's just not what that 10 percent in the middle is looking for.

BLITZER: I want you to explain exactly what you mean Victoria, when you say that 10 percent, was he too liberal? Was he too tough, too negative? Is that what you're suggestion to appeal to that undecided block? CLARKE: What I'm suggesting is that undecided block, like a lot of people in this country, want to be looking forward and saying, OK, we're finding ourselves in a dangerous world. Let's figure out the right way to deal with that. We're finding ourselves in a world in which the very fundamentals of our economy are changing. How do we deal with that? Bringing FDR into the picture, with all due respect to FDR, doesn't get those people.

BLITZER: All right. I'm going to let Governor Richardson respond to that. Governor Richardson, was it too liberal? Was it too historic, if you will?

RICHARDSON: This is Ted Kennedy. The Kennedy's are part of the Democratic Party. This is Ted Kennedy's city, Boston. This is who Ted Kennedy is. He rallies the base. The Democratic Party is not like the Republican Party. We have a wide net. We have moderates, conservatives, progressives. We have people from all around the country. Look at the diversity of the delegates, 40 percent minority, 52 percent women and minorities. This is America. So we're not -- we don't want to be negative. Victoria is very very good and all that, but we want to talk positive and this is what Congressman Gephardt is doing. Missouri, a battle ground state. He was a presidential candidate. We've got a whole variety in the party. In the Republican Party, they can't even get their conservatives to speak.

BLITZER: All right. There will be a few conservatives speaking at Madison Square, including Dick Cheney. I believe he will speak there as well as President Bush will be speaking to conservatives right there. Donna Brazile, another one of our contributors, the former campaign manager for the Gore/Lieberman campaign four years ago, give us your assessment of this Kennedy performance and what's happening so far overall in this convention.

DONNA BRAZILE, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: Well, first of all, I think the only history that Ted Kennedy committed to tonight was the history of this great city and this wonderful state, where it all began for our nation. He tied that to where John Kerry intends to take the country and I think he did a marvelous job. Look, I think the Democrats just unified. I've been to seven state delegation parties early in the morning. Democrats are waking up at 6:00, they're going to bed at 2:00, they're getting three hours of sleep and you know what, they're ready to go out and defend John Kerry's values and to share his vision with the American people.

BLITZER: Donna, what's the major lesson you want these Democrats to learn from the mistakes of the Gore campaign four years ago?

BRAZILE: Don't take any state for granted. I think Governor Richardson is absolutely right. We have new territory to conquer, so to speak. Those western states are ripe for a strong Democratic message and you've seen one Democrat that's about to be introduced now, Tom Daschle out in South Dakota. We have a great wealth of candidates coming out of those western states and I think the Kerry/Edwards ticket will do very well out there. BLITZER: All right. Donna, stand by. Governor Richardson, Tom Daschle, the Democratic leader in the Senate is about to speak. He's got his own problems. He might not even get reelected in South Dakota.

RICHARDSON: He'll get reelected and what's going to win it for him is his record as a leader. He's the majority - he's the minority leader who can deliver for South Dakota. The native American vote has won it for Democrats in South Dakota before and I believe it will do it again. Yes, it's going to be close because of the percentage of registration. But what Democrats have this year is intensity, the intensity of our Democratic voters to win the White House back to defeat the president. That's going to help a lot of candidates like Tom Daschle.

BLITZER: You've been studying the intensity factor as well, getting out the vote, registering, actually delivering the message. They raised a lot of money, the Democrats. The Republicans have as well. How intense are both parties' bases right now?

GREENFIELD: I think this is really unprecedented. The level of interest at this stage in the campaign is measurably higher. Normally, even when people lie, because nobody can say they're (UNINTELLIGIBLE) if they're lying they're lying at a much higher level and in fact, that's what I wanted to briefly ask you about Governor. It must in some sense drive you guys on both sides a little nuts to see how balanced these numbers are, to see that your state could be another 500 state vote, South Dakota, Daschle has won at times by 86 votes. This has got to be a Maalox moment, this whole campaign for you guys.

RICHARDSON: It is and Jeff, it's because I think the electorate is so polarized. President Bush has divided this country so strongly. And 45 percent know what they're going to do, another 45 percent are going the other way. So you have this 10 percent that is movable, flexible. It's new voters. This is why I think Howard Dean helps us, the Internet, technology, younger voters. I was just on the John Stewart show trying to pick up some votes. I think what we're trying to do is find an electorate that we can appeal to that simply moves our way with positive messages.

BLITZER: Governor, what I want to do is go to the floor right now. We have correspondents in some of these states, including one of the states closest to your heart. We have our reporters Joe Johns, our correspondent. He's in Nevada right now in that delegation. CNN's John King is in New Mexico, Kelly Wallace in Arizona. Joe, Nevada, a state not far away from New Mexico. How much up for grabs is Nevada?

JOE JOHNS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Very much up for grabs Wolf. As you know, in 2000, Bush won it by 3 percent. Right now, a poll shows it's just about a 3 percent difference, Bush still ahead. With me right now is Adriana Martinez. You are the state chair of the Democratic party. What are you doing to try to get the vote out here? Apparently Nevada being a battle ground state is very critical. ADRIANA MARTINEZ, NEW MEXICO: Oh, it's extremely critical and we're not taking anything for granted. For starters, we canvas on a weekly basis. We register voters. We have a lot of 527's that are coming in.

JOHNS: How close is it going to be?

MARTINEZ: You know what? Everyone says it's going to be close. I'm the state chair, I'm making sure that the Hispanic vote is going to count this time because I make sure I do an aggressive campaign for Kerry.

JOHNS: Thank you very much, Adrian Martinez. Back to you Wolf.

BLITZER: All right. Let's go to John King in New Mexico. Couldn't have been much closer in 2000. What's the mood in the delegation right now where you are, John?

KING: Well, Wolf, they're very eager, very active on the floor here in Governor Richardson's home state. Latino voters of course critical to turnout in his state, critical if you have another close margin. It wasn't only Florida that took us into the night of the next morning four years ago. New Mexico did as well. It's a battle ground state even though a small when it comes to the Electoral College, a battleground state again this year. The Bush campaign calls Latino voters the new swing voters. Right now Senator Kerry has a significant advantage nationally in those polls and is counting on keeping it. So it's obviously one of the key contested in the battle ground states, you also have the subset if you will of the battle ground for the Latino Hispanic vote.

BLITZER: All right. We'll get back to you. Kelly Wallace in Arizona. Arizona is a state I think that's very much at play as well.

KELLY WALLACE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: It is. Some polls still give Republicans the lead. No Democrat other than Bill Clinton has carried the state of Arizona since Harry Truman back in 1948. But there are signs Democrats are trying hard for Arizona, the state's governor to speak at the podium very soon. You had an Indian tribe delivering the national anthem earlier this evening, 27 percent of the state population, Hispanic, 25 percent of the state population, independent voters. So Democrats fighting hard. Governor Bill Richardson of New Mexico, looking at Arizona, New Mexico, saying the Democrats should focus on a western strategy as opposed to focusing on the south (ph).

BLITZER: All right, Arizona and New Mexico and Nevada, three important states still at play in this election. Thanks very much. I want to thank Governor Richardson for joining us as well. You've got a lot of work to do at this convention. It's only day two. Two more days after today, you'd better eat, sleep, and save your strength.

RICHARDSON: I'm already worn out. It's only the second day.

BLITZER: Governor Richardson, thanks very much for joining us.

We're going to take another quick break, much more coverage coming up. We're standing by to hear from Howard Dean. What will he say? How tough will he get? Howard Dean, getting ready to speak tonight before these Democrats and the nation. We'll be right back.


BLITZER: Welcome back to the Democratic National Convention at the Fleet Center here in Boston. I'm Wolf Blitzer. This important note, we're standing by, a special "LARRY KING LIVE." Larry is here. He's already on the floor getting ready for his excellent show. That will start shortly after the top of the hour. Also, we're standing by for Howard Dean, the former governor of Vermont, the former presidential candidate. Momentarily, he'll be speaking as well.

One of the things we've done at this convention is we've given some of those mini cams, those small video cameras to some delegates to go out, get a little flavor of what's happening behind the scenes. In today's installment of our delegate diary, we take you behind the scenes in the hall and on the floor.


JACK HANNA, PENNSYLVANIA ALT DELEGATE: The mere fact that you enter the convention center and walk into the room and see thousands of people from all over the country, it's inspiring. It leaves you struck with awe. My name's Jack Hanna, an alternate delegate from the commonwealth of Pennsylvania.

BRAZILE: My name is Donna Brazile and I'm a delegate from District of Columbia. Still an embedded delegate for CNN. I think what they'll learn from seeing the convention through the eyes of delegates, they'll learn what it's like to come to a major party event. I'm on the floor every night. In fact, I have a special pair of tennis shoes to wear on the floor. I'm going to be comfortable and I'm going to sit with a couple of delegations.

HANNA: Pennsylvania being one of the targeted states has been given a very prestigious position on the floor. Oftentimes, placement is based upon how valued that particular state is. This year, there are approximately 18 states that have been designated as target swing states. Pennsylvania is one of those.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The biggest difference between the California delegation and other delegations is our sheer size. My name is Dan Winton. I'm a delegate from California. We just have a tremendous number of delegates. So I think at the convention floor, hopefully we'll be one of the loudest as well.

FRANCIS F. WILLIAMS, NEW MEXICO DELEGATE: We're noisy. We're passionate about how we feel. But when you look at that sea of faces, I mean, the diversity is so representative of this country. My name is Francis F. Williams and I'm a delegate from Los Cruces, New Mexico.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Are you from New Mexico? I could tell. That's the cutest thing I ever saw. WILLIAMS: My hat represents New Mexico, the history of New Mexico and the contrast is in the land of enchantment. We're the rah- rah people to egg them on, energize the election, tell people when we get back about what we heard.


BLITZER: That's our delegate diary. Every day we're going to show you behind the scenes look at what's happening on the floor behind the scenes with these convention delegates.

Larry King is here with us. Larry, you've got a big show coming up right at the top of the hour. But it's going to start a little bit later because of Howard Dean.

LARRY KING, HOST, LARRY KING LIVE: Yes. I've got a transcript of his speech. It's going to be very interesting.

BLITZER: Don't tell us, it's embargoed until delivery. You're not allowed to tell what he says.

KING: What happens? This fascinates me, you veterans of the political world, if you break the embargo?

BLITZER: It's a bad thing. You're not supposed to break the embargo but one journalist breaks the embargo, then everybody could break the embargo.

KING: But what do they do to you?

BLITZER: All right. Stand by. We're going to get back to you shortly (UNINTELLIGIBLE), "LARRY KING LIVE," that's standing by. Howard Dean, we're standing by for him as well. We'll take a quick break. We'll be right back.


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