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Demoratic Convention on Day Three Ready For Roll Call

Aired August 27, 2008 - 17:00   ET


WOLF BLITZER, CNN ANCHOR: There will be an historic roll call of the states -- the 50 states, Puerto Rico, the territories. They will formally go through the process to determine who will be the next president of -- the next Democratic presidential nominee. And that will be dramatic in the sense that Barack Obama has this nomination sewn up, but Hillary Clinton's supporters are anxious to see that her name be placed in nomination. And it will be placed in nomination. And they will begin the process of hearing from the state delegations and they will decide -- and they will be voting.
Hillary Clinton is on her way here, we're told, right now, to the convention floor. She may actually be here in a back room right now. She'll be in the delegation -- the New York State delegation. And at some point she will announce that she is casting her ballot for Barack Obama and she would like to see others do the same.

But there will be ardent Hillary Clinton supporters who want to make sure that her name is placed in nomination. And we will hear the nominating speeches, the seconding speeches and all of that unfold.

This is the time when the Democrats and the Republicans, next week in St. Paul, go through the formal process of electing their presidential nominees. And it's something, that we're going to be covering every step of the way here in THE SITUATION ROOM.

We want to welcome our viewers in the United States and around the world.

We've got a full force of reporters and analysts -- the best political team on television standing by, as we get ready for all the activities here in Denver.

At some point later tonight, you'll also be hearing from the former president of the United States, Bill Clinton. He'll be addressing this crowd. And we're told he will make the case why Barack Obama is prepared to become commander-in-chief, why he's ready to take charge as the next president of the United States.

The other big news of the night will be the formal nomination of Joe Biden, the senator from Delaware, as the Democratic vice presidential nominee. He will accept that nomination and he will deliver his speech.

So this is going to be an exciting, long night as we go forward with all of our coverage.

We've got our reporters and our analysts here. Anderson Cooper is joining us in THE SITUATION ROOM.

Gloria Borger is here, John King. We have reporters out on the floor. Candy Crowley is out at the podium.

ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: I think this is my first time in the actual SITUATION ROOM.

BLITZER: No, no.



COOPER: No. I don't think I have.

BLITZER: Yes, you have. Many times we've had you in THE SITUATION ROOM.

Is it exciting to be in THE SITUATION ROOM?

COOPER: It is. I'm all atwitter, yes. That's the word.

BLITZER: I've been on "ANDERSON COOPER 360." It's very exciting to be on -- but I can't say I'm in "A.C. 360". But you're in THE SITUATION ROOM.

COOPER: I am, absolutely.

It's interesting, I mean it's a little confusing, I think, for a lot of people about what's going to happen over the course of the next several hours. I mean there's -- it's even confusing for the reporters who are covering it. We've all been sort of talking to each other all day long, kind of saying like, all right, exactly what's going to be happening?

Do we know exactly what's going to happen?

GLORIA BORGER, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: No, we don't Anderson. What we do know is that they're going to call the roll, that Hillary Clinton has released her delegates this afternoon to vote for Barack Obama.

The big buzz around here and among Obama supporters and Clinton supporters is that, at some point, Hillary Clinton could be the one to call for acclamation, for Barack Obama to be nominated by -- unanimously.

COOPER: Now, when you say she has released them to vote for Barack Obama, she has not -- she's not demanding that they vote for Barack Obama?

BORGER: No. You can't tell a delegate what to do.



BLITZER: This is the Democratic Party. You've got to know that.

BORGER: Right. Right.

JOHN KING, CNN CHIEF NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Technically, they were free to vote for anyone anyway under the Democratic Party rules. But it is a symbolic gesture on her part to show again in public that she's trying to do everything she can.

But, Anderson, it will be very interesting to watch this play out, because if they stop the roll call, even if it is Senator Clinton herself who says let's stop this and let's just essentially unanimously, by acclamation, make Barack Obama our nominee, many of her delegates will feel cheated. And that's what they're telling us, especially our correspondents down on the floor, that they came here to vote for her. They understand Obama is going to win, but they want the chance to go on the record voting for her. So it will be interesting.

COOPER: You know, it's interesting you say that, because I was just stopped by a woman who came up to me from South Carolina, a teacher, who said, you know what, you all are spinning. There is unity here. You're all talking about disunity. You're all talking about camps. There's no camps. We are unified here.

We're getting inundated by e-mails from Obama supporters who say, you know what, you're being too negative, there's no -- there's no problems, there's no problems. And yet we keep hearing from people behind-the-scenes that there are still issues. What is true?

BORGER: The Clinton supporters are not a monolith. I think there are a lot of top Clinton fundraisers, for example, who feel kind of left out, that Barack Obama hasn't been stroking them, if you will, the way they'd like to be welcomed into the fold. I think there's a lot of rank and file down here on the floor who are so devoted to Hillary Clinton that they want to get the chance to vote for her. So it's -- the Clinton group is split in many, many ways.

COOPER: Why would a politician...

BLITZER: I just want to...

COOPER: Go ahead.

BLITZER: I just want to alert our viewers, Anderson, that that's the plane -- that Barack Obama is on that charter split screen. You're seeing Barack Obama arrive here in Denver and make his way over to the Democratic National Convention later tonight.

Momentarily, they're going to formally bring this convention here in Denver -- they're going to bring it to order. There will be the gavel. And then the Pledge of Allegiance, the national anthem, the color guard and all the formal festivities begin on this day three, as we get ready to see Barack Obama here in Denver. And later tonight, we'll see the former president of the United States, Bill Clinton, deliver a speech that could be very significant in trying to unify this clearly divided Democratic Party. They've got a lot of work to do. They think they can do it. And we'll see how Bill Clinton does tonight.

Let's continue, as we wait to see Barack Obama walk off that aircraft and go inside.

They're dancing there, a little music. They're getting ready for the formal start of this day three. And as they get ready, we get ready, as well.

COOPER: No doubt. So we were talking about whether or not -- how much disunity there really is. And, again, it's -- you got those e- mails, as well, from people who are saying you're spinning.

KING: And I think we need to be very careful in how we characterize it. These people want a chance -- remember, she came very close very. It was a very competitive race, a long race. Many of them feel they want to vote for her.

That doesn't mean they're not going to go home and work for Barack Obama, they're not going to vote for Barack Obama. It doesn't mean they're disloyal Democrats or that there's disunity.

But they invested so much in this campaign, many of them say they just want the chance -- for them to have closure and for them to feel good about going home and stuffing envelopes and making the phone calls and knocking on doors for Barack Obama. They want to cast an affirmative vote for Hillary Clinton first.

BORGER: And many of the women I've spoken to who are Hillary Clinton supporters say you know what, I want to be able to tell my grandchildren that I cast a vote for a woman for president on the floor of the Democratic Convention. Simple as that.

BLITZER: It's a moment that these Democrats will appreciate. There's no doubt about that. They're nominating -- at least voting to nominate -- a woman and an African-American.

And, Anderson, I don't think we can lose sight of the historic relevance of what's going on here in Denver right now. The Republicans will have their moment with John McCain next week. And he's got an unbelievable story to tell, as well.

But the Democrats have a really unbelievable story to tell, at least today and tomorrow.

COOPER: Well, the story of Hillary Clinton, historic. The story of Barack Obama historic, as well. And I think everyone in this convention hall this week is very much aware of that. And in addition to the excitement that most people feel when they come to a convention like this, to be coming to this specific convention in this year, in this race -- I think it adds a whole other layer to it.

BLITZER: All of us who appreciate history are fully excited.

I don't know if Candy Crowley can hear me. She's up on the podium -- Candy, we're watching Barack Obama and his staff, the reporters. They're getting off the plane -- the charter aircraft that brought them here to Denver, Colorado for this historic convention.

If you can hear me, Candy, tell us what we're about to see with this roll call. We're waiting for Hillary Clinton's arrival in the delegation -- the New York State delegation.

CANDY CROWLEY, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: OK. What we're told here is that when the convention opens with the anthem and the prayer, they then move to the order of the business. And the business is nominating. Someone will nominate Hillary Clinton. And then there will be two speakers talking about her.

We are told that these will be sort of working people, people who she met along the way in her campaign.

Then Barack Obama will be nominated. There will be three people speaking out about Barack Obama.

Then Nancy Pelosi (INAUDIBLE) will then call for the roll call vote.

Now, what we have been told and what we are (INAUDIBLE) is that they will largely alphabetically through the states. There will come a point -- and that point will be some time between 6:30 and 7:00 Eastern time -- there -- in order to hit the commercial network newses. They will have an end to it. And that end will come when -- we believe it will be and are told by sources that it's highly likely to be Hillary Clinton who will stand up and ask that Barack Obama be nominated by acclimation.

They will cut this short in order not to get to what nobody at this point wants, which is the worry about a floor fight.

I will tell you, however, they're still involved in what they call these really complex negotiations to come up with this scenario whereby Hillary Clinton could be placed into nomination and have votes cast for her. That -- one of the things that we should take into consideration is that Hillary that Clinton ultimately (INAUDIBLE), that some of the delegates who came here to work for her are not going to vote for her.

So this source said to me it's not in her -- sure.

BLITZER: I just want to make sure that we listen a little bit to the beginning, as this convention, on day three, is called to order.

They're -- we're told they're going to do a little business -- procedural business first. And then they're going to go ahead with the Pledge of Allegiance and "The Star-Spangled Banner." But I interrupted you. Go ahead. Hillary Clinton, you were saying, is going to play a key role, what in perhaps ending this roll call?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The Democratic National Convention in Atlanta. I stood in the crowd and watched the keynote address...

CROWLEY: Well, Hillary Clinton is the likeliest person. And this was where the negotiations were going and where a source believes they ended. That Hillary Clinton will be the one to say, "By acclamation, I move that Barack Obama be declared the nominee of the Democratic Party," whatever the official language is.

So there will come a point in the roll call where she or one of her surrogates will stand up and ask that the roll call be suspended and that Barack Obama be named the nominee for the Democratic Party.

So, again, this was worked out through some very complex negotiations, because it wasn't just Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama. It was all these delegations who -- you know, this is a big deal to these delegations. They come here to stand up and cast their votes. I mean it's always been the most colorful part of conventions, as they go through these lengthy introductions about their state.

So it wasn't just the two principals that wanted to come to some accommodation that would allow Hillary Clinton's name to be placed in nomination without some sort of fight. It was also all these delegations.

So they do seem, at this point, to have come to this agreement and have come to it over the past couple of days, that they will allow some votes to occur, but then the acclamation will come.

BLITZER: All right, Candy.

We're going to cover all this, obviously, over the next hour or two hours, throughout the night. And remember, later tonight that Bill Clinton will be speaking here. And he'll be followed by Joe Biden, the vice presidential nominee. So all of this is beginning to play out.

It's going to be difficult, Anderson, I think, for Joe Biden to follow Bill Clinton. That's a tough act to follow.

COOPER: And all of them to be following Hillary Clinton from last night. Certainly, she set the bar pretty high. But there are going to be a lot of exciting moments.

Let's listen in to Howard Dean.

HOWARD DEAN, DEMOCRATIC NATIONAL COMMITTEE CHAIRMAN: For that purpose, I'm pleased to recognize a great DNC member from the State of Florida, the Honorable Allan Katz, for the purpose of making a motion.

Mr. Katz?


DEAN: His microphone doesn't seem to work.


ALLAN KATZ: Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I would move that we suspend the rules to permit the nomination of all presidential candidates for whom nominating petitions have been timely submitted and as to which there has been no objections.

Thank you.

DEAN: Thank you very much.

Is there a second?


DEAN: Any discussion?

All those in favor signify by saying aye.


DEAN: All those opposed by saying no.

In the opinion of the chair, two-thirds of the vote having -- two-thirds of those having voted in the affirmative, the motion is adopted.

The chair will now entertain a motion to have this convention honor and publicly thank and acknowledge the hardworking people who put this convention together -- thousands of laborers, tradesmen and skilled workers, building this convention arena on schedule, on time, on budget.

BLITZER: All right, now they're doing a little business right now. Howard Dean, the chairman of the DNC, the Democratic National Committee.

The real business is going to start with the formal roll call. And that will start in a few moments. We're going to watch that unfold, because as much as it's been negotiated and choreographed and scripted, Anderson, as much as all of this has played out -- or they've tried to play it out, as you and I know, there can always be a little snag there that could heighten the drama, because the feelings -- at least for some -- I don't know how many -- at least for some of these Hillary Clinton supporters -- they remain passionate.

COOPER: We're going to also be showing you the presentation of the colors, which is something, of course, which is done here at the beginning of all the events on each day of this convention, as well as the invocation.

BLITZER: All right, let's listen to the invocation and then the color guard, the Pledge of Allegiance and "The Star-Spangled Banner".

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Good afternoon, esteemed and dear members of the National Democratic Convention.

Let us pray. Let us bow our heads in prayer. Almighty God, the giver of all that is good and true and noble, we bow our heads before you in thanksgiving for bringing us together at this Democratic National Convention.

We offer thanks to you for the great gift of liberty and for the privilege of being residents and citizens of a nation that is called to be a model of justice, peace and the rule of law.

As we give thanks for these blessings, we humbly beseech you, lord, to remember all of those who have given their lives in defense of these ideals over the course of our nation's history, so that through their sacrifices, we may partake of the fruits of freedom which we enjoy today.

Guide the work of all the delegates who have assembled here, as they vigorously promote the institutions of our democracy. Remember, lord, your servants, who will be nominated as candidates for the highest offices of our land. Bless them and grant them strength and wisdom, as they work for our nation and for this great mission among the nations of the Earth.

Let them be guided by your merciful hand and thus contribute to the peace, prosperity and security of our country and our world.

For you, God, are the source of these great blessings. And to you belong glory and thanksgiving now and forever and ever.

Amen. Thank you.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Ladies and gentlemen, please stand for the presentation of colors today by the Colorado Veterans of Foreign Wars.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Please welcome Paul Bucha, an American Vietnam War veteran and Medal of Honor recipient, to lead us in the Pledge of Allegiance.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Ladies and gentlemen, to sing our national anthem, please welcome Robert Moore, council member for the Rosebud Sioux Tribe in South Dakota.


BLITZER: All right. This third day of the Democratic National Convention has now formally been called to order. And it's going to begin with the roll call.

It's going to begin with Hillary Clinton's name being placed in nomination as the Democratic presidential nominee. There will be a speech. There will be a seconding motion. And then Barack Obama's name will be placed in nomination. A secondary will come forward, as well. Nancy Pelosi, the speaker of the House of Representatives, is in charge of all of this. And she's walking out on the stage right now. So let's listen to her.

REP. NANCY PELOSI (D-CA), SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE: Ladies and gentlemen, it's now time for the national convention to begin the nomination process for the Democratic candidate for the office of president.

Pursuant to the rules of the convention, two candidates have qualified to have their names placed in nomination. Nominating and seconding speeches will be made on behalf of each candidate. Once nominations have closed, the convention shall proceed to a roll call vote by the states.

The first candidate to be nominated tonight will be Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton of New York.


PELOSI: Fellow Democrats, delegates and friends, buenos dias.

We're now going to hear from Dolores Huerta to make the nominating speech. Dolores Huerta.


DOLORES HUERTA: Thank you. Fellow Democrats, delegates and friends, buenos tardes. I am Dolores Huerta from the great state of California.


HUERTA: And the food basket of our United States of America, the Silicon Valley, and, yes, the great city of Bakersfield.

I am a proud mother of 11, a grandmother of 14 and a great- grandmother of five. I'm an advocate for working families and immigrants. And I'm a passionate supporter of Hillary Clinton.

I am so honored to be here today representing the diversity of our Democratic Party and the coalition of 18 million people of all walks of life and all backgrounds that stood with Hillary and never gave up.


HUERTA: This primary season, the Hispanic community participated in historic numbers. And Hispanics will be a pivotal voice in a vote in the election of our next president. We Hispanics have made history this year. And it is only the beginning.


HUERTA: Now, I want to say a few words in Spanish.



HUERTA: I am a fourth generation American from New Mexico. My father, Juan Hernandez, was a field worker, a miner. He was a union man and assemblyman. My mother, Alicia Chavez, was a feminist and a small business owner.

My parents instilled in me that hard work and determination was what we needed to be able to succeed. And also, that we need to also put our neighbors before ourselves.

Hillary's values are the values of my family and the values of our community.

When Cesar Chavez and I organized farm workers and immigrants 40 years ago, it was not easy. But we persevered and we made progress. We believe that those who do back-breaking work for low wages, often in a dangerous workplace, they deserve a champion -- someone who will fight for them. That's why I love and respect Hillary Clinton.


HUERTA: She has stood with hardworking people all of her life. And she knows how important it is to keep fighting and to keep going.

For many in America, working families are invisible. For Hillary Clinton, no American is invisible.


HUERTA: I stand with Hillary as she stands with Barack Obama to take our country back. (APPLAUSE)

HUERTA: And now, Mrs. Chairman, on behalf of all women and all working families, I have the great honor to nominate Hillary Rodham Clinton, my friend, our champion, to be for the presidency of the United States of America.


BLITZER: All right, so there it is, the nomination. That's the first speaker. There will be a seconding motion right now. And then they'll go forward and the speaker will come forward and nominate Barack Obama to be the Democratic presidential nominee. And there will be a seconding motion -- a seconding speaker, as well. And then they'll formally begin the roll call.

As we watch some of this unfold, it's scripted, it's carefully coordinated, but there's potential pitfalls as they go forward.

We're joined here in THE SITUATION ROOM -- Anderson Cooper is here, along with the best political team on television. Gloria Borger is here. Donna Brazile, who knows a great deal about all the intricate Democratic process. John King is here, as well.

And, Donna, just walk us through, as scripted as this is right now -- as scripted as this is right now, there are some dangers for people like you, who want to see this party totally unified.

DONNA BRAZILE, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: Well, early this morning, at our delegation breakfast, we -- when we signed up for our credentials, they asked us to go ahead and cast our ballots. So I've already cast my ballot. The ballots...

COOPER: I'm sorry.

Which delegation breakfast were you at?

BRAZILE: I went to the District of Columbia.

COOPER: OK. Thanks. All right.

BRAZILE: I'm an at-large delegate and I -- the District of Columbia.

BORGER: A superdelegate, we've heard.

BRAZILE: Absolutely.

The delegation chair will tabloid all of the ballots. And that will be recorded electronically, so when the roll is called, alphabetically, Alabama, Alaska, you know, America Samoa, because we also count the delegates from the territories and the District of Columbia. As soon as one of the candidates reach the magic number, 2,221 -- there are 4,440 delegates assembled here -- then we will have a nominee.

BLITZER: All right. Let's go to Suzanne Malveaux.

She's on the floor.

I think you're in the New York State delegation, is that right -- Suzanne?


There is a lot of excitement and anticipation. We don't know exactly where Senator Hillary Clinton is going to be. But we know that she is going to be down here with the delegation.

Right over there is -- at that computer and the microphone is where it's expected that she'll go ahead and cast her support for Barack Obama.

You can get a sense of the crowds that have gathered around this podium, the cameras, as well as the reporters and all of the delegates who are starting to take their seats now. One of them, Congressman Charlie Rangel. Congressman, thanks for joining us here on CNN.

Do you anticipate that New York will be united behind Barack Obama after Hillary Clinton calls for his support?

REP. CHARLES RANGEL (D), NEW YORK: There's absolutely no question in my mind. I'm so excited to be a member and dean of the New York delegation, because we were with Hillary Clinton all the way during the rough periods and we stayed with her. And then when it was over, we felt very comfortable with Barack Obama. And Hillary did, too. And this coming together is one of the most exciting political experiences I've ever had.

MALVEAUX: Is it a bittersweet moment for the New York delegation?

RANGEL: There has to be disappointment in any family, including in the New York Democratic family, when you have two great leaders fighting with all of their hearts, both wanting to win, with commitments, really, though, to the causes that both have.

I think that a lot of the divisiveness can be taken out when we take a look at what we can do to get the principles of Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama together so that the whole country wins. We feel very fortunate.

MALVEAUX: Congressman Charlie Rangel, thank you for joining us.

Obviously Wolf, you see a lot of excitement, a lot of anticipation about this moment. Expected to be a dramatic moment. But also people are saying look they believe her speech last night calling for unity will take a little bit of the sting and perhaps the drama out of that moment as well, Wolf.

BLITZER: Suzanne, thanks very much. Thank Congressman Charlie Rangel for us as well.

We're getting ready to hear from the senator from this state of Colorado, Ken Salazar. He'll be putting the name of Barack Obama formally in nomination. Once he starts to do that, we'll go back to the podium.

Anderson, you know, a lot of our viewers, I'm getting tons of e- mails, they're still not exactly sure why this is necessary, you know, it's already a done deal that Barack Obama is going to be the nominee. Is it just the sort of a psychological feel-good moment to see Hillary Clinton's name put in motion?

COOPER: We should also point out for our viewers, everyone who wants to watch every speech happening, is the place for that. Why go through this, John King? What is the point for the viewers at home? Actually, let's listen in to Salazar, who will be nominating Barack Obama.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Please welcome Michael Wilson from Florida, an Air Force medic who served in Iraq, to present the nominating speech.

MIKE WILSON, REGISTERED REPBULICAN: I'm Mike Wilson. And as a small-town Tennessee guy and registered a Republican, I can't tell you what an honor it is to be here today to nominate Barack Obama -- to nominate Barack Obama as the next president of the United States! The town I grew up in is one of those places with two stop lights. You know, one church, a McDonald's and about 600 families who are proud to call it home. I first left when I joined the Air Force and served for eight years as a medic. Much as my dad did in the Army and my grandfather before him in World War II.

During my time in the Air Force, I served with the 387th Expeditionary Group in northern Iraq in Kirkuk, where we did our best to treat our comrades who had been wounded by suicide bombs, mortars, IEDs.

One night we got a call that a helicopter was bringing in a team of five guys who had been hit by a suicide bomber. The guy I was working on, all he would ask me was, where are my other guys? Are they okay? As a medic, you just looked him in the eye and tell them, let's get you taken care of first, and we'll talk about your buddies later. We were able to save two of them. Three others died. I've seen war up close. Not as a political slogan, or some think tank theory.

I support Barack Obama because America needs a president who has the strength, the wisdom and courage to talk to our enemies and consult with our allies, a president who has the judgment to use war not as a last resort, as a last resort, not as a first resort, a president who can adapt to new situations as things change instead of being stuck in the past and a president who will respect our veterans when they get back home, instead of letting them languish without the medical care and services they deserve. You know, there's an old saying, if you do what you always did, you'll get what you always got. America needs new leadership in the White House, and that leader is Barack Obama.

Ladies and gentlemen, it is my distinct honor as an Iraq war veteran, as a life-long Republican, and as a proud citizen of this great democracy, to nominate the next president of the United States of America, Barack Obama!

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Ladies and gentlemen, to second the nomination, please welcome Senator Ken Salazar of Colorado.

SEN. KEN SALAZAR (D), COLORADO: Thank you. My fellow Coloradoans, my fellow American --

BLITZER: All right. Barack Obama's name has now been brought fully into nomination. The debt was done by Michael Wilson, an Iraq war veteran, still is, and a life-long Republican from Florida. But you just heard him say Barack Obama's name in nomination. Now Senator Ken Salazar, the Democratic senator from this home state of Colorado, is seconding the nomination of Barack Obama.

I want to go down to New Mexico right now. We have a brand-new poll in New Mexico that shows a 13-point lead right now for Barack Obama in the state of New Mexico. Jessica Yellin is on the floor with the governor of New Mexico. And Jessica, I assume he's pretty happy about this?

BLITZER: Jessica Yellin, can you hear me? All right. I think we're having some trouble getting to Jessica Yellin on the floor. She's with the governor, Bill Richardson. We'll try to fix that up.

But right now, Ken Salazar, the senator from Colorado, is seconds the motion of Barack Obama to be the Democratic presidential nominee. Once this is done, the formal nominating speeches, the seconding speeches, the roll call will begin with the state of Alabama. And then they'll go to Alaska, American Samoa and others.

Is Jessica Yellin -- Jessica, can you hear me?

JESSICA YELLIN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: I'm sorry, Wolf. I'm standing here with New Mexico Governor Bill Richardson who will give a speech later tonight. What will you talk about?

GOV. BILL RICHARDSON (D), NEW MEXICO: National security that Barack Obama is going to be a great commander in chief, how to be a good commander in chief, you have to have the right judgment, temperament, and Barack Obama showed it by opposing the war early, by talking about the real threats of nuclear proliferation, and Iran and Pakistan, that's borne through. And most importantly, that we have a foreign policy that reflects our values, the constitution, no torture, no Guantanamo. That's what I'm going to say. It's national security, foreign policy.

YELLIN: Obviously you helped Barack Obama on that message. Why do you think at this stage of the campaign he is still having an uphill battle on the commander in chief test question?

RICHARDSON: Well, I think what we have to do is convince the American people that he has the judgment -- it's not an issue of experience, because look what George Bush has had. Look what Dick Cheney, years of experience, yet foreign policy is a collection of national security mistakes.

And what Obama has now with Joe Biden is a vice presidential candidate, chairman of the foreign relations committee, extensive foreign policy experience, over 30 years, somebody that's going to compliment Obama's theme of change and bringing people together, I think it's a perfect combination. But I think what we need is somebody with vision in foreign policy, and Obama showed it by showing that he was right on Iraq and the major nuclear proliferation issues.

YELLIN: All right. Thanks so much, Governor. We appreciate your time.

RICHARDSON: Thank you.

YELLIN: We look forward to your speech later this evening.

RICHARDSON: Thank you.

YELLIN: Wolf, back to you.

BLITZER: All right, Jessica. Jessica, thanks very much. Thank the governor for us as well. We look forward to his speech. We'll look forward to Hillary Clinton's arrival here. They're getting ready for the roll call to formally begin the preliminary process as it continues.

Much more of our coverage coming up right here in THE SITUATION ROOM, after this short break.


BLITZER: The third nominating speech now for Barack Obama is about to begin. Congressman Archer Davis of Alabama is going to be making that address. He's a long-time supporter of Barack Obama.

We just heard from a long-time supporter of Hillary Clinton, Congresswoman Debbie Wasler of Florida. She nominated Barack Obama as well, all designed to show the unity right now unfolding among the Democrats.

The roll call, that's what we've been waiting for. We've been waiting to see what unfolds. Hillary Clinton is here. She's going to be here in the New York state delegation. And she's going to be leading that delegation to determine whether or not they go forward with voting for her, or voting for Barack Obama. She says everyone should go ahead and vote for Barack Obama. We'll see if there's some die-hards who decide to vote for her as well.

Anderson Cooper is here along with the best political team on television. James Carville is here. I see Anderson Cooper.

I just want to point out there is a hurricane going into the Gulf of Mexico. And moving toward, and we hope it doesn't happen, New Orleans right now, Hurricane Gustov. The mayor of New Orleans, Ray Nagin is going to be coming over here to speak with us. He's about to get on a plane to fly back to get out of here. There is an emergency unfolding at that Louisiana coast, throughout that Gulf of Mexico right now. And obviously --

COOPER: We're looking at a satellite picture right now. We know there is at least one death in the island of Haiti where it hit, and hit hard causing widespread damage and flooding as well. I know James and myself have been checking plane schedules to get back to New Orleans sometime over the next day or so. We're told Mayor Ray Nagin will be going there later today. We hope to talk to him soon.

Again, that is the forecast right now, that cone. It's hard to predict that far out. They're talking about possibly Monday it making landfall. But again, all the warm water in the gulf, and several days to go, there's no telling how strong this thing could get.

BLITZER: We should tell our viewers that James Carville and his wife Mary Matalin and their daughters, they just left Washington. They moved back to his hometown of New Orleans. This is ironic this is happening almost three years exactly since Katrina.

JAMES CARVILLE, DEMOCRATIC STRATEGIST: I'm obviously going back home tomorrow morning. My children are at school, we've prepared them for all of this. Undoubtedly there's going to be an evacuation. You can only go out of New Orleans, you can't go in. The governor and mayor and authorities are going to call that.

I just make one point to our viewers. It's always worse to be on the east side of the storm than the west side. Most of the power is in what they call the northeast quadrant. So we don't know exactly where this is going to go. But it could easily be, if you pointed out last night, Wolf, give be the length of time that this storm has gone over water in the warm temperatures in the gulf, we could be looking at a 4 easily.

COOPER: The anniversary of Katrina is Friday. It's almost unthinkable three years to the day, since that storm, this city could get hit. How do you think the city is ready?

CARVILLE: You know, the city, I mean, they've rebuilt levees. We don't know how strong they are. I don't want to criticize something until we see what happens. But if this storm is a really big, powerful storm, the levees only under the best circumstances can withstand a category 3 storm. And Bridget Campanella, the superb geographyist pointed out it's also the size of the storm surge. Katrina was maybe a 2, if that, in New Orleans. But the surge was big. The city, this would be emotionally, for people who fought so hard to come back and make progress, I don't even want to think about what this would be if we took this hit.

COOPER: Over the last several months, you and I have talked about this, there has been an optimism among a lot of people there. You moved back. I talked to a lot of people who moved back. But in talking to people over the last six months, that maybe things are turning the corner. More restaurants open after the storm. This is the last thing, New Orleans, the gulf coast, all those towns need.

CARVILLE: It is. People who are less fortunate than me have come back and put a lot of money in this, a lot of businesses. You're right, the restaurants, Magazine Street is full of businesses. If there is a prayer, I don't want anybody else to get a hurricane, but say a little one that something happens, and we're just not ready for this one yet. I pray to god we don't get this.

COOPER: The Republican convention beginning on Monday.


COOPER: You know, these are small things to talk about in the wake of a potential of a hurricane. But what sort of political impact that may have.

CARVILLE: Right. And Governor Jindal has already said that he was already scheduled to speak at the Republican convention, like Thursday, or Wednesday night maybe. I don't want to say exactly. He's already said he's not going to go there. I really doubt if the president will go -- I mean, just given the whole Katrina thing.

BLITZER: John King has been doing some reporting on contingency plans that the Republicans might have in St. Paul next week. COOPER: The McCain campaign fully understands the possibility of this. They're saying the simple issue would be capacity. If there's a major storm that hits American city, the focus should be on the relief effort. We're told they're looking at any contingencies from "a" to "z."

BLITZER: All right. Hold on one second. The roll call is about to begin.