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Democratic National Convention; Bill Clinton to Speak at the DNC; Democrats Scramble to fix Omissions; Interview with Richard Trumka of AFL-CIO

Aired September 5, 2012 - 19:00   ET


WOLF BLITZER, HOST, "THE SITUATION ROOM": And CNN's coverage of the Democratic National Convention continues right now.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The president is a servant of today but his true constituency is the future.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: America is a future that each generation must enlarge.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Because this election is not about ideology. It's about confidence.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I still believe in a place called hope.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And I stand here tonight as my own man and I want you to know me for who I truly am.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'm John Kerry and I'm reporting for duty.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: America, we cannot turn back, not with so much work to be done.



BLITZER: The Democrats scramble to fix a pair of embarrassing omissions from their party's platform.

ANDERSON COOPER, HOST, "AC 360": The question now is how much will God and Jerusalem distract from what's supposed to be the highlight of the night for Democrats.


ANNOUNCER: A former president riding a wave of renewed popularity --


ANNOUNCER: -- helps a current president in a tough reelection fight. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I don't think it's important to reelect the president. I think it is essential to reelect the president.

ANNOUNCER: In Charlotte tonight, Bill Clinton nominates Barack Obama to serve a second term, appealing to voters who still think it's all about the economy.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I hope I bring some credibility on what the most effective way to create jobs and bring America back is.

ANNOUNCER: These two Democrats have been at odds in the past. But they're united in the battle to hold on to the White House.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You're in good hands.

ANNOUNCER: Look for Clinton to fire up Obama supporters tonight as he has before. But is there a risk he'll upstage the president?


ANNOUNCER: Now, CNN turns the spotlight on one of the biggest platforms in American politics. This is the Democratic National Convention. This is the night delegates have their say.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Join with me. We will elect Barack Obama president of the United States of America.

ANNOUNCER: This is America's choice.


BLITZER: We'd like to welcome our viewers in the United States and around the world to this, the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte, North Carolina. Everyone here is waiting to hear what Bill Clinton will say about President Obama tonight as well as his own time in the White House. But another speech tonight could make or break the Democrats' hope for keeping control of the United States Senate. Elizabeth Warren is challenging Republican Senator Scott Brown in Massachusetts. Coming up in this hour, we'll hear praise of Bill Clinton from someone you might not expect.

COOPER: Coming from the Republicans, Vice Presidential-candidate Paul Ryan sat down with CNN's Piers Morgan to compare the Clinton and Obama presidencies. The two presidents have not always been close, obviously. Our chief national correspondent John King covered the Clinton White House for us and he joins us now -- John.

JOHN KING, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: Anderson, not always close, but these two presidents, the former president and President Obama are more than at peace now. And as President Clinton comes here tonight you may say both these men share a little bit of numbers envy. President Clinton, he is envious of this. He never won more than 50 percent of the vote. Ross Perot was in the race both times Bill Clinton won the presidency and the number Barack Obama is envious of, that would be this, 23 million jobs created, Anderson, during the Clinton term. COOPER: For a preview of what Bill Clinton is going to say tonight, let's go to CNN chief political correspondent Candy Crowley who is stationed above the podium. Candy, what are the sources you've been talking to telling you about what he's going to say?

CANDY CROWLEY, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: Well first of all, they tell me that in fact Bill Clinton is sort of a man for all reasons for this party, appeals to the base. He reaches to the swing voters. He's the most popular living ex-president. And he reaches those voters toughest, the toughest demographic for President Obama, and that is white working class males. And with that in mind, this is one of the excerpts that they gave us from the speech tonight by Bill Clinton.

And he will say, "The most important question is, what kind of country do you want to live in? If you want a you're-on-your-own, winner-take-all society, you should support the Republican ticket. If you want a country of shared prosperity and shared responsibility, a we're-all-in-this-together society, you should vote for Barack Obama and Joe Biden." I am told that in fact, Bill Clinton will be very specific when he compares -- and this is something he does very well -- when he compares what they will see as the Romney agenda versus what President Obama proposes for the next four years.

And he can as well sources say connect those dots from what Democrats see as the good old days, the Clinton boom years, to what President Obama is promising in the future. And the president will say -- former president will say he's following the policies that I followed, therefore, stick with him -- Wolf, back to you.

BLITZER: Candy, thanks very much. Our CNN correspondents Brianna Keilar, John Berman and Kate Bolduan, they are here. They are down on the arena floor and up in the stands with the delegates. And in a change of plans for the Democrats, this convention will be in this arena tomorrow as well. The party scrapped the idea of having the president give his acceptance speech in the much larger but open air Bank of America Stadium because of the threat of thunderstorms. We're watching all of this unfold.

The Democrats tightly scripted convention plans fell apart in another way just a little while ago as well. Watch what happened. Watch this. Watch what happened during a voice vote to amend the party platform to include language referring to Jerusalem and God. Watch this.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: All those delegates in favor say aye.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: All those delegates opposed say no.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: In the opinion of the -- let me do that again. All of those delegates in favor say aye.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: All those delegates opposed say no.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'll do that one more time. All those delegates in favor say aye.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: All those delegates opposed say no.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: In the opinion of the chair, two-thirds have voted in the affirmative. The motion is adopted.


BLITZER: Our chief White House correspondent Jessica Yellin is here with more. What an embarrassing moment. That's normally supposed to be very easy to pass these kinds of acclamations. But we understand, your reporting, the president himself (ph) intervened with his Platform Committee to get the change.

JESSICA YELLIN, CNN CHIEF WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: That's right the president did. And they did not notify the delegates in advance that the change was coming. They found out when it was announced from the podium which could have contributed to some of the confusion with the yes and the no at the time. The language has been changed on Jerusalem back to that original language in 2008 which said that Jerusalem is going to be the capital of Israel. It's recognized officially as the capital of Israel. And the president essentially cauterizing a self-inflicted wound why, as one donor said to me, there goes the conspiracy for the Democrats to lose Florida this year.

It was a joke, but you understand the implications there. And then on God, several Democratic sources say that the president said, well, why would that happen? Why the heck would that be taken out, so he wanted that added back in, and now the platform has been changed back on both those points. It is Ted Strickland who runs the Drafting Committee of the platform. So no doubt he will bear some responsibility for this. But then a lot of people also will ask why wasn't this more carefully reviewed? And then finally though in the end it's done.

BLITZER: Who would have thought that the word God would be that controversial in what should have been a routine platform. All right, Jessica, thanks very much. Anderson, I don't know if you could listen -- you heard three times. It sounded at least even, that voice vote. It certainly didn't sound like a two-thirds majority. But that maybe is just me.

COOPER: And then I think you heard a number of people after that booing with that result. Let's talk about the platform glitch and Bill Clinton's speech tonight with our analysts. I'm joined by chief national correspondent John King, chief political analyst Gloria Borger, our CNN contributors Van Jones and Alex Castellanos and senior political analyst David Gergen. David, was this just a self-inflicted wound, a glitch?

DAVID GERGEN, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: Absolutely. After a roaring first night, one we all proclaimed was successful. They started out the night with a stumble. And we'll have to see where the rest of the evening goes. But this hits them in two vulnerable places of the Democratic Party. The Republicans have long argued this is a godless party.


GERGEN: It's a secular party. And here they come take God out of the platform. And the other argument is you talk about Israel in a positive way, but we can't trust you underneath. We think you're squishy on Israel. And here they come along and now they're all over the lot (ph). There's still some language on Israel that's been left in this that was taken out of the platform with regard to Israel that conservatives and Jews are going to really object to.


COOPER: Van Jones, wouldn't somebody at the White House at least have been reviewing the platform to kind of catch this kind of thing?

VAN JONES, FORMER OBAMA SPECIAL ADVISER: Well I mean obviously it's a big mistake. But the word faith occurs multiple times throughout the thing. I mean listen I'm a Christian. I was offended. I think the Democratic Party has a problem because on the one hand, there are a lot of secular, very strong secular liberals in the party. On the other hand, this is the party of John Lewis. This is the party of Barack Obama. This is the party of -- you're not going to find people with stronger faith than John Lewis whose prayers got him through some the civil rights movement and so you're seeing some of those (INAUDIBLE) this is obviously a big blunder.

GLORIA BORGER, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL ANALYST: You know one of the things you measure when you look at presidential campaigns, there's a question, Alex, you know this very well, is how many times do you go to church every month? And one of the problems that John Kerry had in 2004 was that he did not win with people who go to church twice a month, who say, you know churchgoing people and that hurt him in rural America. It hurt him in the south. And the Democratic Party cannot be seen as the secular party. So, yes, they may mention faith. But what's wrong with God?

COOPER: Alex, is this something now that goes away or do you think no?

ALEX CASTELLANOUS, CNN POLITICAL CONTRIBUTOR: You'll see it probably in Republican ads --

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: If you have anything to do with it. (LAUGHTER)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'm gratefully retired. I'm not a pastor.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: How about tomorrow morning?

CASTELLANOS: But you want to get God back in your platform because otherwise the Democratic ticket may not have a prayer. But, no, it was nice of the mayor, I think, to let them vote until they got it right. And with the power you have from the podium -- but this convention, Barack Obama's gone farther left than Bill Clinton which is why Bill Clinton is here tonight, to drag him back to the middle. This kind of offsets that. This is the secular liberal Democratic Party that has trouble with older white working men.

KING: There are legitimate policy questions here about -- the language about Israel, does it -- why did it happen? Israel is splitting the party over what the language says. But we would not be having this conversation -- we should not be having this conversation. The Democrats last week decided to make a very big deal of the Republican platform.

BORGER: Right.

KING: When you do that, it is politics 101. You better scrub yours because you know this is coming, so this is keystone cops. They can blame Ted Strickland. They can blame Cory Booker. Somebody from the Obama campaign has to read that document and has to say here's what we said four years ago when he was your candidate. It's not like you have a new candidate.


KING: He is your candidate --

COOPER: Especially because they did make such a big deal --


COOPER: Debbie Wasserman Schultz was all over there blaming --

BORGER: Right.

KING: Not only the platform and then Mitt Romney made --


KING: -- a big point about Israel --

BORGER: And you know --

KING: So what do you do? You scrub the platform. You say, he wants to make a big deal of Israel, let's triple-check, quadruple- check every line. This is not just the Platform Committee. Somebody in the campaign should have been assigned, somebody with a policy and a political background, not just some kid or some -- (CROSSTALK)


KING: I can't get an answer. Is it lasting damage? Who knows? This is an election about the economy. However, if it is a 50/50 election, who knows? Republicans have been able in the past to use the God issue against Democrats. Van is right. The president is a Christian, you know, so but can you use this in a radio ad? Can you move a couple of hundred votes on this -- maybe -- maybe --


BORGER: But --

GERGEN: (INAUDIBLE) the Jewish vote in Florida could be in play --



UNIDENTIFIED MALE: But you know --

BORGER: But somebody --

CASTELLANOS: -- two dots make a line. If you want to -- if you're going to run a campaign, you want to establish your pattern and you begin looking at things. This convention is going still a lot to the left, from a Republican point of view and perhaps an independent. I mean the theme from this convention seems to be more free stuff for you --


CASTELLANOS: You get that from the government and you start connecting these dots. That's why they need Bill Clinton to send the message that Barack Obama can't credibly deliver on his --

COOPER: Van I want to give you the final thought --

JONES: (INAUDIBLE) that's right. First of all, there's more continuity between Obama and Bill Clinton than people like you want to give them credit for. When you look down the line would Bill Clinton have been for health care? Yes. Would Bill Clinton have been for the stimulus? Yes. So I think that what Bill Clinton is going to be able to do --

CASTELLANOS: He was the last president to balance a budget.

JONES: Well because he was the last president that didn't have to --


JONES: -- didn't have to inherit the Bush economy. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: To be continued.

COOPER: A quick break -- yes -- to be continued no doubt about it. Republican Paul Ryan is suddenly sounding like a Bill Clinton fan out on the campaign trail today. Also in his interview with Piers Morgan, we'll explain why ahead. And Hillary Clinton tells CNN many voters might feel differently about the president if they knew what she knows -- an exclusive interview with her ahead.


BLITZER: He's delivered a blistering attack on Mitt Romney. The president of the AFL-CIO, Richard Trumka, is joining Candy Crowley up on the podium -- Candy.

CROWLEY: Thanks, Wolf. Richard, let me talk to you a little bit. We are in the state that has the least amount of unionized workers of any state in the country. You know it's a right to work state. Usually when you're at these Democratic Conventions, all you can see are union t-shirts. Not here and not now. Translate that to November for me.

RICHARD TRUMKA, PRESIDENT, AFL-CIO: Well, first of all, there are over 1,000 union delegates here. So they may not have -- some of them do, some of them may not, but there are 1,000 delegates here and we have 140,000 members here in this state. We think they deserve every right that every member in every other state deserves. That's why we came together. Everybody's excited. We've called for --

CROWLEY: But you weren't happy about the choice of North Carolina?

TRUMKA: We weren't at first. We really weren't. We were unhappy because it was a right to work state. But then we realized, what's really important here? What's really important is the country, that we need jobs. We've got to come together. I fear for the country if Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan were elected.

CROWLEY: Talk to me a little bit. This first -- we were discussing today how yesterday's conversation from today's was a lot about the rights of undocumented workers. We heard about -- a lot about same-sex marriage. We heard about choice. How comfortable are you in going to your union members after a day yesterday? Do you think it took some of the focus off jobs?

TRUMKA: No, I don't think so. I think the first lady did an incredible job. I think other people -- I think Patrick Deval (ph) did a great job. I thought Martin O'Malley did a great job. I thought Castro did a good job. They talked about jobs. They talked about an economy that works for everybody, not just the people at the top, but works for everybody.

CROWLEY: Richard Trumka, head of the AFL-CIO, thanks for joining us --


COOPER: Candy, thanks very much. We are anticipating hearing from Congresswoman Nancy Pelosi. She's actually now taking the stage. Let's listen in.

REP. NANCY PELOSI (D-CA), MINORITY LEADER: Good evening, fellow Democrats.


PELOSI: Good evening. Isn't that American dream story the story of America? We are all here to reignite the American dream. That is why I'm so pleased to see so many young people, the future of our party, the hope of America. I stand before you as the first mother and first grandmother to serve as Democratic leader and first Speaker of the House of Representatives.


PELOSI: For 25 years, it has been my privilege to represent the city of San Francisco and the great state of California to work to strengthen our vibrant middle class and to secure opportunity and equality. We all stand together in our drive for 25, 25 seats to win back the House for the Democrats as we reelect President Barack Obama President of the United States. Democrats believe in reigniting the American dream by removing barriers to success and building ladders of opportunity for all so that everyone can succeed. Jobs are central to the American dream, and President Obama has focused on jobs from day one. Under President Obama, we've gone from losing 800,000 jobs a month to adding 4.5 million private sector jobs over the last 29 months. The American dream is about freedom. Jobs mean freedom, for workers to support their families. Working with President Obama, Democrats passed the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act to strength the rights of women in the workplace.


PELOSI: We repealed "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" so our troops can serve the country they love regardless of whom they love. We made college more affordable. House Democrats passed the DREAM Act, but Senate Republicans blocked it. With President Obama, Democrats enacted the toughest consumer safeguards in history to protect Main Street from recklessness of some on Wall Street. Democrats passed health care reform to allow Americans the freedom to pursue their passion, to make health care a right, not a privilege, and to ensure that being a woman is no longer a pre-existing medical condition.


PELOSI: Our freedom is secured every day by our men and women in uniform. We must build a future worthy of their sacrifice. We thank them for keeping America the land of the free and the home of the brave. This year we are determined to reelect an extraordinary president who in no ordinary time led America back from the brink of depression, while Republicans tried to block him at every turn. This election offers the clearest choice of our time. Many names are on the ballot. So, too, on the ballot is the character of our country. Why is that? Medicare is on the ballot. Democrats will preserve and strengthen Medicare. Republicans will end the Medicare guarantee. It's just plain wrong. When you go to the polls, vote for Medicare, vote for President Obama.


PELOSI: Social security is on the ballot. Democrats enacted it. Democrats will fight to preserve it. Some Republicans want to replace the guarantee of Social Security with a gamble of private accounts. It's just plain wrong. When you go to the polls, vote for Social Security. Vote for President Barack Obama.


PELOSI: And the hard-fought rights of women are on the ballot. Democrats trust the judgment of women. We reject the Republican assault on women's reproductive health. It's just plain wrong. When you go to the polls, vote for women's rights. Vote for President Obama.


PELOSI: And our democracy is on the ballot. Democrats believe we must curb the influence of special interest on our political institutions. Democrats believe we must create jobs, not protect the special interest. We must build the economy from the middle out, not the top down. To change policy for the middle class, we must change politics. Democrats will work to overturn Citizens United.


PELOSI: While Republicans support opening the floodgates to special interest money and suppressing the right to vote. It's just plain wrong. We believe in the government of the many, not the privileged few. When you go to the polls, vote for democracy. Vote for President Barack Obama.


PELOSI: And the American dream is on the ballot. We have work to do to reignite the American dream, to build ladders of opportunity for our middle class and remove barriers to success. When you go to the polls, vote for the American dream. Vote for strong Democratic majorities in the United States Senate and the House of Representatives. Vote for Vice President Joe Biden and President Barack Obama.


PELOSI: God bless you. God bless the United States of America. Thank you all very much.

COOPER: Coming up, Republican Paul Ryan tells our Piers Morgan how he would compare President Obama to President Clinton. And an Obama insider reveals how the president likes to kick back in his most private moments. That's next. We'll be right back.


BLITZER: We're back here at the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte, North Carolina. We're getting ready to hear from the former President Bill Clinton.

The Republican vice presidential nominee, Paul Ryan, has started invoking Bill Clinton's name when he attacks the president of the United States. Our own Piers Morgan had a chance to interview Congressman Ryan.

I saw some little clips. It was pretty good interview.

PIERS MORGAN, CNN HOST: It was very interesting, because obviously, they're trying to position President Clinton as the real great Democrat president, and therefore, Barack Obama, the less favorable light. But something I get into quite quickly about that, because it's a mischievous little ploy by the Republicans and it might work if Bill Clinton tonight raises the roof and is fantastic. All the Republicans are going, well, if only we had him to deal with, stuff could get done to improve the country's fortune.

Let's take a look.


MORGAN: Congressman Ryan, President Bill Clinton will make his big speech tonight here in this very convention center behind me. Are you looking forward to hearing what he has to say?

REP. PAUL RYAN (R-WI), VICE PRESIDENTIAL NOMINEE: I do. I do plan on listening to his speech. I think we'll probably hear a lot about the 1990s but not about the last four years, because you cannot make the case that people are better off than they were four years ago.

Look, Bill Clinton did a lot of good bipartisan things. He gave us welfare reform. President Obama is watering it down. He had a budget agreement with the Republicans that cut spending. We haven't had anything like that with President Obama.

MORGAN: Would you say that by some of the criteria you're laying down at Barack Obama's feet, that America was a worse-off country economically at the end of eight years of President Bush than it was under Bill Clinton?

RYAN: Look, Barack Obama inherited a very difficult situation when he came to office. There are no two ways about that. Any fair assessment of his record needs to take that into account, Piers.

The problem is, President Obama made it worse. We've had 42 months of unemployment above 8 percent. Nearly one in six Americans are living in poverty today. We have 23 million people struggling to find work. That's a result of bad policies coming from this administration. And so I think what President Obama is basically offering is four more years of the same. That's what he means he says he has an incomplete record on jobs.

We're going to offer a different vision. We've got bold solutions. That's what the Romney-Ryan plan for a stronger middle class is all about. And we're going to give the country a choice of two futures, one where we think we can get people back to work, improve (ph) the economy, create opportunity, create jobs. It's a stark contrast to the last four years under the Obama administration.

MORGAN: You have to give President Obama a bit of time just to get things back on track. Their argument is, look, once we got things back on track, we've now had well over 20 months of consecutive job growth. The stock market is beginning to soar again, et cetera, et cetera. You've heard the argument.

How much of a pass to you give them, given you yourselves believe that what happened at the end of President Bush's tenure was pretty catastrophic?

RYAN: Well, as I mentioned, you have to give President Obama the fact that he inherited a very difficult situation. But I think he made things worse. Look, usually when we have a deep recession in America, we come bounding out of it with fast economic growth and quick job creation. We did that after the '81-'82 recession with Ronald Reagan. We did after the tough '70s recession we had.

We're limping out of this recession right now. Economic growth is stagnant. Job creation is stagnant. The labor force participation rate is stagnant.

Look, the unemployment rate today is higher than it was at this time in the Carter era. The unemployment rate was 7.8 percent in July of 1980. Today, it's been above 8 percent for 42 months.

So to make the argument that they're putting us on the right track I think just defies logic. It flies in the face of the facts.

MORGAN: Right. But --

RYAN: Twenty million people are struggling to find work.


MORGAN: Right. Just to jump in, though, obviously the unemployment rate is only marginally higher now than it was at the end of George Bush's presidency. So, if you're going to hammer Jimmy Carter and you're going to hammer President Obama, are you prepared to fairly hammer President Bush? Because the figures are not dissimilar.

RYAN: Well, but before the economic crisis, the unemployment rate was far, far lower. We had a mild recession in the early part --


MORGAN: But that's like saying before an avalanche, the snow was great.

RYAN: Piers, hear me out. We had an economic crisis in 2008. I was very familiar with that. I was there.

The problem I'm saying is President Obama's so-called solutions didn't fix the problem. They've made it worse.

And so, President Obama for the last two years has not been offering solutions. He's been attacking the other party. Don't forget, Piers, for the first two years of his presidency, his entire party controlled all of government. He got to pass nearly every single item on his agenda. And we are suffering as a result of that.

MORGAN: Right. Last night there was a big running theme of these speeches at the Democratic convention on social issues. And they rather mischievous included in their Teddy Kennedy tribute video a sequence of Mitt Romney talking very proudly about his position on abortion, making it absolutely clear, pledging to his own voters who were going to vote for him, listen, I am pro choice.

How do you feel about that? You're a Catholic. You're obviously the complete opposite as he has evolved. But he was 47 years old at the time. He wasn't a young man.

What did you make of it, when you se your leader apparently breaking that promise? I mean, if you voted for him on the basis of him being very much pro a woman's choice and abortion, why should you vote for him now that he's the complete opposite?

RYAN: Well, obviously, you know my record's very clear on that. I'm proud of my pro life record. And, look, people change their minds, their positions.

MORGAN: But it wasn't your record I'm talking about, Congressman.

RYAN: I know Romney very well.

But that doesn't matter. Not every individual agrees on every single issue. Mitt Romney's position is extremely clear on this and all the other issues. And I'm proud to stand with him.

MORGAN: Right. But you don't have any problem in what people call flip-flopping?

RYAN: Look, people change their positions over the years. That's the natural progression of the human mind. And so what I think matters is, what is the vision Mitt Romney is offering Americans? What are the policies and the principles?

They are policies and principles that mirror mine. I'm joining this ticket and I'm proud to join this ticket because I really think we're at a very, very important inflection point in our country.

MORGAN: It's good to talk to you. Thanks for coming on the show. RYAN: You, too. Nice to meet you. Take care.


BLITZER: Piers is here live.

Good interview. What did you think of him?

MORGAN: He's very personable. He's very smart. And he's clearly proven to be rather effective.

You can see that in the slight movement in the Republican polls. There's something about him, though, when I watched his speech very carefully, he was definitely using a few sticks to beat Barack Obama but not 100 percent factual. I think he has to watch that because I think the media are on to this now. And he's become known as the straight guy as he was before. And now, you always have to second- guess everything he says.

But I do think he's effective V.P. for Mitt Romney at the moment. I think it's a hell of a battle. The polls are neck and neck.

BLITZER: I'm looking forward to that debate with Joe Biden in October.

MORGAN: I'm a bit unusual. I really like Joe Biden when he's out there on the stump. I think the line the other day -- bin Laden's dead, General Motors is alive -- great line. He got them all going.

He's an effective campaigner.

BLITZER: It's going to be a good one. Thanks very much, Piers.

Midnight tonight, you'll be right here on the floor for a special "PIERS MORGAN TONIGHT."

MORGAN: No rest for the wicked, Wolf.

BLITZER: Thank you.

Let's go to CNN's Erin Burnett and Tom Foreman for a CNN reality check on some of what Paul Ryan had to say in that interview with Piers -- Erin.

ERIN BURNETT, CNN HOST: As Piers said, Wolf, he's very effective, very smart, very straight. Every time I've talked to him about this issue, he lays it out but he has a point of view he's trying to make. And obviously, no matter how many times it's challenged, the Republicans have been going back and back to that idea that President Obama is unraveling welfare reform, specifically the working aspect of it.


BURNETT: The welfare to work. Obviously this is one of bill Clinton's signature pieces of legislation that he did in working with Republicans.

Paul Ryan in the interview with piers, though, backtracked a little bit.

FOREMAN: Kind of slipped in it there.

BURNETT: Let's hear him.


RYAN: Bill Clinton did a lot of good bipartisan things. He gave us welfare reform. President Obama's watering it down.


BURNETT: So watering it down is a little bit different than what they said last week. It was stronger. It was getting rid of it completely. They are backing off a little bit, because of --

FOREMAN: Well, it's been challenged a lot. But what are the Republicans trying to make of this? Paul Ryan is not the only one who's still whacking away at this pinata. I have to tell you. Today, at the fundraising, the Mitt Romney said this about President Obama. Quote, "When he waived the welfare work requirement in July, he effectively gutted bipartisan reform as we know it."

The facts are simply this -- welfare reform was a big bipartisan success story back in the mid-1990s, signed by Bill Clinton. Republicans wanted it. At the time, it fulfilled promises on both sides of the aisle to push welfare recipients to work more for those benefits. To end welfare as we know it. That was the famous, famous phrase that Mitt Romney was playing off of there.

So did the White House kill this thing off?

BURNETT: That's what --



FOREMAN: No. It did not. The administration says it's willing to give some states more flexibility on trying to work out parts of the welfare program, so maybe more people can be pushed to working. Do Republicans say that maybe you'll redefine work and some people might get a break that they might not otherwise that, that will thwart this effort? Yes, they say that. And maybe that could come out in this equation.

But the big picture remain this is -- there is just no proof that this is the goal of the president. And that's no matter how many times the Republicans say it. Whether they say it big or say it small like today.

BURNETT: There's so many absolutes out there. Obviously that one, Republicans are inaccurate. Some of what we hear Nancy Pelosi saying, Republicans, Paul Ryan would get rid of America. Also not true. Anyone over 55, he would keep it as it is.

Of course, one of the famous compromises when he worked with Democrat Ron Wyden of Oregon --


BURNETT: He said, you can use your voucher but for private plans or for traditional Medicare.

So, it's not as simple as either side would make it.

FOREMAN: Fortunately, enough half truths to go around for everyone.

BURNETT: That's right. Half truths sure enough to make full lies for both party.

All right. Back to you guys.

BLITZER: Thanks very much, Erin.

Delegates are getting pumped up about Bill Clinton's big speech later tonight. Hillary Clinton, she's s opening up about President Obama's decision-making skills. That's coming up as well.

First, this convention flashback.


GERALDINE FERRARO (D), FORMER VICE PRESIDENTIAL NOMINEE: My name is Geraldine Ferraro. I stand before you to proclaim tonight, America is the land where dreams can come true for all of us.

DORIS KEARNS GOODWIN, PRESIDENTIAL HISTORIAN: The idea that, yes, this could be the first vice presidential nominee who's a woman, first vice president if she were to win, it was exciting. And it held for a few days.



ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: Hey, welcome back to the Democratic National Convention. I'm Anderson Cooper here, just above the convention floor in the CNN skybox.

We've been focusing a lot tonight on the debate of the Democratic Party platform. Some really kind of odd, unscripted moments earlier this afternoon in putting back in the word "God" in the platform, which had been omitted, as well as recognizing Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.

Brianna Keilar is on the floor with the head of the DNC, Debbie Wasserman Schultz -- Brianna.

BRIANNA KEILAR, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Hi there, Anderson. I'm here with Debbie Wasserman Schultz. She's, you know, the chairwoman of the DNC.

You're one of the most prominent Jewish lawmakers. How did you feel when you learned that the platform omitted Jerusalem as the capital of Israel?

REP. DEBBIE WASSERMAN SCHULTZ (D-FL), DNC CHAIRWOMAN: Well, really, it was essentially a technical oversight. And President Obama, because he personally believes that Jerusalem is and always should remain the capital of Israel, he made sure that we amended the platform so that it would reflect his personal view, as well as reflect the language that we had in the platform in 2008.

And it goes on to say, as we had in the platform and that has reflected decades of American policy for Republican and Democratic presidents, that essentially, Jerusalem is the subject of final status talks between the two parties.

KEILAR: And the language on God, you would call a technical oversight as well?

WASSERMAN SCHULTZ: Yes, the language on God. While we were amending the platform to include Jerusalem and the president's personal view, we also felt it was important to make sure that we made a reference there.

KEILAR: But isn't that frustrating? A technical oversight? I mean, the ramifications are somewhat serious. You open yourself wide for criticism from Republicans who say the president's moving away from Israel.

WASSERMAN SCHULTZ: Listen, I'm so proud of our president's stellar record on Israel and proud that our platform is 100 percent strong on the U.S./Israel relationship, on making sure that Israel remains a Jewish and democratic state. We have even stronger language than the Republicans do on preventing Iran from achieving a nuclear weapon.

So I was already extremely proud of this strong pro-Israel platform. And now, I'm even more proud that President Obama wanted to make sure that it reflected his personal view that Jerusalem is and always will be the capital of Israel.

KEILAR: How was it overlooked?

WASSSERMAN SCHULTZ: You know, look, forums are many pages long. The bottom line is that we've taken steps, we've amended it, President Obama felt it was important to reflect his personal view, and it's done. And we're moving forward and continuing this convention.

KEILAR: And what about the process of changing the platform? Three voice votes that had to be done. There was booing on the floor. I mean, that's obviously not what you want to be seen, discord here on what's really --

WASSERMAN SCHULTZ: No, there wasn't any discord. You know, and Mayor Villaraigosa, as he presided, in order to amend the platform, it takes a two-thirds vote. He had to make sure we had a two-thirds vote. And when he realized that we did, we moved forward.

KEILAR: And did you really feel like it was two-thirds? It seemed like a lot of people felt like maybe it wasn't quite there.

WASSERMAN SCHULTZ: Yes, it was absolutely two-thirds. And I know because our platform was adopted yesterday that has very strong pro-Israel language, is a strong pro-Israel platform. As the first Jewish woman to represent Florida in Congress, who takes my love of Israel to work with me every single day, I'm proud to support this president because as Defense Minister Ehud Barak has said, that Israel has never had a greater friend than President Obama.

KEILAR: Let me ask you this, because I didn't talk to you yesterday but some of my colleagues did. I spoke with other people close to the president and they stood by the platform and they said, no, no, it's not a mistake. But it seems very much a change today where we see this has been amended. It's a difference in language between yesterday and today.

WASSERMAN SCHULTZ: No, no, it's not actually -- because President Obama really felt that it was personally important to him to make sure that his personal view, that Jerusalem is and always will remain the capital of Israel was reflected in the platform. And this was directly the result of his personal view. And, you know, something amending the platform during the convention, because it was the president's priority, demonstrates yet again that he always has had Israel's back and always will.

KEILAR: And, obviously, something very much a concern to you as a key constituency represent a district where you have a number of Jewish/American voters, it's very personal to you. We thank you very much for taking the time.

WASSERMAN SCHULTZ: Thank you, Brianna.

KEILAR: Anderson, back to you.

COOPER: Brianna Keilar, thanks very much.

I've just got to go to the panel with this. I mean, Debbie Wasserman Schultz said it wasn't a change of language. There was no discord that we saw. And it was a 2/3 vote. I mean --

DAVID GERGEN, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: Yes. And it was a technical oversight.

COOPER: I mean, that's just -- that's an alternate universe.

ALEX CASTELLANOS, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: That's why people I think -- one reason people are so tired of politicians frankly in both parties. Why you appreciate a politician like Rahm Emanuel who talks straight.

But evidently, she was so upset that God and Jerusalem were left out of the platform that it curled her hair.

GLORIA BORGER, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL ANALYST: She also had to make the point over and over again that the president is now happy that this reflects his personal view.


COOPER: Let me point out again, this is the same person who last week or two weeks ago attacking the Romney campaign, saying that it is the candidate who sets the platform, who designs and writes the platform. It wasn't true what she was saying two weeks ago, but now isn't it fair? If she claimed that about the Republican platform to claim that about the Democratic Party platform?

CASTELLANOS: God and Jerusalem were booed on the floor at the Democratic Convention today.

VAN JONES, AUTHOR, "REBUILD THE DREAM: We don't know what they were booing.

CASTELLANOS: The reason she said this is Barack Obama's -- this is his personal view that Jerusalem should be the capital, because that's not administration policy. The administration hasn't gotten there.

GERGEN: I want to (INAUDIBLE) Van just said, it's not clear what they were booing. They may well have been booing the process and not the substance.

JONES: Right. I think that's right. Here's the thing -- I think there is a problem here. Obviously, there's some discord about something here, that people were yay, no, the confusion. It was handled badly beginning end, and now, we're going to pay a price for that I think as Democrats. That makes Bill Clinton's speech that much more important. We need to hear from the big dog tonight.

COOPER: I just think for me, a reality standpoint, you can defend it as the head of the DNC, but to say flat out there was no discord is just not true.

JOHN KING, CNN CHIEF NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: If I had a follow- up question, did she ever get away with the dog ate my homework? That was pretty good.

And, Anderson, you know, just yesterday -- just yesterday, Debbie Wasserman Schultz' deputies here at the convention briefed delegates, briefed Jewish delegates here, telling them that a slight switch in the Jewish vote, up 6 percent or 8 percent, maybe 10 percent, could swing the election. And they said it could happen in a bunch of different states.

So, let's take a look at it. What these delegates were told that in states like Florida, in Ohio, in Nevada, in Colorado, maybe even in Michigan and elsewhere, if the Jewish vote swings just a bit, they could turn the election.

Let's just look at the state of Florida. It's always a battleground state. It's very close right now. I want to show you three counties right here, right here -- Barack Obama won these three counties by more than 500,000 votes. He only won statewide over John McCain in a big Democratic year by 236,000 votes. So, twice of the state wide margin came out of these three counties.

Why do I focus on them? They are blue, they are Democratic, there are a lot of New York and Northeast Jews retire to Florida. This is the battleground for Jewish vote in Florida. It has always the key if Democrats win, they win big here.

This is where, Anderson, we'll watch and test whether this has ramifications as we (INAUDIBLE) on that.

And John Berman is down the floor right now with someone else who has a huge stake in this, the New York Congressman Steve Israel, who's the chair of the Democratic committee that raises money trying to elect congressional candidates across the country.

And, John, I think Steve Israel would concede, a lot of candidates who were mad about that language.

JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR & CORRESPONDENT: Yes, so let's talk about the political ramifications of this platform with Steve Israel, who as you said is in charge of the Democratic National Campaign Committee.

What have you been hearing the last 24 hours from your candidates? Is this platform, was it a problem for them?

REP. STEVE ISRAEL (D), NEW YORK: No, it wasn't a problem. The platform was fixed. So it's no longer an issue unless the Republican Party want to make this an issue.

BERMAN: They do.

ISRAEL: Which is making Israel a political football, which does no service to the state of Israel.

Prime Minister Netanyahu and Israel's ambassador to the United States have always said bipartisanship is a strategic asset to the state of Israel. We should keep it that way and not make Israel a political football.

I introduced the bill to move the U.S. embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. The Bush administration opposed it. We've repaired it. It shouldn't be an issue anymore.

BERMAN: As someone who runs campaigns, you live in the world of reality. You know Republicans are going to use this. Won't this hurt your candidates on the God issue in places like Ohio? On the Jerusalem issue in places like Florida?

ISRAEL: They use it at their own peril, because the fact of the matter is that Israel does best when you have bipartisanship in the United States. And for Republicans to consistently make Israel a political football, a partisan tool does not do Israel a service. The platform was corrected, it's no longer an issue.

BERMAN: How did you feel personally when you heard about the platform yesterday? ISRAEL: I was disappointed it wasn't in the platform. I expressed my feelings about this.

BERMAN: Did other candidates express their feelings --

ISRAEL: I haven't heard from other candidates, but I can tell you several of my colleagues in Congress expressed their concern. Their concerns were listened to and this was resolved quite quickly.

BERMAN: Are you concerned it happened in the first place?

ISRAEL: It should have happened in the first place, but the fact of the matter is that it has been repaired and resolved and now we need to get onto other issues.

BERMAN: Eric Cantor says it sends mixed messages to Israel.

ISRAEL: Eric Cantor is being irresponsible when he uses Israel as a political football. Israel is better than that. It is not a political football. It's a strategic ally, and we should treat them as such.

BERMAN: Congressman Steve Israel, thank you very much for joining us -- Anderson.

COOPER: Nothing to see here, move along, nothing to see here, move along, don't ask those questions, move along, nothing to see here. Ignore what's going on.

Stand by for Hillary Clinton, an exclusive CNN interview answering the question, is President Clinton a good boss? A lot more ahead. Move along, move along.



JIMM CARTER, FORMER U.S. PRESIDENT: The president is a servant of today. But his true constituent is the future.

WALTER MONDALE, FORMER PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: America is the future that each generation must enlarge.

MICHAEL DUKAKIS, FORMER PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Because this election is not about ideology. It's about confidence.

BILL CLINTON, FORMER U.S. PRESIDENT: I still believe in a place called hope.

AL GORE, FORMER PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: And I stand here tonight as my own man. And I want you to know me for who I truly am.

SEN. JOHN KERRY (D), MASSACHUSETTS: I'm John Kerry, and I'm reporting for duty.

BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: America, we cannot turn back. Not with so much work to be done.



BLITZER: The president of the United States is in Charlotte, North Carolina, where fellow Democrats are about to nominate him for a second term.

COOPER: But tonight's spotlight isn't entirely on President Obama. It's on the man nominating him.


NARRATOR: A former president, riding a wave of renewed popularity.

CLINTON: Thank you.

NARRATOR: Helps a current president in a tough re-election fight.

CLINTON: I don't think it's important to re-elect the president. I think it is essential to re-elect the president.

NARRATOR: In Charlotte tonight, Bill Clinton nominates Barack Obama to a second term, appealing to voter who's still think it's all about the economy.

CLINTON: I hope I bring some credibility on what most effective way to create jobs and bring America back is.

NARRATOR: These two Democrats have been at odds in the past, but they are united on the battle to hold onto the White House.

OBAMA: You're in good hands.

NARRATOR: Look for Clinton to fire up Obama supporters tonight, as he has before. But is there the risk he will upstage the president?