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CNN LIVE EVENT/SPECIAL
Democratic National Convention
Aired September 5, 2012 - 21:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
WOLF BLITZER, CNN ANCHOR: Democrats here in Charlotte are preparing for tonight's roll call to re-nominate President Obama.
ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: But a messy platform fight has been distracting from tonight's biggest stars.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ANNOUNCER: From Charlotte tonight, Bill Clinton returns to the convention stage to re-nominate Barack Obama and pounce on the GOP's economic message.
BILL CLINTON, FORMER U.S. PRESIDENT: The Romney Republican plan is austerity and more unemployment now and blow the lid off later. It isn't good economics, the Obama policy is.
ANNOUNCER: Also in prime time, the Democratic challenger in one of the hottest U.S. Senate races, Elizabeth Warren wants to help her party's sweep Mitt Romney's home state of Massachusetts.
ELIZABETH WARREN (D), MASSACHUSETTS SENATORIAL CANDIDATE: Mitt Romney and his Republican plans support helping the rich and powerful get richer and more powerful.
Are you ready to stand with the president? Are you ready? Then get up.
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.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
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. Bill Clinton is getting ready to take on what he calls the Republicans' "you're on your own" and "winner take all" society.
We'll also be hearing from Elizabeth Warren. She became a Democratic star during the fight over new financial protections for middle class consumers. Now she's challenging a sitting Republican senator in Mitt Romney's home state of Massachusetts.
COOPER: We're also going to hear from a rising star in Democratic politics, the son of Vice President Joe Biden tonight. That's ahead. A lot ahead in this next hour. Our CNN correspondents, Brianna Keilar, Soledad O'Brien, and Kate Bolduan are down on the arena floor. And up in the stands with the delegates tonight, our Candy Crowley, of course, is stationed above the podium and has a preview of what Elizabeth Warren is going to say tonight -- Candy.
CANDY CROWLEY, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: Anderson, I think you're going to expect Elizabeth Warren, who, as Wolf mentioned, is running for a very key Senate race -- Senate seat in Massachusetts, Scott Brown, the Republican who currently holds that seat. Won it. It was the late Ted Kennedy's seat.
So you are either going to see a rising star and certainly she will come out, and if she wins, she will be a rising star. You will expect to hear I think tonight a lot about the middle class. That is the theme of this campaign, and she fits right into that.
Wolf, back to you.
BLITZER: Thanks very much, Candy. Soledad O'Brien in the Arkansas delegation, where they're getting ready to hear from a native son who still believes in a place called hope -- Soledad.
SOLEDAD O'BRIEN, ANCHOR, STARTING POINT: That's right, I'm with Tommy Roebuck, he is a former state representative, and he's here in large part to listen to Bill Clinton speak tonight.
TOMMY ROEBUCK, FORMER ARKANSAS STATE REPRESENTATIVE: Yes, I am.
O'BRIEN: Tell me a little bit about what he has to say tonight.
ROEBUCK: Well, what he has to say tonight is to support President Obama for his second term. And he's not in no way I don't think going to overpower what President Obama is going to say. He's just here to support. It's going to be like a synergistic type reaction about what President Clinton has to say about our nomination -- nominating this time for, of course, the second time President Obama.
O'BRIEN: Does President Obama need Bill Clinton?
ROEBUCK: You know, I think he's going to need all he can get from any individual. And we're seeing the enthusiasm, the excitement here tonight. So he is going to basically need President Clinton because Arkansas and the United States thinks so much of Bill Clinton. We love him, we work for him and we got him elected, first at governor and then we did so much in the present. And you know how that turned out. So there is no question that he can provide support to President Obama for a second term and that's what we're here for.
O'BRIEN: Mr. Tommy Roebuck, nice to talk to you, sir. ROEBUCK: Thank you. It's been my pleasure.
O'BRIEN: Great to have you.
ROEBUCK: Thank you.
O'BRIEN: As you can imagine, the entire Arkansas delegation very excited to hear from the former president tonight. Let's send it right back to you, Wolf.
BLITZER: Not just in Arkansas. All across this huge arena here. Thanks very much, Soledad.
One very prominent Democrat is nowhere to be seen right here in Charlotte. We're talking about Hillary Clinton. She's traveling in Asia. She's keeping up a longstanding tradition of secretaries of state being above partisan politics, but our own Jessica Yellin had a chance to interview her for her excellent documentary "OBAMA REVEALED."
She is in this unique position, the secretary of state. She works for this president, but she's married to a former president.
JESSICA YELLIN, CNN CHIEF WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: That's right. As she said, a once in a lifetime or a very unusual position to be in.
Wolf, Secretary of State Clinton is overseas, attending a summit of world leaders in President Obama's stead because he's here, he couldn't be there. It's -- it was almost unthinkable four years ago that she would be in that position working for President Obama effectively, because she was his competitor. And at that Democratic convention four years ago, you remember the tension that was there. When President Obama reached out to her to be a secretary of state, people were very surprised. So I asked her about the position of working for him.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
YELLIN: Is the president a good boss?
HILLARY CLINTON, SECRETARY OF STATE: He is a very engaged, interlocutory as we say in diplo speak.
YELLIN: And that means?
H. CLINTON: Well, he's somebody who, when you talk about the important issues that we're facing, he always is listening hard. He has a lot of his own thoughts, which he certainly shares. So he's engaged, he's focused, I love that. Because I want to be working on these important matters with the president, and the White House. So that we can make decisions and keep moving. Too often in politics today, it's what they call the horse race. Who's up, who's down. But it's been my experience that even when you disagree with someone politically, and heaven knows we have a lot of political disagreements in our country, people don't get into these positions by accident. They are smart. They are hard working. They are dedicated. They are driven. And they are motivated because they believe they can make a difference. For our country and for the world. And I admire that. And I think people who might not even agree with the president, if they could see him as I've seen him, would feel not only better about him, but really good about the country and what he has meant to this period in history, which has been so tumultuous.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
YELLIN: So, Wolf, while she sort of didn't -- sort of flinched at the question of being asked about him as a boss, I think she's not used to thinking of anybody as her boss maybe, she really clearly did want to give as strong an endorsement of him as possible, an indication of just how much they've healed their differences.
And by all accounts from my reporting, the two of them do get along very, very well. They meet almost every day of the week in some way or another, I'm told, when they -- when she is in the country, though she does travel all the time.
BLITZER: And she's -- was in China. She's in East Timor right now, and she's probably watching CNN International.
YELLIN: I hope not.
BLITZER: Maybe she's watching us right now. She is -- Madame Secretary, hope you enjoy your husband's speech. That's coming up.
Let's go to Anderson right now. He's got a very special guest. Nancy Pelosi is with Anderson.
COOPER: That's right. House minority leader, Nancy Pelosi, is joining us.
Thanks very much for being with us.
REP. NANCY PELOSI (D), MINORITY LEADER: My pleasure.
COOPER: A lot of people praising day one of this convention. Day two, tonight, there's been a lot of focus what some would consider a stumble over the platform, in terms of not having the word god, not designating Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. What do you make of that? How do you explain how that --
PELOSI: Well, I think whatever it was, it's over. It was -- some view it as a mistake, an oversight, whatever it is, it's been corrected. We move on from there. That's what -- platforms are usually even much more controversial than that.
COOPER: The Democrats over the last two weeks have made a big deal that -- saying that the Romney campaign is responsible for the wording of the Republican Party platform. If that is true, isn't it fair to make an issue -- for Republicans to make an issue of this? Is it fair for them to say President Obama was behind this?
PELOSI: But it's over. The president has corrected it.
COOPER: But the Republicans are going to be running ads for weeks.
PELOSI: It's over. It's over. They can do that because they're bankrupt of ideas and had to go forward, I think, as their convention demonstrated. Our people are very upbeat, they're so enthusiastic about yesterday, the first day, and today, looking forward to President Clinton's speech.
COOPER: You don't think this is going to have any long-term ramifications?
PELOSI: Absolutely not. Absolutely not. People are concerned about the economic recovery of our country, reducing the deficit. They want to know how we're going to go forward. The president has -- is taking America forward. What the Republicans talked about is going back to where we were.
COOPER: Were you surprised, though, that this happened?
PELOSI: Oh, listen. I was party chair in California 30 years ago. I wrote my first platform then. Well, I didn't, but the party did. I was chair of the platform in 1992, President Clinton's platform when he ran for president the first time. This is so mild in terms of platform debates. It's done, it's over, we're moving on from there. And it's a waste of time really to talk about -- talk about that.
But what is important is to talk about, are we better off now than we were four years ago? And I was talking to some of the -- some folks here tonight, reminiscing about the fact that four years ago, two weeks from now, September 18th, Ben Bernanke was in my office, Democrats and Republicans leadership, House and Senate, and he told us on a Thursday night, that if we didn't act immediately, we would not have an economy by Monday.
That's what he told us then. The meltdown of a financial institutions, an economy, a near depression, the deep deficit. That's where we were four years ago.
COOPER: You say categorically we are better off?
PELOSI: This country is better off. Now we had to dig out of that ditch, and it's taking longer, because the Republicans for the last two years have obstructed every step of the way initiatives that the president has taken.
COOPER: You also discussed Medicare in your speech. I think Gloria had a question with it.
GLORIA BORGER, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL ANALYST: Yes.
BORGER: Hi, Leader Pelosi. PELOSI: Hi, Gloria.
BORGER: You say that -- in your speech that Republicans are going to end the Medicare guarantee.
BORGER: But, in fact, the Ryan budget doesn't end the Medicare guarantee. It says people over 55, you can use the same program, and you're gong to have some options, including vouchers. If you're younger than 55, to be determined. So it doesn't really --
PELOSI: No, it ends the Medicare.
BORGER: But it doesn't -- it doesn't end the guarantee that you will get Medicare.
PELOSI: No. If you want to call a voucher a guarantee. A voucher is not a guarantee. A voucher says you go shopping, you go contend with the private insurance companies, and see what you get. But the fact is that --
BORGER: But have you a choice.
PELOSI: -- Medicare is a guarantee. It's very important that you understand this because if Medicare -- that's why I said that. Medicare is on the ballot. If President Obama does not win, Medicare -- the Medicare guarantee is gone. The Republicans brag about this. They said that --
BORGER: Wouldn't you just have a choice?
PELOSI: They said that Medicare should wither on the vine, and this is the beginning of the withering of the vine. Right now seniors would have to pay almost $6,000 more to get less in a budget that gives tax breaks of over $160,000 to people making --
BORGER: But if Medicare goes broke, there is no guarantee.
PELOSI: No, I said understand the issue.
COOPER: Well, the GAO --
PELOSI: What he did --
COOPER: They say that you cannot say that it's not a guarantee.
PELOSI: Here's what I'm telling you. That what we did in our health care reform bill is extend the life of Medicare for at least a decade, use those proceeds that we took from overpayments to providers, to make -- to make prescription drugs cost less to seniors right now today to give them a wellness -- an annual wellness examination every year with no co-pay and no deductible. It' strengthened Medicare.
To hear them go and a man who would be president to go and say that the Democrats took $600, $700, $500, whatever it is, billion out of Medicare and spend it on Obamacare, is a total untruth. Some people have other word for it.
JOHN KING, CNN CHIEF NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Madame Leader --
PELOSI: Now this is going to be a big fight for us because confusion is their modus operandi. And we cannot allow confusion to exist in this issue. Not for political reasons. Forget about the elections. But remember Medicare.
KING: I suspect there will be -- let's remember the elections, I suspect it will be an issue. I want to ask you about something else. Now we're going to hear from the former President Bill Clinton tonight.
KING: I am told that the current president, Barack Obama, will make an unscheduled appearance in the hall to watch that speech tonight. You have been in office under both presidents. They're very different. One thing they have in common that I don't -- I don't want to dwell on is that in their first midterm election they both had the House of Representatives change power.
You were the speaker once. Dick Gephardt had to hand the gavel over before that. But how are they alike and how are they different? One of the knocks on Barack Obama, for example, is that unlike Bill Clinton, he doesn't do the schmoozing, the legislating, the backroom dealings.
PELOSI: I like in that they're both brilliant, they're both visionaries, they're both have knowledge and judgment about the issues, they both have a plan on how to go forward, and they both can connect with the American people. We call that leadership.
They're both great leaders. How their personal styles different in terms of schmooze is almost irrelevant to the fact that they have a big -- they think in a big way about America.
On a (INAUDIBLE) note, when I was young and went to the convention in 1960 with my parents in Los Angeles, President Kennedy came to accept the nomination on the Wednesday night. And that was really so incredible and so wonderful, I hope the president does come tonight.
COOPER: Well, that is news that we've heard for the first time that President Obama will be in the hall tonight.
Leader Pelosi, we appreciate you being with us tonight.
PELOSI: Thank you. My pleasure. We
COOPER: Thanks very much. PELOSI: Thank you.
COOPER: We are all, of course, waiting to hear from former President Bill Clinton. His speech coming up. We'll be right back.
BLITZER: If you think these 25,000 Democrats inside this packed arena are excited, just wait. They are about to hear that the president of the United States is in this arena. He's getting ready himself to listen to former President Bill Clinton. Once they see Bill Clinton and Barack Obama, just wait. A lot of excitement. We're gearing up for that live coverage. Don't go too far away.
Let's go to Piers Morgan right now. He's got a special guest. Someone who electrified this crowd last night. The governor of Massachusetts -- Piers.
PIERS MORGAN, HOST, PIERS MORGAN TONIGHT: I certainly have, Wolf, Deval Patrick. Welcome.
GOV. DEVAL PATRICK (D), MASSACHUSETTS: Thank you.
MORGAN: Going to be a big night tonight. The president is joining the president.
PATRICK: How about that? It's really great when President Clinton comes around. And he's popular in the party, he's popular in the country and he's been helpful to President Obama, which I appreciate.
MORGAN: And the fact that President Obama is making his first appearance at the convention, is coming to watch Bill Clinton speak, what do you draw from that?
PATRICK: Well, you just broke the news for me. And I think it's exciting that the president is coming. I think it's a gesture of his respect for President Clinton. I think it will be exciting to have him in the hall. The electricity and enthusiasm has been high, as you know, in the first day, and this part of the second, and I think it's going to make a difference for us.
MORGAN: I come here to say you made a terrific speech last night. Clearly drawn by this line. To all the Democrats. Grow a backbone, stand up for what the party believes in. What did you really mean by that?
PATRICK: Well, just what I said. I think that, you know, there was a great line I heard from a long-serving Democratic senator who told me that the first ones to believe the Republican talking points are Democrats. And it's sometimes as if we act as if this is some contest among sound bites, when, in fact, it's for the direction of the country, the future of the country, and I believe the American dream.
No party whose policies and vision is -- is more aligned with the American dream than the Democratic Party, and most particular this president. That's why I feel passionate about his re-election.
COOPER: I interviewed Paul Ryan earlier today. He was very generous in his praise about President Clinton and very scathing about President Obama. Clearly Republicans are gearing up to say that tonight may be a great triumph from a great former Democratic president, but tomorrow night the devil returns in the form of President Obama.
What would you guys do to tackle that if that's what they try?
PATRICK: Well, first of all, you know, they have been all about what's wrong with President Obama. They've said almost nothing about what is right with their own plan. In fact they've hardly dealt with the fact that facts are unwelcome in their own plan, and I think we as Democrats have got to stop paying as much attention to the other guy and focus on what we are about, what we have accomplished in this administration, and where we're going in the next four years. And I think that's exactly what the president will do.
MORGAN: It's a bit of an unholy mess quite literally with the platform when this afternoon I watched in sort of bemusement really, as there was a vote in this very hall about whether to reinstate the words "god" and "Jerusalem" for the platform. And eventually, even though it seemed to me like the vote was split from the cheering, they decided it was 2/3 in favor of yes, we must do that. It looked like something out of the Pullet Bureau. What did you make of it?
PATRICK: Not much. I mean, you know, there -- this is a broad party with a lot of different ideas, and obviously, I hope obviously, an unequivocal support for the state of Israel. Certainly something I feel, and I know the president does, and I think platforms, you know, and your viewers do. Platforms are an expression of a lot of people -- a lot of people's views, and the question is not so much what's in the platform or not clearly what's in the platform, but what is the president's agenda in a second term?
This is an agenda that's about growing opportunity out to the middle class and the marginalized. It's about extending health care to everybody. It's about fiscal responsibility, and the plan has made -- the president has made a very serious plan in that regard. And it's about lifting everybody, not just some, but everybody. And I think that's enormously important.
MORGAN: Well, Governor, a certainly very exciting night. I don't want to keep you any longer because I'm assuming you want to race to grab one of the best seats. Because apparently they're are queuing around the block outside. So thank you very much for joining me. Congratulations on the speech. And I'm as excited as you are. It's going to be a hell of a night.
PATRICK: Thank you so much for having me. It's great to be with you.
MORGAN: Good to see you.
Back to you, Wolf and Anderson. BLITZER: Piers, thanks very much. He's going to walk over to the Massachusetts delegation, which is right near me.
Soledad O'Brien is standing by. She's got the mayor of Los Angeles, Antonio Villaraigosa -- Soledad.
O'BRIEN: That's right. And we're sitting right in the middle of the California delegation, which has been very loud and cheering obviously.
Let's talk a little bit -- more about this platform debate. You looked very surprised when you were taking this vote to amend the platform. What happened?
MAYOR ANTONIO VILLARAIGOSA (D), LOS ANGELES: I wasn't surprised. I thought -- I wanted to make sure that every voice was heard. The first time around, I knew there was a majority. I wasn't sure if it was a 2/3 vote. The second time around it sounded a little louder, but I still wasn't sure. By the third time I knew that there was a 2/3 majority, and so I called it.
O'BRIEN: What happened that would allow those two words, Jerusalem and god, to be left out of the platform?
VILLARAIGOSA: Well, that's a question to ask the platform committee. The drafting committee. But the fact of the matter is, the president stepped in and said, I want it in. I want it in because it reflects our values, my values, his values, and he wanted it in, and so we put it in. And Governor Strickland made the motion, and it was approved.
You know, that's in contra-distinction to Romney, who has said that he doesn't agree with his platform. He could have changed it. The president showed leadership, he showed the courage of his convictions and he showed his -- that he's someone that expects the Democratic Party platform and the Democratic Party that he leads ought to reflect his values.
O'BRIEN: Bill Clinton will be speaking in just a little bit. We're starting to see Secret Service kind of swarm the area. What does he have to say, number one thing?
VILLARAIGOSA: Well, I don't know what he has to say, but I think what he will say is that, you know, he knows that the same charges that they've made against Mr. Obama they've made against him. He knows that the economy was in a free fall, that we lost 3.5 million jobs six months before the president took over. He knows the president put the brakes on losing those jobs, and we have said that we have created 4.5 million private sector jobs as a result of that.
He also knows that we need to approach this deficit in a balanced way, in a way that makes very serious spending cuts, but also in a way that doesn't force taxes on the middle class by giving a pass to the top 2 percent of America. He knows that the failed policies of Bush 41 are the same failed policies of Bush 43.
O'BRIEN: We'll see how he works that all into his speech tonight. L.A. Mayor --
VILLARAIGOSA: Well, he's got a long speech.
O'BRIEN: Antonio Villaraigosa, it's nice to see you, sir. Thanks for talking with us.
VILLARAIGOSA: Good to see you again.
O'BRIEN: Let's send it right back to Wolf.
BLITZER: Soledad, thanks very much.
Bill Clinton is getting ready to slam Mitt Romney as a leader who would leave Americans on their own. And look for the Massachusetts Senate candidate, Elizabeth Warren, to be just as tough on Romney, maybe even tougher.
We're getting closer and closer to the big speeches of the night.
COOPER: And welcome back. Charlotte, North Carolina. The Democratic National Convention. Two of the major speeches of the evening are approaching. President Barack Obama has we're told arrived in the hall or is very close to being in the hall. He's going to be coming to hear the speech by former President Bill Clinton.
Also, we will be hearing from Elizabeth Warren, who's obviously running against Scott Brown in the state of Massachusetts. Running for Senate. Let's check in with John King.
KING: Hey, Anderson, Massachusetts, even though Governor Romney is from Massachusetts, don't expect it to be a presidential battleground. But there are a lot of people who think that Senate race, Elizabeth Warren versus Scott Brown, could be the key to which party controls the Senate come January.
We're hear at the presidential convention, but that matters as well. So let's go into Massachusetts and take a peak. Well, I guess we're not going to go to Massachusetts. That's not going to come out of the wall at the moment. We're frozen. Let me give it one more try and see if it wants to come out for me. Here we go. We'll make it work.
Here's what we have right. The Democrats have a majority in the Senate right now, but there are 33 races; 21 Democratic seats are at stake, 10 Republican seats, two independents. Both of those independents, it's important to note, organize with the Democrats. So 21 plus two, the Democrats have a lot more at stake here.
The Republicans only need plus four. Plus four would give them the Senate majority. Where do they think they come? Let me move this over here so you can keep the math in mind. Well, a lot of Republicans think maybe they can have a pick up in the state of Virginia. Jim Webb, the Democrat, is retiring, a very competitive race there. Missouri was a big Republican target, although their candidate, Todd Akin, caused a stir with his recent comments about, quote unquote, "legitimate rape." That one more of a question mark.
North Dakota, they believe that's already a pick up. A retiring Democrat there, Republicans feel strong about that. There's a seat in Nebraska that Republicans feel strong about picking up there, although that is a more competitive race.
There are some other targets gets as well. But when they go through the math, a lot of people do think it could come down to the bluest of blue states. Scott Brown won that special election to win this seat after Ted Kennedy, the late Edward M. Kennedy, when he died. Scott Brown was the surprising winner in that Republican race.
Elizabeth Warren, President Obama's first pick to be the Consumer Finance Agency chief, she is now viewed -- a liberal icon. She will speak tonight, Anderson. And again, she's a huge star among liberals. Interesting to see. We know the president is coming to hear, President Clinton. Striking to see, Governor Romney is losing his state by a huge margin, but would Obama coat-tails help Elizabeth Warren? Right now it's a dead heat.
COOPER: Yes, remains to be seen. We also right now have Brianna Keilar getting more word on what former President Bill Clinton is going to be talking about tonight. Brianna, what have you learned.
BRIANNA KEILAR, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Hi there, Anderson. Well, one of the things that we have learned is actually what he will not be talking about. We're expecting, according to a couple of sources, that he will be talking about Jerusalem. Obviously the platform changes involving Jerusalem being the capital of Israel, being put back in the platform, and the mention of God, we're not expecting him to talk about that.
What we are expecting him to talk about hasn't changed. That being a ringing endorsement of President Obama and his economic policies. We're expecting him to talk about that.
As you know, Republicans have been questioning, are you better of four years later under President Obama? I think we'll be hearing Clinton talk about look back to 12 years ago, look back to 14 years ago. You were better off then. Those kind of policies are the policies that President Obama is moving forward with, and he has the right plan. That's what we're expecting, Anderson.
COOPER: There certainly have been a lot of talk here in Charlotte online about President Clinton's speech tonight. Let's talk about it a little bit.
David Gergen, do you expect -- some people have been wondering, is he going to do some sort of a head nod to Hillary Clinton running for president in 2016?
GERGEN: No, no, no. He will stay as far away from that as possible. They made it very clear, this is not about 2016. He's here because he genuinely believes there is a choice. And he genuinely supports Obama on it.
I think yes, there are some ancillary benefits for him, for Hillary Clinton and all the rest, of course there are. But this is a speech, again, where he has been working very, very hard. Donna, he has had a parade of people in to see him today. I say Jean Pearlin (ph) was in there yesterday. And -- and President Clinton has been writing it out in his own hand, keep changing it, been looking up quotes.
Terry McAuliffe went to see him.
COOPER: You worked for him. What is he like as s speech writer? How involved does he become?
GERGEN: More than your executive producer does.
KING: But what's interesting, he is notorious for getting to his speeches late. People -- the staff wants to have a meeting, saying later; that's down the road. That's down the road. He started on this weeks ago. Weeks ago, reached out to old friends and said, help me out, what should I say and the like. Look for a very full- throated endorsement of this -- when he does this.
COOPER: We see a live picture of the motorcade coming to the hall. We do not know if it is President Obama's motorcade. We just saw some video of First Lady Michelle Obama, who is already here in one of the sky boxes. That's a live picture there. You see Michelle Obama. You see her -- other folks sitting in the sky box. She's talking to a number of dignitaries and people who are allowed in.
So we're watching very closely to see when, in fact, President Obama arrives.
KING: One other point about President Clinton. I almost called him Governor Clinton. That's when I starting covering Governor Clinton, back in the day. I didn't have any of these gray hairs. I was talking to somebody who has read the speech today. And they said if you have under 30 in the over/under -- will it run under 30 minutes or over 30 minutes? They say, if you have under 30, you will lose.
BORGER: What a shock.
KING: I say this for fun. I say this for fun. I was on the podium the last time then Governor Clinton nominated a Democrat candidate for president. That was Michael Dukakis. He went on to lose 40 states. President Obama is hoping things are a lot different this time.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We'll still be feeding the teleprompter.
BRAZILE: He is going to give a very inspirational speech. Look, we're at a crossroad. The American people understand that Congress is not functioning, and that the president has put forward critical issues and Congress will not act.
President -- I think President Clinton tonight will talk about that crossroads, and basically do we go forward with the policies that will create jobs and bring about economic opportunity for all Americans, or do we go back to the failed policies that cause the economic collapse?
That's the choice. That's what President Clinton will lay out tonight.
BORGER: Earlier, we were talking about President Clinton's great skill is being an explainer. And I think he can really explain what President Obama has done, in many cases, better than President Obama has done himself. And if there is a gap between the promise of Barack Obama and the performance of Barack Obama, I think Bill Clinton will explain that by saying he deserves your patience; he's headed in the right direction; he's done the right thing.
FLEISCHER: But there's also an issue here about no matter how fast on his feet he is and what a good explainer he is, is any of it transferable to Barack Obama? Can one man transfer his popularity? That's very hard to do.
COOPER: Gloria, we're about to hear from auto workers and also so former Bain workers or people who were --
BORGER: People who lost their jobs, they say, as a result of Bain. Auto workers, of course, is because the president is going to highlight the differences between himself and Mitt Romney on the auto bailout. And of course, if you hear from people who were laid off, they will claim it's because of Mitt Romney's role at Bain in buying companies, which resulted in some downsizing.
The Romney campaign, of course, says that Mitt Romney was not there at the time.
GERGEN: It is worth remembering as Bill Clinton comes that he has said that Romney has a sterling business record.
BORGER: And in fact, the Romney campaign has just put out a web video on that very thing.
COOPER: Well, what do you think of the impact of having this so late in the convention? Because at the Republican Convention, they really tried to kind of take back the history of Bain, take back what Mitt Romney did at Bain Capital. Was that successful at the Republican Convention? Will this be --
GERGEN: I think they warmed him up a lot. I think the data shows that. An ABC poll yesterday showed that I think Bain is still an underlying issue. I don't think we're going to hear that from Bill Clinton tonight.
He's going to be on a much loftier plane about where the country is. He's not going to get down in the weeds. I think this speech -- you go from the Michelle Obama to the Clinton speech to the Obama speech -- the President Obama speech. Those are the three speeches that knit this convention together. This is the bridge from Michelle to Barack Obama.
BLITZER: I saw Ari take something out of his pocket.
FLEISCHER: We were talking about the Romney speech, what that accomplished, whether it can get undone here with what the Democrats are trying to do. Here is what a senior Romney aide told me today. Among women, Romney was down by seven points in his favorable rating in Florida. Now he's up three. North Carolina, he was down 20, now he's down four. Michigan, he was down 29, now he's up one in his favorable rating.
So the Romney campaign among women, they believe that his attributes, some of his underlying weaknesses, really were strengthened in that campaign. He improved his standing. This campaign, and part of what President Obama is going to do tonight -- President Clinton and President Obama tomorrow, is they have to take him back down to his pre-convention ratings.
KING: Remember, there's two arcs to a convention. The Bill Clinton speech, the Michelle Obama speech, the Ann Romney speech, those are aimed at the country. They are aimed at everybody, even though this is really an eight or 10 state election. You have the president of the United Auto Workers up there speaking right now. He might not get a lot of national attention. He will get attention in Michigan. He will get attention in Ohio.
Some of what's happening on that podium, they know it won't get national consumption, but they do hope -- and this is both conventions. They do hope it gets local news conference in the states where that particular speaker or that particular issue is cutting.
BORGER: And I think the way Bill Clinton will help is that he can talk to those disaffected democrats, say man, you were talking about. Mitt Romney has a gender gap with women. The president has a gender gap with men. So that's where bill Clinton can help him, in the rural areas.
BRAZILE: But women are the majority of voters. And clearly the Democrats are looking to get both men and women out to vote for President Obama. One of the things that Bill Clinton will be able to do I think is to convince some of those Democrats and independents -- those independents who really want to know what has he done for us lately. What does he plan to do in the future?
I think Bill Clinton will be able to fill in the blanks and give voters out there who are trying to decide right now which way they should go. He will give them the way forward.
FLEISCHER: There are also two big issues that President Clinton is not going to talk about tonight. As he tries to define the economy that President Obama inherited from George Bush, President Clinton is going to leave out his own role as being the one who signed into law the legislation that allowed banks to become too big to fail. Glass- Steagall is what it's called. Previously from the depression forward, banks could not have a commercial enterprise and an investment enterprise. President Clinton once signed legislation allowing them to come together.
Also it was under the Clinton Administration that subprime loans really took off, and people who should not have qualified for loans And that became the antecedent of the collapse.
BORGER: What is odd about this is both campaigns are celebrating Bill Clinton's economic legacy here.
BORGER: Republicans are not criticizing that. and he will also, by the way, talk about welfare reform, his measure, And he will also talk about health care. I guarantee you.
BRAZILE: And he will talk about education and energy. That's important.
GERGEN: I don't think this will be about relitigating the Clinton years. But I think the hard part here is when you make the argument, you can go down the Romney path which they've -- they've trashed that. But then the question is, why is the Obama path going to be better? After all, we've had sub-optimal growth. We've had very low growth under President Obama for three years, the end of this recovery. Why are the next four years going to be better?
What is the new man is going to make this better? I think that's one of the hardest challenges the Democrats still to have to face.
COOPER: I want to bring in Wolf Blitzer. Wolf, it's interesting. What do we know about the relationship between former President Clinton and President Obama?
BLITZER: Well, it started off, as you know, rocky during the effort for the campaign for the Democratic presidential nomination. When Hillary Clinton was challenging Barack Obama for the nomination, no love lost in those days. But obviously it's improved tremendously since then, especially after Hillary Clinton became the second of state.
We know she has a very good relationship with the president of the United States. Early on, he was not -- the current president was not calling Bill Clinton a lot seeking his advice for input along those lines. But that has improved a lot. Within the last year, they have developed a pretty good relationship.
I want to go to Bob King right now. He is speaking on the floor, the head of the United Auto Workers. He is telling all the people here -- now he's going to be seen around the world --, how the president of the United States saved the auto industry in this country. BOB KING, PRESIDENT, UNITED AUTOWORKERS: And it's the middle class that keeps America's democracy and economy strong. The Republicans -- just look at Wisconsin.
B. KING: The Republicans want to take us back, back to a time when workers could not stand up for themselves, when workers couldn't speak with one voice, when workers couldn't speak out for fairness, justice, and middle class opportunity. That's why unions matter.
B. KING: I -- I am so proud to be a union member.
B. KING: And -- and I am so proud -- I am so proud to represent the men and women of the UAW.
B. KING: Because -- because of President Obama's moral courage and leadership, America's auto industry is roaring again, leading the American economic recovery. An industry we once called the arsenal of democracy is driving us to new prosperity.
This November, America faces a clear choice about what kind of country we want to be. The choice for working families is clear. We must re-elect president Barack Obama.
BLITZER: And we're now going to hear from three former -- three workers who were working for companies taken over by Bain Capital when it was under the control of Mitt Romney. They are going to tell their specific stories, how they suffered as a result of those takeovers, Randy Johnson, Cindy Hewitt and David Foster.
They're about to speak.
RANDY JOHNSON, LAID OFF AS A RESULT OF BAIN CAPITAL POLICIES: President Obama's record of creating jobs. I wanted to tell you about Mitt Romney's record of cutting jobs.
JOHNSON: Mitt Romney once said, I like being able to fire people. Well, I can tell you from personal experience, he does. On July 5th, 1994, Mitt Romney and his partners at Bain Capital fired me and more than 350 of my coworkers.
JOHNSON: It came without any warning. They rushed in the security guards to walk us out of our plant. We weren't even allowed to take our personal items. They handed us job applications and told us if we want you, we'll let you know. Now, the truth is, some folks were hired back, Lower wages, fewer benefits, no retirement. But many others weren't. And seven months later, they closed our plant for good.
JOHNSON: What affected me most was having guys the age I am now, come to my desk and cry, guys who had nothing to fall back on. I don't think Mitt Romney is a bad man. I don't fault him for the fact that some companies win and some companies lose. That's a fact of life.
What I fault him for is making money without a moral compass.
JOHNSON: I fault him for putting profits before people like me. But that's just Romney economics. America cannot afford Romney economics. Mitt Romney will stick it to working people. Barack Obama is sticking up for working people.
JOHNSON: It's simple as that. That's why I am supporting him for a second term as president.
CINDY HEWITT, LAID OFF AS A RESULT OF BAIN CAPITAL POLICIES: When Mitt Romney first announced he was running for president, I had no idea who he was. But then I learned he was the CEO of Bain Capital and that sure got my attention real fast.
I used to work at a plant in Miami that Governor Romney bought with his partners from Bain. I say used to, because not long after they bought it, Romney and his partners shut our plant down and ultimately drove our company into bankruptcy.
HEWITT: Our company -- our company, Dade Bearing, was a big part of our community. There were folks who had been at the plant for 15 to 20 years. But by the time Romney and his partner were done with us, we lost 850 jobs in Florida. It was a really difficult time for me and for my coworkers.
But not for Governor Romney and his partners. While we watched our jobs disappear, they ultimately walked away with more than 240 million dollars.
HEWITT: Of course, I understand some companies are successful; others are not. That's the way our economy works. But it is wrong when dedicated, productive employees feel the pain while folks like Mitt Romney make profits. So when Mitt Romney talks about his business experience, remember, it is not experience creating good paying jobs.
It is experience cutting jobs. It is experience shutting plants. It is experience making millions of dollars by making life tougher for hard working Americans.
That is not the kind of experience we need in the White House. We need a president who will create good-paying jobs and make sure everyone has a fair chance. We need President Barack Obama.
COOPER: Your hearing from people who blame Bain Capital for their -- for losing their jobs over many years. Do you think this is effective, Paul Begala? I know --
PAUL BEGALA, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: I know it is.
BEGALA: I advise the pro-Obama super PAC. We have run advertisements featuring workers like that man and woman, not them exactly. These stories are very powerful because think of what they said. They didn't say he is a bad guy because he laid me off. They said, he is the kind of guy who rigs the system so that even when we lose, he wins.
And that that's what rankles -- I can tell you from focus groups, that's what rankles the swing voters that the Democrats are trying to reach, not that he made a lot of money, and not that some businesses went under, but that even when the businesses went under, went into bankruptcy, people got fired, he still found a way to pay himself millions.
COOPER: Because Republicans are firing back and saying, look, Democrats are punishing success, are attacking success.
BEGALA: Right, and I think it's important that Democrats not fall into that trap. And I think this is what those speeches -- I mean, our PAC has taped any number of these people. And this is what they say. They say the system was rigged. He thinks there is a different set of rules.
They say, look, if you make a smart investment, make a lot of money, great for you. Make a bad investment, you lose money, that happens, too. But when you make a bad investment and still pay yourself millions, while I get laid off, that's not fair. That's not right.
And I think that's a really important distinction. I was impressed that these speeches, I think, were so carefully drafted that way.
COOPER: Ari, Mitt Romney has talked about him being a job creator. If you look at the perspective for Bain Capital, they didn't talk about job creation. They talked about profit creation for those who were investing in Bain Capital, which is the way private equity works.
FLEISCHER: Anderson, take President Obama's reelection campaign. They're sitting on all this cash. They're not creating jobs. Why? So they can run commercials. No private enterprise makes money for the sake of creating jobs. They make money for the sake of creating profits, which leads to the creation of jobs.
So nobody should accuse Bain as saying you failed to create jobs, even though they did create a net way greater number of jobs in the companies they took over that lost.
Now, of course, many of the companies they invested in were going under, were the risky investments that you need private equity to go and take over, and hope to restore them because banks won't do it. Private equity is the one that takes those risks.
FLEISCHER: I think that's right. This is a fair fight over Bain and president and Governor Romney's record. That's why the governor was late in making the defense of him. He started at the convention in Florida. He let President Obama and Paul's sup PAC get a head start over him over the summer.
But the retort to this if I'm the Romney campaign and the Republicans is taxpayer money. Solyndra, all the money that was wasted, the taxpayer money, not private investor money, that went to ideology that doesn't work. They tried to create green jobs that the market is not supporting. They took our money, wasted it, bankrupt companies.
BORGER: What surprised me, though, is what took the Romney campaign so long to talk about this. This was an issue in the 1994 campaign, first raised by Ted Kennedy. And the Obama campaign is using the same people in their ads.
COOPER: Brianna Keilar on the floor has the son of Joe Biden, Beau Biden. Brianna?.
KEILAR: Yes, that's right, Anderson. And Beau Biden wears a number of hats. He is a major in the Army National Guard. You're also the attorney general of Delaware. And you've been doing a lot on veteran outreach for the Obama campaign as a veteran of the Iraq War yourself.
A recent Gallup poll shows the ticket trailing Romney by about 24 points. I know you point to other polls that show more support for your guys. But why do you think they're struggling with veterans?
BEAU BIDEN, DELAWARE ATTORNEY GENERAL: Well, there was a Reuter poll about a month before that has us up on Romney as it relates to veterans. Look, the reason I feel confident about us with veterans is the president has been an exceptional commander in chief as it relates to veterans. He has added 500,000 more veterans to be available to veteran benefits. He's increased the budget for veterans every year he's been in office, a 10 percent increase for 2013. He's increased veterans spending more than any president has in 30 years. He's been an exceptional commander in chief. And I think veterans recognize that. I just speak as one veteran alone, but I have seen what he's done for the veterans.
And General Shinseki, who he's put in charge of the V.A., has done an exceptional job.
KEILAR: We just heard Mr. Shinseki speak just a short time ago. Your dad has said that he and President Obama should be reelected because G.M. is alive and Osama bin Laden is dead. I just to want ask you about that. Do you see that as politicizing the death of Osama bin Laden at all?
BIDEN: Not at all. It summarizes the exceptional president that we've had, and the exceptional president -- my dad has been his vice president, and -- number one. Number two, look, going back to the veterans' piece, you compare what the president has done relative to veterans, what I just articulated -- compare that to Mitt Romney, who chose Veteran's Day last year to get a group of veterans together to propose the voucherization of the V.A.
There is going to be a debate about the path and what role government has in a whole host of things, Medicare, health care, education. There can be and should be no debate about that it is the role of government to take care of veterans. I'm not sure if Mitt Romney understands that. Paul Ryan's budget would cut the V.A.'s benefits by 11 billion dollars in year one, if you believe his math.
I believe his math as it relates to the budget. You know, the president's record is stellar. I'm not convinced that Mitt Romney's record is all that great. But he has never mentioned veterans in his speech.
KEILAR: Beau Biden, thank you so much for your time. I do know, Wolf, that Beau has been taking a look at bits of his dad's speech from tomorrow night. And he's tight-lipped. He won't tell us anything about what he's going to say.
BLITZER: He's a good son, indeed. That's very much for that.
Let's go to CNN's Erin Burnett right now. She's with Tom Foreman for a CNN reality check on President Obama and the auto industry, with what we just heard from what the UAW had. Erin?
ERIN BURNETT, CNN ANCHOR: That's right. Mr. King was speaking and he had rousing applause. They all had signs. This is something they are touting as a very big achievement and a claim we have repeatedly heard time and time, again at this convention, has been President Obama saved the auto industry. Rahm Emanuel has said it. Former Ohio Governor Ted Strickland has said it,
First Lady Michelle Obama has said it. And we heard it again tonight from the head of the Auto Workers Union, Bob King. One of his lines, what did Mitt Romney say? Let Detroit go bankrupt. Now that is actually from an op-ed in 2008. It was titled, "Let Detroit Go Bankrupt." But I think we should make it clear that was the title the editors of the "New York Times" gave the piece. Mitt Romney himself had titled it "The Way Forward for the Auto Industry," and said he preferred managed bankruptcy.
TOM FOREMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, that's absolutely right. And although a lot of partisans here don't want to talk about this, Romney was really making an argument against the bailout, not for the liquidation, not for the wiping out of this company.
Here's what he wrote: "the American auto industry is vital to our national interest as an employer and as a hub for manufacturing. A managed bankruptcy may be the only path to the fundamental restructuring the industry needs. The federal government would propel newly competitive and viable automakers, rather than seal their fate with a bailout check."
The fundamental issue here is not wiping them out, not wiping out all those jobs, but instead keeping them going, just a different way. The second part of King's statement, more than a million jobs saved, signs all over here, people waving them, 1.1 million jobs saved. The Obama campaign has used that many times, but they also couched it on their website by saying up and down the supply chain.
You saw the video presentation a short while ago. They talk about every restaurant, every auto supply place, everyplace that benefited from them being there. So there are only 100,000 or so workers that were actually involved. You are talking about the multiplier to many, many more.
Some of that came from the Automotive Research Center. They had a number, about 1.1 million in 2009. So it's not just auto workers. A lot of people to get to that kind of number.
BURNETT: That's right. And it would assume every one of those people -- that it was a complete liquidation. Again, now the jobs -- the cost of this is also something that is very politically important. How much did taxpayers put into G.M.? So let's just take a look at where things stand.
You as a taxpayer with General Motors, specifically, right now, you own about a third of G.M. That's how the bailout was structured. G.M today closed on the stock exchange at 21.76 a share.
Now, in order to break even, so for taxpayers, you out there to make that money back, G.M. shares would have to rise to between 52 and 60 dollars a share. Treasury right now says they expect to lose 25 billion dollars or more, which, of course, is interesting. When you look at the banks specifically, taxpayers have made money. They've lost money on G.M. right now and on AIG, the insurer.
But when you look at the auto industry, Anderson, there is one company that did not get a bailout and is thriving. And that, of course, is Ford. COOPER: Erin, thanks very much. It's interesting, Sandra Fluked is about to speak. We're obviously going to bring that to our viewers live. Interesting, because she was supposed to speak about an hour ago. They actually moved her later in the evening where it's almost prime time, 10:00, which is the most coveted speaking roles.
What does that tell you?
BEGALA: Pretty impressive. Pretty risky. I mean, she's a law student. She sadly became a punching bag for Rush Limbaugh, but then showed that she could counter-punch pretty good. I was kind of happy the president rallied to her defense.
She famously testified before Congress in support of contraception aid. And Mr. Limbaugh said some really nasty things about her. And she became an overnight I think sort of surprise celebrity. Also tells you politically women, women, women, younger, younger, younger. I mean, the demographic is perfect.
GERGEN: They got a response from last night's convention when they went to women's health issues. If they moved it for tonight, it was an overnight deal. They got some data overnight.
COOPER: So you think they were testing what happened last night and moved her accordingly?
BEGALA: Sure. And a big speech by Cecille Richards, the president of the Planned Parenthood Action Fund. It's interesting, it used to be my party ran away from social issues. And it used to be the Republican party embraced it.
If you look at the two conventions, the Republican party mostly tried to hide their social issues. The Democrats are standing up on their social issues now.
FLEISCHER: Let me give you some numbers that underscore what's going on. In 2004 election, voters between 18 and 29 were 17 percent of the electorate. President Obama ran, 18 percent, a small increase in their turnout. In 2009, they only voted for John Kerry by nine points. They voted for Barack Obama by 34 points more than they voted for John McCain.
A lot of what the Democrats are doing is try to turn out the women's vote, where they have advantage, the youth vote, where they have to run the margins. If they can't run those numbers, the Democrats can't win. Same with the African-American vote. Historically, it's 11 percent of the electorate. It was 13 percent. If it goes back to 11 percent, since Barack Obama's winning almost 100 percent of the black vote, that knocks two percentage points off his total margin. They've got to get these groups out.
BORGER: She's young and she's a woman, okay?
GERGEN: Here in the state of North Carolina, we just had an Elan University poll which come out this week. And the young and women took Barack Obama over the line, along with the black vote, in 2008. Today in North Carolina, the group that's least excited about President Obama are the young people, the least excited.