Return to Transcripts main page


Bill Clinton Speaks at the Democratic National Convention; Andy Roddick Retires; Interview with Cory Booker; Interview with Stephanie Cutter; Interview with Chuck Schumer; President Obama Accepts Nomination Tonight; Rapper Flo Rida Promotes "Got Your 6" at the DNC

Aired September 6, 2012 - 07:00   ET




SOLEDAD O'BRIEN, CNN ANCHOR: And welcome, everybody. Our STARTING POINT this morning, Bill Clinton delivers for President Obama.


BILL CLINTON, FORMER U.S. PRESIDENT: Their number one priority was not to put America back to work. It was to put the President out of work.

I hate to break it to you, but we're going to keep President Obama on the job.



O'BRIEN: Did he hit the mark last night? How Republicans are butting this morning?

Plus, tonight, the culmination of the Democratic National Convention, President Obama will tell the American people why they should give him four more years. We'll take a look at what he needs to accomplish with his speech tonight.

Plus, convention floor chaos. A last minute change in the Democratic platform to add a mention of "God" and declare Jerusalem as the capital of Israel after President Obama intervenes. How exactly did that happen? We'll ask the DNC boss herself, Democratic National Committee chairwoman, Debbie Wasserman Schultz is going to be our guest.

Also joining us this morning, Newark Mayor Cory Booker, New Jersey mayor. He is an Obama deputy campaign manager. Stephanie Cutter will be with us, a political activist. And Black Eye Peas front man will be with us. And Miami rap star Flo Rida will join us. It's Thursday, September 6, and STARTING POINT begins right now.

Welcome, everyone. Our team this morning is Dana Bash, a senior congressional correspondent, Democrat representative Chris Van Hollen of Maryland is our guest on our panel this morning. We have never met in person. We have only done it via satellite. Nice to have you with us. Margaret Hoover is with us, former White House appointee in the Bush administration. Ryan Lizza at the end again. We really do, Washington correspondent for "The New Yorker." I see.

Our STARTING POINT this morning, the Democrats main event tonight. Vice President Joe Biden will take the stage followed by the President, President Obama, who will close the convention here in charlotte when he accepts the party nomination for a second term.

Tough act to follow, though, from last night. Last night was vintage Bill Clinton. He delivered a nominating speech that was fiery and kind of long with really a down home touch. He said he is a country boy from Arkansas and defended the President's handling of the economy and Republicans have not made the case to replace him. Dana Bash was there. Some people say that speech was one of his very best.

DANA BASH, CNN SENIOR CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: You said it was long, 48 minutes and 30 seconds to be exact, and that is 15 minutes longer than the speech that he gave back in 1988 that he got panned for when he was kind of a no-name governor for being long. But I talked to Obama official this is morning, they don't care how long it was because they think he did exactly what they wanted him to do.


BASH: This is the lasting image of the evening, an embrace just four years ago few could imagine. But the former president made clear bitterness over the bruising battle between his wife and Obama is ancient history, repeatedly making the case for four more years as only Bill Clinton can.

CLINTON: If you want a winner take all, you're on your own society, you should support the Republican ticket. If you want a country of shared opportunities and shared responsibility, we're all in this together society, you should vote for Barack Obama and Joe Biden.


BASH: The man who could famously feel your pain vouched for Obama's empathy.

CLINTON: I want to nominate a man who is cool on the outside but who burns for America on the inside.


BASH: He eagerly reminded people he presided over historic economic prosperity as he pushed back on GOP arguments that Obama could have done more.

CLINTON: No president, not me, not any of my predecessors, no one could have fully repaired all of the damage that he found in just four years.

(APPLAUSE) CLINTON: But he has laid the foundation for a new, modern, successful economy, a shared prosperity, and if you will renew the President's contract, you will feel it.

BASH: And he tore apart the Romney economic plan.

CLINTON: We simply cannot afford to give the reins of government to someone who will double down on trickle down.

BASH: Clinton was not alone in primetime. Democrats tried to widen an already huge gender gap, chose two female speakers, liberal icon and U.S. Senate candidate Elizabeth Warren.

ELIZABETH WARREN, (D-MA) U.S. SENATE CANDIDATE: The system is rigged. Look around. Oil companies guzzle down billions in profits. Billionaires pay lower tax rates than their secretaries.

BASH: A strong finish for an evening that started out rough. A day earlier Democrats approved a party platform that removed the word "God" and dropped the goal of Jerusalem as Israel's capital. After what sources say was a private revolt among many democratic officials and activists, party leaders decided to fix it which caused a flash of embarrassing chaos.

MAYOR ANTONIO VILLARAIGOSA, (D) LOS ANGELES: All of those in favor of suspending the rules a aye.


VILLARAIGOSA: All of those opposed say no.

BASH: The Los Angeles mayor and convention chair took the vote three times until finally declaring the changes approved.

VILLARAIGOSA: I will do that one more time. All of those delegates in favor say aye.


VILLARAIGOSA: All of those delegates opposed say no.


VILLARAIGOSA: In the opinion of the chair two-thirds voted in the affirmative, the motion is adopted and the platform has been amended as shown on the screen.


BASH: You can hear that booing. I was sitting right in the sea of what happened there, right in the middle of the floor, and there were people who were absolutely not happy about that. I think that Democrats, you can probably attest to this, are thrilled that Bill Clinton gave such a speech that that has kind of --

O'BRIEN: Bumped it out of the headlines. We'll continue to talk about it. Two-thirds? We'll discuss that and bring Debbie Wasserman Schultz to talk about that this morning and Cory Booker coming up with us. Tonight's coverage of the DNC continues at 7:00 p.m. eastern with Wolf Blitzer and Anderson Cooper and 10 p.m. You will hear President Obama officially accept the party nomination for re-election and then at midnight Piers Morgan will wrap it all upright here at the CNN Grill. Still ahead, Mayor Cory Booker will join us and talk about what happened on the floor earlier in the day and President Clinton's speech. First I want to get right to Christine Romans with a look at the other stories making news this morning. Hey, Christine.

CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN ANCHOR: Good morning, Soledad. Hurricane Leslie is heading straight for Bermuda. Officials will are urging residents to prepare for the worst. Right now Leslie is a very slow- moving category 1 storm with 75 miles per hour sustained winds and it is about 445 miles southeast of Bermuda and could become a category 2 hurricane by tomorrow. Hurricane Michael is now the first major hurricane this season. It is a category 3 in the mid-north Atlantic. It is not a threat to land.

BP officials are headed for the Gulf coast. A 13 mile stretch of Louisiana beaches remains close this had morning as sheens of oil and tar balls keep washing ashore in the aftermath of hurricane Isaac. The coast guard reports finding three oiled birds. BP officials say they will test the tar balls to confirm whether they came from the 2010 Deep Water Horizon spill.

The federal corruption trial of Kwame Kilpatrick begins today with jury selection. They're charged with more than 30 counts that include racketeering, bribery and fraud during his time in public office. The 42-year-old Kilpatrick could face up to 30 years in prison if convicted.

The Dallas Cowboys ready for football, the New York Giants not so much. The Cowboys beat big blue 24-17 as the 2012 NFL season kicked off last night. Quarterback Tony Romo had three touchdown passes in the victory. As for the replacement officials, they were OK. No blunders, no on field confusion. The NFL locked out the regular refs in a contract dispute.

A teary Andy Roddick ending his career last night after losing to Juan Martin Del Quattro in four sets. Roddick announced this would be his last tournament.


ANDY RODDICK, TENNIS PLAYER: It has been a road, a lot of ups, a lot of downs, a lot of great moments. I have appreciated your support along the way. I know I certainly haven't made it easy for you at times, but I really do appreciate it and love you guys with all my heart.


ROMANS: Wow. Roddick was the last American man to win a grand slam at the U.S. open in 2003 and also the last American man to hold the number one ranking. Farewell, Andy Roddick. I can't wait to see what he does next.

O'BRIEN: Christine, thanks. Appreciate it.

Our starting point, back to that, President Obama will accept his party's nomination for president tonight, a ringing endorsement from the former President Bill Clinton. Here is a little of how it went.


CLINTON: Barack Obama to be the next President of the United States and I proudly nominate him to be the standard bearer of the Democratic Party.



O'BRIEN: New Jersey Mayor Cory Booker is with us. Some people said that was one of the best speeches he ever gave, certainly a long speech. I think he is known for that sometimes. It was a terrific speech. He really laid out sort of the accomplishments of the administration, I thought.

MAYOR CORY BOOKER, NEWARK, NEW JERSEY: With the exception of the two candidates themselves, in my opinion, because it cut through a lot of negativity you are hearing in the media about the campaign and the sound bites and it was almost like a lecture married a good Baptist sermon.

O'BRIEN: It was sort of like I thought like a white board, OK, let's go back to welfare reform.

BOOKER: I was in the delegation and people were really taking note of how he was explaining some of these complicated topics that are so easy to demagogue and demonize and making them plain and simple and easily understood and gave it in a way that everybody could digest and come away with a deeper understanding of the truth.

O'BRIEN: The $64,000 question is going to be does that sliver of people who are undecided, did they get that same feeling? The people in the room are voting for President Obama?

BOOKER: Cynical analysis is one or two million people in a handful of swing states that you have to get through to.

O'BRIEN: Was he able to do that?

BOOKER: I really think anybody who took the time to listen to that speech really would have been convinced in a lot of these issues and I am hoping that he penetrated.

O'BRIEN: What happens next? Someone next to me said he should take this on the road. Like with a white board and go around and do you really expect that is what will happen?

BOOKER: I think this whole campaign will be about can the Democrats, can my party tell the truth in a way that people can understand it because this is a complicated time, difficult time, painful time, and the President has taken incredible steps. I was on the phone with a friend of mine like Bill Clinton said who had $150,000 in loans but now because of a program Barack Obama did they only play a certain percentage of salary in terms of the college loan making a tremendous difference and opening up pathways to higher education, which is a great return on investment in terms of the growth of our economy.

These things are complicated to understand. There are no sound bites. Bill Clinton was a master of "We have to amend it, not end it," the one word ways of putting things. That's what we have to do. If the party can get the message through, we're going to win this election.

RYAN LIZZA, "THE NEW YORKER": Why would it take Bill Clinton to make the case? Why haven't Democrats been able to make the case and raving about Bill Clinton making the case?

BOOKER: In all fairness and he said it about the President himself, remember, I said Bill Clinton was besides the candidates themselves the best messenger. Barack Obama, if you take time to listen to him but as Bill Clinton said in the meaningful speech, this guy has been demonized and unleashed hatred in a way we have rarely seen in politics.

LIZZA: He still has a big megaphone.

BOOKER: Absolutely, and that's why I think he is actually in this race. That's why I think that even though we are in an economy that has recovered so much from the pain in which Barack Obama inherited, we still have a high unemployment rate and the reason why the President is ahead in many swing states is because he is the greatest messenger.

LIZZA: Is he getting an implicit criticism that this White House hasn't been able to make its own case?

BOOKER: I am telling you hold onto your seat. What you see tonight, the Barack Obama coming out, you will be reminded of that great orator that was discovered back two conventions ago that this country fell in love with. This is Barack Obama at his best. I stood with him once in the oval office and looked at him before the state of the union speech and he and I are both former athletes, and especially with me the former is the important part of that, and I talked the best game of basketball ever.


BOOKER: I looked at him and said you, sir, are what we call a gamer. You rise to the challenge of the moment. You're going to see the President come out here and look the American public in the eye and explain it with the lucidity that Bill Clinton did and with the Obama energy, that Obama spirit we saw in the First Lady that I think will penetrate tonight.

MARGARET HOOVER, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: He certainly had it keyed up for him. The question is can he close the deal? He actually has to make the case his policies and what he will do in the next four years will make the difference for 23 million unemployed.

BOOKER: It is very pragmatic. This is what I am saying. The independent watchers of this know he proposed a jobs plan that would put hundreds of thousands and not millions of Americans to work.

HOOVER: He has to take some responsibility of the gridlock in Washington.

REP. CHRIS VAN HOLLEN, (D) MARYLAND: One of the things that I think President Clinton underscored, wasn't in the clips, the fact that President Obama is willing to make the hard decisions, is willing to be a compromiser and when he was greeted by the Republican tea party in the house, he found a group of people that thought compromise was a dirty word, and that is the problem that we're facing right now. If you want to take a balanced approach to dealing with the deficit, if you want to do the kind of things that President Clinton did, if you look at the President's plan, it follows the framework of Bowles- Simpson and has a mix of spending cuts and also has revenue whereas what Romney and Ryan are saying is not one more penny from folks at the high end and that means everyone else gets hit harder.

O'BRIEN: I want to ask the mayor about this platform chaos, and I think I don't use chaos lightly.

BOOKER: It is an extreme word.

O'BRIEN: It is an extreme word to me and I think it fits on this one. I will play a clip of what happened on the floor in the afternoon before we headed down for the big speeches. Listen.


VILLARAIGOSA: All of those delegates in favor say aye.


VILLARAIGOSA: All of those in delegates opposed say no.


VILLARAIGOSA: The opinion of the -- let me do that again. All of those delegates in favor say aye.


VILLARAIGOSA: All of those delegates opposed say no.


VILLARAIGOSA: I will do that one more time. All of those delegates in favor say aye.


VILLARAIGOSA: All of those delegates opposed say no.


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


O'BRIEN: Two-thirds of the vote was affirmative? I mean, we listened to that three times. That was a vote I shoulder tell everybody to amend the platform.

BOOKER: To have it reflect the platform of 2008. I was watching that at home and I am on the co-chair of the platform committee and it is one of those times I really wish I could have jumped in a car and sped there and gotten there, because when I got to the arena and started talking to the people actually on the floor saying what happened, what happened? Most of those people I talked to said I don't know. I said, wait a minute, do you understand all we were trying to do was add back the language we have had convention after convention?

O'BRIEN: How did that happen? Platforms -- somehow you sit around and throw it on a piece of paper and here is the platform.

BOOKER: This is a process I am so proud of. You have people coming from all over the country together in -- first of all, God was in there. Faith was in there. There are so many issues and some of my atheist friends, who as how we're always talking about religion. All of that was in there. The word god is not in there and people are pulling it out and making a big deal. That didn't bother me as much. What bothered me is the affirmation Jerusalem is the capital of Israel and that sacrosanct element. It is not a controversial issue in American politics.

We had an omission, and I take responsibility as being part of the larger platform. It was an unfortunate omission and in no way detract from the point that we have a President of the United States who believes both in god and we know that but also believes in that plank and it was an unfortunate omission and the great thing about this is as ugly as the process was, I have this extreme word and as bad as the process, we got to the end and the beauty of getting to the end is here you have a Romney campaign who says I don't believe what my plank is, the abortion under no circumstances, rape, incest, he says I differ from the platform. Here is a president that says that plank is what I stand for, so I as president of the United States is going to etch radio down and say you need to change us and fix us and it may be ugly, sloppy, but we'll get to the right end.

So that's the difference between this president. He knew it would be something we would be talking about and he said this is a consistent part of the democratic platform and in fact it is a consistent part of the Republican platform that we affirm Jerusalem and we are faithful people, which is already there.

HOOVER: Mr. Mayor, how was it taken out? How did it happen?

BOOKER: Again, you know what, I have to say sometimes as bad as it might seem, there is imperfections. There are mistakes made. HOOVER: Major oversight.

BOOKER: It would be a major oversight if this was not something that the platform of the Democratic Party has affirmed time and time again and the President himself has affirmed time and time again.

HOOVER: That's why it is oversight.

LIZZA: I don't think that's quite right. I don't know how it was changed but a lot of Democrats would argue the United States embassy is not in Jerusalem. Our president has not decided to put the embassy in Jerusalem, it is in Tel Aviv, and this is putting it more in line with U.S. foreign policy. Why weren't the people that changed the platform, to play devil's advocate, why weren't they right?

BOOKER: All I can tell you is this. I am the co-chair of the platform. I was in the mix. This is not somebody that changed the platform. It was an omission and unfortunate. You are saying this, but I am telling you now, let's not create a partisan issue out of a non-partisan issue.

HOOVER: We're just wondering how it happened.

BOOKER: Bush, Clinton, Bush one, go back in the presidents. We have had the same policy switching from Republican to Democrat. I sat with leaders of a pack this week. There is a unanimity in position on complicated issues dealing with Israel, complicated painful issues.

And so here we have what is an omission and happened many times before and I have seen it in my state legislature on both sides. I have seen it in Congress on both sides. Here we have a simple omission that was corrected by the Democratic Party now becoming something we're talking about on a morning talk show, which to me is a little bit over the top. What we should be spending our focus on is talking about the substantive differences between our platforms, like one platform saying if a victim is raped she can't get an abortion, and the other saying we're in line with where America is.

O'BRIEN: That will be the final word. Mr. Mayor, we have to let you go. We have a whole morning of stuff to do.

We have to take a short break. Still ahead this morning, you saw President Obama making the surprise visit at the DNC to watch the former president Bill Clinton's speech. So how did the President grade the former president? Stephanie Cutter will join us live next for a look at that. You're watching STARTING POINT live from the CNN Grill in Charlotte, North Carolina. We're back in just a moment.


ROMANS: Welcome back to STARTING POINT. Minding your business this morning. Market check, U.S. stock futures are higher right now. European markets are also up. There is a big meeting of the European central bank under way in Frankfurt right now. Huge pressure on the ECB President Mario Draghi, some call him "Super Mario," to announce more stimulus for the European Union countries struggling through debt problems.

Football fans, the cost of your tailgate and halftime munchies got more expensive. Chicken wings, corn chips, nachos, all prices are already rising bought of the drought in the Midwest. The price for chicken wings, almost double what it was last year, double, just in time for football season.

O'BRIEN: Yes, it is terrible, terrible news, Christine. I don't know what I will do.


O'BRIEN: Thanks, appreciate that. Thanks for the update.

Four years ago Democrats nominated Barack Obama, put him on the pathway to the White House. Tonight he will accept the bid once again while making his case for another four years. Of course he follows the former president Bill Clinton's rousing speech. Here is a little bit of that.


CLINTON: I want to nominate a man who is cool on the outside but who burns for America on the inside.



O'BRIEN: Stephanie Cutter is a deputy manager of the Obama campaign. It's nice to have you in person. What did President Obama think of President Clinton's speech?

STEPHANIE CUTTER, OBAMA CAMPAIGN SPOKESPERSON: He thought it was amazing. He loved it. It was an honest testament to the types of things we need to do as a country if we want to move our country forward and grow our economy.

O'BRIEN: It was interesting. I think it was earlier this morning, maybe John Berman playing offense and defense and tough and deflects criticism and kind of laying out a white board case without the white board and let's play what President Clinton said last night.


CLINTON: No president, not me, not any of my predecessors, no one could have fully repaired al of the damage that he found in just four years.

He has laid the foundation for a new, modern, successful economy, a shared prosperity. If you will renew the President's contract, you will feel it. You will feel it.


O'BRIEN: Right there I thought was the essential point, that he wasn't able to do all he could do because if you give him four years he will run with the ball. For the people that will decide this election, is that enough?

CUTTER: I think it is. Let me tell you why. I think there is broad recognition in this country that the economy the President inherited was the worst economy in our lifetime, since the great depression and what Bill Clinton said last night is Republicans are trying to make the argument you should fire Barack Obama because he didn't clean up their mess fast enough. And that's absolutely true. We didn't get into this mess overnight. We're not going to get out of it overnight.

But what President Obama did quickly, he moved boldly and swiftly to ensure that the economy stopped being in a free fall and started putting the building blocks together to build an economy meant to last where the middle class is at its core. And we have made progress. We were losing 800,000 jobs a month. We now created 4.5 million jobs over the last 29 months, so we're making progress.

And elections are about choices and I think the other thing that you heard President Clinton talk about is we have a choice here. We know what to do because we have done it. This is exactly what President Obama is trying to do. Let's continue moving forward and build this economy meant to last where everybody can get ahead or the other side is saying, hey, let's go back and double down on trickle-down economics and see what that's going to bring us. We know what that's going to bring us. It crashed our economy. Why would we want to go back there?

So that is essentially the argument do, we move forward to building this economy that we know we can build because we've done it, or do we go back to the same policy that is punish the middle class and crashed the economy?

HOOVER: Stephanie, you're right. I think Americans understand that President Obama didn't create the bad economy, that he has a convincing argument he has ton as much as he can and any president could do. One thing President Clinton did do is talk about the debt and talk about the spending. It hit $16 trillion this week. The spending, as much as the programs have cost they added to the debt and deficit and this is one of the things the Republicans have tackled substantively, and I wonder if President Obama will tackle that.

CUTTER: I don't think Republicans have tackled that substantively.


HOOVER: He wanted to do entitlement reform before president and it didn't happen.

CUTTER: I am not sure where to start. Let me try. You know, the President commissioned Simpson-Bowles because Congress wouldn't act. It was a good process. They came out with a set of recommendations. The President put his own plan on the table that reflected much of the balance in the Simpson-Bowles recommendations. A year ago we were in discussions with House Republicans, including Paul Ryan, to see if we could put a bipartisan deal together. When we call the grand bargain, to reduce the deficit by more than $4 trillion and make very tough decisions about entitlements. The President was willing to make some of those tough decisions. It would have been politically unpopular to do so but he was willing to do it.

Ultimately that deal fell apart for two reasons. One, Republicans wouldn't give an inch on tax. And, number two, Paul Ryan said if we give Obama this deal it will guarantee his reelection. We have talked about debt and deficits. The President talks about it on the campaign trail all the time. I personal talk about it. He is the only one in this race that has a detailed deficit reduction plan on the table that actually makes sense.

BASH: What about the answer to Margaret's question, which is looking forward, what is the President going to actually say tonight to give any new details on this issue or anything else?

CUTTER: Well, I think you will hear him talk about the types of decisions that we need to make as a country. If we want to get our debt under control and do it in a way that will unleash growth and help the middle class grow.

That's what Bill Clinton did and that's what he was talking about last night that we need the math to add up. Certainly putting a $5 trillion tax cut on the table like Mitt Romney has done and not telling anybody how he will pay for it, that math doesn't add up.

So I think you will hear the President lay out his plan of balanced deficit reduction where everybody pays their fair share. We cut what we don't need and include entitlement reform and it is a path forward, and I think that we're looking forward to it.

O'BRIEN: Everybody else is looking forward, too, to the President's speech tonight. Thanks, Stephanie Cutter, nice to have you with us. We appreciate. We got to take a short break. We're back in just a moment.



UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Earlier in the night after Kal Penn told tweeters to use the hashtag #sexyface when talking about his speech. It got weird when Bill Clinton is like there goes the first line of my speech.


O'BRIEN: Still ahead this morning on STARTING POINT, star power takes over in Charlotte. Miami rap star Flo Rida is here at the DNC. He is going to joins us.

Plus fresh off his speech last night at the convention, Senator Chuck Schumer is going to talk to us as well. You're watching STARTING POINT. We're coming to you live from the CNN Grill in Charlotte, North Carolina. Nice to see you. Welcome, have a seat.


O'BRIEN: Welcome back to the CNN Grill here in Charlotte, North Carolina. Tonight, President Obama will accept the Democratic Party's nomination for president with a highly anticipated speech.

Last night, the former President Bill Clinton delivered a stirring endorsement calling for another four years. New York Senator Chuck Schumer was in the crowd. He also spoke last night.

It's nice to see you. You just said that you thought Bill Clinton hit it out of the park.

SENATOR CHARLES SCHUMER (D) NEW YORK: He hit it out of the park. Let's put it like this. If every American watched that speech the election would be over, and he perfectly teed it up for the President with all of this talk.

You had Michelle Obama talking about what the President believes in and who he cares about. President Clinton explained the past. Now it is just ready for Barack Obama to explain what he will do in the future.

If this convention has a rhythm, it has a direction, it has an excitement. I think it is great and I think I can't predict whether there will be a big bounce after it. But I would bet the predicate for a gradual ascension of the Democratic ticket in November.

O'BRIEN: Every American did not watch it, though.

SCHUMER: Unfortunately.

O'BRIEN: My question would be do they take what Bill Clinton did in some ways sort of professorial, right? I mean, it felt like he was doing a Power Point presentation --

SCHUMER: Soledad, the scene, and you go to some black churches and they go preach, baby, preach, to the minister. This was teach, baby, teach. He was teaching America.

O'BRIEN: Does he take that on the road? I mean, literally with a white board and says you have heard about Medicare here.

SCHUMER: I talked to him.

O'BRIEN: Here are the facts. Here is what's really going on.

SCHUMER: I talked to the President before the speech for quite a bit, and first, he put a lot of effort into it. You know, it sounded like he was talking to the average person. He was.

But he spends a lot of time figuring out what's the best way to say it. He did it well. He also intends to take that message and spend a lot of time in October campaigning both for the President and for some of our Democratic senators.

O'BRIEN: So he will literally take it on the road. SCHUMER: I think he will. That's how he works. He will refine it. By October 20th, it will have somewhat slightly different twists and turns but the same basis.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Is that risky for President Obama?

SCHUMER: No. President Clinton is again helping the ticket. No one does it better. No one can take an issue and explain to the average voter why it matters to him or her.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: President Clinton isn't on the ticket.

SCHUMER: It doesn't matter. He is augmenting the ticket and, listen, if President Obama were a poor speaker, if President Obama didn't have much presence, but he is a strong man.

And President Obama's job more than any most important job of all, which is the Republicans didn't do is layout why he is going to make middle class lives better. What Bill Clinton did is cover his flank and explain what happened in the past.

BASH: On that, you spend a lot of time in your political career studying polls and trying to figure out how do get Democrats elected, who to appeal to independents of the base. Who do you think he appeals to? What's the goal? Is it Democrats or is it independents?

SCHUMER: No, Bill Clinton, well, he appeals across the board, but he appeals to working families. He appeals in a particular way and reaches them of the kind of voter we need, which is sort of undecided voter, the kind of voter who generally doesn't have a college degree, who votes, who follows these things, but not as intimately as any of us would.

BASH: -- the Democratic Party.

SCHUMER: The kind of voter who is a swing voter right now. That kind of voter has a natural aversion to Mitt Romney and who he is and what he stands for. But he is not sure after the last four years that Democrats will do the job. Bill Clinton and Barack Obama in combination can close that deal.

O'BRIEN: So we know that voter, they paint a portrait that far voter, which is 35 and under, equally divided, male and female, non-college.

SCHUMER: And by the way that voter, particularly the women of that group, they will probably decide this election and no one talks to them better than William Jefferson Clinton.

LIZZA: You keep saying that. As a Democratic leader do you ever look and speak and say, you know what, we as a party have failed? None of us in the party can make the case like Bill Clinton in the last three and a half years of communication and you haven't communicated well.

SCHUMER: That's saying every mathematician has failed because they are not Albert Einstein. I mean, he is the best. I think --

LIZZA: An indictment of the Democrats over the last three and a half years and their ability to communicate to the public?

SCHUMER: Well, I will say and the President has said it and others around him have said it. the President spent the first couple of years pretty much on that inside game.

In other words, sitting down with Republicans and Democrats and I was one of them, and saying let's come together in all of that. What he didn't realize is just what Bill Clinton said.

From day one, quote, "Mitch McConnell, our job was to defeat the President." I saw it in the Senate over and over again. When there were things we put on the floor that Republicans voted for under George Bush, they voted no.

Their job they thought was to obstruct. Bill Clinton's job was to say, just what he said, you've created a huge mess. You've tried to stop us from fixing the mess and now you say put us back in.

O'BRIEN: Let's talk about platform for a moment. What's the fall out, obviously God and Jerusalem as the capital of Israel had to be reinserted. There was a two-thirds vote, which to me, it didn't sound like two-thirds. It sounded like it was right down the middle. It was interesting arithmetic certainly. What's the impact?

SCHUMER: Look, on the Jerusalem issue, which I have had some involvement in and did yesterday, it has always been the position of the Democratic Party, of the Democrats overwhelmingly that Jerusalem is the capital of Israel.

Why it wasn't in the platform, who knows, but when I brought it to the White House's attention and others, the President himself intervened and said put it in. It was in the 2008 platform. So the bottom line is I think it's --

BASH: So you sound like you were blindsided that this wasn't in there?

SCHUMER: I didn't know. I don't read to be honest with you the whole huge document, but I know basically what our party stands for.

BASH: So you saw that it wasn't in and you were one of those --

SCHUMER: Yes, I spoke to a whole number of people.

LIZZA: Does this mean --

SCHUMER: But it was the President who intervened and said fix it. This idea that he wavers on this issue or whatever, why it was left out, who knows? It is a huge document.

LIZZA: Does this mean in a second term that he will move our embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem?

SCHUMER: Well, look, every president has stood for it --

LIZZA: -- on the second term. SCHUMER: Well, here is the issue. It usually should be part -- our position is to do that. Our position also and also in the platform, and was in 2008, it should be negotiated between the parties.

Truth be told, if you ask the government of Israel whether it is this government or previous governments, what are your top five priorities? That's not one of them.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I totally agree with you on that, but it doesn't seem or feel believable that this was accidentally left out. This was an oversight that people noticed at the last minute and then the President got involved. It feels like there are much lower ranks within the Democratic Party establishment that should have caught this sooner.

SCHUMER: Well, perhaps.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It really was a mistake.

SCHUMER: Perhaps, but I would say this to you. The two biggest threats to Israel, are a nuclear Iran and secondarily Hezbollah rockets from Lebanon raining into Israel. Those rockets are more powerful.

On those two issues that's been my focus and I disagreed with the President on his real Palestine, you know, publicly. But on those two issues, the President has been great. He has been tougher on Iran than anyone.

And you talk to Bebe Netanyahu, the Iron Dome, which is supposed to prevent those rockets from coming in. We have done more for them with Iron Dome far and away than any administration.

And the Israelis are quite confident or much more confident now they can block these Hezbollah rockets.

O'BRIEN: Chuck Schumer, Senator, nice to have you. Thank you very much.

Ahead on STARTING POINT, you may have danced along and sang along with some of his music here at the DNC rapper Flo Rida is promoting a serious cause and will join us next and tell us how he is helping veterans.

STARTING POINT live from the CNN Grill in Charlotte, North Carolina. Back right after this.


O'BRIEN: You know, I whistled on this. I am kidding of course. Welcome back. You're watching STARTING POINT. I could have retired right about now.

Here at the DNC in Charlotte, North Carolina, you were just listening to Flo Rida's latest hit single. It's called "Whistle." Currently number one on the Billboard Hot 100 Chart. Here at the convention, he is using his superstar status for a very good cause.

He was performing last night at a private event to promote the "Got Your 6" initiatives, a campaign announced by the First Lady, Michelle Obama, to help America's veterans reintegrate into civilian life after they come home from deployment.

Flo Rida is with us this morning. It's nice to see you.

FLO RIDA, RAPPER: Nice to see you as well.

O'BRIEN: Tell me about the concert last night.

FLO RIDA: It was amazing. I went out in the crowd. People came up onstage and just having success back on the charts. I mean, definitely. On the balcony, I held up the mic for the fans to sing, and it was a great uproar.

A lot of people don't get a chance to see me perform at that level unless I'm overseas. But coming back home in the states, around the convention, it was just amazing.

O'BRIEN: Ryan and I have gone to other parties with a lot of policy wonks. It doesn't seem to be quite the same. Let's talk a little bit about "Got Your 6". What is that?

FLO RIDA: Well, it's basically got your back. When it comes to the military, you know, I'm strongly behind it. I had neighbors in the military, veterans. I had four uncles that were a part of the military. So any time it comes to supporting our troops or veterans, I'm 1000 percent behind it.

O'BRIEN: What does "Got Your 6" do? What kind of support do these veterans who are returning from deployment need?

FLO RIDA: I mean, for the most part, you know, definitely they need someone that, you know, loves them because a lot of them might come back wounded. You know, not just physically, but mentally. And they need some people that, you know, love and support them and just don't forget about them.

O'BRIEN: You also have been outspoken about getting folks to come to the polls.

FLO RIDA: Yes, most definitely.

O'BRIEN: Are you political? Are you a political person?

FLO RIDA: Yes. I mean, I feel like we have a responsibility, you know, as far as going out and being an American and placing your vote. That definitely is a private matter.

So I haven't actually chose who I'm going to vote for. But I'm going to go in that booth. If you are going to vote, make sure you stand behind the person you're voting for.

BASH: There's been a lot of talk over the past four years that the President hasn't reached out enough to his own community, to the African-American community. And that that is going to hurt the African-American vote for him. What do you think about that?

FLO RIDA: I think he's done a great job. You know, definitely kudos to Barack Obama for his swag, you know. But I think --

O'BRIEN: We don't poll on that. We have not done the swag poll at CNN here. But what's interesting, I think the issue will be getting out the youth vote.

FLO RIDA: I'm definitely doing my job as an artist. Like I said before, I realize I have a responsibility and just being in high school, I couldn't wait until I had a chance to be able to vote.

I started my own youth football league and I'm telling the kids, you know, it's one thing to just sit back and not take advantage of voting. You know, but actually going out to vote is very important.

O'BRIEN: In Florida, of course, a critical swing state.

LIZZA: Did you say you aren't sure who you're going to vote for?

O'BRIEN: I think he said he wasn't going to tell you.

LIZZA: But you might vote for Romney?

FLO RIDA: I think it's a private matter, and I think that's the problem. A lot of times people feel like if they say the wrong thing, something might happen or they won't get as much love. But go out and vote because you don't have to let people know your decision right off.

O'BRIEN: And that means you, Ryan. He's not telling you.

FLO RIDA: But I think your work is especially important, because there are lots of efforts going on in lots of states right now to actually limit people's ability to go out and vote.

You heard the governor of Pennsylvania, Republican governor of Pennsylvania, say they wanted to pass restrictions on people's ability to vote so that they can elect Mitt Romney.

And what you're saying is that this is a democracy. We want to encourage everybody to get out the vote. And the final thing I want to say is that my 16-year-old is going to be a lot more impressed that I met with you than a lot of the politicians around here. I can tell you that much. I'm honored.

O'BRIEN: I don't believe that, sir. What? It's nice to have you, Flo Rida.

FLO RIDA: Thanks for having me.

O'BRIEN: We appreciate it. We'll have you anytime want to come and join us.

FLO RIDA: I appreciate you guys and a shout out to all of my family. They were very excited me being on CNN.

O'BRIEN: We appreciate that. All right, STARTING POINT is back in a moment. Stay with us.


O'BRIEN: Ahead this morning on STARTING POINT, former President Bill Clinton gave a fiery nominating speech last night, rousing Democrats and maybe even some Republicans.

Coming up, Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell sits down with us to tell us what he thought about that speech.

Also ahead, we know that President Obama loves basketball. Now he is teaming up with NBA superstar Dwyane Wade for a special cause off the court. We'll talk to Dwyane Wade straight ahead.

You're watching STARTING POINT. We're coming to you live from Charlotte, North Carolina. We're back right after this short break.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: How effortlessly diverse is the Democratic Party? Remember the folks at the RNC over rising Latino star, Marco Rubio?

Well, the Democrats have not only a rising Latino star in San Antonio Mayor Julian Castro. They have an extra one of him in case he breaks! It's unbelievable. Democrats have so many Latinos they have doubles!