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THE LEAD WITH JAKE TAPPER
Democrats Begin National Convention; Day 1 of the Democratic Convention. Aired 4-4:30p ET
Aired July 25, 2016 - 16:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
JAKE TAPPER, CNN HOST: A big reason for today's gavel shakeup, to avoid another scene like this one, as Dana just referred to, Debbie Wasserman Schultz booed at a breakfast for the Democratic delegation for her own home state of Florida this morning. Take a look.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. DEBBIE WASSERMAN SCHULTZ (D), FLORIDA: First of all, I want to...
(END VIDEO CLIP)
TAPPER: Jeff Zeleny on the convention floor.
Jeff, scandal now surrounding the very first event happening on the schedule here in the arena after a lot of back and forth. We now know it will not be Congresswoman Wasserman Schultz stepping to the podium in just a few minutes.
JEFF ZELENY, CNN SENIOR WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT: Jake, we do know that.
And the reality is, she had hoped to weather the storm. She had hoped to be able to keep enough support around her to be able to be speaking on that podium behind here in just a few minutes. But the reality came to a crashing conclusion after that Florida meeting which you just saw there.
Jake, I was in this hall last night around 11:00 at night. Debbie Wasserman Schultz was alone here walking across the stage, clearly doing a tryout to give a speech today. That was decided she would not do that. The reason is this, the wound that had been basically healing between the Clinton and Sanders people, at least somewhat, suddenly reopened by all of the revelations found in the WikiLeaks here.
So if any progress been made in these peace accords, they certainly are still raw, still fresh here, as Dana said, among Sanders supporters.
TAPPER: And, Jeff, this convention, it's starting off even messier than last week's Republican Convention. We showed the members of the Florida delegation booing Debbie Wasserman Schultz at a breakfast this morning. That is her home state. And obviously that's a possible preview.
If she were to go on that stage, look, I'm from Philadelphia. I know what booing can sound like. Those are really mean ones.
ZELENY: They were very mean, Jake. I was just talking this afternoon with some members of the Florida delegation and they, the Bernie Sanders supporters there, even though they are from Florida, they are not supportive of Debbie Wasserman Schultz. They are happy she won't be here on the stage today.
But let's take a little bit of longer look at what happened this morning which is what led to this decision for her not to speak today.
TAPPER: Jeff Zeleny on the floor. Thank you so much.
A large group of protesters now are gathering outside the convention arena. Demonstrators here in Philadelphia could grow to become much bigger than what we saw in Cleveland during the Republican National Convention.
Let's go now outside to CNN correspondent Miguel Marquez.
Miguel, tell us what you're seeing out there.
MIGUEL MARQUEZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Jake, we probably have 1,000, if not so protesters just at the barricades of the DNC, of the Wells Fargo Center.
If you up and over this barricade here, the people you see on the other side are police and then delegates going through. There's also tour buses bringing delegates through on the far end. These protesters have marched out of this park, the park where they are meant to be, but this is right next to it and they have moved here, so that they can shout at the delegates as they go.
Some of the delegates are Bernie supporters and showing them love. And then they get very excited and chant more. But they are -- literally the big chant for this march today is hell, no, DNC, we won't vote for Hillary.
They want Bernie Sanders. They want the superdelegates to change their vote for Hillary Sanders -- for Hillary Clinton. They say that he is the only one that can beat Donald Trump in the fall. Barring that, they want another party to come out of this. They say they will never vote for Hillary Clinton and this is the beginning of a Dem exit, Democratic exit -- Jake.
TAPPER: And, Miguel, I know that Sanders supporters are upset he didn't win the nomination. I know many of them feel like the WikiLeaks, the DNC leaks prove that fix was in. Is there anything specific that they as a group are demanding? Do they want Bernie to be the running mate? Do they want Tim Kaine off? Is there anything specific in terms of what they want? MARQUEZ: They want him at the top of the ticket. They want the
superdelegates to change their minds.
They want -- they think this is their last stand. They want the superdelegates to change their mind, vote for Bernie Sanders, so that they can put him at the top of the ticket and he can run against Donald Trump in November.
They say, short of that, they will either go for Jill Stein, some other third party, write Bernie Sanders in, some other thing than Hillary Clinton in November -- Jake.
TAPPER: All Right, Miguel Marquez, outside, thank you so much.
Let's bring in our panel, if we can, David Gergen, Gloria Borger, Michael Smerconish, a hometown boy, Nia-Malika Henderson. Also with us, we have former Clinton campaign manager in 2008 Patti Solis Doyle, followed by Bill Press, followed by former South Carolina Lieutenant Governor Andre Bauer, and, then of course, Mayor for life of the great city of Philadelphia Michael Nutter.
Mr. Mayor, let me start with you.
Logistically, it looks like everything is OK in terms of the convention, in terms of Philadelphia doing a good job, so far, knock on wood.
MICHAEL NUTTER (D), FORMER MAYOR OF PHILADELPHIA: Yes.
TAPPER: But, politically, this is kind of a mess right now.
NUTTER: It's a challenging thing.
NUTTER: We have had better moments. But we're Democrats. Often there is a bit of activity right at the beginning.
I think much of it, almost all of it, will be gone in the course of the day into the evening to the night. And tomorrow will be a whole new thing.
TAPPER: That's the hope. That's the hope.
But, Bill Press, as somebody who supported Bernie Sanders' run for presidency, as someone who still talks to a lot of Sanders supporters, I'm getting the feeling that they are angrier today than they were a week ago because of these WikiLeaks.
BILL PRESS, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Well, maybe some are, but I think you have to distinguish the crowd that is outside from the people that are here inside in this -- in this auditorium.
These are the people who voted for Bernie in the primary who are here to support Bernie, will vote for him when the roll call is taken, but will also follow Bernie's lead to get behind Hillary Clinton and Tim Kaine.
TAPPER: They booed Bernie Sanders this morning.
PRESS: I would like to do a count, Jake, in that hall of how many people in that hall were delegates. They were grassroots activists.
God love them. I was one of them for a long time. But Bernie made the point. He said, this is reality. We are now at the point. We fought the good fight. We won a lot of battles. They got the best platform, most progressive ever. They got a new commission to look into superdelegates. We may be getting some major changes there.
They got rid of Debbie Wasserman Schultz. Now it's reality, and there are only two candidates. And it's Hillary Clinton or Donald Trump, and you can't go for Donald Trump. The first step in the revolution, the Sanders revolution is to stop Donald Trump.
That's his message.
TAPPER: Patti, I can't remember, and I'm sure Twitter will correct me, but I cannot remember any time in modern history where the chair of a party the night before the convention had to resign.
I don't -- I mean, we have seen lot of tumultuous conventions in our lifetimes, in our collective lifetimes, but that seems unprecedented to me.
PATTI SOLIS DOYLE, FORMER HILLARY CLINTON CAMPAIGN MANAGER: Look, it's not good.
And as a former campaign manager, this is a huge pain in the...
SOLIS DOYLE: Tush. If you're running a campaign.
But I agree with Bill. I think Senator Sanders has been very gracious. Jeff Weaver has been very gracious. Debbie Wasserman Schultz has resigned. She is not speaking. She is not gaveling in. She is not gaveling out.
I personally think she should get on a plane and go back to Florida because she has her own reelection that she needs to be concerned about, and she should be concerned. But tonight we have the first lady. Tonight, we have Elizabeth Warren. Tonight, we have Senator Sanders.
All three of them really speak to millennials, all three of them. And I think after tonight we're not going to be talking about Debbie Wasserman Schultz anymore, because we're going to be talking about what a great night the Democrats had in the hall.
GLORIA BORGER, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: We're going to be talking about Bernie Sanders, because his speech sets the tone, I think, for this entire convention.
And he has to convince those people in the street and his die-hard supporters that he is not selling out, OK, that he is now a part, a real part, of Hillary Clinton's election, and that it is not a sellout. And, you know, it is a hard thing for him to do up there. But if he does it well, and he does it the right way -- and his -- I have been talking to his people.
They are very sparse on the details of this speech tonight. He can set the tone for her to do very well at this convention and debunk the caricature of her that was set at the Republican Convention.
TAPPER: But I wonder, Nia-Malika Henderson, if it almost doesn't even matter what he says about Hillary Clinton because what so many of these Sanders supporters are upset about is the very clear, incontrovertible evidence in the DNC leak in which you have senior officials of the Democratic Party, including the chief financial officer, talking about ways to smear Bernie Sanders on his religion, on his campaign. Really ugly stuff.
NIA-MALIKA HENDERSON, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes.
And all along they were convinced that the DNC had its thumb on the scale for Hillary Clinton. They were convinced that it was rigged. And these e-mails I think at least prove part of that.
There is an ability I think for a lot of the Sanders people to necessarily separate Debbie Wasserman Schultz from the broader DNC. And it doesn't help. I talked to some Sanders supporters. It doesn't help that she is honorary co-chair still of the Hillary Clinton campaign.
TAPPER: Didn't they put out a message? Didn't Clinton put out a statement saying she was going to bring her on?
HENDERSON: She was going to bring her on. I think she's going to campaign for her as well.
They also want more than the platform victories. They want there to be less daylight between the platform and what Hillary Clinton is actually saying. For instance, the platform says $15 minimum wage. That isn't necessarily where Hillary Clinton is. So, they want some more movement.
I think there was a real moment today when those supporters were saying, we want Bernie, we want Bernie. And in that moment -- and this was Mark Preston's idea -- in that moment Bernie Sanders should have said, you will have Bernie with a Hillary Clinton candidacy, because that's what they want to see. They want to see him more involved in terms of the message from
TAPPER: We will have the gavel come in, in just about a minute.
When that happens, I'm going to rudely interrupt you, David Gergen.
But until that happens, I want to know what you think about this. It does seem rather tumultuous.
DAVID GERGEN, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: It's tumultuous and it's also surprising.
I think we went into Cleveland, the Republicans, and we thought there were would be discord. We understood there would be disunity. And there was. And here, I think, we thought this would be fairly harmonious, because Bernie Sanders had been so gracious, that people would follow him.
But it turns out, his voters are independent folks and from his point of view right now, they are too damn independent.
TAPPER: OK, here they come. The mayor of Baltimore, Stephanie Rawlings-Blake, will be gaveling in the 2016 Democratic National Convention.
Let's listen in.
This is the Mother Bethel AME Choir. It's a local church here in Philadelphia. And they're going to sing.
[16:17:49] TAPPER: We are expecting any minute now, the mayor of Baltimore, the honorable Stephanie Rawlings-Blake to gavel, to gavel the Democratic convention 2016 open.
MAYOR STEPHANIE RAWLINGS-BLAKE (D), BALTIMORE, MARYLAND: I am Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake, mayor of the great city of Baltimore, and secretary of the Democratic National Committee and temporary secretary of the Democratic National Convention.
It is an honor and a pleasure to welcome you, delegates, alternates, standing committee members and all of our honored Democrats, and other guests here in Philadelphia. And all of you who have joined us by television, by radio, and online, here in the United States and around the world.
I hereby call the 47th quadrennial Democratic National Convention to order!
(CHEERS AND APPLAUSE)
TAPPER: The Democratic National Convention has officially been gaveled in. The convention is officially under way here in Philadelphia after a rather rocky start. We're going to have much more live coverage. We're going to take this quick break.
TAPPER: Welcome back to THE LEAD.
We are live from the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia.
We just got gaveled in a few minutes ago by the mayor of Baltimore, but I want to quickly go back outside the arena to Miguel Marquez.
Miguel, we're getting reports that protesters are getting rowdier outside. What's going on?
MIGUEL MARQUEZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT: What you're looking at right now as that song was being sung, as the gavel was being hammered down on the DNC, this group Democracy Springs, 200 or 300 strong came marching in. They have taken down a level of civil disobedience to block the delegates from coming in to this one particular entrance.
As you can see, they are laying down in front of the entrance. They are letting police through. And the police look over this way --
TAPPER: Thank you, Miguel. We will cut you off right now. We will cut you off right now. Boys to men, Philadelphia's own is here and they are performing on stage.
(BOYZ II MEN PERFORMS "MOTOWNPHILLY")
[16:27:20] TAPPER: Philadelphia's own Boyz II Men providing what has so far been a rare note of harmony at this Democratic National Convention in 2016.
Let me turn to another Philly boy, Michael Smerconish.
Michael, let me just talk to you one, Philly boy to Philly boy for a second, I went to south Philly yesterday, I think that Trump's going to do kind of well there.
MICHAEL SMERCONISH, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Donald Trump won all 67 of Pennsyvlania's counties in the primary. I thought John Kasich would have done well. He was still in the race in certain parts of the state, particularly the suburbs of Philadelphia. And Trump blew him out.
And my parents come from the coal regions of northeastern Pennsylvania, the Rodhams are in northeastern Pennsylvania. Of course, Joe Biden is from northeastern Pennsylvania. That's going to be a real battle ground as well.
As you know, every cycle since '88 we have debated, is the state really in play? It hasn't been. This time it feels like it will be.
TAPPER: When I was talking to Vinnie Termini Jr. of the Termini Brothers --
SMERCONISH: You had a cannoli. TAPPER: And their famous cannoli -- no, what I was going to say is he said -- and we'll play some of this later if we can, he told me, I said, "Are there Trump supporters here?" Because he started talking about blue collar workers in south Philadelphia. I said, "Are there Trump supporters?" He said, "Yes, they are called leaners." They lean in and they go, "I think I'm voting for Trump."
SMERCONISH: Well, I mean, that's the issue, right? You wonder if there's a reverse Bradley effect going on in this race where people are embarrassed to tell a pollster that they are for Donald Trump. I'm one who believes that there is probably a hidden vote for him.
Not unlike we saw in this town for Frank Rizzo. You know, when Rizzo ran, people were embarrassed to say, we're for Rizzo, to a stranger who called their kitchen, you always had to factor in a couple of extra percentage points.
TAPPER: Yes, Frank Rizzo, famous combative mayor, former police commissioner in Philadelphia, also ran on a law and order ticket.
Andre, let me ask you a question. You're the Trump supporters at our political table here. And he is running on this law and order ticket. He called himself the law and order candidate. I heard a Democrat, one I could name and you could recognize the name, but I won't because it wasn't that kind of discussion, expressed concerns that this convention will leave the impression that Democrats are not on the right side of the law and order debate.
What do you think?
ANDRE BAUER, DONALD TRUMP SUPPORTER: I can't speculate what's going to be on the podium. But they could do that and I have heard some of the things they are talking about doing and I think they could leave that message. Not a healthy message.
TAPPER: Mayor Nutter, is there a theory at all when you have, the mothers of victims of police, sometimes excessive force, sometimes as in the case of Michael Brow, the Justice Department investigated and said it was not excessive force, is it a risk.