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CNN LIVE EVENT/SPECIAL
Final Night of Democratic National Convention; Retired General And Veterans Appear On Stage To Back Clinton. Aired 9-10p ET
Aired July 28, 2016 - 21:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[21:00:10] REV. WILLIAM BARBER II, NORTH CAROLINA NAACP PRESIDENT: We need -- we need to embrace our deepest moral values and push for revival of the heart of our democracy. When we fight to reinstate the power of the voting rights act, and we break the interposition and nullification of the current Congress, we in the south especially know that when we do that, we are reviving the heart of our democracy.
When we fight for 15 and a union, and universal health care, and public education, and immigrant rights, and LGBQT rights, we are reviving the heart of our democracy. When we develop tax and trade policies that no longer funnel our prosperity to the wealthy few, we are reviving the heart of our democracy.
When we hear the legitimate discontent of Black Lives Matter and we come together to renew justice in our criminal justice system, we are embracing our deepest moral values and reviving the heart of our democracy. When we love the Jewish child and the Palestinian child, the Muslim and the Christian and the Hindu and the Buddhist and those who have no faith but they love this nation, we are reviving the heart of our democracy.
When we fight for peace and when we resist the proliferation of military style weapons on our streets and when we stand against the anti-Democratic stronghold of the NRA, we are reviving the heart of our democracy. In times like these, we have to make some decisions and I might not normally be here, as a preacher and an individual, but when I hear Hillary's voices and positions, I hear and I know that she is working to embrace our deepest moral values, and we should embrace her.
But let me be clear. Let me be clear that she, nor any person, can do it alone. The watchword of this democracy and the watchword of faith is "we." The heart -- the heart of our democracy is on the line this November and beyond.
Now, my friends, they tell me that when the heart is in danger, somebody has to call an emergency code, and somebody with a good heart will bring a defibrillator to work on the bad heart. Because it's possible to shock a bad heart and revive the pulse. In this season when some want to harden and stop the heart of our democracy, we are being called like our foremothers and fathers to be the moral defibrillators of our time. We -- we must -- we must shock this nation with the power of love. We must shock this nation with the power of mercy. We must shock this nation and fight for justice for all. We can't give up on the heart of our democracy, not now, not ever.
[21:05:16] And so I stopped by here tonight to ask, is there a heart in this house? Is there a heart in America? Is there somebody that has a heart for the poor and a heart for the vulnerable? Then stand up, vote together, organize together, fight for the heart of this nation, and while you're fighting, sing that old hymn, revive us again, (inaudible), may each soul be rekindled with fire from above. Hallelujah. It's time to go.
ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: Arousing speech which has this entire arena on its feet. Kareem Abdul-Jabbar is next.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: ... Culture ambassador, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar.
KAREEM ABDUL-JABBAR, NBA HALL OF FAMER: Hello, everyone. I'm Michael Jordan and I'm here with Hillary. I said that because I know that Donald Trump couldn't tell the difference.
Good evening, everyone. I'm Kareem Abdul-Jabbar. And I'm here to tell you about captain Humayun Khan was one of 14 American-Muslim soldiers who have died in combat serving the United States since 9/11. His family immigrated to the United States from the United Arab Emirates, where captain Khan was born. The first place they visited upon arriving in America was the Jefferson Memorial. The words engraved there read "I have sworn upon the altar of God eternal hostility against every form of tyranny over the mind of man." Donald Trump's idea to register Muslims and prevent them from entering our country is the very tyranny Jefferson abhorred.
In 1777, Jefferson drafted the Virginia Statute for religious freedom which later became a model for the First Amendment. Today is so- called Religious Freedom Acts like the one signed by Governor Mike Pence of Indiana, they are the opposite of what Jefferson wanted because they allow discrimination. And at its core, discrimination is the result of fear. Those who think Americans scare easily, enough to abandon our country's ideals in exchange for a false sense of security, underestimate our resolve. To them, we say only this. Not here, not ever.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
HILLARY CLINTON, (D) PRESIDENTIAL NOMINEE: If you want to see the best of America, you need look no further than Army Captain Humayun Khan. He was born in the United Arab Emirates. He moved to Maryland as a small child. He later graduated from the University of Virginia before enlisting in the United States Army.
[21:10:04] In June 2004 he was serving in Iraq. One day while his infantry unit was guarding the gates of their base, a suspicious vehicle appeared. Captain Khan told his troops to get back, but he went forward. He took ten steps toward the car before it exploded. Captain Khan was killed, but his unit was saved by his courageous act.
Captain Khan was posthumously awarded the bronze star and Purple Heart. He was just 27 years old. We still wonder what made him take those ten steps, Khan's father said in a recent interview. Maybe that's the point he went on, where all the values, all the service to country, all the things he learned in this country kicked in. It was those values that made him take those ten steps. Those ten steps told us we did not make a mistake in moving to this country, his father finished.
It's time to stand up and say we are Americans. We will not turn on each other or turn on our principles. That's what we do here. That's who we are. That's how we will win. That's the America that I know makes us all so proud to be a part of. Thank you all very much.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Please welcome Khizr Khan from Charlottesville, Virginia.
KHIZR KHAN, FATHER OF DECEASED MUSLIM U.S. SOLDIER: First, our thoughts and prayers are with our veterans and those who serve today.
Tonight, we are honored to stand here as parents of Captain Humayun Khan and as patriotic American-Muslims. As, patriotic American- Muslims with undivided loyalty to our country. Like many immigrants, we came to this country empty-handed. We believed in American democracy that with hard work and goodness of this country, we could share in and contribute to its blessings. We are blessed to raise our three sons in a nation where they were free to be themselves and follow their dreams.
Our son Humayun had dreams, too, of being a military lawyer, but he put those dreams aside the day he sacrificed his life to save the lives of his fellow soldiers.
[21:15:12] Hillary Clinton was right when she called my son the best of America. If it was up to Donald Trump, he never would have been in America. Donald Trump consistently smears the character of Muslims. He disrespects other minorities, women, judges even his own party leadership. He wants to build walls and ban us from this country.
Donald Trump, you're asking Americans to trust you with their future. Let me ask you, have you even read the United States constitution? I will gladly lend you my copy.
In this document, look for the words, look for the words "liberty" and "equal protection of law." Have you ever been to Arlington Cemetery? Go look at the graves of brave patriots who died defending United States of America. You'll see all faiths, genders and ethnicities. You have sacrificed nothing and no one. We cannot solve -- we cannot solve our problems by building walls, sowing division. We are stronger together. And we will keep getting stronger when Hillary Clinton becomes our president.
In conclusion, I ask every patriot American, all Muslim immigrants and all immigrants to not take this election lightly. This is a historic election and I request to honor the sacrifice of my son and on Election Day, take the time to get out and vote, and vote for the healer, vote for the strongest, most qualified candidate, Hillary Clinton. Not the divider.
God bless you. Thank you. Thank you.
WOLF BLITZER, CNN ANCHOR: A very moving statement by the father of Captain Humayun Khan who served in the U.S. Army, was killed in Iraq when a suicide bomber attacked his infantry unit. Jake that was an important statement made tonight.
JAKE TAPPER, CNN ANCHOR: An incredibly moving statement from a gold star father. Khizr Khan's son, as we noted Humayun Khan, was in the U.S. Army, was a captain, was killed by a suicide bomber in Iraq in 2004. Perhaps the most moving moment, when he said Donald Trump, I don't think you even read the United States Constitution and he offered to lend him his copy. And then you have sacrificed nothing. You have sacrificed no one.
Making the implicit point that his Muslim-American son saved the lives of his comrades. What has Donald Trump ever done?
BLITZER: He asked has Donald Trump ever even visited Arlington Cemetery outside of Washington, D.C.
TAPPER: And I'll tell you something, I know a lot of conservatives who are iffy on Donald Trump and I bet that they were very, very moved by this, because one of the things that's most concerning to them, the conservatives that I'm referring to, is the idea that Donald Trump does not respect the notion of religious freedom in this country. Something that has concerned a lot of people since Donald Trump first proposed that ban on Muslims coming into the United States until we quote unqote "figure out what the hell is going on."
[21:20:26] He has since backed off that proposal a bit, but still, it's something that offended a great number of conservatives including, by the way, his running mate, Governor Mike Pence.
BLITZER: And we heard Mr. Khan said is so important. Muslim Americans are patriotic Americans who do an incredibly important role and serve our country with distinction. I think that goes without saying. We're now, going to hear from retired U.S. Army General John Allen, who played a significant role both in Iraq and Afghanistan. He's got a strong statement. You spoke with him today Jake.
TAPPER: Yeah. And this is very unusual General Allen is not a political guy at all. I've interviewed him a number of times. He was deputy director of Cent-Com. He commanded U.S. troupes in Afghanistan, he worked on the Anti-ISIS coalition for President Obama as a retired general, but he is not somebody who wades into the world of politics at all.
In fact, he would not tell me how he has voted. He says he's not a member of any party and has no plans of joining any political party but here he is, he's going to come out and he's going to talk about how Hillary Clinton is the only qualified nominee in this race.
BLITZER: He is being accompanied by 37 Veterans of the United States Military General Allen will be making a statement on behalf of the veterans, making a statement that certainly will resonate with this crowd.
TAPPER: Can I just add? How did the Republicans last week let the veterans issue get away from them? I mean, look at this display of patriotism and honor to soldiers that we did not really see in this large and demonstrative away last week in Cleveland.
GEN. JOHN ALLEN (RET.), FORMER COMMANDER U.S. MARINE CORPS: I stand with you tonight, a retired four-star general of the United States Marine Corps. And I am joined by my fellow generals and admirals and with these magnificent young veterans from Iraq and Afghanistan. They went there and they risked their lives because they love this country. They are here. They are here before you because this most consequential election is the greatest one in our memory for the president of the United the States.
The States are enormous. We must not and we could not stand on the sidelines. This election can carry us to a future of unity and hope, or to a dark place of discord and fear. We must choose hope, every American in uniform, in the White House or at home.
USA! USA! USA! We must be a force for unity in America, for a vision that includes all of us, all of us, every man and woman, every race, every ethnicity, every faith, every faith and creed including the Americans who are our precious Muslims and every gender and every gender orientation, all of us together, all of us together pursuing our common values. My fellow Americans, from the battlefield to the capitals of our allies and friends and partners, the free people of the world, look to America as the last best hope for peace and liberty for all humankind. For we are, we are the greatest country on this planet.
[21:25:03] So we stand before you tonight to endorse Hillary Clinton for the president of the United States of America. We trust in her judgment. We trust in her judgment. We believe in her vision for a United America. We believe in her vision of an America as a just and strong leader against the forces of hatred, the forces of chaos and darkness.
We know that she, has no other -- knows how to use all instruments of American power, not just the military, to keep us all safe and free. My fellow Americans, I tell you without hesitation or reservation, that Hillary Clinton will be exactly, exactly the kind of commander- in-chief America needs.
I know this. I know this because I served with her. I know this as the former special presidential envoy to the global coalition to counter ISIS. With her as our commander-in-chief, America will continue to lead this valuable world. We will opposed and resist tyranny and we will defeat evil.
America, America will defeat ISIS and protect the homeland. America will honor our treaty obligations. We will lead and strengthen NATO and the Atlantic alliance. And our allies in East Asia and around the world whom we have sworn a solemn oath to defend. My fellow Americans, we will stop the spread of nuclear weapons and keep them from the hands of dangerous states and groups.
Our armed forces will be stronger. They will have the finest weapons, the greatest equipment. They will have the support of the American people, you and the American military we'll continue to be -- we'll continue to be the shining example of America at our very best.
Our veterans will be thanked by a grateful nation and they will be cared for in the manner they deserve, for the sacrifices they have made for all of us, for this great country, and for world peace. Ladies and gentlemen but, I also know that with her as commander-in- chief, our international relations will not be reduced to a business transaction.
I also know that our armed forces will not become an instrument of torture and they will not be engaged in murder or carry out other illegal activities. With Hillary Clinton as our commander-in-chief, the United States will continue to be that indispensable, transformational power in the world.
To our allies and to our friends and partners, listen closely. We are with you. America will not abandon you. To those acting against peace, acting against civilization in the world order, we will oppose you. And to our enemies, to our enemies, we will pursue you as only America can. You will fear us and to ISIS and others, we will defeat you.
Ladies and gentlemen, my American, my fellow veterans, this is the moment. This is the opportunity for our future and that of the world. We must seize this moment to elect Hillary Clinton As president of the United States of America.
[21:30:18] Thank you and God bless you and God bless America.
BLITZER: Retired U.S. Marine Corps four-star general John Allen delivering an important statement. That there were shouts no more war, no more war, Jake, and all of a sudden the whips stunned everyone shouting U.S.A, U.S.A. Saw something similar at Leon Panetta yesterday.
TAPPER: That's right. There are a number of presumably Sanders supporters in the crowd chanting no more war. They did this during former Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta's speech the other night as well and they were drowned out by tens of thousand of Democrats.
And let's talk a moment -- for a moment about the speech General John Allen barking that speech like a marine drill sergeant, giving a very robust support for Hillary Clinton and talking about the need to defeat ISIS and honor veterans. Welcome to the Democratic Party 2016.
BLITZER: And we are now going to hear from Medal of Honor recipient, Florent Groberg. FLORENT GROBERG, MEDAL OF HONOR RECIPIENT: I'm here tonight not as a Democrat or a Republican. I'm here as a proud immigrant to this country, a proud veteran of the United States army and a proud recipient of our country's highest military honor.
Soldiers spend years training for one moment. We don't know when it will come. We don't know what it will require. But we know that when it arrives, we will be ready.
My moment came four years ago in Afghanistan. A suicide bomber approached my men. I grabbed them by the vest, I threw them as far as I could because that's exactly what I was trained to do. The vest exploded. It took a part of my leg with it. I was a runner in college but the run to that vest was the last run of my life.
America lost four heroes that day, Commander Sergeant Major Griffin, Major Gray, Major Kennedy and Foreign Service Officer Ragaei Abdelfattah. I remind you in their memory that your military protects you with their lives. And that our president should protect us in return.
Hillary Clinton has been training for this moment for decades. In the Senate, she worked across the aisle to support wounded warriors and our families. As president, she will reform the V.A., not privatize it. She will help heal our invisible wounds that lead to suicide. And as commander-in-chief, she will defeat ISIS. When Hillary's moment comes, she will be ready, ready to serve, ready to lead, and ready to thank those who defend you. Thank you.
COOPER: Clearly they have been very focused tonight on answering some of the criticism that they have probably -- the Democratic Party received over the last several nights of not addressing fallen police officers, military strength.
DAVID AXELROD, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Yeah. Look, when we started these discussions on Monday, I said you got to view this thing as a four-act play.
AXELROD: Not as you can't judge it from halfway through the first act. I don't think this was -- this programming was developed in the last few days. This programming was planned. They wanted to finish with it. They felt this was the strongest way to finish the week out leading into Hillary Clinton and it was powerful. And as powerful as General Allen was, Mr. Khan, the father ...
AXELROD: ... of that fallen heroic soldier was incredibly powerful. So you know, I think what we have seen throughout here, and I don't -- I say this again as a clinical point, just watching it and being well- versed in -- the putting on conventions. This has been a very, very well conceived series of event.
COOPER: We're going to take a quick break. Coming up, Chelsea Clinton introducing her mother Hillary Clinton. We'll be right back.
[21:38:54] COOPER: And welcome back to this the final dramatic night of the Democratic National Convention, just a powerful last hour of speakers and a lot of emotion certainly in this hall.
VAN JONES, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: It is remarkable, again, from a political point-of-view to see the Democrats owning patriotism in such a deep and powerful way, owning this respect for veterans in such a deep and powerful way and owning faith of Christian and Muslim and other and to see Reverend Barber, who was a little while back, hit those Dr. King Cadences. You know, he's done such a remarkable job in North Carolina of bringing poor African-Americans and poor white folks together.
You see the power of a moral message. The Democrats are the party of morality, patriotism and veterans tonight.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Well this ...
PAUL BEGALA, DEMOCRATIC STRATEGIST: Well, this is where in a time of change in the Democratic status quo. They are wrapping that in patriotism, they're saying we love America, America is great. And it was I think an error on the Republicans' part that they somehow ceded the stage. Then they talked a lot about national security, they did.
[21:39:56] But General John Allen, that was a can of whooping that he opened up on Donald Trump. And you have to have that. When people are fearful, you know, we have these signs says, "Love Trumps Hate", well I don't know about that. Fear Trumps thought through. When people are frightened, they stop thinking.
And if Democrats only respond with a cool reason and rational brain, they will fail. General Allen, who is a brilliant man, four-star general, but he came at it first and foremost by saying we will hunt you down and kill you. And that's what people want and need. And in fact the Democrats were celebrating that. I think it's really powerful.
GLORIA BORGER, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL ANALYST: Well, I think all of these people tonight, you know, starting with Jennifer Granholm, a former governor of Michigan, talking about jobs, you know, talking about the fallen officers, talking about ISIS, everybody here outlined the enormous stakes in this election and it's a message to their voters or to potential voters, you can't sit on the sidelines. And that is exactly what General Allen said. I mean, he not only had the message of defeating ISIS, but he had the message of you need to participate.
COOPER: It was also interesting to see Republicans on this stage speaking -- I mean, Jeffrey, you were or you know ...
JEFFREY LORD, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: I do. Doug Elmet is a friend. I saw him today. You know, and he's terrific. I have nothing bad to say to him rather than, Doug, respectfully, I think you're wrong. I worked for Ronald Reagan. I knew Ronald Reagan, and Hillary Clinton is no Ronald Reagan.
COOPER: But is Donald Trump?
LORD: Well, he's Reagan-Esque in some ways, yeah. But, no, as I've said many times, no two human souls are the same. But he attracts the same kind of enemies and I would respectfully point out to my friend Doug that there are all kinds of Republicans who are upset about Ronald Reagan and thought that he was an extremist, he was a warmonger and they followed Republican Congressman John Anderson right out of the party in 1980 so that he could challenge Ronald Reagan.
The other thing I just like to observe her with the sudden presence of flag, it's very interesting. When we come in here to this Wells Fargo Center, we are listening to these folks say build bridges and not walls. We are surrounded by miles of fencing.
In other words, the Democratic Party wanting security, I'm all for that, put miles and miles of fencing around here which I see was today extended out beyond where it was. So my question would be the obvious, if it's OK for the DNC, why isn't it OK to the southern border of the United States?
COOPER: Well, there is fencing on the southern border of the United States.
LORD: Well, I mean a wall, a wall, a wall. I mean, in other words, what you're doing here is exactly opposed to what they are saying ...
COOPER: But that's actually not true. I mean, there is fencing and there's guards ...
LORD: Yeah, but it's not effective, it's not effective though, Anderson.
BEGALA: It's not effective because most of the people who are here undocumented, come here legally and overstay their visa or come here by airplanes. You have to build a very high fence to stop an airplane Jeffrey. I mean, It's just not the same. These fences are very important.
PATTI SOLIS DOYLE, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Right.
BEGALA: The United States secret service is the one who does it not neither the political parties.
AXELROD: Jeffrey, can I ask you a question?
LORD: Yes, sir.
AXELROD: Oh here it comes. No, no. This is seriously, just you are someone who is familiar with stagecraft and with the impact that people have. I think of last week and General Flynn who was leading chants of "lock her up" and I see General Allen tonight, seems to me that there was a qualitative difference, well there's a qualitative difference between the standing of these two guys, but also a qualitative difference between the way they approach those speeches, and wasn't this a more effective speech?
LORD: I'm not sure of that and I'll tell you why. I mean, if I did a quick survey of the summit diner in Lamont, Pennsylvania, in all candor, I'm not sure there would be a single soul in there who would know who General John Allen is or for that matter is General Flynn.
AXELROD: It's just the way he presented himself.
LORD: Well sure, sure. But he's presenting himself with all due respect to people like us. I mean, folks out there, you know, beyond political circles, I'm honestly not sure that that makes a difference.
MICAHEL SMERCONISH, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Jeffrey, can I just say as one who did advance work for George Herbert Walker Bush many, many years ago, and I'm a fan of a well produced event. When I look at the list of speakers they're not household names. And I thought the bar was deliberately set low so that she would look good. They have knocked it out of the park. So you have to say that.
COOPER: Let's listen in to Representative Xavier Becerra, from California the highest ranking Latino in Congress.
REP. XAVIER BECERRA, (D) CALIFORNIA: Good evening. Buenas Noches. Thank you. Hey, how about we thank all the volunteers, the police officers and security, the workers who set up, cleaned up, fed us, who made this convention a success.
Now, anyone here an immigrant or child or grandchild of immigrants? Anyone the first in your family to go to college? Who here makes a living working with your hands, making this country better?
[21:45:05] This, this is what a great America looks like. So when I hear someone say America isn't great, it hits me. Like when someone says your father was just a ditch digger, your mother wasn't even born here. This election is about us. It's personal. It's about telling every little boy and every little girl, you can be a president of the United States of America.
When she was 18, my mom came from Guadalajara, Jalisco Mexico. She was the boss. She judged so many things so well. She juggled her jobs at home and as a clerical worker. My father, he had to leave school by the sixth grade to help support the family.
I remember, he wouldn't leave for work long before my three sisters and I would get up for school. When you work in the fields and in construction, you rise with the sun. In winter, when Sacramento turned cold and rainy and the construction jobs disappeared, my dad would somehow find other work, laying a tile floor, canning tomatoes or hauling someone's trash.
My parents didn't go to college but they encouraged us. And like so many of you, I became the first in my family to graduate with a four year degree. I know that education opens doors. Hillary Clinton gets that. She understands that every child deserves a great education, no matter their zip code. As first lady of Arkansas, Hillary had what she called the Chelsea Test.
If a school wasn't good enough for her daughter, it wasn't good enough for anyone's child. That's why as president, she will bring preschool to every four-year-old in America. She'll rebuild our crumbling schools. She'll give our teachers the support and tools they need and the pay they deserve.
How many of you have student debt? Hillary will fight for debt-free college tuition because nobody should be priced out of college. And she will ensure folks can refinance their student loans because nobody should be held down by the crunch of student debt.
I recently went with Carolina, my wife, to witness our youngest daughter, Natalia graduate from high school. Natalia knows the sky is the limit.
Hillary wants for all children what we give to our children. Hillary wants to build schools. Donald Trump wants to build walls. His idea of an education plan, Trump University, he wants demanded that President Obama release his college transcripts because it would be, "Very revealing".
You know what I think? I think it would be very revealing for Donald Trump to release his college transcripts. Who here thinks he did as well as he says he did? At every stage in his life, Donald Trump has exploited America's laws to put himself first.
He uses lawsuits the way my mom uses coupons to drive down the price of products. He uses bankruptcies, six of them, like a wealthy man's get out of jail free card.
I can't tell you if this man has ever had a callous on his hands. Does he know the price of a gallon of milk? A loaf of bread? And why don't -- why don't we know about his tax returns? Why won't he release his tax returns? What is he hiding? Why won't he show the American people who he is?
Now, let me tell you who Hillary Clinton is. A few months ago, Hillary came to my city of Los Angeles and sat down with people like my parents, grandmothers, dreamers, and men who work all day in the sun, yet they remain in the shadows.
As the meeting ended, the crowd swelled all around her. She took every photo requested with families who had never been anywhere close to a future president. People who couldn't even vote, she embraced them, she listened to them, and guess what, she proved that she cares.