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THE SITUATION ROOM
Final Night of Democratic National Convention; Clinton to Accept Historic Nomination Tonight. Aired 6-7p ET
Aired July 28, 2016 - 18:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
WOLF BLITZER, CNN ANCHOR: Right now, the Democrats are building towards a crowning moment of this convention.
Tonight, Hillary Clinton accepts her historic nomination for president of the United States.
I'm Wolf Blitzer. Welcome back to a special edition of THE SITUATION ROOM.
We're told Hillary Clinton share her personal journey with the American people tonight and lay out the stark choice in this election. She faces a crucial challenge, to try to convince undecided voters she's relatable and trustworthy and that she understands their fears about the future.
She will get tonight when she is introduced by her daughter. Chelsea Clinton says she will speak from the heart about why she's so proud of her mother.
Right now, we're standing by one of the big performances tonight by the music legend Carole King.
Our correspondents are out there on the convention floor, at the podium as well, Dana Bash, Jeff Zeleny, Pamela Brown.
Dana, first to you. Set the scene for us. What's happening now, and where are we heading?
DANA BASH, CNN SENIOR CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: We're heading for the culmination not just of the night, but of the entire week, the speech of Hillary Clinton's life, where she's going to do what she has been trying to do since 2007, which is accept the nomination of her party, to be the first woman to do so.
And she hopes to be the first female president of the United States. The challenges are vast and the Clinton campaign understands that very, very well. But what she is going to try to do thematically is make the point that there is a big contrast between her and how she would lead the country.
Stronger together is the theme tonight. That will be the theme in her speech, talking about the fact that everybody needs to work together and that she can't do it alone, but also talking about her past and her personal story, Wolf, because they understand, as public and as well-known and the fact she's probably the most famous woman on Earth, people have a perception of her that might be different, that certainly is different in some ways from the one that she wants to put forward.
She will tell a lot about her personal story growing up, her mentors, to be more relatable to the people who aren't so sure about her yet, Wolf.
BLITZER: All right, Dana.
Jeff Zeleny is out there on the convention floor as well.
You're getting more information about what we can expect tonight. Jeff, what are you hearing?
JEFF ZELENY, CNN SENIOR WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT: I am indeed, Wolf.
The line that President Obama delivered last night in his address here that really excited this crowd, but certainly resonated was, we will not be ruled. That was a direct response to Donald Trump's convention speech last night.
I'm told by a senior Clinton campaign aide that she will do a similar response to that. In fact, her speech has been changing since Donald Trump gave his convention speech last week. Her speech is infused with rebuttals to what Donald Trump was saying last week.
One thing we will not hear from Hillary Clinton tonight, Wolf, is any apology or any acknowledgement of any flaws. We heard President Obama say last night, I have made mistakes. She's made mistakes. We have all made mistakes.
I am told that she will not say that. Of course, this is in relation to the e-mail controversy that has been dogging her. But her aides said they believe tonight is not the night to acknowledge any shortcomings. But that's really an interesting decision here, Wolf, because that is one of the things that many voters have questions about, about her honesty and her trustworthiness.
They say she will be focused more on Donald Trump than on herself and her own shortcomings -- Wolf.
BLITZER: Jeff Zeleny, thanks very much.
Pamela Brown is on the podium right now. She's got a great view of what is going on?
What are you hear something, Pamela?
PAMELA BROWN, CNN JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT: Well, Wolf, one of the most anticipated speeches tonight is of course Chelsea Clinton, Hillary Clinton's only child.
And we expect her to try to personalize, humanize her mom and talk about some of her accomplishments and why she made decisions she did, such as working for the Children's Defense Fund, rather than going to a large law firm. And her goal really is to do what we saw Ivanka Trump do last week and really be a character witness and try to bolster trust in her mom, try to put a dent in those high unfavorables.
The bar is very high following the speeches we heard from the Trump kids that had very favorable reviews. But Chelsea Clinton has always been very close with her mother. She was born into the public eye, raised in the public eye, and Hillary Clinton really put a lot of effort into trying to shelter her and give her as normal a life as possible.
And also we're being told by the advisers to the Clinton campaign that this is really important for Chelsea Clinton, because now she's a mother herself. She has two children, we know. In a sense, this is more personal and more urgent for her tonight -- Wolf.
BLITZER: Going to be exciting night all around, I am sure.
Guys, stand by. Everyone, stand by -- Anderson, over to you.
ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: Wolf, thanks.
Coming up, we will be bringing you Tammy Duckworth, who of course is running for Senate in the state of Illinois, in an effort to try to retake the Senate.
In terms of -- we're going to be hearing from Chelsea Clinton. It is going to be really interesting introducing her mom. It is going to be really interesting to see how her speech about her mom compares to Ivanka Trump's speech about her father.
GLORIA BORGER, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: Ivanka Trump's speech, I thought, was an awful lot about politics and about business.
She let her own political views known. She promised her father would do a lot for women and child care issues and working moms and that kind of thing. And she talked about being in business with her father. I think from Chelsea Clinton, we will hear something very different.
This is a young woman, don't forget, who basically grew up before our very eyes when she was in the White House. She's the daughter of a president and someone running for president. I think what she's going to do is talk about her as a mother and as a grandmother and someone who has been a role model for her.
Ivanka did a lot of the role model stuff, but I think it will be very, very personal.
JOHN KING, CNN CHIEF NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: They have a long relationship.
Chelsea Clinton, even as a young child, has been with them through the ups and downs of politics.
KING: I will tell you a story that the Clinton campaign probably would not like me to tell.
But on Super Bowl Sunday, 1992, the day of the "60 Minutes" interview about Monica Lewinsky -- I mean, Gennifer Flowers -- I'm sorry -- about Gennifer Flowers, where Hillary Clinton said I'm no Tammy Wynette standing by my man, it was a game-changer in the election at a time when people thought Governor Clinton was going to have to drop out of the race.
I worked for the Associated Press then. I had an interview with them as soon as the "60 Minutes" interview finished. I began an interview with them. And we went down in the elevator. It was the Ritz- Carlton. It was a hotel out in Boston.
And then a car ride out to Logan Airport with the Clintons. When we got to the airport, he was going back to New Hampshire to campaign. I stayed with him. But they embraced on the tarmac. And she went home to Arkansas, because she said, "I need to be with Chelsea when this interview airs."
Chelsea was a month short of her 12th birthday at that time. They have been through this. And then Chelsea was in the White House when the Monica Lewinsky thing happened. And Chelsea has grown. I remember Chelsea as an awkward little girl when he was moving out of the mansion in Arkansas.
She was there. They did a tour when he was moving out of the mansion as president-elect. And she was a sweet, awkward little girl. I think she had braces. And now to see the poise she has. We talked a lot about Donald Trump's children and in some ways how you judge people is how their turn out.
Chelsea Clinton, whatever your politics, is an amazingly poised, accomplished young woman. They should get some credit for that, I guess is the point I'm trying to make.
MICHAEL SMERCONISH, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: Can I say that in a campaign like this, you are provided very few moments for a mulligan, very few moments where you get to wipe the slate clean and allow people to take a fresh look.
The announcement is one with of those phases. Tonight is very important. It's one of those milestones. The debates will provide yet another opportunity. I think that Chelsea setting up mom's speech -- and by all accounts this has gone well so far -- puts her on the platform in a way she needs to now try and explain where she, she meaning Hillary, seeks to take the country.
That's what she's got to do tonight. She's got to offer a plan because the status quo, as has been said here, is not enough.
NIA-MALIKA HENDERSON, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: Americans are always fascinated with the children of celebrities, with the children of politicians.
It's a draw, I think, for this audience in setting up her mother. We saw that with Ivanka and the kids there as well, the Trump children, who in some ways that Trump convention, sort of saved the convention in some ways.
I think is a reintroduction to Chelsea, who again people have seen her for all these years, but a lot of people don't even know what her voice sounds like, because she's been not so much in the public eye.
BORGER: Do you remember that picture with them on the White House lawn and Chelsea stand -- it sort of sticks out in my mind, Chelsea holding her father's hand and holding her mother's hand.
BORGER: Heading toward that helicopter.
BILL PRESS, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: I sort of feel like all of us are kind of godparents of Chelsea, because she has grown up under our eyes. We have seen so much of her. And it's been a remarkable -- she's a remarkable young woman.
BORGER: We haven't heard her, though.
PRESS: But we haven't heard her, except she has come out on the campaign. And when I have seen her, she's so poised.
PRESS: She really -- it's in her blood. But if I can just finish this, and I was really impressed by the Trump children as well, all four of them.
But I had the feeling when they were talking, they were talking more like an employee of their father than a son or daughter. That's not the way it is with Chelsea.
COOPER: Tammy Duckworth coming out now, running for Senate in the state of Illinois, her helicopter of famously shot down in Iraq.
Let's listen .
(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)
REP. TAMMY DUCKWORTH (D), ILLINOIS: Twelve years ago, I was co- piloting a Black Hawk helicopter over Iraq.
[18:10:05] A rocket-propelled grenade ripped through our cockpit. And I'm only
here tonight because of the miracles that followed. Some, I can explain, like the bravery of my crew determined not to leave me behind. Some, I can't, like the shrapnel of the explosion passing through the blades without destroying them, allowing us to land.
What I do know is that I started that day doing what I loved. I ended it knocked down, surviving only because my buddies refused to leave me and wouldn't stop, even as they struggled to carry my body with its missing limbs.
(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)
DUCKWORTH: Eleven days, 11 days later, I woke up with a debt that I can never repay.
And I still wake up every morning trying to be worthy of them and their struggle of this miraculous second chance. My family and I had been knocked down before. My dad, a proud Marine, lost his job in his 50s. For a little time, my dad did odd jobs. My mom took in sewing. I got a minimum wage job.
We relied on food stamps to help us get by. The summer before I started college, my parents walked everywhere, instead of taking the bus. Once a week, they would hand over that saved-up bus money, $10, to the university housing office, a deposit, so I could move into the dorms in the fall.
Thanks to Pell Grants, work study, affordable student loans and lots of waitressing, I fulfilled my dream of college. I worked hard, but I had a lot of help from my community and my country.
And my story is not unique. It's a story about why this is the greatest nation on Earth, a nation that so many are willing to die defending, a nation that says if you keep working hard, we won't abandon you.
Of course, in Donald Trump's America, if you get knocked down, you stay down.
By the way, Donald Trump, I didn't put my life on the line to defend our democracy, so you could invite Russia to interfere in it.
(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)
DUCKWORTH: You -- you -- you are not fit to be the commander in chief.
(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)
DUCKWORTH: My fellow Americans, we can choose a different path.
Ten years after my helicopter was shot down, almost to the day, I got my most important job. I became a mom. And we named our little girl after Abigail Adams, who urged her husband to remember the ladies as he and his colleagues first declared our rights to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness just a few miles from this very spot.
My Abigail already knows that women can fly helicopters in combat. And in 102 days, when we elect Hillary, my daughter's first memories of a president will be of a woman.
(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)
DUCKWORTH: Democrats, Democrats, tonight, let's go forward with confidence and pride in who we are and what we believe. We're Democrats because we stand up for the most vulnerable among us.
We embrace the notion that lifting one another up doesn't cost nearly as much as leaving other Americans behind. We stand up for immigrants and people with disabilities.
(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)
DUCKWORTH: And we defend the basic values that have made and will keep America the greatest country in the world.
May God bless each and every one of you. May God bless our troops and always may God bless the United States of America.
(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)
BLITZER: Straight head, Carole King performing live on the convention stage. We will be right back.
BLITZER: The great Carole King performing "You've Got a Friend."
ANNOUNCER: Please welcome Carole King.
(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)
CAROLE KING, ARTIST: Thank you. We're going to do it. Thank you.
(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)
BLITZER: The great Carole King performing "You've Got a Friend," which she wrote and recorded back in 1971.
Dana Bash is a huge fan.
BASH: Who isn't?
BLITZER: Huge. I saw -- did you see "Beautiful" on Broadway?
BASH: No, but that's a sore subject. BLITZER: I have seen the musical which is all about all of the songs.
BLITZER: She's amazing.
BASH: She is.
And I had a chance to talk with her yesterday. And she talked about first meeting Hillary Clinton back in 1992, when she became active in Bill Clinton's presidential campaign. And she said she sat across the dinner table from her and said, wait a minute, you're the one who should be running for office, because she said she was so impressed by her.
She also said that she thinks that people really do need to know that part of her.
One other thing I thought that was very interesting, she said that the amount of criticism that Hillary Clinton get is akin to Carole King doing exactly what she just did here, singing "You've Got a Friend," and the entire arena singing -- saying back to her, "You suck."
That's a quote.
BLITZER: The amazing thing about Carole, she wrote so many great songs...
BASH: She did.
BLITZER: ... that other artists performed before she decided to go out and do it herself.
BASH: She did.
She was very much behind the scenes for so long. And I actually asked her about that, not just as a songwriter, but as a female breaking barriers in the music business. And she said that she just kind of went out and did it. Nobody ever told her that she couldn't, which she said is very different obviously from what we have seen in politics.
BLITZER: Katy Perry will be performing later tonight. That will be huge as well.
Right now, James Clyburn, one of the Democratic leaders in the House of Representatives from South Carolina.
REP. JAMES CLYBURN (D), SOUTH CAROLINA: Thank you. Thank you very, very much.
My fellow Democrats, and, hello, South Carolina.
(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE) CLYBURN: As a father of three daughters and grandfather of two adorable granddaughters, I'm proud to stand before you as we prepare to offer the American people an opportunity to smash through the ultimate glass ceiling in our nation by nominating for president of the United States a person who is more qualified, by education and training, more experienced, and temperament than anyone who has ever offered for the job.
And when it comes to current occupants, it ain't even close.
The changes we seek for our great country will not come easy. To achieve a stronger and better America, we need a leader who is willing and able to fight for the dreams of all Americans.
If there's one thing I know about Hillary Clinton, it's this. She is a fighter. And she fights with her head and her heart.
In my home state of South Carolina, we often say you can best tell what a person will do by looking at what he or she has done. When she graduated from law school, Hillary Clinton came to South Carolina to help reform our juvenile justice system and travel across the region to make the 1965 Voting Rights Act real in the lives of all Americans.
In Arkansas, she fought to reform education. As first lady, she fought for universal health care and succeeded in helping secure the Children's Health Insurance Program that provides health care for millions of children and laid the groundwork for the Affordable Care Act.
As a senator and secretary of state, Hillary Clinton always worked to advance our nation's pursuit of a more perfect union.
Hillary Clinton knows that we must take effective action on the issue of income inequality. She has embraced the Congressional Black Caucus' 10-20-30 plan to target federal resources into areas of persistent poverty.
Hillary Clinton's first speech in this campaign was on criminal justice reform. She will work to get rid of mandatory minimums and mass incarcerations and private for-profit prisons. Hillary Clinton does not care about getting outside of her comfort zone.
She knows that we are a stronger nation when we work together. She embodies our nation's motto, e pluribus unum, out of many, one.
John F. Kennedy challenged us to reach for the moon, and we did. Lyndon Baines Johnson courageously tackled poverty and inequality in America. And his achievements continue to lift our communities and sustain our citizens.
Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. pointed us to the mountaintop. And although we're not there yet, we're still climbing.
[18:30:00] And with President Hillary Clinton, America will rise even further. My standing before you tonight is a testament to the strength of our party, the goodness of our people and the greatness of our nation.
Our nation is strong, but we can be stronger. Americans are good but we can be better. America is great, but it can be greater. My fellow Democrats, America's brightest days are yet to come. We have bigger and better things to achieve. But achieving bigger and better things require working together and working harder.
Let's emerge from Philadelphia working together to make our nation stronger, Americans better and America greater by electing Hillary Clinton the next president of these United States.
God bless each and every one of you and God bless these United States of America. Thank you.
WOLF BLITZER, CNN ANCHOR: Democratic House leader James Clyburn of South Carolina.
Still ahead, we're going to hear from the one person who calls Hillary Clinton mom, her daughter Chelsea. And the Democratic presidential nominee takes the stage for her historic acceptance speech.
[18:36:28] BLITZER: It's the final night of the Democratic National Convention. We're counting down to a big speech by Hillary Clinton. The speech that could help determine whether she wins the White House.
Brianna Keilar is watching what's going. Jeff Zeleny as well.
Brianna, first to you. What are you hearing?
BRIANNA KEILAR, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, Wolf, Hillary Clinton has been at her hotel in Philadelphia all day working on her speech. Her daughter, though, who is going to introduce her in a speech that's several minutes long I'm told has always been working on her speech.
Of course, she's going to tell some stories that sort of show a softer side of her mother. But I understand she's going to be approaching this as much as a mother of two small children as she is going to approach this as the daughter of Hillary Clinton. One of the ads that this campaign has out -- has been out now for two weeks in eight battleground states. It's an ad called "role models". It portrays small children watching television of Donald Trump, saying some of my more controversial comments about Megyn Kelly, mocking a disabled reporter, encouraging violence against protesters at some of his rallies.
This is something the campaign thinks resonates as they make a case about Donald Trump's temperament. It's a point we should expect Chelsea Clinton to be driving home tonight, Wolf.
BLITZER: I want to go to Jeff Zeleny also. He's getting new information about the speech.
What are you hearing, Jeff? JEFF ZELENY, CNN SENIOR WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT: Wolf, I was just
talking to a senior Clinton campaign advisor. And they tell me tonight that the speech is going to be focused on all Americans. Not simply these Democrats here in this hall but Americans across the country, particularly Republicans as well. She's going to try and make the case through her speech, using the words that we have arrived at, quote, "a moment of reckoning".
They believe this is a moment of opportunity. This election is more unique where she can bring across the aisle and bring in some voters who are skeptical of Donald Trump. Of course, that is a very tall order.
Interestingly, post-convention as she goes on a bus tour across Pennsylvania, across Ohio, the third stop is in state of Nebraska. The delegation right behind me here has prime real estate. It's going to be a place where she tries to make the case to Republicans in that red state that it should be a time to listen to her message, at least. It's also one of the two states that split their electoral votes.
If you remember, President Obama got one electoral vote in 2008. The Clinton campaign hopes to get one as well. It's part of her cross country tour that ends on Thursday in Las Vegas -- Wolf.
BLITZER: Jeff Zeleny knows Nebraska. He's from Nebraska.
Let's go over to Dana Bash.
Dana, you're with an old friend of Hillary's going back to Arkansas.
DANA BASH, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: That's right, Wolf. I am here with Dawne Vandiver.
Thank you so much for joining me. Appreciate it.
Now, you're telling me that you knew Hillary Clinton when she was Hillary Rodham when she first moved to Arkansas. What was that like when you saw her first sort of appear on the scene?
DAWNE VANDIVER, CLINTON FRIEND & ARKANSAS DELEGATE: It kind of brought back some memories when President Clinton was talking about her. When she came to Arkansas, this is a woman who didn't worry about wearing makeup, didn't worry about her contacts being in. She had thick glasses. She didn't take her husband's name.
So, Southern women were a little shocked in Arkansas that this is who he has chosen to come to Arkansas.
BASH: Were you one of these women, shocked?
VANDIVER: I wouldn't say I wasn't as shocked as some, but I probably was a little bit.
BASH: But then you got to know her. Your daughters were friends?
VANDIVER: They weren't best friends but in a lot of activities together. I was so amazed at what a good mother she was and how she came to all activities. Here she was, so busy, and she showed up for everything. She might be run in and out but she was always there.
[18:40:02] BASH: Did she eventually kind of acclimate to Southern living and being a Southern woman. Or was she always different from you all?
VANDIVER: She did. She changed in a lot of ways. Her style changed as we have seen her through the years, but she was always true to herself. She never worried about what someone else was thinking about her. She was such a leader for her children and such a great example to the women. I think it made everybody feel a little more comfortable about themselves seeing what a smart woman did.
BASH: Now, we are going to hear from Chelsea Clinton tonight. She's going to introduce her mother. Knowing Chelsea as a little girl and knowing the relationship that they had with each other, at least watching that. What do you sort of -- what are your memories? Anything you want to share about them way back when?
VANDIVER: Probably two of the best parents I've seen. So proud of her. She was the most down to earth child who had the world looking at her. In Arkansas, everyone watched Chelsea. She was the pride and joy of the state.
She grew up to be such a fine woman. Never bad stories about her. Always friendly, nice to everyone.
BASH: I have to ask, knowing her back then, did you think she would be on this stage eventually?
VANDIVER: Chelsea or Hillary?
BASH: Hillary Clinton.
VANDIVER: Hillary Clinton for sure. I knew she would be there. She was always meant to be where she is today.
BASH: Thank you so much, Dawne. Appreciate it.
Back to you, Wolf.
BLITZER: All right, Dana, thank you.
Still ahead, we'll see Republicans on stage here voicing their support for Hillary Clinton as the Democratic nominee gets ready to give the most important speech of her life.
We'll be right back.
[18:46:17] ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: After dozen of speeches in this arena, we'll hear the one that counts the most, when Hillary Clinton takes the stage tonight. Her daughter Chelsea will warm up the crowd, and try to warm up her mother's image. We are back with the panel.
We're also -- they're also having a number of speakers tonight focusing on job, minimum wage. We'll hear from the widow of a fallen police officer which is one of the criticisms from early on. There was a Fraternal Order of Police in Philadelphia criticized this convention for not having the survivors of fallen police officers. And national security is also going to be something we'll hear about.
GLORIA BORGER, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL ANALYST: You know, it's part of the effort not only to show that Hillary Clinton is somebody who can be trusted but also to show this contrast with Donald Trump, what you saw at the convention in Cleveland. You know, those are the two jobs tonight. She is different. She offers change to show she's not just the status quo and you contrast her to affect that change.
COOPER: The Republican convention, there was a lot of talk of law and order. I mean, they sort of cast this more as gun violence, as speaking out against gun violence.
JOHN KING, CNN CHIEF NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: No question. They're talking about the same issues but it's very different. The language and sort of what comes first. When the Democrats talk about it, they talk about the victim, the African-Americans. They have gone out of their way because of Cleveland and because they know the (INAUDIBLE) should also talk about the police. But it's sort of what comes first in the conversation.
Gloria makes a very key point. On the jobs, whether it's ISIS, whether it's jobs, whether it's this police issue or crime issue, they're clearly trying to rebut what came out of Cleveland. They're trying to make the case that Donald Trump has words. Hillary Clinton has plans. And all these other speakers, that's great.
For her, the worry is don't get into laundry list. She loves policy and laundry list, don't do that.
MICHAEL SMERCONISH, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: It's also the arc of the convention I think because in the same way that it was in Cleveland, nights one and two are focused on the base. A lot of checking of the boxes to make sure that the relative constituencies are all lined up. And then, as you reached the crescendo at the end, you better be speaking to the nation at large.
I think Michael Bloomberg last night was a very critical address, because he was the one who cast that dye to now say, we're ready to move beyond this arena in Philadelphia.
COOPER: He was also able to go against Donald Trump as the way no one else could.
CHRISTINE QUINN, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: When he said I built a company without a million dollar loan from my father, it was like a mike drop moment. We're almost conditioned to think the only way people become super rich is through money from their parents. He showed a different side. I think it will make people question Donald Trump.
And then when he said, he wants to run country like his business, God help us. This is man who took his business acumen into government.
COOPER: Also flat out calling Donald Trump a con.
BILL PRESS, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: I was going to say next line was I'm a New Yorker. I know a con when I see one.
You know, we haven't talked about those little early is that Hillary does have this hurdle, too, that she's facing of getting a third term for a Democratic president. That's a big challenge.
KING: We haven't talked about it. The signature moment last night was that embrace that they loved in this hall. A country that wants change, that's a risk. That was -- I get it completely, but the Trump campaign is going to say no way.
PRESS: The point I was going to make is I think Mike Bloomberg helped her cross that bridge because he said what counts is, with this election not the party, it's the candidate. You got to look at the candidate and this guy is just simply not qualified.
MARIA CARDONA, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: But I also think what's really compelling about this convention that you did not see in the Republican convention is you have a couple of Republicans talking here on behalf of Hillary Clinton. You have a group of Republicans that will come out and vote for Hillary Clinton. And I think that really makes a point that she is talking to all Americans.
And one of the big messages that is going to come out of this convention is, you know what? Donald Trump is right. America is facing tough times. People are anxious. People are afraid. America does need a strong leader, but Donald Trump is the wrong leader.
COOPER: Andre, as a Trump supporter, do you think there are those who are susceptible to the outreach here?
ANDRE BAUER, DONALD TRUMP SUPPORTER: Possibly. I thought Bloomberg did a magnificent job. I don't think his delivery was perfect, but it was like a surgeon with every single note from a guy that is at least perceived as independent, maybe Republican. Anyway, I thought he did a magnificent job at taking every shot you could possibly get in there and he did very effectively.
NIA-MALIKA HENDERSON, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL REPORTER: I think Democrats especially feel that Republican women will be susceptible after this message that Bloomberg offered yesterday. We'll have a Republican woman tonight talking about Hillary Clinton saying she's going to cast her support for her, as well as they need to stave off the losses among white working-class voters.
Democrats are not going to win working class voters and Obama won about a third of them. At this point, Clinton is underperforming relative to what Obama did, so they've got some work to do on that, and that's about talking about kitchen table issues, talking very plainly and getting away from the wonky way that Clinton tends to address these issues.
SMERCONISH: Can I just say one more thing about Bloomberg? We've been in Cleveland and now we're in Philadelphia and we're in a bubble and Michael Bloomberg is more reflective of the country at large. And unfortunately, not when it comes to our net worths.
But as the issues are a mixed bag, right? Very few people I maintain line up entirely in a liberal alignment. They're a mixed bag. Conservative on some things, social on others, that's Bloomberg.
BAUER: I saw him ate a hamburger last night, the table next to me. So, he's a regular guy.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: There you go.
BORGER: Here's the problem for Hillary tonight, she's trying to thread so many needles that it's kind of hard to soar at the same time and that --
CARDONA: She's sewing a quilt.
BORGER: And the criticism of Hillary Clinton is that she's been on two sides of a lot of issues. If she's trying to please everybody, it's difficult.
COOPER: Right. That was one of the things we confronted her about during the first debate where she said to one group of people that she's a progressive. She said to another that, you know, if you call me center, you know, I plead guilty.
BAUER: Well, she's been that way on LBGT issues, she's been on both sides.
CARDONA: She's arrived to where she is now.
COOPER: Coming up, emotional tributes to veterans, fallen police officers and the climactic moment, of course, is Hillary Clinton makes her pitch to the American people to elect her as president.
[18:57:24] BLITZER: It's the final night of the Democratic National Convention. Our main events are about to begin.
"ERIN BURNETT OUTFRONT" continues our special coverage.
ERIN BURNETT, CNN ANCHOR: And we are live in Philadelphia tonight. Hillary Clinton taking center stage on this crucial night of the convention.
After three days of letting others tell her story, it is now her turn to explain to voters who she is, why they should elect her as president of the United States.
Welcome to a special edition of OUTFRONT. I'm Erin Burnett here in Philadelphia, on the final night of the Democratic convention.
This hour, the party is driving home the Clinton campaign theme of stronger together, and we're going to hear a lot more of that message tonight when Clinton accepts her historic nomination. The Clinton camp says that she's going to speak tonight and frame the election as what she calls a moment of reckoning for voters.
Chelsea Clinton is going to introduce her mother, a very hotly anticipated speech picking up where others have left off and trying to show a personal side of one of the most famous women in the world that many people have a very strong opinion of. Chelsea going to try to give people a side that perhaps they've not heard before.
My panel with me tonight for the hour.
And, David, this is going to be -- the stakes are so high for her and when we look at the speeches, we have heard over the past few days there is a lot of pressure for her tonight.
DAVID CHALIAN, CNN POLITICAL DIRECTOR: Tough acts to follow. Barack Obama, Joe Biden, Bill Clinton all gave really fantastic speeches this week and very well-received and, you know, this is not necessarily her forte, either, to sort of be a big speechmaker.
So, in fact, they tend to think she does better in smaller environments, which is why on her campaign trail, those are tough acts to follow.
BURNETT: Dan, we understand she's been working at her hotel here in Philadelphia all day. How is that process, do you think, been going? I mean, is Bill Clinton an active part of that? Chelsea, is she in there by herself?
DAN PFEIFFER, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: I'm sure she's been working on this for a very long time. At this point you're making final touches and making some adjustments depending on what else is said during the convention and practicing. I think it's important to remember, voters are not judges or pundits. They're not going to say I like Hillary Clinton, but she's not as good a speaker as Barack Obama or Joe Biden.
We had the same problem in 2012 and Bill Clinton gave a killer speech and why wasn't he as good as Bill Clinton? It doesn't matter. Voters heard the story. She's going to go up there and deliver her message compelling, and she'll be good.
BURNETT: Bakari, you -- having just spoken yourself, you understand what that high, an endorphin high almost. But, you know, this is not her forte, but is the best thing tonight to do is try to say, forget all of those speeches, those rousing speeches and do what she does.