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Historic Speech as Clinton Accepts Nomination; First Female Presidential Nominee from Major Party; Clinton Speech Wraps up Democratic Convention
Aired July 29, 2016 - 14:00:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
CHRISTIANE AMANPOUR, CNN ANCHOR: Tonight, America making history, as Hillary Clinton formally accepts her party's nomination for U.S. president.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
HILLARY CLINTON, U.S. DEMOCRATIC PRESIDENTIAL NOMINEE: Tonight, we've reached a milestone in our nation's march toward a more perfect union. The
first time that a major party has nominated a woman for president.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR: Her electrifying speech and the week's big interviews, including the former CIA chief Leon Panetta on Trump's extraordinary call for Russia
to hack into American cyberspace.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
LEON PANETTA, FORMER CIA CHIEF: That kind of statement only reflects the fact that he truly is not qualified to be President of the United States.
Good evening, everyone. I'm Christiane Amanpour.
And welcome to the special weekend edition of our program, showcasing our big interviews on a big week for American presidential politics and foreign
Hillary Clinton has made history, formally accepting her party's nomination to become U.S. president. She did it at the Democratic National
Convention, which is wrapped up in Philadelphia.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CLINTON: None of us can raise a family, build a business, heal a community or lift a country totally alone.
America needs every one of us to lend our energy, our talents, our ambition to making our nation better and stronger. I believe that with all my
That's why "Stronger Together" is not just a lesson from our history. It's not just a slogan for our campaign. It's a guiding principle for the
country we've always been and the future we're going to build.
A country where the economy works for everyone, not just those at the top. Where you can get a good job and send your kids to a good school, no matter
what zip code you live in.
A country where all our children can dream, and those dreams are within reach. Where families are strong, communities are safe. And yes, love
That, that's the country we're fighting for. That's the future we're working toward. And so, my friends, it is with humility, determination,
and boundless confidence in America's promise that I accept your nomination for President of the United States!
(END VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR: The Democratic National Convention has been a far cry from the RNC, which was dominated by messages of doom and gloom.
President Obama delivered, perhaps, his strongest message yet, of hope. An array of celebrities took to the stage to show their support. And the
First Lady knocked it out of the park with a rousing endorsement of Hillary as role model, for young girls and boys.
But her rival, Donald Trump, never far from the spotlight, made an extraordinary intervention this week, even by his standards of re-defining
In a direct appeal to the cameras, he invited Russia to hack into Clinton's e-mails and release them publicly. Effectively encouraging a foreign
cyberattack on a whole new U.S. target. This after the alleged Russia-DNC hack.
Now, to talk about Hillary versus Trump for president and the dramatic new escalation of cyber threats, Leon Panetta joined me this week.
He's the former secretary of defense and the former CIA director.
AMANPOUR: Secretary Panetta, welcome to the program.
PANETTA: Nice to be with you, Christiane.
AMANPOUR: Secretary, the most extraordinary thing just happened. Donald Trump came on the air just moments ago to deny that Russia is trying to
help him. Obviously the Kremlin has denied that they are interfering or had anything to do with the hack. But Donald Trump looked straight into
the barrel of the camera and he actually said this to Russia.
Take a listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, U.S. REPUBLICAN PRESIDENTIAL NOMINEE: Russia, if you're listening, I hope that you're able to find the 30,000 e-mails that are
missing. I think you will probably be rewarded mightily by our press. Let's see if that happens.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR: So he was obviously referring to the missing Hillary Clinton e- mails allegedly.
What do you make of that?
PANETTA: I find those kinds of statements to be totally outrageous. Because you've got now a presidential candidate who is in fact asking the
Russians to engage in American politics. And I just think that that's beyond the pale.
There are a lot of concerns I have with his qualities of leadership, or lack thereof, and I think that kind of statement only reflects the fact
that he truly is not qualified to be President of the United States.
AMANPOUR: But beyond that, I mean, in any other presidential campaign, that very notion of asking for foreign government help, isn't that -- I
mean, does that border on legality?
Is that OK according to American election policy or just American law?
PANETTA: Well, I don't know about the legalities of this issue and what is involved in terms of the laws that we have in place, but just from a pure
position of common sense, no presidential candidate who's running to be President of the United States ought to be asking a foreign country,
particularly Russia, to engage in hacking or intelligence efforts to try to determine what the Democratic candidate may or may not be doing.
This just is beyond my own understanding. The responsibilities that candidates have to be loyal to their country and to their country alone,
not to reach out to somebody like Putin and Russia and try to engage them in an effort to try to, in effect, conduct a conspiracy against another
This is just -- again, I think it just reflects the irresponsibility of Donald Trump in the way that he focuses on the job of President of the
United States. He just doesn't understand the implications that that job involves, particularly with regards to the rest of the world.
AMANPOUR: Can I ask you a substantive policy question of U.S.-Russia relations right now? You know that the Obama administration has tried to
suggest that there should be some working together with Russia over Syria.
Now, the Pentagon doesn't like this at all.
What are your thoughts, and how would you describe Russia vis-a-vis the U.S. right now?
[14:10:00] PANETTA: I think the important thing in dealing with Russia is to always deal with Russia from strength and not from weakness. And for
that reason, I think it's important that the United States have a clear strategy as to how we're going to deal with ISIS, how we're going to deal
with the situation in Syria, and proceed with that strategy.
If the Russians want to support that strategy, fine. If they don't, then we are going to focus on achieving the mission that the President of the
United States of America has set out with regards to those issues.
I think it's important for us to be very clear-minded about the strategy that we want to achieve there and not simply stand back and hope that
somehow the Russians are going to be able to perform and try to assist us when the evidence is clear that, in the past, they have basically focused
on their own interests, not the interest of the United States.
AMANPOUR: Well, let me ask you, because you're obviously in Philadelphia and you are supporting Hillary Clinton for president.
Just your views on the fact that she's the first historic female nominee for president, but also in terms of measuring up to the major challenges
ahead, whether it's Syria, whether it's ISIS, this massive spate of attacks that we're seeing in Europe right now.
How confident are you of what she might do to address these challenges?
PANETTA: You know, I've been in public life over 50 years. And I have served with nine Presidents of the United States, both Republican and
Democrat. And whether you agree or disagree with those presidents, they all were experienced, and they all understood the importance of our role in
This is the first election in my lifetime where there is only one candidate who has the experience, the qualities, the understanding of our role in the
world, that is running for president.
She is somebody who understands the challenges that we confront. She knows the world. She's dealt with world leaders. She's dealt with crises. She
is smart. She is willing to listen. She has all of the qualities that I've seen in good presidents that have served our country.
Whereas she is running against somebody that's totally unqualified, that has no experience, that has no sense of America's role in the world. And I
just don't think, for anyone who's concerned about protecting our national security and protecting the defense of the United States of America, there
really is no choice here. Hillary Clinton is the only responsible candidate running for President of the United States.
AMANPOUR: Can I ask you then, again, about Donald Trump and his vision of NATO, if he were president. That NATO wouldn't necessarily come to the
defense of, let's say, some members who may be incurred or invaded by Russia or subjected to any kind of belligerence by Russia.
What does that mean for the United States?
PANETTA: Well, again, I think it's just a reflection of the irresponsibility of Donald Trump. He doesn't have the experience. He
doesn't understand the world that we live in. He's very careless with his words. He's been talking about the U.S. using torture, which would be
against our laws.
He's talking about spreading nuclear weapons in Asia and the Middle East. He's talking about virtually abandoning our allies. And now he's talking
about breaching our responsibilities to NATO, and basically tearing up our obligations there.
I think just his words alone have created a tremendous amount of damage for the United States abroad. I don't think Donald Trump understands what
world leadership is all about.
As a matter of fact, I think he would rather pull back from world leadership to an isolationist-type of America, that kind of puts his head
in the sand and doesn't deal with those kinds of challenges.
So, it's just another reflection of the fact that Donald Trump is simply not qualified to be commander-in-chief.
AMANPOUR: Secretary Panetta, thank you for joining me from Philadelphia.
PANETTA: Thank you very much. Nice to talk with you.
AMANPOUR: Coming up next on the program, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio on backing Hillary Clinton and why he thinks a lot of Americans will
abandon Donald Trump in November.
[14:16:16] AMANPOUR: Welcome back to the program.
New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio was one of the speakers at this week's Democratic convention, where he made his pitch for Hillary Clinton against
Donald Trump, with gusto, denouncing him as risky, reckless and even scary.
De Blasio is a well-known progressive, who's now urging Sanders supporters to get behind Hillary, if they want their party to win in November. And he
joined me to talk about all of this from the convention center.
AMANPOUR: Mayor De Blasio, welcome to our program.
BILL DE BLASIO (D), MAYOR, NEW YORK: Thank you very much.
AMANPOUR: As you can imagine, the whole world is watching this U.S. election. We've been through the Republican convention and everybody
expected the Democratic one to go off more smoothly, more unified and yet we've got the, you know, email hack. And do we have unified Democratic
Yesterday, there were still some shouts for Bernie and some boos for Hillary on the convention floor.
DE BLASIO: Look, I think that was a fair reaction to some very troubling revelations that came out in the leaks. And it was crucial for the party
to take decisive action. It was very important for Debbie Wasserman- Schultz to step down immediately. It was very important for that formal apology to be issued.
What happened, what you saw on those emails did not represent the values of the Democratic Party. So I think once people have a chance to focus their
energies on the election ahead, you're going to see plenty of unity.
In the end, Bernie Sanders, I thought, made the case very powerful last night. In the end, any reasonable person understands the difference
between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump.
AMANPOUR: Let me just throw you a quick sound bite of Sarah Silverman, the comedian and Bernie Sanders at the arena yesterday.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Hillary!
SARAH SILVERMAN, COMEDIAN: Unity! Unity! Unity!
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Hillary! Hillary!
SILVERMAN: To Bernie, can I just say to the 'Bernie or Bust' people, you're being ridiculous.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR: So when Sarah Silverman says "Bernie or Bush people are being ridiculous," I mean, what's the best way to try to attract the Bernie
supporters at a time when Trump is also trying to attract them.
DE BLASIO: I think it's not even close here on this, Christiane. There's no question that Bernie Sanders' supporters are not going to support Donald
There may be a small few, but basically, it's quite clear, the vast majority of Bernie Sanders supporters are looking for progressive change
particularly in terms of addressing income and equality.
And, look, some may stay home, some may vote for a third party candidate, but I'm convinced that a very strong majority will be with Hillary Clinton.
Again, I think what you saw last night was a small number of Sanders' delegates who are very emotional over what they saw in those emails. And I
don't blame them. And I think it was important for them to express it.
But, look, I've talked to a lot of Bernie Sanders supporters. I'm quite close to a lot of them. They know that we have to elect Hillary Clinton.
They know a Donald Trump candidacy would only deepen income and equality in this country and it would never allow us to get to the underlying problems
that we're going.
For example, if we're going to repeal Citizens United, a Supreme Court decision and get money out of our political system and end the dominance of
the one percent in our political system, we need a different Supreme Court. We can only achieve that with a Democratic president.
AMANPOUR: So then what is Hillary's task at this convention and beyond, because, you know, she is under also to criticism for not being attractive
enough in terms of emotional laugh and tapping into what people see as their issues.
What does she have to do to tap in to get all of that emotion and obviously votes for herself, if she's going to win in November?
DE BLASIO: Look, in the end, I think it's quite clear in the political process. People vote for change. They vote for what's going to affect
their lives. And Hillary Clinton has vote for an extraordinary platform, the most progressive platform in decades. There's no question about that.
But she also has a history of taking on the powerful to make change.
Obvious example, when she took on the health insurance companies as first lady of the United States, fought for years for fundamental health care
reform, millions and millions of dollars in advertising spent against her. She didn't flinch for a moment.
[14:20:28] I think what Democrats are going to feel including Bernie Sanders' supporters, no one doubts her tenacity and her toughness. The
platforms are right platform. We actually have to get these things done to help working people, to help middle-class Americans. I think that's an
unbeatable equation so long as we do the hard work of turning out the vote particularly in the swing states.
I think the problem for Donald Trump in light of Hillary's strength is he has nothing to counter with in terms of any experience in making change for
the American people or doing anything that help working people. In fact, quite the opposite in his own business career.
AMANPOUR: Let me just play what Elizabeth Warren said on the stage last night.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. ELIZABETH WARREN (D), MASSACHUSETTS: Trump thinks he can win votes by fanning the flames of fear and hatred. By turning neighbor against
neighbor. By persuading you that the real problem in America is your fellow Americans - people who don't look like you, or don't talk like you, or
don't worship like you.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR: Let me ask you, Mr. Mayor. You tweeted a few months' ago, "I didn't realize this was in question: behaves like a racist, speaks like a
racist. Of course, @realdonaldtrump is a racist."
You've said that now is the time to stand up against Donald Trump and he doesn't represent Democracy is American.
Why do you feel his supporters are not listening to that and his base remain solid?
DE BLASIO: Look, I think, the vast majority of his supporters are the same folks who are going to vote for a Republican candidate regardless of who
that candidate is. Let's be very clear, because his numbers have always been around the same level. They don't represent a majority of Americans.
It really is that hard-core Republican base.
And, probably, it's a lot of people who had been fed of very negative message by the Republican Party for decades. I think Elizabeth Warren was
exactly right. The fact is that Donald Trump is taking people's attention away who really cause these problems. Let's face it. It was the
billionaire class that Bernie Sanders talks about. It was the rigged system where our laws continually help concentrate wealth and power in the
hands of the very few.
That's what's really ailing America. And that's what's causing the economic frustration that so many people are expressing. But then Donald
Trump very cynically tries to turn that into a racial appeal and anti- immigrant appeal. Our job is to not let that happen.
In the end the American people fully get the message. That we have to go right at the heart of the problem. It is an economic problem. It
certainly has a background structural racism as well, but it is about a small group of powerful people who have simply deepened their power in this
When we make that abundantly clear, you're going to see a lot of Americans abandon Donald Trump and come over to Hillary Clinton, because in the end,
look, this election has been about income and equality from day one. It's been about whether we're going to have economic fairness in this country or
Donald Trump has no possible legitimacy on this issue. Again, he's a bit of businessman, who ship jobs overseas, undercut his own workers. He's not
going to be able to believably say to American working people that he can better their lives.
AMANPOUR: It's a fascinating election. And Mayor De Blasio of New York, thank you for joining me.
DE BLASIO: You're very welcome.
AMANPOUR: Coming up next on the program, a historic convention that the Philadelphia crowd will never forget. But what election issue matters most
A report from the mosh pit, that's up next.
[14:25:40] AMANPOUR: And, finally tonight, imagine a world shattering glass ceilings.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DEMOCRATIC NATIONAL CONVENTION CLIP
(END VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR: Hillary Clinton took a giant leap towards shattering the highest one this week. So we give the last word to her supporters.
During the historic roll call when U.S. states officially cast their delegate votes for president, putting Hillary on top.
One of CNN's contributors dived into the crowd to soak up the atmosphere for us.
BAKARI SELLERS, HILLARY CLINTON SUPPORTER: Welcome to the Democratic National Convention. I'm Bakari Sellers, a former statehouse member from
South Carolina, and now I'm a CNN commentator.
But I want to see what most voters have on their mind and what most voters are talking about.
So follow me, let's go see what people are saying.
We want to know what you feel and talk about what are the major issues, especially Pennsylvania being a swing state. We're having this convention
in your state.
Tell me what you feel?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Well, I'm a Bernie Sanders delegate, but I'm going to be supporting Hillary Clinton.
The reason I support Bernie is the number one issue in this country right now is income inequality.
SELLERS: What we're doing is we're going through steps to Louisiana.
My name is Bakari Sellers. We are on CNN right now, and we want to know what issues do you care about the most here?
I like your pin, by the way.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Thank you so much. One of the things that I am most interested in is equal pay for women.
SELLERS: Amen. Amen.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: For years.
It is time to put a woman in the White House. Who else better than Hillary Clinton? If not now, when?
SELLERS: Whew! I love this.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Finally! Yes!
SELLERS: Well, we have a delegate right here from Chicago. We're going to keep back-pedalling a little bit so we don't get in trouble.
But what's the most important issue that you're hearing about? Is it Donald Trump? Is it education? What is it?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I think it's more criminal justice reform for me.
SELLERS: I'm with you on that.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes, that's where it's at.
SELLERS: Tell me what are young Democrats thinking?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Student loan reform and college affordability are the main things that young Democrats are looking for right now.
SELLERS: Thank you, guys, so very much.
AMANPOUR: And that is it for our program tonight.
Remember, you can always listen to our podcast, see us online at Amanpour.com and follow me on Facebook and Twitter. Thank you for watching
and good-bye from London.