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Final Night Of Democratic National Convention; Awaiting Start Of Final Night Of Convention; Source: Biden Sees Tonight's Speech As "Bigger" Than Trump. Aired 8-9p ET

Aired August 20, 2020 - 08:00   ET



ANDERSON COOPER, CNN HOST: Tonight, Democrats celebrate America's promise and their hopes for the presidency capping an extraordinary convention, soon Joe Biden accepts his party's nomination, laying out his vision for healing and uniting a nation in crisis.

Welcome to CNN's coverage of the Democratic National Convention. I am Anderson Cooper.

Former Vice President Biden has been building toward this night over a lifetime of public service. We're told he does not want to make it all about President Trump.

Wolf, Biden is the closer on this final critical night of the convention.

WOLF BLITZER, CNN HOST: Yes, he is Anderson. This is the Democrats best chance yet to explain to a nationwide audience who Joe Biden is.

Our headliner tonight, the NBA superstar, Steph Curry. He and his wife, Ayesha should just announced they are backing Biden. They will appear with their children to talk about Biden, the state of America, and keeping the faith.

Biden's support for the U.S. Military also a big focus tonight. Senator and wounded warrior, Tammy Duckworth and other veterans will vouch for Biden's commitment to the troops and their families.

We're covering the convention finale with our political team including Jake Tapper, Dana Bash and Abby Phillip.

Jake, what more do we know about Biden's speech?

JAKE TAPPER, CNN HOST: Wolf, we're told that Vice President Biden will use his acceptance speech to attempt to look to the future to try to give Americans hope, a campaign adviser telling us that the former Vice President understands the gravity of this moment and he sees it, frankly, as bigger than President Trump.

We're told that Biden will have sharp words about Mr. Trump especially about his handling of the coronavirus pandemic and about America's place in the world currently, but overall, I'd say that Biden will try to lay out a positive vision for the U.S. Now, we've heard some very forceful, even historic speeches throughout

this convention. Tonight, Biden hopes to build on that we're told knowing of course of the enormity of this moment and the fact that this is the speech of his lifetime and Dana, that's obviously a huge opportunity, also a momentous challenge.

DANA BASH, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: It is Jake. And you know, Joe Biden has told me and others many times, that the good news is that people know him, and the bad news is that people know him, but that's not necessarily so.

There is a lot that people do not know about Joe Biden, and tonight, we'll meet another one of the everyday Americans he has connected with, a 13-year-old boy.

He and Biden bonded over their shared struggle with stuttering. The Biden campaign clearly believes that character trait draws a clear contrast with the President, and of course, the true line of this whole convention, Biden's commitment to family.

And I've learned that it was very important to the former Vice President to have his late son, Beau, included in his introduction tonight, along with his living children, Hunter and Ashley.

So they found a creative way to do that. And Abby, the Democrats really have two big missions tonight. Sell voters on the Biden-Harris ticket, of course, but also make sure they go vote.

ABBY PHILLIP, CNN POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes. Dana, this is not going to be your typical get out the vote effort. We will hear a ramped up appeal for Democrats to go out and vote early.

They want to ensure that their ballots are counted and the party is hitting hard on its concern that President Trump is trying to suppress the vote.

The top election officials for California and Michigan will speak tonight. Those are two of the states targeted by the president in his attacks on mail-in voting and his false claims on election fraud.

This is a firestorm that's been building for weeks, but there is even more urgency now as the Democratic Convention ends and the fall campaign begins. It is just 75 days away from Election Day -- Anderson.

COOPER: Abby, let's bring in our analysts. Gloria Borger, tonight -- Gloria, tonight is Vice President Biden's big acceptance speech. What are your expectations for him?

GLORIA BORGER, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL ANALYST: Well, I think what he has to do and what he wants to do is be the man that his friends and his family have been describing all week long and that what he is going to try and do is tie his experiences in life, his public service to his values, and then try and move that forward to what that means for an agenda and for the future of this country. DAVID AXELROD, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Anderson, you know, I

think the most important thing that he can do tonight, it is important what he says, it's even more important how he says it.

The Trump campaign and the President himself have invested so much in denigrating Biden's acuity and his energy, and so he has to come out tonight and deliver a speech in a way that is strong, forceful, gives people confidence that he can lead this country forward and out of the morass we're in.

And if he gives people faith that he can do that, he will have accomplished everything that he needs to out of this speech.

COOPER: And Nia, it'll be interesting to see how much he is, is in fact going to talk about Trump and how much he is not.

NIA-MALIKA HENDERSON, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL REPORTER: Yes, I mean, you've had more key speakers and the Obamas really attack Trump in ways that we didn't expect, in ways that were surprising to, I'm sure a lot of Americans last night.

So in many ways he doesn't really have to do that tonight. I think he's got to talk about Joe Biden. He's got to live up to what we've heard about Joe Biden, all this week, a compassionate person who has a vision for the country, who feels the pain of ordinary Americans, and can make a difference in their lives. I think that's the main goal he has to achieve tonight.


BORGER: And selling point, the selling --

AXELROD: I totally -- sorry, Gloria, I totally agree with this. You know, people came into this convention with a clear sense of Donald Trump.

The voters who are on the bubble here, people who are soft Biden voters have made a decision about Donald Trump. They need more from Joe Biden, and this week has given them more. Now, he has to close the deal with his own performance.

BORGER: Right and the one thing that I think he really has to sell, and I think it'd probably be pretty easy for him is his authenticity.

And you know, I asked his wife when I was doing this documentary like, is there anything we don't know about Joe Biden? And she said, actually, you probably know a lot, and maybe more than you should, right?

So I think that that has to come across that he is not going to lie to people, that he's going to be the person who is the truth teller, and he is going to be the person you can really trust in in the middle of this pandemic.

COOPER: He is, Gloria, the oldest candidate.

AXELROD: I love that --

COOPER: Sorry, go ahead.

AXELROD: I love that they're doing a segment -- I love that they're doing a segment on stuttering and his support of young people who are going through what he went through.

It not only shows his character, but his inoculation against any imperfections in his performance. It's turning what the President calls a weakness into a strength.

HENDERSON: Yes, I think the good news for Biden tonight is that this is a setting that I think he'll perform well in. There's not a big crowd that he has to rally, that he doesn't have to deliver stim winders. He is not the best order.

He essentially has to stay in there, and I agree with David, look strong, look steady and look consistent, not have too many gaffes.

He's going to be reading a speech, right? The ways in which we see Biden make gaffes, it is when he's just off the cuff and he sometimes tends to ramble. He doesn't have that tonight, because he's going to have a speech and a setup that I think favors the strengths that he does have as a candidate.

BORGER; But you know, the Biden that I've observed is somebody who does get a lot of energy from speaking in front of a huge crowd, just like Donald Trump does, quite frankly.

And the last time we saw Biden like that was Super Tuesday, when it was, you know, he was holding the hand of his wife, holding the hand of his sister, and they felt like they were on their way to victory.

Now he's got the nomination, and he's talking into a camera just like we are and I think that's a little uncomfortable for him. I don't think it's his natural habitat.

COOPER: Whereas for Kamala Harris and Michelle Obama and former President Obama, they are obviously very good at that -- that intimacy.

BORGER: Yes, right.

AXELROD: But I would point out that he did --

HENDERSON: I think he is as good as he was in his last speech, the speech that he gave on Wednesday, Kamala Harris also gave a speech. I think that's enough, you know, sort of a B performance from this candidate tonight, I think will be enough.

He's not a home run hitter in these settings or in large settings, necessarily, but I think you know, he'll be fine. He's going to be reading a speech that has been written, I'm sure, he has memorized parts of it, too.

So I think, you know, if he can sort of pass this bar of just delivering a speech that's written for him and right before him on a teleprompter, you know, he's got bigger problems to worry about.

AXELROD: He can do this well. We saw it after the George Floyd murder. He gave a very moving speech. That was an address to the country. I think you can feel him doing that kind of thing tonight.

He's going to approach this as a presidential address to the country more than a political speech to a convention.

COOPER: As we get closer to the convention finale and Joe Biden's big speech, we're going to new information on how he is preparing for this moment.

We're also learning that comedian, Sarah Cooper will take part in the convention. She has obviously has gone viral, spoofing the President, using words -- basically, using his speeches with her own take on them. Details ahead.



BLITZER: We're standing by for the most important speech Joe Biden has ever given. He will soon accept the Democratic presidential nomination and try to convince Americans he can lead them out of this crisis.

Right now, we're getting new information about how Joe Biden is preparing for the big speech tonight. Our correspondents Jeff Zeleny and Arlette Saenz are standing by.

Arlette, what's been going on these last few hours in preparation for this big night?

ARLETTE SAENZ, CNN POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, Wolf, Joe Biden did a walkthrough here at the Chase Center this afternoon and an adviser tells me he actually practiced his speech inside the Convention Center this afternoon while he was here.

Now this, of course, marks the biggest political speech of Joe Biden's nearly 50 years in in political life. He has participated in these Democratic Conventions dating back to the 1970s, but this will be the first time he accepts the Democratic presidential nomination 33 years after he launched his first White House bid.

And there's one thing that's also different about this evening. This year will mark the first time that Joe Biden is on the Democratic ticket without his son, Beau Biden at his side.

Beau Biden passed away from brain cancer back in 2015 and was very active in his father's campaigns. In fact, in 2008 and 2012, he delivered emotional speeches about his father, which one of those even prompted the former Vice President to grow emotional in front of cameras.

Now tonight, there will be a tribute to Beau Biden. That video coming just before Pete Buttigieg speaks. Buttigieg also a veteran who Biden has said reminds him of his son, Beau, and we also expect Beau to be included in the introduction of his father this evening.

Now there's also a little bit of fun planned for the evening. We're learning that comedian Sarah Cooper will be making an appearance. Take a listen to what she's going to say.



SARAH COOPER, COMEDIAN: Where are they going? Where are these ballots going? Who's getting them? Who is not getting them?

A little section that's Republican. Will they be stolen from mailboxes as they get put in by the mailman? Will they be taken from the mailman and the mail women?


SAENZ: So that's a little bit of the preview of what's to come this evening as Joe Biden accepts the Democratic nomination here in his home state of Delaware -- Wolf.

BLITZER: Well, she is so funny, so talented, indeed. Looking forward to her presentation. Stand by, Arlette, I want to go to Jeff Zeleny. You've been getting a closer look at what's going on actually, Jeff outside the hall where Biden will be speaking.

JEFF ZELENY, CNN SENIOR WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT: Wolf, there's no question that this is an unusual unconventional convention. Joe Biden will be giving a speech inside this Chase Center right here to an empty hall.

But the parking lot as you can see around us really has been transformed into something of a drive-in movie theater. There is a hometown crowd here, people from Delaware, people from New Jersey, people from Washington, D.C. and Philadelphia as well really coming to watch Joe Biden on the big screen back there.

It has the feel of a tailgate party. It has the feel of a pep rally, so to speak, and talking to people, they are so excited just to be around one another, socially distant, of course, you can see how these vehicles are parked here. Even the vehicles are parked a little bit farther apart.

But people are coming to show their support for Joe Biden. But Wolf, as I can tell you, you see that stage behind me here. Joe Biden came out there earlier today to walk across it and take a look at this.

So there is anticipation in this crowd that he may come out again after his speech is over. We will see if that happens.

But tonight, Wolf, at least this will be perhaps an iconic image of how we remember this convention outside in a parking lot, it really feels like an old-time drive-in movie -- Wolf.

BLITZER: Yes. Movie theaters, drive-in theaters making a big, big comeback after so many years. All right, Jeff, we'll get back to you as well.

Everything we see and hear tonight is aimed at one goal, putting the Democrats back in the White House. John King is over the magic wall for us.

John, I understand you could game out how that potentially could happen.

JOHN KING, CNN CHIEF NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: So, Wolf, let's look at this from two perspectives. One where we are right now and the Democrats big hope and then we'll look at it, remember, the Republican Convention is next week. We'll look at it from the perspective of where we have been and how the President looks at this map.

But this is where we are right now. This is why tonight is so important to Joe Biden. Right now, he is in the strongest position of any challenger in modern history. Joe Biden right now on our CNN map, dark blue, solid Democrat; light blue, leans democratic; dark red, solid Republican; light red, leans Republican.

Joe Biden right now, look at this, 268 electoral votes. If he holds, just what he has right now. It takes 270 to win. So look at this map. Bam. Joe Biden is leading in Pennsylvania. He's leading in Michigan. If he can win Wisconsin, game over, if he can hold everything else on this map.

That is why it is so important tonight, especially on the economy. The Rust Belt, the Heartland, talk about the economy. Tonight, make your case.

Democrats will have this dream, right, they say African-Americans are going to come out. Joe Biden is going to hold the suburbs like in 2018 when they revolted against the President.

These Sunbelt states where the demographics are changing are going to change.

Here's the Democratic dream, a fantasy to some, but their dream. They think there's a sweep in the works. Joe Biden can get 400 electoral votes. Joe Biden can actually win Texas some of them think. Again, it's the last night of their convention. Let the Democrats dream. You want to be optimistic on your last night.

This though, very optimistic because we know this race is going to tighten given the polls right now. So let's instead come back to this where we have been. This is the Trump map from 2016, three hundred and six votes for the President and that big surprise win; 232 for Hillary Clinton.

The President has his convention next week. He knows how to put on a convention. He has the incumbency, the presidency behind him. He's looking at this map and saying, I just need to recreate this and I get four more years.

Look at it closely. One of the big questions is, is there anything on this map, anything that's blue, and anything that Hillary Clinton won four years ago that Donald Trump can flip this time? It's really hard to find them.

The Trump campaign says they're going to make a run at Minnesota. That was very, very close last time. They said they'll make a run at Minnesota. They say they'll make a run out in Nevada. There's a lawsuit there over the mail-in voting rules.

Okay, let's watch. They're going to spend some money there. They're going to make a run, but both very difficult states Democratic DNA, if you will, in those states.

So if you look at this map, and you're the President, you're saying, I need to recreate this, right? Now, he went to Pennsylvania today. Joe Biden has consistently been leading in Pennsylvania. The President was there today trying to fight for it, he will fight for the end there.

But let's just say Joe Biden got that. The President can afford to lose Pennsylvania. Joe Biden has had a lead in Michigan for quite some time, even though it was a big state for the President four years ago. Donald Trump can afford to lose Michigan, too, as long as he holds everything else.

Now Arizona changing, still has Republican DNA. Florida always a battleground. Republican DNA. Same for North Carolina and Georgia.

So Democrats realistically, they have their fantasies. We'll see if they can turn out the voters realistically. They have to think again because this is going to look a lot like 2016. Can Donald Trump -- remember, he flipped the blue wall last time, all three of these states: Pennsylvania, Michigan and Wisconsin. They were the President's.

Can Joe Biden flip them this time? Can the President defend them? Biden closing to the Democrats tonight. This will be the battleground when you're hearing from the President and his team next week.


BLITZER: Always great to see John King at the magic wall. John, thank you very much.

The final line of the Democratic Convention begins soon. Up next, that emotional account of how Joe Biden's faith got him through the worst of times, and the one thing he held on to after the death of his son, Beau.


COOPER: The Big Finish of the Democratic Convention begins soon. Joe Biden on the brink of his acceptance speech, his first big test as presidential nominee.

Also ahead, a strong endorsement from the NBA's Steph Curry.

We're going to hear more tonight about how Joe Biden relies on his religious faith through the best and the worst times. In a new CNN documentary, Gloria Borger talked to Biden's longtime

friend, Senator Chris Coons about the dark days when Biden's son, Beau, was dying.


SEN. CHRIS COONS, (D-DE): I don't know how Joe Biden had the strength to be Vice President and to keep a full schedule and be present for his son, Beau.

BORGER: Did you see a change in him?

COONS: On occasion, you could see in his eyes this -- so -- I'd see him in meetings fingering his rosary beads. I knew he was praying for him.

Joe, on occasion would come in to St. Anne's or St. Pat's -- St. Patrick's. He'd come in after mass had started and just slip in the back with his detail and be there and then he'd leave before it ended, so he didn't, you know, disrupt everything.

I remember looking back and sort of stealing a glance at one point and he just, he was praying hard.

JILL BIDEN, WIFE OF JOE BIDEN: I think Joe's faith is so strong. It's something that I think he got from his mother who was a very devout Catholic. Joe is really devout and he never misses a Sunday service.

BORGER: Is it true you keep Beau's rosary with you?

JOE BIDEN (D), DEMOCRATIC PRESIDENTIAL NOMINEE: I've got it in my pocket. I keep it all the time. It was more gold, you can see it's worn.


BORGER: Anderson, I'm sure he's going to have it in his pocket tonight when he addresses the convention. It was sort of a remarkable moment for me because it's clear to me that that is something that he takes out a lot.

AXELROD: Yes. Listen, anybody who worked with Joe Biden, spent time with him, understands that and understands how the relationship with Beau was. I mean, it was something.

The one time that I saw Barack Obama distracted in a meeting was the day -- the first day that Beau Biden showed symptoms that ultimately turned out to be the cancer that killed him and he heard about it. The Vice President left that White House and Obama was just staring out the window uncharacteristically and finally just turned to us and said, I don't know how Joe is going to go on if something happens to Beau, and the answer is faith. The answer is faith.

But you know, there's nothing put on or phony about that. It is what sustains. HENDERSON: And so many -- so many people in this country dealing with

loss, the loss of loved ones because of this COVID pandemic that I imagine. I mean, this section where he talks about Beau will be emotional for him.

You almost, you know, hope he can get through it without crying because even just looking at that interview you had there with him Biden, you know, you sort of get choked up there thinking about this tremendous loss that he's had.

So the presence of Beau, you know, obviously hear about him tonight and he'll be with his father tonight, but just really emotional there.

COOPER: Yes, the closing Night of the Democratic Convention is about to begin including some big musical performances. The Chicks appear soon. Later, John Legend and Common perform together.

It's all ahead. We'll be right back.



COOPER: Democrats are calling for big finish tonight at Joe Biden accepts his party's presidential nomination and explains his vision for the nation. Wolf, this is Joe Biden's big night and there certainly is a lot at stake.

BLITZER: Certainly is Anderson. Now and Biden knows that, he knows he needs to bring it tonight we expect to see a sort of balancing act as he strikes an optimistic tone for the future. While making a stark differences with President Trump. Crystal clear, he will get an assist from NBA superstar Steph Curry just announced his endorsement of Biden and will appear with his wife and kids tonight as well. Biden's introduction is likely to be rather emotional. Democrats found a creative way to include his late son Beau, because we're told that was very important to the former vice president. Anderson?

COOPER: I want to go to our group. Van Jones. What are you expecting tonight from Biden and from the others? A lot of the people he ran against will be speaking tonight.

VAN JONES, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: Well, it's going to be a big show of unity. Look, I think this convention has done a good job of kind of showing a celebration of multiculturalism It's an implicit critique of the kind of white nationalism that people are afraid of in this country. They've done well with that. But Joe Biden has do more next night. It's the economic populism. It's the idea that this guy is a working class guy. He can reach out to those hardhat and lunch bucket white guys have left the party and get them back in as well. If you can hang on to the multicultural pieces he's already built, and bring those folks in. He's got a winning coalition. He's got to do that tonight. Otherwise, I think he missed a big opportunity tonight.

COOPER: Governor, what are you expecting? JENNIFER GRANHOLM, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: Yes, Anderson, the theme tonight is America's Promise. And that comes in a couple of facets. You guys were just talking about faith. I personally, am so glad they're going to be talking about Joe Biden's faith. And in fact, one of the people that will be doing the invocation is Sister Simone Campbell, who was one of the nuns on the bus who helped to push for the Affordable Care Act.

But what the faith aspect of Joe Biden, who you know, he doesn't wear it on itself. He'll answer it but it's not his. I mean, he doesn't, you know, hold a Bible up in front of a church that he's never attended after he's, you know, after he's tear gassed protesters. But what he does to his son is embody, as the faith community would acknowledge the Christian faith community, the 25th chapter of Matthew, which says, whatsoever you do unto the least of these, so also you do unto me. When you know that that's part of his authentic DNA. That means that his promise will be in policy to make sure that he addresses inequality and addresses those who have been unseen and left behind.


And to me, I'm so glad they're not avoiding the issue of faith that they are really embracing it because that's part of who he is.

COOPER: And Scott, as a Republican, what do you think is worked and not worked over the last couple of nights and expect to see that tonight.

SCOTT JENNINGS, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: Well, I'll just from my perspective, I was watching the first two nights the attempt to reach out to disaffected Republicans, they obviously put some speakers on the stage to try to do that. But in order to close that deal, it'll have to be Biden himself. Joe Biden is going to have to stand up there and give those Republicans that they are trying to reach however many there are, that give them the sense that he can stand up to this raging progressive storm that Republicans believe is brewing in the Democratic Party. It's been said that he's a moderate, it's been said that he can be strong and stand up and keep the country between the navigational beacons and not get so far out of the mainstream. But he'll have to sell that tonight.

And beyond that, Anderson, like Van, I'm kind of looking for a platform. I think this convention so far is basically been not Trump with a side of empathy. I'm looking for a platform, what is he running on? What is he running on? That would convince people OK, this is a direction I can live with.


COOPER: Has been flat platform (INAUDIBLE)?

JONES: Well, I think been trying to get the emotions up. I think I've been trying to show the breadth of the party. I think that's been good. I agree with Scott, though. There's an opportunity for he can uniquely can tie his biography to the economic issues. If he just tells his own story, that's one thing. But if he dropped if you can access, am I wrong Governor, he connect those dots that's all.

GRANHOLM: Totally right. That's exactly right. And you'll notice that throughout the convention every single night, has had some segments on the economy, every single night, has had some segments on healthcare, and every single night has had some segments on racial justice. I think those are part of the platform that you'll hear about and now he can really so some very detailed threads, not very detailed, because it is only a 20 minute speech, but some threads into that into those policy elements that we've already begun to see.

COOPER: It's also interesting Governor because, you know, in normal times, this would be the night where, you know, they're both on stage then together after the speech. You know, Harris and Biden and there's a huge balloon drop and, you know, bands playing and whatnot. I mean, we saw after Kamala Harris's speech, you know, her husband came out, Joe Biden came out. They were distant --




COOPER: Yes, I mean it was kind of awkward. I'm not sure there's any way around that.

GRANHOLM: But what can you do, I mean, it is what it is, right? I mean, there's no way around it. They're not going to be holding hands together. They're going to be being an example of what -- how people should be. But I think there'll be a really interesting, and I don't want to give too much away because I want people to stay and watch it, but I think it will be a really clever way to bring this all together after his speech at the very end.

JONES: Like, I think it's been a great convention. Listen, at first. I was afraid it's going to be a bunch of Zoom, birthday parties all stitched together with some bad music, and I was going to be embarrassed. There was some of that. But though I got to get the DNC credit, they had to invent a new way to do it. They did it and I want to say one thing about Joe Biden. I prefer to be in public life as long as he has to get this far to do what he's doing. I mean, that's -- I think that should inspire everybody.

GRANHOLM: OK, but I mean, what's the --


GRANHOLM: -- I thought this, a convention is that you have seen real people in every segment. I mean, there's just, you would never have everyday citizens, featured as much as you are in this much more intimate setting. And that, to me, has been part of the miracle of the past four days. And really the opportunity for parties to rethink what conventions look like in the future.

COOPER: Scott? JENNINGS: Yes, I'll be wondering if the Republican National Convention next week adopt some of these elements, because I do think they've gotten certain things right. And by the way, my hat's off as a political operative to the people in both parties that have had to scramble and produce these things, because --


JENNINGS: -- totally out of the box. Totally, last minute. It's been pretty well done when you consider that. But I think the most effective elements have been the ones that have been the most intimate, sitting on the couch in your living room. I thought the Clinton video which shot that way, I thought the pre produced videos were extremely well done.


And so, I think next week as we look at the Republicans, I'm looking to see if they adopt some of those elements versus, you know, like Harris' speech in the big empty room, you know, didn't really do it for me. So I'm looking for the more intimate the shots (ph).

COOPER: It's interesting you say that Scott, because there was reporting today that, you know, President Trump has been watching and apparently making calls, you know, to folks about what he wants his convention to be. There was one storyline out today that he doesn't want a lot of stuff on tape, which I thought if that's true, I don't know if that, you know, just as somebody who you know, is interested in producing television as well. You got a lot of hours to fill. It's nice to have some tape, you know, being live all the time.

JENNINGS: Yes. That this plan -- yes, this plan is called the screw it, we'll do a live plan. I mean it'll work for some people. But I got to say, when you take like highly talented video people, they can make you looking sound a lot more better, a lot more talented you really are.


JENNINGS: And so I would just caution, a few tape elements wouldn't be a bad thing.

COOPER: Yes. When everything goes to hell in a handbasket, it's nice to be able to throw out a tape and get a few minutes breathing room and television. So --


COOPER: We'll see how that goes. We'll go to -- we'll do it live. Or let's go to Wolf. Let's do it live.

BLITZER: All right, this is all live. No tape here. You know, I'm really curious to see how Joe Biden deals with a whole bunch of issues in his presentation. I've been covering him for many, many years. One moment clearly stands out in my mind on the eve of the war in Iraq in 2003. I was in Doha, Qatar, with the U.S. military's Central Command reporting what was going on a couple hundred thousand U.S. troops getting ready to move into Iraq, to get rid of Saddam Hussein. If he shows up Biden, he was chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee with the ranking Republican Chuck Hagel, and I spent some quality time with both of them. I'm curious Jake to see if he discusses an issue that is so passionate in his mind national security, foreign policy U.S. troops if he gets into that in his presentation tonight, because I know that's been a driving element in his political career all these years.

JAKE TAPPER, CNN HOST: I'm guessing he's not going to bring up the war in Iraq. I think that's a pretty safe bet. But I do think foreign policy, which has really been his life's work, focus, in many ways will definitely be on the agenda. One thing Dana that I'm wondering about, not necessarily so much about this convention, but when you watch the convention, which you know, in the time of a pandemic, I think it's fair to say it's been it's been well produced. But there really hasn't been any capitalizing on events of the day in the news. There have been prominent Republicans, keep somebody from the Trump administration and former Chief of Staff of the Department of Homeland Security endorsing Joe Biden.

And I don't know how much any of that has been incorporated into the evening's events, Which makes me wonder how agile the Biden campaign is, which isn't really necessarily something that I think needs to be fretted about in terms of the convention like whether or not they bring up Steve Bannon's arrest this evening, whether or not they bring up President Trump's embrace of the deranged conspiracy theory QAnon, it's fine if it's not in it. But what does that mean going forward for the Biden campaign? Because Biden leads right now. But people on the Biden campaign think this is going to get much tighter, and much tougher, and they're going to have to be more agile.

DANA BASH, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes. And I mean, to be fair, it is very hard to do this when you're producing something on scale during a pandemic. And the news cycle last what, like every five seconds is something new happens. But, I take your point, I should say that we are 90 seconds away from this convention beginning. One thing I have heard from a Biden source before coming on is that, you know, what the former Vice President is going to try to do is to contrast himself with Donald Trump, who of course came to Washington as a disrupter continues to be one from within the White House. Biden is going to paint himself as and remind people that he is somebody who knows how to get legislation passed. He knows how to cut a deal, because everything that they talk about in this convention on the campaign trail is moot if they can't actually enact it into law.

And that's not something we've heard a lot about in this age, in this day and age, talking about the experience as a really big plus, Abby.

ABBY PHILLIP, CNN POLITICAL REPORTER: Yes. You know, Dana, I was thinking about that exact thing. Because we heard earlier, Scott Jennings asking, you know, what is Biden running on, what is his platform. And it strikes me after watching Biden and all these other candidates run in the Democratic primary, Biden's platform has always just been decency and competency. And I do think that they're going to really lean into that. He has not really wanted to focus on the nitty gritty of policy details and getting, you know, jammed on ideology. He's really focused on character and getting things done.

And I suspect that we're going to see more of tonight, you know, the question is will the left throw a fit if he doesn't throw a bone to progressives? I guess we'll find out in a few minutes.


BASH: He probably will.

BLITZER: it's going to be an emotional night we're told. It's going to be a lot of passion going on. The former vice president will try to portray himself as his supporters clearly see him as someone who is a believer in faith, someone who is emotional, someone who is passionate, someone who really wants to get the job done, someone who has been working his whole life to achieve this moment to become the president of the United States.

It's simply not going to be an easy challenge for him, but he's getting a lot of support from a lot of folks that are going to be making the case why he should be the president of the United States and why Donald Trump should not get a second term. We won't necessarily hear a lot of criticism from Joe Biden of Trump specifically, I don't know if he's even going to mention his name. But we will hear and make the case why it is so important for him to get for -- to come forward and be elected president of the United States.

This day four, the final moments of this Democratic Convention, about to get underway, and we're watching it every step of the way. We're going to hear from the former vice president. We're going to hear from members of this family. We're going to hear from a lot of folks. Let's go to the Democratic Convention right now.

REP. BENNIE THOMPSON (D) COVENTION CHAIRMAN: I'm here by calling the fourth session of the 48 quadrennial national convention of the Democratic Party to order. Welcome all to our final session of this historic and memorable convention.


THOMPSON: We've called the 48 quadrennial Democratic National Convention to order.

EVA LONGORIA, ACTRESS: Every four years we come together to reform our democracy. This year, we've come to save it.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We fight for a more perfect union because we are fighting for the soul of this country and for our lives. And right now, that fight is real.

SEN. BERNIE SANDERS (I-VT): We must come together to defeat Donald Trump and elect Joe Biden and Kamala Harris, as our next president and vice president.

MICHELLE OBAMA, FMR FIRST LADY OF UNITED STATES: Donald Trump is the wrong president for our country. He has had more than enough time to prove that he can do the job, but he is clearly in over his head. He simply cannot be who we need him to be for us. It is what it is.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: My dad was a healthy 65 year old, his only pre existing condition was to trusting Donald Trump and for that he paid with his life.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: So it's up to us to carry on the fight for justice. Our actions will be the legacies.

JILL BIDEN, WIFE OF JOE BIDEN: We just need leadership to bring us back together to recover from this pandemic and prepare for whatever else is next leadership to reimagine what our nation will be. That's Joe.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Next president right here.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: He was there for me, he'll be there for you too.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Face with a president of cowardice. Joe Biden is a man of proven courage.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: This year for the first time. The roll call is heading out to all 57 states and territories.

THOMPSON: I'm pleased to announce that Vice President Joe Biden has officially been nominated by the Democratic Party as our candidate for president of the United States.


REP. NANCY PELOSI (D-CA): Our mission is to fight for a future equal to the ideals of our founders, our hopes for our children and the sacrifices of our veterans. Our brave men and women in uniform and their families.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The American people are forever indebted to you for all of the work you do on the front line.

HILLARY CLINTON, FMR SECRETARY OF STATE: We need leaders equal to this moment of sacrifice and service. We need Joe Biden and Kamala Harris.

BARACK OBAMA, FORMER PRESIDENT OF UNITED STATES: Tonight, I'm asking you to believe in Joe and Kamala's ability to lead this country out of these dark times and build it back better.

SEN. KAMALA HARRIS (D-CA), PRESUMPTIVE VICE-PRESIDENTIAL NOMINEE: In this election, we have a chance to change the course of history. We're all in this fight together. What an awesome responsibility. What an awesome privilege. I accept your nomination for Vice President of the United States of America.


TOM PEREZ, CHAIRMAN, DEMOCRATIC NATIONAL COMMITTEE: Hi, I'm Tom Perez. This has been an incredible week. It hasn't been the kind of convention you might have been expecting. And to be honest, it wasn't the kind of convention we had planned for. But in a way, what we've seen over the last three nights and what we'll see tonight is a more accurate reflection of where we -- where our country is than any traditional convention could have been.


Yes, we've talked a lot about our next President and Vice President Joe Biden and Kamala Harris. We've talked about how they'll tackle the challenges we face and lead our country to a brighter future. And we've seen that our party is ready to lead not just now, but into the next generation. But we've also heard a lot from people who aren't running for anything this year. People who might not even think of themselves as political. Auto workers and college students, farmers and immigrants, teachers, nurses, and yes, the occasional calamari chef. If the literal meaning of the word convention has to do with coming together, then what has brought us together this year isn't partisanship, its purpose. That's what has allowed us to bring both diehard progressives and conservative ex-Republicans under the same tent. That's what has allowed us to build a campaign where no state, no precinct, no vote is taken for granted.

That's how we build our movement. That's how we went up and down the ballot. That's how we make change. And when we can bring that kind of energy to the challenges our nation faces, well, there's nothing we can't accomplish. Just ask Joe Biden, who set his sights on a mission that could change the world forever conquering cancer.


JOHN F. KENNEDY, FORMER PRESIDENT OF UNITED STATES: We choose to go to the moon in this decade and do the other thing not because they are easy, but because they are.

B. OBAMA: Vice President Biden said that with a new Moonshot, America can cure cancer. I'm putting Joe in-charge of Mission Control.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Beau Biden, the son of Vice President Joe Biden succumbed to brain cancer Saturday at the age of 46.

J. BIDEN: He's the one who wanted me to stay engaged. He was worried that I not continue to fight for the things I'm passionate about. I'm trying to keep his promise.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: President Obama signed to the 21st Century Cures Act, including the so called Moonshot that could be a giant leap in the fight to cure cancer.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The Moonshot is the symbol of American ambition and achievement. Now Vice President Joe Biden will lead a similar effort to cure cancer,

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It will be led by Joe Biden is aimed at ending the disease that killed the vice president's son at 600,000 other Americans every year,

J. BIDEN: I think of all the people have gone through what I've gone through without one-tenth the help that I've had. When you have a son or daughter, husband, wife, someone you adore, you become as educated as you can as quickly as you can, particularly me, you know, that's a very serious form. I learned a lot about the mechanics of cancer and the delivery systems and there's so many changes if you're just on the cusp. I have now met with over 200, oncologists and cancer research centers and I'm asking them what is it you want me to clear away for? Where are we an impediment.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: He is determined he's not going to walk away until there is real change.

J. BIDEN: This is a truly bipartisan issue. So the leaders in this effort in the House and Senate are Republicans as well as Democrats.

SEN. MITCH MCCONNELL (R-KY): He's been pushed to the edge of what anyone would be expected to bear.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Following correction, Joe Biden Cancer Moonshot.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You're a man of substance. You have experienced tragedies in your life. And we are inspired by the way that you have responded to those.

J. BIDEN: Every single family in America has been affected by cancer. And we are so close.

O. BARACK: For the loved ones. We've all lost. Let's make America the country, the cures cancer once and for all.

J. BIDEN: I believe we need a Moonshot in this country to cure cancer. It's personal, but I know we can do this. There are so many breakthroughs just on the horizon. We can make them real with an absolute national commitment. There are Democrats and Republicans on the Hill, who share our passion to silence this deadly disease. I can be anything. I really want it to be the president that ended cancer because it's possible.

AMANDA LITMAN, CO-FOUNDER, RUN FOR SOMETHING: I'm Amanda Lippmann, I'm the co-founder and executive director of Run For Something. In May 2017, I was invited to join a small meeting in D.C. with a handful of other organization leaders to give updates to the VP on our work. The VP came over and I tried to play it cool. Well, my Grammy would be furious. This you know, I was at a meeting with you and didn't get a photo Grammy the VP said perking up as we post for the photo you can see here. Let's call her. I called her. Someone wants to talk to you. Hi Grammy, this is Joe Biden. She was overwhelmed. Grammy went on to tell him her second eldest, my aunt Michelle was in the hospital colon cancer advanced. She was really sick. The VP's posture changed immediately. I'm so sorry, Grammy. I'm so, so sorry. You know, my son Beau died of cancer. As a parent, you should never have to even think of one day burying a child. It's a nightmare.


He stepped away speaking personally with her about sitting in a hospital room with a sick child about pain. I could hear her choking up on the phone. I'm giving Amanda my personal home phone number. You need anything, you call me. I'll come to the hospital and sit with you. Anything.

Grammy still talks about that call. He's a genuinely nice man, she says. He just gets it. Her grief and my family's grief mattered to him. Our entire country is grieving. We are all going through trauma. Our next president needs to be the one helping us heal. That's why I'm glad and excited to vote this fall, not just against Trump, but genuinely for Joe Biden.


PEREZ: Before we continue with tonight's program, I want to thank everyone who has made this unprecedented convention possible from our delegates and speakers to our party staff and our production team.

Next week, it will be the Republican Party's turn to hold their convention. On behalf of their speakers and staff, I hope they're organizers will take safety as seriously as we have. And then it will be up to you, America, you'll have heard from two very different candidates for president. You'll be able to dig into the details of their respective plans for solving the challenges we face and decide which plan you think will work for you and your family. But the choice this year is deeper than that. No matter what you think about Donald Trump or Joe Biden, no matter which party you belong to, or whether you belong to any party at all. Your job in this election is to decide what kind of movement is capable of being the vehicle for the change we need, kind of movement that demands absolute loyalty to one man and his personal agenda, really ever make this country greater?

Or do we do better when we join together in a movement of shared values, one that amplifies our diverse voices. We've got one more night to show America what our path forward looks like. Not one man boasting that he alone can fix it. But everyday people coming together to face our challenges with unity and determination. Now we turn to one example, California's fight against the dangerous wildfires raging throughout the state. Please welcome governor Gavin Newsom.

GOV. GAVIN NEWSOM (D-CA): Well I confess, this is not where I expected to be speaking here tonight. I'm about a mile or so away from one of over 370 wildfires that we're battling here in the State of California. We're just coming off of record week, a heat wave that led to 130 degree temperatures, the highest temperature ever recorded. And California, arguably the world's history here in our state. The hots are getting hotter, the drives are getting drier, climate change is real. If you are in denial about climate change, come to California. 11,000 dry lightning strikes. We had over a 72-hour period leading to this unprecedented challenge with these wildfires.

This is an extraordinary moment in our history. Mother Nature has now joined this conversation around climate change. And so, we too need to advance that conversation a new. Just today, the President of United States threatened the State of California 40 million Americans who happen to live here in the state of California. To defund our efforts on wildfire suppression, because he said we hadn't raked enough leaves. You can't make that up. Nor can he make up the fact we're involved in over 90 lawsuits with the Trump administration on clean air, on clean water, on endangered species, on pesticides. There is so much at stake in this election, none more important than the work Joe Biden did with Barack Obama on the vehicle emissions standards, the fuel efficiency standards that will save billions and billions of dollars, taxpayers and reduce our greenhouse gas emissions. There is so much at stake in this election.

And I couldn't help myself on my way to one of our relief centers, one of our evacuation centers just to jump out of the car and just express my deep reverence, my admiration to Joe Biden and to Kamala Harris, California's own. To their faith, their devotion, their constancy, to their commitment. Not just to the environment, but to the Commonwealth. To our kids, our kids, kids, our grandkids, to our legacy. There is so much at stake in this election and I just want to close by reminding each and every one of you.