Democratic National Convention 2020: Day 2

By Melissa Macaya, Kyle Blaine and Jessica Estepa, CNN

Updated 6:20 p.m. ET, August 19, 2020
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11:39 p.m. ET, August 18, 2020

Joe Biden calls Jill Biden “the strongest person I know”

From CNN's Adrienne Vogt

Former Second Lady Jill Biden and Former Vice President Joe Biden.
Former Second Lady Jill Biden and Former Vice President Joe Biden. Democratic National Convention

Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden praised his wife, saying “Hi everyone, I’m Jill Biden’s husband,” right after she finished remarks at tonight’s Democratic National Convention.

“She never gives herself much credit, but the truth is she's the strongest person I know. She has a backbone like a ramrod. She loves fiercely, cares deeply. Nothing stops her when she sets her mind to getting something right,” he said.

Jill Biden gave remarks at Brandywine High School in Wilmington, Delaware, where she taught English in the ‘90s.

“For all of you across the country, just think of your favorite educator who gave you the confidence to believe in yourself,” Joe Biden said.


Following their appearance together, Biden tweeted a picture of himself and Jill:

11:26 p.m. ET, August 18, 2020

Jill Biden: Joe Biden will "bring us together and make us whole"

From CNN's Eric Bradner

Former Second Lady Jill Biden.
Former Second Lady Jill Biden. Democratic National Convention

From a classroom at Brandywine High School, where she once taught English, Jill Biden said her husband Joe Biden could heal a struggling nation.

"The burdens we carry are heavy, and we need someone with strong shoulders," she said. "I know that if we entrust this nation to Joe, he will do for your family what he did for ours -- bring us together and make us whole. Carry us forward in our time of need. Keep the promise of America for all of us."

In a speech that focused on families, including Biden's own, Jill Biden made a personal case for her husband's character. She touted his resolve after his son Beau Biden died in 2015, and said it's what the nation needs amid the personal fallout of the coronavirus pandemic.

"We're coming together and holding onto each other. We're finding mercy and grace in the moments we might have once taken for granted. We're seeing that our differences are precious and our similarities infinite," she said. "We have shown that the heart of this nation still beats with kindness and courage. That's the soul of America Joe Biden is fighting for now."

Her speech also addressed, in the most specific way in the first two nights of the DNC, how the pandemic has shuttered many schools, left children learning virtually and forced parents to adapt.

"I hear it from so many of you, the frustration of parents juggling work while they support their children's learning, or afraid their kids will get sick from school," she said.

"These classrooms will ring out with laughter and possibility once again," she said.


10:59 p.m. ET, August 18, 2020

Cindy McCain pays tribute to her husband’s longtime friendship with Biden in video

From CNN's Dan Merica

Sen. John McCain receives the the 2017 Liberty Medal from former Vice President Joe Biden at the National Constitution Center on October 16, 2017 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
Sen. John McCain receives the the 2017 Liberty Medal from former Vice President Joe Biden at the National Constitution Center on October 16, 2017 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. William Thomas Cain/Getty Images

Joe Biden’s cross-party friendship with the late Arizona Sen. John McCain was remembered in an emotional video at the Democratic National Convention on Tuesday, one that featured the voice of McCain’s widow, Cindy McCain.

The video was a not-so-subtle denunciation of Donald Trump, who has repeatedly slammed McCain -- both before and after his death in 2018. McCain, before his death, voted against Trump’s attempt to repeal the Affordable Care Act drew the President’s ire, leading him to attack McCain in personal terms.

The video recalls how Biden and McCain met -- the former Arizona senator was assigned to Biden as a military aide on a foreign trip -- and how their relationship blossomed when they were both in the Senate.

“They would just sit and joke,” Cindy McCain recalls in the piece. “It was like a comedy show, sometimes, to watch the two of them.”

A narrator described the Biden-McCain relationship as a “friendship that shouldn’t have worked” and featured the voices of other top Democrats who saw their relationship up close.

And Cindy McCain later in the video said their friendship represented a “style of legislating and leadership that you don’t find much anymore.”

The video of McCain voting against Trump’s Affordable Care Act repeal was also included, another rejection of Trump.

Cindy McCain, while not endorsing Biden, is just one of many Republicans helping Biden that have been on full display during the first two nights of the convention. Former Ohio Gov. John Kasich addressed the convention on Monday night, while former Secretary of State Colin Powell spoke on Biden’s behalf on Tuesday.

“My husband and Vice President Biden enjoyed a 30+ year friendship dating back to before their years serving together in the Senate, so I was honored to accept the invitation from the Biden campaign to participate in a video celebrating their relationship,” Cindy McCain tweeted on Tuesday about her participation in the video.


10:49 p.m. ET, August 18, 2020

Colin Powell: Biden will restore US standing abroad and reject "the flattery of dictators and despots"

From CNN's Gregory Krieg

Colin Powell.
Colin Powell. Democratic National Convention

Colin Powell, a Republican who has frequently broken ranks to back Democratic presidential candidates, made the case for Biden as a uniter who would make Americans proud when he hits the world stage.

“With Joe Biden in the White House, you will never doubt that he will stand with our friends and stand up to our adversaries -- never the other way around,” Powell said. “He will trust our diplomats and our intelligence community, not the flattery of dictators and despots.”

Powell, a retired four-star general who served as secretary of state during President George W. Bush’s first term, including the invasion of Iraq, also pointed to the military service of Biden’s son, the late Beau Biden, who was deployed there in 2008 and 2009.

“Our country needs a commander-in-chief who takes care of our troops in the same way he would his own family,” Powell said. “For Joe Biden, that doesn’t need teaching. It comes from the experience he shares with millions of military families -- sending his beloved son off to war and praying to God he would come home safe.”

Powell also addressed Trump’s performance on the home front.

“Today, we are a country divided, and we have a president doing everything in his power to make it that way and keep us that way,” he said. “What a difference it will make to have a president who unites us, who restores our strength and our soul.”

6:19 p.m. ET, August 19, 2020

Fact Check: Iran and nuclear weapons

From CNN's Daniel Dale

Former Secretary of State John Kerry said Tuesday: "We eliminated the threat of an Iran with a nuclear weapon."

Facts FirstWe'd let it go as opinion if Kerry had said the Obama administration "reduced" the threat of an Iran with a nuclear weapon, but it's a stretch to say the administration "eliminated" the threat — which suggests a permanent eradication that the 2015 nuclear agreement did not (and could not possibly) provide.

The agreement, from which Trump announced a US withdrawal in 2018, included strict limits on Iran's nuclear activities, an Iranian commitment to allow regular inspections by the International Atomic Energy Agency and an Iranian promise that the country would not seek, develop or acquire nuclear weapons. Iran remained in compliance with the terms of the agreement into the Trump presidency, according to the IAEA and the Trump administration itself.

However, while the commitment to inspections and the promise of not pursuing weapons did not have an expiration date in the deal, other parts of the agreement had sunset clauses. For example, its limits on the number of first-generation centrifuges Iran can possess and on the research and development of more advanced centrifuges were scheduled to end in 2025. Its 3.67% limit on uranium purity was scheduled to end in 2030.

Also, the deal did not include guaranteed inspector access to Iranian military sites. And, to state the extremely obvious, political winds can change over time; a future Iranian leader could simply repudiate the agreement, just as the new American leader, Trump, did himself. After Trump rejected the deal, Iran stopped complying with some of its provisions.

11:25 p.m. ET, August 18, 2020

John Kerry: When Trump goes overseas "it’s a blooper reel"

Former Secretary of State John Kerry.
Former Secretary of State John Kerry. Democratic National Convention

Former Secretary of State and 2004 Democratic presidential nominee John Kerry slammed Trump's foreign policy, saying that when the current President goes overseas, "it isn’t a goodwill mission, it’s a blooper reel."

"Donald Trump pretends Russia didn’t attack our elections. And now, he does nothing about Russia putting a bounty on our troops. So he won’t defend our country. He doesn’t know how to defend our troops. The only person he’s interested in defending is himself," Kerry said.

"This is the bottom line: Our interests, our ideals, and our brave men and women in uniform can’t afford four more years of Donald Trump," Kerry said.

Kerry touted Biden's "moral compass" that has "has always pointed in the right direction."

"Our troops can’t get out of harm’s way by hiding in the White House bunker. They need a president who will stand up for them. And President Biden will," he said.

10:45 p.m. ET, August 18, 2020

Activist Ady Barkan: Put a bill on Biden’s desk "that guarantees us all the health care we deserve"

From CNN's Gregory Krieg

Activist Ady Barkan.
Activist Ady Barkan. Democratic National Convention

Activist Ady Barkan, who was diagnosed with ALS after the 2016 election, conducted a series of interviews with the Democratic candidates before the primaries.

He eventually endorsed Elizabeth Warren, then Bernie Sanders after she dropped out of the race. Joe Biden was not among the group who visited him for the taped conversations.

But on Tuesday night, Barkan – who has since spoken with the former vice president and endorsed him – said, “We must elect Joe Biden.”

Barkan’s remarks, which were voiced by a computer that tracks his eye movements, focused on his own family, including a poignant message to his young children, and the fight to guarantee health care to every American. Biden has never bought in to “Medicare for All,” so Barkan included a nudge to his fellow advocates.

“Each of us must be a hero for our communities, for our country, and then, with a compassionate and intelligent president, we must act together and put on his desk a bill that guarantees us all the health care we deserve,” Barkan said.

In describing his painful, debilitating struggle against a “mysterious illness,” Barkan said that he, like so many others, had “experienced the ways our health care system is fundamentally broken: enormous costs, denied claims, dehumanizing treatment when we are most in need.”

Barkan connected his experience to the suffering that has accompanied the coronavirus pandemic, which he said laid bare the cruelest elements of a broken system.

“Today we are witnessing the tragic consequences of our failing health care system,” Barkan said. “In the midst of a pandemic, nearly 100 million Americans do not have sufficient health insurance.”


11:50 p.m. ET, August 18, 2020

Biden officially wins Democratic nomination

From CNN's Eric Bradner

Democratic National Convention
Democratic National Convention

Joe Biden was officially nominated for president by the Democratic Party on Tuesday night.

After his home state of Delaware delivered the final delegates in his favor, the former Vice President appeared live on screen for the first time in the convention.

Shots of Biden and his wife Jill Biden -- and then his grandchildren, who shot celebratory streamers over him -- were interspersed with videos of Americans cheering.

"Thank you all from the bottom of my heart from my family, and I'll see you on Thursday," Biden said, referring to his upcoming speech to close the convention.

Watch the moment:

Former President Barack Obama tweeted congrats to Biden on his acceptance of the nomination.

"Congrats, Joe. I'm proud of you," Obama said.

6:20 p.m. ET, August 19, 2020

Fact Check: Trump and the "hoax"

From CNN's Daniel Dale

Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett said Tuesday about Milwaukee Democrats: "Unlike the President, we've never called Covid-19 a hoax."

Facts FirstAt a February campaign rally, Trump did call something related to the virus a Democratic "hoax." The President left it unclear, though, whether he was calling the virus itself a hoax or saying that Democratic criticism of his administration's handling of the virus was a hoax. When he was asked the next day, he said he was talking specifically about the Democratic criticism.

We can't call Barrett's claim false despite Trump's next-day explanation: The President's imprecise claim at the rally was open to viewer interpretation. But it's worth noting that there is certainly a more benign way to view it. For your reference, here's what Trump said at the rally:

"Very dishonest people. Now the Democrats are politicizing the coronavirus. You know that, right? Coronavirus. They're politicizing it. We did one of the great jobs, you say, 'How's President Trump doing?' They go, 'Oh, not good, not good.' They have no clue. They don't have any clue. ... One of my people came up to me and said, Mr. President, they tried to beat you on Russia, Russia, Russia. That didn't work out too well. They couldn't do it. They tried the impeachment hoax. That was on a perfect conversation. They tried anything, they tried it over and over, they've been doing it since she got in. It's all turning, they lost. It's all turning, think of it, think of it. And this is their new hoax."