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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9:44 p.m. ET, August 18, 2020

JFK’s grandson: US needs "a president who asks what he can do for our country"

From CNN's Adrienne Vogt

Caroline Kennedy and Jack Schlossberg.
Caroline Kennedy and Jack Schlossberg. Democratic National Convention

President John F. Kennedy’s grandson Jack Schlossberg echoed his grandfather’s famous words — “ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country” — when speaking about Joe Biden during the Democratic National Convention. 

“We can reach these new frontiers, but only with a President who asks what he can do for our country and what together we can do to build a better world. It's up to us. Let's get it done,” Schlossberg said. 

Schlossberg said this election is a defining one for his generation. 

“Times have changed. But the themes of my grandfather's speech — courage, unity and patriotism — are as important today as they were in 1960. And once again, we need a leader who believes America's best days are yet to come,” he said.  

Kennedy’s daughter and Schlossberg’s mother, Caroline Kennedy, said she was able to see Biden “in action” when she was US ambassador to Japan. 

“He stepped off Air Force Two wearing his aviator glasses and a big smile, radiating American optimism and generosity. I saw a leader who was tough but fair,” she said.

9:48 p.m. ET, August 18, 2020

Chuck Schumer: "Joe can't do it alone. Democrats must take back the Senate"

From CNN's Leinz Vales

Sen. Chuck Schumer.
Sen. Chuck Schumer. Democratic National Convention

With the backdrop of the Statue of Liberty in New York, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer emphatically said that the Democrats must retake the Senate in November. 

"If we're going to win this battle for the soul of our nation, Joe can't do it alone," Schumer said in address at the Democratic National Convention. "Democrats must take back the Senate. We will stay united, from Sanders and Warren to Manchin and Warner and with our unity we will bring bold and dramatic change to our country."

The New York senator went on to lay out the policy goals that would be accomplished under a Biden presidency and a Democratic majority in Congress. 

"We will make health care affordable for all. We'll undue the vicious inequality of income and wealth that has plagued America for far too long and we'll take strong decisive action to combat climate change and save the planet," Schumer said. "We will protect voting rights, fight systemic racism in the criminal justice system and in our economy, and restore a Supreme Court that looks out for people not corporations. We'll rebuild our infrastructure and make sure every home from inner city to rural America has broadband. We will save the post office and once and for all defeat Covid-19, this evil disease. And beckoned by the lady behind us, we will reform our immigration system so that immigrants yearning to breathe free will at last become American citizens."

Watch:

9:44 p.m. ET, August 18, 2020

Former presidents rally for Biden

Former Democratic Presidents Jimmy Carter and Bill Clinton used their speeches to tout Joe Biden's legacy on health care and economic proposals.

Carter called Biden "the right person for this moment in our nation’s history. He understands that honesty and dignity are essential traits that determine not only our vision but our actions. More than ever, that’s what we need."

Meanwhile, Clinton said Biden is "committed to building America back again."

"Our party is united in offering you a very different choice: a go-to-work president. A down-to-earth, get-the-job-done guy. A man with a mission: to take responsibility, not shift the blame; concentrate, not distract; unite, not divide. Our choice is Joe Biden. Joe helped bring us back from a recession before, and he can do it again," Clinton said.

The only surviving child of former President John F. Kennedy, Caroline Kennedy, and her son John Schlossberg also delivered remarks tonight.

"Sixty years ago in a crowded stadium in LA, my father accepted the Democratic nomination for president. He challenged Americans to look to the future and join him on a journey towards a new frontier," Kennedy said.

"It was a call to the young at heart, regardless of age or party. Times have changed, but the themes of my grandfather’s speech: courage, unity, and patriotism, are as important today as they were in 1960. And once again, we need a leader who believes America’s best days are yet to come. We need Joe Biden," Schlossberg said.

Former President Barack Obama is set to speak during the convention's programming tomorrow night.

11:55 p.m. ET, August 18, 2020

Bill Clinton slams Trump for "his determination to deny responsibility and shift the blame"

From CNN's Dan Merica

Former President Bill Clinton.
Former President Bill Clinton. Democratic National Convention

Bill Clinton, one of the four men still living who understands what it takes to be President, lambasted the current occupant of the White House in his convention speech on Tuesday, questioning Donald Trump's handling of the coronavirus pandemic and casting his White House as a chaotic “storm.”

Clinton describes running for president as the “world’s most important job interview” and puts the onus on voters to “decide whether to renew (Trump’s) contract or hire someone else.”

“Donald Trump says we’re leading the world. Well, we are the only major industrial economy to have its unemployment rate triple,” Clinton said. “At a time like this, the Oval Office should be a command center. Instead, it’s a storm center. There’s only chaos.”

Clinton added: “Just one thing never changes -- his determination to deny responsibility and shift the blame. The buck never stops there.”

Then Clinton, whose speech was under five minutes, a notable departure for a man who has delivered speeches longer than 40 minutes at multiple Democratic conventions, pivoted to Biden and his work on the economy.

“Our party is united in offering you a very different choice: a go-to-work president. A down-to-earth, get-the-job-done guy. A man with a mission: to take responsibility, not shift the blame; concentrate, not distract; unite, not divide,” Clinton said. “Our choice is Joe Biden.”

Clinton, after lauding Biden’s work to reverse the impacts of the Great Recession in 2009, then tried to encapsulate the decisions in this election: “It’s Trump’s “Us vs. Them” America against Joe Biden’s America, where we all live and work together. It’s a clear choice. And the future of our country is riding on it.”

Watch:

9:40 p.m. ET, August 18, 2020

Jimmy Carter: Biden is "the right person for this moment in our nation’s history"

From CNN's Eric Bradner

Delaware's U.S. Senator Joseph Biden points out a friend in the crowd at the Padua Academy to President Jimmy Carter during a fundraiser on February 20, 1978.
Delaware's U.S. Senator Joseph Biden points out a friend in the crowd at the Padua Academy to President Jimmy Carter during a fundraiser on February 20, 1978. Bettman Archive/Getty Images

Former President Jimmy Carter touted Joe Biden as one of his earliest and most important allies after he was elected to the presidency in 1976 in a speech Tuesday night.

Jimmy and Rosalynn Carter called Biden a friend and praised his character in speeches in which the Carters appeared by voice, rather than on camera.

"For decades, he has been my loyal and dedicated friend," the former president said. "Joe has the experience, character, and decency to bring us together and restore America’s greatness. We deserve a person with integrity and judgment, someone who is honest and fair, someone who is committed to what is best for the American people."

Carter called Biden "the right person for this moment in our nation’s history. He understands that honesty and dignity are essential traits that determine not only our vision but our actions. More than ever, that’s what we need."

Rosalynn Carter pointed to Biden's efforts to extend support to caregivers, which is a focal point of Biden's economic platform.

"Joe knows well, too well, the sorrows and struggles of being a family caregiver, from Joe’s time as a young widower thrust into single parenthood with a demanding job to he and Jill caring for their own parents and their son Beau at the end of their lives. He knows caregiving is hard even on the good days," she said.

Watch:

9:23 p.m. ET, August 18, 2020

Yates: Country doesn’t belong to Trump, "it belongs to all of us”

From CNN's Dan Merica

Former acting Attorney General Sally Yates
Former acting Attorney General Sally Yates Democratic National Committee

Former acting Attorney General Sally Yates, who was dismissed from Donald Trump’s administration after she announced she would not defend his travel ban from predominantly Muslin countries, said her former boss has “used his position to benefit himself " in a speech before the Democratic National Convention.

Yates, in a speech she said she never expected she would give, cast Trump as a corrupt leader, someone who has “trampled the rule of law” and refused to stand up to Russian President Vladimir Putin.

“From the moment President Trump took office, he has used his position to benefit himself rather than our country,” Yates said. “He’s even trying to sabotage our postal service to keep people from being able to vote.”

“Our country doesn’t belong to him. It belongs to all of us,” Yates said, adding that Biden “embraces that” and has “spent his entire life putting our country first.”

9:28 p.m. ET, August 18, 2020

Stacey Abrams: "We are in this to win for America. So let's get it done"

From CNN's Sarah Mucha and Dan Merica

Georgia Democrat Stacey Abrams was among 16 other rising stars of the Democratic Party that delivered the joint keynote address during tonight's Democratic National Convention programming, a slot typically reserved for just one speaker.

"This nation belongs to all of us. And in every election, we choose how we will create a more perfect union, not by taking sides but by taking stock of where we are and what we need," Abrams said in her portion of the address.

"This year's choice could not be more clear. America faces a triple threat: a public health catastrophe, an economic collapse, and a reckoning with racial justice and inequality. So our choice is clear: a steady, experienced public servant who can lead us out of this crisis just like he's done before, or a man who only knows how to deny and distract; a leader who cares about our families or a president who only cares about himself," she continued.

Abrams used her platform to urge Americans to make their vote count.

"We know Joe Biden. America, we need Joe Biden. To make your voice heard text Vote to 30330. In a democracy, we do not elect saviors. We cast our ballots for those who see our struggles and pledge to serve...," the Georgia Democrat said.

"We stand with Joe Biden because this isn't just about defeating Donald Trump. We are in this to win for America. So let's get it done," Abrams said in closing.

Watch:

9:22 p.m. ET, August 18, 2020

17 "rising stars" of the Democratic Party deliver keynote address

Democratic National Convention
Democratic National Convention

The Democratic Party looked to highlight some of its "rising stars from all across the country" during its keynote address that kicked off the second night of the Democratic National Convention.

This year’s address featured not one, but 17 of the Democratic Party’s rising politicians.

"There is one person that is looking out for us - all of us," they said in unison. "And that is Joe Biden."

Participants included: Georgia Democrat Stacey Abrams, State Rep. Malcolm Kenyatta from Pennsylvania, State Rep. Victoria Neave from Texas, Mayor Randall Woodfin from Alabama, and more.

According to organizers in a news release, the joint address meant to "offer a diversity of different ideas and perspectives on how to move America forward, but they will all speak to the future we’re building together — a future with Joe Biden at the helm."

Watch:

9:00 p.m. ET, August 18, 2020

The second night of the DNC kicks off

From CNN's Maeve Reston and Stephen Collinson

The second night of the Democratic National Convention has begun, with programming running from 9 p.m. to 11 p.m. ET. Jill Biden has long served as a supporting player to her husband's political career, but she will command the spotlight as the headliner tonight.

Her speech is expected to highlight the personal side of former Vice President Joe Biden as a loving father who pulled his family back together after the death of his first wife, Neilia, and 1-year-old daughter Naomi in a car accident in 1972.

She will also speak to the other great tragedy of Biden's life: the death of his son Beau Biden, the former Delaware attorney general, from brain cancer in 2015 when Biden was serving as vice president.

With the night's programming centered on the theme "uniting America," the keynote speech will take an unusual format featuring 17 rising stars in the Democratic Party. New York Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez will also speak and leaders will conduct the virtual roll call formally selecting Biden as the nominee of the Democratic Party.

Former President Bill Clinton will play an unusually peripheral role at a Democratic convention, a venue where he has been a star performer since the 1980s, including during his own campaigns; his speech in 2012 made the case for a second term for President Barack Obama in a way the incumbent never managed. He also spoke about his wife in 2016.