Democratic National Convention 2020: Day 4

By Melissa Macaya, Veronica Rocha, Fernando Alfonso III, Kyle Blaine and Jessica Estepa, CNN

Updated 8:47 a.m. ET, August 21, 2020
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9:20 p.m. ET, August 20, 2020

Delaware Sen. Chris Coons calls Biden "a man of faith and conscience"

From CNN's Eric Bradner

Delaware Sen. Chris Coons.
Delaware Sen. Chris Coons. Democratic National Convention

Delaware Sen. Chris Coons, a close Joe Biden ally, called the former vice president "a man of faith and conscience" who "knows the power of prayer" in a speech that focused on Biden's Catholic faith.

"I'll never forget how Joe took the time to offer me words of comfort as my father lay in hospice," Coons said. "Time and again, I've seen him stop everything and listen, really listen to someone who needs a shoulder to cry on or a partner in prayer. That compassion, that empathy is part of his character."

His remarks came during a segment of Thursday night's DNC that was focused on describing Biden's faith.

"Joe knows that it's faith that sustains so many ordinary Americans who do extraordinary things: nurses who brave infection, firefighters who run into burning buildings, teachers working overtime, especially now," Coons said. "They all deserve a servant leader who knows the dignity of work, who sees them, respects them, fights for them."


9:12 p.m. ET, August 20, 2020

Yang sends a message to the "Yang Gang": Biden and Harris can be trusted

From CNN's Dan Merica

Former presidential candidate and founder of Venture for America Andrew Yang.
Former presidential candidate and founder of Venture for America Andrew Yang. Democratic National Convention

Andrew Yang’s unexpectedly strong Democratic primary campaign earlier this year was powered by a unique coalition of non-traditional Democratic voters, the kind of infrequent voters who Democrats hope they can turn out in November.

Yang had those exact voters in kind when he took to the virtual convention stage on Thursday night and told the so-called Yang Gang they can trust Joe Biden and Kamala Harris.

“I know many politicians promise and then fail to deliver,” Yang said, reusing a theme he often used on the campaign trail. “I have gotten to know both Joe and Kamala on the trail over the past year -- the way you really get to know a person when the cameras are off, the crowds are gone, and it’s just you and them. They're real people. They understand the problems we face.”

Yang added: “If we give them the chance, they will fight for us and our families every single day. … I ask you tonight to join me to help Joe and Kamala fight for the promise of America.”

Yang also opened the speech with the kind of humor that defined his 2020 bid, introducing himself as the “guy who ran for President talking about MATH and the future.”


9:21 p.m. ET, August 20, 2020

Activists and politicians share where they'd like to be “this time next year”

Civilians, activists and prominent politicians shared where they want the country to be this time next year if Joe Biden were to be president. 

"Unity in our country. This is what I hope to see next year," labor leader and political organizer Dolores Huerta said.

"I am confident this time next year we will have a president who provides this country with real leadership, not just tweets," Jim Roosevelt, DNC credentials committee co-chair, said.

"This time next year I hope we are listening less to the Russians and more to Dr. Fauci," Susan Molinari, former representative for New York, said.  

"I believe that America will have faced its darkest moment and will have come out better," criminal justice reform advocate Donna Hylton said.  

Vice presidential nominee Kamala Harris closed the video saying, "this time next year I want to see Joe Biden in the oval office."

Sen. Elizabeth Warren, Sen. Amy Klobuchar, Andrew Yang and more also participated in the video.

Watch the video compilation aired during the DNC:

9:09 p.m. ET, August 20, 2020

As fires rage in California, Gov. Gavin Newsom says climate change must be a priority this November

California Gov. Gavin Newsom.
California Gov. Gavin Newsom. Democratic national Convention

California Gov. Gavin Newsom made a case for climate change to be front and center this November during the final night of the Democratic National Convention as he stood roughly a mile from one of the more than 370 wildfires decimating his state.

Newsom talked about "a heat wave that led to 130-degree temperatures, highest temperature ever recorded in California arguably the world's history here in our state" while imploring Americans to vote for Joe Biden this fall.

"Mother nature has now joined this conversation around climate change. And so we, too, need to advance that conversation anew. Just today, the President of the United States threatened the state of California, 40 million Americans that happened to live here in the state of California, to defund our efforts on wildfires suppression because he said we hadn't raked enough leaves," Newsom said. "You can't make that up."

Newsom praised the work Biden and former President Barack Obama did on "vehicle emissions standards, fuel efficiency standards to save billions and billions of dollars for taxpayers and reduce our greenhouse gas emissions."

8:50 p.m. ET, August 20, 2020

Kamala Harris to Biden: "Go get 'em"

Kamala Harris, Joe Biden's running mate, tweeted her support ahead of the final night of the Democratic National Convention.

In his speech tonight, Biden will officially accept the Democratic presidential nomination and lay out a vision for the country.

Read the tweet:

8:47 p.m. ET, August 20, 2020

The final night of the DNC kicks off

From CNN's Kate Sullivan, Maeve Reston and Stephen Collinson

The fourth and final night of the Democratic National Convention has begun.

Joe Biden will deliver his full convention acceptance speech this evening from the Chase Center in his hometown of Wilmington, Delaware, to close out the week.

Other notable speakers tonight include:

  • Sen. Cory Booker of New Jersey
  • California Gov. Gavin Newsom
  • Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms
  • Former South Bend, Indiana, Mayor Pete Buttigieg
  • Sen. Tammy Baldwin of Wisconsin
  • Sen. Tammy Duckworth of Illinois
  • Sen. Chris Coons of Delaware

Actress Julia Louis-Dreyfus will emcee.

In what is likely to be a deeply poignant moment, Biden's three children will give the introduction to his keynote speech in a video. The former vice president's son Beau, who died of brain cancer five years ago at the age of 46, will be portrayed in video clips from previous speeches about his father.

The evening will also feature average Americans whose lives have been touched by the former vice president, from military families to 13-year-old Brayden Harrington, who approached Biden in New Hampshire asking him to help coach him through overcoming his stutter, as Biden did in his own youth by reciting poetry in the mirror and later by marking his speeches as a reminder not to rush through his remarks.

8:37 p.m. ET, August 20, 2020

Jill Biden says Biden is spending time with grandkids ahead of speech

From CNN's Arlette Saenz

Former Vice President Joe Biden and former Second Lady Jill Biden stand on stage at the end of the third day of the Democratic National Convention at the Chase Center in Wilmington, Delaware on August 19.
Former Vice President Joe Biden and former Second Lady Jill Biden stand on stage at the end of the third day of the Democratic National Convention at the Chase Center in Wilmington, Delaware on August 19. Olivier Douliery/AFP/Getty Images

Jill Biden tells CNN that in the final hours before his speech, her husband Joe Biden is relaxing at home with his grandkids, eating pizza and sitting on the porch. 

CNN asked her how it feels to not have Beau here with them tonight.

“Beau is here, and I think you’ll see that tonight. He’s here. He’s with us," she said.

Biden said she’s watched the video featuring Beau several times and expects she will have tears in her eyes tonight.

“He loved this. He loved politics. He and his father were so in sync, but I feel like he’s here with us.”

8:32 p.m. ET, August 20, 2020

Cars line up outside the Chase Center to watch final night of DNC 

From CNN's Jeff Zeleny

CNN’s Jeff Simon 
CNN’s Jeff Simon 

The parking lot outside the Chase Center, where Joe Biden is set to deliver is speech later this evening, is taking on the look of a summertime drive-in movie theater. 

A few dozen cars have arrived, with people waving Biden signs from convertibles or sun roofs, arriving to watch the final night of the convention on a large screen outside.

It’s hardly the audience Joe Biden expected, but on an unseasonably nice summer evening, supporters from Delaware, New Jersey and beyond have arrived. Officials have capped it at 100 cars, with people told to stay in or around their vehicles — and socially distant.

It’s a good shot that captures this very unconventional convention.

Biden did a walk through on an outdoor stage earlier today, leading some to wonder whether they will see him after his speech.

Watch the scene outside the Chase Center:

8:23 p.m. ET, August 20, 2020

Biden practiced his speech at the Chase Center this afternoon

From CNN's Arlette Saenz

Democratic presidential candidate former Vice President Joe Biden leaves after speaking at the Chase Center July 14, in Wilmington, Delaware.
Democratic presidential candidate former Vice President Joe Biden leaves after speaking at the Chase Center July 14, in Wilmington, Delaware. Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

Joe Biden did a walk through this afternoon at the Chase Center in Wilmington, Delaware, where an adviser said he practiced the acceptance speech he will deliver this evening.  

Tonight will mark the biggest speech he’s given in the nearly half century he’s been in politics and his involvement in these Democratic conventions dates back to the 1970s. But this is the first time Biden is delivering an acceptance speech for the Democratic presidential nomination, 33 years after he launched his first White House bid. 

And there’s another thing different about tonight. This election marks the first time Biden will appear on the Democratic ticket without his son Beau Biden here to see it. 

Beau passed away from brain cancer in 2015 and was active in his father’s past campaigns. In both the 2008 and 2012 conventions, Beau delivered impassioned speeches about his father.

Tonight there will be a tribute video to Beau, who was an Iraq war veteran. It will air just before Pete Buttigieg’s speech. He’s also a veteran who Biden has said reminds him of his son Beau. Beau Biden is looming large over the week’s festivities as his father is set to accept the nomination this evening.