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Assessing the First Night of the Democratic Convention; Michelle Obama's Speech Rocks the House; Bernie Sanders' Convincing Case for Clinton; Trump Coins New Nickname for Clinton. Aired 2-3a ET
Aired July 26, 2016 - 02:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[02:00:28] DON LEMON, CNN ANCHOR: Michelle Obama makes a speech that rocks the house here in Philadelphia. And Bernie Sanders vows to do everything he can to make Hillary Clinton president. This is a especial CNN tonight. I'm Don Lemon. It's after hours here the Democratic Convention we're live here at the CNN Grill. We got a lot to talk about tonight.
The first lady brings the convention to its feet in a night that starts with a display of Democrats divided ends with Bernie Sanders laying the case, laying out the case for his former foe, Hillary Clinton. But did he convince the voters?
Back with me now, my political dream team. They are all here, Ryan Lizza, Peter Beinart, Kevin Madden, Angela Rye, Bakari Sellers and a bald guy playing Don Lemon. This is me.
I went to by all eyes, so I used to live in Philly. I went to my old barber. He said what do you want? I said just do it the way we used to do it in the summer when I lived in Philly. And this ...
RYAN LIZZA, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: That's it.
LEMON: He did. But I was a lot younger then.
LIZZA: Now I know why you left the city.
LEMON: So, yeah. Thank you, Kevin. The bald head ...
LEMON: ... go see him he's on ...
LIZZA: Who's back in ...
LEMON: In the tenth street and locust. All right so, what a difference a day it makes. I mean last night we were talking about Debbie Wassermann Schultz. And now we're talking about the first lady of the United States and her impact on the convention. Let's listen to this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) MICHELLE OBAMA, FIRST LADY OF THE UNITED STATES: When she didn't win the nomination eight years ago, she didn't get angry or disillusioned.
She -- Hillary did not. Hillary did not pack up and go home. Because as a true public servant, Hillary knows that this is so much bigger than her own desires and disappointments. So she proudly stepped up to serve our country, once again as secretary of state, traveling the globe to keep our kids safe. And look, there were plenty of moments when Hillary could have decided that this work was too hard, that the price of public service was too high that she was tired of being picked apart for how she looks or how she talks or even how she laughs.
But here's the thing. What I admire most about Hillary is that she never buckles under pressure. She never takes the easy way out. And Hillary Clinton has never quit on anything in her life.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LEMON: So Ryan, you listened to of speeches given by first lady. You tweeted this tonight. Let's put this up. I read it. I was like I cannot believe he wrote that. But there you go. You said, "Damn, sounds like Melania's 2020 convention speech is going to be pretty good."
That was hard, I mean.
LIZZA: That was a joke. I mean come on. Everyone knew plagiarism jokes were going to becoming when Michelle Obama ...
LIZZA: ... the bar was pretty high. I think for Clinton ...
LEMON: Did you hesitate?
LIZZA: You know, I did actually -- I showed to a colleague, and I'm like is this appropriate or not?
LIZZA: Come on.
LEMON: Well, thank you Ryan Lizza.
LIZZA: Everyone know we're going to joke about that.
LIZZA: But ...
LEMON: That was a compliment though to Michelle Obama.
LIZZA: Because it was a good speech. It was well received. And I mean she's making the essential arguments that the Clinton camp can make here is look. We know what it's like right. We know what it's like to have come really close and not have won. Right that was Hillary Clinton's experience in 2008, right? She knows what it's like to come to a convention where you think you should be the nominee. You came to this close, and that you didn't make it. And then these are the political things and if you are a mature politician in either party that you need to do.
LEMON: She was speaking to Bernie Sanders supporters.
LIZZA: She was speaking to Bernie Sanders supporters and saying, you know, we remember, we had a battle in 2008. We saw this dynamic play out, and here's how you have to go forward.
LIZZA: Hillary Clinton, you know, she didn't like us at the time where, you know, they had a lot of tension.
LIZZA: And I was on the floor, and not all the Bernie supporters were accepting that. There were several people booing. But over all, there was more enthusiasm for Michelle Obama or Elizabeth Warren and for Bernie Sanders from that Democratic crowd than for anyone that spoke at the Republican Convention, despite the divisions in this party. And there are clearly serious divisions. It's very different than Cleveland.
[02:05:04] LIZZA: Very different than the Republican Party.
LEMON: I have to say its and so -- as I was watching tonight, I got the most texts from friends and most tweets to people saying I'm tearing up. This part really got me. And that's when, you know, she talked about her kids.
I just -- from the Michelle Obama speech as a woman of color, as you were sitting there, how did this -- how did you feel about the speech?
ANGELA RYE, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: So, first of all, the epic to be listening to her on the floor. My favorite thing about Michelle Obama's speech is when she, you know she's getting to the end. She does like the Whitney say thing at the mic. You know, like she's getting into it, and you know she's about to bring it up. It's there -- she's like, this is going to be like the best run and you know it's going to be the best clothing. So just like watching her.
PETER BEINART, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: You got that man?
KEVIN MADDEN, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: The Whitney.
RYE: So it's like ...
MADDEN: I wish I had one. Thank you.
(CROSSTALK) RYE: But I think that for me knowing how she presents, I did him always so proud of her. And I can honestly say here as a black woman lawyer that I have never been disappointed in Michelle Obama.
And today she also did not disappoint. Again, from earlier, she is a closer. She is the best Hillary surrogate. She's going to have. I really believe that. I think even stronger than Elizabeth Warren. She was fantastic.
LEMON: Not everyone -- look, I know that -- not everyone feels that way, Conservatives don't feel that way about Michelle Obama.
MADDEN: Look, you know, these things are still -- I said this last week. I'll say this week. These things are pageantry. The part -- the big part of the pageantry is showing unity. I think that there's not a 100 percent there yet. But there are still some divisions there that Ryan talks about. And that's going to be a much longer process.
The other part is reaching out to the middle. Michelle Obama did a pretty good job of that. I think, there are a lot of people, whether they are like Mark Preston to the world who are -- that were Independents or they're, you know, some Republicans who were skeptical of Donald Trump. They may have found something that they like tonight from Michelle Obama.
But, when I look at Bernie Sanders and I look at Elizabeth Warren, like those are two speeches that were discordant in that sense. I mean they were very much to the base of the Republican Party. And there are a lot of things that they're out of step with in the big middle of the American electorate.
So I don't think tonight was the home run that everybody thinks it was even though Michelle Obama is going to be the headline.
BAKARI SELLERS, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: I think that -- I think there are a few things. One, the Democratic Party, although yesterday we looked like we were about to do it, didn't step on our message tonight.
SELLERS: And what we saw last week on Monday and Tuesday with Paul Manafort coming out just flat out lying to Chris Cuomo.
LEMON: You know why I didn't do that? Because she didn't speak, Debbie Wassermann Schultz did.
SELLERS: And specifically, I have the question last time, I say, I will tell you in the morning because...
SELLERS: Listen, this, these things ...
MADDEN: We didn't say that.
SELLERS: Yeah, have to make that a 24-hour.
LEMON: And it was. And it was. And we're in the even talking about to listen so that's it. If she had done that, we would still be talking about it.
SELLERS: You know, if I was 16 I'd probably think on the state of so by just witnessing the ...
LEMON: Go on.
SELLERS: So, my only point is that tonight I think that there was a lot for everybody. I think that the most, one of the more important parts of that, of this whole convention that we saw today was a part about opioid abuse and substance abuse that nobody really goes to and talks about a lot. Because it happened in prime time T.V., you have the mayor of Boston who came up. You have the governor of New Hampshire come up. And you had all of these people ...
SELLERS: ... come up and tell real life stories about what's going on. But the messages came and I think that Michelle Obama did something that Hillary Clinton needs which is solidify the vote of college- educated women, both black and white in this country, and I think Michelle Obama did that.
BEINART: Right, but I think ...
LEMON: Hang on. Hang on. I want you to respond to this, this is also something that Hillary Clinton needed and the Democrats needed as well, because there was a whole talk about just considering the e- mails and the scandal and whatever about Bernie Sanders supporters. And this was Sarah Silverman tonight.
I think that we needed this funny moment for the media at least. Go ahead.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SARAH SILVERMAN, COMEDIAN: Unity, unity, unity.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Hillary, Hillary, Hillary.
SILVERMAN: The Bernie, can I just say, to the Bernie or bust people, you're being ridiculous.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LEMON: As a person who has to sit and talk about this I thank you Sarah, you gave me something to talk about.
BEINART: That was not on the teleprompter.
LEMON: I know but I think ...
BEINART: Yeah, look, look. This was a really good night for Democrats. There's no question about it. But you have to put if in context. Hillary Clinton is now behind in a lot of polls. So the Republicans did get a bounce despite the fact that a lot of people, including myself said that the convention was mismanaged. And the other thing is that looming over this party now, what happened yesterday, Debbie Wassermann Schultz is gone. But the prospect that the Russians or somebody else have more e-mails that they may drop over the course of this campaign now, hangs over the Democratic Party. That is a new element. This is...
[02:10:09] BEINART: Yes, it's true but so far, it's -- for whatever reason when you believe its Vladimir Putin or whatever it's been used against the Democrats and that has Democrats.
MADDEN: So like I say that Russia is our number one geopolitical foe?
SELLERS: No. But I will tell that it does.
BEINART: No, I would say, no I think it might have been, its China.
LIZZA: I don't it's geopolitical. I think Democratic Party.
LEMON: They said the biggest geopolitical foe was Russia ...
SELLERS: I blame Kevin Madden for Donald Trump. I do because, you know, Kevin ...
SELLERS: I said if Kevin and Mitt Romney would have won, we wouldn't have Donald Trump.
LIZZA: I won in 2004. What a Warren and Sanders is -- what I find so interesting about their speeches and they're the way that they he act as politicians is they are not into fake unity. Those two, Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders ...
LEMON: Especially Bernie Sanders.
LIZZA: They are laser focused on policy.
LIZZA: What happened to his speech was here's what I extracted from Hillary Clinton in the negotiations to get me up here tonight.
RYE: ... about 18 minutes but here's the other thing. The other thing that he did that I think a lot of people didn't know, even the people holding the no TTP signs. But I think a lot of them know what that means or what it is, honestly. But he also threw in there that they were opposed to TPP. Hillary Clinton and Tim Kaine now are opposed to TPP, but that wasn't in the platform. The platform ...
LIZZA: They put it -- they bold letter size ...
RYE: Just trying to say that they were going to be natural. He put it out there like this is the platform. No, but that's not the platform.
LIZZA: The theory of the Warren camp and Sanders camp frankly is that Hillary Clinton responds to pressure. And that if she's not pressured full time then she will resort to a sort '90s style in tourism, and that their -- and their goal is to keep that pressure on her politically and for a policy perspective.
LEMON: Ryan Lizza, thank you very much. The rest of the panels going to stay with us, we're going to be back live from the CNN Grill.
Yes, we are live. Its 2:00 -- almost 2:15 in the morning in Philadelphia on the East Coast but we're happy to be here.
LIZZA: Don, thank you so much.
LEMON: Yeah, you didn't see the face.
[02:16:20] LEMON: Back now live in the CNN Grill in Philadelphia. The first night of the Democratic National Convention, as expected, Donald Trump coming under heavy fire from speaker after speaker, I want to bring in now my presence in the politics executive editor back with the Peter Beinart and CNN political commentator, Angela Rye also with me Bakari Sellers a Hillary Clinton supporter. Yes, Bakari always has a nice hair cuts. Stop making fun of my hair. You're going to give me a complex.
SELLER: I just got this done in Philly too.
LEMON: I did too. Then we'll shout out to Jermaine back in South Carolina.
I mean it does -- I mean it's just been one night. It feels like it's been longer right?
LEMON: Typical list of speakers right and really heavy hitters.
MARK PRESTON, CNN POLITICS EXECUTIVE EDITOR: Well, you know this is, it's like a baseball team that has like really good players that are batting 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9 you know what I mean?
PRESTON: We're looking ahead. We're going to see Bill Clinton speak. We see Barack Obama speak. I mean this a lot a good folks someone officer.
SELLERS: But I cannot jump, this is something typical that. I tweeted this early but I think it's worth mentioning. I mean Donald Trump promised the country this glitz and glamour at his convention. He promised us that's the Tom Brady and th high-profile stars, but tonight what you saw with actually high-profile stars. You saw Demi Lovato. You saw Sarah Silverman, also I mean you saw Paul Simon. You saw Dr. Ken even in that, in that brief ad there was...
PRESTON: Boyz II men.
SELLERS: Boyz II men.
RYE: Hey, that's not it.
LEMON: You have the Duck Dynasty guys.
MADDEN: You got to get a one night though.
RYE: He did does bring out Duck Dynasty compare to Boys II Men. You...
LEMON: I'm going to stay...
RYE: All right.
LEMON: They are all celebrity.
LEMON: They're going on me. Don't go in on me. We'll talk about it by. Senator Sanders not mincing words when it comes to supporting Secretary Clinton. Listen to this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. BERNIE SANDERS, (I-VT), FORMER PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: We need leadership which brings our people together and makes us stronger. Not leadership which insults Latinos and Mexicans insults Muslims and women, African Americans and veterans and seeks to divide us up. By these measures, any objective observer will conclude that based on her ideas and her leadership, Hillary Clinton must become the next president of the United States.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LEMON: Kevin Madden, how effective was Bernie Sanders tonight?
MADDEN: What the best quote I saw today was were some -- were one of the Bernie Sanders a supporters was quoted as saying you know he fed us a bunch of mountain dew, and now he's telling us to go to sleep. And you know it is very hard that's what's, that what's really tough about this primaries and that's why these conventions are always designed to try and demonstrate unity which is that, he has spent the better part of a year and a half serving as prosecutor against Hillary Clinton. And now he's climbing that - now he's actually climbing on to the witness stand and trying to serve as a character witness. And that doesn't happen in an instant. So I believe that he made attempts to it tonight. By all accounts, I think the tension started to dissipate inside the hall. Based on what we've heard folks reporting, folks that are biased and folks that are unbiased. So that the...
PRESTON: Bias? An unbiased?
SELLERS: No, I'm biased.
MADDEN: There was progress made, but it is by no means a sure thing.
[02:20:05] LEMON: Right.
RYE: So there are couple things. One is, I think, I think that that is not just about him being a Hillary prosecutor. I think there were actually times where Bernie Sanders as hard that could have. The most memorable moment that we have of him versus Hillary is ...
LEMON: About the damn e-mails.
RYE: ... enough with the damn e-mails. You know, she actually did take several of that when he could hit him really hard. So I don't know that is the case. I also think on the mountain dew analogy. I think that Bernie Sanders taps into the mountain dew stream. Like he had some mountain dew, I don't think that he was passing it out. And that is why when you see the pieces today were they're seeing, he can't stop the political revolution now, he's like, no he taps into one that was already happening.
LEMON: Can I ask you something? Hold on. Kevin, what if he had done a Ted Cruz though, especially after the e-mail thing?
LEMON: Look, all right, I could have been the nominee, but you guys had your thumb ...
RYE: So vote your conscience.
MADDEN: No. In that sense I believe, it's still unbalanced, if you look at the two conventions. It's a net positive for the Democrats that he actually did that. I mean, it took a long time for him to get there, but he still got there. I still think, this is going back to what I was saying earlier.
BEINART: I think that the ideological division inside the Democratic Party is deeper than it was in 2008. That's where I think the longer term problem is. The financial crisis has left a wing of the Democratic Party fundamentally not believing in the American Economic System.
LEMON: Right, yeah.
BEINART: ... in the way that was not the cast in 2008. We didn't have a revolutionary wing of the Democratic Party in 2008. So that's why this divide, even though it's being papered over now, this is going to haunt the Democratic Party for years.
LEMON: Let me -- I want to play this. There's a whole mashup of people hitting Donald Trump then define. Play this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. CORY BOOKER, (D) NEW JERSEY: We've watched him try to get laughs at other people's expense. Try to incite fear in a time we need to inspire courage, try to rise in the polls by dragging our national conversation into the gutter. America at our best, we stand up to bullies. And we fight those who seek to demean and degrade other Americans. In times of crisis, we don't abandon our values, we double down on them.
M. OBAMA: How we explain that when someone is cruel or acts like a bully, you don't stoop to their level. No, our motto is, when they go low, we go high.
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 doesn't worship like you.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LEMON: Bakari, we're here.
SELLERS: You're right there.
PRESTON: We're trying to get ...
SELLERS: I think, who's she talking to? LEMON: The only person, I think who mentioned, and it could be wrong,
it's Elizabeth Warren who said Donald Trump by name, right?
LEMON: She even says its name.
SELLERS: I think that, and I had this conversation with Trump -- with Kayleigh actually earlier tonight. And I said that you don't have to speak about Donald Trump by name to understand the divisive rhetoric that he uses. I mean, you can talk about him the way that Michelle Obama did, in a very professional way, the way the first lady of the United States would, because she didn't have to stoop to the level of talking about Donald Trump by name.
But I do want to go to one point about Bernie Sanders which I just have to mention. Bernie Sanders is bringing a new type of voter to the Democratic Party. Because what Hillary Clinton has done and is continuing to do is build out upon and solidify that Obama coalition and that path to the White House.
I think what's dangerous for the Republican Party is if Hillary Clinton is able to solidify and expound upon that Obama coalition and add that Bernie Sanders wing, which is a younger, whiter, fight for 15, occupy wall street voter to that coalition, I think that grows, and I think that is a dangerous coalition for the Republican Party.
LEMON: I want to play -- Can I play -- I want to play Bob Casey's, when he talks about Donald Trump's business record. Let's play that.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. BOB CASEY, (D) PENNSYLVANIA: Donald Trump says he stands for workers and that he'll put America first, but that's not how he conducted himself in business. Where are his "tremendous" Trump products made? Dress shirts, Bangladesh. Furniture, Turkey. Picture frames, India. Wine glasses, Slovenia. Neck ties, China. China. The man who wants to make America great doesn't make anything in America.
LEMON: OK. So Mark, CNN rated the first part of Casey's statement true, many of his products are made overseas.
[02:25:09] PRESTON: Right.
LEMON: But the second part they red a portion of it false. It says, Trump does of course have buildings and golf courses in the United States, but when you hear countries like Bangladesh, Turkey, India, China, does it contradict to make America great again?
PRESTON: Well, certainly, we're going to have democrats such as Bob Casey in states such as where we are right now Pennsylvania, in Ohio, perhaps in North Carolina that has gotten crushed by the textile industry that has moved away. Donald Trump talks about trade and how he's going to make America great again, and really saying I'm going to bring jobs back to America, but at the same time the Democrats are going to say he's going to do this, but at the same time he is doing that. So that's something you're going to hear over and over again especially if you live in mid west that is going to be major thing for Democrats
LEMON: Does that make a difference to supporters? It seems not too, when you talk about that?
BEINART: So far no. And probably for Hillary Clinton is getting crushed ethically among working class white voters, especially working class white men. And so, this is -- she's bringing on people like Bob Casey who have credibility in western Pennsylvania to try to narrow that gap. But this is the fundamental weakness of not only her campaign but the Democratic Party right now, which is how much they are hemorrhaging white working class voters.
PRESTON: Which is the whole Tim Kaine idea, can Tim Kaine in some way try to get a little bit of that vote back? They're note going to win all of it back, right? I mean, still going to stay in the Republican column, but can they get more of it back.
LEMON: Everyone stay with me, much more to come from the CNN grill here in Philadelphia at the Democratic Convention -- National Convention. We'll be right back.
[02:30:00] LEMON: We're back now live in Philadelphia. The first night of the Democratic Convention -- well, in the second morning because this is bordering on 3:00 a.m. Bernie Sanders telling his voters that he solidly is behind Hillary Clinton and urging them to unite behind the party.
I'm back with my political dream team. This is a great tweet from someone named David Greeze (ph) and he says, "Do respect Don Lemon and Bakari Sellers but Kevin Madden has the best hair tonight.
MADDEN: And I haven't had -- you guys had haircuts. This is how I wake up. This is how I wake up.
LEMON: But Kevin, I thought something like this. He woke up like this. All right, there you go.
Here's Bernie Sanders earlier tonight.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SANDERS: By these measures, any objective observer will conclude that based on her ideas and her leadership, Hillary Clinton must become the next president of the United States.
I have known Hillary Clinton for 25 years. I remember her as you do, as a great First Lady who broke precedent in terms of the role that a First Lady was supposed to play as she helped lead the fight for universal health care.
I served with her in the United States Senate and know her as a fierce advocate for the rights of children, for women and for the disabled.
Hillary Clinton will make an outstanding president and I am proud to stand with her tonight. Thank you all very much.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LEMON: Peter, did he do it? Did he -- there was no Ted Cruz moment in there. Did he do the thing that he was, that everyone thought he was going to do?
BEINART: Yeah, I think so. Again, as I said earlier on in the evening, you know, the polls actually show that 90 percent of Bernie Sanders supporters are already supporting Hillary Clinton. So I think he's going to be on board. I think that Bernie Sanders is thinking about a longer game, he's thinking about transforming the Democratic Party from the party of Bill Clinton of the 1990s, into a party which is a more left-wing party.
And I think there is good chance that if we look forward towards four years from now, that that is the way the Democratic Party is going for better or for worse and so I think he is going to achieve some of his goals.
LEMON: Somebody brought this up earlier, he said that he, Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren are really, they are laser-focussed on policy. He even said it was one of the first things he says, he goes, this election is not about me, this election is not about Donald Trump, this election is not about Hillary Clinton. This election is about and he listed off the policies for the American people.
SELLERS: But I also don't think you can take out Bernie Sanders' own self-interest in this. Because if Hillary Clinton does extremely well and then you hit a few successful senate races then Bernie Sanders, all of a sudden, the chairman of the Senate Budget Committee so he becomes a very, very powerful figure in the United States Senate. And he goes from a revolutionary figure to then a over (ph) revolutionary figure.
But I would also say that Bernie Sanders deserves a lot of credit because a lot of the platform shifts, a lot of the reasons that we're able to have this unity is because of the fact that his willingness to compromise. But I mean, having a discussion about free college tuition and how we get there, having a discussion about health care for all and how we get there, having these discussions has been very healthy.
And you can see the difference. I think people this week versus last week are going to see the difference because Democrats are talking about substance. Last week, I don't think you can name one substantive theme that came out of last week other than ...
RYE: Lock her up. That was it.
MADDEN: I was going to get there.
LEMON: Kevin, is that fair? MADDEN: No, it's not. People seeing conventions, what they want to see, I think, you know, you guys had your celebrities today and you'll have more this week. You got a lot of real people on the podium last week talking about directly about the anger that they have about the direction of the country, the anxiety that they have about the direction of the country.
So I think one of the things that Peter points out, too, is with that pull to the left, the middle opens up. And when the middle opens up, there's a huge opportunity for Donald Trump, potentially in this election, and we see in his six-point bounce since last week. So don't just discount the fact that Donald Trump made an impression with a lot of those voters last week potentially.
Now, we know that a lot of these polls, we can't really tell where the state of this race is going to be until after this convention but let there be no doubt that with that pull to the left, there's an opportunity in the middle for Donald Trump.
PRESTON: Let me just say about something just very quickly. Bernie Sanders left the campaign and it took him a long time to get on to the Clinton train, right? And during that time, Elizabeth Warren came out of nowhere and she scooped up the energy and the power that he had built for the revolution. Bernie Sanders got sidelined.
[02:35:07] Why tonight's speech was important for him is that he reenergized himself, reintroduced himself into this. And quite interestingly, we might actually see a power struggle now for a control or the leadership of the progressive wing of the party between Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders. It'd be interesting to see how they play off each other.
RYE: So, a couple of things. One is, there were celebrities at this convention tonight, but I think that we would be remiss if we didn't recognize the number of real people with real stories who also presented everyone from the little girl who gave Hillary Clinton a hug, asking her to please help her mother to not be deported.
The disability advocate that was on with Don earlier, they delivered a very compelling and amazing speech tonight. I think about some of my former bosses, Congressman Cummings, Congressman Fudge, those who were booed because some of Bernie Sanders' supporters don't realize that those folks are advocates for their same causes, against TPP.
Congressman Cummings in the streets of Baltimore ensuring that peace remained after what happened with Freddie Gray. So I just think it's crazy to say that we didn't have some very real ...
LEMON: He said they were real people?
RYE: No, he said last week.
MADDEN: No, I didn't say there weren't here. I said there were as well last week. RYE: Said you guys have your celebrities, we had our real people last week. That was like ...
MADDEN: Right, right.
BEINART: But I think what Kevin has said ...
RYE: ... balance that up.
BEINART: ... Hillary Clinton's biggest problem is that she's not a change candidate. And a majority of Americans do want change.
Now, it's quite possible she'll be able to convince most Americans that the kind of change Donald Trump represents is a change that's crazy and dangerous but especially when a party has already won two straight elections and when most Americans think they can be on the wrong path, that's the fundamental advantage that the Republican has. And it's significant.
SELLERS: But I also think polls between conventions are pretty much irrelevant.
SELLERS: Because if you go back to 2000 when you had George W. Bush who had eight-point bounce after his convention then he was up. Well, the thing you have ...
BEINART: Sure, sure.
SELLERS: ... have an eight-point bounce as well.
BEINART: Sure, Bakari, but this election was tied before the Republican.
MADDEN: What matters is the trend line.
BEINART: Before that, it was a neck and neck.
MADDEN: What matters is the trend line. And what you saw last week was an improvement over the week before.
RYE: You'll see an improvement after this one too. I think that's everybody is referring to ...
LEMON: And we're going to see an improvement after the break because -- everybody get a little powder, everybody, you know, water.
SELLERS: Some things don't get better like Kevin's head.
LEMON: Don't hate Kevin. We'll be right back.
[02:40:38] SELLERS: Don?
LEMON: Bakari, don't even try it. Back now live from Philadelphia, my political dream team, plus Bakari Sellers.
LEMON: I've been doing this live T.V. game for a long time. So, we heard from First Lady, Michelle Obama tonight, she did steal the show, don't you think?
SELLERS: No doubt.
SELLERS: I was just sitting over here humbling myself. No, I think that Michelle Obama -- I mean she was fascinating. I am going to -- I know my little girl didn't get a chance to watch it tonight. But when I get home after this 14-day road trip of both conventions, I think Friday or Saturday, that this is something that you sit back down and you say hey, look, doesn't she look beautiful? Doesn't she look elegant? Did you hear what she said? Did you hear that?
She talked about Sasha and Malia. I mean, this is a story that, you know, you want to share with another generation. This is something that -- I think that Michelle Obama will go down as one of the most elegant, one of the most classy, one of the most intelligent, beautiful first ladies this country's ever seen.
SELLERS: And I -- it doesn't -- and this kind of goes against somethings that I say, but it doesn't matter what she looks like per se, in terms of being a black woman. I think that has a lot to do with it. But I think black, white or otherwise, I think that she is on a pedestal by herself.
I think she belongs on a pedestal by herself, and her strength and what she was able to do, her magnanimity, I think that's how you pronounce it, was amazing. And I think tonight she told a story that the world can be proud of. And I know Sasha and Malia but don't giving her a high five.
LEMON: But, you know, what you -- we forget sometimes, and I think -- well not we but I think people online, especially the trolls and the critics and pundits, will never forget that people are human, they're parents and she talked about her daughters.
SELLERS: Well a troll is ...
LEMON: And some of the criticisms -- huh?
SELLERS: The trolls -- I mean, people literally, and I mention some called her a beast, they called her an orangutan. I mean, that is ...
LEMON: Well since 2006. Yeah, yeah.
SELLERS: That is -- But she, she rises above that, each and every time and no matter -- I mean, for me the comparison is like LeBron James. Whatever the expectation is, not only do you reach it but you exceed it consistently.
LEMON: Yeah. Here she is discussing criticism and her daughters, how her daughters feel about it. Listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MICHELLE OBAMA: At that moment, I realized that our time in the White House would form the foundation for who they would become. And how well we managed this experience could truly make or break them.
That is what Barack and I think about everyday as we try to guide and protect our girls through the challenges of this unusual life in the spotlight. How we urge them to ignore those who question their father's citizenship or faith. How we insist that the hateful language they hear from public figures on T.V. does not represent the true spirit of this country.
How we explain that when someone is cruel or acts like a bully, you don't stoop to their level. No, our motto is, when they go low, we go high.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LEMON: So, if I'm having a bad day, I want to call Michelle Obama, tell her to come over. I mean, I remember them before the White House, she would always say, "Don, are you staying out of trouble?" And I would say, "No, Mrs. Obama," and say, "I'm always in trouble."
She -- I mean she is -- she is -- I mean, let's be honest, she is class personified. She actually is a classy ...
PRESTON: Let's put aside the politics for one second.
LEMON: Yes, absolutely, right.
PRESTON: If we can, right.
PRESTON: Can we just put it all aside? She just seems like a good mom.
LEMON: You know, exactly.
PRESTON: A good mom. Let's just get down to brass tacks on that. And that's pretty awesome.
LEMON: Yeah, and it really is.
BEINART: The amazing thing is, if you think about how she was perceived in 2008, right? There was all this talk about this line about this is the she was first time she is proud of the United States. Also she was a black radical, she was a black villain. It is --I mean it is a sign of how remarkable a person she is, that given that that was a -- let's face it, a lot of people wanted to believe that about her.
LEMON: Is she the most popular Democrat right now you think?
BEINART: I -- Look, if she decided she wanted to go into elective office -- I mean, watch out.
LEMON: What about running for president?
MADDEN: I think that's right. No, I think she definitely could have a political future, but I also think first ladies are viewed through an apolitical lens.
MADDEN: Mark says ...
MADDEN: ... just put the politics side. I think many Americans do when they watch that. That's why this is a particularly effective and powerful speech tonight, because the ability for people to sort of put that aside and relate to her.
[02:45:06] Now, here's the problem -- now let me bring the politics back in real quick.
LEMON: She did talk politics.
MADDEN: Well, she did, but also the politics of expectations just got very, very difficult for Hillary Clinton on Thursday. Thank goodness for the Democrats if you're inside the Clinton campaign today. This was on a Monday, not Wednesday or Thursday, because it would be very hard to top. Because Hillary Clinton is not relatable, and this fly is ...
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Is bad.
RYE: It's something.
LEMON: It's Bakari.
MADDEN: But Hillary Clinton has a lot of problems with relatability. She has a lot of problems with delivering a contrast message and still being likeable at the same time where she delivers a message.
PRESTON: But Kevin, very quickly, running into Bill Clinton tomorrow night is going to deliver a speech that will probably knock the doors off because he's an unbelievable speech giver. And then Barack Obama is going to give a speech on Wednesday, so you're right, like forget about Joe Biden.
PRESTON: And Joe Biden -- I mean, like, talking about relatable and she -- there is high expectations.
MADDEN: Now that's on you by the way. But the other thing is Hillary Clinton gave a speech today, this afternoon, and it was delivered as if she was reading the most rote talking points. And there wasn't a whole lot of ...
MADDEN: Now, that's what I said. I said maybe that's ...
LEMON: Kevin, I noticed that too, it was really, it was -- you know ...
MADDEN: It was very flat.
LEMON: ... very obvious, yeah.
MADDEN: It was very flat. And I said maybe they're building up to something.
BEINART: She's a flat speaker most of the time, when she give ...
RYE: She's not a good candidate. She's a better elected or public servant. Now, the only thing that I want to tap into is, you talk about how first ladies are perceived as apolitical. I don't think that Michelle Obama has ever had that benefit.
I think when they were -- we're talking about food choice and making sure their kids are eating properly, the things that have been spewed back at her as a result of that. When you talk about the first time in my adult life I'm proud of my country, the kind of hate that was spewed back at that, when we're just talking about difference in perspectives.
The black experience one is not monolithic but it's also very different from one that is, you know, built on something completely different. I'm not going to go there because they might -- Peter Beinart mentions. But my point is, she's never had that benefit. And I think that it's unfortunate that she hasn't, unless we're talking about Michelle Obama ...
MADDEN: I think a certain support cuts across people's ideology and people's political ...
LEMON: That's a good thing. MADDEN: ... classifications because ...
MADDEN: ... they see first ladies, and this is something that happened on many first ladies. They see first ladies as apolitical.
BEINART: This is a good example, I think also of African-Americans held to a higher standard. Can you imagine if it was in the black family that you had three wives and five children of a different ...
RYE: I tweeted that (inaudible), Peter. Yes.
BEINART: Right -- I mean, if Donald Trump can get away -- well imagine if Hillary Clinton went on stage with five kids from, you know, that weren't hers, right? The step children of hers, right.
Donald Trump can get away with a lot of stuff that Michelle Obama could not get away with. She's held to a higher standard and she meets it.
RYE: I don't have to say ...
SELLER: Can we pass around the offering on that? Now we're going to commercial break.
RYE: Don is thinking the same thing.
LEMON: I get to do that. It's like ...
RYE: The lane is occupied.
LEMON: It doesn't work unless I do it.
SELLERS: It -- OK, I got you.
LEMON: Ready? Watch, let me show you.
[02:51:52] LEMON: Back now and live to the CNN Grill in Philadelphia, opening night of the convention. So, Donald Trump has a new nickname for Hillary Clinton. Let's listen to it.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENTIAL NOMINEE: Why did Hillary get rid of her middle name? Hillary? No but why did she get rid of it? Hillary rotten Clinton, rotten Clinton. Hillary rotten Clinton, right? Maybe that's why. It's too close. No, no, it's too close. It's too close. You think Mike Pence would say this? I don't think so.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LEMON: So, I was getting dressed watching this today and I kind of getting mad and I kind of cringed when I heard it because I'm -- quite honestly, reminded me when we were on the playground with kids and they'd be like, Don Lemon schmemon head. And you'd be like, OK.
BEINART: I'm going to vote for that guy.
SELLERS: That was pretty crazy.
LEMON: No but I think it's just ...
LEMON: ... this come up with something and, you know, I don't know, like my producer Maria would say, oh Maria diarrhea. I mean, you come up with names like that as a kid. Is that really our conservatives at home going to ...
MADDEN: That -- look, that kind of talk is -- the coarsening of American politics is not unique to one party or the other. We've seen it across both parties, all right? We've seen it with even folks that are green party, Libertarian, you name it, that there is a coarsening of the political dialogue.
But the interesting thing about this is that it is really a work to Donald Trump's advantage when he tries to draw that one frame around Hillary Clinton that many voters who have yet -- not yet made up their mind find troubling about Hillary Clinton, which is that she's not honest and not trustworthy.
We saw CNN had a poll come out today. The numbers of her dishonesty or trust -- lack of trustworthiness ...
SELLERS: That's not the point.
MADDEN: ... is still very high.
SELLERS: I mean, I get the political discourse is coarsening, to use your words and I also understand that Hillary Clinton has some very high ...
SELLERS: ... unfavorability ratings, especially when it comes to, you know, honesty and trustworthiness, but that does not take away from the fact that Donald Trump has taken the level of political discourse to a very elementary level. I mean, to a level that is below the political process. I mean, I think that what we saw tonight, the reason it's cringe worthy is because ...
MADDEN: We saw it -- we saw that -- we saw Democrats do it with Mitt Romney in 2012. We saw Democrats do it with ...
RYE: What did they do?
MADDEN: I mean, the Romnesia, things like. There were people ...
RYE: Well, I definitely ... MADDEN: There was a lot of stuff going around -- there's a lot of stuff going around about Governor Romney's amnesia.
MADDEN: ...the park owned by the actual candidate, but there was a lot of that. It has happened in 2012. It happened in 2008. It happened in 2004.
RYE: It's different when you're ...
MADDEN: I'm not defending it, by any means, but don't act like it's one party or the other.
RYE: I think the difference is when it's someone acting like that when they're trying to become the commander-in-chief.
MADDEN: But don't act like it's just one party.
RYE: No. It is an issue when it is the person who's running to be the commander-in-chief.
LEMON: The reason I asked that question is because he was supposed to, according to the -- everyone around him (inaudible) to stop. That's why I said it.
MADDEN: Yeah. And well, we've seen the Donald Trump 2.0 is supposed to emerge any day now.
[02:55:00] LEMON: Yeah.
MADDEN: It's not happening people. This is it. This is the Donald Trump ...
PRESTON: Romnesia, amnesia -- I mean, it was what it was. You know what made me cringe is we know that he's going to make fun of Hillary Clinton. He's going to make fun of all of us -- I mean, that's just what he does.
What made me cringe was for Mike Pence, who is -- he's basically making fun of Mike Pence saying, oh, you know, he's too ...
MADDEN: The stiff.
PRESTON: He is the stiff, right?
PRESTON: Like he couldn't do this, so I'm going to do it.
LEMON: OK. So here is -- I have a -- this was my prediction that got some people going. I said, so what happens if -- and I -- this is my prediction. He wins a popular vote and she wins the electoral vote.
PRESTON: That won't happen.
RYLE: Yeah, no.
LEMON: And coming to you -- up next -- you don't think it going to happen? Come on now. Anything is possible.
RYLE: (Inaudible) election cycle (ph) are wrong. Anything can happen.
BEINART: Just the fact that this man has a real chance of being president of the United States at all -- I mean, if we compare -- you know, if I had said that a year -- any of us had said that a year, people would not have known whether to laugh or cry. I still don't know whether to laugh or cry. It's a terrifying prospect.
SELLERS: I do miss Mitt Romney. I think the level of ...
LEMON: Kevin, did you hear that?
MADDEN: I do.
SELLERS: Mitt Romney checked this thing.
LEMON: Kevin, what do they call you, the 10th Mitt Romney's son?
MADDEN: No, I think it was the sixth, but I checked the trust fund and I'm not in there.
LEMON: That is it for us. Thank you, everyone. That was -- you guys were great. That's it for us. I'm going to see you right back here in the CNN Grill tomorrow at 1:00 a.m. That's right
RYLE: 1:00 a.m.
LEMON: Yup. "EARLY START" with John Berman and Christine Romans right in Philadelphia is going to start in just a moment.