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CNN TONIGHT

Clinton Accepts Nomination at DNC; Reality Check: Clinton on Economy. Aired 2-3a ET

Aired July 29, 2016 - 02:00   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[02:00:44] DON LEMON, CNN ANCHOR: The party is over in Philadelphia -- not really. The party is not over until my dream team leaves. But the race is just beginning.

From Philadelphia, this is "CNN Tonight," a special "CNN Tonight." I'm Don Lemon. We're live at the CNN Grill on the last night on the Democratic convention.

Hillary Clinton is making history as she accepts her party's nomination. The candidate rallying the cheering crowd with a speech laying out her vision of America that is "Stronger Together" and taking a few shots at Donald Trump along the way. Now with Election Day a little over three months away, the race is officially -- you could say it is on.

Here to discuss now, Mr. David Chalian, better known as Dan Chalian --

(LAUGHTER)

-- Peter Beinart, Angela Rye, Bakari Sellers, and Kevin Madden joins us.

Somebody, they -- and who, Angela?

ANGELA RYE, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: No, I was pointing to Kevin. Out of order.

LEMON: Earlier, they called you Dan Chalian. And he works here. How did that make you feel?

DAVID CHALIAN, CNN POLITICAL DIRECTOR: It was OK.

LEMON: Did you feel bullied?

CHALIAN: I did not.

LEMON: Did you feel by CNN, whoever wrote that?

CHALIAN: I did not feel bullied.

LEMON: Hillary Clinton talking about being bullied. Let's talk about that.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

HILLARY CLINTON, (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE & FORMER SECRETARY OF STATE: I know it from my own life. More than a few times, I've had to pick myself up and get back in the game.

(CHEERING)

CLINTON: Like so many times in my life -- I got this from my mother, too. She never let me back down from any challenge. When I tried to hide from a neighborhood bully, she literally blocked the door. "Go back out there," she said, and she was right. You have to stand up to bullies. You have to keep working to make things better, even when odds are long and the opposition is fierce. We lost our mother a few years ago, but I miss her every day. And I still hear her voice urging me to keep working, keep fighting for right no matter what. That's what we need to do together as a nation.

(CHEERING)

(END VIDEO CLIP)

LEMON: Angela, she talked about bullies there, she talked about her mother. She was referring to Donald Trump there. That has been a theme that, you know with mothers. Did this resonate? Was this specifically for women or Americans in had general?

RYE: I think it was for Americans in general. She's not only talking about the practice of bullying, which so many Americans are overwhelmingly dealing with in their lives, but there's a sharp contrast being drawn here between herself as commander-in-chief, as a potential commander-in-chief versus another, who not only bullies her, calling her Crooked Hillary, he bullied 17 Republican candidates. So I think she was trying to draw a sharp contrast here.

(CROSSTALK)

LEMON: Is it fair to call the nominee of your party a bully?

KEVIN MADDEN, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Yeah, look, it's always fair. I think the problem here is that this had is a vulnerable area for Hillary Clinton. I think she's trying to play the sympathy card. Have some people align with her on that. But the Trump people are going to attack her on this. They're going to say Hillary Clinton bullied people who had previously pointed out that Bill Clinton had had a sexually harassed women and that she had intimidated them. So she opens herself up on something like this to a whole new host of attacks that remind people what they haven't liked about Hillary Clinton in the past.

RYE: But there's a difference. I think the difference is the jury is still out on there.

(CROSSTALK)

MADDEN: For many people, the jury is not. RYE: But there's not concrete proof that she bullied them. But what

we do have is someone who actively -- he's like an e-bully. He's a bully on the debate stage, on the rally stage. He's a bully all around and we regularly see it.

MADDEN: You won't find me defending Donald Trump on this. What you will find me is pointing out there's a vulnerability for Hillary Clinton.

(CROSSTALK)

LEMON: She's opening herself up to criticism?

MADDEN: Absolutely.

RYE: Yeah.

PETER BEINART, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: For me, the message was a little different. Donald Trump boasts a lot, but I know what real toughness is. She is the political equivalent of Jackie Robinson. To go out there ask be the first, first lady, who wasn't a traditional homemaker, and then to be a presidential candidate twice in a role that women have never played. She has taken unbelievable abuse because she has been a cultural lightning rod. Barack Obama, in his way, too, but almost nobody else. For me, the subtext was you think you're tough because with you send out nasty tweets? I know what toughness is.

(CROSSTALK)

[02:05:] MADDEN: I noticed that she mentioned reporter questions. She hasn't done a press conference in --

(CROSSTALK)

BEINART: And she should. That's a legitimately criticize.

BAKARI SELLERS, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: I didn't know where you were going with the Jackie Robinson thing.

(LAUGHTER)

SELLERS: I think she was going to the temperament question more so than anything. She followed that up and I think it was followed up in that speech about the fact that you can get him excited over a simple tweet. I mean, that is what we're talking about. We're talking about a thin-skinned bully and I think it ties into do you want him to have the nuclear codes. It wasn't, oh, my god, I'm a woman. Stop bullying me, by any perspective, but it built into the question of temperament.

LEMON: You talk about the Jackie Roosevelt not tradition, but Eleanor Roosevelt was not a traditional first lady, too.

CHALIAN: She was not a traditional first lady at the time. Sure, no doubt about that. But Hillary Clinton, I think, is sort of a path breaker as first lady. But I think that this whole conversation that we're having about bully or not, to me, they continue to show -- the Clinton campaign in the strategy continues to show that they really want to make this election about Donald Trump. They want to make it a referendum on Donald Trump. But she's been on the stage for 25 years and she's the pseudo incumbent. We forget because all of our media coverage is about Donald Trump all the time. But there is a referendum on Hillary Clinton. They see that, too, which is why they're trying to push the electorate to make it a referendum on him, which is what I think this whole bully piece is about.

(CROSSTALK)

SELLERS: I think they're trying to make it a choice, though. It's not about him. I mean --

(CROSSTALK)

CHALIAN: But they're trying to make him an unacceptable choice.

RYE: That's right. That's right.

SELLERS: But it's not saying, oh, my god, deflect. Because, I mean, the president laid out last night his record in a very positive fashion, his economic record, his foreign policy record. But what they're trying to say is look, we have two people here, yes, given both of them are unpopular, but only one of them is a threat and that is Donald Trump. And so I'm not sure they're trying to push back on her record, but what they are trying to say is that this is a choice, a very, very serious choice. You either from somebody somewhat is unstable, or you have Hillary Clinton.

LEMON: There's something else she addressed tonight that has dominated the news. Let's listen.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

CLINTON: It starts with listening, listening to each other, trying as best we can to walk in each other's shoes. So let's put ourselves in the shoes of young black and Latino young men and women who face the effects of systemic racism --

(CHEERING)

CLINTON: -- and are made to feel like their lives are disposable.

(CHEERING)

CLINTON: Let's put ourselves in the shoes of police officers kissing their kids and wives good-bye every day, heading off to do a dangerous and necessary job. We will reform our criminal justice system from end to end and rebuild trust between law enforcement and the communities they serve.

(CHEERING)

(END VIDEO CLIP) LEMON: So, Kevin, two things here, talking about racism and police officers, kissing their families good-bye, not knowing if they're going to come home. The DNC has been criticized for not being more supportive of law enforcement. They've corrected it.

(CROSSTALK)

MADDEN: And it's an effort to strike a balance. And I think the criticism you've seen previously is they're not striking enough of a balance on the law enforcement side. So this felt like an effort to address that.

RYE: But it wasn't just then. I think that the frustrations I had was there were assumptions made earlier in the week about what they were and weren't going to do. You didn't just have law enforcement. You had the only Hispanic woman sheriff in the country address this crowd tonight. I don't think they ever intended not to address the law enforcement component. Former Chief Ramsey from Philadelphia also addressed the crowd.

MADDEN: And this message is so important to that coalition of -- that Obama had in 2008 and 2012, energizing that coalition because they haven't always been as favorably inclined to supporting Hillary Clinton the way they have President Obama.

[02:09:58] BEINART: I think they walked a very, very difficult line. Because the Democratic party, over the last year, has shifted significantly on criminal justice. We go back a year to when Black Lives Matters stormed the stage, think how far we've gone from there to now, that was a tremendous shift. And then, in pure crass political terms, over the last couple of weeks with the shootings of the police officers, we saw the potential for a very serious political backlash against them. And I think they walked the line tonight very, very effectively, but with the parallelism between the mothers of people who were killed by the police and the first -- on Tuesday night, and then tonight the family members --

(CROSSTALK)

RYE: Gun violence, period.

(CROSSTALK)

SELLERS: I don't think it was that difficult because what the Democratic Party did was they invited everybody. I mean, you literally had Kareem Adbul-Jabbar get on stage and introduce Captain Khan's family. I mean, we as Democrats put every aspect of humanity on stage and on audition for the country to see and see we're not --

(CROSSTALK)

LEMON: That's my question, just with because you're doing it in a different way, maybe it's not in a more vociferous way, you're not being angry and yelling, does that mean your not --

(CROSSTALK) SELLERS: Let me give you a clear contrast. Last week, Peter Thiel got rave reviews for saying I'm a gay Republican, bathroom, who cares. The Democratic Party put a transgender woman on stage to tell her story, her parents, her love, her loss. Last week, Donald Trump said Brown people scare you. This week, we showed you that Brown people fight for you, sacrifice for you. So the contrast from last week to this week were so very, very deep, the thing that the Democratic party had to do to tie this all in was go out and talk to the white male that's in Virginia, that's in Pennsylvania, that's in Ohio, in Michigan, and I think Tim Kaine, Joe Biden and others were able to do that. Hillary Clinton did what she had to do.

LEMON: Did they do that, David?

CHALIAN: Tim Kaine and Joe Biden, I think they will continue to do that. I think they began that process at the convention this week. But I think that will be the thrust of their campaigning from here through November.

LEMON: I want to play this. This is Hillary Clinton reaching out to Bernie Sanders supporters tonight, as well.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

CLINTON: And I believe Wall Street can never, ever be allowed to wreck Main Street again.

(CHEERING)

CLINTON: And I believe in science.

(CHEERING)

CLINTON: I believe climate change is real. And that we can save our planet while creating millions of good-paying clean energy jobs.

(CHEERING)

CLINTON: I believe that when we have millions of hard-working immigrants contributing to our economy, it would be self-defeating and inhuman to try to kick them out.

(CHEERING)

CLINTON: Comprehensive immigration reform will grow our economy and keep families together, and it's the right thing to do.

(CHEERING)

CLINTON: So whatever party you belong to or if you belong to no party at all, if you share these beliefs, this is your campaign. This is your campaign.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

LEMON: This is your campaign. Peter, did they buy it? Because there were a lot of Sanders supporters trying to shout down Hillary Clinton tonight.

BEINART: Right. I think she did a pretty effective job.

(CROSSTALK)

BEINART: What you think was smart was she was talking about the platform. Bernie Sanders is very focused on issues. And they did give the Sanders people a real role in the platform. And she said I'm going to make that platform a reality. I think that's the kind of pledge that actually matters to Bernie Sanders. This is going to be a struggle inside Democratic Party for many, many years to come. There's a liberal wing and a rat radical wing in a way we have not seen in the party, really, in some way since the early 1970s and there's going to be a lot of conflict in the years to come.

LEMON: That may be true, and I think that, you know, the -- I guess the more moderate wing, they welcome that radical wing of Bernie Sanders supporters. But the same thing that conservatives said about Ted Cruz last week, is have some dignity, you're coming to someplace else's house, show some respect, I was thinking the same thing about Bernie Sanders supporters tonight. If you didn't feel like this is your party, why come to the party? If you come to the party, if you come into my house, don't be rude.

(CROSSTALK)

LEMON: It doesn't matter. That's not the case.

CHALIAN: That's not the case?

LEMON: No. The nominee is Hillary Clinton.

RYE: But they were --

(CROSSTALK)

[02:15:12] LEMON: And you are going to Hillary Clinton's party tonight. So get on board with Hillary Clinton had or be quiet.

(CROSSTALK)

LEMON: If I invite you to my house -- if invite you to my house, sit on the couch and have some drinks but don't come in my house telling me the drapery is ugly.

RYE: But, Don, a lot of them did do that. There were only about 20 people --

(CROSSTALK)

LEMON: That's who I'm speaking to.

RYE: To the 20 people in California?

LEMON: Show some class.

RYE: Listen, we don't even have time to talk to they will. They're going to go home. Whatever. They're fine.

LEMON: I just thought there were people saying some very important thing or a message that was really important and they were shouting them down the overall --

(CROSSTALK)

RYE: The 20 people, their message was so confused, they were on the WikiLeaks sign and shouting down "no more war."

(CROSSTALK)

RYE: I'm agreeing with you, Don. My point is they needed to get a little more coordinated, too. If you're so decentralized your message ain't together, your protest ain't right.

BEINART: You saw the Democratic Party last night and tonight go out with this strong national security message, right? We can protect you. But what was underlying it, I think you see this in more years to come is that we're so focused on the fact that Donald Trump is not the traditional national security Republican, but most Democrats are significantly more dovish than Hillary Clinton had. And that was the voice you were hearing from the floor. That is going to play itself out in the years to come.

LEMON: We'll be right back. Less is more. Remember that.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(SPORTS REPORT)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[02:20:31] LEMON: We are back now with my political dream team. David Chalian is here, also Peter Beinart, Kevin Madden, Angela Rye and Bakari Sellers.

And we have been discussing what has been happening with the Clinton campaign. Hillary Clinton officially accepting this evening. So there you go.

Let's talk about Donald Trump. And Hillary Clinton jabbing Donald Trump a lot this evening. She talked about a bunch of different things. Right?

Did you have your favorite moment?

RYE: I gave you my favorite --

(CROSSTALK)

LEMON: Favorite jab? RYE: I gave you mine.

LEMON: Yeah?

RYE: Oh, hello.

(LAUGHTER)

TRIUMPH, THE INSULT COMIC DOG: So many great moments.

LEMON: What are you doing here?

TRIUMPH: Well, the bar is closed so I figure what else am I going to do here? There's no more drinks, might as well be on the TV show no one is watching.

(LAUGHTER)

LEMON: That is not true.

That is not true.

TRIUMPH: I want to give you shout out -- wait. OK. I want to give a shout out to all your CNN viewers out there. Passengers on flight 127 to LAX, your plane will be boarding in five minutes.

LEMON: Triumph, you're not part of the political dream team. Did you watch the speech tonight?

TRIUMPH: Watched the speech. Speaking of dreaming, I fell asleep only a couple of times.

(LAUGHTER)

You know who is really the dream candidate.

LEMON: Who?

TRIUMPH: Hillary's dream -- they're calling Tim Kaine Hillary's dream vice president because if he talks for 30 seconds, you enter a REM state.

(LAUGHTER)

LEMON: Why do you keep dropping your cigar on me?

TRIUMPH: Stop going on here! Pay attention! Pay attention! Nobody, nobody pays attention to Don Lemon.

(LAUGHTER)

Don Lemon is an overnight legend.

(LAUGHTER)

LEMON: Oh, my god. TRIUMPH: Lemon! Lemon! Lemon!

(LAUGHTER)

LEMON: Triumph, calm down. Where is your cigar?

TRIUMPH: Finally, you're getting the respect you deserve.

LEMON: Do you have rabies or something? What is going on with you?

(LAUGHTER)

TRIUMPH: Don Lemon, do they even pay you fairly or do they spend all your money shrinking Anderson Cooper's black T-shirts?

(LAUGHTER)

TRIUMPH: Don Lemon!

LEMON: I think that's very easily done. We do them in the dryer. Wolf Blitzer does them in the dryer in "The Situation Room."

TRIUMPH: All right, Don.

LEMON: Then we wash them and then dry them is in "The Situation Room" and have them sent to --

TRIUMPH: All right. OK. I feel better now.

Let's talk about politics.

LEMON: Triumph, can you leave or are we going to have security kick you out?

I love you.

TRIUMPH: Security it seems to me.

RYE: You've got to go, son.

LEMON: You have to go. You're barking up the wrong tree, brother.

(CROSSTALK)

TRIUMPH: What's the matter, you're intimidated when people chant for Don Lemon?

(CROSSTALK)

LEMON: You're burning my brand new suit, Triumph. I'm tired of putting this cigar back in your mouth.

TRIUMPH: I'm just trying to give Don Lemon the respect he deserves.

Let's talk politics. I'm happy. I can talk politics.

LEMON: All right.

(CROSSTALK)

LEMON: Thank you. You're going to burn me. Smoking is bad for you.

Thank you, triumph. Love you, brother.

TRIUMPH: Really, you're throwing me out?

LEMON: We have to move on. We have things to talk about.

TRIUMPH: OK. Good night!

LEMON: Good night.

(LAUGHTER)

We'll be right back.

(LAUGHTER)

RYE: That went rogue.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[02:27:20] LEMON: We're back now live at the CNN Grill in Philadelphia. My political dream team here. We're talking about Hillary Clinton accepting the Democratic nomination, addressing the delegates and the TV audience for close to an hour on the floor.

Let's get to my favorite person of the night to talk about the facts, the reality checks here, and that's Mr. Tom Foreman.

Hey, Tom. How are you?

TOM FOREMAN, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Hey, Don. What did Triumph call you, a cure for insomnia? Is that what he said?

LEMON: He said I'm an overnight legend.

FOREMAN: An over night legend.

LEMON: Yes. And we need the facts on Anderson's T-shirt.

FOREMAN: We'll check that later.

LEMON: Yeah.

FOREMAN: Hillary Clinton tonight weighed in on a lot of her promises, which is the idea that she was going to continue the economy that Barack Obama got rolling here. Listen to what she said.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

CLINTON: Our economy is so much stronger than when they took office. Nearly 15 million new private-sector jobs, 20 million more Americans with health insurance, and an auto industry that just had its best year ever.

(CHEERING)

(END VIDEO CLIP)

FOREMAN: Yeah. These are big claims out there. Undeniably, the economy is better off than it was. Housing prices have stabilized a good bit. There's been growth going on here.

But let's look at the specifics she raised there. She said 15 million new private-sector jobs. If you measure from the low point of this economic downturn from February 2010, yeah, from then, you get 14.8 million jobs added since that point. However, if you count all the jobs also lost under President Obama, then that cuts down, and you get a net gain of 9.8 million, not 15 million. That should have been included. So we're going to say that first claim is true, but misleading, because that information was left out.

Health care reform, talking about the Affordable Care Act here, the ACA, 20 million more Americans with health insurance under Obamacare. This is through people who were added through health insurance exchanges, young people who were able to stay on their parents' health insurance until they were 26 and, yes, Health and Human Services says 20 million extra people there. The verdict on that part of the statement is true.

And automobiles, big claim out there about automobile sales, best year ever for the auto industry, 2015. Almost 18 million cars were sold. Yeah, that's a record. That's as good as it gets. And that is a record. So she gets a verdict of true on that. If I can make my button work this time. In any event, that was true.

And if you want to find out a lot more, Don, about all of our fact checks, our reality check team has been very busy throughout this. And we're going to be busy throughout this campaign season. You can always go to CNN.com/realitycheck and read a whole lot more detail about what people say is true ask not true somewhere in the middle -- Don?

[02:30:12] LEMON: So I think your Brexit wall had too many beers there, Tom Foreman.

(OFF-MIC)

LEMON: You can't hear me?

FOREMAN: No, not very much. I don't want to hear you.

LEMON: All right, thank you so much. I appreciate it.

FOREMAN: Thank you, Don.

LEMON: My political dream team is back. There's -- everybody is get down on the act here. Let's -- Don Lemon little jab. Speaking of jabs, Hillary Clinton tonight landing this jab, David, then we'll discuss. HILLARY CLINTON, U.S. PRESIDENTIAL NOMINEE: So, don't let anyone tell you that our country is weak. We're not. Don't let anyone tell you we don't have what it takes. We do. And most of all, don't believe anyone who says, "I alone can fix it." Yes?

Those were actually Donald Trump's words in Cleveland. And they should set off alarm bells for all of us. Really? I alone can fix it? Isn't he forgetting? Troops on the front lines. Police officers and firefighters who run toward danger. Doctors and nurses who care for us. Teachers who change live. Entrepreneurs who see possibilities in every problem. Mothers who lost children to violence and are building a movement to keep other kids safe.

He's forgetting every last one of us. Americans don't say, "I alone can fix it." We say, "We'll fix it together."

And remember -- remember, our founders fought a revolution and wrote a constitution so America would never be a nation where one person had all the power. Two-hundred and forty years later, we still put our faith in each other.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

LEMON: So David that was the theme she started tonight with, Americans have never wanted one person to just have the power. Was that effective?

DAVID CHALIAN, CNN POLITICAL DIRECTOR: I think that it could be and you're going to hear this time and again. She grabbed onto this last week. She went big with it when she rolled out Tim Kaine as well. She -- Hillary Clinton now believes that part of the fear of Donald Trump that she can portray to the country is this sort of idea of him being a dictator, kind of -- a kind of person. And it allows her to do what she's doing there which is highlight all the attributes -- positive attributes about democracy and the best vision of America that we all sort of learn in school and grow up reading about. And I think she, you know, she likes that contrast a lot.

I don't think it takes one supporter away from him, but again, in the very narrow middle as she continues to make that argument, she might have some impact with that ...

LEMON: She also reference her husband's speech. Let's listen.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

CLINTON: And Bill, that conversation we started in the law library 45 years ago, it is still going strong.

You know, that conversation has lasted through good times that filled us with joy and hard times that tested us. And I've even gotten a few words in along the way.

On Tuesday night, I was so happy to see that my explainer-in-chief is still on the job.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

LEMON: Peter, referencing her husband directly in the audience, what did you think? What was your reaction at that moment?

PETER BEINART, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: I think both him, Bill Clinton and Chelsea, did her a great service. I mean, they -- obviously, one of the efforts here was to humanize her, was to make -- was to get beyond the kind of caricature that people had to have of her. And I think both Chelsea and Bill did that extremely effectively.

[02:35:01] And because they humanize her, I think then she would able to do what she does best which is to talk about policy specifics. And say, you know what? I may not be the most inspiring presidential candidate you ever heard but unlike Donald Trump, I actually know what I'm talking about. I have specific plans to do things and those things could actually really help you.

LEMON: Another part of her speech, let's listen. Oh, OK, I guess we don't have.

ANGELA RYE, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: It's like.

LEMON: But again -- go ahead.

KEVIN MADDEN, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: One other point on that too, I think also was an effort (ph) that happens to a lot of people's nostalgia or the prosperity of the night of Bill Clinton's presidency.

BEINART: Right.

MADDEN: And sort of attach herself to that as well.

LEMON: I think ...

RYE: I think ...

LEMON: Go ahead.

RYE: I think ...

LEMON: As you all going to be now be courteous. Go ahead. Sorry

RYE: How is courteous ...

LEMON: 30/30.

RYE: I think that we should remember tonight theme was stronger together with the central theme of her speech. And I think you saw that throughout. There were several people who could speak to different aspects of Hillary. They could speak to the better nature of our country.

And I think what you saw overall tonight was a finale. A nice ribbon placed on a package that the Democrats were offering a platform, a candidate -- I mean, a perspective that is a better America whether were there right now? May be not but it certainly looks like were on the pathway when you look at this convention.

BAKARI SELLERS, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: I think all the family members in the last two conventions did extremely well. I think Bill Clinton, I think Chelsea Clinton did well. I think Donald and Eric and Ivanka did very well.

(OFF-MIC)

SELLERS: I am -- have typically did very well. I am conscious that we have Melania but that is ...

RYE: Oh Melania, what about Michelle?

SELLERS: Michelle ...

(OFF-MIC)

SELLERS: No, I know I'm trying to went of my head. Thank you, and ...

RYE: Melania and Michelle.

SELLERS: Right. But I think the difference is -- if you take away that, the difference is the politics of the two conventions were vastly different. One was from the book of revelations. The other one is simply telling you that America can -- is great but can be better.

And I think that tonight what you saw -- I mean, to piggy back on what Angela was saying, was just a nice foe on that. Hillary didn't have to go and hit a home run. By any stretch, she didn't. She just simply had to get on base and that is what she did tonight.

RYE: As the first thing, I reject the notion that that was revelation. That was not Bible essay.

BEINART: Maybe then it kind of -- could have been the book of Isaiah. But I think that -- I think ...

SELLERS: He's like a (inaudible).

(CROSSTALK)

BEINART: No, no, no, we may choose now our -- I think that -- I think what -- it reminded me of tonight, was that that video that she came out with at the beginning of the convention. Remember, when she launched her campaign, the video was all normal people. She only came on at the very end.

The message was, I'm trying to be the hero here. I'm not trying to be the saint dominate the stage. You're going to be the heroes. I'm going to be in the backstage. I'm going to be doing stuff that's going to help you.

LEMON: Yup. BEINART: And I think this convention has -- there were so many effective ordinary people setting her up to say, you know what, they're the inspirational stories. But I'm going to have make government work to allow them to try.

CHALIAN: And they connected each one those fights ...

BEINART: Right

CHALIAN: ... to her biography.

RYE: Yes

LEMON: And from ...

CHALIAN: And that was really a successful messaging.

LEMON: And from two books that are very important to us, the ratings book and the checkbook. I have to take a break. We'll be right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

LEMON: Live now at the CNN Grill at the Democratic National Convention. Back with me now is my political dream team. This week's Democratic convention answer Trump's message of fear, with one of hope for the future. Let's take a listen to one person who spoke tonight. You'll be surprise. Here he is.

(BEGIN VIDEO TAPE)

SELLERS: Once we fought just to be seated but now I stand before you ladies and gentlemen unbowed, unbroken and unafraid. That's what America is. It's an unlikely story of struggle and hope that joins us together as we dare to march forward. And I'm here to tell you that Hillary Clinton knows that because she's been a part of it her entire life.

Now Democrats throughout her life, Hillary has stood for the best of who we are. But she can't do it alone. She needs all of us to stand together.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

LEMON: OK. But -- you don't get to talk.

MARIA CARDONA, CNN POLITICAL CONTRIBUTOR: Bakari, amigo, you were fantastic. You hit a home run tonight. And I also think you underscored the import of the moment of not just this convention, last week's convention too, because it really states what is in front of us.

We're not just -- voters in this election are not just judging the character of these two nominees, and I've really come to believe this. This is the test of the character of the nation.

LEMON: All right. CARDONA: Because we are at a crossroads. Are we going to choose the light? Are we going to choose the darkness?

LEMON: So you -- bottom line, how do you think he did well?

CARDONA: He did fantastic.

LEMON: How did you think he is?

CARDONA: He is the light.

MADDEN: I -- look, I knew him well.

CARDONA: Along with Hillary.

LEMON: Angela?

RYE: He's so fancy. He had on the Barack southern drawl and everything. He was ready. You're almost be William Barber. You were ready.

LEMON: That's quite noticing.

RYE: That's right?

CHALIAN: You know, conventions are often used to showcase rising stars in the party.

LEMON: Yeah.

CHARLIAN: Big ...

RYE: Star. Hey, man.

LEMON: I thought he was all right.

RYE: You know -- Don, you better -- Don.

LEMON: And we'll be right back.

RYE: Get better.

LEMON: How did it feel? Was it ...

SELLERS: It's so good. I ...

LEMON: What was your -- what was the call in repeat? You did it call like a little ...

SELLERS: No. I wanted people to stand for something.

RYE: Yeah.

SELLERS: At the end of the day, you know, you have to stand for what you believe in. So you have to stand for justice. You have to stand for hope. You have to stand for Black Lives Matter. You have to stand for building our communities and keeping our cops safe. You can stand for all of those things.

And I spoke tonight to more people than are in my entire hometown. And so, for me, it was amazing and I got a chance to make my parents proud.

LEMON: Well, congratulations. You know, I'm joking. And I've been telling you all week and I'm very proud.

SELLERS: And while I have this moment, thank you for CNN just for giving me the platform and actually running in air and getting -- giving a 31-year-old black kid from Denmark the opportunity to speak to the world.

CARDONA: You made them proud.

LEMON: Just the last time you're going to put on this show, did you know that? Bakari, I am very proud of you. You know that.

SELLERS: Thank you big bro.

LEMON: You did a great job. You did a great job and speaking of William Barber, oh we got to get to that. Here it is.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

REV. WILLIAM BARBER II, PRESIDENT, NORTH CAROLINA NAACP: The watchword of this democracy and the watchword of faith is "we." The heart of our democracy is on the line this November and beyond.

Now, my friends, they tell me that when the heart is in danger, somebody has to call an emergency code and somebody with a good heart will bring a defibrillator to work on a bad heart. Because it's possible to shock a bad heart and revive the pulse.

[02:45:24] In this season, when some want to harden and stop the heart of our democracy, we are being called like our foremothers and fathers to be the moral defibrillators of our times.

We -- we must -- we must shock this nation with the power of love. We must shock this nation with the power of mercy. We must shock this nation and fight for justice for all. We can't give up on the heart of our democracy. Not now, not ever.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

LEMON: I mean, he went there with the heart metaphor, the defibrillator and everything that we had -- and I purposefully stood in front of Louisiana delegates because that's my hometown. I figured these would stand and make me move, but people were crying and they were moved by this on the floor.

CHALIAN: Oh yeah -- I mean, this is ...

(CROSSTALK)

CHALIAN: It is. And I actually thinking also when he says, the moral defibrillator, that that's what's needed right now. I actually think there's a piece of that -- this goes beyond just a hall of Democrats.

LEMON: Right.

CHALIAN: This caught (ph) so much larger audience. I think that taps in to what -- some of these economic and social forces that are so strong right now that Hillary Clinton mention there's been strength (ph), that Donald Trump mentioned in his speech quite frankly. I think he gets at some of that stuff that's going on the country right.

LEMON: Better days ahead, do you think -- do you think that that he is saying better days ahead? Do you think that's ...

MADDEN: Well, look, I think that is a much more important message I think, one of the risks that I saw over the last four days is that if -- Democrats can't do too much happy talk because there is a lot of anxiety. Yes, they are -- Americans are always optimistic about the future, but right now, many do feel like that the American economy is not living up to its full potential.

So, I think this is a message that resonates particularly with faith networks inside the African-American community. They're going to be so important for Hillary Clinton's calculation winning ...

LEMON: A fine line between reality and honesty?

MADDEN: That's correct. And that balance has been tough, and I think there were points during this convention where they got it wrong and then there were other points where they got it right.

LEMON: Go ahead, Angela.

RYE: So, this speech was particularly meaningful to me because of what Reverend Barber does so often. He is the creator of Moral Monday in North Carolina to fight against voter suppression. And for him, it's not just about the economy or some of the other typical every day American struggles. This just like, we just have to get it right on voting. Let's start there and move on. And I think it was such a powerful speech speaking of moral defibrillators.

LEMON: We'll be right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

LEMON: And we're back. We're live from Philadelphia in the CNN Grill as it approaches -- it's not even the midnight hour, right? Until they watch it on a sleep hour. My grandmother used to say the wee hours of the morning, right? Don't let that nighttime air fall on you.

RYE: OK.

LEMON: It makes you old.

RYE: All right.

LEMON: So, we guys ... RYE: Why you got to point at me?

LEMON: But the last two weeks -- a little old saying. The last two weeks, we've been covering, you know, these conventions. Let's talk about the one we've covered. What are your impressions? What do yo think? What stood out to you this week?

CHALIAN: I think what I was saying earlier, I think that taking somebody who's been on the public stage for 25 years and trying to tell new stories about her, that's a really hard thing to do. And I think that they made a correct calculation that the way to do it was to connect the pieces of her biography to the policy positions she's pushing forward.

So these fights of her life -- and they just did it all week long, Bill Clinton did a whole thing of it. She recreated it some in her speech tonight, connecting to real people that she worked on issues that they cared about at different points in her life got her the ability to show different slices of herself that the public may have forgotten.

LEMON: Do you think she'll going to bump?

CHALIAN: Yeah. I think she'll probably going to bump. Donald Trump got a really nice bump in our poll. I imagined she's going to get a bump too, and I imagine in two weeks time after all -- the conventions are done, people absorb them, it will settle and we'll know where the races at headed into the fall.

LEMON: Maria, take away.

CARDONA: I think that's right. I think that what we saw this week was a whole slew of character witnesses for this woman who the public thinks they know her so well, but what they know is her resume. And what I think, what we saw this week is people talking to the woman, about the woman behind the resume. And who is she, and what motivates her and why does she do what she do. Why has she been in public service for 30 years.

There's so much cynicism that people think it's because of her ambition, because she's cold and calculating. Because, you know, the moment that she graduated from law school, she wanted to become president, right? Well, no, it's because her focus of her life's work has always been wanting to make children's lives better, family's lives better and I think we saw that.

LEMON: I don't understand why that's bad because you hear kids say, "I want to be president when I grow up." I don't ...

CARDONA: Well, I think it has something to do with her being a woman.

LEMON: She graduate college and want to be president ...

(CROSSTALK)

RYE: And that's a little bit, Maria.

CARDONA: Just a little bit.

MADDEN: You know, it's funny both conventions started off with huge distractions at the early part.

LEMON: Yeah.

MADDEN: You know, with the plagiarism charges early on with ...

SELLERS: Well ours was before the convention. Yeah, yours lasted the entire convention.

MADDEN: Well, I thought it within -- I think with the chair being removed at the beginning of this week, but both by and large got what they wanted by the end of the week. And I think we saw a bump coming out of the Republican, we saw a rescue bump coming out of this, and that's 100 days.

LEMON: Yeah.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yeah,

MADDEN: It's going to feel like a lifetime by the time we go get to the Election Day.

LEMON: And where is Debbie Wasserman Schultz? I mean ...

(CROSSTALK)

RYE: And I saw her in the box quest (ph) yesterday.

LEMON: Just a quick consensus (ph).

RYE: Why I have to be quick if everybody else ...

LEMON: Because -- Well, I can take. So Bakari can talk.

RYE: I know, obviously ...

LEMON: He got a speech. Go ahead.

RYE: He did a filibuster. So, the one thing that I really want to point out is Michelle Obama, because that was my favorite moment this week, and if someone who was not super ready for Hillary, seeing all of the people who came together to create this narrative, it made me more excited about her candidacy.

[02:55:16] This isn't about the history part. I always felt the history part. But I was like, you know what? This is legit, this is good and I think I want to honor Michelle Obama with starting that.

SELLERS: Mine, was the amazing aspect of what we're doing here, because so many people now are tuning in and watching and examining both of these candidates. And the energy that we felt from everybody who's watching this show -- I mean, we see it everywhere from Twitter ...

CARDONA: Yeah.

SELLERS: ... to actually walking through the auditorium the last two weeks.

CARDONA: Yeah, that was true.

SELLERS: So I just want to say thank you to everybody who's actually tuning in and listening to what we're saying between 1:00 and 3:00 a.m. for the last two days.

LEMON: It's not amazing -- I mean, this show trends every whole time ...

CARDONA: And Don -- but Don, congratulations to you and your fantastic team.

LEMON: Oh yeah. Yes. And Jonathan Wall and everybody.

SELLERS: You know nobody.

(CROSSTALK)

CARDONA: Can we give him a round of applause?

LEMON: There he is. Hello Jonathan and Maria.

CARDONA: Maria, Julie (ph).

(CROSSTALK)

LEMON: And Sammy (ph), our director and ...

(CROSSTALK)

LEMON: And everybody here at CNN Grill, all the staff, these guys were great.

(CROSSTALK)

CARDONA: Yeah, thank you.

LEMON: And let's not forget the people who put us on television. Thank you very much.

CARDONA: Yeah.

LEMON: Thank you, everybody. And Jeff Zucker.

CARDONA: Can we show them?

LEMON: Yeah. All right, that's enough.

So, that's it for us tonight. I'll see you back here tomorrow night at 10:00. "Early Start" with John Berman and Christine Romans starts in just a moment. Thanks for tuning in. Go to bed.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)