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First Night Speeches At The Democratic Convention


And I'm David Greene in Philadelphia, where we're covering Day Two of the Democratic National Convention. Tonight, Hillary Clinton will officially be nominated as the Democratic nominee for president. And we will also hear from her husband, former President Bill Clinton. But there were a lot of speeches last night, and we're going to listen through to some of them this morning. I'm with my colleague, Don Gonyea, and also Democratic pollster Margie Omero from PSB Research. Good morning to you both.

MARGIE OMERO: Good morning.


GREENE: So let's listen to one speech that seemed, in many ways, to steal the show last night. It was first lady Michelle Obama.


MICHELLE OBAMA: 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.


OBAMA: And when I think about the kind of president that I want for my girls and all our children, that's what I want. I want someone with the proven strength to persevere, someone who knows this job and takes it seriously, someone who understands that the issues a president faces are not black and white and cannot be boiled down to 140 characters.

GREENE: First lady Michelle Obama there. Margie Omero, How important was that speech last night?

OMERO: It was massively important. The crowd went wild. It's still going wild. It really struck an emotional chord. It just - while, at the same time, conveying some key messages about Clinton's strength, about Democrats coming together, about Trump being too reductive and simplistic. So it really covered the whole ground of what Democrats believe as their core values.

GREENE: OK, and we should say, I mean, that came after, you know, a long time, early in the night, when there was a lot of booing, where the convention really seemed fractured. A lot of supporters of Bernie Sanders coming into this day very angry. And finally, by the end of night, they heard from Bernie Sanders himself. And this was really a moment when Bernie Sanders took the stage. Let's hear that.


BERNIE SANDERS: We need leadership in this country which will improve the lives of working families, the children, the elderly, the sick and the poor. We meet leadership which brings our people together and makes us stronger.


SANDERS: 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.

GREENE: Margie Omero, I still spoke to Sanders supporters last night who said they don't need to do what Bernie Sanders tells them to do. And they're still thinking of this as a contested convention. Does that speech put that to rest?

OMERO: Well, I think it puts to rest where Bernie Sanders is and where he's indicating that he thinks his supporters should go. And in terms of what's going to happen this convention, I mean, we're going to leave this convention, and Clinton's going to be the nominee. Even if there are folks who are upset about that, that's still the reality, and we're all going to come behind her.

GONYEA: And, David, we've been talking about the big, blockbuster speeches, but they had a lot of real people who took the stage - real people, so to speak - you know, not all politicians. Listen to this from Karla Ortiz. She is 11 years old. Her parents are undocumented immigrants. Here she is.


KARLA ORTIZ: I have hope - . Hillary Clinton told me that she would do everything she could to help us. She told me that I didn't have to do the worrying because she will do the worrying for me and all of us.


KARLA: She wants me to have the worries of an 11-year-old, not the weight of the world on my shoulder.


GREENE: Don, why'd that speech stand out to you?

GONYEA: Remember, last week in Cleveland, we saw this parade of people talking about immigration and telling horrible, scary stories. This, for the Democrats, was what they see as a reality check. This is the immigration experience in America.

GREENE: OK, you talk about last week. That was the Republican convention - Donald Trump getting a bump in the polls coming out of that event in Cleveland. Also paying a lot of attention this week to what's happening here in Philadelphia and a lot of the chaos that we saw early in the day yesterday. NPR's Sarah McCammon is traveling with the Trump campaign.

SARAH MCCAMMON, BYLINE: Donald Trump is in the habit of riling up crowds by going after Hillary Clinton and her Democratic allies. Last night in Winston-Salem, N.C., Trump had plenty of fresh material.


DONALD TRUMP: The mess that's going on right now with the Democrats - if that was happening to us, it would be a worldwide travesty because they would build it up to a point like you've never seen before.

MCCAMMON: That comment came just after delegates clashed on the floor of the DNC amid fallout from the hacked emails revealing staffers at the Democratic National Committee favoring Clinton over Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders during the primary. Trump also mocked Sanders for endorsing Clinton. Sanders has called the e-mail revelations sad and an outrage, but said he was not surprised.


TRUMP: And crazy Bernie's going crazy right now, OK. He doesn't know what to do. And he's losing his legacy because he's just sort of given up. You know, I always tell my kids, never give up. Never, ever give up. And Bernie has given up.

MCCAMMON: As Trump often does on the campaign trail, he called on Sanders supporters to back him. He went after outgoing DNC Chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz.


TRUMP: The system's rigged, and she was rigging the system for Hillary.

MCCAMMON: Trump accused Clinton of disloyalty to Wasserman Schultz and called the Democratic Party disjointed. Leading Democrats, including Hillary Clinton's campaign manager, have blamed the email hack on an attempt by Russia to influence U.S. elections in favor of Trump, who has exchanged complements with Russian President Vladimir Putin. Security experts say the hack appears to be linked to Russian espionage organizations, but Trump dismissed that idea.


TRUMP: So wait a minute, let's figure this out. Russia stole it from - and the reason is that Putin likes me. Now, I never met Putin, in all fairness. But that Putin likes Trump, and therefore he went in and he stole it, and he wants Trump to win. OK.

MCCAMMON: Striking another familiar note, Trump also talked up his rising poll numbers, including several that showed him with an edge over Clinton coming off the Republican National Convention.

GREENE: OK, my colleague, Sarah McCammon, there. I'm with Democratic pollster Margie Omero. The poll bump that Donald Trump has seen - worrisome for Hillary Clinton?

OMERO: Well, I think we should be - Democrats should be worried because these polls are going to fluctuate. Our own poll showed a very similar bounce and even bounce further when you actually show people clips. So we should expect these polls to be tight, the race to be tight from here on out.

GREENE: All right, well, I want to listen to one moment from last night. It was inside the arena. I met two delegates, who I actually met waiting in line for dinner. Franklin Delano Williams is 70 years old. His parents gave him that name because he was born shortly after FDR passed away. He's from Georgia, active in the civil rights movement. He felt sort of down when he saw Bernie Sanders supporters booing during speeches last night.

FRANKLIN WILLIAMS: And when I coming up, we would disagree with our parents and our elders, but we did not interrupt them. And I think that's been - that's been a problem I've had with the start off tonight. It's not respecting people when they are speaking. That - that is - that was sad.

GREENE: So Mr. Williams is saying this as he's standing next to Nickolaus Lewis, who is 35 years old. He's a tribal leader in a Native American community in Washington state and a Bernie Sanders delegate. He was getting, shall we say, a polite lecture from his new friend about how the party has to come together.

WILLIAMS: What I do and what he does will impact me if we never seen each other again. And that's - that's what you got to feel with people and act that way, that this brother of mine - I don't care where I go - I got to think about what I'm doing that will impact him.

GREENE: You guys on the same page, Nicholas?

NICKOLAUS LEWIS: On that one, yeah. We might disagree on the candidates, but we agree on a lot of other things.

GREENE: You going to leave this convention at the end of this week behind one candidate?

LEWIS: When it comes to the general election and voting, yeah, I will. I - Trump is public enemy number one, so we've got to do everything we can. I just hope that the Democratic Party realizes that changes are happening. And if they don't respond, a lot of these young Bernie people are going to go in a different direction. They're here now. I hope we're able to keep them in our party and their support because we need it.

GREENE: All right, the voice there of Nickolaus Lewis, a Bernie Sanders delegate, and Franklin Delano Williams, a Hillary Clinton delegate - a coming together in the food line at the Democratic convention last night. We're covering the convention all morning in the studio with NPR's Don Gonyea and also Democratic pollster Margie Omero. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.