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On A Night Capped By Obama, Democrats Aim To Stress National Security


And now to Philadelphia where our co-host Audie Cornish is at the Democratic National Convention.


Thanks, Kelly. Tonight President Obama will make the case for his one-time-rival-turned-trusted-colleague Hillary Clinton. A key focus on this third day of the convention is national security. NPR's Scott Horsley joins us now from the convention floor. And Scott, describe what's happened so far. What's on the program later tonight?

SCOTT HORSLEY, BYLINE: Audie, one of the first pieces of business on this third day of the Democratic National Convention was the nomination of Hillary Clinton's running mate, Tim Kaine. The Virginia senator was quickly approved, and he'll be speaking to the delegates here later this evening. We also have presentations this evening on the lead water poisoning problems in Flint, Mich., and a short film about climate change from James Cameron, the Hollywood director behind "Titanic."

CORNISH: And I mention there's a chunk of the program this evening that's devoted to national security, keeping America safe. Who should we expect to hear from on that specifically?

HORSLEY: Former defense secretary and CIA Director Leon Panetta is speaking tonight along with a female combat veteran and a retired Navy admiral. They're all going to be talking about Hillary Clinton's qualifications to be commander in chief. Republicans have been criticizing Democrats for not saying more about ISIS during the first couple of days of their convention. You can expect to hear more tonight about Democrats' plans for countering terrorism both at home and abroad.

Sullivan, the campaign's foreign policy adviser, told reporters this morning that it is now an international challenge, and it's going to demand cooperation with a lot of other countries.


JAKE SULLIVAN: All of that is going to require a president who actually knows how to build relationships, who has relationships and who has the capacity and temperament to pull the world together to defeat this threat. Hillary Clinton has all of those qualities and attributes, and I think you will see over the course of the next two days a clear demonstration of our conviction that Donald Trump does not.

HORSLEY: The Republican nominee of course has called into question the U.S. commitment to international alliances such as NATO, and he's also said he would ban visitors from countries with a history of terrorism, ideas that Democrats see as counterproductive.

CORNISH: Now, Scott, the last big speaker of the night of course is President Obama. First Lady Michelle Obama gave this rousing endorsement of Hillary Clinton on Monday night. Now, what do you expect to hear from the president?

HORSLEY: I think Barack Obama is going to talk about his personal history with Hillary Clinton, their hard-fought primary battle eight years ago and the mutual respect that grew out of that contest. He'll also talk about how when he asked her to serve as his secretary of state, she stepped up and really threw herself into the job.

Clinton's campaign team often says her most powerful endorsements come from former adversaries who later found themselves working with Clinton, and the president certainly counts himself as one of those. He appeared alongside Clinton at a joint campaign rally earlier this month.


BARACK OBAMA: Hillary's got her share of critics. That's what happens when you're somebody who's actually in the arena. That's what happens when you fought for what you believe in. That's what happens when you dedicate yourself to public service over the course of a lifetime.

HORSLEY: No surprise that Barack Obama wants to see another Democrat follow him into the Oval Office. Indeed much of his own legacy is unusually dependent on that. Many of the president's signature initiatives from immigration to the Iran nuclear deal could be easily undone if Republicans take control the White House.

CORNISH: And gun control's an issue the Obama White House hasn't made headway on, and I gather that's coming up tonight as well.

HORSLEY: Yeah, we're hearings some - from some victims of high-profile shootings, including the massacre at the gay nightclub in Orlando, that church shooting in Charleston and the Sandy Hook Elementary School. Former Congresswoman Gabby Giffords, another gun victim, will be speaking tonight along with the former police commissioner here in Philadelphia who co-chaired the president's commission on 21st Century Policing.

CORNISH: That's NPR's Scott Horsley on the floor of the convention hall in Philadelphia. Thank you.

HORSLEY: My pleasure, Audie. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

Scott Horsley is NPR's Chief Economics Correspondent. He reports on ups and downs in the national economy as well as fault lines between booming and busting communities.
Audie Cornish
Over two decades of journalism, Audie Cornish has become a recognized and trusted voice on the airwaves as co-host of NPR's flagship news program, All Things Considered.