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tv   The Democratic National Convention -- Your Voice Your Vote 2020  ABC  August 17, 2020 7:00pm-8:02pm PDT

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this is an abc news special. four years ago, the convention looked like this. tonight, the democrats meet virtually, wi virtually. with millions out of work, unrest in america and coronavirus still surging, the stakes couldn't be higher. moments from now, senator bernie sanders and former first lady michelle obama make the case that it's time for joe biden and the democrats. live from new york city and across the country, the democratic national convention. now reporting, chief anchor george stephanopoulos. >> good evening and welcome to our special coverage of the democratic convention. a convention unlike any before in american history.
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the coronavirus crisis that has upended our country, claimed more than 170,000 american lives, has completely transformed this campaign tradition we've all come to know. we're not coming to you from a packed convention hall jammed with networking politicians, that convention is canceled. that single stage is all that remains in milwaukee. the headline speakers including joe biden and kamala harris won't even appear there. the real nerve center, a high tech control room that will draw in video fields from all over the country. the speeches and live reaction, crowd sourced videos from delegates and every day americans. it is truly a virtual convention. but the president tom line has not changed. conventions are about unifying parties and electing presidents. as we come on the air tonight, our brand new poll shows joe biden and kamala harris holding a double-digit lead over president trump. but democrats sn s know this eln is not about the popular vote. hillary clinton won the popular
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vote in 2016 but lost the election. so, the real focus of both campaigns, the key battleground states and the electoral college. ground zero, the state of michigan. trump won by less than 1% last time, 11,000 votes. it's a must-win for democrats this time. that's why michigan governor gretchen whitmer will kick off this prime time coverage. still in her first term, she gave the democratic response to the president's state of the union. she was a finalist in joe biden's search for a running mate and she's taken a tough stand against president trump and lock downed protesters during this covid crisis. she's going to be speaking from a uaw hall in lansing, michigan. it is a key state. she is a key governor. now speaking, gretchen whitmer, the governor of michigan.
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hello, america. i'm governor gretchen whitmer, or, as donald trump calls me, that woman from michigan. tonight, i'm here at uaw local 65 652 in lansing, michigan. auto workers in this union and across our state could have lost their jobs if not for barack obama and joe biden. in 2009, the obama/biden administration inherited the worst economic crisis since the great depression. the auto industry on the brink of collapse. a million jobs at stake. but president obama and vice president biden didn't waste time blaming anyone else or shirking their responsibility. they got to work. they brought together union members, companies and lawmakers on both sides of the aisle and they saved the auto industry. and wouldn't you know, just a
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few months ago, as our nation began battling covid-19, auto workers across michigan sprang into action. they started making protective equipment for doctors and nurses on the front lines. let me break it down. president obama and vice president biden saved these auto workers' livelihoods. then, these workers did their part to save american lives. that's the story of this great nation. action begets action. progress begets progress. and when we work together, we can accomplish anything. after all, democracy is a team sport, especially now. it's crucial that we rally together to fight this virus and build our economy back better. from the jump, we took this pandemic seriously in michigan. we listened to medical experts, we planned and with a lot of work from the auto workers and
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too little help from the white house, we executed our plan. we saved thousands of lives. just imagine if we had a national strategy. so everyone who needs a test gets one for free. so everyone has access to a safe vaccine. so our kids and educators have the resources they need to sa safely get back to school. with joe biden and kamala harris in the white house, we will. joe biden and kamala harris will lead by example. it will be science, not politics or ego that will drive their decisions. they know the health of our people goes hand in hand with the strength of our economy. they know action begets action. over the past few months, we've learned what's essential. rising to the challenge, not denying it. we've learned who is essential, too. not just the wealthiest among us. not a president who fights his
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fellow americans rather than fight the virus that's killing us and our economy. it's the people who put their own health at risk to care for the rest of us. they are the mvps. the nurses and the doctors. the utility workers, truck drivers and grocery clerks. the child care workers, the parents, the teachers. the mail carriers and the auto workers. so many of these essential workers have lost their lives to covid. nearly 1,000 health care workers. more than 170,000 people across america. including a 5-year-old girl named skylar from detroit whose mom is a police officer and dad is a firefighter. generation after generation, our nation has been defined by what we do or what we fail to do. so, for skylar, for her parents,
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and in the memory of all those we've lost, let us act. let us heal as one nation. let us find strength to do the work. >> governor gretchen whitmer of michigan hafling the essential workers who she says have become heroes in this crisis. she called herself by the nickname donald trump gave her, that woman from michigan. joined here by david muir, "world news tonight" anchor david muir and coronavirus crisis front and center in that first speech of prime time. it has transformed the country and this campaign. >> no question and speaks volumes about what the dnc and what the biden/harris campaign wants to do over the course of these next four nights, george. they want to make this a referendum on president trump's handling of the pandemic. to lead off their prime time 10:00 hour with that woman from michigan, which is what the president said when he said that he told vice president pence, don't call that woman from michigan, saying, i don't want to talk to the governors who aren't supporting me. she tweeted right away, i'm willing to work with anyone as
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long as we get the personal protective equipment. but the fact that the m td demo would begin with gretchen whitmer signals that they want this to be a referendum and george, when i asked the president in may, are you comfortable with this being a referendum on your handling of the pandemic, he said yes and no. and you knew he was uncomfortable with where this election campaign was headed. >> abc news live anchor linsey davis is with us, here, the story of skylar, the reminder of how this crisis has hit minorities in america. >> detroit, in particular. she was there at that uaw in lansing. and she had, you know, some sharp elbows for president trump, basically saying that joe biden will not have the excuses and harkening back to joe biden and obama and how they handled the auto industry. it's just really fascinating as far as, we're now starting to see a little bit more aggressive behavior, specifically talking about president trump. >> thank you.
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democrats making another choice tonight, they're leading with republicans for joe biden, as well. we're going to tune in now, christy todd whitman, former governor of new jersey, is speaking. >> democrats and republicans, to get things done. donald trump isn't that person. joe biden is. >> i'm meg whitman. i'm a longtime republican and a longtime ceo. and let me tell you, donald trump has no clue to run a business, let alone an economy. joe biden, on the other hand, has a plan that will strengthen our economy for working people and small business owners. for me, the choice is simple. i'm with joe. >> hi, i'm susan moll nary. i'm a former republican member of congress from new york city and i've known donald trump for most of my political career. so disappointing and lately so disturbing. now, i've also gotten to know and worked with joe biden on issues related to women that are so important to all of us. women in business, violence against women. that's why i'm so proud to call
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him my friend and honored to join in supporting his candidacy for president. he's a really good man and he's exactly what this nation needs at this time. now, i'm delighted and honored to introduce a former colleague of mine. the form eer congressman from ohio, the former governor of ohio, john kasich. >> america is at a crossed radios. sometimes elections represent a real choice, a choice we make as individuals and as a nation, about which path we want to take when we've got to challenging times. america is at that crossroads today. the stakes in this election are greater than any in modern times. many of us have been deeply concerned about the current path we've been following for the past four years. it's a path that's led to division, dysfunction, irresponsibility and growing vitriol between our citizens. continuing to follow that path will have terrible con consequences for america's soul, because we're being taken down the wrong road by a president
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who has pitted one against the other. he's unlike all of our best leaders before him who worked to unite us, to bridge our differences and lead us to a united america. i'm a lifelong republican, but that attachment holds second place to my responsibility to my country. that's why i've chosen to appear at this convention. in normal times, something like this would probably never hap n happen, but these are not normal times. i'm proud of my republican heritage, it's the party of lincoln, who reflected its founding principles of unity and a higher purpose, but what i have witnessed these past four years belies those principles. many of us can't imagine four more years going down this path. and that's why i'm asking you to join with me in choosing a better way forward. i believe the best of america lies ahead, but only when we
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rediscover our shared belief in the united states of america. for our children's future, which can be bright, hopeful and inspired, if we choose to make it so. i've known joe biden for 30 years. i know his story of profound grief that has so deeply affected his character. i know joe is a good man, a man of faith, a unifier. someone who understands the hopes and dreams of the common man and the common woman. a man who can help us to see the humanity in each other. he knows that the path to a restored and rejuvenated america lies in respect and unity and a common purpose for everyone. yes, there are areas where joe and i absolutely disagree, but that's okay. because that's america. because whatever our differences, we respect one another as human beings. each of us searching for justice and for purpose.
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we can all see what's going on in our country today and all the questions that are facing us and no one person or party has all the answers. but what we do know is that we can do better than what we've been seeing today for sure, and i know that joe biden, with his experience and his wisdom and his decency, can bring us together to help us find that better way. i'm sure there are republicans and independents who couldn't imagine crossing over to support a democrat. they fear joe may turn sharp left and leave them behind. i don't believe that. because i know the measure of the man, he's reasonable, faithful, respectful and you know, no one pushes joe around. joe biden is a man for our times. times that call for all of us to take off our partisan hats and put our nation first for ourselves and, of course, for our children. when america chooses the right path and pulls together, like we've done so many times before,
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we can dream big dreams. and we can see the top of the mountain, as a united states of america, with a soul that is a beacon of freedom to the entire world. >> former republican governor of ohio john kasich right there talking about why he's endorsing joe biden for president, following other republicans endorsing the former vice president. i want to bring in rahm emanuel for this. you wrote a piece today saying the goal of the biden campaign is to create biden republicans, much in the way that ronald reagan created reagan democrats in 1980. >> in 1980, there were reagan democrats, a cultural landscape allowed that break with the democratic party, working class families. i think donald trump's created a unique opportunity, which are called biden republicans, and i think what you're seeing because of the cultural landscape, an twiat this time to science, there's a unique political opportunity that this election could be
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either be just purely transactional with those voters or transformative with those voters and reagan democrats redefined 20 years of the country's political landscape. i think that opportunity exists today because the republican party, even in the organizing principle today, is donald trump. the question for the biden campaign and i think biden administration will be, can they actually build something around that that's more long-lasting and really put some roots down into that, so we don't just rent these voters, we end up -- them owning the democrat, being, we own them and that feel apart and a new home in this effort. and i think it speaks to the campaign, because it's a broad coalition. >> sara, i see you shaking your head right there. one of the things we saw from john kasich is answering this charge that joe biden is going to go hard left. we've heard president trump say he's a trojan horse for socialism. >> well, that's the point tonight is, we haven't heard any of the leftist views of the democratic party. and so, i think rahm's strategy
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is right. i don't think it's going to play out. this is going to be transactional, if, in fact, joe biden is able to connect with any of these republicans. we're going to talk about medicare for all, we're going to talk about a green new deal, we're going to talk about higher taxes. those biden republicans aren't going to exist at the end of this election. >> can i say one thing? the green new deal? medicare for all? not even in the platform. biden's controlled the party's direction. >> chris christie, four years ago, how big a threat are these republican endorsements tonight? >> zero. zero. i mean, they're meaningless. they weren't with her -- they were with her four years ago and now they're with biden, no surprise. and john cakasich, when he was e only republican governor left on the stage in 2016, donald trump, ted cruz and john kasich, the three candidates left, do you know how many republican governors of his colleagues,
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sitting colleagues at the time endorsed him? zero. and the reason they didn't endorse him is because he's a back backstabber and untruthful guy. and so tonight, republicans are going to look at that and go, you can have him, please, believe me. get him out of our party. you take him. because on top of all that, i've worked with john a lot, he's exhausting. joe biden's going to be getting calls from john kasich, he's going to want to change his phone number. >> not all democrats are happy with the choice with john kasich. heard a lot of grumbling from progressives. >> i agree with the governor. we don't want him, either. i'm from ohio, i know the damage he did to our state. labor, with sb-5, what he did on choice, what he did to public teachers and public education, what he did with guns and violence. this is not the story we want to be telling. if you are a republican who doesn't like donald trump, vote for him, but we should not be taking precious time on the first night engaging -- >> don't you want --
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>> progressives are with our party and if they engage the people who did not vote in '16 who voted in '08, we can win this thing. >> well, a debate has already stated in this first hour of the democratic convention. we have a lot more coming up, bernie sanders and michelle obama. we'll be right back.
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♪ welcome back to our coverage of the democratic national convention. very different kind of conventi convention. one of the differences we're seeing this year, president trump going to campaign straight through this convention. he was actually in the state of wisconsin today. joe biden was not. rachel scott was with him. what did he say, rachel? >> yeah, george. well, the president continued to paint himself as the law and order candidate. and this is a critical state for the president. he won here by fewer than 23,000 votes, less than 1%.
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the president trying to upstage his rival, joe biden, in the very state with the democratic national convention was supposed to be held in person. the president will be hitting five battleground states this week, and in most of those states, he is trailing joe biden, including right here in wisconsin by five points. george? >> rachel, thank you. want to bring in mary bruce. we're about to hear from several of the conditions who ran against joe biden during these primaries. hard to believe it was just a year ago, when you haud more than 20 democrats in this race. it was not a foregone conclusion that biden would be the nominee. >> no, george. this was a hard-fought primary. and now democrats are eager to show that they are united. i remember four years ago, being on the convention floor and hearing those boos at the time. the party was bitterly divided. now they are eager to show that that simply is not the case. yes, it was not long ago, 28 democratic candidates were running. now we're going to see many of those former rivals coming together. joe biden has been reaching out himself to many of these former
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opponents to try to bring them into the fold now. especially some of the more progressive rivals, like bernie sanders, who we will hear from. this is a very different circumstance than four years ago. these former rivals know the stakes are simply too high. they have to come together, they feel, in order to beat donald trump. the challenge now going forward is, can they come together and not only argue that donald trump has to be defeated, but that joe biden is the right person to do that. >> mary bruce, thank you very much. one of the conditions who had a strong showing in new hampshire, senator amy klobuchar of minnesota. let's listen in. >> you can, too. you know, most candidates, when they end their campaign, that day is a hard one. for me, it was a moment filled with great joy, because the day i ended my presidential campaign was also the day i endorsed joe biden. joe ran for the same reasons i did when i announced my campaign in the middle of that blizzard on the banks of the mississippi river. to cross the river of our
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divides, to bring this nation together, to be a president for all of america. as i said the day i endorsed him, if you feel stuck in the middle of the extremes in our politics, if you are tired of the noise and the nonsense, you have a home with me and you have a home with joe biden. that's why i was so proud to stand with him then and across this great country. that's why we are all now standing united behind joe and my friend, kamala. our nation's motto is out of many, one. and as you're about to see, it's also the story of the democratic primary. thank you, america. >> we all ran for president, motivated by the same reasons. >> as i watch president trump divide this country more and
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more, i thought to myself, what are you willing to do to stop him? >> you had the most destructive, hateful, racist president in the history of this country, who is literally tearing apart the fabric of the united states of america. >> donald trump is a failed business person and desperately failed us as a president. >> we will run! >> i ran for president because i think it's urgent that we heal the divisions in this nation. >> we are still in control of our own future. and we need to provide millions of americans a real path forward. >> a green jobs program. >> increasing the minimum wage. >> passing a national paid leave bill. >> student loan debt. >> mental health, starting with our veterans. >> reproductive justice. >> economic justice. >> racial justice. >> and there is so much a new president can do to bring us together. >> it's time to get up. >> yes, sir. >> starting a presidential campaign is daunting. i mean, you have to reach hundreds of millions of people. >> you have these incredibly long days, often capped off by
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these evening events that go on for hours and hours. >> you're challenged as a candidate and to be true to yourself and true to why you ran in the first place. that is something, by the way, that i really admire about joe biden. he really is his own man. >> joe biden is somebody who deeply cares about people. people who are marginalized, who are being left behind or being ignored. >> i'm a daca recipient and i owe you everything. >> and you're staying, man. >> he's had some hard times in his life. he's had some losses in his life. and i think that is something that people relate to. >> you doing okay? >> yep. those to 15 years cancer free. >> god love you. >> i was at a service for four fallen afghanistan soldiers and i saw those families who were so comforted by joe biden, when they walked out, they knew someone cared for them, someone could relate to their own pain they were having. we need that in the white house. >> i still remember standing side-by-side with him on the debate stage and we were having
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a go of it. but what was remarkable to me was, in the commercial break, he puts his arm around me and starts telling me how good my ideas are. and next thing you know, i feel like he's giving me a pep talk. and literally telling me how important it is, how really important it is that i'm on that stage. >> joe called me the night i suspended and was extraordinarily gracious and comforting and i told me i should be proud of myself. said that i did myself and my family a real service and the country a service and that meant a lot coming from joe. >> look, it's not easy to unite the democratic party. we're a rambunctious group. joe biden has pulled it off. >> he wants to get the best ideas on the table so we can move forward in the best way possible. >> he's included my family bill of rights. >> he's unified our group around a clean energy strategy. >> the domestic workers bill of rights, very excited that's in
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there. >> he's the kind of leader that brings other leaders in. >> this is a guy that's going to walk into the oval office and not have to find his way around, but will actually walk in and have already sort of honed the instincts you need to lead the most powerful nation on earth through a crisis. >> on the other side, donald trump does not understand who we are as americans. he really didn't. >> this is a guy that blames everyone for everything. you know, he blames the city of baltimore, he blames the country of denmark. he blames the prime minister of canada for cutting him out of the canadian version of "home alone 2." who does that? >> there's no sitting this one out. there's no hoping that someone else is going to come in and save the day. there is no calvary. we are the calvary. >> the moment has found the person. that person is joe biden. >> joe has my vote because he
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will bring decency and dignity back to the white house. >> we've got one shot to make donald trump a one-term president and that shot is right now. >> it's joe time! it's joe time! >> next president, right here. >> that was just about half the field that took on joe biden last year. coming up, the runner up two times in a row, brs bernie sand and headliner michelle obama.
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the democratic national convention. here again, george stephanopoulos. >> welcome back. bernie sanders is up next. want to bring in our chief white house correspondent jon karl for more on this. i remember five years ago, the day bernie sanders announced, just walked out on the lawn of the capitol. you were there. what a difference he's made to the democratic party over those five years and these two runs. >> he electrified the base of the democratic party, george. he was somebody who came from absolutely nothing, the longest of long shots, to during this campaign, he did not win, but he had the most fervent supporters, he had the biggest crowds and, of course, donald trump made no secret of the fact that bernie sanders was the candidate he would most like to run against. he also tried to drive a wedge between sanders and biden by saying that this nomination had been stolen from him, but now, you will see bernie sanders come out here and totally and without hesitation endorse joe biden, despite the fact that, you know,
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biden's very different. he opposed medicare for all, he opposed -- he did not endorse the green new deal. this is not the bernie sanders democratic party tonight, this is the joe biden democratic party. >> and senator bernie sanders ready to speak right now. >> good evening. our great nation is now living in an unprecedented moment. we're facing the worst public health crisis in 100 years and the worst economic collapse since the great depression. we are confronting systemic racism and the enormous threat to our planet of climate change. and in the midst of all of this, we have a president who is not only incapable of addressing these crises, but is leading us down the path of
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authoritarianism. this election is the most important in the modern history of this country. in response to the unprecedented crises we face, we need an unprecedented response, a movement like never before, of people who are prepared to stand up and fight for democracy and decency. and against greed, olli jar can i and bigotry. and we need joe biden as our next president. let me take this opportunity to say a word to the millions of people who supported my campaign this year and in 2016. my friends, thank you for your trust, your support and the love you showed jane, me and our family. together, we have moved this country in a bold new direction, showing that all of us, black and white, latino, native
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american, asian-american, gay and straight, native born and immigrant, yearn for a nation based on the principles of justice, love and compassion. our campaign ended several months ago, but our movement continues and is getting stronger every day. many of the ideas we fought for that just a few years ago were considered radical are now mainstream. but let us be clear, if donald trump is re-elected, all the progress we have made will be in jeopardy. at its most basic, this election is about preserving our democracy. during this president's term, the unthinkable has become normal. he has tried to prevent people from voting. undermined the u.s. postal service. deployed the military and
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federal agents against peaceful protesters. threatened to delay the election. and suggested that he will not leave office if he loses. this is not normal. and we must never treat it like it is. under this administration, authoritarianism has taken root in our country. i and my family and many of yours know the insidious way authoritarianism destroys democracy, decency and humanity. as long as i am here, i will work with progressives, with moderates and, yes, with conservatives, to preserve this nation from a threat that so many of our heroes fought and died to defeat. this president is not just a threat to our democracy, but by
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rejecting science, he has put our lives and health in jeopardy. trump has attacked doctors and scientists trying to protect us from the pandemic while refusing to take strong action to produce the masks, gowns and gloves our health care workers desperately need. nero fiddled while rome burned. trump golfs. his actions fanned this pandemic, resulting in over 170,000 deaths and a nation still unprepared to protect its people. further more, has exacerbated the economic crisis we are now facing. since this pandemic began, over 30 million people have lost their jobs and many have lost their health insurance. millions of working families are
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wondering how they will feed their kids. and they're worried that they will be evicted from their homes. and how has trump responded? instead of maintaining the $600 a week unemployment supplement that workers were receiving, and the $1,200 emergency checks that many of you received, instead of helping small businesses, trump conducted fraudulent executive orders that do virtually nothing to address the crisis. while threatening the very future of social security and medicare. but the truth is, that even before trump's negligent response to this pandemic, too many hard working families have been caught on an economic treadmill with no hope of ever getting ahead. together, we must build a nation that is more equitable, more
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compassionate and more inclusive. i know that joe biden will begin that fight on day one. let me offer you just a few examples of how joe will move us forward. joe supporting raising the minimum wage to $15 an hour. this will give 40 million workers a pay raise and push the wage scale up for everyone else. joe will also make it easier for workers to join unions, create 12 weeks of paid family leave, fund universal pre-k for 3 and 4-year-olds and make child care affordable for millions of families. joe will rebuild our crumbling inf infrastructure and fight the threat of climate change by transitioning us to 100% clean electricity over the next 15 years. these initiatives will create
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millions of good-paying jobs all across our country. as you know, we are the only industrialized nation not to guarantee health care for all people. while joe and i disagree on the best path to get universal coverage, he has a plan that will greatly expand health care and cut the costs of prescription drugs. further, he will lower the eligibility age of medicare from 65 down to 60. to help reform our broken criminal justice system, joe will end private prisons and detention centers, cash bail and the school to prison pipeline. and to heal the soul of our nation, joe biden will end the hate and division trump has created. he will stop the demonization of
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immigrants, the coddling of white nationalists, the racist dog whistling, the religious bigotry and the ugly attacks on women. my friends, i say to you, to everyone who supported other candidates in the primary and to those who may have voted for donald trump in the last election, the future of our democracy is at stake. the future of our economy is at stake. the future of our planet is at stake. we must come together, defeat donald trump and elect joe biden and kamala harris as our next president and vice president. my friends, the price of failure is just too great to imagine. thank you. >> quite a different feel from bernie sanders from four years ago. hard edge to be sure, but also, he has such a warmer personal relationship with joe biden than he had with hillary clinton and that came through in the speech,
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as well. and now it is time for the headliner of the night, michelle obama. i want to bring in "nightline" anchor brian pitts for more on this. michelle obama claims not to like politics all that much, but by some measures, she's the most popular politician in america. >> without question, george. i think this is the most important speech tonight. as you said, she's the most popular democrat in the country. i call this, george, the favorite auntie speech. the cool aunt, the smart aunt, the kind aunt. and so, for the democratic family, she is that. i think tonight, she speaks specifically, i think, in many ways to professional women, to suburban women, to women of color and to young people of color, that she can say that, look, that biden/harris may not be everything you want, but trust me, they will get us where we want to be. people forget, she was barack obama's not so secret weapon when he ran for president and i think she can be that, will be that for the biden/harris ticket. >> she had that iconic fraedz from four years ago, when they
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go low, we go high. tonight, she will also serve as a character witness for former vice president joe biden and now, let's listen into the introduction of michelle obama. >> the voices we long to hear right now are the ones that speak with courage and kindness, strength and wisdom, love and compassion. they're unafraid to speak the truth and talk about their own uncertainties and struggles. they make us feel seen and inspire us to become the best versions of ourselves. our next speaker is that for all of us. it is my honor and privilege to introduce the former first lady michelle obama. good evening, everyone. it's a hard time and everyone's feeling it in different ways. and i know a lot of folks are reluctant to tune into a political convention right now or to politics in general.
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believe me, i get that. but i am here tonight because i love this country with all my heart and it pains me to see so many people hurting. i've met so many of you, i've heard your stories and through you, i have seen this country's promise. and thanks to so many who came before me, thanks to their toil and sweat and blood, i've been able to live that promise myself. that's the story of america. all those folks who sacrificed and overcame so much in their own times because they wanted something more. something better for their kids. there's a lot of beauty in that story. there's a lot of pain in it, too. a lot of struggle, injustice and work left to do. and who we choose as our president in this election will
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determine whether or not we honor that struggle and chip away at that injustice and keep alive the very possibility of finishing that work. i am one of the handful of people living today who have seen first-hand the immense weight and awesome power of the presidency. and let me once again tell you this -- the job is hard. it requires clear-headed judgment, a mastery of complex and competing issues, a devotion to facts and history, a moral compass and an ability to listen. and an abiding belief that each of the 330 million lives in this country has meaning and worth. a president's words have the
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power to move markets. they can start wars or broker peace. they can summon our better angels or awaken our worst instincts. you simply cannot fake your way through this job. as i've said before, being president doesn't change who you are, it reveals who you are. well, a presidential election can reveal who we are, too. and four years ago, too many people chose to believe that their votes didn't matter. maybe they were fed up. maybe they thought the outcome wouldn't be close. maybe the barriers felt too steep. whatever the reason, in the end, those choices sent someone to the oval office who lost the national popular vote by nearly 3 million votes. in one of the states that determined the outcome, the
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winning margin averaged out to just two votes per precinct. two votes. and we've all been living with the consequences. when my husband left office with joe biden at his side, we had a record-breaking stretch of job creation. we'd secured the right to health care for 20 million people. we were respected around the world, rallying our allies to confront climate change. and our leaders had worked hand in hand with scientists to help prevent and ebola outbreak from becoming a global pandemic. four years later, the state of this nation is very different. more than 150,000 people have died and our economy is in shambles because of a virus that this president downplayed for too long.
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it has left millions of people jobless. too many have lost their health care. too many are struggling to take care of basic necessities like food and rent. too many communities have been left in the lurch to grapple with whether and how to open our schools safely. internationally, we've turned our back, not just on agreements forged by my husband, but on alliances championed by presidents like reagan and eisenhower. and here at home, as george floyd, breonna taylor and a never-ending list of innocent people of color continue to be murdered, stating the simple fact that a black life matters is still met with derigs from the nation's highest office. because whenever we look to this white house for some leadership
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or consolation or any semblance of steadiness, what we get instead is chaos. division. and a total and utter lack of empathy. empathy, that's something i've been thinking a lot about lately. the ability to walk in someone else's shoes. the recognition that someone else's experience has value, too. most of us practice this without a second thought. if we see someone suffering or struggling, we don't stand in judgment, we reach out, because there but for the grace of god go i. it is not a hard concept to grasp. it's what we teach our children. and like so many of you, barack and i have tried our best to instill in our girls a strong moral foundation, to carry forward the values that our
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parents and grandparents poured into us. but right now, kids in this country are seeing what happens when we stop requiring empathy of one another. they're looking around wondering if we've been lying to them this whole time. about who we are and what we truly value. they see people shouting in grocery stores, unwilling to wear a mask to keep us all safe. they see people calling the police on folks minding their own business just because of the color of their skin. they see an entitlement that says only certain people belong here. that greed is good and winning is everything, because as long as you come out on top, it doesn't matter what happens to everyone else. and they see what happens when that lack of empathy is ginned up into outright disdain.
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they see our leaders labeling fellow citizens enemies of the state, while 'em boldening torch-bearing white supremacists. they watch in horror as children are torn from their families and thrown into cages and pepper spray and rubber bullets are used on peaceful protesters for a photo-op. sadly, this is the america that is on display for the next generation. a nation that's underperforming not simply on matters of policy, but on matters of character. and that's not just disappointing, it's downright infuriating. because i know the goodness and the grace that is out there in households and neighborhoods all across this nation. and i know that regardless of our race, age, religion or
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politics, when we close out the noise and the fear and truly open our hearts, we know that what's going on in this country is just not right. this is not who we want to be. so, what do we do now? what's our strategy? over the past four years, a lot of people have asked me, when others are going so low, does going high still really work? my answer -- going high is the only thing that works, because when we go low, when we use those same tactics of degrading and dehumanizing others, we just become part of the ugly noise that's drowning out everything else. we degrade ourselves, we degrade the very causes for which we fight. but let's be clear -- going high
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does not mean putting on a smile and saying nice things when confronted by viciousness and cruelty. going high means taking the harder path. it means scraping and clawing our way to that mountain top. going high means standing fierce against hatred while remembering that we are one nation under god and if we want to survive, we've got to find a way to live together and work together across our differences. and going high means unlocking the shackles of lies and mistrust with the only thing that can truly set us free -- the cold hard truth. so, let me be as honest and clear as i possibly can. donald trump is the wrong president for our country. he has had more than enough time
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to prove that he can do the job but he is clearly in over his head. he cannot meet this moment. he simply cannot be who we need him to be for us. it is what it is. now, i understand that my message won't be heard by some people. we live in a nation that is deeply divided and i am a black woman speaking at the democratic convention. but enough of you know me by now. you know that i tell you exactly what i'm feeling -- you know i hate politics. but you also know that i care about this nation. you know how much i care about all of our children. so, if you take one thing from my words tonight, it is this -- if you think things cannot possibly get worse, trust me, they can and they will if we
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don't make a change in this election. if we have any hope of ending this chaos, we have got to vote for joe biden like our lives depend on it. i know joe. he is a profoundly decent man, guided by faith. he was a terrific vice president. he knows what it takes to rescue an economy, beat back a pandemic and lead our country. and he listens. he will tell the truth and trust science. he will make smart plans and manage a good team. and he will govern as someone who has lived a life that the rest of us can recognize. when he was a kid, joe's father lost his job. when he was a young senator, joe lost his wife and his baby daughter and when he was vice president, he lost his beloved
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son. so, joe knows the anguish of sitting at a table with an empty chair, which is why he gives his time so freely to grieving parents. joe knows what it's like to struggle, which is why he gives his personal phone number to kids overcoming a stutter of their own. his life is a testament to getting back up and he is going to channel that same grit and passion to pick us all up. to help us heal and guide us forward. now, joe is not perfect and he'd be the first to tell you that. but there is no perfect candidate. no perfect president. and his ability to learn and gr grow, we find in that the kind of humility and maturity that so many of us yearn for right now. because joe biden has served
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this nation his entire life without ever losing sight of who he is. but more than that, he has never lost sight of who we are. all of us. joe biden wants all of our kids to go to a good school, see a doctor when they're sick, live on a healthy planet. and he's got plans to make all of that happen. joe biden wants all of our kids, no matter what they look like, to be able to walk out the door without worrying about being harassed or arrested or killed. he wants all of our kids to be able to go to a movie or a math class without being afraid of getting shot. he wants all our kids to grow up with leaders who won't just serve themselves and their wealthy peers, but will provide a safety net for people facing hard times.
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and if we want a chance to pursue any of these goals, any of these most basic requirements for a functioning society, we have to vote for joe biden in numbers that cannot be ignored. because right now, folks who know they cannot win fair and square at the ballot box are doing everything they can to stop us from voting. they're closing down polling places in minority neighborhoods. they're purging voter rolls, they're sending people out to intimidate voters and they're lying about the security of our ballots. these tactics are not new. but this is not the time to withhold our votes in protest or play games with candidates who have no chance of winning. we have got to vote like we did in 20 08 and 2012. we've got to show up with the
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same level of passion and hope for joe biden. we've got to vote early, in person, if we can, we've got to request our mail-in ballots right now, tonight, and send them back immediately. and follow up to make sure they're received and then make sure our friends and families do the same. we have got to grab our comfortable shoes, put on our masks, pack a brown bag dinner and maybe breakfast, too, because we've got to be willing to stand in line all night if we have to. look, we have already sacrificed so much this year. so many of you are already going that extra mile. even when you're exhausted, you're mustering up unimaginable courage to put on those scrubs and give our loved ones a fighting chance. even when you're ang shxious, s
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stocking those shelves and doing all that essential work so all of us can keep moving forward. even when it all feels so overwhelming, working parents are somehow piecing it all together without child care. teachers are getting creative so our kids can still learn and grow. our young people are desperately fighting to pursue their dreams. and when the horrors of systemic racism shook our country and our c conscien consciences, millions of americans of every age, every background, rose up to march for each other, crying out for justice and progress. this is who we still are. compassionate, resilient, decent people. whose fortunes are bound up with one another. and it is well past time


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