The third night of the Democratic National Convention featured a must-see lineup of former and would-be presidents and a historic acceptance speech.
Sen. Kamala Harris, the first Black woman and Asian American on a major party ticket, delivered her vice-presidential acceptance speech Wednesday night, and former President Barack Obama spoke shortly before her. Former 2016 presidential nominee Hillary Clinton, 2020 candidate Sen. Elizabeth Warren and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi also took the virtual stage during a night that was heavy on policy specifics.
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This live coverage has now ended. Continue reading DNC news from August 20, 2020.
Trump campaign condemns Kenosha shooting following reports suspect was at rally
President Trump's campaign on Wednesday spoke out following reports that the suspect in the shooting of two people during civil unrest in Kenosha, Wisconsin expressed support for the president online.
A TikTok video, which was posted to an account associated with the suspect, Kyle Rittenhouse, recently surfaced following his arrest that appears to show him at a Trump rally at Drake University in January 2020.
“President Trump has repeatedly and consistently condemned all forms of violence and believes we must protect all Americans from chaos and lawlessness," Trump campaign communications director Tim Murtaugh said. "This individual had nothing to do with our campaign and we fully support our fantastic law enforcement for their swift action in this case.”
White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany also issued a statement, calling on Democratic governors to deploy the National Gaurd in response to protests.
"President Trump condemns violence in all forms and believes we must protect all Americans from chaos and lawlessness," she said. "We have assisted Wisconsin in the deployment of almost 1,000 National Guard and over 200 federal law enforcement personnel, which include FBI and U.S. Marshals.”
Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers has authorized members of the National Guard to help local law enforcement in Kenosha after the unrest, according to NBC affiliate WTMJ-TV in Milwaukee.
Black mayors take the spotlight at the DNC
As the New York Times reporter Astead Herndon points out, there are a notable number of Black mayors featured during this week's convention.
While those mayors mark the progress of women and people of color in American politics, racial justice advocates and criminal justice reformers would prefer those local officials had been more progressive in implementing policy on the front lines.
For instance, Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot had been broadly celebrated on the left when she won the mayorship in 2019, as a Black lesbian taking the reins of the third-largest city in the United States. But Lightfoot, a former federal prosecutor and former president of the Chicago Police Board, has been criticized for her resistance to demands by local police reform leaders, as well as some of decisions throughout her career.
Similarly, Washington, D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser gained national notoriety for standing off against President Trump and reclaiming Lafayette Square across the street from the White House as Black Lives Matter Plaza. But as NBC's Janell Ross wrote earlier this week:
In recent weeks, protesters in Washington have criticized Bowser’s opposition to one of the protest movement’s chief demands: reallocating funding from the city’s police department to social programs and services. Bowser, who backed the billionaire former New York City mayor Michael Bloomberg during the Democratic presidential primary, described the plan to reallocate police funding as unsound and actively worked to block the change.Democratic convention's focus on racial justice omits policy demands of BLM protesters
In some ways, this shouldn't be too much of a surprise since the DNC this week has focused its messaging on less "radical," more middle-of-the-road policies and figures; it may be de rigueur to proclaim that Black lives matter, but the question becomes whether those making the proclamations understand the demands behind the protests.
4 key takeaways from Wednesday night's DNC
Kamala Harris re-introduced herself to the nation she hopes to help govern as Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton made a dire case about the state of American democracy on the third night of the all-virtual Democratic National Convention on Wednesday.
Democrats showcased the diversity of their coalition, with every race and background represented and musical performances in both Spanish and English, culminating in Harris, the daughter of Indian and Jamaican immigrants, accepting her party’s nomination for vice president.
Harris makes history, accepts vice presidential nomination in rousing speech
Kamala Harris accepted the Democratic Party's vice presidential nomination in a prime-time convention speech Wednesday that walked voters through her personal story, pitched them on the necessity of electing Joe Biden and herself this fall, and blasted President Trump's "incompetence" and "callousness" in the Oval Office.
Harris made history with her acceptance of the nomination as the first Black or Asian American woman to appear on a major party's presidential ticket. The California senator is just the fourth woman to be on such a ticket, after 1984 Democratic vice presidential nominee Geraldine Ferraro, 2008 Republican vice presidential nominee Sarah Palin and Hillary Clinton, the 2016 Democratic presidential nominee.
Speaking from Wilmington, Delaware, Harris spoke at length about her family and backstory, particularly the role her mother played in her life before she died of cancer. Harris then touched on her career as a prosecutor and state attorney general, saying she's "fought for children, and survivors of sexual assault."
"I’ve fought against transnational gangs," she said. "I took on the biggest banks, and helped take down one of the biggest for-profit colleges."
On her vision of the country, Harris says it is of a place "where we may not agree on every detail, but we are united by the fundamental belief that every human being is of infinite worth, deserving of compassion, dignity and respect."
Harris said she and Biden share values and a vision "of our nation as a beloved community where all are welcome, no matter what we look like, where we come from, or who we love."
On Trump, Harris said his "failure of leadership has cost lives and livelihoods" and said COVID-19's disproportionate impact on Black and brown communities is a byproduct of "structural racism."
"We’re at an inflection point," she said. "The constant chaos leaves us adrift. The incompetence makes us feel afraid. The callousness makes us feel alone. It’s a lot. And here’s the thing: We can do better and deserve so much more."
"Right now, we have a president who turns our tragedies into political weapons," Harris said. "Joe will be a president who turns our challenges into purpose."
Harris was the featured star of the convention's third night. She spoke after speeches from three of the Democratic Party's most prominent women leaders — Nancy Pelosi, Hillary Clinton and Elizabeth Warren — and immediately after a rousing and emotional address by Barack Obama.
"Make no mistake, the road ahead will not be not easy," Harris said, adding that she and Biden "may fall short."
"But I pledge to you that we will act boldly and deal with our challenges honestly," she said. "We will speak truths. And we will act with the same faith in you that we ask you to place in us."
Concluding her speech, Harris said, "Years from now, this moment will have passed and our children and our grandchildren will look in our eyes and ask us: Where were you when the stakes were so high?"
"And we will tell them ... not just how we felt," she said. "We will tell them what we did."
NBC News presidential historian: Why Obama's speech was unprecedented
Trump explodes at Harris speech
The Trump campaign has been pushing a message that Harris was “disrespectful” to Biden during the Democratic primary and it is, they say, incomprehensible that Biden would pick her to be his running mate.
Harris called out Biden for his past positions on busing during a primary debate, but she went out of her way to say that she did not believe Biden to be a racist.
Pass the tissues?
From 11-year-old Estella recounting how her mother was deported to the devastating stories of domestic violence and Kamala Harris' family stories, tonight's DNC brought on the tears in a lot of people.
Former President Barack Obama appeared to choke up briefly, too, describing the racism Black Americans have faced in pursuit of their voting rights.
“Black Americans chained and whipped and hanged, spit on for trying to sit at lunch counters, beaten for trying to vote," he said. "If anyone had a right to believe this democracy didn't work and couldn't work, it was those Americans."
Inside the room where Kamala Harris gave her unusual convention speech
When Kamala Harris took the stage on Wednesday night, it looked very different from past conventions.
What this would normally look like: music blaring; a convention floor jam-packed with party faithful; the energy and buzz of an excited crowd. Instead, inside the Chase Convention Center on Wednesday are blue carpet pads on the floor (dividing reporters into socially distanced boxes), making it so the limited voices are muffled and the sound of footsteps is absorbed. There are pylons for all U.S. states and territories but in place of delegates and a raucous audience, there is a handful of reporters waiting before the stage in the Wilmington Hall room.
The most jarring thing? The eerie quiet and the shadows cast by the lights on the state pylons.
Then when it was done, the ticket and their spouses waved as they would to a crowd, which was only the small group reporters, photographers, and Secret Service agents in the room.
Biden will be back here in the same room, Wilmington Hall, for his speech tomorrow night.
Biden uses Obama's words to clap back at Trump
Harris' family introduces her ahead of marquee convention speech
Kamala Harris was introduced ahead of her marquee speech Wednesday at the Democratic National Convention by her sister Maya Harris, niece Meena Harris and stepdaughter Ella Emhoff, who testified to her personal qualities.
Meena Harris said her aunt is her "role model, who taught me I could do and be anything I wanted." Maya Harris said her sister was her "very first friend, my confidante, my partner in mischief and in justice."
Emhoff said her stepmother is "a rock, not just for our dad but for three generations of our big, blended family."
"I love you; I admire you; I am so proud of you," Maya said. "And even though Mommy’s not here to see her first daughter step into history, the entire nation will see in your strength, your integrity, your intelligence, and your optimism the values that she raised us with."
"We love you, Momala," Emhoff said.
Last-minute lineup switch
Barack Obama and Kamala Harris had a last-minute switch, with Obama delivering his speech first.
Harris will now close the program with her acceptance speech.
Obama delivers blistering speech against Trump at DNC
Former President Obama delivered his most blistering speech yet against President Trump in his prime-time appearance on Day 3 of the DNC, becoming visibly emotional during his roughly 20-minute remarks.
Obama spoke from the Museum of the American Revolution in Philadelphia, the birthplace of American democracy. With the Constitution as his backdrop, he slammed Trump, saying he has proven he cannot do the job — speaking directly to disaffected and undecided voters.
“Donald Trump hasn’t grown into the job because he can’t. And the consequences of that failure are severe,” Obama said. "One-hundred-and-seventy-thousand Americans dead. Millions of jobs gone. Our worst impulses unleashed, our proud reputation around the world badly diminished, and our democratic institutions threatened like never before.”
Obama said Biden and Harris will "restore our standing in the world" and move the country forward, and continued to hammer Trump and "those who enable him."
"They understand that in this democracy, the commander-in-chief doesn’t use the men and women of our military, who are willing to risk everything to protect our nation, as political props to deploy against peaceful protesters on our own soil," he said. "They understand that political opponents aren’t 'un-American' just because they disagree with you; that a free press isn’t the 'enemy' but the way we hold officials accountable; that our ability to work together to solve big problems like a pandemic depends on a fidelity to facts and science and logic and not just making stuff up."
He called on Americans to make a plan on how they will vote, stressing the importance of voter turnout. As he spoke about voting rights and democracy, noting the conversations he had with the late civil rights advocate and congressman John Lewis, Obama appeared to get teary-eyed, with his voice almost cracking.
"I am asking you to believe in Joe and Kamala’s ability to lead this country out of these dark times and build it back better," Obama said. "But here’s the thing: No single American can fix this country alone. ... So I am also asking you to believe in your own ability — to embrace your own responsibility as citizens — to make sure that the basic tenets of our democracy endure."
"Do not let them take away your power," he later added. "Do not let them take away your democracy. Make a plan right now for how you’re going to get involved and vote."
Trump is watching Obama...
Domestic violence prevention gets unexpected prominence at DNC
The Violence Against Women's Act was one of Joe Biden's biggest domestic legislative accomplishments during his 36 years in the U.S. Senate, which is likely why domestic violence prevention got an unexpected feature at Wednesday night's DNC.
Biden authored the law, known as VAWA, as part of a sweeping crime bill he helped write and usher through Congress in 1994.
Biden has taken considerable criticism for his work on the crime bill, a bipartisan piece of legislation that at the time was considered an effort to curb crime and stem a national drug crisis. But in the intervening decades, the legislation has been blamed for unfairly targeting minorities and filling prisons with black men.
But the Violence Against Women Act portion of the crime bill package has largely remained popular. The legislation gives federal officials more power in combating domestic violence.
VAWA was reauthorized by Congress with bipartisan support three more times. But in 2018, opposition by Republicans to Democratic efforts to add protections for transgender people resulted in the law expiring.
Old clips highlight Biden's place in history
These decades-old clips of Biden’s work in the Senate are doing double duty tonight, highlighting both a key legislative achievement and the fact that Biden was on the right side of history in advocating for women suffering in silence in a society that ignored their plight as a private issue.
It’s arguably the overarching argument of the entire Democratic convention: Which side of history do you want to be on when it comes to immigration, gun violence, climate change, and a devastating pandemic?
It's a pitch that carefully sidesteps the parts of Biden's decades-long record that came under scrutiny amid the primary — including his opposition to bussing, his handling of Anita Hill's sexual harassment claims, and his work writing a crime bill that disproportionately locked up people of color.
Democrats are capitalizing on the Latino voter gender gap
Eva Longoria Baston, Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto, former Labor Secretary Hilda Solis, Rep. Veronica Escobar. There's a reason why many prominent Latinas are getting some prime spots.
The gender gap among Latinos is bigger than it is among Black or white voters. Latino men are more likely to back Trump than Latinas, who are more likely to support a Democrat.
Hillary's right: Why Joe Biden and Kamala Harris could win by '3 million votes' and 'still lose'
Somewhere near the beginning of the end of Hillary Clinton’s virtual DNC speech Wednesday night came a staggering reminder of the 2016 election.
Joe Biden and Kamala Harris could win the popular vote by 3 million ballots and still lose the White House, Clinton said.
“Believe me,” Clinton said. “I know.”
When the ballots cast in the 2016 election were tallied, Clinton had 2.9 million more popular votes cast in her favor than Donald Trump. But President Trump’s victories in an ideal combination of states gave him a victory with the Electoral College.
That pathway was so narrow that Trump won one of those states, Michigan, by fewer than 11,000 votes. The result set off a fresh wave of debate and attempts to challenge the utility and fairness of the Electoral College, a system that indirectly selects the president of the United States. It drew attention to the system’s origins and historical purpose: to boost the political power of slave states. It continues to shape which states command the greatest political influence and attention today.
Warren promotes Biden's economic agenda, says Trump 'failed miserably' at handling the pandemic
Elizabeth Warren delivered the capstone speech during the Democratic National Convention's economic-focused segment Wednesday, detailing how the pandemic has harmed millions of Americans, why Joe Biden can help bring a recovery and how Donald Trump is the one to blame.
Warren, speaking from the Springfield Early Childhood Education Center in Massachusetts, sought the Democratic Party's presidential nomination this cycle and was a contender to serve as Biden's running mate.
"Tonight we’ve heard from the people who make America work, people who put their lives on the line to keep our country going, and since COVID-19 hit, they’ve taken one gut punch after another," Warren said. "And what has the COVID fallout done to our babies? ... Childcare was already hard to find before the pandemic. And now, parents are stuck — no idea when schools can safely reopen and even fewer childcare options. The devastation is enormous."
"And the way I see it: big problems demand big solutions," she continued. "I love a good plan, and Joe Biden has some really good plans." Warren said those plans "reflect a central truth: our economic system has been rigged to give bailouts to billionaires and kick dirt in the face of everyone else."
She offered effusive praise for Biden's childcare plan, saying it "will make high-quality childcare affordable for every family, make preschool universal, and raise the wages for every childcare worker."
"That’s just one plan, but it gives you an idea of how we get this country working for everyone," she said. "Donald Trump’s ignorance and incompetence have always been a danger to our country."
"COVID-19 was Trump’s biggest test," she continued. "He failed miserably."
"This crisis is on Donald Trump and the Republicans who enable him," she said. "On November 3, we hold them all accountable."
After going light on policy, DNC brings the goods on Night 3
The first two nights of the Democratic convention featured plenty about Joe Biden, President Trump and the challenges the U.S. faces.
Those were mostly broad strokes. On Wednesday, the convention shifted to a policy-heavy night with segments focused on some of the topics that Biden and Democrats hope to push: gun control, climate change, immigration, domestic violence and the economy.
It was on domestic violence that the night's policy theme stood out the most. A video segment featured first-hand accounts of the violence women face every day, something rarely heard at a high-profile political event.
Pelosi celebrates women's suffrage, hits Trump for 'disrespect'
Nancy Pelosi — the first woman to serve as speaker of the House — celebrated the 100th anniversary of the ratification of the 19th Amendment giving women the right to vote in her address to the DNC.
Pelosi highlighted that the House Democratic majority is the most diverse in history, with "more than 60 percent women, people of color and LGBTQ."
Pelosi's popularity in the party has skyrocketed during the Trump administration as she has won praise for outmaneuvering him in political negotiations. She continues to frequently draw his ire.
Pelosi listed a number of policy priorities that congressional Democrats have proposed that have stalled — from voting rights to lowering the cost of prescription drugs.
"All of this is possible for America. Who is standing in the way? Mitch McConnell and Donald Trump," she said.
Pelosi said that as speaker she has witnessed Trump's "disrespect" throughout his term.
"I've seen firsthand Donald Trump's disrespect for facts, for working families and for women in particular— disrespect written into his policies toward our health and our rights, not just his conduct. But we know what he doesn't: that when women succeed, America succeeds," she said.
Pelosi called for the country to elect Joe Biden and "rid the country of Trump's heartless disregard for America's goodness."
Hillary Clinton urges people to vote so Trump 'can't sneak or steal his way to victory'
Live from her living room in Chappaqua, New York, Hillary Clinton warned voters during Night 3 of the DNC not to underestimate "how dangerous" President Donald Trump is after four years in office.
"Vote like our lives and livelihoods are on the line, because they are," she said.
Clinton's remarks came nearly four years after she lost the 2016 election following a heated general election in which Trump routinely directed vitriol at Clinton, a former secretary of state, senator and first lady. Chants of "lock her up" at rallies and references to "Crooked Hillary" by Trump continued long after the election.
Invoking past fights for voting rights, Clinton implored Americans to vote by mail if they can, to become poll workers and to wear masks and take friends if they vote in person. Clinton referred to her popular vote victory and her loss in the Electoral College when urging voters to head the polls.
"Remember, Joe and Kamala can win 3 million more votes and still lose. Take. It. From. Me. We need numbers so overwhelming Trump can't sneak or steal his way to victory."
Clinton also gave a word of encouragement to Kamala Harris, calling her "relentless in the pursuit of justice and uncommonly kind," and warned about the sexism she will face during the election.
"I know a thing or two about the slings and arrows coming her way. Kamala can handle them all," she said. "This is the team to pull our nation back from the brink and build back better. But they can't do it without all of us."
Kerry Washington, while hosting DNC, tweets with 8th grade constitutional law teacher
Biden appeal on immigration comes in year of record immigrants eligible to vote
The next policy segment was focused on immigration, featuring a video montage of families affected by President Donald Trump's immigration policies and a bilingual performance from Dominican American singer-songwriter Prince Royce.
Democrats spotlighted the deportations of the spouse of a former Marine and Iraq War veteran and of a young undocumented immigrant with spina bifida to portray Joe Biden's views on immigration.
They underscored their stories with the words of former President Barack Obama, who said: "Tension throughout our history between welcoming or rejecting the stranger is about more than just immigration. It's about the meaning of America."
Trump has been accused of racism and inhumanity for his hard-line immigration policies, but Biden has had to reassure voters that he is trustworthy on the issue given the record number of deportations during Obama's administration.
This election, a record 23 million immigrants will be eligible to vote.
Democrats focus on women on night 3
In a powerful video montage, the Democrats celebrated the historic number of women in elected office and paid tribute to the leaders who paved that path — from Shirley Chisholm to Hillary Clinton.
The video showed images of the 2017 Women's March and mashups of the wave of newly elected women that shook up Congress and governor's mansions in 2018 such as New Jersey Rep. Mikie Sherrill and Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer.
Following that video were speeches from some of the most prominent women in politics, including Nancy Pelosi and Hillary Clinton, who both wore white as a nod to suffragettes.
Climate change, gun control and Billie Eilish: A nod to Gen Z voters
The first leg of Wednesday's DNC was a clear nod to Gen Z and the issues they care about most.
The March for Our Lives was a seminal moment following countless school shootings, and the 2018 Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School shooting in Parkland, Florida.
Since then, Gen Z has also rallied around the climate crisis with the global climate strike last year, and built up organizations like the Sunrise Movement to rally for efforts like the Green New Deal. Both movements got their due during the DNC through the voices and experiences of young people.
And then they cap it off with Billie Eilish in a spooky forest? An insightful touch.
Climate change prominently featured on Day 3 of DNC
Joe Biden's record on climate change took center stage in the opening of Day 3 of the Democratic convention.
It opened with Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham of New Mexico talking about how her state is a blueprint of what can be done nationwide on climate policy. She said Trump, who has called global warming a "hoax," represents "environmental annihilation."
"While the Trump administration has been eliminating environmental protections, we’ve expanded them. While they’ve been rolling back regulations on oil and gas companies, we’ve taken on polluters and held them accountable," she said. "We’re laying a roadmap for a just 21st century America, one where we lead with compassion."
She said Biden will take us all the way will rejoin the international climate agreement so the U.S. can build a "clean, green 21st century."
It also featured former climate scientists and researchers who worked in the Trump administration. The officials said the administration did not care about climate policy and in one case wanted to change a government report that concluded humans are one of the drivers of global warming.
In a nod to the party's younger, progressive wing, the segment also featured young activists who are organizing youth around climate change, such as 15-year-old Alexandria Villaseñor.
"Joe Biden won't solve this crisis in four years, not one can but he will put us back on track so our generation can have a fighting chance," she said.
The segment was punctuated with singer Billie Eilish, who has been outspoken about climate change, performing her new song "My Future."
Emotional reactions to DNC gun control segment pour in
A quick climate change segment, but Biden's plan is deep
Next up at the convention were a series of videos and an address from New Mexico Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham tackling climate change, the first significant part of the convention dedicated to the topic.
Climate activists would almost certainly want more time, but Joe Biden's climate plan has received plaudits.
Biden's $2 trillion plan could create the kind of change necessary to avert the more catastrophic consequences of climate change, activists and scientists told NBC News' Denise Chow.
"We're talking about major investments in every corner of the country and every ZIP code," said Steve Capanna, the director of U.S. climate policy and analysis for the Environmental Defense Fund, a New York-based advocacy group. "That's a great way to put people of diverse income levels and diverse skill sets back to work in a way that will be rebuilding better than just going back to the way things were before."
Gun control takes center stage at Democratic convention
Former Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, who survived a gunshot to the head in 2011, capped off a segment on gun control at the Democratic National Convention on Wednesday, saying "we are at a crossroads" on guns.
"I’ve known the darkest of days, days of pain and uncertain recovery. But confronted by despair, I’ve summoned hope," Giffords said. "Confronted by paralysis and aphasia, I’ve responded with grit and determination. I put one foot in front of the other. I found one word and then I found another. My recovery is a daily fight, but fighting makes me stronger. Words once came easily; today I struggle with speech."
"But I have not lost my voice," she continued. "America needs all of us to speak out, even when you have to fight to find the words. We are at a crossroads. We can let the shooting continue or we can act. We can protect our families, our future. We can vote. We can be on the right side of history. We must elect Joe Biden. He was there for me; he’ll be there for you, too."
Giffords' husband, Mark Kelly, is the Democratic nominee for Senate in Arizona this fall.
Giffords followed speeches from gun activists including Emma Gonzalez, a Parkland, Florida, high school student who survived the 2018 school shooting, and DeAndra Dycus, whose son was left paralyzed after being shot with a stray bullet at 13 years old.
Dycus, wearing a Mom's Demand Action shirt, said, "Yes, I can touch DeAndre, I can hold his hand, but the child that I birthed is not able to live his dreams, and that hurts."
"Every day we’re reminded that he may never be the same," she said. "We are not alone. In every town across America, there are families who know what a bullet can do. That’s why I’m a mom who volunteers to stop this."
"President Trump? He doesn’t care," she continued. "He didn’t care about the victims after Parkland, Las Vegas, or El Paso. I want a President who cares about our pain and grief, a president who will take on the gun lobby to ban assault weapons and close the loopholes to keep guns out of the hands of criminals. Joe Biden has taken on the NRA twice and won. And he will do it again as president."
What was not heavily noted tonight was the shooting in El Paso, Texas, just over a year ago that left 20 dead. The accused shooter, who is facing the death penalty, confessed to targeting people of Mexican descent, according to court documents.
Washington poses for a selfie with Harris' family
Kerry Washington hosts third night of DNC
Actress Kerry Washington is the emcee for tonight's program, which is themed "A More Perfect Union."
"No one is perfect, nothing is, but it is the striving towards justice, equality, and truth that distinguishes," she said in remarks kicking off the evening and introducing the line-up, which features prominent female leaders like Hillary Clinton, Nancy Pelosi and Elizabeth Warren. "We fight for our perfect union because we are fighting for the soul of this country, and of our lives."
Washington, 43, has been a vocal critic of Trump and has compared his administration to "Scandal," the political TV drama series she starred in.
The Democrats have enlisted different Hollywood actresses to host each night of the DNC. Eva Longoria kicked off the convention Monday and Tracee Ellis Ross hosted Tuesday. "Veep" star Julia Louis-Dreyfus will close out the program Thursday night. That all four emcees are women and three are of color is not a coincidence given the party's hope to win female voters by historic margins.
DNC opens with video montage of Republicans supporting Biden
For the third night in a row, the DNC kicked off the program with a video montage of Republicans who supported Donald Trump in 2016 who are now voting for Joe Biden.
The people in the videos have shared bits and pieces about why they are voting for Biden throughout the week.
The message seems to be clear: The DNC is going to bat for undecided or disillusioned conservatives and independents.
'When we vote, things change': Harris opens Night 3 with call to plan ahead
Kamala Harris opened the beginning of the third night of the Democratic National Convention on Wednesday a call for people to plan their vote.
"Why don't they want us to vote? Why is their so much effort to silence our voices?" Harris asked. "And the answer is: because when we vote, things change. When we vote, things get better. When we vote, we address the need for all people to be treated with respect and dignity."
"So each of us needs a plan," she said. "A voting plan."
She will also give the traditional acceptance speech at the end of the two-hour virtual convention. A convention planning official said the additional appearance is part of Democrats' "unconventional convention."
"There is incredible excitement around Senator Harris joining the ticket, and we want people to hear from her as much as possible," the official said.
Democrats canceled their in-person convention and have worked to find ways to make the production of the virtual event more engaging for viewers watching at home without crowds cheering or the visuals of a large arena of supporters.
Obama has stayed out of the Trump fray since leaving office. Tonight might be different.
In the years since he left office, former President Barack Obama has abided by political convention and stayed relatively quiet about his successor.
That's about to end, with growing anticipation that Obama will hold nothing back in criticizing President Donald Trump on the third night of the Democratic National Convention.
Obama's broader silence has at times led to some questions and criticism. As GQ noted in 2018, Obama's absence spawned a New York Magazine feature article as well as a parody song on "Saturday Night Live" from Chance the Rapper.
In the past couple of years, he's been a bit more present, particularly around the death of George Floyd and subsequent protests.
That makes what Obama is preparing to say Wednesday night all the more significant. The American people have spent four years hearing plenty of people rail about Trump. They haven't heard Obama, who remains quite popular in retirement.
How Harris' Indian heritage and pioneering mother propelled her
The political journey of Kamala Harris, the first vice presidential candidate of Indian origin, has inspired millions of Indians, many of whom lofted banners of congratulations in her ancestral city of Chennai after learning that she had been named the Democratic vice presidential nominee.
The admiration goes both ways. The senator's extended Indian family, particularly her mother, Shyamala Gopalan, was an inspiration for Harris as she rose to the pinnacle of American politics, her uncle Gopalan Balachandran said in an interview at his home in India's capital, New Delhi.
"That is the value — the value that you treat everybody equally. Don't worry about where you are from, where do you go, what do you eat, what dress do you wear, what languages they speak. It all doesn't matter," Balachandran said. "That's what my father told me and my sister. That's what Shyamala told Kamala and [her sister] Maya. That's the values they have."
Those values will be on display Wednesday night when Harris will address the Democratic National Convention to introduce herself as the first Black and Indian American vice presidential nominee.
Trump hammers Obama ahead of DNC speech: 'So ineffective, so terrible'
President Trump attacked Barack Obama on Wednesday, criticizing the former president for the message he is expected to deliver at the Democratic National Convention condemning his successor.
"When I listen to that and then I see the horror that he's left us, the stupidity of the transactions that he's made — look what we're doing, we have our great border wall, we have security," Trump said during a press conference at the White House.
Trump went on to call Obama "so ineffective, so terrible" and blamed him for the "slowest growing recovery in the history, I guess since 1929, on the economy."
Night 2 of DNC draws about 19.2 million TV viewers, down from 2016
About 19.2 million people tuned in to Night 2 of the 2020 Democratic National Convention, matching a significant decline from 2016 also seen in the event's first night, according to data released by media analytics company Nielsen.
Tuesday night's audience was down about 22 percent from the 24.7 million people who tuned into the second night of the 2016 DNC convention. Monday night's decline was about 24 percent.
The silver lining for Democrats, however, comes in the form of internet-based streaming, which has shown signs of a significant increase compared to 2016. TJ Ducklo, national press secretary for the Biden campaign, tweeted Tuesday that the first night of the convention shattered the previous record for digital streams with 10.2 million.
In VP acceptance speech, Harris to make the case for Biden over Trump
Kamala Harris is set to blast Trump's "incompetence" and "callousness" while praising Joe Biden as someone who will as president turn "our challenges into purpose" during her speech Wednesday accepting the party's vice-presidential nomination.
Harris will address the convention live from Wilmington, Delaware, and say she and Biden share values and a vision — one "of our nation as a beloved community where all are welcome, no matter what we look like, where we come from, or who we love," according to prepared remarks.
But Harris will say "that country feels distant" now.
"Donald Trump’s failure of leadership has cost lives and livelihoods," she will say.
"We’re at an inflection point," she will add. "The constant chaos leaves us adrift. The incompetence makes us feel afraid. The callousness makes us feel alone. It’s a lot. And here’s the thing: We can do better and deserve so much more."
Harris will say the country "must elect a president ... who will bring all of us together — Black, white, Latino, Asian, Indigenous — to achieve the future we collectively want. We must elect Joe Biden."
Democrats also released a teaser of the video that will introduce Harris at the convention.
As Biden's running mate, Harris is the first Black or Asian American woman to appear on a major party's presidential ticket.
"Right now, we have a president who turns our tragedies into political weapons," she will say. "Joe will be a president who turns our challenges into purpose."
Obama to implore voters to 'embrace your own responsibility as citizens'
Obama plans to make a direct appeal to undecided and disaffected voters in his speech at Wednesday night’s DNC while condemning Trump in some of his most direct language to date.
Obama will say he has sat in the Oval Office with both Biden and Trump and although he never expected his successor to embrace his policies he hoped “Trump might show some interest in taking the job seriously,” according to prepared remarks.
“But he never did,” Obama will say. “He’s shown no interest in putting in the work; no interest in finding common ground; no interest in using the awesome power of his office to help anyone but himself and his friends; no interest in treating the presidency as anything but one more reality show that he can use to get the attention he craves. Donald Trump hasn’t grown into the job because he can’t."
Obama will make the case for Biden in an appeal to voters, especially those who "just don’t know enough about the person who wants to lead us there."
Describing Biden as a "brother," Obama will say that his former vice president was "the last one in the room whenever I faced a big decision." He will add, "He made me a better president. He’s got the character and the experience to make us a better country."
"But here’s the thing: no single American can fix this country alone. Democracy was never meant to be transactional – you give me your vote; I make everything better," Obama will say. "So I am also asking you to believe in your own ability – to embrace your own responsibility as citizens – to make sure that the basic tenets of our democracy endure.”
Michelle Obama 'can't wait' to hear Harris tonight
'I used to think it was because of his personality': Biden again questions Trump's intelligence
In his sharpest remarks to date questioning President Trump’s intelligence, Joe Biden said he believes the president cannot “intellectually handle” the responsibility required to lead the country.
“When it comes to the pandemic, after months of failure, he just gave up," Biden told the Wisconsin convention delegation in short virtual remarks. "You know, I used to think it was because of his personality, but I just don’t think he can intellectually handle it. I don’t think he’s competent enough to know what to do. He just waved the white flag."
The Democratic nominee’s remarks come as the Trump campaign has launched a new two-minute ad accusing Biden of having mentally declined since he left the vice presidency. Biden has previously dodged questions when asked about Trump’s attack on his cognitive abilities, often telling an audience “watch me,” especially at a debate against the president.
Biden also shamed the president for trying to fix the pandemic by holding daily press conferences, something that Trump restarted after polls showed him losing by big margins to Biden.
"He promised relief to mainstream businesses slammed by the recession. Instead, he bumped the Mar-a-Lago crowd to the front of the line getting the money for the wealthy that was supposed to go to small businesses,” Biden said. “And now he’s out trying to perform every day back on TV."
"In a crisis, you all know it, character is revealed."
In DNC speech, Hillary Clinton to say 'this can’t be another woulda coulda shoulda election'
In her speech at Wednesday night’s DNC, Hillary Clinton will underscore the importance of voting to make Trump a one-term president, according to excerpts released ahead of her primetime appearance.
"For four years, people have said to me, 'I didn’t realize how dangerous he was,' 'I wish I could go back and do it over.' Or worst, 'I should have voted.' Well, this can’t be another woulda coulda shoulda election,” Clinton will say. "If you vote by mail, request your ballot now, and send it back as soon as you can. If you vote in person, do it early. Bring a friend and wear a mask. Become a poll worker. Most of all, no matter what, vote. Vote like our lives and livelihoods are on the line, because they are."
Clinton will add that she had hoped Trump would be "a better president," but "sadly, he is who he is." Clinton is also expected to invoke the Suffragette movement and the Civil Rights movement in highlighting the importance of heading to the polls.
"There’s a lot of heartbreak in America right now – and the truth is, many things were broken before the pandemic. But, as the saying goes, the world breaks everyone, and afterward, many are strong at the broken places," she will say. "Joe Biden knows how to heal, unify, and lead, because he’s done all of that for his family and his country."
Pelosi to hit Trump for 'disrespect'
The DNC released in advance excerpts from Pelosi's remarks that she will deliver Wednesday night at the convention.
"We come together again, not to decry the darkness, but to light a way forward for our country," she will say. "That is the guiding purpose of House Democrats. We are fighting For The People."
The House speaker will also criticize Trump for his "disrespect for facts, for working families, and for women in particular — disrespect written into his policies toward our health and our rights, not just his conduct."
"But we know what he doesn’t," she will say, "That when women succeed, America succeeds."
Obama to speak in Philly, deliver message that 'democracy is on the line'
Obama will speak at the Museum of the American Revolution in Philadelphia on Wednesday night, three sources familiar with the planning told NBC News.
The location is intended to underscore that "our very democracy is on the line" in this election, according to one aide familiar with the plans.
A source familiar with Obama’s remarks, which will be delivered live, told NBC News the level of intensity and ferocity in the speech will be notable.
The 44th president is set to stress Biden’s qualifications: his work leading the Recovery Act, the Affordable Care Act and his judgment as vice president. He will say that he has watched Biden in the Situation Room and in the Oval Office and that his former VP is ready to be president.
He will make the case against Trump in the strongest terms we’ve seen to date about the threat of a second term.
As his wife Michelle did on Monday, Obama will also make an urgent plea for voting rights, Obama spokesperson Katie Hill said. He plans to hit Republicans for "cynical moves" meant to "discourage Americans from voting," she said.
Biden to Hispanic Caucus: 'We can't do this without you'
Joe BIden emphasized the importance of the Latino vote in the 2020 election in prerecorded remarks delivered to the Hispanic Caucus at the DNC on Wednesday.
“Kamala and I will be fighting to earn every single Latino vote,” Biden said. “We can’t do this without you.”
Biden praised the caucus for its work, saying it's because of them that his campaign is "reaching people with the message of empathy, aspiration and resolve."
He also acknowledged that “Latino families are bearing a disproportionate share of the burden” of the COVID-19 crisis, and that he wants to “work each day to strip bias out of American life.”
During Asian American caucus meeting, Harris says concerns won't be 'ignored'
Harris on Wednesday addressed the Asian American and Pacific Islander Caucus by phone, saying their concerns wouldn't be "ignored" during this election.
She noted that Asian Americans are the largest growing minority group in the U.S. and could impact the margin of victory in key battleground states.
"For years, the AAPI community's voice has not been heard. Its concerns ignored and stories forgotten," she said. "But this time it's different,” Harris said.
She also took aim at Trump, saying the president "has restored to racist and xenophobic language to deflect from his failures… and that's just one of the so many reasons why I’m eager to get to work with Joe and with each of you on behalf of every American."
Harris also said that Biden has already committed to adding more AAPI judges than all previous administrations combined.
'Oh stop it, Joe,' Jill Biden gives husband eye roll over 'biased' take on speech
Andrew Yang previews Thursday DNC speech: 'Truly the darkest time'
Former 2020 presidential candidate Andrew Yang previewed his Thursday night DNC convention remarks during a conversation with Washington Post Live on Wednesday.
"I’m going to make the case tomorrow night, look, we have to give ourselves a chance," he said. "I’m going to paint a picture as to just how bad it is for many of us, and it is dark."
He added, "This is truly the darkest time any of us has ever seen, and you have to ask yourself, ‘How are we going to get out of this mess?’ And signing up for 4 more years of Trump is a completely irrational way to try and get out of this mess because people sense that he’s not a leader who’s going to be trying to utilize our government to solve many of the problems we see."
Yang said it will be "a very easy case" for him to make.
Yang also discussed Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez's speech Tuesday night, the Biden-Harris economic message and the historic nature of the 2020 Democratic ticket.
Clinton to offer 'sobering indictment' of Trump
Hillary Clinton will offer a “sobering indictment” of the Trump presidency while reminding voters not to take anything for granted this election season, a person familiar with her remarks says.
The speech is expected to be 5-7 minutes and will be delivered live from the living room of her home in Chappaqua, N.Y.
“This is a hard format for most, but this is her bread and butter, speaking directly to people, making the case: this country deserves a better president,” the source said.
Clinton will praise communities that have come together during the coronavirus pandemic, finding strength and resilience through crisis — and will argue that the same should be expected of the White House.
She will implore Democrats to vote early and “overwhelm” Republicans, whom she'll characterize as trying “to cheat, lie and steal their way to victory,” the source said.
The former presidential candidate and secretary of state will spend little time on her own historic candidacy and loss in 2016, instead focusing on her relationship with Joe Biden, both personally and professionally, the source said. She will stress that she has seen his true character in many settings, from their time together in the Situation Room to persevering through family tragedies.
And unlike her husband Bill’s speech, which was pre-taped and didn’t mention Kamala Harris, Clinton is going to talk about the California senator’s “grit and compassion,” offering examples. That includes when Tyrone Gayle, Harris’ former national press secretary, was near the end of his battle with colon cancer in 2018, and Harris dropped everything to be by his side in the hospital in the final hours of his life.
Miles Taylor says criticizing Trump 'is going to be bad for my pocketbook'
Miles Taylor, the former Homeland Security chief of staff in the Trump administration who threw his support behind Joe Biden this week, said Wednesday that many of his former White House colleagues share his views on the president.
“Those colleagues that I served with in the administration know very, very well how I felt about the president,” he told Hallie Jackson on MSNBC. “And many of them felt the same way about the president. In fact, I would be willing to go as far as to say I can think of very few people that I served with in the Trump administration that don't feel the same way about the president as I do.”
When asked why he chose to speak up about the president at the start of the Democratic convention, Taylor said it’s because he thinks now is the best time for him to get on the air.
“If I had spoken out a year ago, the president would have buried it. He is a master of distraction. But right now, voters are paying attention.”
He also insisted his support for Biden is selfless, and he is not vying for his 15 minutes of fame as the president and skeptical liberals claim.
“This is going to be bad for my pocketbook, bad for me professionally, bad for me personally, so I'm not getting a whole lot out of this,” Taylor said.
Kamala's sister, step-daughter and niece to deliver speeches to nominate her as VP nominee
Kamala Harris' sister, step-daughter and niece are expected to deliver speeches Wednesday night to officially nominate her as the 2020 vice presidential nominee.
A press secretary for Joe Biden's presidential campaign announced the plan on Twitter.
Maya Harris, Kamala's sister, was a fixture on the senator's 2020 presidential campaign as its chairwoman during the primary cycle. Meena Harris held an event for her aunt in Iowa, and this will be the first time that the public will hear from Kamala's step-children, specifically from Ella Emhoff. Ella and Cole Emhoff are from the first marriage of Kamala's husband, Doug Emhoff.
DNC 2020, night 3: Harris' big speech, Obama's the closer and more to watch for
WASHINGTON — It's Kamala Harris' big night Wednesday as the vice presidential nominee addresses the third night of the all-virtual Democratic National Convention, along with Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton and Elizabeth Warren.
Harris is the first woman of color nominated to the presidential ticket of a major political party and will accept the nomination to be Joe Biden's running mate in a speech just before remarks by Obama, the first person of color to win the White House.
The two-hour program, whose theme "A More Perfect Union" will focus on efforts to make the American promise a reality for everyone, will be emceed by actress Kerry Washington and feature performances by singers Billie Eilish and Jennifer Hudson, as well as speeches by Nancy Pelosi and former Rep. Gabby Giffords, who became a gun control activist after she was shot in 2011.
Obama and Harris are country's two most popular political figures
WASHINGTON — Tonight’s main speakers at the Democratic convention — former President Barack Obama and V.P. nominee California Sen. Kamala Harris — happen to be the two most popular political figures in the latest NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll when it comes to their net-positive ratings (though Obama is much more popular than Harris is).
Digging inside Obama’s 54 percent positive, 34 percent negative rating (+20), the former president gets high marks among Black voters (84 percent to 6 percent), Latinos (63 percent to 19 percent), women (60 percent to 29 percent), voters 18-34 (59 percent to 24 percent), independents (51 percent to 23 percent), and he even breaks even with white women without college degrees (44 percent to 44 percent).
Compare those numbers with Biden’s among those same subgroups: Black voters (65 percent to 10 percent), Latinos (38 percent to 31 percent), women (47 percent to 36 percent), independents (25 percent to 42 percent), voters 18-34 (30 percent to 43 percent), and white women without college degrees (36 percent to 53 percent).
The NBC News/WSJ Poll was conducted between Aug. 9-12, with a margin of error of +/-3.3%
ANALYSIS: The old guard is still in charge at the Democratic convention
WASHINGTON — For Democrats, the future will have to wait.
A parade of prominent establishment Baby Boomers — and pre-Baby Boomers — reminded voters their set is in firm control of the party as more than a dozen rising stars were crammed into delivering a single quilted speech on the second night of the Democratic convention Tuesday.
Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., by far the most recognizable young Democrat in the country, was given her own one-minute speaking slot, but only because she was chosen by runner-up Bernie Sanders to act as a "second" for putting his name in nomination.
The message the Biden campaign sent to the rest of the country is that now is not the time to test out new leaders or pursue ideological aims. That's consistent with the way Biden ran his primary campaign, claiming the turf of the Obama administration he served in as vice president and challenging competitors — mostly younger and to his left — to define what was wrong with it.
A vision for a more inclusive nation: Aide previews Harris' remarks
An aide to Kamala Harris provided a short preview of the VP pick's remarks Wednesday night, saying the senator “hopes for people to see themselves in her speech.”
“You'll hear her tell her own story and highlight the examples and experiences of others," the aide said. "She will set out a vision for a more inclusive nation in which everyone is welcome and given equal opportunity and protection under the law. Senator Harris will make the case for electing Joe Biden, showing why he’s uniquely the leader for this moment and drawing a clear contrast with the failed leadership of Donald Trump.”
Acknowledging that some voters might have an implicit bias against a woman in power, an adviser told NBC News that Harris will show strength and demonstrate a capability to lead and to be an equal partner.
The adviser said it’s important to restore the idea of a return to “normalcy, without a crazy crisis every day,” noting people don’t want to think about their president every day, they want them to lead and do the job.
What to expect from Barack Obama's keynote speech
Barack Obama is expected to go to bat for his former vice president in his keynote speech Wednesday night, outlining why Joe Biden and Kamala Harris can lead the U.S. out of its current crises and emphasizing that Democracy itself is on the line in this election, an aide to the former president said.
"He will speak live tonight, outlining why Joe Biden and Kamala Harris possess the experience and character to lead us out of the ongoing economic and health care disasters that the current administration has blundered into," the aide said.
"He’ll talk about watching Joe’s success firsthand in helping to lead America out of a dire recession and jump-start our economy, expand health care for tens of millions of Americans, and restore our standing in the world," the aide added.
Obama is expected to highlight how the Trump administration and Republican Party are trying to "discourage Americans from voting," the aide said.
The president will also emphasize that the 2020 election is too important to sit out, and will call on Americans to vote early and turn out on Election Day on Nov. 3.
Jill Biden calls Trump's attacks on husband's cognitive abilities 'ridiculous'
WASHINGTON — Former second lady Jill Biden said Wednesday that President Donald Trump’s attacks against her husband and his cognitive abilities are “ridiculous.”
In an interview on NBC’s “TODAY” show, host Savannah Guthrie asked Jill Biden whether a new Trump ad attacking the former vice president’s mental fitness is fair.
“No, no, it’s ridiculous. I mean Joe’s on the phone every single minute of the day, talking to governors who are calling him, and Nancy Pelosi,” she said.
“He’s on the Zoom, he’s doing fundraisers, he’s doing briefings. I mean, he doesn’t stop from 9 in the morning to 11 at night. So, that, you know, that’s ridiculous,” she added.
Top moments from Night 2 of the DNC
Former presidents helped make the case for now-official Democratic nominee Joe Biden — and against President Donald Trump, while the virtual roll call delighted audiences with a digital tour of the U.S.
But it was Jill Biden who stole the show on Tuesday's second night of the Democratic National Convention. Here are some of the most notable moments from Night 2.