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While Democrats Get Behind Clinton, Trump Spotlights Their Discord

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

And I'm David Greene broadcasting this morning from member station WHYY in Philadelphia, where yesterday Hillary Clinton was officially nominated and became the first woman to head a major party ticket. First came the roll call from states all over the country.

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RUBEN GALLEGO: Arizona casts 34 votes for Senator Sanders.

JERRY EMMETT: And 51 votes for the next president of the United States of America, Hillary Rodham Clinton.

GREENE: I was standing inside the hall on the floor for that moment and quite a powerful moment it was. That's the voice of Jerry Emmett. She is 102 years old, a delegate born before women were allowed to vote. And now let's hear the voices of some of the powerful women who took the stage last night.

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BARBARA BOXER: Are you ready to elect the very first woman president of these United States of America? Let me hear it.

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DONNA BRAZILE: As a grown woman, I saw the first black president reach down a hand and touch the face of a child like I once was, lifting his eyes toward a better future. But I have never, ever, in all of my years, seen a leader so committed to delivering that better future to America's children as Hillary Clinton.

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AMY KLOBUCHAR: A leader who knows we are all more secure when women and girls have the opportunity to lead with their heads high and their strides strong.

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BARBARA MIKULSKI: So on behalf of all the women who have broken down barriers for others and with an eye toward the barriers ahead, I proudly place Hillary Clinton's name in nomination to be the next president.

GREENE: The voices there of California Senator Barbara Boxer, also Donna Brazile, the interim chair of the Democratic National Committee, Minnesota Senator Amy Klobuchar and Maryland Senator Barbara Mikulski. I'm joined now in the studio by Janet Hook, who covers national politics for The Wall Street Journal and also NPR national political correspondent Don Gonyea. Good morning to you both again.

DON GONYEA, BYLINE: Good morning.

JANET HOOK: Good morning.

GREENE: Janet, let me start with you. Just - I think about watching Hillary Clinton's political career. She has not always showcased the fact that she is a woman. But there is no doubt that that was the theme, this historic moment, last night.

HOOK: Yes. When she ran for president in 2008, it was almost like she downplayed the potentially historic nature of her candidacy. But now it's a much bigger part of her campaign. It was a huge part of the program last night. There was a whole collection of speakers who addressed not just the historic nature of having a woman for president, but just what it meant for women to have her rather than Donald Trump.

It's kind of like we - in a way, it's easy for us to forget the historic nature of this in part because she's been running for president for a long time. And also, there are all these other major nations in the world, like England and Germany, that have long ago had their first woman leaders. And in this case though - so we were reminded of it last night. And during the roll call, so many of the people who were announcing votes for her referred to the historic nature of electing the first woman. It was a big part of the emotion of that roll call. But it was also a reminder though, how important women are to her politically. They did a big riff on Donald Trump's record on women. You know, they had a big video kind of stringing together all the clips...

GREENE: Yeah.

HOOK: ...Of things that she - that he said that women find offensive. And, you know, polls show that she is, like, way ahead of Donald Trump among women, has to hold that lead to remain competitive.

GREENE: Don, let me turn to you. I want to listen here to - you know, you mentioned, Janet, some of the speeches last night. One came from Hillary Clinton's husband, former President Bill Clinton. And this is him talking about when she - he was governor, and she was leading a committee to improve education standards in the state of Arkansas.

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BILL CLINTON: I called the legislature into session hoping to pass the standards, pass the pay raise for teachers and raise the sales tax to pay for it all. I knew it would be hard to pass, but it got easier after Hillary testified before the Education Committee. And the chairman, a plainspoken farmer, said, looks to me like we elected the wrong Clinton.

(LAUGHTER)

GREENE: Don Gonyea, it was - it was a different kind of Bill Clinton speech last night.

GONYEA: Here's how it was typical - he was clearly enjoying himself, he was a storyteller, walking through things. But it was different in how personal it was, and it was about her. And we heard stories of their courtship. And we heard stories of the first house. And we heard stories of her as a mother and as a wife.

GREENE: Every stage of her life.

GONYEA: Every stage - dropping their daughter off at college and lining the drawers with paper. So in that regard, it was an intensely personal speech, but wound up with how he kept describing her as having been a change agent throughout her entire life and career.

GREENE: We should say that not all of the delegates who came to Philadelphia were in the hall listening throughout the evening because there was some dissent from Bernie Sanders supporters. Some of Sanders' delegates walked out of the convention. They staged a small protest outside the arena. We met one of them during the demonstration. His name is Ryan Lopez (ph), 20 years old from California. And I asked him why he was part of this walkout.

So Bernie Sanders, just a few minutes ago, stood up with the Vermont delegation...

RYAN LOPEZ: Yes.

GREENE: ...And basically just suspended the rules...

LOPEZ: Yes.

GREENE: ...To give the nomination...

LOPEZ: Yes.

GREENE: ...Unanimously to Hillary Clinton.

LOPEZ: Yes, that's correct.

GREENE: Did that make you want to support Secretary Clinton at all and not walk out of the convention?

LOPEZ: Absolutely not. Let me preface this by saying, I still have the utmost and absolute respect for Senator Bernie Sanders and admiration as well. He was the father of our political revolution, and we will carry it forth with or without him. And as many Bernie delegates will tell you, this was never about Bernie Sanders. This was never about Hillary Clinton. This was always about the issues that each of them embodies. Granted, they are both Democrats and had similar platforms, but it was the differences that made all the difference. And personally, I support Senator Sanders' platform to its fullest, disagree with many parts of Secretary Clinton's platform. So no matter what Bernie says, it's - I just cannot support her platform.

GREENE: So Ryan Lopez says he wants to be a teacher, and he could never support a candidate who is not for tuition-free public college and university. Now that Sanders is out of the race, he says he does not - he doesn't know who he is going to vote for. And we're going to talk now about someone who would be hoping to get Ryan Lopez's vote and that is Donald Trump. Donald Trump has been out on the campaign trail, very busy. He and his running mate, Indiana Governor Mike Pence, are campaigning across battleground states this week.

NPR's Sarah McCammon has been out on the trail with them. She's on the line from Miami, Fla. Good morning, Sarah.

SARAH MCCAMMON, BYLINE: Hey, good morning, David.

GREENE: So how has the Democratic Convention been coming up as Trump has been giving his stump speeches?

MCCAMMON: You know, quite a bit. Trump has been mocking the disunity in the Democratic Party and highlighting the opposition from some of those Bernie Sanders supporters. Last night, after former President Bill Clinton's speech, Donald Trump tweeted out, no matter what Bill Clinton says and no matter how well he says it, the phony media will exclaim it to be incredible, highly overrated, exclamation point.

GREENE: Twitter, a place that Donald Trump often gets his message out, we should say.

MCCAMMON: Very true. And also his campaign has been sending out text messages to supporters this week sort of, you know, almost like live texting the DNC and criticizing what's happening on stage. But the biggest message from Trump is that Democrats aren't talking enough about ISIS and terrorism. Both he and Pence made that point yesterday in front of a veterans group in Charlotte, N.C. Here's what Trump said.

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DONALD TRUMP: We need to change our foreign policy to focus on defeating and destroying ISIS, a word you didn't hear last night at the Democrat convention. You didn't hear it. They don't want to talk about it.

MCCAMMON: And Trump has been blaming Democratic policies for the rise of groups like ISIS because of what he describes as a weakness in U.S. foreign policy under Obama. Now, the Clinton campaign has responded that they will be talking about terrorism throughout the week. Tonight, we expect a heavy focus on national security at the DNC. And a campaign spokeswoman for Clinton said that Trump is not the kind of person you want in the White House when we're facing the threat of terrorism because he will, she says, destroy the kinds of alliances needed to fight radicalization.

GONYEA: Hey, Sarah, it's Don here.

MCCAMMON: Hi.

GONYEA: Hi there. There's all this talk about the WikiLeaks hacking of the DNC. The Clinton campaign has been pointing the finger at Russia and noting how Trump has spoken admiringly of Russian President Vladimir Putin. Yesterday, President Obama was asked to weigh in during an interview with NBC. Let's hear that.

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President BARACK OBAMA: What the motives were, in terms of the leaks, all that - I can't say directly. What I do know is that Donald Trump has repeatedly expressed admiration for Vladimir Putin.

SAVANNAH GUTHRIE: Sounds like you're suggesting that Putin might be motivated to prefer Trump in the White House.

OBAMA: Well, I am basing this on what Mr. Trump, himself, has said.

GONYEA: So Sarah, how is Donald Trump responding to all this?

MCCAMMON: Well, he's dismissing that as crazy...

GONYEA: (Laughter).

MCCAMMON: ...Was one of the words he used (laughter) on Twitter. He's brought it up during campaign stops this week. He said he never met Vladimir Putin. He also tweeted about it last night, denying any financial ties to Russia. He said, we have zero investments in Russia. We should mention, some security experts have linked the hacks to Russia. And WikiLeaks founder, Julian Assange, was asked in an interview with NBC if Russia was behind it. He said there's no proof of that, but didn't come out and deny it.

GREENE: All right, Sarah, thanks a lot.

MCCAMMON: Yeah, thank you.

GREENE: That's the voice of NPR's Sarah McCammon, who is out on the campaign trail with Donald Trump. I'm in the studio with NPR's Don Gonyea and with Janet Hook, who covers national politics for The Wall Street Journal. We're here in Philadelphia at member station WHYY, covering the Democratic National Convention. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.