Democratic National Convention 2020: Day 2

By Melissa Macaya, Kyle Blaine and Jessica Estepa, CNN

Updated 6:20 p.m. ET, August 19, 2020
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9:40 p.m. ET, August 18, 2020

Jimmy Carter: Biden is "the right person for this moment in our nation’s history"

From CNN's Eric Bradner

Delaware's U.S. Senator Joseph Biden points out a friend in the crowd at the Padua Academy to President Jimmy Carter during a fundraiser on February 20, 1978.
Delaware's U.S. Senator Joseph Biden points out a friend in the crowd at the Padua Academy to President Jimmy Carter during a fundraiser on February 20, 1978. Bettman Archive/Getty Images

Former President Jimmy Carter touted Joe Biden as one of his earliest and most important allies after he was elected to the presidency in 1976 in a speech Tuesday night.

Jimmy and Rosalynn Carter called Biden a friend and praised his character in speeches in which the Carters appeared by voice, rather than on camera.

"For decades, he has been my loyal and dedicated friend," the former president said. "Joe has the experience, character, and decency to bring us together and restore America’s greatness. We deserve a person with integrity and judgment, someone who is honest and fair, someone who is committed to what is best for the American people."

Carter called Biden "the right person for this moment in our nation’s history. He understands that honesty and dignity are essential traits that determine not only our vision but our actions. More than ever, that’s what we need."

Rosalynn Carter pointed to Biden's efforts to extend support to caregivers, which is a focal point of Biden's economic platform.

"Joe knows well, too well, the sorrows and struggles of being a family caregiver, from Joe’s time as a young widower thrust into single parenthood with a demanding job to he and Jill caring for their own parents and their son Beau at the end of their lives. He knows caregiving is hard even on the good days," she said.


9:23 p.m. ET, August 18, 2020

Yates: Country doesn’t belong to Trump, "it belongs to all of us”

From CNN's Dan Merica

Former acting Attorney General Sally Yates
Former acting Attorney General Sally Yates Democratic National Committee

Former acting Attorney General Sally Yates, who was dismissed from Donald Trump’s administration after she announced she would not defend his travel ban from predominantly Muslin countries, said her former boss has “used his position to benefit himself " in a speech before the Democratic National Convention.

Yates, in a speech she said she never expected she would give, cast Trump as a corrupt leader, someone who has “trampled the rule of law” and refused to stand up to Russian President Vladimir Putin.

“From the moment President Trump took office, he has used his position to benefit himself rather than our country,” Yates said. “He’s even trying to sabotage our postal service to keep people from being able to vote.”

“Our country doesn’t belong to him. It belongs to all of us,” Yates said, adding that Biden “embraces that” and has “spent his entire life putting our country first.”

9:28 p.m. ET, August 18, 2020

Stacey Abrams: "We are in this to win for America. So let's get it done"

From CNN's Sarah Mucha and Dan Merica

Georgia Democrat Stacey Abrams was among 16 other rising stars of the Democratic Party that delivered the joint keynote address during tonight's Democratic National Convention programming, a slot typically reserved for just one speaker.

"This nation belongs to all of us. And in every election, we choose how we will create a more perfect union, not by taking sides but by taking stock of where we are and what we need," Abrams said in her portion of the address.

"This year's choice could not be more clear. America faces a triple threat: a public health catastrophe, an economic collapse, and a reckoning with racial justice and inequality. So our choice is clear: a steady, experienced public servant who can lead us out of this crisis just like he's done before, or a man who only knows how to deny and distract; a leader who cares about our families or a president who only cares about himself," she continued.

Abrams used her platform to urge Americans to make their vote count.

"We know Joe Biden. America, we need Joe Biden. To make your voice heard text Vote to 30330. In a democracy, we do not elect saviors. We cast our ballots for those who see our struggles and pledge to serve...," the Georgia Democrat said.

"We stand with Joe Biden because this isn't just about defeating Donald Trump. We are in this to win for America. So let's get it done," Abrams said in closing.


9:22 p.m. ET, August 18, 2020

17 "rising stars" of the Democratic Party deliver keynote address

Democratic National Convention
Democratic National Convention

The Democratic Party looked to highlight some of its "rising stars from all across the country" during its keynote address that kicked off the second night of the Democratic National Convention.

This year’s address featured not one, but 17 of the Democratic Party’s rising politicians.

"There is one person that is looking out for us - all of us," they said in unison. "And that is Joe Biden."

Participants included: Georgia Democrat Stacey Abrams, State Rep. Malcolm Kenyatta from Pennsylvania, State Rep. Victoria Neave from Texas, Mayor Randall Woodfin from Alabama, and more.

According to organizers in a news release, the joint address meant to "offer a diversity of different ideas and perspectives on how to move America forward, but they will all speak to the future we’re building together — a future with Joe Biden at the helm."


9:00 p.m. ET, August 18, 2020

The second night of the DNC kicks off

From CNN's Maeve Reston and Stephen Collinson

The second night of the Democratic National Convention has begun, with programming running from 9 p.m. to 11 p.m. ET. Jill Biden has long served as a supporting player to her husband's political career, but she will command the spotlight as the headliner tonight.

Her speech is expected to highlight the personal side of former Vice President Joe Biden as a loving father who pulled his family back together after the death of his first wife, Neilia, and 1-year-old daughter Naomi in a car accident in 1972.

She will also speak to the other great tragedy of Biden's life: the death of his son Beau Biden, the former Delaware attorney general, from brain cancer in 2015 when Biden was serving as vice president.

With the night's programming centered on the theme "uniting America," the keynote speech will take an unusual format featuring 17 rising stars in the Democratic Party. New York Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez will also speak and leaders will conduct the virtual roll call formally selecting Biden as the nominee of the Democratic Party.

Former President Bill Clinton will play an unusually peripheral role at a Democratic convention, a venue where he has been a star performer since the 1980s, including during his own campaigns; his speech in 2012 made the case for a second term for President Barack Obama in a way the incumbent never managed. He also spoke about his wife in 2016.

9:03 p.m. ET, August 18, 2020

Sen. Warren on Biden: “I’m with him all the way in this fight”

From CNN's Adrienne Vogt

Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren said Democrats, and even some non-Democrats, are united behind Joe Biden as the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee. 

“I am focused on the next 77 days. That's where energy needs to be,” she said in an interview with CNN’s Jake Tapper ahead of the second night of the Democratic National Convention.

During her presidential bid, Warren had criticized Biden for not being progressive enough.

Speaking to CNN tonight, Warren listed some elements of Biden’s platform, including expanding Social Security, canceling student-loan debt and creating more green jobs. 

“I’m with him all the way in this fight,” Warren said. 

8:22 p.m. ET, August 18, 2020

What to expect from Jill Biden's speech tonight

From CNN's Sarah Mucha and Arlette Saenz

Former second lady Jill Biden has long said the role of political spouse does not come naturally to her, but tonight, she’s slated to deliver the biggest speech of her political career as she speaks directly to her husband’s character and values.

She has worked on this speech for several weeks with her team, often times over Zoom calls, with a Democratic official saying she has been the driving force behind the messaging for tonight’s remarks.

Her central argument will be that her husband is uniquely poised to mend a broken nation after mending his own family following multiple personal tragic losses – repeating the question, “How do you make a broken family whole? The same way you make a nation whole.” 

The official says Jill Biden will make no direct mention of President Donald Trump in her speech, which is different from the approach taken by former first lady Michelle Obama last night.

Instead, Jill Biden aims to draw a subtle contrast with the President as she talks about her husband’s vision and character. 

8:20 p.m. ET, August 18, 2020

This year's roll call will look a little different due to Covid-19

From CNN’s Dan Merica

Democratic presidential candidate former South Bend, Indiana Mayor Pete Buttigieg participates in a Health Equity Roundtable at Nicholtown Missionary Baptist Church February 27 in Greenville, South Carolina.
Democratic presidential candidate former South Bend, Indiana Mayor Pete Buttigieg participates in a Health Equity Roundtable at Nicholtown Missionary Baptist Church February 27 in Greenville, South Carolina. Win McNamee/Getty Images

The revamped Democratic convention will alter yet another tradition on Tuesday when the roll call vote to formally nominate Joe Biden will be held with people from all 57 states and territories appearing over video.

Expected participants: The range of Democrats set to nominate Biden runs the gamut from elected officials, including a number of his 2020 opponents, to activists like a fisherman from Alaska, a farmer in Kansas and a bricklayer in Missouri.

Former South Bend, Indiana, Mayor Pete Buttigieg, one of Biden's 2020 challengers, will appear from Indiana, while other primary opponents like Rep. Tim Ryan in Ohio, Sen. Amy Klobuchar in Minnesota and Sen. Bernie Sanders in Vermont will appear.

The vote will also focus on key issues in the election. Marisol Garcia, a teacher from Arizona, will discuss returning to school during the coronavirus pandemic, while Howard Chou from Colorado will discuss issues facing working parents during the crisis. Fred Guttenberg of Florida, whose daughter was killed in the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School shooting in 2018, will discuss gun violence. And activist Khizr Khan, whose speech about his son who died in combat during the last convention became a breakout moment in 2016, will appear from Virginia by highlighting the racial violence that killed one person in Charlottesville in 2017.

To honor the 100th anniversary of the ratification of the 19th amendment, which gave women the right to vote, Keely Sage, a college student in Tennessee, will appear from the headquarters of the suffragists to discuss the role of women in electing Biden.

How it will work: Both Biden, the top vote getter, and Sanders, who finished in second, will be placed into nomination on Tuesday in what organizers hope will be a unifying moment for the party.

The roll call vote process is traditionally a long affair with each delegation in the convention arena going around and pledging delegates to candidates who ran in their primary or caucus. This process will be sped up — organizers expect it to take 30 minutes.

While the roll call vote will go in alphabetical order, organizers have planned to have Delaware — Biden's home state — pass when their turn comes up and return to the process to be the decisive state for the former vice president. Gov. John Carney and Sen. Tom Carper will appear for Delaware.

Once the roll call vote is finished, Biden will officially be the party's nominee, a designation he will accept on Thursday.

See the full list of participants in the roll call vote here.

8:16 p.m. ET, August 18, 2020

Security guard who went viral for Biden elevator moment to give speech at DNC nominating him for president

From CNN's Kate Sullivan and Dan Merica

A security guard went viral early this year after she said “I love you” to Joe Biden in an elevator. On Tuesday night, that same woman is expected to give the first speech officially nominating Biden for president at the Democratic National Convention, according to a Biden aide and a convention organizer.

Jacquelyn Brittany, an African American woman, was escorting the former vice president to a New York Times editorial board meeting in December when she turned to him and said, “I love you. I do. You’re like my favorite.”

The exchange was caught on tape and aired as part of the New York Times’ TV series “The Weekly.”

Biden did not win the endorsement of The New York Times editorial board, but he and his campaign touted this exchange as the real prize. 

“Honored to have won Jacquelyn's endorsement,” Biden tweeted alongside the video. 

The Washington Post was first to report on Jacquelyn’s involvement at the DNC. Brittany is her middle name, and she declined to the Post to have her last name printed.