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Clinton, Biden Among Speakers At Convention

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Clinton, Biden Among Speakers At Convention

Election 2008

Clinton, Biden Among Speakers At Convention

Clinton, Biden Among Speakers At Convention

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Bill Clinton and Joe Biden are speaking Wednesday at the Democratic Convention. The party is also poised to nominate Barack Obama for president under a carefully negotiated plan that lets Hillary Clinton's supporters express their support for her.

ROBERT SIEGEL, host:

From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Robert Siegel.

MELISSA BLOCK, host:

And I'm Melissa Block. In Denver, a historic night ahead. Democrats will nominate Barack Obama for president, the first African-American nominee for a major political party.

Delegates at the Pepsi Center will hold the traditional state-by-state roll call. Some of those ballots will be cast for Hillary Clinton in a symbolic gesture, but under a carefully negotiated plan, the roll call will end and delegates will unite behind Obama.

After that, there will be primetime speeches from Democratic vice-presidential nominee Joseph Biden and former President Bill Clinton. Our colleague, Michele Norris, joins us from Denver. Hi, Michele.

MICHELE NORRIS, host:

Hello, Melissa.

BLOCK: And it sounds like the resolution has been reached and there will be some sort of peace struck on the floor of the convention center tonight.

NORRIS: Well, the convention planners certainly hope so. There's a carefully negotiated deal that will formally hand Barack Obama the actual nomination, but it also is a plan that allows Clinton supporters to express their support for her.

There will be a series of nominating speeches. First, Hillary Clinton will have one nominating speech and two seconding speeches, and then Obama, Obama supporters will follow with their nominating speeches, and then the roll call will take place.

The one thing that is still unresolved is whether the roll call will continue in its entirety or if Senator Clinton or someone representing her will step forward and call it to an end and basically pass the nomination to Barack Obama by acclimation.

BLOCK: Now, we mentioned the speech by former President Bill Clinton, and there's been some discussion about what the topic of that speech will be and what his message will be.

NORRIS: Discussion is an interesting way to describe that, Melissa, because there's been quite a bit of to and fro and back and forth negotiations about that as well.

It's been widely reported that Bill Clinton wanted to use the time to talk about his legacy. The campaign would prefer that he spend his time in the spotlight talking about the future of the party, serving as a validator for Barack Obama, to endorse his nomination perhaps in a way that he never did when he was so strongly supporting his wife.

But as a former president, he has wide prerogative. He can basically get up and say what he wants to say, so a little bit of drama and a wait-and-see there as well.

BLOCK: And what's expected from Joe Biden tonight?

NORRIS: Well, Joe Biden is well-known, but this is a chance for him to step into the spotlight on that big stage and reintroduce himself to America. One thing that the campaign has told us is that they're expecting that Joe Biden will reveal the feistier aspects of his personality, that he's the one who will really take the fight to John McCain.

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