Bill Clinton To Take Center Stage In Denver Farai Chideya is in Denver all week for the Democratic National Convention. She checks in with NPR's Tony Cox and offers a preview of former President Bill Clinton's speech.
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Bill Clinton To Take Center Stage In Denver

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Bill Clinton To Take Center Stage In Denver

Bill Clinton To Take Center Stage In Denver

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TONY COX, host:

Last night as we've said repeatedly, Hillary Clinton urged her supporters to get behind Barack Obama. Tonight her husband former President Bill Clinton addresses the DNC, and is expected to continue the theme of party unity. So, what can we expect from Bill Clinton's speech, and the convention tonight? Joining us from the Democratic National Convention in Denver is our host, Farai Chideya. Hey, Farai?


Hey again.

COX: You know, you're on the floor of the convention this week. What do the convention goers seem to want to hear from their speakers?

CHIDEYA: Well, really last night before Senator Clinton came on there was a huge amount of red meat populism, and there's also a need for dynamism, and remember that Bill Clinton is one of the best political speakers of the past 50 years.

COX: You know, as recently as yesterday though, Bill Clinton was making remarks that could be construed as less than supportive of Obama's candidacy. What could happen to Obama's candidacy if Bill Clinton doesn't really get behind him?

CHIDEYA: Well, to circle back to the speech issue, the conflict is, as you point out, between his dynamism as a speaker and what he's going to say. You know, in fact, there - CNN is saying that he's not even going to go to Obama's speech at Invesco. You've seen President Clinton become very vocal about his opinions. The question is does his wife even share those opinions? So, we'll see.

COX: You know, Bill Clinton is scheduled to speak just before Obama's vice presidential pick, Senator Joe Biden. The energy in the room for Hillary Clinton was electric, as I know you know, but some speakers have fallen flat, as I know you also know. Do you think that Bill Clinton's speech could take the wind out of Biden's sails because he's going before him?

CHIDEYA: Absolutely. I think that Joe Biden is someone who's very well respected in the political community, but you have to remember even some of these delegates are here more as people who represent a local area, and not as national political experts. They may not know about Joe Biden's long history of dealing with foreign affairs, for example. They may not be as juiced about Biden as they will be about Bill Clinton, and he may be who people are talking about tomorrow.

COX: You know, we knew going into the convention that the Clinton - Hillary Clinton supporters were still in unison in their opposition, we should say, to Obama. But I don't know if we expected it to go this far, and as it is continuing going through the roll call tonight. Does that surprise you that that disconnect is still there, and palpable?

CHIDEYA: You know, we've been talking about that, and I think that really there is a disconnect between some Hillary Clinton supporters and the people who really support Obama. But I really suspect that we will see a possible disconnect between Senator Clinton and her husband. She did not mention him very much in her speech last night, and that was quite notable.

COX: What are you doing tomorrow?

CHIDEYA: Well, like everybody else in this city I'm going to Invesco. And the people who aren't going are trying to get a ticket.

COX: It's going to be really interesting to hear what happens tomorrow given the speeches that we are anticipating tonight. Farai, thank you very much. I know you're very busy, you've been doing a great job. We're looking to hear from you again tomorrow.

CHIDEYA: Likewise, you have been doing great, and it's great to team up with you. Thanks, Tony.

COX: That was News and Notes host Farai Chideya speaking with us from NPR's special studios in Denver, Colorado.

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