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Hillary Clinton Calls for Unity in DNC Speech

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Hillary Clinton spoke at the Democratic National Convention Tuesday night and called on her supporters to back the party's presumptive nominee Barack Obama. KPCC's AirTalk host Larry Mantle is in Denver and talked with Morning Edition host Steve Julian about the reaction to the speech. Larry also offered a preview of some of the speeches on Wednesday night.

Larry Mantle: Well I think the buzz is that she knocked it out of the park as far as the supporters of Hillary Clinton were concerned. It's still unclear how this is going to translate into the floor vote that's coming up this afternoon, 'cause there've been these negotiations over what states, or how many of them might have their Clinton delegates vote for Hillary Clinton, and then would she get up and call for a vote by acclimation?

So, in terms of the pragmatic effect of the speech, it's not yet clear. The emotional impact of it, though, is extremely clear. There were so many people in the hall last night who were in tears. I think there's been a carryover effect of emotion from the speech last night, and it was very well received by both the Obama camp and by Clinton supporters.

Steve Julian: Speaking of last night's speeches, Virginia governor Mark Warner gave the keynote address, but was he upstaged by Montana's current governor?

Mantle: Well, yes! Brian Schweitzer really set the table for Hillary Clinton. You know how in comedy clubs they have a warm-up act, comes out and gets people going so the headliner has an easier time getting laughs? Well, Hillary Clinton clearly had the benefit of Schweitzer.

He got the crowd up, on their feet, cheering. It was a terrific table-setting performance for her, and even though her speech undoubtedly would have been well received regardless, it was an optimal circumstance for her to be able to follow Schweitzer.

And, you know, the other thing is, as part of the theme of this convention, the Democratic Party feeling so much of the West is now in play, and Schweitzer clearly delivered the goods as Montana governor, and very well received.

Julian: Now, Joe Biden speaks tonight. He's Barack Obama's running mate. What will his role be?

Mantle: Well, he clearly has a tough one, 'cause he's gonna be following Bill Clinton, speaking before him on the program tonight. He's gonna be following the culmination of the roll call vote, and he's sandwiched between the two night speakers of Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama.

And I think for him it's really going to be a matter of carving out what the distinction is from the Democratic perspective between McCain and Obama. And I would expect his speech to be loaded with references about John McCain's record, and tying John McCain to George Bush.

Julian: And former president Bill Clinton speaks tonight, too, Larry. He really wants to talk about his economic record, I hear.

Mantle: Well that's what I keep hearing from folks close to his camp, that he wanted to get up and, you know, talk about, and this was a hallmark of his campaign, the economy, stupid! That that's what it's about!

But the Obama camp apparently wanting him to have a little bit of a broader theme that he takes on, looking at the role of the Democratic Party and the distinction of the party as it sees itself. So, that's apparently what Bill Clinton is gonna do, but I wouldn't be at all surprised if he spends a fair amount of time talking about his economic record during his eight years in office.

Julian: Larry, have a good morning. We'll talk to you again at 10 o'clock, with AirTalk.

Mantle: Thanks, thanks very much, we'll talk then.