By LIBBY CATHEY, ABC News
(MILWAUKEE) — Former President Barack Obama will address supporters Day 3 of the Democratic National Convention Wednesday and Sen. Kamala Harris, D-Calif., accepts the party’s nomination for vice president — making official her place in history as the first Black woman and first person of Indian descent to be nominated for national office by a major political party.
Under Democrats’ theme of “A More Perfect Union,” Harris will deliver remarks from the Chase Center in Wilmington, Delaware, the same venue former Vice President Joe Biden is slated to use for his acceptance speech on Thursday, effectively kicking off their fall campaign.
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9:15 p.m. Gabby Giffords: ‘I have not lost my voice’
In an opening segment focused on ending gun violence, former Rep. Gabby Giffords — a victim of a mass shooting — reminded viewers that “we can be on the right side of history.”
“I’ve known the darkest of days, days of pain and uncertain recovery,” said Giffords. “But confronted by despair, I’ve summoned hope. Confronted by paralysis and aphasia, I’ve responded with grit and determination. I put one foot in front of the other. I found one word and then I found another. My recovery is a daily fight, but fighting makes me stronger. Words once came easily; today I struggle with speech. But I have not lost my voice.”
“America needs all of us to speak out, even when you have to fight to find the words,” she continued.
9:10 p.m. Harris opens the convention with brief remarks
Sen. Kamala Harris gave brief remarks at the top of the third night of the convention.
Her remarks focused on the importance of voting and making a plan to vote amid concerns about obstacles to casting ballots.
“I know many of you plan to vote this year, but amidst the excitement and enthusiasm for this election, you’ve also heard about obstacles and misinformation and folks making it harder for you to cast your ballot. So I think we need to ask ourselves, why don’t they want us to vote? Why is there so much effort to silence our voices?” she asked. “And the answer is because when we vote, things change. When we vote, things get better. When we vote, we address the need for all people to be treated with dignity and respect in our country. So each of us needs a plan. A voting plan.”
Kamala Harris gives remarks on voting at start of night three of the #DemConvention.
— ABC News Politics (@ABCPolitics) August 20, 2020
9 p.m. Night 3 of the DNC is underway
DNC Permanent Convention Chair, Rep. Bennie Thompson, D-Miss., gavels in the third night of the DNC.
8:43 p.m. Previewing night 3 of the DNC
ABC News Deputy Political Director MaryAlice Parks discusses what to watch for on the third night of theDNC, including speeches from Sen. Kamala Harris and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.
“It’s very clear that Democrats want to remind voters that they’re the ones with the huge edge with women,” she told ABC News’ Linsey Davis on ABC News Live Prime.
8:39 p.m. Harris to open the convention with brief remarks
Kate Bedingfield, Biden’s deputy campaign manager and communications director, laid out — in slightly more detail — what we can expect from Harris’ acceptance speech, telling reporters to expect remarks that hit on both her personal story and about how her and Biden’s leadership contrasts with President Trump’s.
“I think what she really hopes tonight is that people will see themselves in her speech. You’re going to hear her tell her own story — highlight the examples and experiences of others that resonate with her. You’re going to hear her really talk about her life and how her growing up, shaped her,” Bedingfield said.
“She will set out a vision for a more inclusive nation in which everyone is welcome and given equal opportunity and protection under the law. And she will — ultimately she’s going to make the case for electing Joe Biden. She is going to show why he is uniquely the leader for this moment. She’s going to draw a really clear contrast with the build leadership of Donald Trump. And she’s really going to make a robust case to the American people that the Biden-Harris administration is going to be about bringing people together, making sure everybody has a seat at the table, being inclusive, and that couldn’t be a stronger contrast with the divisive way that Donald Trump has tried to lead this country,” Bedingfield added.
— ABC News’ John Verhovek, Kendall Karson and Molly Nagle
8:30 p.m. Harris to open the convention with brief remarks
The campaign said Sen. Kamala Harris will speak at opening the third night of the DNC and then return later for her full remarks later in the program.
“There is incredible excitement around Senator Harris joining the ticket, and we want people to hear from her as much as possible,” according to the campaign.
8:11 p.m. Trump responds to excerpts of Obama’s remarks
At a White House news conference, the president was asked about excerpts from Obama’s speech at the DNC, where he said, he hoped President Donald Trump “might come to feel the weight of the office and discover some reverence for the democracy that had been placed in his care. But he never did.”
“You know, when I listen to that and then I see the horror that he’s left us, the stupidity of the transactions that he made. Look what we’re doing. We have our great border wall, we have security, we have the UAE deal which has been universally praised by people that aren’t exactly fans of Donald Trump for various reasons.When I look at what we have — look at how bad he was. How ineffective a president he was. He was so ineffective, so terrible, Trump said.
“President Obama did not do a good job. The reason I’m here is because of president Obama and Joe Biden,” he continued.
8:03 p.m. Campaign: Spotlight to stay on Sen. Kamala Harris
The third night of the convention, which boasts the theme “a more perfect union,” is set to build on the first two nights, according to Biden campaign and convention officials, who laid out the central message of the night’s festivities.
“Tonight is really about laying out the path forward, the positive vision that Joe Biden has for this country. You’ll hear about plans for an economy that helps working families and small businesses grow. A plan that is one of the most ambitious ever proposed. Plans to reform our broken immigration system, fight for seeing gun laws and ensure equal pay and strong health protections for women,” Kate Bedingfield, Biden’s deputy campaign manager and communications director told reporters.
The night culminates with a speech by Sen. Kamala Harris, who is also set to be formally nominated as the vice presidential nominee — the first person of Black and Indian descent in that role.
The campaign confirmed that Biden will be watching the proceedings from Delaware Wednesday night but said that they would not plan on seeing a cameo from the former vice president, saying the focus would remain on vice presidential nominee.
— ABC News’ John Verhovek, Kendall Karson and Molly Nagle
7:56 p.m. Some progressives stew over GOP presence at DNC
Less John Kasich, more Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez: That was the message from progressive activists on Wednesday after two days of DNC programming.
After a bruising presidential primary, liberals worried that a nominating convention featuring several prominent Republicans undercut efforts to bring Democrats together ahead of November and overshadowed one of the party’s rising stars, who spoke for just 90 seconds.
From Cindy McCain, the wife of the late Sen. John McCain, to former GOP governors like Kasich of Ohio and Christie Todd Whitman of New Jersey, several Republicans pledged their support for Joe Biden, praising his character and saying he would unify Americans after four years of a divisive Trump presidency.
“Today, we are a country divided, and we have a president doing everything in his power to make it that way and keep us that way,” former Secretary of State Colin Powell said in remarks Tuesday night. “What a difference it will make to have a president who unites us, who restores our strength and our soul.”
The message echoed Biden’s key pitch to voters to “restore the soul of our democracy” — a bet that a broad swath of Americans will value stability and consensus in Washington for the next four years.
But the emphasis on bipartisanship has vexed some liberals working to influence Biden’s campaign and potential agenda.
Beyond the speaking slots, progressives have also sparred with party leaders over a provision calling to end fossil fuel subsidies in the party’s platform, after months of negotiations between the Biden and Sanders camps. After reports that the provision was removed from the party’s platform, a Biden aide said the candidate, who included the provision in his own climate change plan, remained “committed” to ending subsidies.
“It’s almost like the party is giving the middle finger to their progressive base,” William Walter, a 26-year-old Sanders delegate from Brookfield, Wisconsin, told ABC News. It shows where their priorities are and what messages they want to be sending out.”
Krishna Desai, a Sanders delegate from New Hampshire, also felt slighted by the decision not to announce the total number of delegates awarded to the Vermont senator — or the results of the vote on the party’s platform, which was rejected by some Sanders delegates for not supporting “Medicare for All.”
“If the message is unity, not releasing platform vote totals is another indication that progressive delegates have not been heard,” she said.
“Dissatisfaction and disinterest amongst progressives, delegate or not, is growing and it would be a mistake to ignore that, especially because voters are actively being disenfranchised and who comes out of this winning might end up being a question of turnout,” Desai said.
Organizers and party leaders have pushed back on the criticism of the list of speakers, and the week’s proceedings — pointing to the fact that Sanders was given eight minutes to address the convention earlier this week, in one of the longer speaking slots.
“We are saying through all of our programming that everyone has a seat in the Democratic Party family,” DNC Chairman Tom Perez told the Associated Press earlier this week. “We’re proud of our big tent. We’re proud of our diversity, we welcome our diversity. We embrace our diversity.”
In public and private this week, Sanders urged his supporters to back Biden, warning that another four years of Trump in the White House would be worse for the progressive movement, and proposals like the Green New Deal and Medicare for All.
“If Donald Trump is elected again, we really have no chance at pushing, at furthering these issues,” Randy Bryce, a former Wisconsin congressional candidate, said of Sanders’ pitch to Midwestern delegates in a Zoom call Wednesday morning. “With someone like Joe Biden elected president, there’s at least a chance.”
Ocasio-Cortez, who criticized news outlets for suggesting she had snubbed Biden in her procedural role affirming Sanders’ presidential nomination, made a similar point in an Instagram livestream Wednesday evening
“It’s also really important, that the moment that Joe Biden is elected, that we continue our fight for guaranteed health care, we continue our fight for living wages,” she said to followers.
— ABC News’ Benjamin Siegel and Cheyenne Haslett
7:34 p.m. Pence attacks Democrats for not going to Wisconsin for DNC
Campaigning in the battleground state of Wisconsin this afternoon, Vice President Mike Pence wasted no time criticizing Democrats for cancelling their in-person convention in Milwaukee this week, singling out Joe Biden for not having stepped foot in the state since 2018.
“You all are a sight for sore eyes, because I’ve been having to watch the Democratic National Convention the last two days,” Pence said jokingly to a mostly mask-less crowd inside a manufacturing facility.
This week alone, the Trump campaign has capitalized on Democrats skipping out on Wisconsin and have seen stops by Pence, President Donald Trump and the president’s son Eric Trump.
“I did hear the Democrats were supposed to have their national convention in Wisconsin, but they couldn’t make it. Of course that’s really nothing new. You know I heard on the way here that Joe Biden hasn’t actually been to Wisconsin in 659 days. In fact, the last time you saw a Democratic nominee for president in this Badger State was back in 2012. Well, I’m here to tell you get used to seeing us because President Donald Trump and I are gonna be back to Wisconsin again and again to earn 4 more years in the White House.”
The Republican National Convention next week will be a mix of in-person and virtual events.
— ABC News’ Justin Gomez
7:27 p.m. Biden remembers John Lewis in DNC Black caucus remarks
As he did for the DNC Hispanic Caucus, Joe Biden also pre-taped remarks to the DNC Black Caucus, stressing party unity while evoking the memory of Rep. John Lewis. Biden’s remarks lasted a little over two and half minutes.
Biden started his remarks thanking the Black Caucus for ensuring that the DNC is a “party worthy of leadership, a party that lives up and advances the highest standards of our nation.”
Biden focused his remarks on remembering Lewis, who Biden said he, like the rest of the country, has been thinking about often — noting that he would encourage the party to continue the fight to eradicate injustice and inequality that still exists within the country.
“You know, nobody embodies the qualities of our party, of our nation, to strive for better results, than John Lewis. Resilience in the face of hardship, faith in the face of adversity, purpose in the face of pain,” Biden said. “We all know what John would say. He’d say, ‘March on. Keep the faith."”
“That’s what democracy demands of us. It’s what America demands of us. We owe it to John, the people and to ourselves to unify this nation around its highest ideals. To have the backs of Americans who are struggling to get by; To strip bias out of American life; to fight for greater equity and justice in every part of our society; put the American dream with the reach of Black Americans, who have been denied their fair shot for So — well, quite frankly, from the beginning. It’s up to us to carry John’s legacy forward. It’s our charge now. We’ve a lot of work ahead.
— ABC News’ Beatrice Peterson and Molly Nagle
7:11 p.m. Democrats quietly adopt platform that sought to tame doubts over progressive-moderate divide
Democrats formally adopted a new party platform on Tuesday night, bringing an end to the intraparty dispute between the moderate and progressive wings that persisted for a year throughout the primary. But the mainstay document, which outlines their agenda and vision for the next four years, also inscribes in print the divisions still lingering just under the surface, with major tenets of the progressive movement left out of the final text.
On the second night of the gathering, the co-chairs of the three standing committees to the convention — credentials, rules and platform — capped off official business with pre-recorded videos announcing that delegates approved their pro-forma work.
Just before the flair of Tuesday night’s roll call, or the scattered appearances by the nominee himself, the platform committee co-chairs touted their efforts to bridge the gap between the two ideological tribes of the party, without ever landing at the words “approved” or announcing the result of the vote on the platform. Convention officials did not respond to ABC News’ multiple requests for the final vote tally, but confirmed it was adopted.
“Our committee has produced a platform that proposes solutions to the challenges that American families face in this unprecedented time,” said Denis McDonough, the former White House chief of staff under Obama and the co-chair of the 2020 platform committee, in a pre-recorded video. “I strongly believe that this platform lays out an agenda, informed by the values that will defeat Donald Trump and heal the soul of our nation.”
Although the entire segment was a procedural step, and took place before the official start to the convention proceedings, it marked a subtle, yet not unnoticed turn in the protracted fight for Democrats.
Leading into Tuesday, some allies of former 2020 contender Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., have criticized the non-binding platform for not going far enough on some of their policy priorities — mainly health care — and the vision they had for the party’s next four years. Some even dissented over the single nod to “Medicare for All” in the party’s blueprint, instead of a full embrace of the issue that was a cornerstone of Sanders’ campaign. The platform also features no mention of the Green New Deal or “defund the police.”
Without the final tally, it remains unclear just how many delegates aligned with the left ultimately opposed the 92-page document — and underscores some of the concerns progressives have about the direction of the party moving forward.
— ABC News’ Kendall Karson
Here is Wednesday’s lineup of speakers:
- House Speaker Nancy Pelosi
- Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton
- Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass.
- Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers
- New Mexico Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham
- Former Arizona Rep. Gabrielle Giffords
- Sen. Kamala Harris, D-Calif, the vice presidential nominee
- Former President Barack Obama
With musical performances from:
- Billie Eilish
- Jennifer Hudson
ABC News’ Kendall Karson, John Verhovek and Cheyenne Haslett contributed to this report.
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