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Shields and Brooks Assess Day Two of the DNC

August 26, 2008 at 6:50 PM EST
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Ahead of Hillary Clinton's speech Tuesday at the Democratic National Convention, analysts Mark Shields and David Brooks weigh her role at the event and look ahead to Democratic vice-presidential pick Sen. Joe Biden's speech on Wednesday.
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JIM LEHRER: Mark, there is no way — you said it earlier, it’s been repeated again — that there’s no way in the world Hillary Clinton can deliver her supporters to Barack Obama, right? And that’s not going to happen here tonight, either.

MARK SHIELDS: No. I mean, she can certainly go a long way toward making the case. But it’s statistically infinitesimal the number of people that are in this hall who are her supporters. The people that she’s really speaking to tonight are the people in Wilkes-Barre, and Scranton, and Zanesville, Ohio.

I mean, those are the ones that she has to speak to, who supported her and didn’t support Barack Obama. Those are the ones that she has to make them responsive to his message when it is delivered.

A 'softer focused' convention

JIM LEHRER: And that message on the economy, that Laura Tyson outlined with Paul Solman, is key to this, as well.

DAVID BROOKS: That's part of it. Between Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama, there's no big difference on the issues on policy. There are big differences on politics.

If Hillary Clinton had been the nominee this week, we'd be hearing the word "fighter" a lot more. This would be a more hard-boiled and aggressive convention than we've got now.

Instead, we've got Mark Warner talking about Republicans and Democrats working together. We've got a unity convention, a much softer focused convention.

So what we're seeing behind the scenes, a lot of Clinton people saying, "Where's the red meat? You've got to hit people in conventions." And the Obama people say, "No, that's not the way we're going to do it."

That's the big dispute right now. It's about politics right now, not policy.

Role of the Clintons and Joe Biden

JIM LEHRER: As we said at the very beginning, the light is on the Clintons tonight, is it not?

MARK SHIELDS: Absolutely. In addition to Hillary Clinton delivering her speech to the crowd, former President Bill Clinton, we're told, will be in here listening to her in the hall, so...

JIM LEHRER: He speaks...

MARK SHIELDS: And he speaks tomorrow night...

JIM LEHRER: ... tomorrow.

MARK SHIELDS: ... when Senator Joe Biden gives the vice presidential address. And I think, on David's point, they're putting an awful lot on Joe Biden to make the case tomorrow night on contrast and compare and Bush-McCain.

JIM LEHRER: What's you're reading on Biden being able to do the red meat work?

DAVID BROOKS: He can do it. He's friends with McCain, which makes it kind of interesting, but that doesn't stop him. He will -- I don't think he'll do a character red meat. I think he thinks John McCain is a good man.

But he is perfectly aggressive. In the past month, I'd say he's been remarkably good at being aggressive. He made a little joke about seven breakfast tables for John McCain, emphasizing the wealth. He'll be good at that.

JIM LEHRER: OK. David, Mark, thank you. See you all later.