2020 Democratic National Convention

Live Updates And Analysis


Joe Biden has accepted the Democratic Party’s nomination for president, calling 2020 a “life-changing election.”

Read more key moments from the night below.

Highlights From Night 4: Biden Accepts The Democratic Nomination

The four-day Democratic National Convention has come to an end — culminating in a final acceptance speech from Joe Biden.

“Here and now I give you my word. If you entrust me with the presidency, I will draw on the best of us, not the worst. I will be an ally of the light, not the darkness,” Biden said, building off a quote by civil rights activist Ella Baker.

Biden’s address touched on his personal values of family and struggles with loss, while also weaving in his policy platform throughout. Read his full speech here, annotated with fact checks and analysis by the NPR staff.

The night’s lineup consisted of speakers who could attest to Biden’s character and career including members of his family, political colleagues and former presidential opponents.

Much like many other speeches throughout the convention, Biden also condemned Trump’s leadership, saying he has “failed in his most basic duty to the nation.”

“He’s failed to protect us. He’s failed to protect America. And my fellow Americans, that is unforgivable. As president, I’ll make you a promise. I’ll protect America. I will defend us from every attack, seen and unseen, always, without exception, every time,” Biden said.

Next Monday marks the start of the Republican National Convention, which is also set to hold largely virtual programming over four days.

For analysis and post-convention recaps for the last night of the Democratic convention as well as all of the Republican National Convention next week, subscribe to The NPR Politics Podcast.

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‘Building On The Affordable Care Act’

Biden used his address Thursday night to pitch his vision for the economy, health care, education and more, contrasting his plans with Trump’s policies. Read NPR’s annotations of his speech here.

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Biden On Being A Model For Children

Biden, and many others throughout the night, stressed the importance of being a role model. NPR is annotating his remarks here.

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Fact check

Biden On The Impact Of Coronavirus

In Biden’s address, he referenced the toll the coronavirus has had on Americans. NPR is annotating his remarks here.

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Major development

Biden Accepts Nomination: ‘This Is A Life-Changing Election’

Joe Biden officially accepted the Democratic Party’s presidential nomination more than three decades after his first failed White House campaign.

“This is a life-changing election that is going to determine what America is going to look like for a long time,” Biden said.

He outlined what he called four historic challenges facing the country — a pandemic, an economic crisis, a challenge to address racial injustice and the threats from climate change.

“This is not a partisan moment. This must be an American moment,” Biden said, coming back repeatedly to the convention’s call for unity. “America isn’t just a collection of clashing interests, of red states or blue states. We’re so much bigger than that. We’re so much better than that.”

Instead of standing in an arena in Milwaukee as planned, the 77-year-old former vice president appeared in a nearly empty hall in Wilmington, Del., addressing roughly two dozen reporters and standing in front of 16 American flags. The coronavirus pandemic has forced him to spend the bulk of the 2020 campaign in his home state of Delaware, instead of barnstorming across critical battleground states.

Biden’s speech, the capstone to a four-day virtual and largely low-key convention, hit on many of the same themes stressed by speakers throughout the week. He did not directly attack President Trump, but ticked off the statistics about the impact of the coronavirus on the country today.

“Just judge this president on the facts. Five million Americans infected by COVID-19. More than 170,000 Americans have died. By far the worst performance of any nation on Earth. More than 50 million people have filed for unemployment this year. More than 10 million people are going to lose their health insurance this year,” he said.

He also pivoted to contrast his agenda with Trump’s lack of plans to address the major economic and public health challenges.

As he has done before, Biden questioned Trump’s character and argued he will do what he’s done since he first took office if he gets a second term.

“What we know about this president is that if he’s given four more years, he’ll be what he’s been for the last four years: A president who takes no responsibility. Refuses to lead. Blames others. Cozies up to dictators and fans the flames of hate and division.”

Biden said if Trump is reelected, “He’ll wake up every day believing the job is all about him — not you.”

Few surprises or controversies about internal party tensions were on display over the course of the week. Some progressives in the party complained the lineup was too light on the newer more liberal members of the party. But the message convention organizers came back to over and over again was the focus on Biden’s character, not his policy plans for his presidency.

The Democratic nominee did spend a significant amount of time talking about plans to address climate change — an issue that progressives want to make a major priority.

Biden appeared sporadically throughout the four-day program — to congratulate his wife, Jill, on her speech that touted his character and to congratulate his running mate Kamala Harris on Wednesday night.

Although the virtual convention speech Thursday night lacked the raucous crowd and balloon drop, it did give Biden the chance to have a more personal appeal. His delivery was steady, but he did raise his voice in sections when he was laying into the president about his handling of the military and election security.

“America will not turn a blind eye to Russian bounties on the heads of American soldiers. Nor will I put up with foreign interference in our most sacred democratic exercise — voting,” he said.

Minutes after his speech, Trump campaign spokesman Tim Murtaugh issued a statement that previewed the battle lines for the fall campaign. “Joe Biden has formally become a pawn of the radical leftists. His name is on the campaign logo, but the ideas come from the socialist extremists,” he said.

Trump is expected to speak each night during next week’s four-day Republican National Convention.

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Biden Brings Some Of His Band Of Rivals Back Together Again At DNC

The race to become the Democratic presidential candidate officially ends tonight when Joe Biden gives his acceptance speech.

Biden beat out a long and diverse list of 26 other challengers — the largest field in at least 40 years. One of those rivals, Kamala Harris, became his running mate. Many others had speaking roles at the DNC, triggering speculation about who could be headed for his Cabinet if he wins in November.

On Tuesday, seven of the candidates were featured in a Zoom-like conversation recounting their personal memories about Biden. "You can think of this sort of like ‘Survivor’ … the out-interviews of all the people who got voted off the island," joked New Jersey Sen. Cory Booker, as the other candidates earnestly chuckled.

Not part of the class reunion: Julián Castro, a former mayor of San Antonio who was secretary of House and Urban Development in the Obama administration — and the only Latino candidate in the mix. He told NPR this week that the convention erred by not having enough diversity in its prime-time lineup.

Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard tersely noted that she had been excluded.

Also missing: spiritual guru Marianne Williamson, who panned the DNC for not having enough focus on policy, saying it was “like binge watching a Marriott commercial.”

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Curry Family Takes A Presidential Quiz

Two-time NBA MVP and three-time NBA champion Steph Curry can now add “convention speaker” and “member of adorable family” to his résumé, too.

Arguably the greatest shooter in the history of basketball, Curry joined the virtual convention with his wife, Ayesha, and their two daughters, Riley and Ryan. A much smaller Riley was introduced to the world a few years back, as a toddler with a penchant for stealing press conferences.

On Thursday night, Ayesha Curry did most of the talking about why the couple was supporting Biden, saying the 2020 election was “especially important because of the social injustice [going on] right now.”

The family then proceeded to play a game of presidential trivia, with both girls successfully answering “where the president lives,” and Riley saying that one of the president’s jobs is to “keep the environment safe.”

It’s the latest moment to show just how politically active NBA players have become.

Earlier this year, Los Angeles Lakers forward Lebron James announced the creation of a nonprofit organization aimed at fighting systemic racism and turning out black voters, called More Than A Vote.

The organization helped recruit a number of sports teams to offer their arenas to serve as giant polling places; a key contribution as cities search during the pandemic for precincts large enough to allow large groups of people to vote while still being able to practice social distancing.

When the NBA resumed play earlier this summer, players were allowed to pick messages related to social justice to wear on the backs of their jerseys. More than a dozen players chose to sport just the word “vote.”

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Hunter Biden Makes Rare Appearance As He And Ashley Biden Pay Tribute To Their Dad

Joe Biden’s two surviving children, daughter Ashley and son Hunter, introduced their father ahead of his acceptance speech.

Ashley is the only child from his marriage with Jill Biden, while Hunter is his child with his first wife, Neilia, who was killed in a car wreck in 1972 along with their infant daughter. Biden’s other son from his first marriage, Beau, died in 2015 from brain cancer.

The siblings appeared in separate videos touting the kind of father and family man they say Joe Biden is — and they segued to a video of their brother Beau, who introduced their father at the 2008 and 2012 Democratic conventions, to once again give him the last word before their father spoke.

It was a rare sighting on the campaign trail for Hunter Biden, whose position on the board of the Ukrainian gas company Burisma led him to be a key figure in the Ukrainian saga that ultimately led to the impeachment of President Trump last year. Trump asked the new Ukrainian president to help with investigations into the Biden family (a refresher is here).

Trump’s Republican allies on Capitol Hill are still investigating Hunter Biden.

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Mike Bloomberg Makes Businessman’s Case Against Trump

One of the benefits of a fully virtual convention is it minimizes the risk for drama — and that is good news for billionaire and former New York City Mayor Mike Bloomberg, one of the convention speakers who would likely have faced a chillier reception in a crowded convention hall.

Bloomberg joked about his multipartisan past in his prime-time speech. “Hell, I’ve actually been a Democrat, a Republican and an independent,” he said. He made a businessman’s case against Trump. “I’m not urging you to vote against him because he’s a bad guy — I’m urging you to vote against him because he’s done a bad job,” he said, noting Trump’s checkered business history and response to the coronavirus pandemic, whose U.S. death toll exceeds 170,000.

Bloomberg’s own long-shot presidential bid ended in March after he spent $1 billion on his campaign, which amounted to a lone victory in American Samoa. Bloomberg’s operation has been the source of much Democratic grumbling since, from former staffers who say they were stiffed and from party officials who say he’s not doing enough to help Democrats win in 2020.

However, as NPR’s Mara Liasson reported, Bloomberg has given $350 million to Democratic causes and candidates in this election, making him the single biggest donor to the Democratic Party in 2020.

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‘Members Of The Same Club’: 13-Year-Old Thanks Biden For Helping Him Manage Stutter

In a night centered around Joe Biden’s character, a powerful testimonial came from Brayden Harrington, a 13-year-old with a stutter who was able to spend time with Biden and hear about his own experience growing up with a stutter.

“Without Joe Biden, I wouldn’t be talking to you today,” Harrington said, who met Biden in New Hampshire during the Democratic primary. “He told me that we were members of the same club. We stutter,” he added.

The former vice president walked Harrington through strategies he’s used in the past to control his stuttering.

“He told me about a book of poems by Yeats he would read out loud to practice. He showed me how he marks his addresses to make them easier to say out loud,” Harrington said, reading from a piece of paper. “So I did the same thing today,” he added, showing the camera his marked speech.

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Buttigieg: America Is A Place With Capacity To Change For The Better

Pete Buttigieg, the former mayor of South Bend, Ind., and onetime presidential candidate, talked about America as a place with an immense capacity to change for the better.

“Just over 10 years ago, I joined a military where firing me because of who I am wasn’t just possible — it was policy,” he said. “Now in 2020, it is unlawful in America to fire someone because of who they are or who they love. The very ring on my finger … reflects how this country can change.”

At 38, Buttigieg is one of the youngest marquee speakers during a convention that has been criticized for lacking generational diversity. Buttigieg built his campaign for president around passing the baton to a new generation of leaders.

“Every American must now decide,” Buttigieg said, “will America be a place where faith is about healing and not exclusion? Can we become a country that lives up to the truth that Black lives matter? Will we handle questions of science and medicine by turning to scientists and doctors?”

Notably, Buttigieg spoke after a tribute video to Joe Biden’s late son, Beau Biden. Joe Biden has complimented Buttigieg by saying Buttigieg reminds the elder Biden of his son.

A veteran of the war in Afghanistan, Buttigieg served as South Bend mayor for eight years. He gained national attention during an unsuccessful bid for chairman of the Democratic National Committee before he launched his campaign for the White House. Had he won, he would have been the first openly gay presidential candidate for a major party.

“I trust Joe Biden and Kamala Harris to guide this nation toward that better future, because I have seen their commitment, and their empathy, up close,” Buttigieg told the convention. “And I trust the capacity of America to grow more inclusive, because I have lived it. The day I was born, close to where I’m standing, here in South Bend, the idea of an ‘out’ candidate seeking any federal office at all was laughable. Yet earlier this year, I campaigned for the presidency, often with my husband at my side, winning delegates to this very convention.”

Buttigieg notched strong finishes in the first two contests, Iowa and New Hampshire, but struggled to gain traction with voters of color in states like Nevada and South Carolina. Buttigieg left the race before Super Tuesday and, along with fellow moderate Minnesota Sen. Amy Klobuchar, quickly rallied behind Biden in his battle with progressive Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders.

Buttigieg implied in an interview with NPR this week that he would be open to a cabinet position in a future Biden administration, saying he’d “love a chance to return to public service.”

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DNC Pays Tribute To Biden’s Late Son, Beau

On the final night of the DNC, Democrats paid tribute to Joe Biden’s late son, Beau (in photo above), who died in 2015 of brain cancer.

The tribute focused on Beau’s life and career as attorney general of Delaware — a role that would lead to a friendship with Kamala Harris, then California’s attorney general and now the elder Biden’s running mate.

Both Harris and Biden have repeatedly invoked Beau’s memory since partnering on the Democratic ticket.

In announcing Harris as his vice presidential pick, Biden wrote in an email to supporters: “I first met Kamala through my son Beau. They were both Attorneys General at the same time. He had enormous respect for her and her work. I thought a lot about that as I made this decision. There is no one’s opinion I valued more than Beau’s and I’m proud to have Kamala standing with me on this campaign.”

Speaking last week, Harris referenced Beau, saying: “Ever since I received Joe’s call, I’ve been thinking … about the first Biden that I really came to know.”

“Beau was the kind of guy who inspired people to be a better version of themselves,” she said. “He really was the best of us. And when I would ask him, ‘Where’d this come from?’ he’d always talk about his dad.”

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‘It’s Junk’: Trump Spokesman Dismisses QAnon Conspiracy Theory, Despite Trump’s Praise For Its Adherents

A spokesman for President Trump’s reelection campaign wrote off the far-right, wholly unsubstantiated QAnon conspiracy theory on Thursday, despite Trump’s recent praise of the community behind it.

“Look, I’ve not really ever spoken with the president about QAnon,” Trump campaign spokesman Hogan Gidley said in an interview during NPR’s special coverage of the Democratic National Convention. (Listen live here.)

“It’s brief, if ever, we’ve had a conversation about QAnon, other than just to say it’s junk. … He and I have spoken about it maybe once in the three years I’ve worked for him. And that’s all we talked about, was that the whole thing was just junk, and that was it.”

Trump on Wednesday for the first time addressed the conspiracy theory, saying that his only understanding of the online community was that “they like me very much.”

"I heard that these are people who love our country," he said.

When a reporter explained that the theory is pinned to a false narrative that Trump is leading a secret, government-led charge against pedophiles, cannibals and satanic worshippers, Trump was unmoved.

"Is that supposed to be a bad thing?"

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95-Year-Old Veteran, Ex-Trump Supporter Now Says He’s Backing Biden

Ed Good, a 95-year-old veteran who fought in World War II and voted for President Trump in 2016, took the virtual convention stage tonight to express his support for Joe Biden.

“I think Trump has been the worst president we’ve ever had. So I’ll be glad to see him go,” Good said in his remarks, adding later on: “I think Joe Biden cares about doing his proper duty for the United States. and if he’s elected that’s what he will do.”

In late July, Good criticized Trump in a letter to the editor published by The Oakland Press, writing, “the most important thing I’m living for is to get [Trump] out of office and elect Joe Biden president.” The war veteran took serious issue with the president’s handling of the COVID-19 pandemic and treatment of Americans who have served in the armed forces.

“There’s no better example of his weakness than Trump’s refusal to hold Vladimir Putin accountable for placing bounties on the heads of American soldiers,” Good wrote. “By sweeping this report under the rug, and lying to us about it, he has undermined the role of American soldiers who are putting their lives on the line for our country.”

In 1945, Good served in the U.S. 17th Airborne Division as a paratrooper, where he successfully crossed into German-held territory.

Thinking about his experience in the war, Good wrote: “I knew the commander in chief was standing with us in the fight against evil. We could step into battle knowing that FDR had our backs. Sadly, with the knowledge that Russia can kill American troops with impunity, today’s soldiers cannot say the same. It’s the ultimate slap in the face to our troops that their country would decline to protect them, even as they place their lives on the line in service to us.”

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Duckworth Embodies U.S. Troops And President’s Role As Commander In Chief

Illinois Sen. Tammy Duckworth, who is endorsing Biden during tonight’s portion of the pageant, focused on national security, is a war hero who emblemizes America’s fighting forces and veterans, and underscores the role of the president as “commander in chief.”

Duckworth’s helicopter was shot down in Iraq; she lost both of her legs and part of her ability to use her right arm. As a politician she has been an outspoken advocate for veterans and U.S. service members, including in two big controversies through the Trump era.

Recently, Duckworth used her power in the Senate to hold up every single military promotion to try to secure assurances that the White House wasn’t persecuting a key witness in last year’s impeachment investigation, Army Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman. Ultimately Vindman broke the logjam himself by resigning from the Army rather than prolonging a confrontation over his promotion to full colonel. Duckworth excoriated President Trump and Defense Secretary Mark Esper.

More recently Duckworth was among the forefront of members of Congress in both parties demanding answers — and action — from Trump after allegations that Russian paramilitary or intelligence forces in Afghanistan had paid bounties to insurgents there in order to target allies troops.

Tonight, invoking the bounty allegations, Duckworth called Trump the “coward in chief.”

Although defense officials say they’re always mindful about the need to protect U.S. forces, Trump hasn’t taken any action about the reported bounty payments and said that he hadn’t raised the matter on a phone call last month with Russian President Vladimir Putin.

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Sen. Baldwin: ‘Let’s Move Forward And Never Look Back’

Wisconsin Sen. Tammy Baldwin began her speech with a story. When she was a kid, she got sick and required a lengthy hospital stay. But because her grandparents were raising her, she wasn’t covered by their insurance.

“There’s another part of my story,” Baldwin said. “The part where I ran for office. The part where I served in Congress. The part where I worked with Joe Biden and Barack Obama to make sure kids — and grandkids, if they’re dependents — can stay on their parents’ health insurance until they are 26. We got that done. And, yes, it was a big effing deal.”

That’s a nod to Biden’s famous comment after the Affordable Care Act was signed into law.

Baldwin is one of several Wisconsin Democrats to address the convention this week. She spoke from Milwaukee, where thousands of delegates were originally set to gather before programming moved online because of the coronavirus pandemic. Gov. Tony Evers, Rep. Gwen Moore and Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett were among the other elected officials to speak from the Badger State.

“Here in Wisconsin, our state motto is just one word: ‘forward,’ ” Baldwin said. “This November, let’s move forward and never look back.”

Wisconsin is a key state for Democrats this fall — part of the “Blue Wall” that Republicans burst in 2016, paving the path to President Trump’s victory. Baldwin has twice won election statewide — in 2018 she notably won this swing state by 10 percentage points — and the Biden campaign reportedly considered Baldwin for the vice presidential nomination.

Over her political career, Baldwin has been a boundary breaker multiple times. She was the first open gay woman elected to Congress and the first woman to serve in Congress from Wisconsin. When voters promoted her to the U.S. Senate in 2012, she became the first LGBT person elected to the Senate and the first woman senator from Wisconsin.

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Trump Gets (Lip-Synced) Speaking Slot

It was one of the most unconventional of all the unconventional things done for the mostly virtual Democratic National Convention: giving airtime to a President Trump rant about voting by mail through the lip-syncing gyrations of comedian Sarah Cooper.

"Will they be stolen from mailboxes as they get put in by the mailmen?" said Trump, while Cooper’s eyes bugged wide and she mouthed his words. "Will they be forged? Who is signing them?"

Trump’s push against mail-in voting — and recent changes at the U.S. Postal Service — have been one of the hottest political issues addressed at the DNC. Congress is set to hold two hearings on the issue soon.

"Nothing is more dangerous to our democracy than his attacks on mail-in voting during a pandemic," Cooper said, breaking character.

Cooper has become famous during the pandemic because of her ability to mime Trump’s complicated syntax on TikTok. “What I’m doing is I’m saying, ‘What if me, Sarah Cooper, said these words?’ And I’m sort of speaking to the subtext of what he’s saying,” she explained in a recent interview with Here and Now’s Robin Young.

“So when he is obviously out of his element, I am making a face like I’m confused or I’m reaching or I’m stretching or I’m grasping for a word. I’m very specifically not doing what he’s doing, but doing what a normal human being would be doing if they were saying these words,” Cooper said.

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Cory Booker: Trump Has Failed Us, But I Still Believe

New Jersey Democratic Sen. Cory Booker, a onetime rival to Joe Biden in the 2020 presidential primary, focused on some of the optimistic themes that drove his campaign: empathy, racial justice and American unity.

“That’s the American dream: Together we work, together we rise,” Booker said, referencing his own life experience growing up in a union household. “[President Trump] has failed us, but still I believe in the dream of our ancestors.”

Before Biden announced his intention to select a woman as a running mate, Booker, who’s 51, was seen as a potential contender for the ticket. He’s young, he’s Black, he’s gotten things done and he’s ambitious — all attributes that Biden has said he would use in his administration to elevate the next generation of Democratic leaders. For that reason, Booker remains on the speculative list for a Cabinet position, such as attorney general, should Biden win the election.

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‘Guardians Of The Democratic Process’ Talk Voting

It might be surprising that prime-time convention slots would go to state officials with wonky jobs, but in a year when Democrats are making voting rights a key platform, it makes sense.

California Secretary of State Alex Padilla’s state was among the earliest to announce an expansion of voting by mail in response to the pandemic. Michigan Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson has been criticized by President Trump for her decision to mail all primary voters absentee mail request forms.

They spoke side by side, to push back against Trump’s false claims about mail-in voting, and to reassure voters that state officials like them, whom Benson once called the “guardians of the democratic process,” would fight to make sure all votes are counted.

“Our job is to make sure everyone can vote safely,” Padilla said. “And your job is to make sure you go out and vote.”

This week, both secretaries also voiced their worries about the state of the U.S. Postal Service. Benson called the USPS a “four-alarm fire” this week. And in an interview with me Tuesday night, Padilla said he was concerned by a lack of transparency from Postmaster General Louis DeJoy regarding the controversial cost-cutting plans DeJoy put in place this summer.

“They still have a lot of questions to answer and, frankly, information to share,” Padilla said.

“Whatever these notices or changes in directives were, the public deserves to see them because the public deserves to have confidence that when they’re mailing their ballots in, their ballots will be delivered on a timely basis.”

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Deb Haaland, One Of The 1st Native Americans Elected To Congress, Stresses Importance of Voting

New Mexico Rep. Deb Haaland rooted her remarks tonight in her identity as a Native American woman and stressed the importance of mobilizing voters this November.

“Whether your ancestors have been here for hundreds of years, or you’re a new citizen, know this, whether we vote and how we vote will determine if our nation’s promise of social, racial, and environmental justice will outlast us,” Haaland said.

In 2018, Haaland became the first of two Native American women elected to Congress, along with Kansas Rep. Sharice Davids. Her seat was previously held by now-Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham.

Haaland is a member of the Pueblo of Laguna and Jemez Pueblo tribes. Her family has been in New Mexico for 35 generations.

The first-time congresswoman was a supporter of Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren in the Democratic primary and served as a co-chair for her campaign on the national level. Warren ended her presidential campaign in March, and Haaland went on to endorse Biden a month later.

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Pints? Paints? Ponce? ‘Veep’ Star Mangles Pence Name To Mock Those Who Can’t Say Kamala

Comedian Julia Louis-Dreyfus says she can’t wait to see this year’s vice presidential debate featuring Kamala Harris and “Mica Pints … or is it Paints?” she said, taking aim at Republicans who just can’t seem to pronounce the name of the Democratic contender to Mike Pence.

“It’s pronounced ‘Ponce,’ I believe,” quipped Andrew Yang, in an unusual introductory gag at the final night of the Democratic National Convention.

Louis-Dreyfus played a narcissistic, power-hungry, hapless vice president on HBO’s "Veep," a show known for mining awkward moments. Some of her banter early in the fourth night of the DNC were also uncomfortable and jarring.

After a segment that discussed Biden’s faith and the death of his son and others, she said: "Just remember, Joe Biden went to church so regularly that he doesn’t even need tear gas and a bunch of federalized troops to help him get there."

It’s not the first time Louis-Dreyfus has made light of politics with Biden. The pair made a parody video together in 2014 for the White House Correspondents’ Dinner, bonding over the lack of presidential power. Wearing his trademark aviators, Biden picked her up in a hot yellow Corvette for an adventure that took them into the Oval Office, the White House kitchen and a tattoo parlor where they each got "45" inked on their arm.

As speculation raged earlier this year about who Biden would choose as his running mate, he joked that he would choose Louis-Dreyfus. Later, she said she was flattered.

“But then I realized, this is America,” Louis-Dreyfus said at a fundraising event for Biden. “We can’t make a totally unqualified, ill-equipped TV personality vice president. No, no, in this country we make him president.”

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‘A Role Model’: John Lewis Honored In Mini-Documentary

Democrats once again honored the late Georgia congressman and civil rights icon John Lewis, who died in July from pancreatic cancer. Lewis has been honored in Alabama, where he led protests for racial justice in the 1960s, at the U.S. Capitol, where he lay in state, and in his hometown of Atlanta, where he was eulogized by former President Barack Obama and is now buried.

Lewis was a hero for Democrats, often lauded as the “conscience of the Congress” and a moral compass for the Democratic Party on issues like voting rights, which he supported expanding, and gun rights, which he supported restricting. “From Day 1, John Lewis was a role model in the Congress,” said House Speaker Nancy Pelosi in a tribute video that featured an image of Lewis’ last public appearance, standing with Washington, D.C., Mayor Muriel Bowser at the newly painted and named Black Lives Matter Plaza.

Since Lewis’ death, Obama and other top Democrats have called for passage of a new voting rights law in honor of Lewis. The Supreme Court invalidated key parts of the landmark 1965 Voting Rights Act in a controversial 2013 ruling. If Joe Biden wins the White House and Democrats take full control of Congress, it is expected to be a top priority.

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Remembering John Lewis, Lance Bottoms Urges People To Vote

Keisha Lance Bottoms, the mayor of Atlanta, was featured on the final night of the Democratic convention — perhaps as a recognition that she was one of Joe Biden’s earliest African American supporters amid a diverse primary field.

“We know how important it is that we elect real leaders like Joe Biden and Kamala Harris — people of honor and integrity who hold justice close to their hearts and believe that the lives of my four Black children matter,” she said.

Bottoms was also on the short list of women considered to be Biden’s running mate.

Bottoms remembered the late Georgia Rep. John Lewis, a civil rights icon, who died in July after battling pancreatic cancer.

“The baton has now been passed to each of us,” Bottoms said. “We must register and we must vote.” She introduced a video paying tribute to Lewis, who was called “the conscience of the Congress.”

Bottoms was a judge and city council member before being elected Atlanta’s second female mayor in 2017.

The coronavirus pandemic helped put Lance Bottoms on the national scene, as she tangled publicly with Georgia’s Republican Gov. Brian Kemp, whom she criticized for not putting protections in place to stem the virus’ spread in their state. She set aside his refusal to issue a statewide mask mandate and put one in place for Atlanta, despite legal questions about whether she had the authority.

And she became a prominent proponent of police reform after the killing in May of George Floyd in Minneapolis police custody. But she also spoke out against protesters in Atlanta when one evening featured violence and property damage, saying they were disgracing their city.

“If you care about this city, then go home,” she scolded in an emotional press conference.

As she was being considered for the vice presidential slot, Bottoms announced she tested positive for the coronavirus. Bottoms’ husband and son contracted the virus but recovered with minor symptoms. She also had a famous father — Major Lance, who was an R&B singer.

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17 Years After Condemning President Bush, The Chicks Perform At The DNC

In 2003, The Chicks (then named the Dixie Chicks) garnered national attention and criticism for voicing opposition to President George W. Bush and his decision to invade Iraq.

But 17 years later, there’s no sugarcoating it. The group, which helped open tonight with “The Star-Spangled Banner,” is still as political as ever.

In July, the band released its first album since 2006, titled Gaslighter, which features the song “March March,” a track the group says was influenced by the current political climate.

“That song stemmed from the gun violence era recently, and then just women’s pro-choice sentiments,” Martie Maguire, one of the three members of The Chicks, told NPR’s Noel King. “This new Black Lives Matter movement — it had happened before, it had already begun — but it really made us want to thrust this song forward in the public,” she added.

In The Chicks’ interview with NPR, lead singer Natalie Maines reflected on the backlash the group faced in 2003.

“We were not the only people saying things — there were loads of people saying things — but I think because we were in country music, we weren’t supposed to be liberal, honestly,” Maines said. “Apparently that wasn’t allowed. And then I think it was easy to bash us because we were women after the fact, but I’ve never been a believer that what happened to us was because we were women.”

Tonight’s convention will also feature a performance from rapper Common and singer John Legend. The two collaborated for the song “Glory,” which was made for the film Selma. The song went on to win the Oscar for best original song.

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#YangGang, Assemble: Andrew Yang Kicks Off Final Night Of The DNC

Former tech executive and onetime 2020 presidential candidate Andrew Yang delivered brief remarks at the top of the final night of the Democratic National Convention, after supporters had criticized his initial exclusion from the event and a lack of Asian representation among DNC speakers.

“You might know me as the guy who ran for president talking about math and the future. Unfortunately for all of us, that future is now,” Yang said Thursday night.

Yang vaulted from political anonymity to cult hero during the early months of the campaign, largely based on a robust online following across several social media platforms, including Twitter, Reddit and 4chan. His central policy was a $1,000-per-month universal basic income he dubbed the Freedom Dividend.

Shortly after suspending his campaign in February, Yang endorsed eventual Democratic nominee Joe Biden.

“I have gotten to know both Joe and Kamala [Harris] on the trail over the past year — the way you really get to know a person, when the cameras are off, the crowds are gone and it’s just you and them,” Yang said in his remarks. “They understand the problems we face. They are parents and patriots who want the best for our country. And if we give them the chance, they will fight for us and our families every single day.”

After the original slate of presenters was announced, Yang tweeted: “I’ve got to be honest I kind of expected to speak.” He was later added to the program.

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With Popcorn And Cocktails, Delegates Experience Virtual Convention

Thousands of Democratic delegates were supposed to be in Milwaukee this week. Instead, they’re watching virtually from living rooms, home offices and back patios around the United States.

Alisha Bell, a delegate from Michigan, had been planning to make her trip to the convention a family vacation before convention planners told delegates to stay home. Bell, a Wayne County commissioner, calls herself a political nerd and was thrilled when she was elected to serve as a delegate. Milwaukee was going to be her first convention.

“I was sad I was going to miss this important experience, especially as a first-time delegate, because I don’t know if I’ll get to be a delegate again.”

Frank Burger, a teacher who lives just outside Flint, is serving as a delegate for his second time. He was a Hillary Clinton delegate during the 2016 convention in Philadelphia, so he knows what it’s normally like to join a crowd of thousands cheering on the nominee.

“There’s such an exciting, exhilarating feeling while you’re in the arena,” he says.

In 2016, Burger says, his days often began at 6 a.m. and stretched late into the night with meetings and functions. Now, nearly everything is online, from the state delegation breakfasts to caucus meetings and even virtual watch parties. But Bell and Burger are trying to make the best of it.

Before the prime-time speeches earlier this week, Burger whipped up cocktails with his husband.

In Detroit, three generations of Bell’s family got together to watch — her husband, her mother and mother-in-law, and her 11- and 13-year-old kids. Bell’s mom is a convention veteran. She has been to four of them. They’ve got pompoms and bells to inject some energy into the celebration and popped popcorn before Kamala Harris’ speech on Wednesday night. Like Harris, Bell is a member of a Black sorority, and seeing Harris take the stage was a special moment.

For Burger, Jill Biden’s speech resonated because he’s a public school teacher. And when the parents of Matthew Shepard, the gay Wyoming college student whose brutal murder helped spur hate crime legislation, cast Wyoming’s votes in the virtual roll call — Burger choked up.

In a normal year, Burger, Bell and the dozens of other delegates from Michigan would have gotten the chance to chat over the course of the week over breakfasts and on bus rides from the hotel to the convention center. So when they met for the first time over video chat this week, they had a lot to discuss. They lauded former President Barack Obama’s speech, commiserated about President Trump and shared their excitement about the Democratic ticket.

They also talked about how tough this year has been. Burger is gearing up for an uncertain school year. Bell lost friends to COVID-19. But they both say they’re going to wrap up this week feeling optimistic about the election and the country’s future.

“I’m walking away with positive energy,” Burger says. “Our ticket represents what America looks like.”

“And likewise, I feel a sense of pride, a sense of hopefulness that we will get better,” says Bell. “And I can’t wait until Nov. 3.”

To hear Alisha Bell’s and Frank Burger’s audio diaries from this week, listen to the All Things Considered story here.

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RNC Will Feature Right-Wing Internet Celebrities And Trump Every Night

There will be speeches from members of Congress, regular Americans who have benefited from Trump administration policies, Internet-famous conservatives, people “who lived under the perils of socialism” and appearances from President Trump every night.

As the Democratic convention winds down, the outlines of the Republican Party’s convention next week are beginning to gel. A Trump campaign official confirmed details of the convention’s nightly programming and said it will highlight “everyday Americans whose stories are filled with hope and patriotism.” The official said this will draw a contrast with “the doom-and-gloom picture being painted by career politicians and Hollywood elites at the DNC convention.”

The theme of the convention will be “Honoring the Great American Story.” It’s not clear how this promised message of optimism will jibe with President Trump’s own recent remarks portraying American cities as places of carnage and chaos or with the coronavirus pandemic, which has killed more than 170,000 Americans — though, on one night of the convention, Trump is expected to honor front-line workers.

Each of the four nights will have its own theme:

Monday: Land of Promise. Tuesday: Land of Opportunity. Wednesday: Land of Heroes. Thursday: Land of Greatness.

First lady Melania Trump will headline Tuesday, Vice President Pence will do so on Wednesday and, on Thursday, President Trump will speak from the South Lawn of the White House. Other speakers include the owner of a drive-through espresso business that got a PPP loan; Alice Marie Johnson, whose life sentence was commuted by Trump after lobbying from Kim Kardashian; a woman who worked for a Planned Parenthood clinic before becoming an anti-abortion activist; and the parents of Kayla Mueller, the humanitarian aid worker killed while being held by ISIS.

And then there are the viral sensations. Nick Sandmann is a Catholic high school graduate who, on a field trip to Washington, D.C., had an encounter with Native American protesters that went viral, prompting news coverage. Sandmann then sued numerous news organizations over objections to the coverage and recently settled with CNN and The Washington Post. He became a conservative right-wing cause célèbre, held up as proof of failings of the “fake news” media.

In a tweet this week, he said he was excited to be included in the RNC.

Mark and Patricia McCloskey will also speak. The St. Louis couple brandished guns outside their home as Black Lives Matter protesters passed nearby. The images of them holding guns outside a mansion have become a Rorschach test in the country’s polarized politics. They have been cast both as a portrait of white privilege and as Second Amendment warriors defending their home from rioters.

Much like the Democratic convention, the Republican National Convention will be largely virtual, with speeches from locations around the United States. However, it will be centered on Washington, D.C.

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Trump Trolls Biden In His Swing-State Birthplace: Scranton

For years, Joe Biden has peppered his speeches with stories from Scranton, the working-class Pennsylvania town where he lived until his dad lost his job and moved his family to Delaware.

On Thursday, President Trump used the town as the backdrop for a flurry of attacks on Biden’s record, traveling there hours ahead of Biden’s big speech to accept his party’s nomination as its presidential candidate.

Addressing supporters outside a building-products business, Trump told the crowd that Biden had “abandoned Pennsylvania — he abandoned Scranton.” In meandering free-form remarks, he accused the former vice president of supporting economic and trade policies that hurt the state and working-class people during his long political career and said Biden would raise taxes and hurt the energy sector.

Trump narrowly won Pennsylvania in 2016, a traditional Democratic stronghold, and needs to repeat that victory in November. Most polls show Biden and Trump neck and neck in the state.

His visit is part of a counterprogramming effort during the Democratic National Convention. Earlier this week, Trump visited Minnesota, Wisconsin and Arizona, all seen as key to victory in the presidential election.

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70 Former Republican National Security Officials Endorse Biden, Call Trump ‘Unfit’ For Office

A group of over 70 former Republican national security officials, spanning the administrations of Ronald Reagan through Donald Trump, have released a scathing letter criticizing President Trump’s leadership and endorsing Joe Biden.

“We are profoundly concerned about the course of our nation under the leadership of Donald Trump,” the letter reads. “Through his actions and his rhetoric, Trump has demonstrated that he lacks the character and competence to lead this nation and has engaged in corrupt behavior that renders him unfit to serve as President.”

The officials, some of whom are former Republican lawmakers in Congress, said they would support Biden because he “has the character, experience, and temperament to lead this nation.” Among those who signed are Gen. Michael Hayden (in photo above), the former director of both the CIA and National Security Agency; and former Virginia Sen. John Warner.

“While some of us hold policy positions that differ from those of Joe Biden and his party, the time to debate those policy differences will come later. For now, it is imperative that we stop Trump’s assault on our nation’s values and institutions and reinstate the moral foundations of our democracy.”

The letter spells out why the officials believe Trump has “failed our country,” referencing the role of America on the international stage, Trump’s response to the coronavirus pandemic and his undermining of confidence in U.S. elections.

The officials say the president has “aligned himself with dictators” and has “regularly praised the actions of dictators and human rights abusers.”

“He proclaimed his ‘love’ and ‘great respect’ for North Korean strongman Kim Jong Un,” they write, “endorsed ‘brilliant leader’ Xi Jinping’s move to serve as China’s president for life, repeatedly sided with Vladimir Putin against our own intelligence community, and pronounced himself a ‘big fan’ of Turkish president Recep Erdogan despite his crackdown on democracy.”

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If Biden Wins, He Could Face Old Obstacles With Congress

As former Vice President Joe Biden prepares to give his acceptance speech for the Democratic presidential nomination tonight, Democratic lawmakers and strategists are prepping for what a Biden administration would look like and whether anything can actually get done in Washington.

As NPR’s congressional correspondent Susan Davis reports, should Biden return to 1600 Pennsylvania Ave. as president, he will confront a familiar roadblock to advancing his agenda: a polarized, closely divided Congress.

Like President Obama before him, Biden would assume office at a time of national crisis, which would likely drive the focus of the early days of his administration.

Phil Schiliro, who ran congressional affairs during the first term of the Obama administration, says he expects Biden would reach out to congressional Republicans to craft a bipartisan response to the economic and health crises.

He notes, however, that similar efforts didn’t have much impact under Obama.

“It didn’t seem to make any difference with congressional Republicans because they wanted President Obama to own the problems and own fixing the problems. I hope that won’t be the case for Vice President Biden if he’s elected — but it could be,” he said.

Whichever way Republicans respond to outreach from a Democratic White House will have a decisive impact on Congress and the Biden agenda.

“They’re going to need to get Republicans to actually go along early and quickly to disprove the assumption from many on the left that it is impossible for Republicans to swing back to the old days of more bipartisanship,” said Democratic strategist Mike Spahn.

Should Democrats win control of the Senate, they’ll face a debate over the filibuster, the procedural tool that allows any senator to block, for any reason, any bill that can’t get a 60-vote supermajority. It was eliminated by Democrats in 2013 for most executive branch nominations and was further eroded by Republicans in 2017. It is still used to block legislation — a major reason the Senate has reached historic levels of low productivity.

Biden will also face confrontation from within the Democratic Party itself, given the growing influence of the party’s progressive wing.

Rep. Pramila Jayapal, D-Wash., who co-chairs the Congressional Progressive Caucus, sees the party’s progressive wing as the force “to do both the pushing, the walking alongside and the going out in front of Joe Biden.”

“I think Joe Biden is going to be forced to be bold. I think that the movement will push him and embrace him as he does that,” she said.

Democrats increasingly believe that if Biden wins, he’ll want Nancy Pelosi at his side as House speaker to advance his agenda.

Pelosi was a critical ally to the Obama administration in advancing its early legislative victories, most notably the Affordable Care Act, which both Biden and Pelosi are working to protect and expand.

“I would never have thought she has gotten even stronger than where she was in 2009 and 2010, but she is,” Schiliro said.

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Who’s Speaking Tonight?

The fourth and final night of the Democratic National Convention will feature many of Joe Biden’s former opponents on the primary campaign trail, including New Jersey Sen. Cory Booker, former South Bend, Ind., Mayor Pete Buttigieg, entrepreneur Andrew Yang and former New York City Mayor Mike Bloomberg.

California Gov. Gavin Newsom, Wisconsin Sen. Tammy Baldwin and Delaware Sen. Chris Coons will also deliver remarks.

Other speakers include former contenders for the vice presidential slot: Illinois Sen. Tammy Duckworth and Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms.

Viewers can expect performances from The Chicks, John Legend and Common.

But the main event tonight will be when Biden takes center stage to lay out his vision for America and his case to the American people to become the next president.

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4 Takeaways From Night 3

Night 3 of the Democratic National Convention showcased several Democratic heavy hitters, including House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren and 2016 Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton.

But the night’s biggest speeches belonged to former President Barack Obama, who has mostly stayed out of the political fray over the past three-plus years, and California Sen. Kamala Harris, who made history as the first woman of color to be nominated as vice president on a major party’s national ticket.

Read all of NPR congressional editor Deirdre Walsh’s takeaways from the evening, and here are some excerpts:

1. Harris introduced herself and began to prosecute the case against President Trump

Wednesday night was her first time introducing herself to the American people as the Democratic Party’s vice presidential nominee.

She spent much of her remarks sharing her personal story as the daughter of immigrants from India and Jamaica. She spoke about her upbringing in the 1960s when she attended civil rights marches as a child.

“In the streets of Oakland and Berkeley, I got a stroller’s-eye view of people getting into what the great John Lewis called ‘good trouble,’ ” she said.

She then pivoted to attacking President Trump, although her most biting lines didn’t mention him by name.

“I know a predator when I see one,” she said of her experience as a prosecutor.

But the virtual format inevitably lessened the drama and energy of the moment. Joe Biden came out to join her (at a distance) following her remarks, but there was no traditional balloon drop.

2. Central theme: Make a plan to vote

This message has been at the core of the major speeches throughout the convention. With Democrats increasingly alarmed over the president’s rhetoric regarding the integrity of mail-in ballots and the general election, speakers have been hitting home that Democrats need to show up to vote in massive numbers.

Obama said Republicans were counting on people not showing up to vote in November.

“Do not let them take away your power,” he said. “Don’t let them take away your democracy. Make a plan right now for how you’re going to get involved and vote. Do it as early as you can, and tell your family and friends how they can vote too.”

And Clinton, who lost to Trump in 2016, emphasized that every vote matters.

“This can’t be another woulda-coulda-shoulda election.”

3. Obama blasted his successor

Like other former presidents, Obama has followed an unofficial rule not to criticize his successor. But that changed Wednesday night.

“For close to four years now, he’s shown no interest in putting in the work; no interest in finding common ground; no interest in using the awesome power of his office to help anyone but himself and his friends; no interest in treating the presidency as anything but one more reality show that he can use to get the attention he craves,” Obama said.

Obama slammed Trump’s management of the coronavirus pandemic and linked it to lives needlessly lost.

“Donald Trump hasn’t grown into the job because he can’t,” Obama said. “And the consequences of that failure are severe: 170,000 Americans dead. Millions of jobs gone while those at the top take in more than ever. Our worst impulses unleashed, our proud reputation around the world badly diminished and our democratic institutions threatened like never before.”

Trump, for his part, fired back on Twitter.

4. Female party leaders vouched for the Biden-Harris ticket

Wednesday’s lineup was heavy on popular women, who contrasted Biden’s commitment to health care, gun control and child care with Trump’s policies, which they argued threaten the economic future of women.

Warren gave her remarks from a shuttered child care center and blamed the Trump administration for problems facing working families.

“I love a good plan, and Joe Biden has some really good plans,” she said. “Plans to bring back union jobs in manufacturing and create new union jobs in clean energy. Plans to increase Social Security benefits, cancel billions in student loan debt and make our bankruptcy laws work for families instead of the creditors who cheat them.”

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