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DNC Wraps Up A Week In Philadelphia


Hillary Clinton became the Democratic nominee for president this week - the former secretary of state, a senator from New York and the first woman to be nominated for president by a major party. But Donald Trump didn't stay out of the news, especially when he seemed to invite Russia to hack Hillary Clinton's emails, as they apparently have the Democratic National Committee. We learned the breach includes servers the Clinton campaign was also using, but, according to the Clinton campaign, not their own servers. A lot to chew over with NPR's Ron Elving back from the conventions. Ron, thanks very much for being with us.

RON ELVING, BYLINE: Good to be with you, Scott.

SIMON: Do the Democrats look united to you?

ELVING: Well, considering we're talking about Democrats, yes. You know, it's a relative term. But polls do show that Clinton is getting a very high percentage of the Democratic vote, including the vast majority of the Bernie Sanders supporters. They're getting on board now. It sometimes seems that - or seemed that the Sanders folks who were not getting on board were all present in Philly. And some of them were quite vocal, even in the convention hall itself. But on the numbers and in the main, yes, the Democrats look united.

SIMON: Michelle Obama, who opened the convention with that eloquent, heart-piercing speech, was criticized in 2008 when she said, quote, "for the first time in my adult life, I'm proud of my country." But this week, she said, don't let anyone ever tell you that this country isn't great, that somehow we need to make it great again because this, right now, is the greatest country on Earth. What changed?

ELVING: To some degree, it's Michelle Obama. She has become much more politic in the things that she says. And to some degree, it's the country that's changed. You know, I heard a young Hillary supporter this week saying how much the party had embraced diversity just in her political lifetime, in terms not only of race and ethnicity but language, immigrant status. And it's - especially in the terms of the LGBTQ community, it's really been leaps and bounds in less than eight years. And this young woman, coincidentally, said she felt really patriotic and proud of her country for the first time in her life.

SIMON: So did the Democrats, to you - seem to you to be consciously trying to take over what we think of as some traditionally Republican appeals with, you know, generals and USA, USA and waving flags?

ELVING: Oh, yes, they did and flags the size of the ones you see sometimes over car dealerships along the freeway trying to get your attention. There were very strong postures on defense - General John Allen on stage with 37 Iraq and Afghanistan veterans - lots of talk also about family and faith.

SIMON: Bernie Sanders won more than 12 million votes in the primaries. Is Hillary Clinton now obliged to conspicuously adopt some of his positions?

ELVING: Not obliged in any legal or technical sense but politically, yes. And certainly she has - certainly minimum wage, college costs and college debt. The trade pact known as the Trans-Pacific Partnership, TPP, which was getting so much protest in Philadelphia, that is something too she has backed off that she had supported for quite a while.

SIMON: Is there any reason to think that when Donald Trump seemed to invite Russian hackers to hack into Hillary Clinton's emails, particularly the State Department emails - he said later that was just sarcasm - did he touch some kind of third rail in politics?

ELVING: It surely would have been so in the Cold War era, if you think about the '60s, '70s, even into the 1980s. For any prime candidate, certainly a Democratic candidate, to have said such a thing would have been seen as a fatal blow. But we are - are supposedly in a post-Cold War environment. Are we still or has Vladimir Putin brought on a new Cold War? And it would probably make a difference if Donald Trump continued to or stopped saying so many things about closer ties with Russia and closer ties with Vladimir Putin. So we're going to have to see how this one plays out in the weeks ahead.

SIMON: NPR's Ron Elving, thanks so much for being with us.

ELVING: Thank you, Scott. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.