Making room for Republicans at Democratic National Convention

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Quite a few Republicans are appearing at the virtual Democratic National Convention this year. As Democrats make their case for a Joe Biden presidency, a handful of the GOP are also voicing support for someone who is decidedly not the leader of their party and the sitting president.

On Tuesday, Cindy McCain, the widow of Senator John McCain, narrated a video portraying the close and decades-long friendship her husband and Biden shared, one that weathered the race they ran against each other in 2008, when McCain was the Republican nominee and Biden was Barack Obama’s running mate. While it was not exactly an endorsement, the video lent credence to the notion that Biden can be trusted by Republicans.

General Colin Powell, who was secretary of state in George W. Bush’s administration, went further and explicitly endorsed the former vice president. 

“I support Joe Biden for the presidency of the United States,” said Powell. “He will restore America’s leadership in the world.”

Powell also endorsed Mr. Obama in 2008 and 2012. CBS News political correspondent Ed O’Keefe pointed out that there are some this week who are baffled by the decision to give highly sought speaking slots to Republicans rather than rising stars in the party. “The campaign defends it,” O’Keefe told CBSN, “and says, ‘Look, the Biden coalition includes Democrats, independents and yes, Republicans.’ For years, Biden had a reputation as a bipartisan bridge-builder, both on Capitol Hill and then as vice president, and they want to highlight and remind people of that.” 

On Monday night, former Ohio Governor John Kasich also made the case to independents and those in his party that Biden is a leader who will listen to all perspectives, without regard to partisanship.

“I’m sure there are Republicans and independents who couldn’t imagine crossing over to support a Democrat,” Kasich said in his taped speech. “They fear Joe may turn sharp left and leave them behind. I don’t believe that. Because I know the measure of the man.”

Former New York Congresswoman Susan Molinari, the keynote speaker at the Republicans’ 1996 convention, also spoke out in support of Biden Monday night. And so did California billionaire Meg Whitman, who made an unsuccessful bid for governor a decade ago. 

The DNC on Monday night also featured a video of Republican voters who are disillusioned by Mr. Trump and ready to vote for Biden. 

Democrats are angling to catch the votes of Republicans who are turned off by the president’s abrasive behavior, trying to make a moral case for a Biden presidency. Mr. Trump still enjoys robust support among self-identified Republicans. 

Coverage of the third night of the DNC begins at 8:30 p.m. ET.

Caroline Linton contributed to this report.



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