PHILADELPHIA (CN) — On the night his wife made history as the first woman to top a major party’s ticket, former President Bill Clinton held Hillary Clinton up as a tireless champion of the less fortunate in a lengthy personal testimonial at the Democratic National Convention.
Clinton spent his 45-minute address portraying his wife as a powerful champion of social justice who helped fight against school segregation and voter suppression in the South. By detailing every step of her life from law school to the White House, Clinton showed his wife as someone who worked diligently to change the ills she saw in the world from the outside.
Clinton opened his speech by telling the story of meeting Hillary in law school. He saw her in a class and noticed a “sense of strength and self-possession that I found magnetic,” Clinton said in his speech to delegates Tuesday night.
Delegates in the audience held tall vertical signs that read “America” as Clinton walked onto the stage to raucous cheers. He saluted the audience once, and then walked to the far side of the stage to wave and soak in the applause.
He walked the audience through his relationship with the Democratic nominee, who he always showed as fearless and strong. Many other speakers, including former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright, gave personal testimonials about Hillary on Tuesday, but Bill Clinton’s was by far the most intimate.
“For this time, Hillary is uniquely qualified to seize the opportunities and reduce the risks we face, and she is still the best darn change maker I have ever known,” Clinton said.
The former president’s speech capped off a night spent celebrating the historic moment of Hillary Clinton clinching the Democratic nomination for president, which formally happened at a roll-call vote Tuesday afternoon.
In an election season dominated by outsiders promising change to a corrupt or “rigged” system, Bill Clinton made Hillary out as a woman who didn’t just talk about change but got on the ground and made it happen for herself.
“If you were sitting where I’m sitting and you heard what I have heard at every dinner conversation, every lunch conversation, on every long walk, you would say this woman has never been satisfied with the status quo in anything,” Clinton said. “She always wants to move the ball forward. That is just who she is.”
Clinton praised Hillary for starting a legal aid clinic in Arkansas and for holding hearings and proposing standards to bring up the state’s low education numbers while he served as governor. He credited the standards Hillary put in place in Arkansas for moving the state from one of the worst in the nation to one of its most improved.
Moving to some of her more well-known battles, Clinton lauded Hillary’s fight for health care reform as first lady, calling her a “natural” for the project. Though it was doomed to fail because of gridlock in the U.S. Senate, Clinton said that Hillary did all she could to make her vision a reality.
“She’s a change maker, that’s what she does,” Clinton said.
He later praised her work on the Armed Services Committee during her time as New York’s senator and her role in negotiating the Iran nuclear deal while serving as President Barack Obama’s secretary of state.
After a seven-hour marathon session of the convention, the audience had been somewhat sleepy before Clinton’s speech. Still, they woke up when he walked onto the stage and during his applause lines.
Toward the end of the speech Clinton defended his wife from the week of attacks lobbed during the Republican National Convention in Cleveland this past week, saying the woman he knows is caring, trustworthy and strong.
“How do you square it?” Clinton asked. “You can’t. One is real, the other is made up.”
The real Hillary is a change maker, while the version Trump’s campaign created is nothing more than a cartoon, Clinton said.
“Good for you, because earlier today, you nominated the real one,” Clinton continued, drawing chants of “Hillary” from the crowd.
- Feds Say PG&E Opened Door to New Evidence
- Sanders Supporters Block Convention Door With Sit-In