Hillary Rodham Clinton was officially nominated as the Democratic candidate for the 2016 presidential election Tuesday, making history. She's the first-ever female presidential candidate for a major U.S. party.
In the second day of speeches at the Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia, a new image of Clinton emerged. Unconstrained by time limits, and in what began as a tedious reading of Bill and Hillary Clinton's resume, former President Bill Clinton told the story of their lives down to the smallest detail in his keynote address at the Democratic National Convention Tuesday night, including the size of their 1100 square foot first home together in Arkansas.
After lulling the audience with what seemed aimless rambling, some of which focused on Bill's own achievements, his purpose eventually became clear. From those details emerged a portrait of Hillary -- "The Changemaker."
Previous speakers alluded to Hillary Clinton's achievements that led to groundbreaking change in education and health care. Madeline Albright, secretary of state under Bill Clinton, touched on them -- also taking the opportunity to call out rival Donald Trump's "strange admiration for dictators" -- as did the fiery speech delivered by Democratic National Committee Acting Chairwoman Donna Brazile, who described Clinton's single-mindedness at the Children's Defense Fund early in their careers.
But Bill Clinton drew a line from Clinton's work to the many laws and changes that she effected. For instance, her role as a public servant who took an active role in studies that led to important federal legislation now taken for granted by most Americans -- the Students with Disabilities Act -- and numerous other progressive initiatives that advanced and provided protections and health care to children, women and the disabled.
While telling those details about Hillary's every law school internship, how she started the first legal aid clinic for the poor in Northeast Arkansas, her work to desegregate Southern schools, how she spoke up in China about women's rights and her hand in making it easier for foster and disabled children to be adopted, a picture emerged was quite different from the infamous "Killary" painted by Donald and some Bernie supporters.
Bill Clinton had masterfully woven Hillary a new image, and the sheer volume of details lent credence to his version of Hillary -- the one who calls you when you're sick, the one who has lifelong friends from every stage of her life -- views confirmed by a host of speakers in whose plights Hillary took a more than passing interest and with whom she stayed in touch to see them through their struggle over the years.
Among those were 9/11 survivors like Lauren Manning, and Ryan Moore, who was a child when his father lost his job because his employer didn't want to cover treatment for Moore's health condition.
After sharing a litany of accomplishments, Bill asked: "How does this square with the things that you heard at the Republican convention? What's the difference in what I told you and what they said? How do you square it? You can't. One is real, the other is made up."
Sidestepping the controversies and scandals that never quite proved her guilty, Bill focused on Hillary's skills and experience as a New York senator and secretary of state, saying, "You can drop her in any trouble spot, pick one, come back in a month and somehow, some way she will have made it better. That is just who she is."
He then closed with a presidential comment, insinuating himself as part of the solution to America's problems as the first man: "There are clear, achievable, affordable responses to our challenges. But we won't get to them if America makes the wrong choice in this election," he said, assuring that she is never complacent with the status quo and "She'll never quit on you."
Another particularly powerful endorsement came from U.S. Rep. Joseph Crowley (D-N.Y.), saying that Hillary Clinton "stood at the pile," at Ground Zero after Sept. 11, 2001, and helped rebuild the city. Hillary, he said, both fought for ailing first responders to pass the Health and Compensation Act, and secured $20 billion in funding to help rebuild Downtown New York City.
At the same time, Crowley delivered a crushing blow to the Republican nominee, a New York native and prominent real estate developer in the city, asking, "Where was Donald Trump in the days and months and the years after 9/11? He didn't stand at the pile, he didn't lobby Congress for help, he didn't fight for the first responders, nope -- he cashed in- collecting $150,000 in federal funds intended to help small businesses recover."
Crowley added: "Donald Trump sought a payday for his empire. It was one of our nation's darkest days, but for Trump, it was just another chance to make a quick buck."
In contrast, the congressman called Clinton, "the doer of deeds." Adding to the chorus of "I'm with her" at the convention, he said, "I'm with Hillary because Hillary has always, always been with us."