PHILADELPHIA — Hillary Clinton shattered some glass on Tuesday by becoming the first woman to be nominated for president by a major party — on a night aimed at gaining the support of disjointed Democrats.
Her husband, Bill Clinton, also made some history in becoming the first former president to speak on behalf of a spouse, a freshly minted presidential nominee, at a political convention.
He started simply during his often humorous, yet emotional, remarks: “In the spring of 1971, I met a girl,” detailing the first time he laid eyes on the girl with “big blond” hair who didn’t wear makeup.
Then he launched into a detailed narrative, weaving her life in public service with their life together: “I married my best friend.”
“Hillary opened my eyes to a whole new world of public service by private citizens,” he said.
“She’s the best darn change maker I have ever met in my entire life,” former President Bill Clinton said, as many waved “Change Maker” signs. He said she “never quits when the going gets tough.”
He also drew a standing ovation when he said it’s time to get “square” about remarks at the Republican National Convention last week: “One is real. And the other is made up. You just have to decide which is which, my fellow Americans.”
“Earlier today, you nominated the real one,” former President Bill Clinton said.
A powerhouse speaker, the former president spoke at the 2012 convention and was credited with giving President Barack Obama a big bump in the polls.
This year, Day Two of the convention marked another day full of major efforts to unite Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton supporters against Donald Trump by highlighting social issues, women’s rights and Clinton’s own personal side.
Former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright, who received the warmest response from the crowd, drew support for her criticism of Trump.
She called a Trump presidency “a gift to Vladimir Putin.”
“And that should worry every American,” Albright said.
Hillary Clinton “knows that safeguarding freedom and security is not like hosting a reality TV show,” she said, adding Trump has “already done damage, just by running for President.”
“Trump’s dark vision of America, one that’s isolated in the world, alienated from our allies, would be a disaster. We must make sure that never happens,” said Albright.
Earlier, the “Mothers of the Movement” drew an immediate standing ovation as nine mothers of black victims killed in gun violence or in police-related incidents, talked about their support for Clinton.
The mothers have been featured in Clinton ads.
Geneva Reed-Veal, whose daughter, Lisle native Sandra Bland was found hanging in a jail cell after a traffic stop, brought many in the conventional hall to tears.
“I am here, with Hillary Clinton, tonight, because she is a leader and a mother who will say our children’s names,” Reed-Veal said. “She knows that when a young black life is cut short, it’s not just a loss. It’s a personal loss. It’s a national loss. It’s a loss that diminishes all of us.
“Hillary Clinton isn’t afraid to say that black lives matter. She isn’t afraid to sit at the table with grieving mothers and bear the full force of our anguish,” Lucy McBath, mother of Jordan Davis said. “She doesn’t build walls, around her heart.”
Lauren Manning, a 9/11 survivor talked of the support Clinton gave her as she lay in a hospital bed with severe burns after the attack.
“She was there for me, and that’s why I’m with her,” Manning said, adding the connection wasn’t senator to constituent, but person to person.
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The lineup also featured elected officials with close ties to the Clintons, such as Sen. Barbara Boxer: “We are not going to the dark days when women died in back alleys. We are never ever, ever going back. Never,” Boxer said. ‘We are moving forward with Hillary Clinton.”
Cecile Richards, head of Planned Parenthood, told the hall women’s health and rights are on the line this November.
“Donald Trump has called women ‘fat pigs’ and ‘dogs.’ He wants to punish women for having abortions. And he says pregnancy is an ‘inconvenience’ for a woman’s employer,” Richards said. “Well, Donald Trump, come November, women are going to be more than an inconvenience. We’re going to be the reason you’re not elected.”
In an electrifying moment for Sanders supporters, the Vermont senator stood alongside the state’s delegation as it cast four of its 26 votes for Clinton, after Clinton had already clinched the nomination.
The Vermont senator then took to the microphone and moved that the convention nominate Clinton by voice vote.
“I move that Hillary Clinton be selected as the nominee of the Democratic Party for president of the United States,” Sanders said.
Many states allowed Sanders’ delegates to announce their votes, including Sanders’ brother Larry, who offered an emotional tribute to their parents as he cast the vote for Democrats Abroad.
Illinois House Speaker Mike Madigan took the microphone when it was the state’s turn to cast its vote, calling Illinois the home to President Barack Obama, Sen. Dick Durbin and Rep. Tammy Duckworth.
Then, as a sign of unity in a state with plenty of Sanders supporters, Madigan handed over the mic to Clem Balanoff, who ran Sanders’ campaign in Illinois. Balanoff called Sanders “a true progressive and the author of the new political revolution.”
When it was time for Clinton’s longtime friend from Park Ridge, Betsy Ebeling, to cast her home state votes, there were tears in her eyes: “This one’s for you, Hill.”
Illinois cast 98 votes for Clinton and 74 for Sanders.
Clinton will officially accept the nomination on Thursday but appeared via a video message to thank delegates on Tuesday night.
Clinton appeared via satellite after a video featured images of American presidents, and then, some shattered glass: “I can’t believe we just put the biggest crack in that glass ceiling yet.”
“This is really your victory. This is really your night. And if there are any little girls out there, who stayed up late to watch, let me just say, I may become the first woman president, but one of you is next.”