US election: Bill Clinton backs ‘best friend’ Hillary to lead US

TUESDAY, JULY 26, 2016

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Media captionUS election: Bill Clinton makes the case for Hillary

ROAD TO THE WHITE HOUSE

by Melissa Gruz and Biodun Iginla, BBC News

Former US President Bill Clinton has set out the case why his wife and “best friend” Hillary should lead the nation.

He told the Democratic convention in Philadelphia that she was the “best darn change-maker I’ve ever known”.

In a very personal speech, he spoke warmly about how they met and her dedication to public service.

Hours earlier, his wife became the first woman to be officially nominated for president by any major US party.

Mrs Clinton ended the night with a video message, saying: “I can’t believe we just put the biggest crack in that glass ceiling yet.

“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.”

Earlier, Mr Clinton shared the story of how he and his wife met at Yale Law School in the spring of 1971.

“I married my best friend,” he said. “We’ve been walking and talking and laughing together ever since.”


REVEALING A HUMAN SIDE — ANTHONY ZURCHER, BBC NEWS, PHILADELPHIA

Bill Clinton tried to accomplish two things on Tuesday night. He shared personal stories to paint a portrait of a woman who has been in the public eye for so long that she has become as ubiquitous as your living room wallpaper.

He also wanted to position his wife as an effective champion of the change many Americans crave.

Although he dwelled on the details longer than necessary — with minutiae akin to a coma-inducing family reunion — he inundated the audience with examples of his wife as a mother, friend and compassionate life companion. It proved a stark contrast to Donald Trump, whose familial keynoters struggled to provide anything resembling touching personal anecdotes.

His efforts to label his wife as a “change-maker”, however, proved somewhat more ineffective. It’s easy to tout Mrs Clinton’s wealth of experience. It’s harder to fashion her as an outsider who will cleanse a system perceived by many to be broken.

Competent and controlled doesn’t exactly capture the public’s imagination — and it proved to be a challenge for even a gifted orator like Mr Clinton. But he succeeded in revealing an emotive, human side of his wife.


Image copyrightGETTY IMAGESImage captionMrs Clinton told supporters: “This is really your victory.”

Image copyrightGETTY IMAGESImage captionDelegates celebrated Mrs Clinton’s nomination with brightly coloured campaign signs

The former secretary of state and first lady was uniquely qualified to be president, he said.

“Hillary opened my eyes to a whole new world of public service by private citizens,” he said before recounting her early career.

Hours before he spoke, his wife passed the 2,382 delegates needed to claim the nomination after South Dakota announced its delegate vote count.

In a symbolic gesture of party unity, former Democratic rival Senator Bernie Sanders took the microphone to declare Mrs Clinton as the nominee by acclamation, to an eruption of cheers.

In other highlights:

  • The “Mothers of the Movement”, made up of parents who lost a child to police or gun violence, gave a powerful endorsement to Mrs Clinton
  • Geneva Reed-Veal, the mother of Sandra Bland, who died in a police cell, said: “What a blessing tonight to be standing here so that Sandy can still speak through her momma”
  • A group of Sanders supporters held a sit-in inside a media tent
  • President of Planned Parenthood Cecile Richards attacked Mr Trump’s policies on women’s rights
  • Actress Lena Dunham said: “She knows we have to fight hatred of all kind, and not ignite it for the craven purpose of seeking power”

The second night focused on race and justice, topics that dominated last week’s Republican National Convention in Cleveland.

Dissention on the convention floor plagued the first day when Sanders supporters booed throughout the event.

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Media captionSanders brothers crying at convention

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Media captionBernie Sanders makes Hillary Clinton nomination official

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Media captionBill and Hillary’s political love story

Mr Sanders later took centre stage as the final speaker on Monday night and directly told his supporters that “”Hillary Clinton must become the next president of the United States.”

In declaring her the nominee, Mr Sanders echoed Mrs Clinton in a role she played eight years ago after a hard-fought primary.

At the 2008 Democratic National Convention, Mrs Clinton called for a vote for Barack Obama by acclamation, ending the roll call vote in an effort to unite the party behind his candidacy.

Mrs Clinton will face off against Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump in November.

Recent national polls suggest the two candidates will be in a tight race for the White House.

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US ELECTION 2016

Posted by Biodun Iginla at 11:50 PM

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Labels: #BBC News, Bernie Sanders, bill clinton, change-maker, Democratic convention in Philadelphia, hillary clinton, Melissa Gruz and Biodun Iginla

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