PHILADELPHIA — Hillary Clinton officially became the first woman from a major political party to earn a presidential nomination, making history by putting “the biggest crack in that glass ceiling yet” — a moment highlighted in a deeply personal address by former President Bill Clinton, who boasted about marrying his “best friend.”
“She was easy to underestimate with her soft manner, and she reminded me all over again of the truth of that old saying, you should never judge a book by its cover,” said Clinton. “I married my best friend.”
In a speech meant to portray the human side of his wife, he opened with the story of how they met in a political and civil rights class at Yale University in the spring of 1971, recalling that she had “thick blond hair, big glasses, and wore no makeup.”
The former president repeated a familiar anecdote of being too shy to ask her out until Hillary marched up to him and introduced herself.
“We’ve been walking and talking and laughing together ever since,” he said.
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Clinton repeatedly called his wife a “change-maker” — and signs with those words were passed out at the arena — an acknowledgement that the mood of the electorate seems to be decidedly against the status quo.
“We’ve done it in good times and bad, through joy and heartbreak,” Bill Clinton said.
Later, as images of 44 male presidents flashed on a Jumbotron, Hillary Clinton addressed the Philly crowd via satellite from New York.
“I can’t believe we just put the biggest crack in that glass ceiling yet,” she said. “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.”
Hollywood injected the star power for the evening, with a performance by singer Alicia Keys, a celebrity montage music video to Rachel Platten’s “Fight Song” and speeches by actresses Elizabeth Banks and Meryl Streep.
“We have some fight left in us, don’t we?” Streep asked the crowd. “What does it take to be the first female anything? It takes grit. And it takes grace.”
Hillary Clinton was crowned the party’s choice earlier in the day after her old rival, Bernie Sanders, standing with his Vermont delegation, moved to suspend the party rules.
“I move that Hillary Clinton be selected as the nominee of the Democratic Party for president of the United States,” said Sanders, as the Wells Fargo Center erupted in huge cheers.
Yet images of party unity quickly shattered as many of his delegates walked out and launched a silent protest with other supporters in the nearby media center.
Some held a banner that read “#BS 2016!” and placed tape over their mouths insisting they’ve been silenced during the primary — a reference to the email hack that showed the DNC’s hostility toward the Sanders campaign.
Zach Bulls of Austin, Texas, hung signs outside the media tent that read “STOLEN ELECTION … THE DEMOCRATIC PARTY JUST ELECTED DONALD TRUMP” and “CORRUPTION IS THE ROOT OF ALL PROBLEMS.”
“I just think there’s a lot of disconnect between the delegates and the party,” Bulls said. “It just brought up all the bad memories of the scandalous activity that occurred during the primary.”
Sanders supporter Kevin Tengesdal of North Dakota stood silently with a scarf tied around his mouth, holding a cellphone with text on his screen.
“Our Voice is Silenced,” it read.
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