“She’s been around a long time. She sure has,” Bill Clinton said. “And she’s sure been worth every single year she’s put into making people’s lives better.”
“She’s the best darn change maker I ever met in my entire life,” he added.
It was an intimate address, less soaring rhetoric than easy-chair storytelling. He added new biographical details to a story that is more than a little familiar, after a quarter-century the couple has spent in the national eye.
He made no mention of scandals past and present. Instead, he sought to push against the way his wife was portrayed at Trump’s convention.
“How do you square it? You can’t. One is real, the other is made up. You just have to decide. You just have to decide which is which,” he said. “Good for you, because earlier today, you nominated the real one.”
That nomination happened relatively cleanly, thanks to some delicate political choreography. It combined with uncommon trust and a touch of lucky timing to hush chants of stolen elections and silenced voices.
Sanders appeared at the convention’s second night only briefly, though long enough to provide a dose of healing to a party aching from a raucous last few days.
The crowd roared for Clinton. It turned the tide of a convention that was veering toward chaos early on. The unity set up the former president, who in turn helped set up the historical significance.
On one level, Bill Clinton’s speech (his amazing 10th at a Democratic convention) was a bridge to a previous century. The Clintons can ask for new starts, but they are not — and will never again be — new.
Tuesday night laid the candidate’s biography on thick, seeking to change perceptions that might be unshakable after decades in the spotlight.
But the history is real. When the candidate appeared on the stage’s giant video screen, things got a bit louder.
An animated glass ceiling shattered, as pictures of 44 familiar men dissolved to bring Clinton into the room, via live video.
“I may become the first woman president,” Clinton said. “But one of you is next.”
A woman is the nominee of a major political party, finally and officially. The glass ceiling may not shatter in November, but Hillary Clinton’s story began to break through.