PHILADELPHIA — It was a moment America had never seen: a woman accepting a major party’s nomination for president.
Hillary Clinton accepted the Democratic nomination Thursday, pledging to unite a divided country and casting herself as a tested, steady hand in troubled times. She said she would work to improve the lives of all Americans, not just those at the top.
She closed a convention that tested the party’s ability to unify after a divisive primary fight. After a rocky opening day featuring protests and jeers, the opposition settled down, but never faded completely.
Clinton’s daughter, Chelsea, introduced her as “my mother, my hero and the next president of the United States.”
Here are the top takeaways from the final day of the Democratic convention:
THE REAL AUDIENCE
Clinton was greeted by cheering delegates eager to see her win in November. But her real audience was the millions of voters watching on television who may welcome her experience but question her character.
Clinton tried to make the case for why she deserves a second look.
“I get it that some people just don’t know what to make of me,” she said.
Noting her family’s humble roots, Clinton hailed her parents and grandparents, saying they instilled in her a work ethic that allowed her to go to college and law school and begin a career as an advocate for children before becoming a political spouse and a politician herself.
Clinton contrasted her decades of experience as first lady, senator, and secretary of state with Trump’s inexperience in politics. And she questioned his temperament.
“A man you can bait with a tweet is not a man you can trust with nuclear weapons,” she said.
Chelsea Clinton continued the family effort to show the warm side of her mother.
Nearly a quarter century after America got to know her as a gangly 12-year-old, Chelsea Clinton described Hillary Clinton as a mother who always made her feel “valued and loved” and a doting grandmother who will drop everything to FaceTime her 2-year-old granddaughter, Charlotte.
Chelsea Clinton spoke two days after her father, former President Bill Clinton, addressed delegates in what was as much love story as political speech. Chelsea Clinton followed suit.
“I hope that someday my children will be as proud of me as I am proud of my mom,” she said.
Trump’s family offered similar loving tributes at last week’s Republican convention. Both candidates have low popularity ratings and their campaigns have been trying to emphasize their personal, human sides.
Most Bernie Sanders supporters heeded the Vermont senator’s call for unity – or at least his plea not to be disruptive. But there were exceptions.
As Clinton spoke, several people in the crowd unfurled a banner that said “Wikileaks.” It’s a reference to the leaked party emails that some say show the Democratic National Committee favoured Clinton over Sanders.
Clinton struggled to keep command of the arena. Supporters chanted “Hillary” to drown out hecklers.
Some Sanders supporters chose a less disruptive way to express their views. They wore neon-green, glow-in-the-dark shirts emblazoned with the Sanders battle cry “enough is enough.”
Clinton wasn’t only looking to charge up the Democratic base. She was trying to win over Republicans.
The convention’s last day featured speeches from a former member of President Ronald Reagan’s administration and a U.S. Chamber of Commerce official who is heading a Republican group supporting Clinton.
“I knew Ronald Reagan. I worked for Ronald Reagan,” said Doug Elmets, a Republican now backing Clinton. “Donald Trump, you are no Ronald Reagan!”
GLAD IT’S OVER
Trump appeared to be relieved that the Democratic convention was finally ending. He’s had enough criticism. In fact, he said Thursday that he wanted to hit some speakers “so hard their heads would spin.”
He didn’t identify anyone in particular, but mentioned “a little guy” who particularly bothered him. Could be former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg — who is listed as 5 feet, 8 inches.