After more than 20 years in the national political spotlight, a failed 2008 presidential run, and one of the most contentious Democratic conventions in recent memory, Hillary Clinton made history Thursday when she accepted her party's nomination for president.
"It is with humility, determination, and boundless confidence in America's promise I accept your nomination for the president of the United States," Clinton told the crowd as she officially became the first woman to lead a major political party's ticket.
She didn't get very far before being interrupted by chants of "Hillary! Hillary! Hillary!" which recurred throughout her nearly 40-minute address.
After formally clinching the nomination on Tuesday night, Clinton concluded the four-day Democratic National Convention by repeatedly stressing the need for unity over fear, one of the DNC's central themes. She also did not shy away from going after her Republican foe, Donald Trump, repeatedly mentioning him by name and highlighting his most controversial remarks on the campaign trail.
"We will not build a wall," she said. "Instead we will build an economy where everyone who wants a job will get one."
"He spoke for 70-odd minutes — and I do mean odd," she later quipped about Trump's acceptance speech last week in Cleveland. "And he offered zero solutions."
And mocking her Republican counterpart's notoriously thin skin, Clinton declared, "A man you can bait with a tweet is not a man you can trust with nuclear weapons."
It had been a tough week for Clinton, who was the target of protests by pro-Sanders groups galvanized against the Democratic nominee. A massive leak of DNC emails and voicemails cast additional clouds over the proceedings. Rallies began the day before the start of the convention and continued until late Thursday afternoon, when an actual storm swept through Philly, clearing the streets.
Clinton made a point to thank Sanders and his supporters early on in her speech, assuring them that, "I've heard you. Your cause is my cause."
'A man you can bait with a tweet is not a man you can trust with nuclear weapons.'
While touching on issues like LGBT rights, systemic racism, gun control, and the cost of college, Clinton kept coming back to her opponent in the November election. Her acceptance speech was a sharp contrast to his last week in Cleveland, where he accepted party's nomination by all but warning of America's impending doom. While Clinton acknowledged the serious problems facing the country and the world, she appeared to be contrasting herself to Trump by stressing how unity can overcome those problems.
"America is once again at a moment of reckoning," she declared. "Powerful forces are threatening to pull us apart. It's truly is up to us. We have to decide whether we're going to work together so we can all rise together. We are clear-eyed about what our country is up against. But we are not afraid. We will rise to the challenge, just as we always have."
In the end, Clinton's speech relied on many of the most familiar lines she frequently employed on the campaign train. Accused of playing the women card? "Then deal me in," she shouted, along with many of the delegates inside the Wells Fargo Arena.
It took Clinton more than 20 minutes before she mentioned the historic nature of her nomination as the first female nominee, but when she did the significance of the moment was not understated.
"Tonight, we've reached a milestone in our nation's march toward a more perfect union," she said, following an introduction by her daughter Chelsea, "the first time that a major party has nominated a woman for president. Standing here as my mother's daughter, and my daughter's mother, I'm so happy this day has come."
At the end of her speech, Clinton returned to themes of family and referenced the momentousness of the occasion — and appeared to take the subtlest of digs at Trump, playing off the "Make America Great Again" slogan he borrowed from Ronald Reagan.
"Yes, the world is watching what we do," Clinton said. "Yes, America's destiny is ours to choose. So let's be stronger together. Looking to the future with courage and confidence. Building a better tomorrow for our beloved children and our beloved country. When we do, America will be greater than ever."
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