On the second day of the Democratic convention, roll call ended with a show of unity when Bernie Sanders moved to nominate Hillary Clinton by voice vote. She then became the first woman to capture a major party presidential nomination in the United States. Only one person — if we rule out Libertarian Gary Johnson and Green Party nominee Jill Stein — now stands between her and the White House. (Let’s not mention that person’s name for just one post.) And if Hillary ultimately succeeds and takes the presidency, Bill Clinton will become the very first First Gentleman.
Bill has been one of Hillary’s most enthusiastic surrogates throughout this campaign (as well as in 2008), and Tuesday saw his 10th convention speech. This one, without a doubt, will stand as his most personal address for obvious reasons, and Bill’s keynote speech was always poised to be historic. After all, Hillary served as First Lady for eight years and went on to be a senator and secretary of state. But to Bill, she’s also a wife and fellow parent and grandparent, and so he paid tribute in the most eloquent way anyone could manage in his position.
So, how did Bill use this unique opportunity? Well, he rambled for a full 48 minutes, but this felt less like a convention speech and more like a campfire tale. Bill told an intimate story, which ended up being his life history since meeting Hillary. And in doing so, he introduced a Hillary Clinton that the public has never known.
“In the spring of 1971 I met a girl,” he explained while describing how blown away and impressed he felt. “If you can believe it, momentarily, I … was speechless.” They fell in love, and “We’ve been walking, and talking, and laughing together ever since.” He hilariously rambled and finally landed — after three marriage proposals — in 1975 when “I married my best friend. I was still in awe after more than four years of being around her.”
He dove into his gubernatorial reign, the birth of Chelsea and the minute happenings of family life. Throughout, he wove the timeline of Hillary’s advocacy and public service career around their personal moments, and he did so in such a deft yet clumsy manner that one could be forgiven for believing it happened by chance.
Then Bill seemed to remember that he was heading down on unusual path, so he leveled with the audience: “She’s been around a long time. She sure has. And she’s sure been worth every single year she’s put into making people’s lives better.” He described his wife as “uniquely qualified to seize the opportunity” and “the best darn change-maker that I have ever known.” Finally, he finished exactly where he began: “She’ll never quit on you. I hope you’ll elect her. In the greatest country in America, we have always been about the future. Your children and grandchildren will bless you forever if you do.”