PHILADELPHIA - Hillary Clinton on Tuesday became the first woman to be nominated for president of the United States by a major political party on a historic night during which her campaign also sought to reintroduce her to skeptical voters and calm continuing tensions here.
This is after she clinched the nomination as the flag-bearer for the Democratic Party at the ongoing Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia.
Part of that task fell to former president Bill Clinton, who delivered a keynote speech at the Democratic National Convention that began by recounting his courtship of his wife and detailed her lengthy career in public service, including helping children, immigrants and people with disabilities.
“She’s the best darn change-maker I ever met in my entire life,” the former president said. “This woman has never been satisfied with the status quo on anything. She always wants to move the ball forward. That’s just who she is.”
Bill Clinton also argued that Republicans had tried to turn his wife into a “cartoon” during their national convention last week in Cleveland.
“What’s the difference in what I told you and what they said?” he asked. “One is real and the other is made up. . . . You just have to decide which is which, my fellow Americans.”
Hillary Clinton, along with her daughter, Chelsea, are scheduled to address the convention on Thursday, when she formally accepts the nomination.
But Tuesday night she appeared on a large screen, remote from New York, thanking the delegates for helping her put “the biggest crack in that glass ceiling yet.”
Clinton formally secured the nomination earlier in the night during the roll call of states, which ended with a symbolic gesture: Her primary rival, Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, asking that Clinton be declared the nominee by acclamation, a move that prompted resounding cheers.
Soon after, Clinton sent out a video on Twitter showing Sanders’s remarks and declaring “Stronger together,” her campaign motto.
Sanders’s action, however, wasn’t sufficient to bring on board all of his delegates, some of whom walked out of the hall in protest, adding to the party’s difficulties this week in displaying unity as Clinton fights a pitched battle against Republican nominee Donald Trump.
The program then turned to a long series of speakers offering testimonials to Hillary Clinton’s character and record of service.
They included a series of mothers who have lost their children to gun violence or in police custody and are now fighting for reforms.
“Hillary is one mother who can ensure our movement will succeed,” said Sybrina Fulton, the mother of Trayvon Martin, who was fatally shot by a neighborhood watch volunteer in Florida.
Chants of “Black Lives Matter!” could be heard in the convention arena as the women, who call themselves “The Mothers of the Movement,” made their emotional presentations.
Roll call vote
During the roll call of states, Clinton, the former secretary of state, secured the 2,383 delegates needed to win the party’s nomination when the South Dakota delegation cast its votes.
Sanders, the runner-up for the nomination, appeared on the convention floor at the end of the process and made a motion to suspend the rules.
“I move that Hillary Clinton be selected as the nominee of the Democratic Party for president of the United States,” Sanders said.
With the motion seconded, a loud roar of aye’s arose, making her the nominee at 6:56 p.m. Eastern time.
The orchestrated show of unity followed a rocky first day of the convention on Monday, when it became clear that some of Sanders’s supporters were not ready to accept Clinton as the party’s nominee despite the senator from Vermont urging them to do so.
Sanders's move to nominate Clinton, confirmed by reporters this afternoon, nonetheless took many Sanders delegates by shock. Some members of the Sanders-heavy Oregon delegation, who had been holding home-made cloth signs with slogans like “We Are the 99.9%” and “No Justice No Peace,” dropped the signs, their mouths gaping.
Following the roll call, some exited the hall, chanting, “Walkout! Walkout! Walkout!” As the program continued, most of the seats in delegations from Maine, Kansas, Alaska and Oklahoma — all states Sanders won against Clinton — were empty.
As they moved toward the exit, some delegates began chanting "This is what democracy looks like!" with others filming the crowd or streaming live on Facebook.
“This is what idiocy looks like,” said Cheryl Everman, a Clinton delegate from Maryland. “Democracy is whoever gets the most votes, wins. It's so silly.”
Some of the protesters doubted that Clinton won. Lucinda Hines-Clabaugh, one of the Oregon delegates who put on a black gag, initially thought Sanders had done the right thing by nominating Clinton.
“He's such a good man,” she said. “Hillary would never do that.”
Several Oregon delegates, meanwhile, wrapped black cloth around their jaws, as gags, and headed into the hallway of the Wells Fargo Center. There they met dozens of angry delegates from other states.
The anger of the protesters was fueled in part by leaked emails showing that some DNC staff discussed ways to help Clinton and hurt Sanders in the primaries. The party’s chairwoman, Debbie Wasserman Schultz, announced her resignation Monday following the revelations.
Ryan Drundle, a Sanders delegate from Louisiana, walked out wearing a button with the unprintable acronym DNC GFY.
“The whole election process has been a farce from the get-go,” said Drundle. “There are a dozen states with election-fraud investigations, and nobody’s saying anything about it. It’s a sham.”
Drundle and Hines-Clabaugh said they were unsure if they would return to the convention at all.
The nominating process began shortly before 5 p.m., with Sanders’s name put forward by Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (D-Hawaii). She affectionately called him a “somewhat frumpy, and maybe even sometimes grumpy, 74-year-old guy” who created a progressive movement.
Sanders sat in the convention hall next to his wife, with a broad smile on his face, as a pair of seconding speeches followed. He stood up and waved to the crowd afterward amid an extended ovation.
Clinton was nominated by Sen. Barbara D. Mikulski (D-Md.), the dean of women senators, who said she was putting forward the former secretary of state’s name “on behalf of all the women who have broken down barriers.”
Mikulski was followed by Rep. John Lewis (D-Ga.), the revered civil rights leader; who referenced another “glass ceiling” that was broken with President Obama’s election eight years ago, and Na’ilah Amaru, a Clinton supporter and Iraq veteran who won an online contest to nominate the candidate.
When Illinois — Clinton's birthplace — got its chance in the roll call, the honor of casting votes was given to her childhood friend Betsy Ebeling.
“On this historic, wonderful day, in honor of Dorothy and Hugh’s daughter and my sweet friend — I know you’re watching,” Ebeling said, her voice heavy with emotion. “This one’s for you Hill.”
She called out Illinois’s 98 votes for Clinton and let out a final “Yes!”