Former president Bill Clinton on Tuesday urged Americans to dismiss decades of political attacks and elect the “real” Hillary Clinton this November, in a deeply personal testimonial to his wife’s character and grit.
“You should elect her because she’ll never quit when the going gets tough. She’ll never quit on you,” the former president told Democratic Party delegates who selected her as their first female nominee earlier in the day.
Turning Republican attacks on their head, Clinton offered a tacit admission that his wife was part of the political scenery and that she was not always as flashy, or such a gifted orator, as other politicians.
“She’s been around a long time. She sure has,” he joked. “And she’s sure been worth every single year she’s put into making people’s lives better.”
Some people find change from the ground up “boring,” said the two-term leader, who is now 69. “Speeches like this are fun — actually doing the work is hard.”
Republicans who gathered for their own convention in Cleveland last week called on Hillary Clinton to be jailed, accusing her of mishandling classified material, introducing dodgy foreign policies and of rank corruption.
Bill Clinton said the two images of his wife were impossible to reconcile because “one is real and the other is made up.”
“You just have to decide which is which, my fellow Americans,” he said.
The 45-minute speech was as much Bill Clinton playing “First Gentleman” — reprising the role of character witness played by so many aspiring first ladies at conventions past — as Bill Clinton the political “big dog.”
In a lilting story that spanned decades and states across America’s heartland, Bill Clinton described Hillary as a “magnetic” young student, a “fine” mother, his best friend and the “best darn change maker” Americans could hope for in a president.