World

Bill Clinton outlines Hillary's journey in keynote speech at Democratic convention

Former president Bill Clinton portrayed his wife Hillary Clinton on Tuesday as a dynamic force for change and a longtime fighter for social justice as he made a case for her historic 2016 bid for the White House.

It took Bill Clinton three times for Hillary Clinton to accept his proposal, it only took Democrats two

The former U.S. president gives his argument for Hillary Clinton at the DNC 41:50

Former president Bill Clinton portrayed his wife Hillary Clinton on Tuesday as a dynamic force for change and a longtime fighter for social justice as he made a case for her historic 2016 bid for the White House.

The ex-president told the Democratic Party convention in Philadelphia that Hillary Clinton was "a natural leader" with a built-in sense of responsibility.

"Hillary is uniquely qualified to seize the opportunities and reduce the risks we face, and she is still the best darn change-maker I have ever known," he said.

Former U.S. president Bill Clinton discusses why it's important to vote for his wife this election 0:44

Earlier in the day, Hillary Clinton secured the Democratic Party's nomination for the Nov. 8 election, coming back from a stinging 2008 defeat in her first White House run and surviving a bitter primary fight to become the first woman to head the ticket of a major party in U.S. history.

Bill Clinton told the convention in a keynote speech that Hillary Clinton had been an activist for social justice since the couple's early days as law students together. He gave a detailed account — hair and wardrobe included — of how the two met in 1971.

Former U.S. president Bill Clinton talks about how he first asked his future wife out for a walk 3:36

He told how she gave legal aid services to poor people and went undercover to expose a segregationist school in Alabama in the 1970s.

Bill Clinton also told the convention that he had to propose three times before she said yes, and on his third attempt he told her why she shouldn't marry him.

Former U.S. president Bill Clinton describes one of his attempts to get Hillary Clinton to marry him 1:06

Perhaps their worst moments — the Monica Lewinsky scandal, impeachment and legal battles that followed — were conspicuously omitted.

Instead, Bill Clinton cast himself as a passenger in his wife's life, reshaping the story of much of their decades in politics.

The goal was to make Hillary Clinton, perhaps the most famous female politician in the world, yet a public figure her aides claim remains unknown, relatable to voters.

He cast her as a liberal heroine of her own story, who fought for education reform, health care, civil rights, the disabled, 9/11 first responders and economically depressed rural areas.

The former U.S. president describes how Hillary Clinton solved challenges she encountered throughout her life 0:53

Bill Clinton also told the crowd that President Barack Obama didn't have an easy time convincing his former rival to become secretary of state. Bill Clinton isn't the only person who had to ask her something more than once.

Former U.S. president Bill Clinton describes how Obama, like him, had to ask for Hillary Clinton's help 0:38

Bill Clinton also addressed those who have criticized Hillary Clinton for being around too long with another list of causes and the time she's spent "making people's lives better."

Former U.S. president Bill Clinton talks about Hillary Clinton making change from the ground up 0:34

After a tough battle with U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders during the state-by-state nominating contests, Hillary Clinton is now the party's standard-bearer against Republican nominee Donald Trump.

Bill Clinton said Republicans led by Trump had made Hillary Clinton out to be "a cartoon" but the real thing was nothing like their portrayal of her.

"They're running against a cartoon. Cartoons are two-dimensional, they're easy to absorb. Life in the real world is complicated and real change is hard, and a lot of people even think it's boring," he said.

Then speaking directly to the crowd, he said to cheers and applause: "Good for you because earlier today you nominated the real one."

Former U.S. president Bill Clinton argues what Hillary Clinton can do for minorities in America 1:54

President from 1993 to 2001, Bill Clinton, 69, left office with high approval ratings and is known as one of the most powerful political orators in the country.

Should she become president, her husband will step into a singular role in American history: first gentleman.

Former U.S. President Bill Clinton speaks at the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia. (Mike Segar/Reuters)

The potential new title is perhaps the strangest twist in a political career known for its second acts. After health scares and political missteps, the Comeback Kid, as he was known in his first presidential race, could come back to Washington one last time.

In 2012, he acted as a powerful validator for Obama, electrifying the room as the party's "explainer-in-chief."

But, said Bill Clinton's campaign chairman John Podesta, "This is different."

"This is more personal," said Podesta, who recalled riding to the convention hall with Bill Clinton as he touched up his 2004 convention address. "This is more about her."

But no one doubts that Bill Clinton still wants to be at the centre of the action. While aides have said he will not get a cabinet post or a seat in the Situation Room should his wife win, Hillary Clinton has made clear that her closest adviser will remain involved with her administration, saying he'd likely have a role in managing the nation's economy.

They remain a "two for one" package, as Bill Clinton famously said during his first presidential race. But on Tuesday night, he hinted, just barely, that Clinton perhaps is finally getting her part of the deal.

"I married my best friend," he said. "And I really hoped that she choosing me and rejecting my own advice to pursue her own career was a decision she'd never regret."

With files from The Associated Press and CBC News

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