Hillary Clinton: A man you can bait with a tweet cannot be trusted with a nuclear weapon
Democrat makes history by accepting nomination to take on Trump in November
The final night of the Democratic convention was 240 years in the making as the second-time presidential candidate wrote her name into the history books in Philadelphia, the nation’s birthplace.
“It is with humility, determination and boundless confidence in America’s promise that I accept your nomination for president of the United States,” Mrs Clinton (68) said, struggling to be heard over thunderous applause and cheers resonating around the Wells Fargo Centre in Philadelphia.
Her speech was dominated not by the historic significance of her achievement but by her call for Americans to unite against the polarising ideas and belligerent politics of Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump, her rival in the November 8th ballot to elect Barack Obama’s successor.
“Powerful forces are threatening to pull us apart,” she said. “Bonds of trust and respect are fraying. And just as with our founders, there are no guarantees. It truly is up to us. We have to decide whether we all work together so we can all rise together.”
Introduced by her daughter Chelsea (36), Mrs Clinton appeared to struggle with the emotion of her big moment as she took to the stage and embraced her.
Chelsea had described herself as “a very, very proud daughter” in a deeply personal sketch of their family life together. “Mom, grandma would be so, so proud of you tonight,” she said.
Hillary Clinton invoked the memory and advice of her late mother Dorothy “to stand up to bullies” in a speech in which Mr Trump loomed large throughout. She expressed her happiness that “this day has come and her happiness “for grandmothers and little girls, and everyone in between.”
“Happy for boys and men, too. Because when any barrier falls in America, for anyone, it clears the way for everyone. When there’s no ceilings, the sky’s the limit,” she said to roars of approval.
For the former first lady, senator and secretary of state, the address was culmination of a decades-long career in public service and the most significant speech of her political career.
Mrs Clinton pulled no punches in casting her Republican opponent as a divisive figure with an impulsive character and unpredictable nature who could not be trusted in the Oval Office.
“He wants to divide us, from the rest of the world and each other,” she said. “He’s betting that the perils of today’s world will blind us to its unlimited promise.”
Mocking his long acceptance speech at the Republican convention in Cleveland last week, she said: “He spoke for 70-odd minutes - and I do mean odd. And he offered zero solutions.”
Targeting the most inflammatory proposals of Mr Trump’s campaign, Mrs Clinton criticised his plan to build a wall along the Mexican border to keep immigrants out and to ban Muslims. She instead presented herself as an inclusive leader who could bring about “real change for America” and address the economic concerns of working-class voters who have propelled his campaign.
“We will not build a wall,” she said. “Instead, we will build an economy where everyone who wants a good paying job can get one. And we’ll build a path to citizenship for millions of immigrants who are already contributing to the economy. We will not ban a religion.”
She painted her rival as an inexperienced narcissist in contrast to the many positions she has held in state and national government.
But she also acknowledged her own weaknesses as she tried to reintroduce herself to the many people who have developed a negative view of her from a quarter-century in the public eye.
“I get it that some people just don’t know what to make of me,” she said, drawing laughs from the packed arena. “So let me tell you. The family I’m from. . . well no one had their name on big buildings,” she deadpanned in a dig at Mr Trump, eliciting even more laughs.
From early in her speech, supporters of her Democratic primary runner-up Bernie Sanders booed and shouted but were drowned out chants of “Hillary! Hillary!” and later “USA! USA!” from her supporters around them.
Mrs Clinton ignored the protests, choosing to concentrate on Mr Trump. She questioned the New York billionaire’s temperament to deal with the stressful demands of being president when he “can’t even handle the rough-and-tumble of a presidential campaign.”
“He loses his cool at the slightest provocation, when he’s gotten a tough question from a reporter, when he’s challenged in a debate, when he sees a protester at a rally,” she said.
“Imagine him in the Oval Office facing a real crisis. A man you can bait with a tweet is not a man we can trust with nuclear weapon,” she added, jabbing him over his tussles on social media.
Criticising the simple declarations and ambitious promises of his campaign, she told the audience: “Don’t let anyone tell you that our country is weak - we’re not” and “Americans don’t say, ‘I alone can fix it.’ They say, ‘We’ll fix it together.’”
She ridiculed the property and entertainment mogul and his Trump-branded products.
“Donald Trump wants to make America great again,” she said, in reference to his campaign slogan. “Well, he could start by actually making things in America again.”
The crowd laughed, lapping up another zinger at the Manhattan billionaire.
The schedule of the final day of the Democratic convention was again packed with speakers offering glowing testimonials for Mrs Clinton and devastating critiques of Mr Trump.
In one of the most moving moments of the night, the parents of Humayun Khan, a 27-year-old Muslim American who died while fighting for the US in Iraq in 2004, appeared on stage and delivered a powerful message to the Republican nominee over his anti-Muslim rhetoric.
“Have you ever been to Arlington cemetery? Go look at the graves of brave patriots who died defending the United States of America” he said, directly addressing Mr Trump.
“You will see all faiths, genders and ethnicities. You have sacrificed nothing and no one.”
Mrs Clinton was joined on stage by her running mate, Virginia senator Tim Kaine, as the Democratic ticket was presented together at the convention for the first time.
The two nominees were jointed by members of their families as the night was concluded with traditional cascade of thousands of red, white and blue balloons from the roof of the arena.
Would-be “First Gent” Bill Clinton, the 42nd president and husband hoping to become the 45th in November, played with the balloons, kicking and hitting them into the crowd as his wife left the stage.
On the convention floor, Diana Hatsis-Neuhoff from Florida, who supported Clinton’s rival Bernie Sanders but is this week a new convert to Mrs Clinton, is holding a split sign. It says, “Was voting for Bernie” over his campaign logo and “Now voting with Bernie” over a Clinton “H” logo.
“A heck of a long time, a heck of a long time,” she said of the 240-year wait for a major party to pick a presidential nominee.
“It’s important for us to finally get a woman president. However, I think we are very, very far behind a lot of other countries.”
As staff burst balloons in the clean-up, Marina McCarthy (65) from Washington DC, the Obama-appointed chair of the White House commission on US presidential scholars, is carrying home a bag of Hillary signs. She was “thrilled” by the nomination and found the atmosphere in the arena “electrifying and beyond her expectations.” She was hopeful that it would lead to further progress for others.
“You lift one group, you lift another,” she said. “The ripples of hope, like Robert Kennedy said - you do a little here and it creates a little more down the river.”