PHILADELPHIA (AP) — Promising Americans a steady hand, Hillary Clinton cast herself Thursday night as a unifier for divided times, steeled for a volatile world by decades in politics that have left some Americans skeptical of her character.
“I will be a president for Democrats, Republicans, independents, for the struggling, the striving and the successful. For those who vote for me and those who don’t,” Clinton said as she accepted the Democratic nomination, becoming the first woman to lead a major U.S. political party.
She drew a sharp contrast with her general election rival Donald Trump, calling the Republican supremely unqualified for the White House.
“Imagine him in the Oval Office facing a real crisis,” she said. “A man you can bait with a tweet is not a man we can trust with nuclear weapons,” she said.
Clinton took the stage to roaring applause from flag-waving delegates. But her real audience was the millions of voters who may welcome her experience but question her character.
She acknowledged those concerns briefly, saying “I get it that some people just don’t know what to make of me.” But her primary focus was persuading anxious Americans to stick with a Democrat for a third term and put aside their frustration with those who have been entrenched in the political system.
Clinton’s four-day convention began with efforts to shore up liberals who backed Bernie Sanders in the Democratic primary and it ended with an outstretched hand to Republicans and independents unnerved by Trump. A parade of military leaders, law enforcement officials and Republicans took the stage ahead of Clinton to endorse her in the general election contest with Trump.
“This is the moment, this is the opportunity for our future,” said retired Marine Gen. John R. Allen, a former commander in Afghanistan. “We must seize this moment to elect Hillary Clinton as president of the United States of America.”
American flags waved in the stands of the packed convention hall and the crowd broke into chants of “U-S-A!” drowning out scattered calls of “No more war.”
The Democratic nomination now officially hers, Clinton has just over three months to persuade Americans Trump is unfit for the Oval Office and overcome the visceral connection he has with some voters in a way the Democratic nominee does not.
She embraced her reputation as a studious wonk, a politician more comfortable with policy proposals than rhetorical flourishes. “I sweat the details of policy,” she said.