Bill Clinton Makes Case for Hillary: “Best Darn Change-Maker I Have Ever Known”

In a speech that detailed his courtship of (and repeated marriage proposals to) Hillary, Bill Clinton said she is the best choice for the next president.

Bill Clinton delivers his keynote address of the second night of the Democratic National Convention at the Wells Fargo Center

Bill Clinton delivers his keynote address of the second night of the Democratic National Convention at the Wells Fargo Center. | Photo by J. Scott Applewhite/AP

Bill Clinton delivered a speech in support of his wife Tuesday at the Democratic National Convention, saying she is the best choice for the next president of the United States.

“In the spring of 1971, I met a girl,” Clinton began his speech. He told a typical Bill Clinton tale: a funny anecdote about his courtship of Hillary Rodham while at law school.

He talked convention attendees through Hillary’s life, as well as his repeated attempts at getting her to marry him. Eventually, she got a job in Arkansas—and after he bought a house, Hillary accepted his third proposal. “I married my best friend,” Clinton said. “I was still in awe of more than four years of being around her at how smart and strong and loving and caring she was and I really hope that her decision … to marry me was one she would never regret.”

Clinton also talked about how he once took a few days off to “watch all six Police Academy movies with Chelsea.” Eventually, he delivered things pretty directly: “She is still the best darn change-maker I have ever known. You could drop her into any trouble spot … come back in a month, and somehow, someway, she will have made it better. That is just who she is.”

The 42nd president attacked speakers at last week’s Republican National Convention, comparing his story of Hillary Clinton with the one told by the GOP. “Now how does this square with the things that you heard at the Republican convention?” he said. “One is real, the other is made up. You just have to decide which is which, my fellow Americans.” He said the RNC created a “cartoon” of Hillary that they’re running against. “But good for you,” he added. “Earlier today, you nominated the real one.”

Clinton said his wife would bring a “future where no one is afraid to walk outside, including those who wear blue.” He ended by saying “the reason you should elect her is that in the greatest country on earth, we have always been about tomorrow. Your children and grandchildren will bless you if you do.”

At the end of Alicia Keys’ closing performance, Hillary Clinton appeared on screen—after she literally shattered a wall of previous (male) presidents. “Hello Philadelphia,” Clinton said. “I am so happy. It has been a great day. What an incredible honor you’ve given me. And I can’t believe we’ve put the biggest crack in that glass ceiling yet. This is really your victory, this is really your night. And if there are any little girls out there who stayed up to watch, let me just say: I may become the first woman president, but one of you is next.”

Madeleine Albright, who was Secretary of State during Bill Clinton’s second term, spoke before him. She spent a large chunk of her speech attacking Republican nominee Donald Trump. “Trump has a strange admiration for dictators,” she said. “Saddam Hussein, Kim Jong-un, Vladimir Putin. Take it from someone who fled the Iron Curtain. I know what happens when you give the Russians a green light.”

After the Mothers of the Movement—which included the mothers of Sandra Bland and Trayvon Martin—addressed the audience, the crowd broke into a chant of “Black Lives Matter.”

“Hillary knows that when a young black life is cut short, it’s not just a personal loss,” said Geneva Reed-Veal, mother of Bland. “It is a national loss that diminishes all of us.”

The emcee for the night was actress Elizabeth Banks, who graduated from Penn. “Who is ready to eat a dozen cheesesteaks with me after this?” she joked from the stage at one point. She also talked about drinking Mai Tais in an IKEA. That joke kind of fell flat, but a mention that Planned Parenthood understood her “lady bits” went over better.

Actress Debra Messing introduced NYPD Det. Joe Sweeney, who ran to Ground Zero on September 11th. He praised Clinton’s response in helping the families of 9/11 victims and her aid in getting funding to address to the health problems of first responders that day.

“Hillary was our toughest champion, making sure we still got out health benefits,” Sweeney said. “Like first responders across America, Clinton has dedicated her life to a simple creed: Protect and serve.”

U.S. Representative Joseph Crowley was harsh in his words for Donald Trump, who claimed $150,000 in rebuilding funds after 9/11 despite his buildings not being destroyed: “It was one of our nation’s darkest days, but for Donald Trump, it was just another way to make a quick buck.”

Speakers Tuesday also touched on her push for expanded government health care coverage. “Twenty-five years ago I got to know Hillary Clinton, when she worked to achieve a goal … to give us all universal health care,” said former presidential candidate Howard Dean. “Before the dream of Harry Truman and the success of Barack Obama, there was Hillary Clinton.” He said Trump would throw 20 million people off health insurers’ rolls.

Dean then referenced his infamous “Dean Scream” speech that took place after he finished third in the Iowa caucuses in 2004. “This race is going to be won on the ground,” Dean said. “And it’s going to be won in Colorado, and in Iowa, and in North Carolina, and Michigan, and Pennsylvania, and then we’re going to the White House!” He didn’t scream again, though.

Other speakers on Wednesday night included Planned Parenthood president Cecile Richards, California Sen. Barbara Boxer, Minnesota Sen. Amy Klobuchar, actresses Lena Dunham (“According to Donald Trump, my body is, like, a 2”) and America Ferrera (“According to Donald Trump, I’m probably a rapist”), as well as Angels in America playwright Tony Kushner.

Follow @dhm on Twitter.