President calls Hillary his 'best friend' and the 'real one' in this election

By Gerrad Hall
July 26, 2016 at 12:00 PM EDT
ROBYN BECK/AFP/Getty Images

Former President Bill Clinton got a rousing reception with his Tuesday night keynote address at the Democratic National Convention, emphasizing his wife’s record of being “the best darn changemaker I ever met in my entire life” and telling Americans the reasons Hillary Clinton should be the next president.

“If you were sitting where I’m sitting and you heard what I have heard – every dinner conversation, every lunch conversation, on every long walk – this woman has never been satisfied with the status quo. She always wants to move the ball forward. That is just who she is,” Clinton said during his 42-minute speech in Philadelphia.

Clinton recounted seeing Hillary for the first time at Yale — a young woman with “thick blonde hair and big glasses” — but he failed to muster the courage to speak to her. Eventually, she made the first move in the university’s law library. “Look, if you’re going to keep staring at me, and now I’m staring back, we at least oughta know each other’s name. I’m Hillary Rodham,” he told the crowd and confessing that, in a rare moment, he was rendered speechless.

After two failed marriage proposals, he finally got her to say yes after buying a house in Little Rock she once expressed admiration over. “I married my best friend. I was still in awe after more than four years of being around her at how smart and strong and loving and caring she was,” Clinton said.

Clinton also highlighted Hillary’s work with children’s issues healthcare, as well as reform in South Carolina’s prisons and in Arkansas’ education system during his tenure as governor; “Looks to me like we elected the wrong Clinton,” a state lawmaker once told him, he said.

He went on to tout her record as a New York senator, when she worked with families of victims of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks and served on the Armed Forces Committee and a Pentagon commission on new security challenges. He praised her foreign policy advances as President Obama’s Secretary of State, including her efforts on climate change, reducing AIDS-related deaths in Africa, imposing nuclear sanctions against Iran, negotiating a ceasefire between Hamas and Israel, and her backing of the operation to take out Osama bin Laden.

Clinton also commended the delegation for recognizing the “real” candidate in this election, referring to Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump, though not by name, as a “cartoon.”

“Good for you, because earlier today you nominated the real one,” he said to cheers. “There are clear, achievable, affordable responses to our challenges, but we won’t get to them if America makes the wrong choice in this election.”

Appealing to immigrants, Muslims, and “young African-Americans disillusioned and afraid,” he concluded by promising hope for a better future.

“Hillary will make us stronger together. You know it, because she’s spent a lifetime doing it. I hope you’ll do it. I hope you’ll elect her,” he said. “Those of us who have more yesterdays than tomorrows tend to care more about our children and grandchildren. The reason that 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 forever if you do.”

The DNC continues through Thursday. See the former president’s full speech above.

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