Bill Clinton: Hillary is 'the best darn change maker I've ever known'

PHILADELPHIA — In a long, conversational speech here Tuesday, Bill Clinton painted his wife Hillary Clinton as compassionate but tenacious, contrasting the Democratic presidential nominee he knows with the cold and calculating woman sometimes portrayed to voters.

Weaving through folksy stories of their first dates at Yale Law School to Hillary's early activism, Bill Clinton called her "the best darn change maker I've ever met in my life." He cast her as someone who shakes up established norms, rather than the entrenched politician opponents and even fellow Democrats attack.

"If you're sitting where I'm sitting and heard what I have heard … you would say this woman has never been satisfied with the status quo on anything. She always wants to move the ball forward. That is just who she is," Clinton said at the Democratic National Convention.

Former President Bill Clinton addresses the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia, July 26, 2016.
Lucy Nicholson | Reuters
Former President Bill Clinton addresses the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia, July 26, 2016.

Hillary Clinton, the former secretary of state and senator, earlier Tuesday became the first woman nominated for president by a major American party. Speaking from New York on a video screen in the arena, Clinton said "we've put the biggest crack in that glass ceiling yet."

She has recently been dogged by concerns about her tenure as secretary of state and leaked emails that raised questions about the Democratic primary's fairness. FBI Director James Comey deemed Clinton's handling of classified information "careless," but she will not face criminal charges for it. Her Republican opponents have claimed she led to more instability in the Middle East.

Delegates at the Republican National Convention last week portrayed Hillary Clinton as untrustworthy and called to "lock her up!" Bill Clinton contended that one version of his wife is "real and the other is made up," prompting delegates to applaud and shake signs on the Wells Fargo Center floor.

"You just have to decide which is which my fellow Americans. The real one had done more public change-making before she was 30 than many politicians have done in a lifetime in office," he said.

Clinton shared stories of early work his wife did for education, health care, race relations and voting rights, issues she has repeatedly pledged to address in this election. He detailed her posing as a housewife in the early 1970s to examine race relations in Alabama schools and helping to register Mexican-American voters.

He also outlined compromises she made with Republican colleagues during her time in the Senate.

Bill Clinton has campaigned for his wife during the primary process, putting his presidential record and past in the crosshairs of Republican nominee Donald Trump. Trump, an opponent of trade deals, has bashed Clinton for the passage of the North American Free Trade Agreement during his tenure.

Former US President Bill Clinton delivers remarks on the second day of the Democratic National Convention at the Wells Fargo Center, July 26, 2016 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
Getty Images
Former US President Bill Clinton delivers remarks on the second day of the Democratic National Convention at the Wells Fargo Center, July 26, 2016 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

Trump has also used Clinton's presidency as evidence of the "rigged" system he says he wants to tear down.

Bill Clinton warned voters they will not get solutions if they make the "wrong choice" for president, without mentioning Trump by name.

"For this time, 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.

He took one apparent swipe at Trump for what many considered the businessman's mocking of a physically disabled reporter. Clinton said Hillary "tried to empower (disabled people) based on their abilities."

Clinton served as president from 1993 to 2001. If Hillary Clinton is elected, they would become the first-ever husband and wife duo to serve as president.