PHILADELPHIA -- Hillary Clinton made U.S. history Thursday night, becoming the first woman to head a major political party ticket as she accepted with "determination and boundless confidence in America's promise" the Democratic presidential nomination.
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Promising Americans a steady hand, Clinton cast herself as a unifier in divided times, steeled by decades in politics to meet the challenges of a volatile world.
"I know that at a time when so much seems to be pulling us apart, it can be hard to imagine how we'll ever pull together again," she said on the fourth and final night of this week's Democratic National Convention. "But I'm here to tell you tonight -- progress is possible."
Clinton said the "stronger together" slogan that has been featured in her campaign is a guiding principle for the country, promising that it'll help define a future with a healthy economy "for everyone, not just those at the top."
Her focus in Thursday's speech was portraying herself as the only qualified candidate in a general election contest against Republican Donald Trump.
"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."
Clinton was introduced at the convention by her daughter, Chelsea, who spoke warmly of her as a woman "driven by compassion, by faith, by kindness, a fierce sense of justice, and a heart full of love."
The former first daughter said she has had a "front-row seat" to Hillary Clinton's service. She called her mom a diligent public servant who looks for solutions and dives into policy.
She said she has learned from her mom that "Public service is about service."
Echoing the convention's theme of unity, Chelsea Clinton said her mother "always believes we can do better, if we come together."
Earlier in the evening, a parade of military leaders, law enforcement officials and even Republicans took the stage to endorse Clinton.
People packed the convention hall, waving American flags in the stands and chanting "USA" to drown out scattered calls of "No more war."
"This is the moment, this is the opportunity for our future," said retired Marine Gen. John Allen, a former commander in Afghanistan. "We must seize this moment to elect Hillary Clinton as president of the United States of America."
Clinton's running mate, U.S. Sen. Tim Kaine of Virginia, spoke Thursday on ABC News' Good Morning America, saying Clinton will seek to earn voters' trust in contrast with Trump's plea that they simply "believe" him. Kaine emphasized that theme in his convention speech Wednesday night.
While Democrats continue to work to heal wounds from a bruising primary, Kaine said he expects supporters of U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont to get behind Clinton because Trump represents a "threat to everything they care about."
A call for unity
The week's most powerful support for Clinton came Wednesday night from President Barack Obama, who defeated her in the 2008 Democratic primary.
Obama declared that she not only can defeat Trump's "deeply pessimistic vision" but can realize the "promise of this great nation."
"She's been there for us, even if we haven't always noticed," he said.
Ahead of her appearance at the convention, Chelsea Clinton told NBC's Matt Lauer in an interview that she would be speaking Thursday night as Clinton's daughter.
"I just hope that people understand even a little more when I'm done than when I started about why I love her so much and admire her so much," she said.
In her speech, the younger Clinton said her mother has always made her feel "valued and loved," and added that Hillary Clinton wants that for every child. Chelsea Clinton called that desire "the calling" of her mother's life.
She also noted that as she was growing up, her parents "expected me to have opinions" -- and "to back them up with facts."
Former President Bill Clinton watched from the audience as his wife and daughter headlined the night.
Hillary Clinton's speech leaned heavily on her "stronger together" campaign theme, invoking her 1996 book It Takes a Village, her campaign said.
Americans, she said, don't say, "I alone can fix it" but "we'll fix it together." That was a critique of Trump, who told GOP delegates last week that he's the only one who can fix "the system."
Clinton emphasized her point by saying the Founding Fathers designed the Constitution so America would be a nation where no one person has all the power.
The Democratic convention worked to drive home the theme of diversity and togetherness: with the first black president seeking to hand the weightiest baton in the free world to a woman; a wide roster of speakers -- gay and straight, young and old, white, black and Hispanic -- all casting Trump as out-of-touch in a diverse and fast-changing nation.
Khizr Khan, an American Muslim whose son was killed in military service, implored voters Thursday to stop Trump, who has called for a temporary ban on Muslim immigration.
"Donald Trump, you are asking Americans to trust you with their future," Khan said. "Let me ask you, have you even read the United States Constitution? I will gladly lend you my copy."
The day's program paid tribute to law enforcement officers killed while on duty, including five who died in Dallas earlier this month when a gunman opened fire on marchers protesting the officer-involved shootings of two black man -- one in Minnesota and one in Louisiana.
"Violence is not the answer," Dallas County Sheriff Lupe Valdez said. "Yelling, screaming and calling each other names is not going to do it."
Clinton sought to reach beyond the Democratic base Thursday night, particularly to moderate Republicans unnerved by Trump.
Former Reagan administration official Doug Elmets announced that he was casting his first vote for a Democrat in November and urged other Republicans who "believe loyalty to our country is more important than loyalty to party" to do the same.
Early Thursday evening, transgender-rights activist Sarah McBride joined Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney of New York, and members of the Congressional LGBT Equality Caucus to address the convention.
McBride, who works as a spokesman at the Human Rights Campaign Foundation, said she learned about the urgency of achieving equal rights and protection for all people after the death of her husband, Andrew, from cancer four days after their wedding in 2014.
"His passing taught me that every day matters," McBride said. "Hillary Clinton understands the urgency of our fight."
Several Democratic women in the Senate appeared on the convention stage, painting a picture of Clinton as an empathetic, effective candidate. Sen. Barbara Boxer of California described Clinton as a "humble, steady, ready to learn" senator from New York, who fought to help the families of those who were victims of the 9/11 terrorist attacks.
In his speech Thursday, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo several times cited his late father, Mario Cuomo -- who gave a famous keynote speech at the 1984 Democratic convention. The younger Cuomo denounced the dark tone of the Trump campaign, saying, "Fear is not strength, fear is weakness. No matter how loud you yell, our America is never weak."
Pop music star Katy Perry, who has campaigned for Clinton, performed "Roar" ahead of Clinton's speech. The pop star prefaced her performance with a message for her young fans: Get out and vote.
Perry said the election is a chance to be as powerful as a National Rifle Association lobbyist -- or a chance to cancel out what she's calls "your weird cousin's vote."
Much of the convention focused on unity, even as people who supported Sanders staged acts of protest during the convention. But those actions subsided Thursday.
Daniel Hazard, 40, of Spartanburg, S.C., said he wore the fluorescent yellow shirt in a show of solidarity with Sanders.
"This will remind them that we're half the party now," Hazard said Thursday on the convention floor. "Has enough been done this week? Words do not convince us. Actions are all that will convince us."
The Democratic nomination now officially hers, Clinton has three months of campaign against Trump.
Campaigning Thursday in Iowa, Trump said there were "a lot of lies being told" at Clinton's convention. In an earlier statement, he accused Democrats of living in a "fantasy world," ignoring economic and security troubles as well as Clinton's email use at the State Department.
Trump also released a statement hours ahead of Clinton's speech, arguing that she and her top surrogates have glossed over the country's most pressing problems.
"At Hillary Clinton's convention this week, Democrats have been speaking about a world that doesn't exist," said Trump. "A world where America has full employment, where there's no such thing as radical Islamic terrorism, where the border is totally secured, and where thousands of innocent Americans have not suffered from rising crime in cities like Baltimore and Chicago."
Information for this article was contributed by Julie Pace, Robert Furlow, Catherine Lucey, Kathleen Hennessey and Lisa Lerer of The Associated Press; by Sean Sullivan and Isaac Stanley-Becker of The Washington Post; and by Toluse Olorunnipa, Margaret Talev and staff members of Bloomberg News.
A Section on 07/29/2016