4 Takes on Bill's 'Love Letter'

Maybe there was a reference to 1998...
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 27, 2016 5:06 AM CDT
Updated Jul 27, 2016 6:03 AM CDT

(Newser) – There was no shortage of history made on Day 2 of the Democratic National Convention: Hours after Hillary Clinton became the first female major-party nominee, Bill Clinton delivered the first convention speech from a would-be "first gentleman," offering a heartfelt account of his life with the woman he first met at Yale Law School in 1971. Four takes on the speech:

  • Only the Clintons could give America "a former president who wants to be first man extolling the virtues of a former first lady who wants to be president," writes David Maraniss at the Washington Post. He describes the speech as a "quiet, rambling, at times touching, at times prosaic love letter, the likes of which no modern convention has ever quite seen or heard."

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  • Libby Nelson at Vox looks at Bill's decision to skip 1998 when recounting their history year by year. Referring to impeachment and the Monica Lewinsky scandal—which must have been "one of the more humiliating periods" of Hillary's life—could have seemed "jarring and graceless" on a night where she made history, writes Nelson. Bill's speech had a lot in common with Ann Romney's 2012 address, she writes, and it may have contained one allusion to 1998 after all: "You should elect her because she will never quit when the going gets tough," he said. "She will never quit on you."
  • The speech was a "weedy rambler" by Bill Clinton standards, and it suggests he could be an "awkward surrogate" on the campaign trail, according to Glenn Thrush at Politico. The speech "did no damage—and fired up the faithful—but it was a shadow of Michelle Obama's deeply moving address to the convention the night before," he writes, adding that it raised the question of whether Bill will "ever really be comfortable ceding the spotlight to his wife."
  • With this speech, "one of the most liked presidents was charged with humanizing one of the least liked presidential candidates," and he "poured on the estrogen," writes Maureen Dowd at the New York Times. "This was a night a long time coming for the former moot court partners, a night celebrating the promise that animates the Clinton partnership: She helped him. She moved to Arkansas for him," Dowd writes, predicting that this speech marks the start of Bill "trying to conjure the halcyon days of Clinton peace and prosperity" as he tries to win over older voters in the South and the Rust Belt.
(Read more Democratic National Convention stories.)

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