PHILADELPHIA (AP) — Hillary Clinton has been in the public eye for more than two decades, sized up as a political spouse, legislator, diplomat and politician. For good or ill, everyone has an opinion about her.
The Democratic National Convention will have all of the usual hoopla and pageantry of such events. But at its essence, the convention is Clinton’s opportunity to ask people to give her a fresh look and rethink any negative preconceptions.
Some things to watch for during the Philadelphia convention:
Clinton’s speech Thursday night is her big moment. She can take it any number of directions: laying out her vision for the next four years, opening up on a personal level, homing in on Donald Trump’s shortcomings, answering the over-the-top vitriol that was aimed at her during last week’s Republican convention. One big question is how directly she’ll address the concerns about her trustworthiness that have dogged her over the years. She said recently: “That’s something that I’m going to keep working on.”
In some ways, Clinton’s speech will serve as a sequel to her 2008 “glass ceiling” speech, when she conceded the Democratic nomination to Barack Obama at the end of the presidential primaries. She said then that her supporters hadn’t yet been able to “shatter that highest, hardest glass ceiling.” This convention will be a time for Clinton and her supporters to savor the moment as she becomes the first female presidential nominee of a major party. Watch how much Clinton chooses to play up that milestone.
Clinton’s new running mate, Virginia Sen. Tim Kaine, will have his turn at the mic Wednesday night. He’s a solid, if not flashy, choice, and is known for his affable personality and centrist views. But his choice is a disappointment to many liberals, who hoped for a more progressive vice president. The convention will offer a window into how enthusiastic — or not — liberal Democrats will be toward the ticket. Some critics have suggested a potential “Kaine Mutiny.”
Will they kiss and make up? Primary rival Bernie Sanders took his time endorsing Clinton, and even then didn’t release his delegates. Lots of questions remain about how warmly he and his supporters will embrace Clinton moving forward. Sanders plans to meet privately with 1,900 of his delegates Monday and address the convention that night. And watch Tuesday’s roll call of the states. Sanders has said he wants a full roll call, which would showcase all his victories. But he’s left open the possibility that Clinton could receive the nomination by acclamation — or unanimous nomination — at the end. That may not satisfy Sanders delegates. Some are ready to boo or even walk out if there is a unanimous nomination.
WHAT ABOUT BILL?
Bill Clinton’s presence is writ large in his wife’s political biography. His political career helped lay the groundwork for hers. The scandals and investigations associated with his presidency tarnished her, too. The former president is a master politician but also has been known to shoot off his mouth in unhelpful ways when campaigning for his wife. When he addresses the convention Tuesday night, the Clinton campaign team may well be thinking, “First, do no harm.”
The plagiarism accusations that turned Melania Trump’s speech from smash hit at the GOP convention to embarrassing distraction had to be a cautionary tale for those bound for Philadelphia. Speechwriters, you’ve been warned. Consult your thesaurus.
Lots of Democrats with presidential ambitions are doing the math. On Inauguration Day, Clinton will be 69. If elected, would Clinton want to serve a second term, which would keep her in office until she was 77? Plenty of Democrats are eager to step forward if her answer is no. The convention gives ambitious politicians the perfect place to start pre-positioning for the 2020 campaign. Yep, it’s starting already.
Democrats have the home team advantage when it comes to attracting celebrities to their causes. After a GOP convention where the star power was decidedly low-wattage, Hollywood is turning out in force for Clinton. Expect pop singer Demi Lovato, actress Lena Dunham, actor Tony Goldwyn, former NBA Hall of Famer Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, former NBA player and gay rights activist Jason Collins and actresses America Ferrara, Eva Longoria and Debra Messing.
The stars of the Democratic firmament also will turn out for Clinton, led by President Obama and Vice President Joe Biden. Both speak to the convention Wednesday night. They’ll be trying to make the case that Clinton can carry on the work they’ve started without making it sound as if she’ll simply perpetuate the status quo.
Donald Trump’s speech to the GOP convention attracted an estimated 32.2 million TV viewers, according to the Nielsen company. Check out how Clinton’s numbers compare.
Expect tweeter-in-chief Trump to be busy next week, needling Clinton from the sidelines. He’s got a busy week of travel ahead that will take him to numerous states including Pennsylvania.
Associated Press writer Hope Yen in Washington contributed to this report.
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