Hillary Clinton Set To Become Formal Democratic Nominee For President

Jul 26, 2016
Originally published on July 26, 2016 4:06 pm
Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

And I'm Audie Cornish at the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia. Hillary Clinton is now the Democratic Party's nominee for president. She's the first woman to lead a major party ticket. At the end of the roll call of states, her primary rival, Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders, made this dramatic announcement standing alongside the delegation from his state.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

BERNIE SANDERS: I move that Hillary Clinton be selected as the nominee of the Democratic Party for president of the United States.

(APPLAUSE)

CORNISH: NPR's Scott Horsley was on the convention floor when it happened. He joins us now. And Scott, describe kind of what led up to this moment.

SCOTT HORSLEY, BYLINE: Well, Audie, there was never any doubt what the outcome of that roll call vote would be. We knew going into today that Hillary Clinton had 2,807 delegates here, more than enough to secure the nomination. But there was a lot of question about what shape that nomination would take. And it played out in a way that maximizes chances, I think, for party unity.

All 50 states and the overseas territories got to give their vote count. The - Bernie Sanders' supporters - and there are a great many Bernie Sanders supporters here at the convention - got to record their support for Senator Sanders.

Vermont, which comes near the end of the roll call alphabetically, passed to allow Wyoming and Wisconsin and the very end of the alphabet to record their votes. Then we came back to Vermont, and Bernie Sanders himself had made a quiet entrance into the arena here.

After Vermont recorded its vote totals, Senator Sanders stood up, suggested that they suspend the rules and nominate Hillary Clinton by acclamation, a suggestion that was approved then by a loud voice vote here in the arena. And the chairs - the stands were full of people waving Hillary Clinton signs.

CORNISH: Can you talk more about that reaction from delegates. Obviously we spent the first day talking about images of disunity. What did it look like tonight?

HORSLEY: It looked like a party that is beginning to rally behind Hillary Clinton. Now, Senator Sanders has been encouraging his followers to do that. He's endorsed Hillary Clinton. He said it's very important to beat Donald Trump and that Hillary Clinton's the one who can do that. Certainly there are plenty of people here in the arena who don't share that view, who are Bernie-or-bust supporters. But I think we're seeing the majority of delegates here falling in behind Hillary Clinton.

CORNISH: Can you talk about - more about what we're going to hear now, the rest of the night?

HORSLEY: Well, the night began with a nominating speech for Hillary Clinton from Barbara Mikulski, the longest-serving female in Congress, the senator from Maryland. She described Hillary Clinton as someone who knows the macro issues and the macaroni-and-cheese issues. And she said she was putting her name in nomination on behalf of all the women who've broken down barriers over the years.

And then the night's going to end with a primetime address by Bill Clinton, former President Bill Clinton, who Clinton supporters hope will kind of help to fill in the blanks that is - that still exist in the portrait of Hillary Clinton. Staffers describe her as the most famous person who's not really well-known personally, and they're counting on Bill Clinton to help color in those outlines tonight.

CORNISH: Color in those outlines - so it's going to be a more personal description. Are we expecting to hear some kind of policy ideas here?

HORSLEY: What they're certainly hoping for is some personal anecdotes to help give a warmer picture of Hillary Clinton, but I'm not sure Bill Clinton can steer completely clear of policy tonight.

CORNISH: That's NPR's Scott Horsley. Scott, thanks so much.

HORSLEY: Good to be with you, Audie. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.