by Lanny Davis – 7/28/16
Day Two – Democratic Convention Diary
On Tuesday night, President Clinton seemed to want to accomplish two things: First, to describe the real Hillary Clinton as a human being vs. the cartoon character, created in large part by hateful partisans and repeated endlessly and uncritically by the media; and second, to prove, through facts not rhetoric, that Hillary Clinton is a change agent – and has always been during the almost 45 years since they first met, and will continue to be as our next president. And second, President Clinton used facts to prove that Hillary Clinton throughout her adult life has been a “change agent” – and will continue to be as president.
President Clinton and the Hillary campaign are now focused on what we all know is the 20% of the electorate that can still be called “persuadable” – leaning to Trump or Clinton still open to learning facts and information that will change their current negative personal perception of Hillary Clinton. Think of a football field. This election is now down to persuading those who politically live between the two 40 yard lines at mid-field.
Bill Clinton spoke to them Tuesday night. His story about his early personal impressions of Hillary Clinton and all the way to the present time 46 years confirms what all of us who are her long-time friends have known for a long time: The greatest personal characteristic in her life has been her commitment to public service and to help others who are less well off than she.
President Clinton used undisputed facts about what she actually did with her life over these years well before she ever ran for president or any political office. And those facts prove her authenticity, warmth, sense of humor, empathy, care for others and and most of all – most of all – her commitment to public service to help people in need improve their lives.
And maybe her mistakes over the years – she is, after all, a human being who can make mistakes – need to be put into perspective over a life time of work for the public good, years and years before she ever thought about running for political office. She already admitted the mistakes she made regarding thee emails. Maybe President Clinton helped the persuadables put those mistakes in appropriate perspective, in the context of her life’s work.
The second part of Bill Clinton’s speech was about Hillary Clinton being a “change agent.” Again, facts, facts, facts – they speak to whether or not Hillary Clinton is a candidate of the status quo or as a “change agent.” He cited so many examples to prove the accuracy of that expression – beginning with her work during law school at legal services clinics; during the summer registering voters, after law school for the children’s defense fund; as first lady in Arkansas in public education and health care; as first Lady in the White House.
Also, to state the obvious: How is it possible that someone who is about to make history to become the first female president of the United States represents the status quo? Crazy.
Now we wait for Wednesday night when we hear from the man she ran against and who appointed her to be his Secretary of State – President Barack Obama – who knows her work as secretary and as a colleague better than anyone besides her husband.
Barack Obama will have the nation’s attention on Wednesday night – and so will Vice President Joe Biden and the presumptive nominee for Vice President, Senator Tim Kaine (D.-Va.) We will see whether as they add additional facts and information about Hillary Clinton as public servant more and more of those people between the 40 yard lines will start to see her as she really is, not as the cartoon character Trump would like them to believe.
We shall see.
And then, of course, the major moment will come on Thursday night: When Hillary Clinton herself, as the first female nominee of a major political party in the history of the U.S., will make great progress in showing the country who she really is and why she should be our next president.
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Lanny Davis is co-founder of the Washington law firm Davis Goldberg Galper PLLC, and Trident DMG, a strategic media firm specializing in crisis management. He served as special counsel to President Clinton from 1996 to 1998 and is a regular columnist for The Hill newspaper. He has been a friend of Hillary Clinton since they were students at Yale Law School together in 1969-70.
To read the column on The Hill, click here.