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WATCH: Michelle Obama wows Democratic Convention crowds with hard-hitting speech

Bill Clinton steps up tonight to support his wife, Hillary Clinton.

Source: PBS NewsHour/YouTube

MICHELLE OBAMA DREW cheers from the crowds of the Democratic Convention in Philadelphia last night.

In a 15 minute speech, the first lady proved herself to be the political force she has long been known for, giving an impassioned endorsement for Hillary Clinton that brought the crowd to its feet.

With a determined look and a big smile, the current first lady lauded the former first lady, making the link between the woman who would be America’s first female president and her hopes for her two teenage daughters, Sasha and Malia.

“The hateful language they hear from public figures on TV does not represent the true spirit of this country,” Obama said, in a thinly veiled swipe at Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump, who will battle Clinton at the polls on 8 November.

“We know that our words and actions matter not just to our girls, but to children across this country,” said the 52-year-old Obama, a Harvard-educated lawyer.

DEM 2016 Convention Source: Paul Sancya

“This election, and every election, is about who will have the power to shape our children for the next four or eight years of their lives,” she said.

“There is only one person who I trust with that responsibility, only one person who I believe is truly qualified to be president of the United States, and that is our friend, Hillary Clinton,” she said, before outlining the qualities of her husband’s 2008 primary rival.

“Hillary Clinton has never quit on anything in her life.”

 Preserving a legacy 

Armed with popularity ratings above 60 percent, Michelle Obama knows how to captivate an audience.

“I have seen firsthand that being president doesn’t change who you are –- it reveals who you are,” she said.

In stumping for Clinton, Michelle has set aside any gripes left over from the tense 2008 campaign that saw her husband and this year’s Democratic nominee exchange barbs.

“Because of Hillary Clinton, my daughters — and all our sons and daughters — now take for granted that a woman can be president of the United States,” she said last night to the packed arena in Philadelphia.

Obama said the contest between Trump and Hillary Clinton was “not Democrat or Republican, not left or right”, but “about who will have the power to shape our children for the next four to eight years of their lives”.

Speakers 

Bernie Sanders endorsed Clinton in his speech last night, which drew boos from many in the crowd.

There were other well-known celebrity speakers at last night’s convention who are well known for having a keen interest in the politics of their country.

Comedian Sarah Silverman articulated the sense of betrayal that many Democratic Bernie Sanders supporters feel.

“As some of you may know, I support Bernie Sanders and the movement behind him,” Silverman told the cheering audience.

“Not only did Bernie wake us up, he made us understand what is possible and what we deserve. You know, my shrink says we don’t get what we want, we get what we think we deserve, and Bernie showed us that all Americans deserve quality healthcare.

“All it takes to accomplish this, it’s everyone, it’s all of us. Or as a pretty kickass woman once said – it takes a village,” Silverman said.

Source: PBS NewsHour/YouTube

Another long-time supporter of Sanders, actress Susan Sarandon, also came under the media spotlight last night for looking notably unimpressed with the convention.

Actress Eva Longoria also took to the stage, hitting out at Trump’s rhetoric towards immigrants.

“I’m from a small town in South Texas, and if you know your history, Texas used to be part of Mexico. I’m ninth generation American. My family never crossed a border; the border crossed us.”

She made a clear reference to Trump’s June 2015 statement about Mexican immigrants in which he said they were “bringing drugs. They’re bringing crime. They’re rapists.”

The Hollywood actress said Trump was insulting American families with his language.

“When Donald Trump calls us criminals and rapists, he’s insulting American families. My father is not a criminal or a rapist, in fact, he’s a United States veteran.”

The convention is not over yet. Tonight, Hillary Clinton will see her husband and former US President Bill Clinton take to the floor to support his wife.

This will be the first major input into his wife’s campaign. 

With the convention under a cloud following allegations of the primary campaign being “rigged” by party headquarters, Clinton’s presence will aim to unify the party ahead of a general election campaign.

The former US President has thus far been a peripheral figure in his wife’s election campaign, but is expected to feature heavily in the coming months.

Popular

DEM 2016 Clinton Former President Bill Clinton, left, stands on stage with his wife, Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton, centre, and their daughter, Chelsea Clinton. Source: Julio Cortez

Clinton left office in 2001 with comparatively stellar approval ratings and is still popular with the American public.

He left the White House with 66% of the American public approving of the job he had done in eight years in charge.

Today, his wife’s favourable/unfavourable numbers are 51%/45%. His wife’s are a 38%-56% split with Americans. Trump’s are 34%-59%.

Shielded

Campaign 2016 Rich and Richer The Clintons at the New York home they shared after leaving the White House. Source: Uncredited

With that in mind, it is surprising that Clinton has been a bit-player in the campaign so far.

However, there are legitimate concerns over him overshadowing Hillary and his profile being used as a attack point for Trump.

Balancing act

Democratic Convention Source: David Goldman

Much of the Clinton campaigns reluctance to use Bill stems from his outsize role in her 2008 bid for the Presidency, which left him a slightly diminished figure.

However, his stumping for Barack Obama, as well as his marquee speech at the 2012 DNC re-elevated him in the minds of the party faithful and moderates.

His ongoing contribution, however, will be a fine balancing act for the 2016 version of Hillary’s campaign.

With additional reporting by Christina Finn and AFP

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