Bill Clinton talks about the real Hillary, not the false 'cartoon'
© Greg Nash

This is the third installment in a daily series chronicling contributor Lanny Davis's experience at the Democratic National Convention as a Maryland delegation member of the Convention Credentials Committee. Read the first and second installments here and here.

On Tuesday night, former President Bill ClintonWilliam (Bill) Jefferson ClintonIt’s not too late for progressives and Democrats to rethink anti-poverty strategies Conservative commentator: Trump administration 'can’t keep gaslighting people' MTV launches initiative to get young people to register to vote MORE seemed to want to accomplish two things. First, to describe the real Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonLanny Davis: Cohen 'more than happy' to tell Mueller 'all that he knows' Trump lashes out after Cohen, Manafort blows Hillicon Valley: Manafort found guilty on eight counts | Facebook identifies new influence campaigns | Microsoft says Russia tried to hack Senate, think tanks | States urge court to block net neutrality repeal MORE 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 and 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.


Bill and Hillary Clinton are now focused on what we all know is the 20 percent of the electorate that can still be called "persuadable" — still open to learning facts and information that will change their perhaps negative 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 midfield.

Bill Clinton spoke to them Tuesday night. His story about his early personal impressions of Hillary confirms what all of us who are her longtime friends have long known: The greatest personal characteristic in her life has been her commitment to public service and helping others who are less well-off.

Bill Clinton used undisputed facts about what she actually did with her life over the 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 and helping 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 lifetime 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 the Department of State emails. Maybe Bill 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 being a "change agent." Again, facts, facts, facts — they speak to whether or not Hillary Clinton is a candidate of the status quo or actually a change agent. He used many examples to prove the accuracy of that label, beginning with her work during law school in 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 possibly about to make history and become the first female president of the United States represents the status quo?


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 Obama — who knows her work as secretary and as a colleague better than anyone besides her husband.

Obama will have the nation's attention on Wednesday night, and so will Vice President Joe BidenJoseph (Joe) Robinette BidenElizabeth Warren says focused on Senate race, not 'on running for president in 2020' Biden endorses first Latina attorney general candidate in Arizona Bernie Sanders socialism moves to Democratic mainstream MORE and the presumptive nominee for vice president, Sen. Tim KaineTimothy (Tim) Michael KaineRubio: Top US political groups should expect Russian cyberattacks Senators demand answers on reported lead poisoning at Army bases GOP Senate candidate photoshops Tim Kaine shaking hands with Stalin MORE (Va.) We will see — as they add additional facts and information about Hillary Clinton as public servant — whether 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.

Davis is co-founder of both 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 in 1996-98 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.

The views expressed by contributors are their own and not the views of The Hill.