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'We Are Not Afraid': Clinton Delivers Grounded, But Not Soaring, Speech

Timothy A. Clary/AFP/Getty Images

Hillary Clinton accepted her party's nomination on Thursday, completing the field for an American political campaign without historical precedent.

Clinton, the first female presidential nominee for a major American party, has now officially become Republican Donald Trump's Democratic rival for the presidency of the United States.

"It is with humility, determination and boundless confidence in America's promise that I accept your nomination for president of the United States," Clinton said.

Clinton's nomination comes after a bruising primary campaign against Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders that left the Democratic Party struggling to unite.

It was one of the themes that flared often during the four days of the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia. Sanders supporters disrupted the first invocation on Monday and then disrupted other proceedings with chants against war and the Trans-Pacific Partnership free trade agreement. Both former Defense Secretary Leon Panetta and retired Gen. John Allen were disrupted by chants of "No more war! No more war!"

Credit Bill Clark/CQ-Roll Call Group via Getty Images
Yellow-shirted Bernie Sanders delegates shout anti-war slogans and hold up peace signs on the convention floor.

Thursday night, about 150 Sanders supporters dressed in bright yellow shirts occasionally chanted, but Clinton supporters quickly drowned them out with chants of "Hil-la-ry! Hil-la-ry!"

Clinton addressed them directly.

"I want you to know, I've heard you," she said. "Your cause is our cause. Our country needs your ideas, energy and passion."

Clinton summoned the early days of the nation, when the Founding Fathers met in Philadelphia. They were divided, she said, but soon they began "finding common purpose."

"And by the time they left Philadelphia, they had begun to see themselves as one nation," she said. "That's what made it possible to stand up to a king. That took courage."

Clinton's speech was not soaring like speeches Democrats have grown accustomed to with President Obama. Instead, Clinton gave a speech grounded in specific policy proposals: She promised to overturn Citizens United — "with a constitutional amendment if necessary" — and reform the criminal justice system She promised to fight for a living wage, tuition-free college for the poor, equal pay for women, comprehensive immigration reform, gun control, and to make Wall Street and corporations "pay their fair share" in taxes.

Clinton contrasted her proposals to what she said was the vagueness of Trump's plans and, as she has done before, went after Trump's temperament and vision for America.

"He's taken the Republican Party a long way from 'Morning in America' to 'Midnight in America,' " she said. "He wants us to fear the future and fear each other."

She added: "Now we are clear-eyed about what our country is up against. But we are not afraid."

Clinton closed by calling for unity beyond her party. She called for Americans to come together to find solutions to the big problems facing American society.

"We have to heal the divides in our country," Clinton said. "Not just on guns. But on race, immigration and more. That starts with listening to each other, hearing each other, trying, as best we can, to walk in each other's shoes."

We live-blogged the last night of the Democratic National Convention. If you want a blow-by-blow keep scrolling:

Update at 12:12 a.m. ET. Clinton On Donald Trump:

Clinton took a few swipes at the Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump. This is one of the most cutting:

"Donald Trump can't even handle the rough-and-tumble of a presidential campaign. "He loses his cool at the slightest provocation. When he's gotten a tough question from a reporter. When he's challenged in a debate. When he sees a protester at a rally. "Imagine him in the Oval Office facing a real crisis. A man you can bait with a tweet is not a man we can trust with nuclear weapons."

Update at 10:08 p.m. ET. Chelsea Clinton Introduces Her Mom:

Chelsea Clinton introduced her mother, saying she was onstage tonight as a "very, very proud daughter."

Clinton said her mother's defining trait is that "regardless of what was happening in her life, she was always there for me."

Credit Drew Angerer/Getty Images
Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton embraces her daughter Chelsea Clinton after being introduced on the fourth day of the Democratic National Convention.

Clinton said that her mother would leave her notes when she went on trips and that her parents always gave her the chance to talk first at the dinner table.

"I always, always knew how deeply they loved me," she said. "That feeling of being valued and loved — that is what my mom wants for every child. It is the calling of her life."

Update at 9:40 p.m. ET. Retired Gen. Allen Is Interrupted:

Supporters of Bernie Sanders interrupted the speech of retired Gen. John Allen.

Allen was trying to make the case that Clinton was the best choice for commander in chief.

"I ... know that with her as our commander in chief, our international relations will not be reduced to a business transaction," Allen said. "I also know that our armed forces will not become an instrument of torture, and they will not be ordered to engage in murder or carry out other illegal activities."

But as he spoke, Sanders supporters shouted, "No more war! No more war!" The rest of the arena drowned them out with chants of "USA! USA!"

Sometimes Allen's speech could barely be heard in the arena.

Update at 9:21 p.m. ET. 'You Have Sacrificed Nothing':

Khizr Khan, whose son was killed serving in Iraq in 2004, delivered a powerful indictment of Donald Trump. He said: "Donald Trump, you're asking Americans to trust you with their future. Let me ask you, have you even read the United States Constitution? I will gladly lend you my copy. In this document, look for the words 'liberty' and 'equal protection of law.' "

Credit Nicholas Kamm/AFP/Getty Images
Khizr Khan, father of Humayun S. M. Khan, who was killed while serving in Iraq with the US Army, gestures as his wife looks on during the fourth and final day of the Democratic National Convention.

Khan continued to address Trump directly: "You have sacrificed nothing and no one. ... We cannot solve our problems by building walls, sowing division. We are stronger together, and we will keep getting stronger when Hillary Clinton becomes our president."

In some ways, Khan's speech was reminiscent of a speech given by Pat Smith, the mother of diplomat Sean Smith, who was killed in the 2012 attacks on the consulate in Benghazi, at the Republican National Convention.

"I blame Hillary Clinton personally for the death of my son," Smith said.

Eyder Peralta is NPR's East Africa correspondent based in Nairobi, Kenya.
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