President Bill Clinton kept it pretty simple in his speech to the Democratic National Convention on Tuesday. He started all the way back at the beginning of his relationship with Hillary Clinton, and kept going up until the present day. The main focus: to tell voters who have overwhelmingly said that they think his wife is untrustworthy and dishonest that they are reacting to a "cartoon" created by her enemies, instead of focusing on who she is as a real human being.
Bill Clinton threaded a long list of personal stories through the entirety of his speech. Over and over again, he repeated the theme that Hillary Clinton is a person guided by her lifelong fight for the rights of others.
Here's one excerpt, where Clinton explains how Hillary introduced him to the world of public service and then spent her early career devoted to it:
"She was already determined to figure out how to make things better," he said. "Hillary opened my eyes to a whole new world of public service by private citizens."
Though some of Clinton's stories dealt specifically with Hillary's work, many focused on anecdotes from their personal life.
He recounted the many times he attempted to persuade Hillary to marry him, and what he finally did to convince her to do so:
"We passed a brick house with a for-sale sign on it, and she said, 'Boy, that's a pretty house,'" Clinton said. "So I took a big chance. I bought the house."
Later, Clinton shared the story of moving their daughter Chelsea into her dorm room at Stanford.
"There I was, in a trance, staring out the window and trying not to cry, and there was Hillary on her hands and knees, desperately looking for one more drawer to put liner paper in," Clinton remembered.
Clinton failed to take much of a microscope to his own time in the Oval Office—declining to mention his controversial crime bill from 1994, for instance—and didn't discuss Clinton's own controversies, such as her vote for the war in Iraq, or her enthusiastic support of war in Libya, where a failed intervention led to even further destabilization in that country. He also skated over the rockier paths in his marriage to her—Monica Lewinsky, for example, went unmentioned.
Instead, Clinton focused on the positives, calling Hillary the "best darn-change maker he'd ever known.
Clinton followed a chronological path of their relationship—noting her many accomplishments—and near the end, hit the crowd with the larger point.
"One is real, and the other is made up," Clinton said, referring to the dueling narratives about his wife and Clinton. "And you just have to decide which is which, my fellow Americans."
A couple minutes later, Clinton closed with this:
"Good for you, because earlier today, you nominated the real one."
Michael Rosen is a reporter for Fusion based out of Oakland.