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The Daily 202: What Bill Clinton wanted to accomplish with his long, low-key convention speech

Bill Clinton addresses the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia on Tuesday. (Photo by Melina Mara/The Washington Post)
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PHILADELPHIA — Often ignoring the teleprompter, the 42nd president spoke for 42 minutes at the Democratic National Convention last night. He uttered more than 5,000 words.

For context, Michelle Obama — who stuck closely to a script — spoke for less than 15 minutes Monday night, and the transcript of her remarks runs fewer than 1,600 words.

The length, however, does not mean it was an undisciplined performance. Indeed, the most striking thing about Bill Clinton’s speech was how little of it was about himself. He’s happiest when talking about his presidency, his accomplishments, a book he read recently, a cool trip he took, an interesting person he had a conversation with and so on. That’s been the case even as he stumped for Hillary Clinton over the past 15 months.

Last night, he really focused expressly on making the case for his wife. When he mentioned his own political career or alluded to his own foibles, it was as a foil to praise her.

As Maureen Dowd puts it, “In an act of amazing self-restraint, the man who relishes the word ‘I’ managed to make the talk … all about her. He was positively uxorious.”

Besides the Democratic Party emerging as united as possible, the top priority of convention organizers is improving their nominee’s favorability and other numbers that tend to be buried in the polls.

So while Bill took unmistakable shots at Donald Trump, he never named him. It was an intentional effort to keep coverage of the appearance focused on what he said for Hillary. And every punch he landed was really about contrasting her with him.

The 69-year-old — speaking for the 10th time at a national convention — cared less about delivering sound bites for cable or social media consumption and more about reintroducing, rebranding and reframing how Americans think about a woman who has been an often polarizing figure during her 25 years on the national stage.

That meant starting his speech in 1971, when she caught his eye at Yale Law School, and narrating the story of their life together in the intervening 45 years.

“In this one speech, he was essentially making good on a marital and political promissory note by employing the full measure of his rhetorical skills to boost his wife’s history-making week as the first woman to become a major party nominee,” Clinton biographer David Maraniss writes. “It was an unusual speech from beginning to end, as the husband tried to make the case for his wife through a quiet, rambling, at times touching, at times prosaic love letter, the likes of which no modern convention has ever quite seen or heard.”

“The Bill Clinton of 2016 is a shadow of his former self, thinned by years of a vegan diet following heart bypass surgery,” David adds. “His speeches for his wife during the 2016 primary campaign seemed subdued, with only occasional moments when he rose to his previous high standards. But aides and friends say that this speech meant more to him than any he had given this year.

-- In some ways it was an exercise in box checking. Big picture, Bill wanted to convey that Hillary is a loveable, “real” human being — not the “cartoon” caricature that Republicans have tried to make her. But he also, often explicitly, stressed that his wife has several other personality traits: authenticity, trustworthiness, compassion, drive and effectiveness.

With an apparent allusion to his infidelity, he touted her loyalty. “We’ve done it in good times and bad, through joy and heartbreak,” he said, adding later: “She never quit on me.”

“In what is certainly a first at a Democratic convention, he invoked two of the most controversial Republicans of his time, Tom DeLay and Newt Gingrich, as character witnesses for her,” E.J. Dionne Jr. quips.

-- The length was not a problem. Recall that Trump spoke for 75 minutes in Cleveland last Thursday. And, at least on the floor of the Wells Fargo Center, Bill kept the audience engaged the whole time — unlike his keynote for Michael Dukakis at the 1988 convention, when the crowd famously cheered after he said “in conclusion.”

-- Watch the whole speech here, or watch this three-minute highlight reel from our video team:

From how he first met Hillary to her achievements over a long career, here's a three-minute version of former president Bill Clinton's speech at the Democratic National Convention. (Video: Video: Nicki DeMarco/The Washington Post / Photo: Ricky Carioti/The Washington Post)

How it’s playing:

-- Our Fact Checkers scrutinized five of Bill’s statements: He “cherry picked” statistics to say that he moved 100 times as many people out of poverty as moved out when President Reagan was in office.” He exaggerated how much the approval of the United States overseas improved when HRC was secretary of state. On the claim that his wife had a “totally progressive” record on economic issues, they note that she had a chance to vote on 10 trade deals in the Senate and voted for or supported all but two. (Glenn Kessler and Michelle Ye Hee Lee)

-- Several outlets published stories speculating on Bill’s possible role in a Hillary’s White House. Two examples:

“One aide says Mr. Clinton now spends an extra hour every day reading about world economies, partly in anticipation of helping Mrs. Clinton if she asks him to help with economic revitalization, as she has indicated,” Patrick Healy writes in the New York Times. “He enjoys working abroad — his popularity is sky-high in many countries — and he likes calling up whomever he wants, whenever he wants, especially his wife. But if the Clintons return to the White House, his life will inevitably become more circumscribed, and he will be expected to show the self-discipline that most first spouses have demonstrated.”

“He wouldn’t have a dedicated plane — there’s no first lady’s Air Force One — but he would have access to the White House fleet of airplanes,” Annie Linskey notes in the Boston Globe. “The first spouse frequently fulfills what is often considered a frivolous role of selecting flatware, approving menus for state dinners and redecorating portions of the historic home the family occupies. It’s difficult to imagine Bill Clinton in that role, and [author Susan] Swain said there’s precedent for another family member to step in for ceremonial duties: cue Chelsea Clinton.”

-- Our analytics partners at Zignal Labs tracked more than 1.9 million mentions of the convention yesterday. That’s actually more than any night at the RNC — including during Trump’s Thursday speech. More than 70 percent of those 1.9 million mentions were about Bill. Below are the most tweeted emojis during the former president’s speech. They are more expressive than what we see during a typical political speech. Not the symbols of love, saxophones and coolness:

-- Pundits were mostly positive:

An adviser to Hillary’s Super PAC and counselor in Bill’s White House:

Obama’s chief strategist in 2008 and 2012:

The Republican focus group maestro:

A New York Times editor:

Trump offered a pre-buttal:

Welcome to the Daily 202, PowerPost's morning newsletter.
With contributions from Breanne Deppisch (@breanne_dep) and Elise Viebeck (@eliseviebeck)

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-- A federal judge ruled this morning that John W. Hinckley Jr. will be released from a government psychiatric hospital more than 35 years after he attempted to assassinate President Ronald Reagan and shot three others outside the Washington Hilton. From Spencer S. Hsu: “Hinckley, 61, no longer poses a danger to himself or others and will be freed to live full-time with his mother in Williamsburg, Va., effective as soon as Aug. 5 (and) subject to dozens of temporary treatment and monitoring conditions, U.S. District Judge Paul L Friedman of Washington wrote. If Hinckley adheres to all restrictions, they could begin to be phased out after 12 to 18 months, removing him from court control for the first time since he was confined to St. Elizabeth’s hospital after the shooting.… If Hinckley relapses or violates the terms of his ‘convalescent leave,’ he could be returned to St. Elizabeth’s, the judge ordered. The order limits Hinckley to a 50-mile radius of Williamsburg, Va., requires him to turn over information about his mobile phone and vehicles he will be driving, and bars him from accessing social media, uploading any content or erasing any browser history from his computer.”

-- Prosecutors have dropped all charges against three remaining officers charged in connection with the death of Freddie Gray in Baltimore. (Developing...)


  1. President Obama announced a substantial expansion of a Central American refugee program, opening an entirely new channel for families escaping systemic violence to enter the U.S. Republicans denounced it. (New York Times)
  2. The U.S. government suspended more than $200 million in Syrian aid programs, halting the delivery of medicines, food and other lifesaving necessities because of suspected fraud. (Louisa Loveluck)
  3. New home sales in the U.S. reached an eight-year high in June. The boost is a sign that a solidifying job market and low mortgage rates are bolstering the economy. (AP)
  4. The Indiana GOP picked Lt. Gov. Eric Holcomb to replace Mike Pence as its nominee for governor in November. He faces Democratic candidate John Gregg. (Indianapolis Star)
  5. A Houston-area D.A. dismissed all charges against two anti-abortion activists who released undercover video footage of a Planned Parenthood clinic, saying there was “insufficient evidence” to go to trial. The activists were facing charges that included tampering with government records and attempting to purchase human organs. (Houston Chronicle)
  6. Police in Rio confiscated 100 baggies of cocaine. What makes the bust notable is that the packages were Olympic-branded, with the trademark five-ring logo and a warning that reads “keep away from children.” (Marissa Payne)
  7. A Georgia mother could face criminal charges after she beat up her 16-year-old daughter on Facebook Live, posting a four-minute live stream from her daughter’s account as punishment. The cops referred the case to child protective services. (Cleve R. Wootson Jr.)
  8. An ailing 9/11 first responder who spent weeks digging for survivors at Ground Zero is now suffering a rare kidney disease – and believes the U.S. government should be responsible for his treatment. He’s begun plastering pleas on buses and billboards to tell his story. (USA Today)
  9. The popular restaurant chain Noodles & Company apologized after a Virginia police officer was refused service by an employee. “I’m not cooking for that one," she told her co-workers. (WUSA-9)
  10. Researchers have successfully identified the gene that is responsible for ALS – and they are crediting participants of the 2014 “Ice Bucket challenge” with helping them make the major scientific breakthrough. Scientists said the viral internet sensation helped spur the successful global initiative. (New York Daily News)
  11. Scientists say health problems that plagued the world’s first cloned animal “Dolly the sheep” were an anomaly. Developmental biologists are now studying her four “sisters” – each healthy and aging normally – to answer longstanding questions about the lifespan of cloned animals.  (New York Times)
  12. The Pentagon added Amazon founder Jeff Bezos and celebrity astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson to its Defense Innovation Advisory Board, rounding out an eclectic group from the private sector in an experimental project to help our troops operate more efficiently. Bezos owns The Post. (Dan Lamothe)


-- France's Willie Horton? Authorities identified one of the ISIS-linked attackers in the Normandy church slaying as a 19-year-old local who was already known to anti-terrorist investigators. Adel Kermiche had been arrested twice previously for trying to travel to Syria. He was being held under judicial supervision and was required to wear an electronic bracelet and check in with police regularly. Officials said the church attack began at 9:24 a.m. Tuesday, during Kermiche’s unsupervised leave, when his electronic bracelet was apparently deactivated, James McAuley and Brian Murphy report.

Alarming trend --> “Amateur terror attacks may mark a new chapter in the ISIS war in Europe,” by Anthony Faiola and Griff Witte: “The Islamic State’s war on Europe seems to have entered a dangerous new phase, evolving from highly coordinated operations on the grand boulevards of Paris and Brussels to amateur assaults in the hinterlands that have suddenly turned anyone, anywhere into a target. The rapid-fire nature of the attacks in Europe over the past two weeks is confounding European intelligence agencies, at times turning terrorism response into a ground war fought by already stretched local police. … The randomness of the attacks, experts say, is making it even more difficult for security services to do their jobs because the potential targets are virtually limitless, as are the means and the profiles of perpetrators.”


-- Democrats officially nominated Hillary Clinton for president. From John Wagner, Ed O'Keefe and David Weigel: “During the roll call of states, Clinton secured the 2,383 delegates needed ... when the South Dakota delegation cast its votes. In a bid to show party unity, Bernie Sanders …. appeared on the convention floor at the end of the process and made a motion to suspend the rules and declare Clinton the nominee by acclamation. The hall erupted in applause. And with the motion seconded, a loud roar of aye’s arose, making her the nominee at 6:56 p.m. Eastern time.”

-- “As Clinton makes history, some already take it for granted,” by Karen Tumulty and Abby D. Phillip: “Milestones of history can look smaller through a windshield than they do through a rear-view mirror. That Clinton is the first woman to head a major party’s presidential ticket no longer seems like such a big deal speaks to the fact that Clinton herself was slow to embrace the singular nature of her first White House campaign. Whether and how her gender will be an electoral advantage for Clinton remain to be seen. But polling suggests that Americans are, as [Michelle Obama] suggested, almost blasé at a moment they have seen coming for such a long time."


-- Nancy Pelosi has raised more than half a billion dollars for fellow Democrats since joining House leadership in 2002. That makes her the most prolific fundraiser in Congress. The exact number is $521.9 million, including $93.1 million this election cycle. “Ask her if being a woman has anything to do with that success, and she’ll give you a look that conveys how irrelevant she thinks her gender should be,” Kelsey Snell writes in a profile of the House Minority Leader, who speaks to the convention tonight. “Power is when you have the power,’ she said. ‘Being speaker of the House — that’s real power!”

“Pelosi may not think her gender had any effect on her rise, but she openly discusses sexist attitudes toward women on Capitol Hill and the men who have tried — and failed — to stand in her way,” Snell reports from San Francisco. “Pelosi said that some male colleagues did not even want her to run, recommending instead that she and other House women ‘write a list’ of their demands that the men would take into account. ‘We’re going to make a list, and you’re going to do it for us?’ she said. ‘No. We’re going to compete.’”

-- The Pelosi profile kicks off a new PowerPost series on “Women in Power.” Our reporters have been interviewing the most important female leaders in Washington. 

-- Live event today: Kelsey will interview the Democratic leader at 4:30 p.m. at The Post's Philly headquarters (City Tap House at 2 Logan Square). Jennifer Palmieri and Stephanie Cutter will join Anne Gearan at 5:30p.m. Come join us for the conversation.


-- In the biggest blunder of the evening, Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe said he believes Clinton would flip to support a slightly-altered version of the TPP trade deal after the election. “I worry that if we don’t do TPP, at some point China’s going to break the rules -- but Hillary understands this,” McAuliffe told Politico’s Annie Karni after his speech to the convention last night. “Once the election’s over, and we sit down on trade, people understand a couple things we want to fix on it." Pressed on whether his longtime friend would reverse course to back the trade deal she opposed during the heat of the Democratic primary, McAuliffe said: “Yes. Listen, she was in support of it. There were specific things in it she wants fixed."

The Macker's quote -- about perhaps the most divisive issue in Democratic politics today -- encapsulates in miniature why so many Bernie people don't trust Hillary. They think she's talking a good progressive game right now and will go back to governing like a third-way centrist as soon as she no longer needs their votes. After months of delicately trying to soothe anxious Berniecrats, the chairman of the Clinton campaign chairman was quick to push back:

And McAuliffe's spokesman tried to clean up after his boss: "He was expressing a hope she will come around," Brian Coy told Anne Gearan after the comments blew up. "But he has no expectation she will."


-- More than a hundred Sanders supporters walked out after Clinton won the roll call vote. Several had gags in their mouth.

-- “In parks, on trains, and outside Philadelphia’s city hall, the 'Bernie or Bust' movement was having its biggest day ever,” David Weigel and John Wagner write. "Some participated in a mock roll-call vote to reflect how they wanted the Democratic primary to go. Some slapped the sunflower logo of the Green Party over fading signs for Sanders."

-- White Bernie supporters have a penchant for likening what they are doing to the civil rights movement. “The March on Washington was an example of a movement at a high point, and I’d say this is one of those,” Vermont delegate Shyla Nelson told Buzzfeed. She believes the convention marks a “tipping point” in the battle for a more equitable country.

-- Perhaps because of the Bernie drama, the DNC is getting better ratings than the RNC. An estimated 26 million viewers watched Monday night, compared to 23 million for the first night in Cleveland. The total viewership figure is up from 2008, when 22.3 million viewers tuned in – and is very close to 2012’s opening night, which drew 26.3 million.

-- Meanwhile, the Vermont senator continues to become more outspoken in his support for Clinton. "It is easy to boo, but it is harder to look your kids in the face" if Trump becomes president, he complained when California delegates booed him. 

-- But Sanders also declared that he will not return to the Senate as a member of the Democratic Party. “I was elected as an Independent so I'll stay two years more as an Independent,” he said at a Bloomberg Politics breakfast. He didn't say whether he'll run in 2018 as a Democrat. Asked  whether Bernie now considers himself a Democrat, a spokesman emailed the Wall Street Journal: “He ran for president as a Democrat but was elected to a six-year term in the Senate as an independent.”

-- Violence was a major theme, and several speakers emphasized the need for gun control. A group of women who have lost children to gun violence or interactions with the police took the stage. They call themselves “Mothers of the Movement." Also speaking were former Attorney General Eric Holder and Pittsburgh Chief of Police Cameron McLay, who said it is possible “to respect and support our police while at the same time pushing for these important criminal justice reforms.”

It's another reminder of the party's leftward shift: “For the past two decades, Democrats have been timid and even paralyzed when it comes to guns, afraid of agitating the powerful gun lobby and alienating firearms owners. But several years of tragedies — one horrific mass shooting after another, coupled with the spate of police shootings — have presented what Democrats see as a political opening to appeal to suburban women in particular with calls for stricter gun regulations," Philip Rucker writes.


-- A Clinton campaign official says the goal of day three is to “spotlight the difference” between Clinton’s “strength, leadership and qualifications to be commander-in-chief” and Trump’s “unsteady, unfit and dangerous approach to national security.”

  • “Convention-goers will hear from people who know well what it takes to be commander-in-chief -- veterans such as Rear Admiral John Hutson (Ret. USN), a gold-star wife, and former CIA Director and Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta.”
  • “Making the case about the unique, post-partisan nature of this election will also be the former Republican Mayor of New York, Michael Bloomberg.”
  • Speakers will note that none of the former Republican presidents were willing to support Trump.

-- “In tight Obama-Clinton alliance, the merging of two political machines,” by Juliet Eilperin: “When Obama and Clinton campaigned together for the first time recently, the collection of staff members milling around the sidelines at the Charlotte Convention Center represented a final melding of two formidable political machines. Obama once portrayed Clinton as the past of the Democratic Party and himself as its future. Now, as they try to bind one precedent-setting presidency to another, they see their ambitions as inextricably linked. But as the current campaign has unfolded, the rivalry-turned-alliance has entered a new stage, one in which Obama and his aides are prepared to work doggedly to land Clinton in the White House." 

-- Savannah Guthrie asked the preisdent on the “Today” show this morning if it’s possible Trump could win: “Anything is possible,” he replied. “As somebody who has now been in elected office at various levels for about 20 years I've seen all kinds of crazy stuff happen. And I think anybody who goes into campaigns not running scared can end up losing.”


-- A Clinton aide says he will note, among other things, that he is a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee and Foreign Relations Committee before discussing "Hillary’s plans to keep America safe and deliver economic results."

-- The Virginia senator's Catholicism and his moderate stance on abortion when he ran for governor in 2005 give heartburn to some in the women's movement.

Kaine agreed to flip on the Hyde Amendment before joining the ticket. He privately told HRC that he will now support the repeal of the 1976 provision that bans the use of federal dollars for abortion services, Clinton spokesman Jesse Ferguson and Kaine spokeswoman Amy Dudley told Bloomberg. “The position is a reversal for Kaine, who earlier this month told the Weekly Standard, a conservative magazine, that he's ‘traditionally been a supporter of the Hyde amendment,’” Sahil Kapur writes. “It aligns the Virginia senator with Clinton … who argues that the decades-old Hyde Amendment, which primarily affects Medicaid, is an impediment for low-income women seeking abortions. … Abortion foes view the Hyde Amendment, which is routinely attached to federal spending bills, as one of their great successes.”

Pro-choice groups say he's been a reliable vote for them since arriving in Congress in 2013, if never a leader. Planned Parenthood chief Cecile Richards praises his "evolution" and describes him as an “incredible ally” in an op-ed today for Time Magazine. “Senator Kaine has long held personal beliefs about abortion, but he does not impose those personal beliefs on public policy,” she writes. “As elected officials learn that women across the nation can’t get the sexual and reproductive health care they need … we have seen them evolve. Senator Kaine is one of those leaders.”

-- Kaine's wife Anne Holton, the daughter of a former GOP governor, stepped down as Virginia’s education secretary. Gov. McAuliffe, praising her service, highlighted her work to reform the state's standardized testing system and to increase education funding. (Moriah Balingit)


-- Federal investigators tried to warn the DNC about a potential intrusion into its computer network “MONTHS” before the party tried to fix the problem, government sources tell CNN. "The DNC brought in consultants from a private security firm in April, and by the time suspected Russian hackers were kicked out of the DNC network in June, the hackers had been inside for about a year. The revelation raises questions about whether the DNC could have done more to limit the damage done by hackers suspected of working for Russian intelligence.”

-- President Obama publicly suggested that Russia could be responsible for the DNC email leak, calling the hacking “characteristic” of the country’s government and suggesting they have a motive to meddle in this year’s election. From Tom Hamburger: “What we do know is that the Russians hack our systems, not just government systems but private systems,” Obama told NBC. “What the motives were in terms of the leaks, all that — I can’t say directly. What I do know is that Donald Trump has repeatedly expressed admiration for Vladimir Putin.” Obama’s comments echo those of Clinton campaign manager Robby Mook, who said Russian government orchestrated the Wikileaks release as a way to help Trump.

-- The Kremlin pushed back during a conference call for reporters, continuing to deny any role (even as more members of the intelligence community express confidence that Moscow was indeed behind the leaks). “Moscow is at pains to avoid any words that could be interpreted as direct or indirect interference in the election process," a Putin spokesman said, according to Reuters. "We see that the Russian card is in the red corner on the writing table of all Washington politicians during the election campaign, and that very often they make it a trump card in their game. … This reminds me of a company where they tell each other horror stories and then start being frightened of their own stories.”

-- Wikileaks founder Julian Assange told a British TV channel that he sees Hillary as a personal foe because she was among those pushing to indict him after he posted secret diplomatic cables during her tenure at the State Department, per the New York Times' Charlie Savage.

-- At a press conference this morning, Trump had this to say:

Trump is on the defensive over his ties to Russia. In keeping with his standard practice, he denies everything. He also refuses to release his tax returns, which would help clear up some of the questions swirling around why Vladimir Putin might want to throw the election his way.

-- “The legend of Donna Brazile: Why the DNC turned to an old pro in its time of need,” by Krissah Thompson: “Brazile — who was formed as a political player by her experience in Democratic politics on the Rev. Jesse L. Jackson’s 1984 campaign for president, and launched to fame as Al Gore’s 2000 campaign manager — is a celebrity within her political party. This week, when the party needed someone to quickly step in and clean up the mess left by Wasserman Schultz’s email scandal, Brazile was asked to do the job. Now, at 56, her hair is silver, but she is seemingly always on the move. … She believes the party is strongest when it speaks to its base of loyalists: union members, ethnic minorities, environmentalists, and gays and lesbians. She is part of a sisterhood that calls itself ‘The Colored Girls,’ because they are black and they are women and they are powerful enough to call themselves whatever they want. Brazile also says whatever she wants.”


-- Classy: Trump threatened to skip out on a hotel bill in Virginia over air that was too warm for his tastes: The real estate mogul told voters he felt like he was “in a sauna” while speaking in a famous Roanoke hotel. "I don't know what hotel this is, but you ought to try turning on the air conditioning or we're not going to get you paid," Trump threatened from the stage, calling it "ridiculous" and then whining that the media would write stories about Trump refusing to pay his bills. Hotel officials said the air conditioning system "was on and working properly throughout the event,” adding that they did everything possible to keep the hundreds of attendees comfortable. (CNBC)

-- More Republican politicians are embracing Trump after Cleveland: Vulnerable North Carolina Gov. Pat McCrory and Sen. Richard Burr warmed up the crowd for Trump ahead of his Monday night rally in Winston-Salem. Jenna Johnson explains why it was weird: Just last month, Burr vocally criticized Trump for criticizing the Mexican heritage of a federal judge. “As McCrory was introduced, an announcer for the campaign praised him for boosting the state's economy even though later in the night Trump would say that he has three pages of statistics showing that the state is not doing well economically and would benefit from his proposed trade policies and job-creation promises.” McCrory touted, with a joke, the H.B. 2 “bathroom bill” that imperils his governorship. Three months ago, Trump criticized the GOP governor for signing the legislation and said transgender individuals are free to use whichever bathroom they want at Trump Tower.

-- Trump appointed Arizona State Treasurer Jeff DeWit as his campaign's Chief Operating Officer, tapping the former stock trader and politico to “focus on the operational aspects of the campaign including budgetary and logistical matters,” per a campaign statement. DeWit was an early endorser of The Donald.

-- The Hollywood Reporter,  “Trump Defends RNC in Interview: ‘I Wasn't Looking for Star Power, I Was Looking for Policy,’” by Ryan Parker: “Trump wasn't impressed with what he saw during the first night of the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia on Monday except for one moment — when first lady Michelle Obama took the stage. ‘I thought she did a very good job,’ he said. ‘I liked her speech.’ And that's where the compliments ended.” Other highlights:

  • Trump contrasted his convention with the star-studded DNC, claiming that bringing "showbiz" to a convention is “beside the point.” (This is farcical because Trump made a big deal a few months ago about how he going to bring "showbiz" to his convention.) “I think we had, if you include my children and the great success that they had, I would say we had tremendous star power," Trump said. "But I wasn't looking for star power, I was looking for policy. I was looking for hope for people because people are not feeling good about where the country is and where it's going."
  • The Republican nominee denied accusations that he ever mocked a New York Times reporter with a disability, saying he was “groveling” instead: "I would never mock a person with disabilities. I would never, ever do that,” said Trump, who became fired up about the topic on the phone. "I imitated a man groveling because he tried to disavow his article.”
  • He demurred when asked whether he planned to invoke Monica Lewinsky to attack Hillary. "Sure, there is a line we won't go (past), but I'm basing my lines off what they're doing," he said. "But there would be absolutely a line that I would not cross."


-- Democratic Rep. Alan Grayson’s campaign for Senate in Florida began “disintegrating” as supporters and a top consultant abandoned him following a report detailing “decades of domestic-abuse allegations” from his ex-wife. From Politico’s Kevin Robillard and Marc Caputo: “Revolution Messaging, the progressive digital consulting firm that powered Sanders' insurgent presidential campaign, has dropped Grayson as a client and isn't allowing him use of its email technology … The Communications Workers of America, a union that also endorsed Grayson, said it will need to examine what happened before deciding whether to pull its endorsement. … Grayson added fuel to the fire on Tuesday when he attended a Politico event during the DNC in Philadelphia at which he refused to answer questions and then falsely accused Politico reporter Edward-Isaac Dovere of pushing him. Grayson then threatened to have Dovere arrested. ‘You’re getting in my way, my friend. You’re assaulting a member of Congress. You’re pushing me. Have this guy escorted out, please,’ Grayson said.” A tense confrontation between the two was captured on video.

-- Drama within Ted Cruz’s orbit: Cruz is at odds with some of his own advisers. “At issue: a high-profile primary challenge to Kansas Rep. Tim Huelskamp, a Cruz ally and tea party favorite who has long been a thorn in the side of the party establishment,” Politico’s Alex Isenstadt reports. “Cruz has rushed to Huelskamp’s aid, providing him with a valuable endorsement just weeks before the Aug. 2 primary. But members of the Texas senator’s political team are working aggressively to defeat the embattled congressman. … Two of the pillars of Cruz’s political operation, the consulting firms Axiom Strategies and Wilson Perkins Allen Opinion Research, have helped steer a super PAC that is spending heavily to defeat Huelskamp … even though Jeff Roe, Cruz’s former campaign manager and Axiom’s top strategist, had previously pledged that he and his firm wouldn’t oppose Huelskamp.


-- Bill O’Reilly, reacting to Michelle Obama's speech, said on his show last night that the slaves who built the White House from 1792 to 1800 were "well-fed and had decent lodging." (Watch the segment, circulated by the liberal group Media Matters, here.)

-- Historians are puzzled by the comment. From Peter Holley: Clarence Lusane, author of “The Black History of the White House,” said the precise number of enslaved people forced to work during the multi-year construction is unknown, that they were “extensively involved” in the effort to develop Washington. "Slaves were trained at the government’s quarry in Aquia, Va., to cut the stone that was later laid by Scottish masons to create the ‘walls of the president's house,’ according to the White House Historical Association. The construction process forced enslaved people to endure back-breaking labor, Lusane said, such as cutting down trees, dredging swamps, removing dirt and rocks and bringing materials to the site from distant rock quarries." 

"The slaves were listed by first name only and earned lower wages than white workers, but those earnings were claimed by their masters," the New York Daily News notes.


Nancy Pelosi, Barbara Boxer and their daughters and granddaughters as Clinton was officially nominated:

Meanwhile, Sanders supporters walked out of the hall and staged a sit-in at the media tent:

Lawmakers (and candidates) took lots of pictures with each other: 

Spotted: Dodd-Frank!

Claire McCaskill did a little sightseeing, with a Hamilton reference as bonus:

Chris Murphy bumped into a fan:

Just a few of the celebrities in attendance:

Meanwhile, Donald Trump Jr. is at the Neshoba County Fair in Mississippi and ran into Peyton Manning:

(Des Bieler has  more on the backstory.)


“Former U.S. Attorney Ditches GOP Over ‘Dangerous Demagogue’ Trump,” from HuffPost: “Marcos Daniel Jiménez, a former U.S attorney appointed by President George W. Bush, rescinded his Republican Party membership Monday night in a Facebook post claiming the party’s core principles had been hijacked by an unstable leader. ‘I have decided that I will no longer be associated in any way with a party that is led by a bigoted, dangerous demagogue and that has become a party dominated by fear, anger and hate,’ said the status. ‘Republicans should make no mistake about this,’ he wrote. ‘You now clearly belong to the party of hate … you are supporting a strongman who believes all of that.’”



“As vets died, VA spent millions on art,” from the Washington Examiner: “Hundreds of veterans have died while waiting to get care from the Department of Veterans Affairs, all while the department spent millions of taxpayer dollars on high-end art. According to an investigation …. the VA has spent $20 million on high-end art over the last 10 years, $16 million of that spent during President Obama's tenure. The investigation found one particularly egregious example: $670,000 combined spent on two sculptures at a VA center for the blind. Other examples include $21,000 spent on an artificial Christmas tree, $610,000 spent over five years for a new facility in Puerto Rico and more than a million dollars combined on three art projects in Palo Alto, Calif.”


On the campaign trail: Trump is all over: Doral, Fla., Scranton, Pa., Waukesha, Wis., and Toledo, Ohio.

At the White House: Obama and Biden travel to Philadelphia to speak at the convention.

On Capitol Hill: The Senate and House are out.


"Our kids are being brainwashed," said Sen. Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.), the chairman of the Environment and Public Works Committee. "I never forget because I was the first one back in 2002 to tell the truth about the global warming stuff and all of that. And my own granddaughter came home one day and said, 'Popi ... why is it you don’t understand global warming?' I did some checking and ... the stuff that they teach our kids nowadays, you have to un-brainwash them when they get out." (Jacob Bogage)


-- Thankfully, we are out of the triple digits! The Capital Weather Gang forecasts Washington’s (slightly) cooler day ahead: “Our hot and humid streak continues today, though with temperatures trimmed back just a bit from yesterday, with highs reaching the low-to-mid 90s. Much of the day should be dry, but a few scattered showers and thunderstorms are possible, mainly midafternoon into evening. Otherwise we’re partly cloudy and still quite humid (dew points in the upper 60s to low 70s) with light winds.”

-- Metro's General Manager wants to permanently cut off subway service at midnight, rather than 3 a.m., on weekends. The proposal has alarmed local leaders and businesses who say that this would hinder economic and cultural life in the D.C. area. It could also lead to more drunk driving.  (Martine Powers, Faiz Siddiqui and Lori Aratani)

-- The Nationals lost to the Cleveland Indians 7-6.

-- Two former Virginia Tech students were indicted on first-degree murder charges for the killing of a 13-year-old Blacksburg girl in January. The 19-year-olds allegedly hatched a plan to lure her from her home before stabbing her in a wooded area. (Justin Jouvenal)

-- D.C. Mayor Muriel E. Bowser spoke out for statehood during the DNC roll call of states. “Bowser used the few moments she was allotted to address the convention to publicly demand greater support for the cause from fellow Democrats,” Aaron C. Davis reports. “The mayor also made clear that she expectsClinton to fulfill her pledge to be a vocal advocate for D.C. statehood if she wins the presidency in November. She also implored fellow Democrats to help in the fight: ‘We are 670,000 tax-paying Americans, just like you. And with statehood and only with statehood, will we have votes in Congress, just like you,’ Bowser said. ‘The next president of the United States, Hillary Rodham Clinton, will sign our admission into the United States of America as the 51st State.’"


Here's the original, for reference:

Meet the 102-year-old delegate who stole the show during the roll call vote:

102-year-old honorary Arizona delegate Jerry Johnson gained attention July 26 for her enthusiastic announcement of her state's support of Hillary Clinton. (Video: The Washington Post)

Here's Tulsi Gabbard nominating Sanders:

Larry Sanders got emotional while casting his vote for his brother:

Larry Sanders, the older brother of Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), cast his vote for his brother during the second day of the Democratic National Convention. (Video: Victoria Walker/The Washington Post)

Flashback to the 2008 convention, when Clinton nominated Obama:

(Check out a slideshow with 60 cool pictures from Philadelphia by our staff photographers here.)


The Onion spoofed a Democratic convention speech:

Seth Meyers took a closer look at the DNC email hack:

Lenny Kravitz talked about hanging out with Bill Clinton:

Check out clips of Idina Menzel singing at an event with House Dems (yes, the second clip is "Let It Go"):

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Fabulous @idinamenzel @demconvention 🇺🇸 Enjoy!

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Here's partial footage of Grayson's hostile encounter with a Politico reporter (click to watch):