While Hillary Clinton cracked the glass ceiling last night as she accepted the historic presidential nomination from her party, the tsunami of balloons unleashed on stage at the Democratic convention also delighted.
Her husband and former US president Bill Clinton could not contain his glee as 100,000 balloons flooded the Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia. The former leader of the free world looked continuously in awe as he scurried around the stage batting balloons away or grabbing and throwing them. Hillary Clinton and vice-presidential nominee Tim Kaine also got in on the fun.
Twitter was quick to latch on to the sight of usually stiff politicians overcome with joy at the sight of balloons and gifs and memes flooded the internet throughout the night. Bill Clinton largely stole the show.
Still glowing from Clinton’s historic ascent on Thursday night, the thousands of people who came to see the Democratic ticket at a gymnasium at Temple University McGonigle Hall roared with excitement when the candidate walked onto the stage with running mate Tim Kaine.
“I was tired after last night, but I’m awake now,” Kaine said taking the stage to thunderous applause.
Before she walked on stage, the audience, several who sported freshly minted Clinton-Kaine buttons, reprised the chant: “Madame President”. Often criticized constantly for her wooden delivery, Clinton seemed buoyed by her positively received performance last night. In an enduring image from the night, the Clintons smile like children as they play with the falling balloons on stage.
On Friday, much of the crowd shared that same gaiety.
“Oh, we’re feeling wonderful!” gushed Linda Pauline, who came to Temple University with her sisters, Rose Lee and Linda. The three sisters gathered at Rose Lee’s house in Philadelphia last night to watch Clinton win the nomination.
“You know when it really hit me?” said Rose Lee Pauline.
“When President Barack Obama said that no one has ever been more qualified to be president, not him, not Bill, not anyone,” Linda said. “I have been waiting a long time to hear that – since 2006 when Hillary was just thinking of running.”
She added: “Girls today don’t understand. They think that a woman can be president … but I guess that’s thanks to my generation. We fought to make it so easy to them.”
After the rally in Philadelphia, Clinton and Kaine will set off on their inaugural bus through cities in Pennsylvania and Ohio. There in the economically depressed Rust belt cities, they will pitch their economic vision at a factory in Hatfield, Pennsylvania, a farmer’s market in Harrisburg, and high school in Youngstown, among other stop.
Former president Bill Clinton and Kaine’s wife, Anne Holton, will also join for segments of the tour.
Hillary Clinton takes the stage in Philadelphia
at 1.36pm EDT
Tim Kaine speaks at Clinton campaign rally in Philadelphia
Kaine accused of flip-flopping on abortion
Virginia senator Tim Kaine, the Democratic vice presidential nominee, is facing accusations that he flipped his position on federal abortion coverage since joining Hillary Clinton’s ticket.
Asked in an interview on CNN this morning for his position on the Hyde amendment, which bans federal Medicaid dollars for abortion, Kaine said, “I have been for the Hyde amendment and I haven’t changed my position on that.”
But that appeared to conflict with claims the Clinton campaign made this week that Kaine would support Clinton’s efforts to repeal Hyde. On Sunday, Robby Mook, Clinton’s campaign manager, told CNN, “He has said that he will stand with Secretary Clinton to defend a woman’s right to choose, to repeal the Hyde amendment. Voters can be 100% confident that Tim Kaine is going to fight to protect a woman’s right to choose.”
Clinton has called for ending Hyde more forcefully than any presidential candidate in memory. She has made a repeal effort the centerpiece of her stance on abortion rights. Her team has said that Kaine is not flip-flopping, but distinguishing between his privately held beliefs and his role as Clinton’s running mate.
A practicing Catholic, Kaine has found himself in this position before. He opposes the death penalty, but declined many times as governor of Virginia to commute capital sentences to life without parole. Kaine has also said he personally opposes abortion, but he supports a woman’s right to make her own decision. His voting record in the senate has an approval rating of 100% from Planned Parenthood.
“The senator is not personally for repeal of the Hyde Amendment,” a spokesperson told the Wall Street Journal. “But as he’s made clear, he is committed to carrying out Secretary Clinton’s agenda.”
Anti-abortion groups, though, are having none of it.
“The attempt at deception continues,” Marjorie Dannenfelser, the president of Susan B Anthony List, an anti-abortion political action committee, said. “Kaine’s charade on abortion is getting old and he’s only been on the ticket for a few days.”