Under the Dome

Tonight at the DNC: Bill Clinton auditions for ‘first gentleman’

Former President Bill Clinton, center, rises to his feet to applaud the speech given by First Lady Michelle Obama Monday, July 25, 2016, at the Democratic National Convention. He addresses convention delegates Tuesday night.
Former President Bill Clinton, center, rises to his feet to applaud the speech given by First Lady Michelle Obama Monday, July 25, 2016, at the Democratic National Convention. He addresses convention delegates Tuesday night. TNS

The Democratic National Convention continues at 4 p.m. Tuesday at Philadelphia’s Wells Fargo Center.

The three things to look for:

1. Delegates will make history when they officially nominate Hillary Clinton for president.

Never before has a major political party in the United States nominated a woman for president. The Democratic Party will do it Tuesday – probably between 5-7 p.m. – in this city already so rich in American history. They’ll do it with that traditional piece of political theater called the roll call vote of the states. Often the nominee’s home state will initially pass and then take back the microphone and cast their votes to put him – or in this case her – over the stop. Clinton was born in Illinois, was first lady in Arkansas and represented New York in the U.S. Senate. The bet is that New York will officially make her the nominee. With some Bernie Sanders delegates still stewing over the release of internal emails showing the anti-Sanders, pro-Clinton bias of national party officials, they may seek to make a statement during the Alabama-to-Wyoming roll call.

2. Former President Bill Clinton will audition for the role of “first gentleman” by touting his wife’s record of helping people, especially children.

If Hillary Clinton is elected president, her husband will be the first male to occupy the role of what has always been held by a woman – the first lady. Will he crack a joke about what his title will be be if she’s elected – first man? first gentleman? More likely, the former president will focus on what kind of president Hillary Clinton would be, and how different she’d be from Donald Trump. One of the goals of the Democratic convention is to get more voters to like her by revealing more of her personal side and more about her commitment to high ideals. But Bill Clinton has not always been his wife’s best promoter, mostly because his own record as president in the 1990s has become controversial in a more left-leaning Democratic Party. His identification with trade deals like NAFTA and a tough crime bill could bring some boos from Sanders delegates.

3. The mothers of African-Americans who died during or after interactions with police will also be on stage Tuesday night.

The prime time appearance of “Mothers of the Moment” could prove emotional and potentially controversial. The mothers of Eric Garner, Michael Brown, Sandra Bland and others are scheduled to speak at a time when killings by and of police have become almost weekly events, complete with video. Hillary Clinton has made the mothers part of some of her rallies during the campaign this year. Philadelphia’s police union has criticized Clinton for not including the families of fallen officers. But NYPD Detective Joe Sweeney, who rushed into the World Trade Center to help survivors on 9-11, is also scheduled to speak Tuesday.

On tap for North Carolina: Watch to see how N.C. Democratic Party chair Patsy Keever describes the Tar Heel State when it comes time for her to announce N.C. delegate votes during the roll call of the state. “The great state of North Carolina ...”

On TV: CNN, Fox News, MSNBC and C-SPAN will offer all-day coverage. PBS will being its coverage at 8 p.m., while networks ABC, CBS and NBC will begin theirs at 10 p.m.

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