PHILADELPHIA —Hillary Clinton is set to become the first woman to be nominated for president by a major political party on a night that her campaign is hoping will reintroduce her to voters still deeply skeptical of her candidacy.
Shortly before 5 p.m., the party began its nominating process, with the name of Sen. Bernie Sanders (D-Vt.) put forward by Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (D-Hawaii). She affectionately called Sanders a “somewhat frumpy, and maybe even sometimes grumpy, 74-year-old guy” who created a progressive movement.
Sanders sat in the convention hall next to his wife, with a broad smile on his face, as a pair of seconding speeches followed. He stood up and waved to the crowd afterward amid an extended ovation.
Clinton was nominated by Sen. Barbara Mikulski (D-Md.), the dean of women senators, who said she was putting forward the former secretary of state’s name “on behalf of all the women who have broken down barriers.”
Mikulski was followed by Rep. John Lewis (D-Ga.), the revered civil rights leader; who referenced another “glass ceiling” that was broken with President Obama’s election eight years ago, and Na’ilah Amaru, a Clinton supporter and Iraq veteran who won an online contest to nominate the candidate.
With the speeches complete, the convention began the long and often colorful process of the state-by-state roll call vote.
Clinton’s campaign spent much of Tuesday in talks to give her vanquished opponent, Sanders, a symbolic role in the nomination process in a bid to heal rifts in the party.
The Clinton and Sanders campaigns were discussing having the Vermont delegation move to make her nomination unanimous by acclamation after all the states have had a chance to have their votes recorded, according to Sanders spokesman Michael Briggs.
“We’ve been talking about that with the Clinton campaign for weeks,” Briggs said. “We hope it works out.”
Briggs said the outcome could be similar to what happened at the 2008 Democratic convention, when Clinton came to the convention floor, interrupted the roll call vote and moved to unanimously nominate Obama as the Democratic presidential candidate.
Clinton’s campaign chairman, John Podesta, deflected questions about a possible deal.
“I will let Sen. Sanders discuss what Sen. Sanders is going to do,” he said at a reporter lunched hosted by The Wall Street Journal.
Podesta said earlier Tuesday that Democrats “need to move on” from infighting over the outcome of the primary, which saw Clinton soundly defeat challenger Sanders in both votes and delegates.
“We’ve got to get over it,” he told “CBS This Morning.”
The Clinton campaign appreciates Sanders’s endorsement and his decades of work on liberal causes, “but we need to move on and consolidate around Hillary,” Podesta said. “And I think the people watching television last night, not just the people in the hall but the people watching television, what did they see? They saw that full-throated endorsement by Bernie.”
Sanders doubled-down on his support for Clinton Tuesday morning. Speaking at a breakfast meeting of the California delegation, he dismissed the boos of supporters and urged them to back her.
“It is easy to boo, but it is harder to look your kids in the face” if Trump becomes president because Democrats didn’t support the ticket, he said.
But at a morning breakfast hosted by Bloomberg Politics, Sanders expressed befuddlement at the idea that he would release his delegates before the roll call.
“Why would I do that?” Sanders asked. “There’s an election. We’re gonna lose, but if you were campaigning for me for six months or eight months and knocking your brains out, and the roll call came, who do you think you’d vote for? You’d vote for Bernie Sanders. That’s what I would do. And then, the other side gets more votes.”
He also confirmed on Tuesday that he will return to the Senate as an independent, not a Democrat.
“I was elected as an independent so I’ll stay two years more as an Independent,” he told reporters. As the longest serving independent in U.S. congressional history, Sanders had only declared himself a Democrat when he entered the presidential race last year.
With the healing process among Democrats still underway, Clinton’s campaign manager Robby Mook said that Tuesday night’s programming is designed to remind Americans about the former secretary of state’s long public service career.
“A lot of people aren’t familiar with her accomplishments,” Mook told ABC’s “Good Morning America,” noting that former president Bill Clinton will give the night’s big speech.
The former president is poised to address a Democratic convention as a political spouse for the first time. Clinton — who could soon become the country’s first “first man” — has been a Democratic convention staple for more 40 years. His 1988 keynote address was widely panned as a meandering, boring speech, but his 1992 nomination acceptance speech buoyed his struggling campaign. In more recent years, the former president has served as a political character witness, most notably for Obama at his 2012 convention.
Hillary Clinton will not travel to Philadelphia to watch Bill Clinton’s address to the convention, but will instead watch the speech from her home in Chappaqua, N.Y., aides said. The candidate and her daughter, Chelsea, are scheduled to address the convention on Thursday.
While the former president headlines the evening, the convention is also set to hear from several others of the victims of gun violence or police-involved incidents, including Gwen Carr, the mother of Eric Garner, who died after being put in a chokehold by a New York City police officer in 2014; Sybrina Fulton, the mother of Trayvon Martin, who was fatally shot by a neighborhood watch volunteer in Sanford, Fla. in 2012; and Lesley McSpadden, the mother of Michael Brown, who was killed by a police officer in Ferguson, Mo., in 2014.
Gun control has become a leading issue of concern for Clinton, but speakers are also set to remind Democrats of her work on health-care reform as first lady and a senator and foreign affairs as secretary of state.
Meanwhile, Sen. Timothy M. Kaine (D-Va.,), Clinton’s freshly minted running mate, planned to travel to Philadelphia on Tuesday ahead of his scheduled acceptance speech on Wednesday night.
Wasserman Schultz also remained in Philadelphia, showing up Tuesday morning at a brunch hosted by lobbyist Heather Podesta and packed with lawmakers and top Democratic players. She attended at least two other events honoring LGBTQ Democrats and a reception hosted by Donna Brazile, her interim successor.
At the Podesta event, Wasserman Schultz declined to be interviewed about the drama surrounding her, but stated unequivocally she was remaining in Philadelphia all week.
Louisa Loveluck, Abby Phillip, Lois Romano and Vanessa Williams contributed to this story.