PHILADELPHIA | By Amy Tennery and Jonathan Allen
Democrat Hillary Clinton will make her case for the White House on Thursday night, facing the tough task of equaling show-stopping speeches by President Barack Obama and others who have embraced her bid to become the first woman to be elected U.S. president.
Known as a more effective politician in small gatherings than as a big-event speaker, the former secretary of state has a hard act to follow after Obama and his wife, Michelle Obama, and Vice President Joe Biden electrified this week's Democratic Party Convention in Philadelphia.
Still, those speeches, capped by Barack Obama's rousing endorsement late Wednesday night, could have energized the crowd sufficiently for Clinton to be carried through with cheers however she performs.
Clinton, 68, will lay out her campaign message to Americans as she accepts the nomination to run against Republican Donald Trump in the Nov. 8 election.
She needs to make a convincing argument that she can bring about change while still representing the legacy of Obama, who is nearing the end of his second four-year term with high approval ratings. She also needs to make inroads with voters who find her untrustworthy or unlikable.
In his speech, Obama offered an optimistic view of the United States that he contrasted with Trump's vision of a country in crisis.
Clinton, a former U.S. senator and the wife of former President Bill Clinton, was likely to issue a similarly upbeat message. She aimed to draw on an idea that has driven her throughout her career, that every American should be given the chance to fulfill their potential, a campaign aide said.
Clinton, who will be introduced on the stage by her daughter, Chelsea, was still working on her speech on Thursday, the aide said.
Obama stressed her experience and skills. "There has never been a man or woman, not me, not Bill - nobody more qualified than Hillary Clinton to serve as president of the United States," he told the cheering crowd on Wednesday night.
Clinton, who lost the Democratic nomination to Obama in 2008 and was his secretary of state from 2009 to 2013, promises to tackle income inequality, rein in Wall Street and tighten gun control if she wins the White House.
Trump, a 70-year-old New York businessman who has never held political office, is running just ahead of Clinton in a RealClearPolitics average of recent national opinion polls. They both garner similarly high "unpopularity" ratings.
Trump has hammered Clinton as untrustworthy, and Republicans depict her as a Washington insider who would just continue what they see as the failed policies of Obama's presidency.