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Hillary Clinton Pledges Dem Unity and Reflects on Historic Victory

Hillary Clinton shattered an elusive glass ceiling Tuesday night, making history by clinching the Democratic nomination and becoming the first woman to lead a national ticket of a major political party.
Image: Hillary Clinton
Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton greets supporters during a presidential primary election night rally, Tuesday, June 7, 2016, in New York. (AP Photo/Julio Cortez)Julio Cortez / AP

BROOKLYN, N.Y. – Hillary Clinton shattered an elusive glass ceiling Tuesday night, making history by clinching the Democratic nomination and becoming the first woman to lead a national ticket of a major political party.

Noting that she was standing under a literal “glass ceiling” inside of a greenhouse, Clinton called tonight’s achievement “a milestone.”

Exactly eight years after delivering her famous “18 million cracks” concession speech and endorsing then-Sen. Barack Obama after her first failed presidential bid, Clinton declared victory and thanked her supporters for putting her over the top.

“Tonight’s victory is not about one person. It belongs to generations of women and men who struggled and sacrificed and made this moment possible,” Clinton said.

Photo Gallery: Hillary Clinton: A Political Life

Acknowledging her primary rival early on in her remarks, Clinton congratulated Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders “for the extraordinary campaign he’s run” and said, despite their differences, they will be able to unify the Democratic Party.

“Let there be no mistake: Sen. Sanders, his campaign, and the vigorous debate that we had about how to raise incomes, reduce inequality, increase upward mobility, have been very good for the Democratic Party and for America,” she said.

The rest of her speech was aimed directly at Donald Trump. Clinton, echoing last week’s national security speech in San Diego, called the presumptive Republican nominee “temperamentally unfit.” She then slammed him for his immigration proposals and divisive rhetoric.

"He’s not just trying to build a wall between America and Mexico. He's trying to wall off Americans from each other," Clinton argued. "Donald Trump doesn't believe we are stronger together."

Clinton also called Trump out for his comments on the federal judge presiding over his Trump University lawsuit, a common occurrence on the trail these days.

"We should lift each other up, not tear each other down. To be great, we can't be small. We have to be as big as the values that define us," she said.

Aides say Clinton was tweaking the speech up until the very last minute. It ran about 18 minutes, half the length of her San Diego remarks last week. Both addresses are likely to be remembered as some of the most important speeches of the election up to this point.

Despite the Associated Press declaring Clinton the presumptive nominee on Monday night, aides said they wanted to save the big celebration for Tuesday’s Brooklyn event.

The campaign was also concerned about voter turnout in California and New Jersey, which both held contests Tuesday.

“According to the news we are on the brink of a historic, historic, unprecedented moment, but we still have work to do, don't we? We have six elections tomorrow and we are going to fight hard for every single vote, especially right here in California,” Clinton said Monday night in Long Beach.

On Tuesday, the former secretary of state was joined by her husband, former President Bill Clinton, daughter Chelsea and son-in-law Marc Mezvinsky. A crowd of more than 4,000 supporters, friends and elected officials erupted into cheers when Clinton was introduced as “the next president of the United States.” She walked out to Sara Bareilles’ “Brave,” a departure from the usual “Fight Song” by Rachel Platten.

Before she spoke, the campaign debuted a new video focusing on women’s rights and the role Clinton has played in breaking through this particular gender barrier. Entitled “History Made,” the ad hammers home the significance of the moment and features many prominent female voices.

History was a key theme throughout Tuesday’s speech. Clinton referred to both the Seneca Falls Convention and the amendment that gave the women the right to vote.

She also grew emotional when talking about her late mother, Dorothy, who taught her “never to back down from a bully, which it turns out is pretty good advice.”

“I wish she could see her daughter become the Democratic Party’s nominee for president,” Clinton added. "This campaign is about making sure there are no ceilings, no limits on any of us and this is our moment to come together."