Hillary Clinton

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At this week’s Democratic National Convention, two presidents ran blocks for Hillary Clinton on an issue that has crippled her favorability in Appalachia: coal.

Both President Barack Obama and former President Bill Clinton brought up coal in their speeches endorsing Hillary’s presidential bid.

During his address on Tuesday evening, Bill Clinton recalled how Hillary had sent him to stump for her in West Virginia ahead of the state’s primary election to deliver a message directly to coal miners.

“If you really think you can get the economy back you had 50 years ago, have at it, vote for whoever you want to,” Bill Clinton said. “But if she wins, she is coming back for you to take you along on the ride to America’s future.”

Then on Wednesday night, President Obama said coal miners need to be brought into the discussion about climate change.

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Hillary Clinton accepted her party's nomination on Thursday, completing the field for an American political campaign without historical precedent.

Clinton, the first female presidential nominee for a major American party, has now officially become Republican Donald Trump's Democratic rival for the presidency of the United States.

"It is with humility, determination and boundless confidence in America's promise that I accept your nomination for president of the United States," Clinton said.

Clinton's nomination comes after a bruising primary campaign against Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders that left the Democratic Party struggling to unite.

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The third night of the 2016 Democratic Convention scaled several major peaks: President Obama gave, perhaps, the best-written oration of his career. Vice President Joe Biden gave, perhaps, his last national convention address, and his prospective successor, Tim Kaine, gave his first.

But when it was all over, and Obama was joined on stage by the woman who wants to succeed him, you could feel the love welling up from the delegates and you could sense the doubt hanging over them — an invisible cloud casting a psychological shadow.

Yes, the crowd had been wowed by Michelle Obama and Elizabeth Warren and the "Comeback Kid" himself, Bill Clinton.

But would Hillary Clinton herself be able to seal the deal on the last night?

Gage Skidmore/Creative Commons

Democratic Party officials are still trying to unify support behind presidential nominee Hillary Clinton as supporters of former candidate Bernie Standers continue to protest her nomination.

The two candidates nearly split Kentucky’s share of 55 pledged delegates — Sanders took 27 and Clinton took 28. Clinton won all five of Kentucky’s unpledged “super” delegates.

Greg Aster, an aircraft mechanic and Bernie Sanders delegate from Louisville, said the senator’s speech Monday night helped him move on.

“I thought they all did a great job in trying to just show that hey, it’s not our differences that we need to be divided over, it’s our differences with a Trump presidency that we really need to be concerned about,” Aster said.

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In another effort to tamp down on discord at the Democratic National Convention, Bernie Sanders will officially nominate his former rival Hillary Clinton for president during this evening's roll call vote.

It would be another move toward unity from the primary runner-up, coming amid continued protests from supporters of the Vermont senator still upset that Clinton will be the Democratic nominee.

The Sanders and Clinton camps are still in talks about the nomination, CNN reports, so details could still change.

Clinton won the most primary popular votes and pledged delegates, and she is poised to officially become the first female nominee of a major political party after Tuesday's roll call vote.

But even an endorsement from Sanders and a speech in favor of Clinton last night hasn't done much to placate the progressive favorite's most fervent supporters. In the final speech the official convention opening Monday night Sanders urged his very vocal, very unhappy supporters who were still calling for a "political revolution" to get behind Clinton to defeat GOP nominee Donald Trump in November.

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Hillary Clinton will break the penultimate glass ceiling this week — becoming the first female nominee of a major American political party.

It's a historic milestone that's been obscured by Donald Trump's chaotic convention and, now, on the eve of the Democratic convention, the resignation of the DNC chairman following the leak of 20,000 emails showing that the DNC had its thumb on the scale for Clinton. The Clinton campaign blames the leak on the Russians, who they say are trying to put their thumb on the scales for Trump.

Whew!

Here are 5 things to watch in Philadelphia this week:

How unified will the Democrats be?

The Wikileaks email dump threatened to upend the careful truce worked out between the Sanders camp and Clinton campaign. But it has led to a huge victory for Sanders. He got Debbie Wasserman Schultz's head on a platter. Sanders has had a terrible relationship with Schultz. He even endorsed her primary opponent. Did Schultz's resignation satisfy the Sanders forces? Or will they have a demonstration or a walkout on the floor of the convention, presenting an image of a party almost as divided as the GOP? The answer may come Monday night when Sanders addresses the convention. Will he wholeheartedly and enthusiastically back Clinton? If he does, that will go a long way to unifying the party.

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Virginia Sen. Tim Kaine is Hillary Clinton's choice for her vice president, giving her a running mate with experience at all levels of government to round out the Democratic ticket.

Clinton told supporters the news in a text message and a tweet on Friday evening just after 8 p.m. ET. According to a Clinton campaign official, the former secretary of state called Kaine this evening to make the formal offer.

In recent days, Kaine had emerged as the favorite — albeit safe — pick for Clinton, over other finalists such as Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack, Labor Secretary Tom Perez and New Jersey Sen. Cory Booker.

According to the Clinton campaign official, their vetting process first began back in April with more than two dozen potential running mates. Kaine and Clinton campaigned last week in Northern Virginia as a tryout of sorts, and Clinton walked away impressed and comfortable with him as a partner. The two met with aides and then one-on-one for a total of about 90 minutes that night.

Last Saturday, the Kaine and Clinton met together with their families for lunch at the Clintons' home in Chappaqua, N.Y. She remained comfortable with Kaine as someone who could do the job, and the alliance was made.

Lisa Autry

A group of Kentuckians will witness history being made next week at the Democratic National Convention.  Hillary Clinton is expected to officially become the nation’s first female presidential nominee. 

Kentucky is sending 55 delegates and five alternates to the convention in Philadelphia.  Among them is Michele Thomas of Bowling Green who knows a thing or two about her party’s national conventions.  She was an alternate delegate for Hillary Clinton in 2008 and a delegate for Barack Obama in 2012.  Her face lights up just talking about the experiences.

“There’s just a poignancy in the air.  There’s exhilaration," says Thomas.  "You’re there with a lot of people excited about their candidate and who want their candidate to win.  It’s similar, but not the same as a football game like if Louisville plays UK.”

A corner of her home is a museum of sorts for Democratic politics.

Wilfredo Lee/AP

The lingering chasm between presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton and her chief primary rival was bridged Tuesday, with Sen. Bernie Sanders teaming up with Clinton at a campaign event, where he formally endorsed Clinton's bid for the White House.

"Secretary Clinton has won the Democratic nominating process, and I congratulate her for that," Sanders said. "She will be the Democratic nominee for president and I intend to do everything I can to make certain she will be the next president of the United States.

"I have come here today not to talk about the past but to focus on the future. That future will be shaped more by what happens on Nov. 8 in voting booths across our nation than by any other event in the world. I have come here to make it as clear as possible as to why I am endorsing Hillary Clinton and why she must become our next president."

The Sanders endorsement ends a lengthy — and awkward — period in which many were wondering if and how he would back Clinton. Five weeks ago, Clinton, the Democratic Party's presumptive nominee, became the first woman in American history to secure enough delegates to clinch the nomination to head the ticket of a major party.

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"This is the way the world ends," mused the poet T.S. Eliot, "not with a bang but a whimper." It may be said that the world of 2016 presidential nominating contests is ending with a bit of a bang and a whimper.

Six states held primaries or caucuses on the last big Tuesday (only the District of Columbia remains to vote on June 14), and the results closed out the season with an exclamation point and a question mark — for each of the remaining three candidates.

On the most obvious plane, it was Hillary Clinton's night. She became the first woman to be the presumptive presidential nominee of a major U.S. political party.

"We've reached a milestone," said Clinton, recalling how her mother was born on the day in 1919 when Congress approved the 19th amendment to the U.S. Constitution. It was ratified by the states the following year, granting women the right to vote.

"Tonight's victory," said Clinton, "belongs to generations of women."

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The primary season isn't quite wrapped yet (six states hold Democratic contests Tuesday), but Hillary Clinton has now secured the number of delegates needed (2,383) to become the Democratic Party's presumptive nominee.

Speaking Monday night, Clinton said, "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?"

It wasn't easy for Clinton to emerge from this campaign season victorious — she got there by applying lessons from her failed 2008 bid and forming strong alliances with Democrats, President Obama and voters of color. And by surviving an epic 11-hour congressional hearing.

Here's a look back at the Democratic primary and 10 steps Clinton took to climb to the nomination:

J. Tyler Franklin, WFPL News

During a speech at the National Rifle Association convention in Louisville on Friday, Donald Trump called Hillary Clinton the most “anti-gun” candidate to ever run for president.

Trump said that Clinton wants to “abolish” the Second Amendment and, if elected, would appoint anti-gun Supreme Court justices.

“The Second Amendment is under a threat like never before,” he said. “Crooked Hillary Clinton is the most anti-gun, anti-Second Amendment candidate ever to run for office.”

Clinton has never called for abolishing the Second Amendment but has pushed for increased background checks and closing the “gun show loophole.”

Trump called for the elimination of gun-free zones, saying that if concert-goers had been armed during November attacks on the Bataclan Theater in Paris, not as many people would have died.

Lisa Autry

On the eve of Kentucky’s primary election, Hillary Clinton courted voters in southern Kentucky.  The Democratic presidential front-runner held a rally in Bowling Green Monday. 

Clinton spoke as though she was trying to mend fences following her controversial statement about putting coal miners out of work in the pursuit of clean energy. 

She touted herself as the only candidate with a plan to revitalize coal country which includes putting more money into research to determine how the nation can continue to use coal.

"We do have to transition, but we need to take coal country, coal miners, and their families, and not leave them behind," Clinton stated.

The Appalachian region has been hit hard economically by the decline in the coal industry. 

Clinton has already been tested in one Appalachian state.  Democratic opponent Bernie Sanders easily won West Virginia’s Democratic primary last week.

Lisa Autry

When Kentucky voters head to the polls Tuesday, May 17, for the sstate's primary election, they’ll help choose the Democratic presidential nominee. 

While Hillary Clinton is ahead in the delegate count, she doesn’t have enough to lock up the nomination yet. Both Clinton and Sanders are battling for Kentucky’s 60 delegates at stake. 

On a weekday afternoon, Michelle Thomas and a few of her girlfriends get together at Thomas’ Bowling Green home, which has turned into a makeshift campaign headquarters for Hillary Clinton.

“We have yard signs and some bumper stickers and buttons," Thomas said.

The ladies were phone banking, trying to drum up support for Clinton ahead of Tuesday’s primary.  It was the middle of the day and Janet Gouvas has been getting lots of answering machines.

J. Tyler Franklin, WFPL

Hillary Clinton criticized Gov. Matt Bevin for his work to dismantle elements of the Affordable Care Act in Kentucky during a campaign stop in Louisville Tuesday.

The former first lady and secretary of state has been campaigning in Kentucky ahead of the state’s Democratic presidential primary next week.

During the campaign stop at Family Health Centers in the Portland neighborhood, Clinton applauded Kentucky’s health insurance exchange, Kynect, calling it “the best example” of states’ efforts to expand health coverage. She criticized apparent Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump’s position against the law, also known as Obamacare.

“Donald Trump wants to get rid of the Affordable Care Act, your governor is working hard to undermine what Kentucky has accomplished,” Clinton said. “I think with somebody like Donald Trump you would see a race to the bottom across our country — with working families paying the price.”

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