At an LGBT delegate luncheon Wednesday, Chelsea Clinton lit into the Republicans, calling the rhetoric out of their convention in Cleveland "divisive, degrading, demeaning."

"I thought about what I found most offensive last week - it's hard to pick just one part," the soft-spoken Clinton said, stepping into the convention spotlight in a warm-up to her speech Thursday introducing her mom, Hillary Clinton.

"What I actually found most offensive was the open embrace of conversion therapy in the Republican platform, in other words child abuse," she said, referring to the medically discredited theory that gay people can be "converted."

"To me it's the clarion call for us to do everything we can to elect my mom."

The presence of Clinton, 36, at the Human Rights Campaign luncheon electrified the LGBT delegates gathered for what is being called "the gayest convention in history." About 11.5 percent of delegates are LGBT, and 28 are transgender, according to Earl Fowlkes, the Democratic National Committee's LGBT caucus chair.

"We love you, Chelsea!" someone shouted.

"Well, thank you. I feel the same way about you," she answered.

Clinton, who steps up to the plate after last week's well-received speeches by four of Donald Trump's children, came off as warm and serious in her short but heartfelt speech.

The former and possibly next first daughter now has two young children with husband Marc Mezvinsky. She noted this year's election was her first as a mother and "the most important election in my lifetime. I didn't know I could care more intensely than I already cared, and then I became a parent," she said.

Clinton, who has mostly kept out of the spotlight in recent years, walked into the room to loud applause, and said, "You have to stop or I'm going to cry."

She said she would be campaigning every day "to keep Trump and Pence" from being elected.

"Everything I care most about is at risk in this election," Clinton said.

Delegates at the luncheon said they were confident that she would be as good a character witness to her mom on Thursday night as her good friend Ivanka Trump was for her dad last week in her convention speech.

But Dale McCormick, an Augusta, Maine, city councilwoman, said Hillary Clinton's record as a parent could easily trump Trump's.

"Trump did not raise these kids, he was barely there," McCormick said. "It was like he got a pass on the parenting."

Mo Baxley, a delegate from New Hampshire, said the country has a personal interest in seeing the type of adult Chelsea Clinton grew into.

"She's like America's child," she said. "We watched her growing up in the White House. We are all invested in whether she has been able to lead a productive, happy life, and she has."

New Hampshire delegate Chris Pappas, at 36 the same age as Chelsea, said he identified with Clinton and appreciated her commitment to LGBT causes. "Chelsea Clinton and her mother recognize families come in different forms," he said.

Brian Sims, a state representative from South Philadelphia, who is also 36, said Chelsea embodied a certain kind of young adult.

"She was the face of youth in the White House, now she's the face of adults engaged in politics. She is smart and engaged. I related to her as a young kid, and I relate to her as a young professional."

Bear Atwood, a Mississippi delegate, said Chelsea Clinton and her mother represent a large, perhaps overlooked constituency of working mothers.

"Working mothers, we learn management skills, negotiation skills; we learn how to organize all the events and activities," she said.

Then again, that's one of Ivanka Trump's signature issues also.

609-823-0453 @amysrosenberg