Bill Clinton on Tuesday cast his wife as a "change maker" who is "uniquely qualified" to confront America's challenges, and sought to undercut one of Republicans' chief critiques of Hillary Clinton's candidacy: that her tenure as secretary of state unleashed chaos on the world.
"If you win elections on the theory that government is always bad and will mess up a two-car parade, a real change maker represents a real threat," the 42nd president told the thousands of delegates gathered at the Wells Fargo Center on the second night of the Democratic National Convention, hours after they nominated Hillary Clinton for president.
"So your only option is to create a cartoon - a cartoon alternative," Bill Clinton said.
He did not mention GOP nominee Donald Trump by name but attacked his policies on issues such as immigration, where the New York businessman has vowed to deport the estimated 11 million undocumented immigrants in the country and build a wall along the Mexican border.
Law-abiding if undocumented immigrants who want to become citizens should "choose immigration reform over somebody who wants to send you back," Clinton said.
The former president also rejected Trump's proposed ban on Muslim immigration, declaring, "If you're a Muslim and you love America and freedom and you hate terrorism, stay here and help us win and make a future together. We want you."
Trump had not responded to the speech as of 11 p.m., but he wrote on Twitter beforehand: "No matter what Bill Clinton says and no matter how well he says it, the phony media will exclaim it to be incredible. Highly overrated!"
Clinton tried to make the case that his wife, who served as President Obama's secretary of state from 2009 to 2013, had made the world a safer place.
He credited her with helping to ratchet up sanctions on Iran - which the Clinton campaign says was crucial to eventually reaching a diplomatic accord with the country to limit its nuclear program.
Bill Clinton also noted that Hillary Clinton had supported Obama's decision to strike Osama bin Laden's compound in Pakistan in 2011.
Just before Bill Clinton's speech, Madeleine Albright, his former secretary of state, told the convention a Trump victory in November would be a "gift to Vladimir Putin," Russia's leader.
Combined, the two speeches seemed designed to blunt GOP attacks on Clinton's handling of world affairs, such as her support for the 2011 NATO-led attack on Libyan dictator Moammar Gadhafi.
Trump has made confronting the Islamic State - which has since become active in Libya - a major campaign issue. He argues that Hillary Clinton's policies left a vacuum in that country and enabled extremists to proliferate there.
Bill Clinton spent much of his speech telling of his early years with Hillary Rodham, first as students together at Yale Law and later as they built a family and pursued politics.
Those passages prompted this tweet from David Axelrod, a former top adviser to Obama. Clinton "is doing EXACTLY what he should be - not a political speech, but a loving testimonial."
How the Clinton campaign plans to use the former president in the coming weeks remains unknown.
While Bill Clinton is known as a gifted orator who was a key surrogate in Obama's 2012 reelection campaign, he also risks exposing his wife's campaign to an ugly fight with Trump over the former president's extramarital affairs.
But none of that appeared to be on Democratic delegates' minds as the former president spoke. When he strode onstage, the delegates cheered and raised red, white, and blue signs that read, simply, "America."