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Clinton Breaks Glass Ceiling, Claims Party's Presidential Nomination

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

And let's turn now to Hillary Clinton's moment, as a string of victories on the last big primary night made her the first woman to be presumptive nominee of a major political party. Here's NPR's Tamara Keith.

TAMARA KEITH, BYLINE: If you're going to make history, you might as well mark it in a room with some symbolism.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

HILLARY CLINTON: And it may be hard to see tonight, but we are all standing under a glass ceiling right now.

(APPLAUSE)

KEITH: Literally - at the Duggal Greenhouse in Brooklyn. When Clinton took the stage, she stretched her arms out wide, soaking it all in.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

CLINTON: Thanks to you, we've reached a milestone - the first time...

(APPLAUSE)

CLINTON: The first time in our nation's history that a woman will be a major party's nominee.

(APPLAUSE)

KEITH: It was precisely eight years ago to the day that Clinton delivered a very different speech, conceding to then-Senator Obama and endorsing his history-making candidacy. This time, it was Clinton, reaching across the divide to supporters of Senator Bernie Sanders, many of whom are in no mood to move on.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

CLINTON: Now, I know it never feels good to put your heart into a cause or a candidate you believe in and to come up short. I know that feeling well.

(LAUGHTER)

KEITH: But, Clinton argued, there's more that unites than divides her and Sanders, especially with Donald Trump as the Republican nominee.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

CLINTON: This election is different. It really is about who we are as a nation.

KEITH: Clinton invoked her late mother, who overcame a bleak childhood and showed her daughter how to be strong.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

CLINTON: And she taught me never to back down from a bully, which, it turns out, was pretty good advice.

(APPLAUSE)

KEITH: Clinton's long career has mixed inspiration with controversy - Whitewater, Benghazi, the private email server. But for her supporters, like Mary Collette Marinaro-Bison, last night was proof that Clinton is a fighter.

MARY COLLETTE MARINARO-BISON: It's never-ending. She can't get a break. And I just thought, tonight - this was so powerful and so moving. It's like she is getting her due.

KEITH: After Clinton's speech, Marinaro-Bison stood at the Brooklyn waterfront, wiping away tears of joy. The highest, hardest glass ceiling, as Clinton called it eight years ago, still remains, as does a general election fight with Donald Trump that both candidates have made clear will be scorching. Tamara Keith, NPR News. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.