DNC 2020: Joe Biden steps into spotlight, accepts Democratic party nomination

CHICAGO (WLS) -- Former Vice President Joe Biden formally accepted his party's nomination for president Thursday night.

Fireworks marked the finale to a virtual four-day Democratic National Convention like we've never seen before. Biden was front and center with a speech he has been waiting his entire political career to make.

"Here and now I give you my word, if you entrust me with the presidency, I will draw on the best of us not the worst," Biden said. "I'll be an ally of the light, not the darkness. It's time for us, for we the people, to come together."

Biden called for unity and promising to build America back better if he is elected president. He said this campaign is about winning for the heart and soul of America, promising not to be a Democratic president, but an American president.

Seven former presidential rivals joined together to share stories about Biden and pay tribute to his kindness and humanity.

WATCH: Sen. Tammy Duckworth addresses DNC


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Illinois Sen. Tammy Duckworth speaks at the 2020 Democratic National Convention on Thursday, Aug. 20.



Senator Tammy Duckworth, one of Biden's vice presidential finalists, said Biden is the commander-in-chief America needs.

"As president, Joe Biden would never let tyrants manipulate him like a puppet," Duckworth said. "He would never pervert our military to stroke his own ego. He would never turn his back on our troops or threaten them against Americans peacefully exercising their Constitutional rights."

Biden's granddaughters also talked about the family meeting where they urged him to run for president. His son and daughter also paid tribute to their father and then there was the video of his son Beau, who died from brain cancer in 2015, revisited.

Biden calling this a life-changing election with the choice clear.

"What we know about this president is if he's given four more years, he'll be what he's been for the last four years: a president who takes no responsibility, refuses to lead, blames others, cozies up to dictators and fans the flames of hate and division. He'll wake up every day believing the job is all about him, never about you. Is that the America you want?"

Biden called Trump a failed president as he promised that tackling the coronavirus pandemic will be his top priority.

Next week, the Republicans and Donald Trump will have their chance to make the case for another four years.

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In a primetime wrap up to the virtual convention, Joe Biden will accept his party's nomination Thursday night and spell out why he should be the next president.



Earlier Thursday, Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot shared what she thought Biden needed to communicate when he took center stage.

"His vision for uniting the country," Lightfoot said. "I think people are hungry for unity. They're sick and tired of the divisive rhetoric... The other thing is, he's got to draw the contrast between himself and Donald Trump, not in, not in a negative way. But I think he's got to lean into his incredible experience, both domestically but also abroad," Lightfoot said.

WATCH: Chicago mayor participates in DNC racial injustice panel


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During the past three days many of the speakers have focused their remarks on attacking President Trump, with some of the harshest criticism coming from former President Barack Obama. Professor Stephen Maynard Caliendo from North Central College said that's part of what needs to be a two-pronged approach by the Democrats.

"In some ways a referendum on the existing president when things are not going well isn't a bad strategy, right? In other words, are you better off than you were four years ago? Is the country better? Did he fulfill his promises? If not, you can't vote for him again," Maynard Caliendo said. "That's one strategy, but typically we think you have to give somebody a reason to vote for someone not just against someone else."

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The theme for the final night of the Democratic Convention is "America's Promise."



Senator Kamala Harris, who accepted the nomination Wednesday night, made history as the first Black woman and person of South Asian decent to be on a major party ticket, paying tribute to her Indian mother during her acceptance speech.

"I keep thinking about that 25-year-old Indian woman, all of 5 feet tall, who gave birth to me at Kaiser Hospital in Oakland California. On that day she probably never imagined I would be standing before you and speaking these words," Harris said.

One local expert sees Harris as a real point of pride for both the Black and the Indian communities.

"So I do think that that she is appealing right any of these political choices are going to appeal to particular voters that formerly might have felt disenfranchised or unmotivated or unrepresented," said Nitasha Sharma, Director of Asian American Studies, Northwestern University.
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