08/26/2008 AT 11:45 PM ET
Chelsea Clinton, who barnstormed in stiletto heels across more than 100 college campuses for her mother, took what a Clinton source called her last bow for Campaign 2008 on Monday night when she introduced “my hero and my mother” at the Democratic National Convention.
Sen. Hillary Clinton’s much-buzzed-about address opened with a loving – mostly elegiac, occasionally humorous – video tribute narrated by Chelsea, 28, that included clips of her mother’s much-mocked “great guffaw of a laugh.” Recalling how, as a girl, her mother wanted to be an astronaut, Chelsea seemed to draw upon the Clintons’ disappointment at the outcome of the long Democratic primary fight.
“So she didn’t become an astronaut, but she did reach for the stars, something she always will continue to do,” said Chelsea.
A deafening roar erupted from the maximum-capacity crowd of more than 5,000 hoisting “Hillary” placards when the former first lady and senator from New York took the stage. (A combination of fire marshals and Secret Service agents shut the doors to disappointed Democrats in the outer corridors 15 minutes before the Clinton tribute began.)
Clinton wore one of her signature ensembles of matching slacks, jacket and shell – this one a silky, dusty apricot – and paid tribute to “my sisterhood of the traveling pantsuits.”
With a seat on the podium just over her mother’s left shoulder, Chelsea repeatedly stood to applaud her mother. A Clinton source said that while her mom would surely campaign for Sen. Barack Obama of Illinois, Chelsea would be getting back to her life in New York, where she is a hedge fund analyst.
She and her father, former President Bill Clinton, just arrived at the Denver convention on Tuesday morning. They both would, the source said, be staying only until Thursday morning – for Bill Clinton’s Wednesday night address and a private afterparty for “alumni” of the Clinton-Gore White House and campaigns – meaning neither would be joining Hillary Clinton for Thursday s big finale, when Obama claims the party’s presidential nomination.
See Chelsea Clinton’s first PEOPLE cover!