Ivanka Trump delivers in prime-time

Story highlights

  • Ivanka Trump introduced her father
  • He accepted the GOP presidential nomination

Cleveland (CNN)Ivanka Trump pitched her father, Donald Trump, to the nation's female voters Thursday night, revealing a softer side of the billionaire businessman in a way that almost no other convention speaker has done so far.

His 34-year-old daughter regaled the crowd with childhood stories about Legos and his favorite adages, rounding out the image of the sometimes hard-edged politician that's emerged over the campaign. And in the well-received, prime-time speech, she made a direct appeal to women, who are breaking in polls for rival Hillary Clinton.
    After a week in which Republicans largely focused on Clinton's deficiencies rather than on Trump's attributes and personal story, Ivanka Trump offered a new window into the Republican nominee.
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    "If It's possible to be famous and not really well-known, that describes the father who raised me," she told the crowd.
    Trump shared stories of working alongside her father, which included a special emphasis on the women that he promoted. She stressed his commitment to working moms and to childcare programs and to equal pay, topics that he himself rarely if ever hits on the trail.
    "My father values talent. He recognizes real knowledge and skill when he finds it," she said. "He is color blind and gender neutral. He hires the best person for the job. Period."
    Her remarks came just minutes before her father delivered his acceptance speech for the Republican presidential nomination.
    Ivanka Trump's turn on the stage was the most high-profile speaking slot of the Trump family this week.
    She had previously admitted the weight of the moment is "intimidating" and "terrifying."
    "He's totally left it up to me," Ivanka said in an interview with ABC's Good Morning America this week. "I wish he'd give me input. But you know, I think he wants it to come from my heart. He says don't worry, you'll do a great job. So I'm trying to take that advice."
    Her speech caps a week of speeches from the Trump family -- Melania Trump on Monday, Tiffany and Donald Trump, Jr. on Tuesday and Eric Trump on Wednesday.
    Ivanka Trump saluted her father's personal attributes -- his "fairness," his "kindness," his "generosity" and his "compassion."
    She shared how Trump made his employees feel, recalling how he would use a black felt-tip pen to write notes to his assistants, and how people would leave his office "feeling that life could be great again."
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    And she noted his work ethic in the real estate community.
    "My father is a fighter," he said. "He dug deeper. Worked harder. Got better. And became stronger."
    Eric Trump said Ivanka's speech brings a different perspective than from the sons of the family, as she is able to highlight more of the doting father-daughter relationship.
    "She does the princess thing very well and she's immensely close with my father," he told CNN's Sara Murray Thursday in Cleveland.
    It's a prominent role that the mother of three has been playing since Day 1 of the Trump campaign.
    Ivanka was the family member to introduce the billionaire businessman as he launched his presidential bid from Trump Tower in Manhattan.
    "I remember him telling me when I was a little girl, 'Ivanka, if you're going to be thinking anyway, you might as well be thinking big,' " she said at that announcement last June.
    She has campaigned alongside her father and stepped out on her own on the campaign trail, bringing testimonials and personal anecdotes.
    "My father is a very straight talker," she told a crowd in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. "He is not politically correct. He says what he means and means what he says."
    She quickly became a go-to key surrogate for the campaign, widely seen as poised and polished -- with the unique ability to smooth out some of her father's rough edges, vouching for him in personal ways.
    "I can tell you firsthand that there is no better person to have in your corner when you are facing tough decisions or tough opponents," she said at a campaign event in Bethpage, New York, in April.
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    At times, she's been called on try to defend her father and diffuse controversies, in some of the toughest moments of the Trump campaign.
    "He is not gender specific in his criticism of people and people that he doesn't particularly like or people he likes that he thinks are wrong on a particular issue," Ivanka told CNN's Poppy Harlow when faced question over his past treatment of women. "I wouldn't be the person I am today, I wouldn't be a high level exec in his organization, if he felt that way."
    Behind the scenes her impact is possibly more significant -- serving as one of Trump's key de facto advisers -- telling her father to tone down his rhetoric and be more presidential. Along with the other Trump kids, she's played a role in her father's choice of a running mate, including meeting with the contenders behind closed doors.
    "We have such a good relationship is because he respects me, and because I'm candid in my opinions, and I share them, solicited or otherwise," Ivanka told CNN's Gloria Borger this week in Cleveland.
    Within the Trump family, she is seen as the favorite. And Donald Trump has never left any doubt over how he feels about her, regularly lavishing praise on her at campaign events -- calling her "our great Ivanka" and "famous Ivanka" from the podium.
    A view shared by some outside the family, considered such a strong asset that her name even came up during the vice presidential search.
    "His best running mate, by the way, would be Ivanka," Tennessee Sen. Bob Corker quipped as he took his own name out of contention for Trump's vice president. "I know that would not pass muster but she she's most impressive."