Hundreds attend Hillary watch party at SF Holiday Inn

Cheers and chants erupted when Hillary Clinton appeared on the television screen to begin her speech, as a crowd of some 300 people crowded into a hotel restaurant in San Francisco for a watch party, turning their gaze to see the woman who has served as First Lady, U.S. Senator, and Secretary of State make history as the first woman to be a U.S. presidential nominee of a major political party.

The watch party inside the Holiday Inn on Van Ness Avenue was packed with people, and packed too with a range of emotions.

"Never, ever, ever did I ever expect to come to the day when we'd have an African-American president and an incoming female President of the United States of America," said Carol Ruth Silver, a former San Francisco Supervisor who said she remembers the civil rights battles as a freedom rider in the 1960's.

Some said they found parts of Clinton's speech surprising.

"I never had known that she was for health care and kids, I never knew she fought for rights around the world," said Gerald Watson of Belmont.

Others said the speech was inspiring.

"This is the first time that I've really felt truly inspired by patriotism and I felt a belief in my country," said Genevieve Herreria of San Francisco.

It was especially emotional for the volunteers who have fought for Hillary since the campaign loss in 2008.

"I was at the convention, I was a delegate and I cried my eyes out," said Mark Murphy who remembers the disappointment of that 2008 campaign and Clinton's efforts to rally her supporters around Obama's campaign.

Now, Murphy said he is more determined than ever to help Hillary win the White House this time.

"I'm going to work very hard. I plan on traveling to swing states. I have 7 weeks of vacation still and I plan on going to Texas, New Mexico and probably Arizona," Murphy said.

Julie Wong was wearing a vest she had received from her son, with Obama buttons on the back and Hillary buttons on the front. She said her son had supported Bernie Sanders, but is now backing Clinton.

"I'm not 100% for Hillary, but we have to compromise in order to save the planet," said Barbara May, a San Francisco voter who supported Bernie Sanders in the primary, but says she'll support Clinton in the general election.

For other Democrats, the night was a moment in history, with a big battle now ahead.

"I'm so excited, I'm so inspired. This is the woman I wnated to President since I was 17 when she was first lady. I was so moved by the things she had to say," said Christina Lauridsen, a San Francisco Hillary campaign supporter.

The Hillary campaign was signing people up for phone banks starting the first week of August and they are expecting to open up their campaign office in San Francisco on Van Ness next week as they move on to the general election.