CHARLOTTE, NC — Rumored drama and tension between former President Bill Clinton and the Obama administration has long been an object of fascination among the country’s political chattering classes, so much so that Mr. Clinton’s speech at the Democratic National Convention tonight was widely hyped as a potential obstacle for the Obama campaign. However, despite reports the Obama campaign didn’t see the text of Mr. Clinton’s remarks and feared he might wander off message, the DNC distributed advance copies of Mr. Clinton’s speech and, though he made many ad libs, Mr. Clinton effusively praised the President and aggressively attacked Mitt Romney’s positions on healthcare, debt reduction and job creation.
Early on in his speech, Mr. Clinton directly addressed the source of reports of his strained relationship with Mr. Obama–fallout from the 2008 Democratic primary between Mr. Obama and his wife, Hillary Clinton. Mr. Clinton dismissed the idea there was any lingering ill will from that race by pointing out President Obama appointed Ms. Clinton and several of her supporters to positions in his administration.
“President Obama appointed several members of his cabinet, even though they supported Hillary in the primary,” he said to thunderous applause from the audience. “Heck, he even appointed Hillary!”
Shortly before Mr. Clinton’s speech, the White House confirmed President Obama would join him on stage following his remarks. In his speech, Mr. Clinton praised the President as “a man who’s cool on the outside but who burns for America on the inside” and has a proven record of bipartisanship and “constructive cooperation.” He contrasted this with what he described as Republicans’ “hate” for President Obama and the Democrats.
Mr. Clinton continued by blasting the argument the Republicans’ put forth at their convention in Tampa that President Obama hasn’t improved the nation’s economic situation fast enough following the financial crisis. Though he admitted the economy hasn’t fully recovered, Mr. Clinton said there was no question the country is better off than when President Obama took office and the economy was in “free fall.”
Along with his praise of his successor, Mr. Clinton blasted the policies of Mr. Romney and his running mate, Paul Ryan, as being based on faulty “arithmetic” and attacks on the President.
“We simply cannout afford to give the reins of government to someone who will double down on trickle down,” Mr. Clinton said of the Republican candidate. “President Obama’s plan cuts the debt, honors our values and brightens the future for our families and our nation.”
In closing, Mr. Clinton told the audience, “You must vote and you must re-elect President Barack Obama.”
Once Mr. Clinton finished his speech, he embraced and left the stage with Mr. Obama himself.
The DNC delegates from each state then formally announced their support for President Obama and officially nominated him as the Democratic party’s candidate in the presidential race. President Obama will make a speech of his own at the Democratic National Convention tomorrow evening.