No one does it quite like Bill Clinton.
The 42nd U.S. President offered a rousing endorsement of Barack Obama’s record last night at the Democratic National Convention, holding the audience captive for over 48 minutes and proving that even a quadruple bypass can’t slow him down.
Whether you agree with Clinton’s political views or not, his DNC speech was folksy, detailed and compelling, offering a more cogent defense of Obama’s tenure in the White House than its current occupant himself has ever given.
Obama, Clinton said, cannot be blamed for the struggling economy he inherited and has set the foundations for strong and continued growth over time.
“Listen to me now,” said Clinton. “No president – not me, not any of my predecessors – could have fully repaired all the damage that he found in just four years.”
If Americans “renew the president’s contract,” the economy will get better and “you will feel it,” the 66-year-old man from Hope, Ark., urged the crowd.
“Folks, whether the American people believe what I just said or not may be the whole election. I just want you to know I believe it. With all my heart I believe it.”
He then sought to directly mute Mitt Romney‘s “are you better off now than you were four years ago” attack, a reprise of the famous line Ronald Reagan used to sink then-incumbent Jimmy Carter in their final 1980 Presidential debate.
“When President Barack Obama took office the economy was in free fall. It had just shrunk 9 full percent of GDP. We were losing 750,000 jobs a month. Are we doing better than that today? The answer to that is yes,” he said.
Clinton received thunderous applause from thousands who jammed the convention hall in Charlotte, N.C. The cheers grew louder when Obama came on after Clinton’s speech.
Clinton bowed to the president and gave him a bear hug, the latest sign that no matter their differences, they play for the same team, their legacies thoroughly entwined.
Obama addresses the DNC this evening in prime time. He has his work cut out to match Clinton’s address … or Michelle Obama’s speech Tuesday.
Who are you voting for November 6?