Democratic convention: Bill Clinton backs Barack Obama


Bill Clinton on Obama's economic record: 'This may be the entire election'

Former US President Bill Clinton has delivered a prime-time defence of Barack Obama, nominating the president for a second term in the White House.

His 50-minute speech at the Democratic convention in Charlotte, North Carolina, was strongly critical of Republican economic plans.

He launched a full-throated defence of Mr Obama's policies, saying his economic policies were working.

Mr Obama will take on Republican Mitt Romney in November's election.

Bill Clinton's speech is being seen as the high point of a revitalised relationship between the two presidents and as an attempt to boost Mr Obama's appeal with white working-class voters.

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This speech stood out for being entirely different from anything else I have heard on the campaign trail, from either side ”

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Polls show these traditional Democratic voters are wary of Mr Obama, but Mr Clinton has a strong record in winning their support.

Mr Clinton told the crowd that they would "decide what kind of country you want to live in".

"If you want a 'you're on your own, winner take all society' you should support the Republican ticket," he said. "If you want a country of shared opportunities and shared responsibilities - a 'we're all in it together' society - you should vote for Barack Obama and Joe Biden."

Mr Clinton accused Republicans of having blocked further progress on the economic recovery.

"In order to look like an acceptable, moderate alternative to President Obama, they couldn't say much about the ideas they have offered over the last two years," he said, referring to the Republican convention in Florida a week ago.

Reminding the crowd that Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell had revealed that their number one priority was to get Mr Obama out of office, he declared: "We're going to keep President Obama on the job."

Ryan attack

Mr Clinton argued that Mr Obama's economic policies on taking office had prevented further collapse and begun the recovery, but said he knew that many Americans were still struggling.

Elizabeth Warren railed against inequality on the convention stage

He compared Mr Obama's experience to his own first term in office, when "our policies were working and the economy was growing but most people didn't feel it yet".

"No president. No president - not me, not any of my predecessors - no-one could have fully repaired all the damage that he found in just four years," he said.

"But he has laid the foundations for a new, modern, successful economy of shared prosperity. And if you will renew the president's contract you will feel it. You will feel it."

Mr Clinton criticised Republican vice-presidential candidate Paul Ryan, who he said misrepresented Mr Obama's Medicare policy at last week's Republican convention.

He argued that Mr Ryan had made the same amount in cuts as part of his plan for government-sponsored healthcare for the elderly.

"It takes some brass to attack a guy for doing what you did," Mr Clinton.

Bill Clinton - press reaction

According to the Washington Post's Dana Mill, Bill Clinton's popularity and strong endorsement made "the case for Obama's re-election more cogently than Obama has made it".

Andrew Rosenthal, in the New York Times, said Mr Clinton presented himself as "the beloved party elder called forth from his retirement to help save Mr Obama's candidacy".

For Politico's Maggie Haberman, the most significant point Mr Clinton made was "that the nation's challenges were so great in 2009, when Obama took office, that they were unsolvable in a single term".

Writing in USA Today, Richard Wolf and David Jackson said the speech was "vintage Clinton the educator, explaining to an adoring audience where their party can brag about progress and the other side cannot".

He also countered a Republican ad that Mr Obama had weakened the work requirement for welfare, which Mr Clinton signed into law.

"When some Republican governors asked to try new ways to put people on welfare back to work, the Obama administration said they would only do it if they had a credible plan to increase employment by 20%," Mr Clinton said, adding that the Republican charge was "just not true".

After the former president finished a lengthy and partially ad-libbed speech, Mr Obama joined him on stage.

The pair have previously sparred, most notably during the 2008 primaries when Mr Clinton supported his wife Hillary's bid for the nomination, and they are known not have a close personal bond.

Israel confusion

Earlier, House minority leader Nancy Pelosi was just one of a string of speakers who highlighted social causes including women's issues, and economic concerns such as the future of the auto industry.

Ms Pelosi warned that "democracy was on the ballot" in November.

"Republicans support opening the floodgates to special interest money and suppressing the right to vote," she said. "It's just plain wrong."

Sandra Fluke: 'We talk often about choice... it's time to choose'

Senate candidate Elizabeth Warren railed against inequality, saying Mitt Romney's policy would amount to "I've got mine, the rest of you are on your own".

And Sandra Fluke, a student branded a "slut" by conservative radio host Rush Limbaugh during a row over contraception, made a prime-time appearance calling for action on women's issues.

In a procedural surprise as Wednesday's events got under way, the convention reinstated language from the 2008 platform describing Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.

In confusing scenes a voice vote on the language was called three times. Despite loud boos in the audience, convention chair Antonio Villaraigosa said he had determined that two-thirds of the convention had voted in favour.

Reports emerged shortly afterwards that Mr Obama had personally intervened to change the platform's language.

In 2008 President Obama galvanised volunteers. Four years later some still heed the call - but others have become disillusioned.


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US Presidential Election 2012

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  • Comment number 146.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • rate this

    Comment number 145.

    Lol the easiest case in the world to make.

    "Folks if you don't vote Obama then you'll end up with Romney. Need I say more?"

  • rate this

    Comment number 144.

    It would be better for the world as a whole if Obama got re-elected. If Romney gets elected, we'll be catapulted into a dark age like we've not seen it before.

  • rate this

    Comment number 143.

    All we need now is the most powerful country in the world being led by a holy roller. I don't want to troll but look at other countries led by faith. There are problems in america as is with the rest of the world. We live in an age where we can communicate, and see the only enemy is illusion. Time to wake up people, slow good change or quick bad change. Vote peace :-)

  • Comment number 142.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • rate this

    Comment number 141.

    you've got to be out of your tiny minds if you think romney is a better prospect than obama. brilliant speech by bill clinton. the man oozes charisma.

  • Comment number 140.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 139.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • rate this

    Comment number 138.

    It seems to me that Americans have short memories, and keep forgetting that the Republicans trash the US economy and the Democrats have to fix it back up again. Why this is important to citizens of the rest of the world is because the last three Republican presidents all managed to trash the global economy.

  • rate this

    Comment number 137.

    "That is what will happen if the Romney Puppet Master gets its WAY"

    If you haven't figure it out yet:
    Obama's puppet master == Romney's puppet master

    They're two tentacles of the same monster.

  • rate this

    Comment number 136.

    It must be a lot easier to run a country when there is good employment and terrorism is not an everyday occurence. People felt okay about themselves. Bill Clinton seemed to have a lot fewer worries than a president would have today so he could afford to be popular.His problems all seemed self-made.Obama is like a rabbit caught in headlights. Where to go? What to do?

  • rate this

    Comment number 135.

    If the people of America vote against universal healthcare then it's a pretty good sign that humans have been made willing on a large scale to dig their own graves and all hope is lost.

  • rate this

    Comment number 134.

    Anyone know how many innocents have been bombed & shot since Obama won his nobel peace prize?

    Did anyone mention Bradley Manning during the convention?

    How many US troops have been killed since Obama 'took power' fighting a phoney war in Afghanistan?

    Nothing on this, just like Romney.

    Just rhetoric, bright lights, music.

    This isn't what democracy should feel like.

  • rate this

    Comment number 133.

    not about birth control or women's rights its about getting Obama & the Demo Socialist Party out MY gov MR. Eastwood said they are employee's and work for us ...We own America it's our Country not the other way around ...the Republican party strives for a smaller government footprint ...that is my party of choice...the other party is soon to be dismissed "Let Go" ...slashing throat gesture

  • rate this

    Comment number 132.

    "1/ What's in it for Clinton? and 2/ What good has Obama actually done for the USA?"

    Bill Clinton was a firm advocate of universal healthcare but was never able to sell the idea to the democratic system. It seems strange to imagine that he would have to feign admiration for Obama.

  • rate this

    Comment number 131.

    16. chris

    Whatever Obama's faults are, the American republicans are a huge threat to world peace and economic fairness - very scary for us if they get back into power.


    Indeed, and don't forget, the GOP are in AIPAC's pocket big time, adding to the toxic mix of right wing danger mongers.

    We don't want a war with Iran, even if AIPACS supporters do!

  • rate this

    Comment number 130.

    Obama,s policies have been killed by (TEAM AMERICA??) thought POLIS?I dont want to run run run!?That is what will happen if the Romney Puppet Master gets its WAY.I say no WAY!!!

  • rate this

    Comment number 129.

    Whilst the US election race is important the vast majority of individuals in the UK do not really care that much. Quite often it is a lead story on the morning radio news as well as the BBC news and there are far more important things going on in the world than these the lead up to the presidential race in the US. The BBC's obsession with all things US is getting very tiresome.

  • rate this

    Comment number 128.

    Why should we listen to these yanks?
    Ruling the world because of their tanks
    Taking us to war in Iraq
    Thinking its all a bit of a lark
    Unemployment, strife and woe
    When will our economy start to grow?
    Fat cats just keep getting plump
    And worst of all we have to put up with Donald Trump

  • rate this

    Comment number 127.

    It's a pity that Clinton can't have another go at the presidency I think he would romp it.
    Obama has been hamstrung by the Republicans more interested in getting Romney voted in than doing what's best for America and chucking a spanner in the works at every opportunity.
    As for Romney himself I think the idiot is his own worst enemy.
    Keep him out of office America he will ruin your country.


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