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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  • rate this

    Comment number 186.


    "It must be a lot easier to run a country when terrorism is not an everyday occurence"

    I think you'll find there has been exactly 0 foreign terrorist attacks on the U.S in the past 10 years. The goverment and media may like to hype up the threat to take away your civil rights, spy on you and have excuse's for war. The US goverment kill far more people than any terrorists.

  • rate this

    Comment number 185.

    3 Minutes ago
    Disgusting to see Clinton, the married man who abused his office and sexually exploited a young woman

    Don't rubbish, Clinton never exploited Monica she made a fortune out of it and in most of the world it gave Bill a huge boost. I know it impressed me

  • rate this

    Comment number 184.

    Bill's always been good with words - and we all know he never tells lies...

  • rate this

    Comment number 183.


    All the more reason to try and remove it from power if you ask me.

  • rate this

    Comment number 182.

    1. "The Republican argument against the President's re-election was
    pretty simple: we left him a total mess, he hasn't cleaned it up fast
    enough, so fire him and put us back in," - Bill Clinton (9/5/2012)

    So true!

    ...but it's OK for Labour to use this argument in the UK??

  • Comment number 181.

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

  • rate this

    Comment number 180.

    Let's hope the American electorate listen to reason and elect the next president based solely on their achievements and, future plans.
    It would be a tragedy if the Republicans crept into power on the back of 'celebrity' endorsement, television advertising of candidate stroking a lamb, wife making pancakes etc...
    President Obama has done a pretty good job, home and abroad, I respect him for that

  • rate this

    Comment number 179.

    If you think the Democrat party is any more transparent, or likely to follow their own democratic rules, then think again and watch this video taken at the DC

    As usual, the devil is in the detail. Insurers CAN drop or refuse cover of existing conditions. DO please check, don't take my word for it!

  • rate this

    Comment number 178.

    Disgusting to see Clinton, the married man who abused his office and sexually exploited a young woman and then lied to the World about it, is still hero-worshipped by the Democrats and the leftist media.
    A sad day for the US when Bush left office and this lazy, chain-smoking incompetent was voted in.

  • rate this

    Comment number 177.

    Obama was elected more on hope of a new age rather than substance, in hindsight that was as to be expected a complete waste of time. He has done little to change things at home or overseas.....time is too precious, but we all need to have better thought out policies and better calibre people. There is a world wide lack of people the calibre of Thatcher, she had more testicles than all current mps

  • rate this

    Comment number 176.

    If you re-elect your leaders on their record of keeping to manifesto commitments then Obama is going to loose.

  • rate this

    Comment number 175.

    @167 Danielle

    Because any politician talking about global warming risks political suicide.

  • rate this

    Comment number 174.

    Well its nice to see the head in the sand, ME ME ME brigade out again. Seems rather familiar to me. with regards to here in the UK.

    America has a simple choice:

    A - Common, practical, sense over a long term period i.e. two tenures in the White House

    B - Inane, rhetorical, selfish drivel with no concept of what an inclusive society is.

    Cogitate and discuss the realities - they really DO matter.

  • rate this

    Comment number 173.

    There all just corporate puppets.

  • rate this

    Comment number 172.

    Someone said that more Americans identify with Clint Eastwood than e.g. Sean Penn. I think that. I think that’s why the US are in trouble: a 82 year old has-been actor who only ever played one character and talks to empty chairs (scared of the real thing?) against a versatile artist with strong, individual views and a no-nonsense hands-on approach with regards to causes he believes in.

  • rate this

    Comment number 171.

    @152. farkyss: The mandatory health insurance is an implementation detail. Yes, it is less efficient than our NHS - which is also mandatory health insurance but with the state as sole insurer - but it would have been hopeless for Obama to try to go that far.

    The way it's "universal" is in the way insurers cannot drop or refuse cover, and that affordable options should always exist.

  • rate this

    Comment number 170.

    Whilst this: "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." is how society should work, the US seem to have a big issue with this concept and I suspect there will be a few who consider it a socialist/communist standpoint.

  • rate this

    Comment number 169.

    Says DavdNB (#160): "Much as I hope Obama wins in Nov, we're all in trouble if his prime supporter turns out to be a former Pres who came within a whisker of being impeached [. . .]."

    Um—he _was_ impeached. Nixon was the one who wasn't.

  • rate this

    Comment number 168.


    Dont let them breed?

    ???TOO TRUE.

  • rate this

    Comment number 167.

    From an international perspective, I am concerned about the US's lack of leadership on climate change. Obama hasn't done as much as he promised, but Romney's stance is even scarier, his manifesto says that "the “green” technologies are typically far too expensive to compete in the marketplace" and that he plans to develop carbon-based energy resources. Thoroughly depressing.


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