Clinton: Obama leading way to shared prosperity
September 6, 2012
Clinton: Obama leading way to shared prosperity
By DAVID ESPO / Associated Press
Charlotte, N.C. — In an impassioned speech that rocked the Democratic National Convention, former President Bill Clinton proclaimed Wednesday night, “I know we’re coming back” from the worst economic mess in generations and appealed to hard-pressed Americans to support Barack Obama for a second term in the White House.
The president strode onstage as Clinton wound up his speech, and Clinton bowed. Obama pulled him into an embrace as thousands of delegates jammed into the convention hall roared their approval.
Clinton formally nominated Obama to be the Democratic Party’s candidate in the next presidential election, saying, “I want to nominate a man who is cool on the outside but who burns for America on the inside.”
“If you want a you’re-on-your-own, winner-take-all society, you should support the Republican ticket,” Clinton told delegates. “If you want a country of shared prosperity and shared responsibility — a we’re-all-in-this-together society — you should vote for Barack Obama and Joe Biden.”
Conceding that many struggling in a slow-recovery economy don’t yet feel the change, Clinton said that circumstances are improving “and if you’ll renew the president’s contract you will feel it.”
The speech was vintage Clinton, overlong for sure, insults delivered with a folksy grin, references to his own time in office and his wife Hillary, all designed to improve Obama’s chances for re-election in an era of painfully slow economic growth and 8.3 percent unemployment.
The convention hall rocked with delegates’ applause and cheers as Clinton — unofficial Democratic ambassador-in-chief — strode onstage to sounds of “Don’t Stop Thinking About Tomorrow,” his 1992 campaign theme song.
Several Michigan delegates couldn’t get in the Time Warner Arena when security suddenly shut the doors at 9:30 p.m. before Clinton’s address and refused to let anyone else in. Among the group was Michigan superdelegate Mark Hackel, the Macomb County executive.
‘There they go again’
Clinton sought to rebut every major criticism Republicans have leveled against the president at their own convention last week in Tampa, and said that in fact, since 1961, far more jobs have been created under Democratic presidents than when Republicans sat in the White House — 42 million to 24 million.
Clinton accused Republicans of proposing “the same old policies that got us into trouble in the first place” and led to a near financial meltdown. Those, he said, include efforts to provide “tax cuts for higher-income Americans, more money for defense than the Pentagon wants and … deep cuts on programs that help the middle class and poor children.”
“As another president once said, ‘There they go again,'” he said, quoting Ronald Reagan, who often uttered the remark as a rebuke to Democrats.
Obama flew into his convention city earlier in the day and arrived in the hall for Clinton’s speech.
“In Tampa the Republican argument against the president’s re-election was pretty simple: ‘We left him a total mess, he hasn’t finished cleaning it up yet, so fire him and put us back in,'” Clinton said.
“I like the argument for President Obama’s re-election a lot better. He inherited a deeply damaged economy, put a floor under the crash, began the long hard road to recovery and laid the foundation for a more modern, more well-balanced economy that will produce millions of good new jobs, vibrant new businesses, and lots of new wealth for the innovators.”
Worries about money
Clinton shared prime time with Elizabeth Warren, the Democratic candidate for a Republican-held Senate seat in Romney’s Massachusetts.
For many years “our middle class has been chipped, squeezed and hammered,” she said.
In a tight race for the White House and with control of the Senate at stake, Democrats signaled unmistakable concern about the growing financial disadvantage they confront. Officials said Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel, who was Obama’s first White House chief of staff, was resigning as national co-chair of the president’s campaign to help raise money for a super PAC that supports the his re-election.
Unlike candidates, outside groups can solicit donations of unlimited size from donors. At the same time, federal law bars coordination with the campaigns.
Clinton’s speech marked the seventh consecutive convention he has spoken to party delegates, and the latest twist in a relationship with Obama that has veered from frosty to friendly. The two men clashed in 2008, when Obama outran Hillary Clinton for the Democratic presidential nomination.
Hillary Clinton, then a New York senator, now Obama’s Secretary of State, was in East Timor as the party met half a world away. She made a cameo appearance on the huge screens inside the Time Warner Cable Arena, though, turning up in a video that celebrated the 12 Democratic women senators currently in office.
In a last-minute shift, the president ditched plans to deliver his acceptance speech tonight before a throng of 74,000 at an outdoor stadium on the convention’s final night, citing a chance of thunderstorms. Obama will accept his party’s nomination indoors at the Time Warner Cable Arena.
Embarrassed by Republicans, Democrats amended their convention platform Wednesday to add a mention of God and declare that Jerusalem is the capital of Israel. Many in the audience booed after the convention chairman, Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, ruled that the amendments had been approved despite the fact that a large group of delegates objected. He called for a vote three times before ruling.
The Secret Service said Wednesday it is investigating the reported theft of copies of Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney’s federal tax records during a break-in at an accounting office in Franklin, Tenn. Romney’s accounting firm said there was no evidence that any Romney tax files were stolen.