Former US President Bill Clinton took to the stage at the Time Warner Arena in Charlotte, North Carolina Wednesday night to rally the Democratic troops behind incumbent President Barack Obama.
In his nearly 50-minute speech, Clinton outlined the case not only for Obama, but against the Republican Party as well, characterising the GOP as the party for the wealthy only. He explained how ordinary Americans will benefit and are benefitting from the Obama Administration’s policies, and, answering a question that has had the campaign stumped, he said that yes, Americans are better off than they were four years ago. The catch? “Not too many are feeling it yet.”
Meanwhile, all is not well in the Democratic Party: After removing language affirming Jerusalem as the capital of Israel before the convention, Democrats reintstated it on the second day of the convention – provoking booing on the convention floor, The Guardian reported. Will the issue affect how traditionally liberal, Democratic-leaning Jewish voters cast their ballot in November?
Unquestionably, Clinton succeeded in offering Democrats something meaty to chew on, an argument for the President that they can get behind. But did he manage to convince the rest of America? And with Obama expected to take the stage Thursday night, can he capitalize on the Clinton’s momentum?
Clinton’s comprehensive argument
In a piece of analysis for Reuters, Andy Sullivan claimed that “Clinton made a more comprehensive case for President Barack Obama’s re-election in 49 minutes on Wednesday than the rest of the speakers at the Democratic Convention could muster in the 11-1/2 hours that preceded him.” Sullivan spoke with several political analysts, who agreed that Democrats are likely to echo Clinton’s arguments in the next two months and added that he did a better job of selling the Obama message than Obama’s own people have done.
The decline and fall of Obama: Michael Knox Beran at Republican-leaning National Review Online examines how the great promise of the President has diminished.
Clinton gives good convention
Clinton delivered the speech that the Obama campaign needed the most, Gary Younge wrote at The Guardian’s Comment is Free. “He knows which delegates’ buttons to press because he sewed so many of them on himself,” he wrote. “Last night… he reminded the country not just who the good guy is but where the bad times came from.” Obama has not yet managed to do the one thing he really needed to in his term, improve the lots of most Americans; Clinton, he wrote, “bears the imprimatur of economic success” – and that’s what Obama needed right then.
Too long, and Clinton makes a ‘wonky’ case
Calling Clinton’s speech “way too long and misleading on key questions”, Rich Lowry at conservative National Review Online nonetheless said he liked the “instinct to make a wonky case for the president on substance”. Still, he added, “As Clinton kept going, the speech took on the aspect of one of his kitchen-sink State of the Union speeches. I’m not sure how much it will help Obama and feel pretty certain that the second night of the convention was weaker than the first.”
What Obama probably won’t say
Obama will offer the DNC closing address on Thursday night, and while commentators all agree that he needs to offer American voters some specifics – why his second term will be different, better than the first, and how – there are some things he probably won’t say. Matt Miller, writing at the Financial Times, wrote up some of them: On the economic meltdown the President inherited, he wrote, “‘Obama: It Could Have Been Worse’ isn’t a winning slogan. But it really could have been. Between our stimulus, the GM and Chrysler restructurings, the bank stress tests and creative Fed steps, we avoided the abyss.”
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