Bill Clinton stormed into Charlotte last night and brought down the house. He's back, and take it from Buzz and me, he's here to stay.
It was pure Bill Clinton --- dramatic, inspiring, persuasive, folksy, and of course, way longer than planned. But, most importantly, it was directed to the middle of the electorate, a part of the electorate where Bill Clinton has always been effective in communicating his message.
He set the stage with one of the most memorable moments of his speech, he explained that the
hyper-partisanship and personal attacks against him that plagued much of
his Presidency, did not leave him bitter. He said, "Though I often disagree with Republicans, I never learned to hate them
the way the far right that now controls their party seems to hate
President Obama and the Democrats."
Clinton's speech which lasted 48 minutes was the most effective defense and explanation of the Obama record. Unlike New Jersey Governor Chris Christie's "me, me, and ME" speech at last weeks GOP convention, Clinton's speech was heavy on his party's nominee. He brilliantly intertwined his legacy with the Presidency of Barack Obama, and then took on every major GOP argument and explained, in simple, folksy terms, why the GOP argument is wrong.
In a stern, but no means angry tone, Clinton said, "President Obama started with a much weaker economy than I did. No
president— not me or any of my predecessors could have repaired all the
damage in just four years."
He explained the Affordable Care Act in simple and effective terms, highlighting many of the Act's very popular parts. He explained the recovery act and how it truly helped the US avoid a Great Depression. He explained the success of the auto bailout and the tragic consequences of letting "Detroit go bankrupt."
His systematic attack on the GOP arguments included this: "Now, when Congressman Ryan looked into that TV camera and attacked
President Obama’s Medicare savings as, quote, “the biggest, coldest
power play,” I didn’t know whether to laugh or cry... because that $716 billion is exactly to the dollar the same amount of Medicare savings that he has in his own budget!"
Then he went off script and gave perhaps the most memorable line of the speech. "You got to give (Ryan) one thing: It takes some brass to attack a guy for doing what you did."
Clinton hit a home run and lived up to expectations. He is Obama's greatest surrogate, and we will see a lot of him in the next 60 days.
Clinton is not just acting altruistically, although we don't doubt that he truly believes in most, if not all of the Obama agenda. Clinton does have a selfish motive, too --- Hillary 2016.
I am convinced, and Buzz's Univac 3000 bears me out on this, Hillary will run in 2016 regardless of who wins in 2012.
Bill wins no matter who wins in 2012. If Obama wins, Bill will humbly
take credit for making the difference. If Obama losses, Bill can also
humbly say that he gave it the old college try.
Hillary has already said she will step down at the end of her four year tenure at the State Department. She has been an unqualified success at State, and now she needs to start preparing for 2016.
Hillary will take it easy for a few months, and then expect to see her all over the country. She won't be an official candidate until mid 2015, but she will be provided enthusiastic support for Democratic candidates everywhere. Whether it's recording TV or radio spots, speaking at Jefferson-Jackson dinners, raising money, Hillary Clinton will be around every corner. She will be the biggest cheerleader for any Democrat who wants her, and want her they will.
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