WATCH: Bill Clinton Urges Americans to “Keep President Obama on the Job” In Democratic National Convention Speech
Bill Clinton pleaded with the American people to “keep President Obama on the job” Tuesday night, urging voters to give the president another four years to turn around the economy and protect the social safety net from what Clinton called draconian Republican cuts.
Delivering a lengthy, point-by-point rebuttal of last week’s Republican National Convention, veering frequently from his prepared text, Clinton cast Obama as a steadfast economic leader who has been stymied by an intransigent Congress. If Obama is reelected, Clinton said, the full impact of his policies will soon be felt.
“No president, not me, not any of my predecessors — no one could possibly have repaired all the damage that he found in just four years,” Clinton said of Obama. “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.”
Addressing a question that has stymied other Democrats in recent days, Clinton argued that thanks to the economic stimulus, the auto bailout, the health care overhaul and other White House policies, the country is better off now than it was four years ago.
“Are we where we want to be today? No. Is the president satisfied? Of course not. But are we better off than when he took office? Of course,” Clinton said.
Calling out Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan for what he called untruths about welfare reform and Medicare in their campaign messaging, the former president dubbed the Republicans agents of a discredited economic philosophy: “We simply cannot afford to give the reins of government to someone who will double down on trickle-down.”
“If you want a country of shared opportunity and shared responsibility, a we’re-all-in-this-together society, you should vote for Barack Obama and Joe Biden,” he said.
Clinton’s upbeat message, promising that an economic recovery is already underway — “I believe it, with all my heart I believe it” — is a rationale for Obama’s reelection that the president has struggled to convey himself, striking a balance between optimism about the future and candid acknowledgment that people have struggled during the economic crisis.
Obama joined Clinton on stage at the conclusion of his remarks, making his first appearance before the convention and bringing Charlotte’s Time Warner Cable Arena to its feet. Clinton’s remarks served as the formal nominating address for the president; delegates voted to nominate Obama for a second term shortly after midnight.
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