(by Susan Jones, CNSNews.com) – After a rousing welcome and applause that went on and on, a beaming former President Bill Clinton told Democrats Wednesday night that he was there to “support Barack Obama.” And then he did so — at length, and in no uncertain terms.
“Barack Obama is ready to be president of the United States,” Clinton told delegates to the Democratic National Convention in Denver.
Much of Clinton’s speech focused on why America needs a Democrat — Barack Obama — in the White House, and how Obama will fix the economy at home and boost America’s standing abroad.
Before laying out his vote-for-Obama argument, Clinton looked back at the tumultuous primary season, in which his wife came close to winning the Democratic nomination.
“The primary began with an all-star line up and came down to two remarkable Americans locked in a hard fought contest to the very end. The campaign generated so much heat it increased global warming,” Clinton joked.
“In the end, my candidate didn’t win.” He went on to explain why he’s so proud of the campaign that his wife Sen. Hillary Clinton ran.
Then came the Obama endorsement: “Hillary told us in no uncertain terms that she’ll do everything she can to elect Barack Obama. That makes two of us. Actually that makes 18 million of us — because, like Hillary, I want all of you who supported her to vote for Barack Obama in November.”
Clinton said there are two main reasons to vote for the Democrat — a domestic economy that’s “under siege” and American leadership that’s been weakened by “too much unilateralism and too little cooperation.”
“Clearly, the job of the next President is to rebuild the American Dream and restore America’s standing in the world,” Clinton said.
“Everything I learned in my eight years as president and in the work I’ve done since, in America and across the globe, has convinced me that Barack Obama is the man for this job.”
Clinton spoke about Obama’s ability to inspire people, raise hopes, and “rally us to a high purpose.”
“He has the intelligence and curiosity every successful President needs. His policies on the economy, taxes, health care and energy are far superior to the Republican alternatives. He has shown a clear grasp of our foreign policy and national security challenges, and a firm commitment to repair our badly strained military. His family heritage and life experiences have given him a unique capacity to lead our increasingly diverse nation and to restore our leadership in an ever more interdependent world. The long, hard primary tested and strengthened him. And in his first presidential decision, the selection of a running mate, he hit it out of the park.” (Earlier, Clinton told the crowd, “I love Joe Biden.”)
“The Republicans will nominate a good man who served our country heroically and suffered terribly in Vietnam,” Clinton said. Without mentioning Sen. John McCain by name, Clinton admitted that the Republican senator from Arizona has “shown his independence on several issues.”
Clinton then tied McCain to an “extreme” Republican philosophy, [saying that] Republicans basically have wrecked the country in the last eight years.
“They actually want us to reward them for the last eight years by giving them four more. Let’s send them a message that will echo from the Rockies all across America: Thanks, but no thanks. In this case, the third time is not the charm,” Clinton said.
Barack Obama is “on the right side of history,” Clinton said. “His life is a 21st Century incarnation of the American Dream.”
He then heaped praise on the Obama and Biden families, bringing his speech to a rousing end:
“Barack Obama will lead us away from division and fear of the last eight years back to unity and hope. If, like me, you still believe America must always be a place called Hope, then join Hillary, Chelsea and me in making Senator Barack Obama the next President of the United States.”
The Associated Press noted that Clinton’s speech “characteristically, went on longer than it was meant to.” The former president spoke for nearly 30 minutes (including applause). He was supposed to speak for only 10 minutes.
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1. What did President Clinton focus most of his speech on at the Democratic convention last night?
2. What did President Clinton say are the two main reasons to vote for the Democrat (over the Republican)?
3. What specific abilities did President Clinton say Barack Obama has that convinced him Mr. Obama should be president? (see para. 10-12)
4. a) How much time had been allotted for President Clinton’s speech?
b) How long was his speech?
c) Do you think he should have originally been given more time, or, do you think he should have kept his speech within the time allotted? Explain your answer.
5. Many delegates for Hillary said they would still vote for her when it came time to cast their vote during the roll call at the convention. If you were/are a Hillary supporter, would President Clinton’s speech inspire you to vote for Barack Obama? Explain your answer.
Watch clips of President Clinton’s speech at wsj.com.
Watch the entire speech at c-span.org. Scroll down to “Recent Programs” and then choose “President Bill Clinton address at DNC, August 27.”
(NOTE: You must have Real Player to watch this video.)