Former President Bill Clinton will have a high-profile role in this year’s Democratic National Convention in Charlotte, where he is expected to make an impassioned case for the reelection of President Obama.
The prominent role of Clinton, who left office in 2001, is widely thought to represent an effort on the part of the Obama campaign to capitalize on the continued popularity of the former president across a wide spectrum of the American public.
Additionally, Clinton’s prime-time appearance is also designed to remind voters of the more prosperous economic times during the Democratic administration of the nation’s 42nd president. The former president is expected to make the case that Obama’s economic plan needs more time to reap strong results.
Democratic officials hope that Clinton, a southerner from Arkansas, will appeal to moderate, independent white voters whose support is crucial to Obama’s reelection. Black Americans have long given high approval to Clinton, whose popularity among African-Americans led some to dub him “the first Black president.”
On a more personal basis, the decision to highlight the former president on the night before Obama’s acceptance speech illustrates the far warmer relationship between the two men than in 2008, when Obama and former first lady Hillary Rodham Clinton competed in a heated primary season for the Democratic nomination.
Since then, Hillary Clinton has served as Secretary of State in the Obama administration, a position in which she has been widely praised. At the same time, Democratic officials say, the former president and his Democratic successor have enjoyed a significantly improved relationship following some initial tension.
Clinton has joined Obama at various campaign fund-raising events and the former president has regularly offered political and economic advice to Obama. Democratic officials said that the president personally extended the invitation for Clinton to address the convention and place Obama's name in nomination and that the former president enthusiastically accepted.
Additionally, Clinton has been forthright in his advice about portraying the differences between Obama’s economic policies and those of Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney.
Indeed, Clinton developed the depiction of the Republican candidate’s economic ideas as “George Bush on steroids.” That line has become a regular part of the campaign speeches of Obama and Vice President Joe Biden.
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