At a campaign event in Florida today, President Obama joked that he's considering former president Bill Clinton for "secretary of explaining stuff." The apparent compliment comes days after Clinton's well received performance at the Democratic convention in Charlotte.
Bill Clinton, who rode a recession into office and left the scene just before another one began, knows something about the blame game. Addressing the Democratic convention on Wednesday night, he made a full-throated effort to defend the Obama presidency by putting it in the context of past Republican failure.
The Dallas Cowboys defeated the New York Giants last night, in the first game of the NFL season. Like many millions of fans, I chose to watch the game instead of former President Clinton's speech. Having seen plenty of Clinton speeches, I knew his moves and was pretty confident that Tony Romo and Eli Manning would put on a better show than this:
Many conservative commentators saw in Bill Clinton’s speech an overly long, rambling, charming, endorsement of Barack Obama, a bit too wonky, and probably successful, if at all, only in assuring some wavering voters to stick with their 2008 decision and renew President Obama’s contract with America.
Chris Matthews, reacting to Bill Clinton's convention speech last night, said, "I always figured that if Bill Clinton landed on Mars, he would know how to do it with them, he would know how to reproduce, he would know everything. He'd just instinctively know how to talk to people."
In his fondest dreams, President Obama couldn’t have imagined getting any more from Bill Clinton than he did last night at the Democratic convention. Rather than pull Obama toward his centrist policies, Clinton embraced Obama’s hyper-liberalism—at least for one night.
In his speech Wednesday night, Bill 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."
Always looking "forward," President Obama has asked Bill Clinton—who was elected to the presidency 20 years ago—to speak tonight and suggest to the American people (whether explicitly or implicitly) that this is really a choice between Clinton and George W. Bush, rather than between Obama and Mitt Romney. If you're Obama, this beats running on your record.
Former President Bill Clinton tried to get former senator Ted Kennedy to endorse Hillary Clinton for president in the 2008 election by describing Barack Obama this way: "A few years ago, this guy would have been carrying our bags."