CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Former President Bill Clinton, toward the start of his marathon speech in the Time Warner Cable Arena, said, “I want to nominate a man who is cool on the outside but who burns for America on the inside.”
Then he made the case for a second Obama term — over about 48 or so minutes.
Wonkish, passionate, emotional, Clinton’s speech had something that the convention, or all conventions, need: the feeling of suspense, even if it was not in doubt that he would make a no-holds-barred plea for an Obama second term. He went off his advance script, but stayed on message. The climax was Obama himself appearing on stage and giving his predecessor a hug, a contrast to the rather chilly relationship even in the last campaign.
“No president, no president — not me or any of my predecessors, no one,
could have repaired all the damage he found in just four years. But he
has laid the foundation for a new, modern, successful economy, of shared
prosperity, and if you renew the President’s contract you will feel it.
You will feel it,” Clinton said.
He spilled well over primetime, perhaps costing network affiliates additional ad dollars, on top of the sums that they will reportedly lose when plans were cancelled to have Obama deliver his acceptance speech at the Bank of America Stadium.
But the length of the speech was overshadowed by a postive reaction to it.
CNN’s Wolf Blitzer said, “I’ve been watching this former president of the United States going
back to 1992 when I was CNN’s White House correspondent, and I have to
tell you, this may be the best speech I have ever heard Bill Clinton
deliver over all of these years, and I listened to so many of his
speeches during his eight years as president.”