Former President Clinton Comes Out Strong for Obama

Posted August 27, 2008 at 9:04pm

Former President Bill Clinton used his trademark charisma to electrify delegates at the Democratic National Convention on Wednesday night and urged them to support newly minted presidential nominee Sen. Barack Obama (Ill.).

Though Clinton campaigned vigorously for Obama’s chief primary opponent, his wife, Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton, he continued the theme of unity that the New York Senator delivered on Tuesday night, telling Democrats, “Hillary told us in no uncertain terms that she is going to do everything she can to elect Barack Obama. That makes two of us.”

President Clinton also implored all 18 million people who voted for her during the primaries to support Obama as well.

Clinton sought to address GOP criticisms that the freshman Senator from Illinois does not have enough experience to be president.

“Sixteen years ago, you gave me the profound honor to lead our party to victory,” Clinton said. “Together, we prevailed in a hard campaign in which the Republicans said I was too young and too inexperienced to be commander in chief. Sound familiar?”

Clinton also told delegates that a Republican president and GOP majorities in Congress from 2001 to 2007 were the cause of an increase in poverty, a weakened economy and irresponsible foreign policy.

“They actually want us to reward them for the last eight years by giving them four more,” Clinton said. “Let’s send them a message that will echo from the Rockies all across America … a simple message, ‘Thanks, but no thanks.’ In this case, the third time is not the charm.”

When Clinton appeared on stage, he was greeted by a sea of American flags while his 1992 campaign song “Don’t Stop (Thinking About Tomorrow)” by Fleetwood Mac played. After basking in the deafening cheers that lasted for several minutes, Clinton implored delegates to “Sit down. We’ve got to get on with the show here.”

Even then, the crowd cheered for another few moments before Clinton was finally able to deliver his speech.

Delegates gave Clinton high marks for promoting party unity.

“He did what he had to do and that is to let all of us know that he is definitely supporting Barack Obama. It’s all about unifying the party,” Louisiana delegate Nita Steele said.

Similarly, Wisconsin delegate and Hillary Clinton supporter Kira Brenner said both Bill and Hillary Clinton “did a great job … of bringing everyone together and explaining how important it was for everyone to unify.”

Laura Marrist contributed to this report.