Clinton rallies behind Obama
Sep 5, 2012 / 8:32 pm
Democrats turned Wednesday to a hero of the past, Bill Clinton, to boost the shaky re-election prospects of Barack Obama, with the popular former president from the prosperous 1990s assuring worried Americans that he feels "with all my heart" that Obama is steering the country to an economic recovery.
Clinton's rousing address to a television audience of millions was the highlight of the second day of the three-day Democratic National Convention, which formally launches Obama into what is expected to be a tight race against Republican Mitt Romney.
Obama's acceptance speech Thursday night will mark the climax of the convention, though Democrats on Wednesday abandoned plans for Obama to deliver the address at a large football stadium, citing weather concerns.
Democrats have used their convention to push back against Republican claims at their gathering last week that Obama's devotion to big-government solutions has stifled the U.S. economy and swollen the national deficit.
Democrats have countered that Romney would go back to the economic policies that led to a recession, helping the wealthy while harming the poor and middle class.
Clinton, who formally nominated Obama as the Democratic candidate, was following through on the theme.
"If you want a you're-on-your-own, winner-take-all society, you should support the Republican ticket," Clinton said. "If you want a country of shared prosperity and shared responsibility, a we're-all-in-this-together society, you should vote for Barack Obama and (Vice-President) Joe Biden."
Clinton said the Republican campaign argument is "pretty simple: 'We left him a total mess, he hasn't cleaned it up yet, so fire him and put us back in.'"
He said Obama has 'laid the foundation for a more modern, more well-balanced economy.'
Few American politicians are more popular than Clinton. Even Republicans, who tried to force Clinton from office on charges he lied under oath about an affair, try to draw a contrast with Obama by praising Clinton's record balancing budgets and reforming welfare.
Opinion polls show Clinton is especially well-regarded among white male voters, a group that favours Romney.
The personal tensions between Obama and Clinton have eased with Hillary Clinton serving as Obama's loyal secretary of state, and a potential presidential candidate in 2016. Hillary Clinton is on an 11-day tour of the Asia-Pacific region and was in East Timor as her husband spoke.
Clinton's speech followed a boisterous first day of the convention in which Democrats painted Romney, a wealthy businessman and former Massachusetts governor, as a privileged millionaire who doesn't understand the struggles of regular Americans.
Associated Press writers Calvin Woodward, Jennifer Agiesta and Jack Gillum in Washington, Kasie Hunt in Vermont, Thomas Beaumont and Steve Peoples in Iowa, and Julie Pace, Ben Feller, Ken Thomas, Matt Michaels and Jim Kuhnhenn in Charlotte contributed to this report.
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