Clinton gets high marks — but now Obama has to avoid being overshadowed
"This will be the moment that probably re-elected Barack Obama," former Mitt Romney aide Alex Castellanos said after Bill Clinton's ringing endorsement of the president Wednesday night. "Bill Clinton saved the Democratic Party once, it was going too far left, he came in, the new Democrats took it to the center. He did it again tonight."
The speech received generally rave reviews from Democrats and even the occasional Republican, like Castellanos, who spoke on CNN. The fact that he worked on Romney's campaign in 2008 may have made his assessment of Clinton's speech a bit more stinging to Romney supporters.
Castellanos also declared, "This convention is done." That comment played into one of the few problems Clinton's speech creates for President Obama: He has to follow it tonight, and avoid being overshadowed by the former president.
Obama has turned to Clinton for help despite the occasional antipathy between them, especially when Hillary Clinton sought the 2008 presidential nomination. She may seek the presidency again in 2016, which gave Clinton more reasons than just helping Obama for taking a high-profile spot at the Democatic National Convention. He spoke on a night usually reserved for the vice president, who will instead speak tonight.
In the speech, Clinton pointed to simple "arithmetic" — a word he repeated again and again — to argue that Romney's plans for the economy won't work. He also argued that in the last 52 years, more jobs have been created under Democratic presidents than Republican ones.
A Los Angeles Times assessment carried the headline, "Clinton's convention speech reminds Democrats that he's a star."
The most frequent criticism of the speech? It was too long.
Fox News contributor Charles Krauthammer seized on the length of the speech to call it "sprawling, undisciplined and truly self-indulgent." (It isn't the first time Clinton has been criticized as undisciplined and self-indulgent.) While Krauthammer said the speech had its "humorous" and "engaging" moments, he called it "a giant swing and a miss."
At about 50 minutes, the speech was even longer than Clinton's notorious half-hour speech at the 1988 Democratic Convention. That speech made many talking heads at the time predict that the then-Arkansas governor had no future at the national level.
Which goes to show that pundits can be wrong.
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