Former President Bill Clinton took the stage at the Democratic National Convention on Wednesday night, and officially nominated current President Barack Obama as the party’s presidential candidate.
“I want to nominate a man whose own life has known its fair share of adversity and uncertainty,” said Clinton. “A man who ran for President to change the course of an already weak economy and then just six weeks before the election, saw it suffer the biggest collapse since the Great Depression. A man who stopped the slide into depression and put us on the long road to recovery, knowing all the while that no matter how many jobs were created and saved, there were still millions more waiting, trying to feed their children and keep their hopes alive.
“I want to nominate a man cool on the outside but burning for America on the inside. A man who believes we can build a new American Dream economy driven by innovation and creativity, education and cooperation. A man who had the good sense to marry Michelle Obama.
“I want Barack Obama to be the next President of the United States and I proudly nominate him as the standard bearer of the Democratic Party.
The former President fired back at Republicans for attacking Obama’s policies, saying, “The Republican narrative is that all of us who amount to anything are completely self-made. One of our greatest Democratic Chairmen, Bob Strauss, used to say that every politician wants you to believe he was born in a log cabin he built himself, but it ain’t so.
“We Democrats think the country works better with a strong middle class, real opportunities for poor people to work their way into it and a relentless focus on the future, with business and government working together to promote growth and broadly shared prosperity,” he said. “We think ‘we’re all in this together’ is a better philosophy than ‘you’re on your own.’”
Clinton stressed the importance of working together, no matter what political side one comes from.
“Though I often disagree with Republicans, I never learned to hate them the way the far right that now controls their party seems to hate President Obama and the Democrats,” he said. “After all, President Eisenhower sent federal troops to my home state to integrate Little Rock Central High and built the interstate highway system. And as governor, I worked with President Reagan on welfare reform and with President George H.W. Bush on national education goals. I am grateful to President George W. Bush for PEPFAR, which is saving the lives of millions of people in poor countries and to both Presidents Bush for the work we’ve done together after the South Asia tsunami, Hurricane Katrina and the Haitian earthquake.
“Through my foundation, in America and around the world, I work with Democrats, Republicans and Independents who are focused on solving problems and seizing opportunities, not fighting each other,” said Clinton.
“When times are tough, constant conflict may be good politics but in the real world, cooperation works better. After all, nobody’s right all the time, and a broken clock is right twice a day. All of us are destined to live our lives between those two extremes.
“Unfortunately, the faction that now dominates the Republican Party doesn’t see it that way. They think government is the enemy, and compromise is weakness.
“One of the main reasons America should re-elect President Obama,” said Clinton, “is that he is still committed to cooperation. He appointed Republican Secretaries of Defense, the Army and Transportation. He appointed a Vice President who ran against him in 2008, and trusted him to oversee the successful end of the war in Iraq and the implementation of the recovery act. And Joe Biden did a great job with both. He appointed Cabinet members who supported Hillary in the primaries. Heck, he even appointed Hillary! I’m so proud of her and grateful to our entire national security team for all they’ve done to make us safer and stronger and to build a world with more partners and fewer enemies. I’m also grateful to the young men and women who serve our country in the military and to Michelle Obama and Jill Biden for supporting military families when their loved ones are overseas and for helping our veterans, when they come home bearing the wounds of war, or needing help with education, housing, and jobs.”
He added, “In Tampa, the Republican argument against the President’s re-election was pretty simple: we left him a total mess, he hasn’t cleaned it up fast enough, so fire him and put us back in.
“In order to look like an acceptable alternative to President Obama, they couldn’t say much about the ideas they have offered over the last two years,” added Clinton. “You see they want to go back to the same old policies that got us into trouble in the first place: to cut taxes for high income Americans even more than President Bush did; to get rid of those pesky financial regulations designed to prevent another crash and prohibit future bailouts; to increase defense spending two trillion dollars more than the Pentagon has requested without saying what they’ll spend the money on; to make enormous cuts in the rest of the budget, especially programs that help the middle class and poor kids. As another President once said - there they go again.
“I like the argument for President Obama’s re-election a lot better. He inherited a deeply damaged economy, put a floor under the crash, began the long hard road to recovery, and laid the foundation for a modern, more well-balanced economy that will produce millions of good new jobs, vibrant new businesses, and lots of new wealth for the innovators.
“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. But conditions are improving and if you’ll renew the President’s contract you will feel it.
“I believe that with all my heart.”
Clinton concluded his speech by saying, “My fellow Americans, you have to decide what kind of country you want to live in. If you want a ‘you’re on your own, winner take all’ society you should support the Republican ticket. If you want a country of shared opportunities and shared responsibilities - a ‘we’re all in it together’ society, you should vote for Barack Obama and Joe Biden. If you want every American to vote and you think it’s wrong to change voting procedures just to reduce the turnout of younger, poorer, minority and disabled voters, you should support Barack Obama. If you think the President was right to open the doors of American opportunity to young immigrants brought here as children who want to go to college or serve in the military, you should vote for Barack Obama. If you want a future of shared prosperity, where the middle class is growing and poverty is declining, where the American Dream is alive and well, and where the United States remains the leading force for peace and prosperity in a highly competitive world, you should vote for Barack Obama.
“I love our country - and I know we’re coming back. For more than 200 years, through every crisis, we’ve always come out stronger than we went in. And we will again as long as we do it together. We champion the cause for which our founders pledged their lives, their fortunes, their sacred honor – to form a more perfect union.
‘If that’s what you believe, if that’s what you want, we have to re-elect President Barack Obama.”