Clinton dazzles Democrats, but will it backfire on Obama?
Hillary could end up the winner as Clinton shows Obama how it should be done
BILL CLINTON threw his weight behind Barack Obama at the Democratic convention in Charlotte last night with what The Times called a "show-stopping" speech in support of the US President.
During the "folksy charm fest" of his address, Clinton delivered a point-by-point rebuttal of Republican attacks on Obama and heaped praise on the current President. At the end Obama appeared on stage and the two men hugged.
It was a "bravura" performance, said The Daily Telegraph. "Like many of Mr Clinton's speeches, this one could have used an editor, but it was delivered in the traditions of the great American stump speech, a mixture of extemporising and prepared ideas blended into a great, baggy monster of a performance."
He over-ran by at least 20 minutes but, as Politico put it, "the networks stayed with him".
"Clinton was clearly, if indulgently, enjoying himself in a way that Obama rarely seems to," said the website. "It was a display of political force that underscored what a singular figure Clinton is in American politics, in either party."
His performance was part college lecturer and part revival speaker said the Los Angeles Times. "The vouching of one president for another - who, not incidentally, bested his wife in a bitter fight for the Democratic nomination four years ago - was a powerful symbolic moment," said the paper,
But perhaps Clinton was trying too hard, said Jennifer Rubin in the Washington Post. "At times his defence of President Obama strained credulity," she wrote. She accused him of "mixing in facts with half-truths and downright goofy arguments".
The decision to wheel out Clinton could backfire, she said. "The comparison between the two presidents' records was obvious, leaving one to consider if Clinton's mere presence was a reminder of Obama's weaknesses."
This was a concern for The Guardian, too. "His appearance in a primetime slot usually reserved for vice-presidents says more about Obama's vulnerabilities than it does about Clinton's strengths," wrote Gary Younge. "When the speech was over, Obama came on stage and hugged him as though he were a life raft."
The President now has his work cut out trying to match his predecessor’s speech, noted the Telegraph. "Obama cannot have wished for a more full-throated endorsement, indeed his only worry will be whether he can top that performance when he delivers his own keynote address later tonight."
There was even speculation that Clinton had an ulterior motive. The New York Times said that despite his "ebullient praise" of Obama he may have simply been "setting the stage for his wife’s possible return to politics in 2016, a prospect yearned for by many of Mrs Clinton's supporters".