Tom’s take: President Clinton delivers for Obama
“It was classic Bill Clinton, wonky and plain-spoken, too long but very punchy,” says Tom Tangney of President Clinton’s DNC speech. (AP image)
It was classic Bill Clinton, wonky and plain-spoken, too long but very punchy. He may not be great with rhetorical flights of fancy, but nobody knows how to frame an argument better.
Clinton started off by picking up on a theme Michelle Obama stressed in her speech about the two parties’ basic values.
“We believe that ‘we’re all in this together’ is a far better philosophy than ‘you’re on your own’,” Clinton said.
When it came time to frame the argument for Barack Obama, Clinton flew into the very teeth of the GOP attack – that we aren’t better off than we were four years ago.
“When President Barack Obama took office, the economy was in free fall. It had just shrunk nine full percent of GDP. We were losing 750,000 jobs a month. Are we doing better than that today? The answer is yes,” said Clinton to cheers.
Who else but Clinton could actually make the argument that, sure things aren’t great, but nobody else could have done any better, and make it sound like a positive?
“No president, not any of my predecessors, not one could have fully repaired all of the damage that he found in just four years,” said Clinton.
I thought it worked brilliantly, rhetorically it was a great punchy speech. He was spot on and there was substance to what he was arguing. It wasn’t just flash.