In his seventh address before a Democratic National Convention Wednesday night, former President Bill Clinton delivered an energetic, 48 minute long defense of the current occupant of the White House and systematically picked apart a myriad of Republican attacks.
“In Tampa, the Republican argument against the president’s re-election was actually pretty simple,” Clinton said from the Time Warner Cable Arena in Charlotte, North Carolina. “It went something like this: We left him a total mess, he hasn’t cleaned it up fast enough. So fire him and put us back in.”
Describing a “long road,” Clinton argued that the state of the economy when Obama assumed office was so poor that no elected official could have entirely mended the damage in just four years.
“He has laid the foundation for a new, modern, successful economy of shared prosperity,” Clinton said. “And if you will renew the president’s contract, you will feel it. You will feel it.”
The former President focused on specific arguments launched by Republican Presidential candidate Mitt Romney and Vice Presidential candidate Paul Ryan, particularly their claims that Obama has slashed Medicare spending and gutted the work requirements included in the welfare reform law passed in the 90s.
“There were no cuts to benefits at all,” Clinton said, noting that the $716 billion in reductions were found in unnecessary subsidies. He added that Ryan, as the architect of a conservative budget alternative, attempted to cut $716 billion in his own plan.
“It takes some brass to attack a guy for doing what you did,” Clinton quipped to applause.
In terms of welfare reform, Clinton explained that Obama’s plan grants a waiver for the work requirement only if 20 percent more welfare recipients are put back to work.
Clinton characterized the Republican portrayal of the waiver as “just not true.”
“Their campaign pollster said, we are not going to let our campaign be dictated by fact-checkers,” Clinton said. “Now, finally I can say, that is true.”
While the relationship between Clinton and Obama has reportedly been cool at times, Clinton gave a full throated endorsement of the President and officially cast his name for nomination. When Clinton completed his address, he was joined on stage by Obama, who hugged his Democratic predecessor.