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Bill Clinton goes to bat for Obama

As I noted last night, the one gap in Hillary Clinton’s speech from the perspective of the Obama campaign was strong praise for her adversary. Tonight, Bill Clinton filled that gap. The former president praised Obama frequently. At the outset, he said that the Democratic race came down to two great Americans. A few minutes later he pronounced Obama “the man for the job.” Clinton cited Obama’s ability to rally people to his vision, his intellectual curiosity, and his superior policies. Then, responding to concerns about Obama’s security credentials, Clinton (for what it’s worth) specifically blessed Obama in this area too. Clinton also cited Obama’s heritage, claiming that it will give him a unique ability to lead American in the 21st century. Three times, Clilnton repeated that Obama “is ready.”

Clinton went on to offer the highest praise he can bestow — a comparison to himself. He compared the Obama of 2008 — said to be too young and too inexperienced — to the Bill Clinton of 1992. The charge, he noted, didn’t work then (although the “too lecherous” claim stuck) and it shouldn’t work now.

Clinton concluded by calling Obama the 21st century embodiment of the American dream. “If you beleve America must always be a place called Hope,” he intoned, “then join Hillary and me in making Barack Obama the next president of the United States.”

The Clintons, it seems to me, have now done their part to propel Obama. The rest is up to Obama and his running mate.

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