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Clinton electrifies crowd in speech

POSTED AT 01:01 AM ON Sep. 6, 2012  (UPDATED AT 02:26 AM ON Sep. 6, 2012)


CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Rick Dietz and the other Indiana delegates were settled off to the side in the Time Warner Cable Arena. Despite the crowds, they had a clear line of sight as former President Bill Clinton took the stage.

It was far from the first time Dietz, chair of the Monroe County Democrats, heard Clinton speak. The last time they met in person was in Bloomington four years ago. The former president was endorsing his wife, Hillary.

This is the first time Clinton has supported President Barack Obama from the beginning of his campaign. Many analysts considered the speech the most important of the three-day convention, apart from Obama’s expected acceptance tonight.

The crowd surged to its feet, even in the nosebleed seats.

“Mr. Mayor, Democrats, we’re here to nominate the president,” Clinton opened. “And I’ve got one in mind.”

He discussed the positive points of Obama’s track record, saying he has already overcome adversity.

“I want to nominate a man who’s cool on the outside, but he burns for America on the inside,” Clinton said.

He continued, “After last night, I want a man who had the good sense to marry Michelle Obama.”

The crowd exploded.

Clinton said the Republican narrative, or the “alternate universe,” says all who are successful are self-made.

“You see, we believe we’re all in this together,” Clinton said. “It’s a far better philosophy than ‘You’re on your own.’”

He asked the crowd who they believed. Nearly as one, they screamed, “You!”
Dietz said Clinton’s speech and the Tuesday video speech from former President Jimmy Carter showed one of the many differences between Democrats and Republicans in this election cycle.

“I think one of the things that separates the Democratic convention from the Republican is that we’re very proud of our former presidents,” Dietz said.

Some critics have countered this view, saying Democrats focus on past success rather than the party’s future.

“It doesn’t really make sense to me, from what we’ve seen at the convention,” Dietz said.

Dietz mentioned the mayors from bigger cities, such as keynote speaker Mayor Julian Castro of San Antonio, as examples of why that sentiment is wrong.

“From what I’ve seen just the first day, the Republicans are totally outclassed,” Dietz said.


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