CHARLOTTE, N.C. - If there was ever any doubt about the nation's two most prominent Democrats putting their differences to rest, it ended Wednesday night at the party's national convention.
Former President Bill Clinton embraced President Barack Obama, both literally and figuratively at the Democratic National Convention Wendesday night.
Clinton delivered a rousing defense of Obama's record, and then electrified the crowd by hugging the President, who strode onto the stage at the end of the speech.
It President Obama's first appearance at this year's Democratic National Convention. He'll deliver his acceptance speech Thursday indoors, rather than in an outdoor stadium because of the threat of severe weather in that part of North Carolina.
Clinton's speech came 20 years after he captured the party's nomination, on his way to two terms in the White House. And it's a moment many pundits wouldn't have predicted four years ago, when then-Senator Obama defeated New York Senator and former First Lady Hillary Clinton in a hard-fought nominating battle.
"I want to nominate a man who's cool on the outside, but who burns for America on the inside," the former president remarked.
"I want a man who believes with no doubt that we can build a new American Dream economy, driven by innovation and creativity, but education and - yes - by cooperation."
Clinton did not shy away from the are-you-better-off-than-you-were-four-years-ago question, but actually brought it up many times during his speech. He conceded that nobody, including Obama and his advisers, expected the recovery to take as long as it has.
"Listen to me, now. No president - no president, not me, not any of my predecessors, no one could have fully repaired all the damage that he found in just four years."
He listed several past Republican presidents who've worked across the political divide to tackle large problems on behalf of all Americans. But he asserted that type of compromise is frowned upon in the modern version of the Republican party.
"The Senate Republican leader said in a remarkable moment of candor -- two full years before the election -- that their number one priority was not to put America back to work; it was to put the president out of work," Clinton said.
"Senator, I hate to break it to you, but we're going to keep President Obama on the job!"
Clinton complimented Obama for putting aside difference with the Democrats he ran against during the 2008 primary season. Among them were Joe Biden, who became his running mate and vice president.
The other, naturally, was Hillary Clinton who became Secretary of State in the Obama administration.
"Heck, he even appointed Hillary!" Clinton exclaimed.
"I'm grateful for the relationship of respect and partnership she and the president have enjoyed and the signal that sends to the rest of the world, that democracy does not have to be a blood sport, it can be an honorable enterprise that advances the public interest."
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