Former President Bill Clinton spoke — and spoke, and spoke — at the Democratic National Convention last night, and even though he added 20 minutes and 2,300 words to his prepared remarks, the crowd went wild.
Clinton methodically addressed Republicans' arguments against President Obama one by one. He also answered the GOP's question of whether the U.S. is better off than it was four years ago with a resounding "yes," which was echoed by the crowd. There was plenty of his folksy appeal — observers noted a lot of missing "g's" at the end of the former president's words and the famous Clinton finger wag at different points during the speech — but there was also an appeal to civility that Clinton said has been missing in American politics.
"Democracy does not ... have to be a blood sport," he said. "It can be an honorable enterprise that advances the public interest." He went on to say he had never learned to hate conservatives the way that some Republicans seem to "hate" the president.
Fact-checkers didn't shy away from Clinton's dense speech. More than one of them took issue with the oft-cited claim that the Obama administration has created 4.5 million jobs; National Journal also pointed out that there is some debate on health care spending reductions that the former president cited.
It may not be obvious from this morning's coverage, but there were a few other speakers last night:
- Elizabeth Warren, candidate for Senate in Massachusetts, lamented that the system is "rigged" against average Americans. She also rebutted Mitt Romney's comment from earlier in the campaign that corporations are people, noting, "People have hearts, they have kids, they get jobs, they get sick, they cry, they dance. They live, they love, and they die."
- Continuing the convention's focus on the votes of women, Georgetown law graduate Sandra Fluke, who was the target of Rush Limbaugh's vitriol earlier this year when she spoke in favor of birth control coverage at a Congressional hearing, pointed out that Mitt Romney didn't stand up for her in the face of Limbaugh's comments.
- Maryland Rep. Chris Van Hollen spoke earlier in the evening, criticizing Republicans' contribution to the national deficit.
WAMU 88.5 is staying on the convention beat:
Elsewhere around the convention: