Bill Clinton To Have Prominent Role At The Democratic Convention

Banking on the fact that he remains wildly popular with Democrats and in the nation as a whole, the DNC will give former President Clinton a very prominent role at the convention in Charlotte:

(CBS News) Former President Bill Clinton will have a major role in this year’s Democratic Convention and will speak on Wednesday night in the slot traditionally reserved for the vice presidential nominee.

Monday, convention organizers will announce Clinton’s speech, first reported by the New York Times and confirmed by CBS News, which will happen in prime time on Wednesday, Sept. 5, at a time when the TV networks are expected to be covering the convention live.

An Obama campaign adviser tells CBS News the former president will place President Obama’s name in nomination for a second term and focus on highlighting Mr. Obama’s economic record.

“There’s no one better to cut through on economic issues and lay out the choice in the election because he understands the consequences of the policy differences – he knows that with its top-down approach, the GOP turned a record surplus into a record deficit leading to the worst economic crisis since the Depression,” the Obama campaign adviser told CBS News via email. “He’ll lay out the case to continue building the economy from the middle class out.”

Mr. Clinton remains one of the most popular Democrats in the country, and despite a series of seemingly contrasting viewpoints with Mr. Obama, his speech should offer a boost to the president as he embarks on his general election campaign against Mitt Romney.

In a break with tradition, the Vice-President’s speech, normally on Wednesday night, will be on Thursday, although it’s unclear if it will also take place at Bank Of America Stadium like the President’s will. No doubt, though, giving Clinton a prominent role is a recognition of his popularity with parts of the electorate that the President has lost ground in with the hope that some of that popularity will rub off no doubt.

Update: It turns out Clinton’s speech will be competing with the opening of the NFL season:

“But what shouldn’t be ignored about this decision is that Wednesday Sept. 5 is the NFL’s first game of the regular season, which will air on NBC. (It’s Giants-Cowboys; not exactly a matchup of teams that have small fan bases.) The Obama camp realized that it needed a big draw to compete with the NFL game and to convince the other networks to cover (NBC will NOT be airing any of the convention on the NFL night). In addition, moving Biden to Thursday isn’t a snub at all; in fact, it means that more male eyeballs will be on him than would have been the case if he went on Wednesday. Per NBC’s Dann, sources say the decision to bump Biden to the final night of the convention was made jointly by the VP and the president. Both Biden and Obama will speak at the football stadium.”

Earlier this year, the NFL had moved Opening Day from Thursday to Wednesday to not conflict with the President’s speech. Last year, Obama moved the date of an address to Congress so as not to conflict with NFL’s Opening Day and a scheduled Republican Primary Debate.

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Doug Mataconis
About Doug Mataconis
Doug Mataconis held a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May 2010 and contributed a staggering 16,483 posts before his retirement in January 2020. He passed far too young in July 2021.


  1. Septimius says:

    Maybe after the speech, Obama can get him a cup of coffee.

  2. C. Clavin says:

    If Gore had done this the world would be a very different place.
    No unpaid for tax cuts.
    No unpaid for wars of choice.
    No unpaid for expansion of the Medicare entitlement.
    No exploding deficit.
    No 9% contraction of GDP.
    No torture.

  3. PJ says:

    During the Republican National Convention, the GOP is sending George W Bush, accompanied by Sarah Palin, on a special, super secret mission 1000 miles west of Australia, which also is the other side of the world from Tampa, Florida.
    Their mission, while super secret, is understood to be very important for electing Romney as the next President. Leaked information indicates that neither will return to the US until November 7th.

  4. Idiot says:

    While there is no doubt about Clinton’s popularity, one has to wonder if this doesn’t make Obama look smaller and less presidential in comparison.

  5. bk says:

    @Idiot: You’re kidding, right? Or does your screen name accurately describe you? You don’t think that GWB would have brought in Reagan in 2004 had he not been, well, dead?

  6. Idiot says:

    @bk: Nice of you to be personal….. Did Bill have a similar role at the 2004 and 2008 Dem conventions?