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.