Former President Bill Clinton has decided to put aside his differences with Barack Obama and place the incumbent president’s name in nomination at the Democratic convention in an effort to rescue Obama’s troubled re-election campaign.
Obama personally asked Clinton to speak at the convention in Charlotte, N.C., and place his name in nomination. Clinton will speak in prime-time on Sept. 5, the night before Obama formally accepts the party nomination. While the number two on the ticket often speaks that night, the Obama campaign has instead decided that Obama and Vice President Joe Biden will speak on the same night.
The prominent role for Clinton reflects his latest truce with Obama. The two first clashed during the 2008 Democratic primaries when Obama defeated Hillary Clinton to win the nomination.
More recently, Clinton upset the Obama team by complimenting Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney’s business successes and calling for temporarily extending all of the Bush-era tax cuts set to expire at the end of the year, putting him at odds with Obama’s call for higher taxes on the wealthiest Americans.
Clinton’s dislike for Obama was so intense that he even urged Hillary to run against the incumbent and seek the Democratic nomination in 2012, according to Edward Klein, author of the book “The Amateur: Barack Obama in the White House.”
Klein reported that in August 2011, Bill told Hillary: “I have no relationship with the president — none whatsoever. Obama doesn’t know how to be president.”
He then said: “He’s incompetent. Barack Obama is an amateur.”
But now Clinton, “who has become one of the most popular figures in the Democratic Party,” will take on one of “the most high-profile roles yet that he has assumed for Mr. Obama,” The New York Times reported.
“The prominent role of Mr. Clinton signals an effort by the Obama campaign to pull out all the stops to rally Democrats when they gather for their party’s national convention.”
The latest Rasmussen Reports poll has Obama trailing Romney by a margin of 47 percent to 44 percent.
Former GOP President George W. Bush “respectfully declined the invitation” to attend the Republican convention in Tampa, where Romney is expected to be formally nominated, a Bush spokesman said.
Bush’s father, former President George H.W. Bush, has also announced that he plans to skip the convention.
Fox News columnist Chris Stirewalt observed: “If President Obama can’t improve his standing with working-class, white voters he is facing a landslide defeat in the fall. And with the stakes so high, the president is again forced to turn to his most dangerous ally: former President Bill Clinton.
“Obama’s unsteady status in Democratic strongholds like Michigan, Wisconsin and Pennsylvania is attributable to Obama’s dire condition with Clinton Democrats, aka Reagan Democrats.
“It is evidence of how concerned Obama is about blue-collar white voters that he would give such a dangerous ally – and a man who must surely have considered many times how an Obama defeat would set the stage for his family’s restoration to power – such a prominent role.”
© Copyright 2016 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.