Popular Ex-President Takes Center Stage at Democratic Convention

Posted September 5th, 2012 at 7:15 am (UTC-5)
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Former U.S. President Bill Clinton will take the spotlight at the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte, North Carolina, Wednesday, adding more high-profile support for President Barack Obama's re-election.

Mr. Clinton, the 42nd American president, will formally place the 44th president's name up for nomination during a nationally televised address. The relationship between the two Democrats has improved in the years since Mr. Obama defeated the former president's wife, Hillary Clinton, in the 2008 nomination campaign.

Mr. Clinton remains a popular figure among many Americans due to the economic prosperity during his two terms in office in the 1990s, and analysts say he could help Mr. Obama win support from older white working-class Americans.

The highlight of Tuesday's opening night at the Democratic convention was a speech by first lady Michelle Obama, who talked about her husband's character and ability to make tough political choices.

“Barack refused to listen to all those folks who told him to leave health reform for another day, another president. He didn't care whether it was the easy thing to do politically –that's not how he was raised–he cared that it was the right thing to do.”

Democrats spent much of Tuesday's opening day reaching out to women voters, with Mrs. Obama recounting how the president's early background — and his grandmother's employment setbacks — helped shape his governing policies as president.

One of the speakers was Lilly Ledbetter, a woman who lost her fight for equal pay in the Supreme Court but later became the namesake of the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act. President Obama signed the bill into law, giving women and other minorities more time to file a lawsuit against pay discrimination.

“This fight became bigger than Lilly Ledbetter. Today, it's about my daughter. It's about my granddaughter. It's about women and men. It's about families.”

One of the Democratic Party's rising Hispanic figures, Julian Castro, the mayor of the southwestern city of San Antonio, Texas, gave the convention's keynote address. Castro attacked the Republican presidential candidate, former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney.

“Mitt Romney has undergone an extreme makeover, and it ain't pretty. So here's what we're going to say to Mitt Romney. We're going to say, “No.”'

Castro also told viewers that people in his state pride themselves for working hard to succeed on their own, but they also recognized that there are some things that they cannot do alone.

“We all celebrate individual success. But the question is, how do we multiply that success? The answer is President Barack Obama.”

Mr. Obama will accept his nomination Thursday night during a speech at the city's 74,000-seat outdoor football stadium.

Mr. Romney was in Vermont to prepare for his televised debates against Mr. Obama in October. Recent voter surveys show the two are virtually tied ahead of the November 6 presidential election.