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Highlights of Bill Clinton's DNC speech

10:29 PM, Sep 5, 2012   |    comments
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CHARLOTTE -- USA TODAY live blogged former President Bill Clinton's speech at the Democratic National Convention. Here are highlights.

Photos: Bill Clinton speaks at DNC

11:24 p.m. -- And here comes President Obama -- he and Clinton hug. But they don't stay on stage long.

11:23 p.m. -- Last line: "You must re-elect President Barack Obama."

11:20 p.m. -- Big finish: Clinton says voters have to decide what kind of country they want to live in -- a "winner take all society" offered by Republicans, or a "we're all in it together society" advanced by Obama.

11:14 p.m. -- Clinton talks about the federal debt that is now above $16 trillion.

Says Obama has "balanced" plan that includes tighter spending and higher taxes on the wealthy; Mitt Romney is only offering tax cuts.

Romney "fails the first test of fiscal responsibility -- the nunbers just don't add up."

Clinton also notes that the budget was balanced during his presidency, attributing it to one thing: "Arithmetic"

Of the Republicans, Clinton draws big applause by saying: "We simply cannot afford" to "double down on trickle down."

11:05 p.m. -- Clinton takes after two other attacks Republicans made on Obama at their convention: Medicare and welfare reform.

Clinton says Obama did not cut Medicare benefits, only unnecessary subsidies to providers and insurance companies -- and notes that Republican running Paul Ryan included the very same cuts in his own budget. "It takes some brass to attack a guy for doing what you did," Clinton cracks, drawing laughter and big applause.

Clinton, who signed the welfare reform bill -- "this is personal to me" -- says Republican claims that Obama is weakening work requirements "is just not true."

11:02 p.m. -- Clinton arrives at the big Obama legacy: Health care, which gets big applause from Democrats. The president recites benefits for health insurance recipients, and says the country as a whole is "better off."

11 p.m. -- Clinton recites Obama's economic efforts, including the stimulus, the auto bailout, and alternative energy plans. Along the way, he provides "jobs scores:" Obama, hundreds of thousands of jobs; Romney and Republicans, "zero."

Clinton also runs out of prime time, though we suspect the networks will stick with him.

10:55 p.m. -- Clinton acknowledges the economy isn't great -- but, again channeling Reagan -- says we are better off than they were four years ago. Says no president could come back fully from the bad economy Obama inherited.

To the folks at home: "Conditions are improving and if you renew the president's contract you will feel it."

10:51 p.m. -- Clinton critiques the Republican convention, saying they sought to blame Obama for a bad economy they created. Saying they want to return to bad ideas, Clinton channels Ronald Reagan -- "there they go again."

10:47 p.m. -- Huge applause line for one particular Obama appointee: Former opponent Hillary Rodham Clinton. He praises the Secretary of State's performance.

10:45 p.m. -- Clinton assails the Republican dominant faction that thinks "government is always the enemy" and "compromise is weakness."

Praises Obama's commitment to "constructive cooperation" -- and praises Vice President Joe Biden.

10:41 p.m. -- Clinton cites right wing "hatred" of Obama; says he and other Democrats work better with members of the other party -- He even praises George W. Bush for his African health policies.

Clinton is citing his bipartisan bona fides here, while denouncing "constant conflict" in politics.

10:40 p.m, -- Statistics time: Clinton notes that more jobs have been created under Democratic presidents in the last half-century than under Republican presidents. Attributes that to Democratic policies.

10:39 p.m. -- Clinton shifts into attack on Republicans, saying they mistakenly believe people are on their own; as for Democrats, he says "we believe we are all in this together."

10:37 p.m. -- Clinton brags on Obama's economic record, especially in the face of a near-depression; says Obama is "cool on the outside," but "burns for America on the inside."

Also lauds him for having "the good sense to marry Michelle Obama."

10:35 p.m. -- Clinton opens with, 'we are here to nominate a president -- I've got one in mind."

10:34 p.m. -- After a brief film, Bill Clinton appears on stage -- with only 26 minutes of prime time left. The music: The old campaign tune, Fleetwood Mac's "Don't Stop Thinking About Tomorrow."

By David Jackson, USA TODAY

USA TODAY, Gannett

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