Former President Bill Clinton will tell the Democratic National Convention that the economy can be pretty great under a Democrat after all in Charlotte Wednesday night. Republicans suddenly have Clinton nostalgia, too, but they say President Obama hasn't governed anything like Clinton did. In his TV ads for Obama, Clinton says the president's economic policies grow "a strong middle class," and "that's what happened when I was president." But not even the Obama campaign is getting a draft of his remarks until shortly before he goes on stage. It probably won't be a Clint Eastwood-esque surprise. Even so, we'll be liveblogging the night.
12:20p.m.: PolitiFact seems pretty pleased Clinton did a lot of fact-checking in his speech. He attacked a "pants on fire" claim about welfare and a "half true" claim about Medicare.
As for Clinton's claim that since 1961, Republican presidents have created 24 million jobs, while Democratic ones have created 42 million, PolitiFact rates that true.
11:49p.m.: Highlights: Sen. Barbara Mikulski entered the hall like a tiny big-haired champion. A musical interlude got even the sign language interpreter dancing a little bit. "Hispanic Oprah" Cristina Saralegui did not understand what "self-deport" means. Elizabeth Warren got a little sappy. For the grand finale, Bill Clinton showed he still loves giving speeches. Women agreed with Clinton on things. Clinton gave Obama a little bow, and then a really long hug. Clinton reaffirmed he loves giving speeches.
11:39p.m.: Like anyone, Clinton enjoys praise.
11:33p.m.: Obama and Clinton's hug was a long one.
Obama is going for the "uncomfortable hugger" vote with all that patting.
11:26p.m.: Clinton finishes his speech saying pretty much the only way to fulfill America's destiny is by voting for Obama to be reelected.
"For more than 200 years, through every crisis, we've always come out stronger than we went in. And we will again as long as we do it together. We champion the cause for which our founders pledged their lives, their fortunes, their sacred honor – to form a more perfect union.
If that's what you believe, if that's what you want, we have to re-elect President Barack Obama."
And then, Obama appears, and the crowd goes crazy. Clinton does a little bow.
11:19p.m.: Clinton's speech is long, and grumbling is happening. "'This is personal to me,' Clinton says. And he really is going to cover every issue in this campaign, personally," The Wall Street Journal's Neil King tweets.
11:15p.m.: Clinton defends Obama on the Romney campaign's charge that he gutted welfare reform. Obama changed the work requirements to require "more work," he says. "As their campaign pollster said 'we're not going to let our campaign be dictated by fact checkers.' Now that is true. I couldn't have said it better myself."
11:09p.m.: Women agreeing with Clinton on things:
11:08p.m.: Clinton goes after Paul Ryan for attacking Obama on the $716 billion in Medicare cuts that Ryan's own plan included.
"When Congressman Ryan looked into the TV camera and attacked President Obama's "biggest coldest power play" in raiding Medicare, I didn't know whether to laugh or cry. You see, that 716 billion dollars is exactly the same amount of Medicare savings Congressman Ryan had in his own budget."
Then he ad libs:
"You've got to admit it takes some brass to attack a guy for what you did."
10:57p.m.: Clinton ad libs to the noisy crowd, "Now listen," before going on to his prepared text:
President Obama started with a much weaker economy than I did. No President – not me or any of my predecessors could have repaired all the damage in just four years. But conditions are improving and if you'll renew the President's contract you will feel it.
10:53p.m.: Clinton is very good at looking like he's enjoying this.
He's been interrupted by four people shouting "We love you!" so far.
10:45p.m.: "I never learned to hate them they way the far right, which now controls their party, seems to hate our president," Clinton says, saying Eisenhower integrated schools and George W. Bush expanded AIDS funding in Africa. "What works in the real world is cooperation... Why does cooperation work better than constant conflict? ... Nobody's right all the time, and because a stopped clock is right twice a day." We go through life "knowing we're never going to be right all the time and hoping we'll be right twice a day."
Clinton continues, "One of the main reasons we should reelect President Obama is that he is still committed to constructive cooperation."
10:38p.m.: "I want to nominate a man who's cool on the outside," Clinton says. "But who burns for America on the inside." He adds that after Tuesday night, "I want a man who had the good sense to marry Michelle Obama."
10:37p.m.: The audience goes crazy for Bill Clinton, who's introduced with a video that includes his 1992 Fleetwood Mac theme song.
10:25p.m.: Warren gets huge applause for a super cheesy part of her speech:
"After all, Mitt Romney’s the guy who said corporations are people.
No, Governor Romney, corporations are not people. People have hearts, they have kids, they get jobs, they get sick, they cry, they dance. They live, they love, and they die. And that matters. That matters because we don’t run this country for corporations, we run it for people."
People love cheese.
10:23p.m.: Warren says "rigged" four times in her speech.
- "I'm here tonight to talk about hard-working people: people who get up early, stay up late, cook dinner and help out with homework… people who work their hearts out but are up against a hard truth--the game is rigged against them."
- "People feel like the system is rigged against them. And here's the painful part: they're right. The system is rigged."
- "These folks don't resent that someone else makes more money. We're Americans. We celebrate success. We just don't want the game to be rigged."
10:20p.m.: Obama is on his way to the convention center. He will join Bill Clinton on stage tonight.
10:18p.m.: When Elizabeth Warren takes the stage, she has to get the crowd to stop chanting "War-ren, War-ren" by saying, "Enough."
10:10p.m.: Joe and Jill Biden, and Michelle Biden give Fluke a standing ovation for her line that America has the right to choose "An America in which our president, when he hears a young woman has been verbally attacked, thinks of his daughters—not his delegates or donors."
10:00p.m.: Oh snap, Sandra Fluke arrives after all.
9:55p.m.: Both parties are playing the more-in-sorrow-than-in-anger card. Rep. Chris Van Hollen says:
"I'll admit, I was glad Paul was picked. I hoped it would result in a serious debate about the choice before us. Then I heard his acceptance speech—it kept the fact-checkers up all night. The Republicans had this gigantic clock in the arena showing the size of the national debt. Paul told America, "If you elect Republicans, we can fix that." But, if Paul Ryan was being honest, he would have pointed to that debt clock and said: 'We built that.'"
9:53p.m.: Sen. Al Franken listens to the Bain speeches.
9:48p.m.: The Bain employees all make sure to mention they don't think capitalism is evil. Johnson says he doesn't fault Romney for making money, "What I fault him for is making money without a moral compass." Hewitt says, "Of course I understand, some companies are successful, others are not." She objects to "workers feel the pain while others like Mitt Romney get the profits." Foster says, "Some companies succeed, others fail. I know that." But! "We dont need a president who fires steelworkers, or who says 'let Detroit go bankrupt.'
9:47p.m.: Randy Johnson, Cindy Hewitt, and David Foster -- former workers for companies that were taken over by Bain Capital -- walk on stage. Johnson has been pestering Romney since 1994. "Mitt Romney once said, 'I like being able to fire people.' Well I can tell you from personal experience, he does."
(For the record, Romney was talking about choosing different insurance providers when he said that.)
(Photo via Associated Press.)
9:4p.m.: Where is Sandra Fluke? She was scheduled to speak a couple speeches ago.
9:37p.m.: There are a whole bunch of people who got locked out of the DNC. Here's The Washington Post's Dana Milbank's photo:
It appears Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand got locked out too, Real Clear Politics' Caitlin Huey-Burns reports:
9:34p.m.: Republicans finally got their applause line. A worker in the auto industry says, "Are we better now than we were four years ago? Yes we are." Republicans noted no Democrat said that exact clause Tuesday night.
9:32p.m.: During a video about Obama's bailout of Detroit, Mitt Romney's byline flashes on screen under his 2008 New York Times op-ed, "Let Detroit Go Bankrupt." Huge boos.
9:25p.m.: It's always fun when the conventions have real entertainers give speeches. They're so much more entertaining. Saralegui has hosted talk shows for decades. She knows how to play outrage. On Mitt Romney's immigration plan, she says, is that "We should make life so unbearable for 11 million people that they 'self-deport.' What is that?"
9:20p.m.: Benita Veliz argues for Obama taking executive action on the Dream Act. "I feel just as American as any of my friends or neighbors." She describes "knowing i could be deported just because of the way i came here… President Obama fought for the Dream Act to help people like me… When Congress refused to pass [the Dream Act], he didn't give up. he took action."
She introduces Cristina Saralegui -- the Hispanic Oprah. Saralegui endorsed Obama earlier this year.
9:13p.m.: Kamela Harris, the attorney general of California, says, "We don't have to guess what Miss Rom-- what Mitt Romney would do if he were president." He already said he would let foreclosures 'hit rock bottom' so the market could 'run it's course.'" She didn't exactly light up the hall.
9:00p.m.: Bob Rubin, treasury secretary under Clinton, fell into a pool at a party in Charlotte. Politico's Lois Romano tweets the proof, noting the party was "fancy."
8:54p.m.: 26.2 million people watched the first night of the DNC -- the night with Michelle Obama's speech, The New York Times reports. The first night of the Republican National Convention -- Ann Romney's night -- got 22.3 million viewers.
8:50p.m.: Sister Simone Campbell, a very smiley nun, talks about discovering that two young boys who were getting in trouble for fights at school were taking care of their bedridden mom. The mom had diabetes and MS. The nuns gave the mom care and the kids some freedom to be kids. "Clearly we all share responsibility for the Matts and Marks in our nation," Campbell says. Then she folds that into the Obama campaign message: "We all share responsibility to ensure that this vital health care law is implemented" and that all states expand Medicaid.
8:42p.m.: "As another skinny Democrat with a funny last name," Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper says, he was proud to host the 2008 convention in Denver. Unsaid but perhaps implied? Denver, you know that city that isn't affected by hurricanes.
Hinkenlooper also noted he released 22 years of tax returns.
8:35p.m.: Veterans Administration Secretary Eric Shinseki says "No president since Franklin Delano Roosevelt has done more for veterans."
8:26p.m.: Rep. Steny Hoyer calls Paul Ryan his friend, but he sounds more like a frenemy.
"My friend Paul Ryan talks about fiscal responsibility, but voted to put two wars on the credit card. He voted to spend trillions of dollars on tax cuts for millionaires and billionaires. He voted for a prescription drug benefit with no plan to pay for it. He abandoned the bipartisan principle that we must pay for what we buy.
And he voted against the balanced deficit reduction plan produced by a bipartisan commission—a fact, by the way, that he didn't tell us in his speech last week."
8:22p.m.: Kathleen Parker tweets an outfit that combines pride for America, Obama, and Ole Miss. Does this count as New South or Old South?
8:18p.m.: Cecile Richards gets huge applause when she mentions her mother, the late Ann Richards, who was governor of Texas.
8:12p.m.: Libby Bruce tells the story of how doctors wouldn't believe her when she complained of abdominal pain until she went to Planned Parenthood [cheers] gave her "respectful" care [more cheers]. The condescending doctor seems like a good way to frame the Planned Parenthood funding debate to reach a broader audience. Who hasn't been told an arm injury is just a sprain so quit whining like a wuss, only to get an X-ray and be told it's broken and you'll never straighten your arm again? That can't be just me.
8:00p.m.: And now for a musical interlude from the God's Appointed People Choir.
7:50p.m.: Johanny Adames, a student at Miami Dade, makes the case for Pell grants. She became a citizen this year:
7:39p.m.: The Democrats bring out a whole bunch of their famous Senate ladies -- Kirsten Gillibrand, Debbie Stabenow, Diane Feinsten, Amy Klobuchar, Patty Murray, Barbara Boxer, Jeanne Shaheen. The famous ladies who made it to the convention, that is -- Sen. Claire McCaskill stayed home. Here's Barbara Mikulski, who enters like a champ with great big hair.
Like the Republicans, the Democrats are working really hard to remind women how much they love them. From Mikulski's speech:
"The women of the Senate are like the U.S. Olympic team: we come in different sizes, but we sure are united in our determination to do the best for our country! … We work on macro issues and macaroni and cheese issues. When women are in the halls of power, our national debate reflects the needs and dreams of American families."
7:24p.m.: House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi speaks. She tells the audience to go to the polls and "Vote for Medicare. Vote for President Barack Obama."
"Republicans like John Boehner and Mitch McConnell," Politico's Charles Mahtesian writes. "But Democrats love Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid." Here is Pelosi, being loved:
7:15p.m.: It's not just that these glasses are patriotic, it's that they're heart-shaped and they light up.
(Photo via Reuters.)
7:05p.m.: Olympic champion Gabby Douglas led the crowd in the pledge of allegiance. I am hoping she will make a surprise second appearance later tonight and do an Amanar off the podium.
(Photo via Reuters.)