6 Sep 2012

Clinton praises Obama's economic record

6:29 pm on 6 September 2012

Bill Clinton has made a powerful case for the re-election of Barack Obama at the Democratic Party Convention in North Carolina.

The former US president on Wednesday formally nominated Mr Obama as the party's candidate in the presidential election on 6 November.

Mr Clinton praised Mr Obama's economic record, saying that just six weeks before his election in 2008 the American economy suffered its biggest collapse since the Great Depression.

He told the packed convention centre that Mr Obama had stopped the slide to recession and put the country on the road to recovery and would create millions of jobs in the future, the BBC reports.

"I want to nominate a man who's cool on the outside, but who burns for America on the inside. I want a man who belives with no doubt that we can build a new dream economy driven by innovation and creativity, by education and by cooperation."

In a reference to a speech made by Barack Obama's wife at the convention on Tuesday, Mr Clinton said: "After last night, I want a man who had the good sense to marry Michelle Obama", drawing a huge response from the crowd who clapped and cheered.

Mr Clinton offered a lengthy defence of Mr Obama's record, attacking Republicans for blocking further progress on the economic recovery and getting deep into the detail of policy debates.

"In order to look like an acceptable, moderate alternative to President Obama, they couldn't say much about the ideas they have offered over the last two years," he said, referring to the Republican convention in Florida a week ago.

Bill Clinton argued that Barack Obama's economic policies on taking office had prevented further collapse and begun the recovery, but said he knew that many Americans were not feeling it yet.

He compared Mr Obama's experience to his own first term in office, when "our policies were working and the economy was growing but most people didn't feel it yet".

"No president - not me or any of my predecessors - could have repaired all the [2008] damage in just four years. But conditions are improving and if you'll renew the president's contract you will feel it."

Mr Clinton's speech is being seen as the high point of a revitalised relationship between the two presidents and as an attempt to boost Mr Obama's appeal with white working-class voters, the BBC reports.

Polls show these traditional Democratic voters are wary of Mr Obama, but Mr Clinton has a strong record in winning their support.