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What Bill Clinton did for Obama
How much the former president helped Obama by saying he's ready to lead
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ill Clinton has done it again, said David Maraniss in The Washington Post. The former president “always finds a path to redemption when he is down,” and his speech at the Democratic convention (New York Times video) lifted everyone—Bill, Hillary, and also Barack Obama—after a bruising primary. And by linking his own presidency to the prospect of a “President Obama,” it was “as though he were finally, after months of reserve and hotheadedness, giving the new kid his blessing.”

That wasn’t “Crazy Bill, the red-faced Rageaholic” we saw so frequently during the primaries, said Peggy Noonan in The Wall Street Journal. “This was Deft Political Pro Bill doing what no one had been able to do up to this point at the convention, and that is make the case for Barack Obama” by lambasting his foe and arguing why Obama is “the right man for the job.”

It wasn’t a very convincing argument, said Michael Graham in National Review’s The Corner blog. Absent any real evidence that Obama is ready to lead, Clinton's reasoning was that we should believe him because, as a former president, he knows. “What he showed tonight is that even one of the best salesmen in the Democratic Party can't make the case for President Obama.”

Bill Clinton arguably did a better job than Hillary did the night before, said Adam Nagourney in The New York Times, in explaining why her primary supporters should rally behind Obama. But for all the good he might have done for the candidate, the speech did mark the second straight night that the Clintons, not Obama, were “the face of what was supposed to be Obama’s convention.”

The Clintons have done their bit, said Roger Simon in Politico. Now, if they want to help Obama as much as they say they do, “one of the greatest contributions they can make is to leave the spotlight. There can be only one nominee.”

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