President Bill Clinton, despite some partisan disagreement with policy, was universally lauded Wednesday night after his nomination speech on behalf of President Obama. It was, because of the men's relative disdain for eachother, in many ways a historic moment.
He was wonky, didn't shy away from policy, was defiant of Republican claims without being mean-spirited and painted Obama as a man doing more than enough to turn around a mess that takes more than three years to clear up.
In short, many pundits say Clinton did masterfully in 45 minutes what Obama has been unable to do in his years in office - he communicated vision, goals, challenges and hard realities in his folksy, but knowledgable way. In fact, it had many journalists and political pros asking if maybe Clinton's resounding victory at the podium didn't set Obama with too high a bar in his own speech Thursday night.
What some of the watchers are saying:
- Ezra Klein writes for the Daily Beast Clinton Totally Kills It
- The New Yorker's Ryan Lizza points out the need for Clinton the policy master - and the Democratic Party's mistake in freezing him out as a communicator so long
- Nicholas Kristof writes for The New York Times that Obama's problem all along has been his inability as a communicator
- Jonathan Kohn writes for The New Republic that the speech was all about the substance
- Clinton still has the touch, but will it rub off on Obama? That's the question asked at Real Clear Politics by Carl M. Cannon and Caitlin Huey-Burns
- Jennifer Rubin wrote in The Washington Post that Clinton's appearance only harmed Obama - a reminder of one's strength and the other's weakness
- The Guardian's Gary Younge writes that Clinton gave the speech Obama needed - and maybe couldn't make himself
- Maggie Haberman's piece on Politico points out that Clinton seemed to enjoy himself in a way that Obama never does
And many watchers are asking if the rousing speech, heavy on hope and change, that Obama delivered in Denver in 2008 is within reach again for a president who's taken hits in nearly every pollable area of his tenure in the White House.