Bill Clinton stepped up to the stage at the Democratic National Convention last night, raised his index finger and confirmed the winds have changed. The former president delivered a lengthy but captivating speech that reminded Americans why he still mesmerizes audiences when he speaks.
Clinton veered off-script throughout the 48.46-minute speech, but no one can accuse Arkansas' favorite "country boy" of being short on substance. Even his political opponents were awestruck by the former commander-in-chief's staying power and ability to "wonk" deep into the sand dunes of public-policy details without losing the attention of live audiences.
Conservative commentator Alex Castellanos was so uncharacteristically overwhelmed by Clinton's nominating speech, afterward he declared on CNN: "This will be the moment that probably reelected Barack Obama."
Here is the text to Clinton's speech at the DNC on Sept. 5. For the audio, check out NPR.org.
Related: Bill Clinton Argues Case for Obama's 2nd Term
Transcript of Bill Clinton's speech
We're here to nominate a President, and I've got one in mind.
I want to nominate a man whose own life has known its fair share of adversity and uncertainty. A man who ran for President to change the course of an already weak economy and then just six weeks before the election, saw it suffer the biggest collapse since the Great Depression. A man who stopped the slide into depression and put us on the long road to recovery, knowing all the while that no matter how many jobs were created and saved, there were still millions more waiting, trying to feed their children and keep their hopes alive.
I want to nominate a man cool on the outside but burning for America on the inside. A man who believes we can build a new American Dream economy driven by innovation and creativity, education and cooperation. A man who had the good sense to marry Michelle Obama.
I want Barack Obama to be the next President of the United States and I proudly nominate him as the standard bearer of the Democratic Party.
In Tampa, we heard a lot of talk about how the President and the Democrats don't believe in free enterprise and individual initiative, how we want everyone to be dependent on the government, how bad we are for the economy.
The Republican narrative is that all of us who amount to anything are completely self-made. One of our greatest Democratic Chairmen, Bob Strauss, used to say that every politician wants you to believe he was born in a log cabin he built himself, but it ain't so.
We Democrats think the country works better with a strong middle class, real opportunities for poor people to work their way into it and a relentless focus on the future, with business and government working together to promote growth and broadly shared prosperity. We think "we're all in this together" is a better philosophy than "you're on your own."
Who's right? Well since 1961, the Republicans have held the White House 28 years, the Democrats 24. In those 52 years, our economy produced 66 million private sector jobs. What's the jobs score? Republicans 24 million, Democrats 42 million!
It turns out that advancing equal opportunity and economic empowerment is both morally right and good economics, because discrimination, poverty and ignorance restrict growth, while investments in education, infrastructure and scientific and technological research increase it, creating more good jobs and new wealth for all of us.
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