Political Wire has reactions to Bill Clinton’s speech at the convention last night — all positive:
Bill Clinton gave an extraordinary speech at the Democratic National Convention last night.
Andrew Sullivan: “I never liked Clinton but it is now pure churlishness to cavil at his remarkable skills. He is able to reach middle class voters with clear argument, grasp of detail and narration of history that very few others can. If Obama has said that his main failing in this campaign is that he hasn’t told the story of the past few years well enough, then it is surely fitting that it was the husband of his former rival and former president Bill Clinton who finally told that story.”
Howard Kurtz: “Whether out of conviction or political convenience, Clinton demonstrated anew a skill that Obama barely possesses, to translate complex policy arguments into simple human terms. And his starpower also guaranteed maximum media attention on the evening after Michelle Obama drew praise for her highly personal speech.”
Chris Cillizza: “He was the explainer-in-chief without seeming too preachy. He was full of Southern aphorisms without being hokey. And, perhaps most importantly of all, Clinton was quite clearly having a very good time — and he let it show. He adlibbed. He played with the crowd. He smiled and laughed. And, yes, he went on a little too long. But, if you are a student of campaign politics — like we are — what you watched tonight was the work of someone with massive natural ability in the political arena.”
And some reactions collected by Andrew Sullivan:
Matt Latimer: Here’s why I think Bill Clinton’s speech was successful. For all of his tortured arguments and wonky, ponderous asides, Bill Clinton made a substantive case. He dealt with facts and statistics. He made points and then explained why he made them. He had details. Boy, did he have details. In short, he did what almost no one at the Republican convention tried to do, what few conventions bother to do anymore. He treated the American people like thinking human beings.
Daniel Larison: [H]e gave the sort of speech that Ryanmaniacs might have once imagined that Ryan would deliver and the sort that some Romney supporters still imagine Romney is capable of giving. Romney-Ryan was supposed to be the presidential ticket of the “data-driven” manager and his budget wonk sidekick, and between the absence of any significant policy discussion last week and what happened tonight that has lost all credibility.
Alex Castellanos claims the Clinton speech “will be the moment that probably reelected Barack Obama.”
Noah Millman: [W]hat I’m most impressed by is that Clinton really did seem like the elder statesman of the party. He’s replaced Ted Kennedy. This speech was “about him” only in the sense that you could never forget who was giving the speech. Clinton himself never became a distraction.
Jonathan Cohn pinpoints Clinton’s strongest arguments: You can take real issue with Clinton’s claim that Obama did all that he could to create jobs. You can’t really argue that Romney, who’s never put forward a plan for short-term job growth, would do more. You can quibble with Clinton’s suggestion that Obama has focused enough on the deficit. You can’t really suggest Romney, whose own budget plan is the stuff of fantasy, is more serious about it. You can disagree with Clinton’s argument that Obama has reached across the aisle. You can’t suggest, with a straight face, that Romney and the Republicans ever had the slightest interest in compromise.