PHILADELPHIA, Pa. — Former president Bill Clinton delivered a long, rambling speech at the Democratic convention Tuesday night, apparently failing to consistently fire up the crowd despite his reputation as a great orator.
Clinton gave a long-winded recitation of wife Hillary’s early resume. His speech was supposed to start at 10 PM but he was a few minutes late. By 10:30, he was only at 1982 in his discursive story, at the point when he got re-elected again after losing the 1980 gubernatorial race. Then he moved on to a case Hillary worked in 1983.
By 10:36 PM, he was on to 1987, when he took the first of multiple petty shots at Newt Gingrich, who was one of the few political figures he cited in his autobiographical recollections.
He finally got to 1997, the year daughter Chelsea Clinton went off to college, and he told an anecdote about setting up her college dorm room, which is already a well-entrenched piece of publicly available Clinton family mythology just like his story about meeting Hillary at the law library, which he also recounted in his speech.
Amid the meandering autobiography, Clinton offered a few attempts to justify his wife on policy.
“She put climate change at the center of our foreign policy,” Bill Clinton boasted, which he apparently thinks is a good thing.
He said that there are two Hillarys: “One is real and the other is made up. You just have to decide which one is which, my fellow Americans.”
“The real one calls you when you’re sick, when your kid’s in trouble, or when there’s a death in the family….earlier today, you nominated the real one,” he said.
The former president also defended his wife’s carpetbagging in winning the 2000 New York Senate election.
“We’d always intended to go to New York [after he left office]…so she decided to give it a try,” Clinton said. “After a tough battle New York elected her to the seat once held by another outsider, Robert Kennedy.”
Perhaps he considers “outsider” another term for “carpetbagger.”
“Speeches like this are fun,” Clinton said.
He signed off before 11 PM.