Wednesday's convention programming followed Tuesday's standard script: red meat for the base in the early hours, capped off with a slightly sweeter offering in prime time for independent consumption.
But there was nothing routine about Bill Clinton's speech. The 48-minute address - nearly 3,200 words of prepared text and a thousand more of classic Clinton riffs - checked off nearly every item on the Obama campaign's wish list:
• Appeal to the persuadable who cite bipartisanship as a key quality: Clinton praised Eisenhower. He quoted Reagan. He even got an arena-full of loyal Democrats to cheer George W. Bush.
"Through my foundation, in America and around the world, I work with Democrats, Republicans and independents who are focused on solving problems and seizing opportunities, not fighting each other," Clinton said. "When times are tough, constant conflict may be good politics but in the real world, cooperation works better."
Anderson Cooper asks Paul Begala, David Gergen, Alex Castellanos and Gloria Borger for their reaction to Bill Clinton's speech at the DNC.
Anderson Cooper talks to Ari Fleischer and Cornell Belcher about Bill Clinton apologizing for comments about tax cuts.
(CNN) - It's been a long time since U.S. Rep. Kendrick Meek and former President Clinton met at the Suwanee Swifty store in Tallahassee, Florida.
Clinton, during his 1992 presidential bid, needed to make a stop for deodorant after landing at the airport. Meek, then a state trooper, was assigned to Clinton's detail and accompanied the Arkansas governor.
It's a visit both would remember for a long time - and something that would solidify a friendship lasting nearly two decades.
Tom Foreman | BIO
[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2010/POLITICS/07/15/bill.clinton.campaigning/t1larg.billclintonmic.gi.jpg caption="Nothing helps an elected leader more than someone else who has been there/done that and is not afraid to lend a little muscle of experience." width=300 height=169]
My older brother was outrageously tough when we were growing up. He never looked for a fight, but he never walked away from one either. And he never lost. Accordingly, I did not worry when the school toughs were trolling the halls for someone to slap around. The risk of running afoul of “mon grand frère,” kept them at bay. Of course, his protection would have been unnecessary if I just avoided throwing around French class phrases like Urkel on his way to chess club, but you get my point: Having a big brother can be good.
And what’s true in Junior High is true in politics, too. Nothing helps an elected leader more than someone else who has been there/done that and is not afraid to lend a little muscle of experience. That’s why Bill Clinton is hanging around the White House these days.
This week it was for a meeting with the bully boys of Wall Street. As President Obama and Vice President Biden sat down to talk job creation with the business community, there was former President Clinton lurking in the corner; ready to pat shoulders or twist arms, and bring a little of that “uh oh, the guy who knows what’s what is here” quality.
As my colleague, CNN correspondent Dan Lothian noted, the former prez is also working the campaign trail for Congressional candidates more than expected; a move that helps the sitting president if they win, and helps just as much if they lose by keeping President Obama clear of the collapse.
And on it goes. From demanding more help for Haiti from the world community, to rescuing those two journalists from North Korea, the former president has stepped up time and again to crack his knuckles over White House efforts.
President Clinton plays all this casually, as if he’s just pitching in to help a neighbor put up a fence. The White House Press Office plays it all down. Their line goes something like, “Sure, he’s a valuable asset and we appreciate all he does, but you know we could do all this without him. Really. Seriously.”
But you know, it just seems like they protest too much. When it comes to the White House, Big Brother is not just watching these days; he’s hanging around the water fountain, and heading off trouble on an increasingly regular basis.
CNN Senior White House Correspondent
[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2010/POLITICS/07/13/obama.clinton/story.obama.clinton.afp.gi.jpg caption="The White House wants to use Bill Clinton in key states where President Obama is not particularly popular, officials said." width=300 height=169]
Facing a bruising midterm election in less than four months, President Barack Obama's aides are putting together an aggressive schedule to deploy former President Bill Clinton at campaign and fund-raising events in key states around the country, according to Democratic officials familiar with the plans.
"It's a no-brainer you would use one of the most talented politicians the country has ever had," said one Democratic official familiar with the discussions. "There are few as good at laying out the contrast with Republicans."
There has been speculation Clinton might not be used that frequently because of lingering frostiness between the two presidents dating to the divisive days of the 2008 campaign. But the two camps tried to put any such tension to rest in recent weeks at a quiet White House meeting between Clinton aide Doug Band and White House Political Director Patrick Gaspard, according to officials familiar with the discussions.