Charlotte: Emphatically endorsing Barack Obama for a second term, charismatic former US president Bill Clinton on Wednesday night made a passionate plea to voters to renew the contract of the incumbent, who was cool on the outside but "burns for America" inside.
The two-time President, who is still hugely popular among Americans, shared the dais with Obama on the second day of the Democratic National Convention here and formally nominated him as the party candidate for the November 06 polls, saying he needed four more years to clean up the "mess" left behind by the Republicans.
"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," Clinton, formerly one of Obama's most bitter critics in the Democratic party, said in a spirited endorsement of the President.
"I want Barack Obama to be the next President of the United States and I proudly nominate him to the standard bearer of the Democratic Party," Clinton said.
In his 48-minute rousing prime-time speech, he said, "If you renew the President's contract, you will feel it.".
Lending his dazzle to the President's re-election efforts, Clinton, speaking directly to the American electorate, said he believes "with all my heart" that Obama was leading a remarkable, if incomplete, revival.
"In Tampa the Republican argument against the President's re-election was pretty simple: We left him a total mess, he hasn't finished cleaning it up yet, so fire him and put us back in," he said, referring to last week's Republican National Convention in Florida.
"We are going to keep President Obama on the job!"
Clinton said amidst laud applause and cheers from the audience.
The former President emphatically answered Obama's Republican rival Mitt Romney's question "are you better off", which the former Massachusetts governor had posed to voters at last week's Republican convention.
"Are we where we want to be today? No. Is the President satisfied? Of course not. But are we better off than we were when he took office?" Clinton asked.
After a resounding "yes" from the crowd, he echoed: "The answer is yes."
Clinton said Obama started with a much weaker economy than he did. "No president, not me or any of my predecessors, could have repaired all the damage in just four years. But conditions are improving and if you'll renew the President's contract you will feel it. I believe that with all my heart," the master orator said.
He also had a word of praise for his wife, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, who was not present at the convention.
"I'm so proud of her and grateful to our entire national security team for all they've done to make us safer and stronger and to build a world with more partners and fewer enemies," the former President said.
Clinton's nomination of 51-year-old Obama as the Democratic candidate was approved by the party's delegates at the convention.
Obama, who is running neck-to-neck with Romney in the opinion polls, political pundits say, is banking on Clinton to give him the much needed edge over his Republican rival in the days to come.
Clinton is still considered the most popular Democratic leader with his approval rating above 70 percent.
First Published: Thursday, September 06, 2012, 09:48