Video of Full Speech: Former President Bill Clinton’s Speech to the 2012 Democratic National Convention

Former President Bill Clinton gave his long-awaited speech to the 2012 Democratic National Convention. It was officially a speech to nominate President Barack Obama for a second run at the top of the Democratic ticket. But before the speech it was felt Bill Clinton had to make the case for Obama, obliterate some of the GOP charges about Obama that used Clinton to supposedly bolster their case, and put into focus his own legacy and the contrast between the Democratic and Republican viewpoints on the economy and important values. Did he deliver?

Many analysts were calling it one of the best and most effective speeches Bill Clinton ever gave. Some GOPers were saying Clinton only proved he was a good story-teller. Watch the full video below for yourself and decide for yourself and feel free to leave your viewpoint in comments:

Here’s the text of his speech.

UPDATE: Here’s a roundup of some links with reaction to Clinton’s speech.

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  • DORIAN DE WIND, Military Affairs Columnist

    Saw it, listened to it, loved it!

    The entire Clinton speech was effective — spectacular is a better word.

    I particularly appreciated his comments on the veracity (non-veracity) of the RR team, which he pretty much demolished with his line — related to the RR team’s claims on welfare work requirements, but which in reality applies to just about everything this team has been touting: “Even his pollster said they are ‘not going to let our campaign be dictated fact-checkers.’ Finally, I can say, that is true.”

    AMEN!

  • bluebelle

    I’m giving Clinton 3 C’s for comprehensive, clear and charismatic. A great inspirational speech with a lot of great analysis as only Bill can give it. The thing I always loved about President Clinton was his sanity– tonight he was never over the top, but had everyone in that audience in his hip pocket.

    I have to admit it was a proud moment to be a Democrat!!

  • StockBoyLA

    Bill Clinton might believe in arithmetic. However his speech doesn’t add up. In BIll’s case, 2+2=5. The speech is much more than the sum of its parts. Fantastic speech! Catchy phrases that will be quoted in the days, weeks, months and even years to come.

  • SteveK

    Via con huevos Señor Romney.

    Admittedly I’m more a progressive liberal than a Democrat but this convention has pulled most of my chimes… Ergo, the Republicans have to be scared.

  • hyperflow

    Why do I still get the feeling that “left” is only left of the far right and not actually “left” at all?

    Clinton deregulated the banks that contributed to the 2008 crash.
    Clinton signed NAFTA
    Clinton signed DMCA
    Obama kept GITMO
    Obama kept patriot act and illegal surveillance programs
    Obama speaks military to hold onto votes

    I hear this all the time “dont blame the democrats for continuing what the republicans started”.
    To which my response is, “why not criticize a terrible idea?”

    And no, I’m not such an idiot as to support Romney / Ryan.
    Romney is a spineless fake at best, an herbey hoover at worst.
    He was nothing like this when he was governor of Massachusetts, my home state.

    I just dont see why I have to find Clinton to be a shining beacon of humanity.
    Yes, he is 100x the leader than the GOP is putting on sale, but what does that mean?
    The GOP is a rotting corpse of a party, moribund and waiting to die a demographic death.
    Does that mean I have to jump up and down to support the democrats?

    Something very messed up here.
    But no to worry. My opinion and vote won’t count in a non-swing-state anyway.

  • StockBoyLA

    Why do I still get the feeling that “left” is only left of the far right and not actually “left” at all?

    Because you’re right on that question.

    I agree with you on some of the six points you bring up about Clinton and Obama.

    However the last point, “Obama speaks military to hold onto votes” I feel that Obama believes in the American military and is not trying to “hold onto votes”. Any man in Obama’s position has fought his way to get there and understands a good offense and a good defense in both getting to that position and holding onto power. Of course Obama didn’t use the military to get where he is…. but the lesson is the same… Obama understands that if America is to remain strong she must have the most powerful military in the world to fight off enemies with weapons. Obama has said he is not against all wars…. just dumb wars. And Obama doesn’t have to “like” war to keep America strong. But he has not flinched in the fight against our enemies. Not all liberals are peaceniks.

    I have mixed feelings about the other points, however I am most disappointed in Obama keeping the Patriot Act and illegal surveillance programs. However I’m not ever going to have a president I agree with 100% of the time and the benefits an Obama presidency brings far outweighs whatever it is that Romney would bring, even if I knew Romney’s plans he is still the worst choice based on his values alone.

  • petew

    Hyperflow,

    I thought Clinton gave one of the best speeches of his life, and, although some of the facts and figures may have included a bit of embellishment, I have no doubt that the fact checkers will affirm most of them.

    I agree that both Clinton and Obama have made mistakes. Clinton actually was instrumental in deregulating the banks during his term. But, my personal opinion is that, much of this was done due to his recognition that he needed to compromise with Republicans in order to get anything done. Consequently, he did leave office with one of the few budget surpluses of our times.

    I also know that Obama is not without fault, but, I think his record clearly indicates that he has sincerely tried to accomplish most of the things he promised.

    His use of drone surveillance to assassinate known terrorists without due process, has been largely criticized by many in his own party, and his failure to close gitmo disappointed many also. However, being an enthusiastic Obama supporter, may I make the following observations;

    1. When drone surveillance is used to target terrorists, an important distinction to make is that the Administration likely has strong intelligence to support the fact that they are KNOWN terrorists and therefore present a clear and Present danger. As a kid did you ever dig the significance of the “wanted dead or alive” posters that were often displayed in post offices around the country? I’m sure the FBI already considered these people guilty and therefore justifiable to oppose with deadly force. Likewise the Obama Administration probably considers it completely justifiable to protect us by eliminating known terrorists without a proper trial. What is more objectionable to me, is the air of secrecy about much of the program–as if the Obama team knows that Americans may not approve of it all.

    2. As far as gitmo is concerned, no one can deny that Obama tried many times to move that facility to mainland America, but was constantly thwarted by strong pubic protests about the safety of citizens in the areas where they might be incarcerated. In the land of the free and the home of the BRAVE, apparently, no one wanted to take the chance that terrorists’s comrades might want revenge and make attacks on their own cities and towns. This, despite that fact that, most areas of the country are already vulnerable to attacks. So,under all of this criticism from the public, and his political opponents, Obama eventually gave up on the idea and let it slide.

    Of course no one expects anyone to approve of Obama or the Democrats just because they admit the shortcomings of Romney and Ryan. But what I thought was one of Clinton’s best statements in his speech involved his simplified version of Republican criticisms. Something like–We made a big mess for you, you didn’t clean it up fast enough, so now we want to get rid of you! I think this is very true. If most people consider where their personal fortunes and security were during the actual time that the recession began–several months before Obama’s inauguration, and then, under the continued influence of the Bush administration for several more month into Obama’s term, I’m sure they will admit that having a long period of slow but steady job growth, is much more preferable than a plummeting economy hemoraging almost 800,000 jobs a month. They should also realize that the Stock market recovered quite quickly, but businessmen still remain reluctant to invest any of the trillions of dollars in assets that they are sitting on towards actually creating jobs. Another question of equal importance to, “are you better off than you were four years ago?” should be, “are you sure that if Obama hadn’t taken the actions that he did, and instead had refused to rescue the banks and the auto industry, as well as failing to inject stimulus money into the economy (25% of which went directly to tax cuts for working people and families) you would still be doing as good as you are doing today?” Considering what has unfolded, I believe it is amazing how effective the President’s actions have been. I also think that any President–Republican or Democrat–would have had to take the same, or similarly extreme actions, to save the economy. And, making the hard choices that Obama did, had nothing to do with the ease of the Monday morning quarterbacking that his opponents continually rely on. When the president made these hard choices he knew that he, and he alone, would be held responsible for them, and no one can convince me that letting the banks and the auto industry fail could have ever been a good thing!

    The speech delivered by Clinton went a long ways towards awakening the appreciation of the American people for just what Democrats have done. The President has had a chance, but, not one that is very fair–at least when you consider the incredible partisanship and political obstructionism he has encountered–as well as a witch hunt full of lies and absurd accusations!

    No one has to jump for joy over Democrats, but please realize that the far right has used an incredibly effective program of lies and false propaganda to obscure what Obama has actually accomplished. He continues to be a far better choice than robber barons like Romney and Ryan!

  • hyperflow

    However I’m not ever going to have a president I agree with 100% of the time and the benefits an Obama presidency brings far outweighs whatever it is that Romney would bring, even if I knew Romney’s plans he is still the worst choice based on his values alone.

    THIS. I understand your position but everything about this is really disturbing to me.
    Why should I not be voting for someone who I really agree with?
    Even if this means rethinking representation, then so be it.
    I would be OK without a president — in all likelihood the concentration of power is probably prohibitive to progress.

    But alas — my points are irrelevant and academic.
    Democracy is only as strong as its educational links.
    ‘Merica has been working double time to remove textbook biology from textbooks and replacing biology with mythical creatures, spagetti monsters, and Orwellian caricatures.

    Being a modern day Republican means you are either a rare species with an informed philosophy — or far more likely — a short-sighted religious fool.

    On balance, I am either more informed or more willing to accept new facts than my republican counterparts.
    But I am not surprised and I have been used to this for >20 years.

    I grew up in this Tea Party zygote years ago, before it even had a name, back when it was just christian zealots and their political crusades. I’m ashamed to say it was even more arrogant and ignorant then. Can you imagine such a thing?

    When Tea Party discovered its name it was like fight club — they would fight to the death to repeat the same slogans mantra like without question. You all have no idea how absolute they are. And by “they” I mean the religious Tea Party — not the inclusive libertarian ideology of Ron Paul. He lost his own idea some time ago when misguided sheep (such as my own mother) bought into any idea that “saves babies, punishes welfare recipients, and proves me special”.

    There is no excuse for the modern day Tea Party and I hope(?) you understand how dangerous their views are.

    Somehow, the stupidity of the Tea Party (which is the new GOP) is supposed to make me vote for Democrats.
    Wow. “Lesser evil” landed us here. And yet lesser evilism is STILL the solution, every election cycle.

    Insanity.

    Worse still — If I say “this is broken” — the implied benefit is for the opposition Tea Party.
    Because somehow being “against this” means “for opposition”.

    Summary: Tea Party. Possibly good idea in Ron Paul’s vision, but doesn’t matter after enough religious whack jobs selectively twisted the message. Somehow this means I am supposed to support the democratic party. I want to participate, but all I can think of is to vote NO.

  • hyperflow

    @petew

    His use of drone surveillance to assassinate known terrorists without due process, has been largely criticized by many in his own party, and his failure to close gitmo disappointed many also.

    Just listen to this idea : killer drone machines. When the hell did this become OK?
    Am I the only one who thinks killer drone machines is the worst idea since nukes?
    I’m not joking. What the hell are we doing? I’m not OK with this, at all.
    I am wrapping up a PhD in machine learning — known in media as “artificial intelligence”.
    There are errors. Period. Recognize the wrong face. Hacked by the enemy.
    All sorts of things that do not add up to DUE PROCESS.

    As far as gitmo is concerned, no one can deny that Obama tried many times to move that facility to mainland America, but was constantly thwarted by strong pubic protests about the safety of citizens in the areas where they might be incarcerated.

    That set of “brass” balls that Clinton mentioned, does Obama have them?
    This is clearly unpredicented, illegal, extra-judicial level danger play.
    The president does not need to play patty-cake bakers-man with the public.
    He has a damn law degree, SHUT IT DOWN, MOVE IT, OR LET THEM HAVE A FAIR TRIAL.
    Violating international and national laws of detention WILL HAVE CONSEQUENCES.
    Pathetic.

    AGAIN: this is not an argument in favor of Romney/Ryan.
    I wont even entertain talking about how pathetic Romney/Ryan are.
    The fact that they are even on a main ticket is a testament to how broken the path of “lesser evilism” truly is.

    GROW A SET AND DO THE RIGHT THING.
    Illegal detention is illegal.
    If you are the president, shut it down or give them fair trial.
    You have a law degree from Harvard, how much more qualified can you be to make it happen?
    DO THE RIGHT THING OBAMA. FIX GITMO, even though it was your inheritance and not your making.

  • DaGoat

    Apologizing for getting off track, but the problem with Gitmo is not so much its physical location, it’s the indefinite detention. That’s something that Obama could have taken the lead on solving, but instead embraced the concept.

    I have not been able to watch the whole speech yet, but seeing Clinton always reminds me that Clinton makes great speeches and is an effective leader, while Obama makes great speeches.

  • http://www.americaincontext.com Barky

    Hyperflow, although I suspect we are on different sides of the political spectrum, I am with you on both drones and Gitmo. We are WRONG on these items.

    War without consequences is an abomination. That is what the pilotless drones represent.

    A nation with selective justice (“justice for us but not for you”) is not a just nation at all.

    These should be standards upon which ALL Americans. The fact that we don’t means we’ve gone well past partisan foolishness and into societal rot.

  • http://www.americaincontext.com Barky

    That last paragraph should read:

    These should be standards upon which ALL Americans should agree. The fact that we don’t means we’ve gone well past partisan foolishness and into societal rot.

  • petew

    Hyperflow,

    There is no doubt that drone attacks represent one of Obama’s contradictions between words and deeds. They do result in the unwanted and unplanned deaths of innocent civilians and, they do involve devastating examples of human error.

    If there is any leeway granted to the Obama Administration, it would come in terms of having sympathy for the Devil. In this respect I feel that even Bush and his “enhanced interrogations” double-speak, came from the same type of administrative hysteria that any administration would feel about preventing horrific terrorist attacks during its own watch.

    After 911 politicians and civilians alike have been in an understandable,and extended period of shock. Even though I detest the policies of GW Bush’s administration, some of them are understandable considering the human tendency to react to extreme situations, with extreme types of preventative measures.

    Imagine if you will, that, you or I or anyone for that matter, were in the oval office with the relatively fresh image of the twin towers collapsing and trapped Americans jumping from the higher floors in order to escape being burned to death! it would be natural to respond to such a threat with extreme actions, that don’t always involve the ingredient of human justice.

    Although on principle, both Bush and Obama are guilty of denying due process, and I do hold them responsible, I can empathize even with Bush’s extreme actions
    if I imagine myself in the oval office, and personally responsible for not letting another massive terrorist attack happen.

    So by having sympathy for the devil, I mean that even extreme actions are sometimes understandable–perhaps not legal, but understandable. Obama may be culpable in regards to our drone attacks, but I am willing to cut him some slack for being only human. He is still the best of two solutions, or two evils, as you say, and I will definitely cast my vote for Democrats.

  • slamfu

    There are several things I could take the President to task for. The problem is, his opponent isn’t going to do anything about them either. Romney won’t close Gitmo, he won’t reign in the financial sector, he won’t repeal the suspension of Habeus Corpus under the Defense Act. So I am forced into looking at the places where these two men actually differ and have to base my vote on that. Long story short, Romney seems to think that Herbert Hoover was a great guy and wants to relive his administration despite the economic shot across the bow that was 2008. Obama is by far the lesser of two evils.

  • hyperflow

    @petew, @barky, @slamfu

    When I read these lines I’m convinced that there is a better way.

    After 911 politicians and civilians alike have been in an understandable,and extended period of shock

    A nation with selective justice (“justice for us but not for you”) is not a just nation at all.

    So I am forced into looking at the places where these two men actually differ and have to base my vote on that

    I would rather spend our efforts re-imagining how modern day democracies can function in an informed way that actually reflects the LONG TERM will of the people. While the challenge is HARD, *certainly* playing ping pong between a ass and an elephant is a waste of effort

  • petew

    Hyperflow,

    You are absolutely correct that the present political scene is almost entirely corrupt with power plays, grandstanding, and unlimited money for political campaigns. However, in my last post I was not attempting to exonerate corrupt actions on the parts of our leaders, I was only trying to understand them. However I do think that Republicans have clearly outdone everyone else at using money, propaganda, and power plays. Although Obama also has super-packs, and corporate donors, I get the feeling that he is someone who is more likely to use reason and convictions to try and change (even minutely) the political malaise settling on the backs of ordinary American people and exacerbating way politics works in DC.

    If you are suggesting that you won’t vote at all, I think that it’s a cop-out. If you don’t vote at all, then absolutely nothing (even minutely) will ever happen or change.

    We as an electorate, need to focus on (as you apparently agree)really seeking valid information from independent sources and not, continuing to believe only what is more convenient and less of an intellectual challenge. In that sense, I see that President Obama’s HAS had his chance but NOT a fair one–being obstructed, and viciously lied about in everything he has tried. Clinton’s simplification of Republican logic is absolutely correct as far as I’m concerned: Republicans left us a horrible mess, they said, you’re not cleaning it up fast enough, so, put US back in charge! I heard a similar evaluation delivered by a Democratic politician, on an episode of the PBS coverage of the convention. He said: Its like we were on the Titanic and hit an iceberg. Then when we make it to the life boats, and safely row halfway to shore, we say, “your not getting there fast enough,” and we ask to be taken back to the sinking ship!

    This is exactly the strategy that Republicans are using to sway voters, and their insistence on hogging nearly all of the wealth our country for a few in the upper percentages of income earners, is the equivalent catching them red-handed, while committing an act of treason! Because they use and pervert our system to do it!

    I personally am willing to look the other way when it comes to the sins of Democrats. This coming election is so important, I just don’t care if Dems and Republicans are both involved in corruption. I am absolutely sure that, the only way we stand even a chance at changing our system at all, lies in the possibility of electing Democrats!