There was a reason that former President Bill Clinton spoke last night at the Democratic Convention instead of introducing President Obama tonight, Yahoo! News political columnist Jeff Greenfield says.
Clinton's speaking skills are so prodigious that he might have upstaged the president.
And in his 50-minute speech last night, Clinton certainly reminded the country why he was elected President twice in the 1990s.
Embellishing heavily on his prepared remarks, Clinton made the speech the Democrats have been waiting for someone to make, Greenfield says -- a speech that the Democrats needed to make.
Clinton went into deep detail on many policy issues, rebutting most of the Republican attacks against Obama as he went. But unlike many policy wonks, he did so in a way that remained accessible to ordinary Americans.
He poked at Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan without hauling off and trashing them, the way some other Democratic speakers have. In one of the biggest applause lines, Clinton complimented Paul Ryan for having the "brass" to criticize Obama for diverting $716 billion from Medicare when, in his own budget, Ryan had done exactly the same thing.
Overall, Clinton made the best case anyone has made to date for why Barack Obama should be reelected. And he did so with a spirit of centrist inclusiveness that has been so lacking in the partisan politics of recent years.
So, what's next?
After President Obama delivers his own speech tonight, what are the key events in the two months leading up to the November election?
There are the debates, obviously. And beyond that, Greenfield says, there's the potential for a "black swan" -- a major unexpected twist that could push the election one way or another.
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