CHARLOTTE, N.C. – Former President Bill Clinton still feels your pain.
Before a roaring crowd at the Democratic National Convention, Clinton laid out his case for President Barack Obama's re-election Wednesday night, urging the country to stick with Obama and reject the arguments Republicans made at their convention last week in Florida.
“In Tampa, the Republican argument against the president's re-election was actually pretty simple, pretty snappy. It went something like this: We left a total mess; he can't clean it up fast enough, so fire him, and put us back in,” Clinton said.
As many other speakers at the Democratic convention have done this week, Clinton said he knows too many people are still living through hard times.
“I get it. I know. I've been there,” Clinton said.
But he said 4.5 million private-sector jobs have been added under Obama, and he urged people to give Obama more time.
“No one could have repaired all the damage he found in just four years,” Clinton said.
Clinton's presidency enjoyed a long expansion that ended when the technology stock bubble popped. Democrats in the arena viewed his eight years in the White House as the glory days. An introductory video had the washed-out look of an old family video, and Clinton strolled triumphantly onto the stage to the tune of his old campaign song, Fleetwood Mac's “Don't Stop.”
The loud cheers during Clinton's 50-minute speech got even louder when he finished and Obama came out onto the stage and the two presidents hugged.
After defending Obama, Clinton launched into an attack on the Republican ticket of Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan, saying they lived in an “alternate universe” where people are completely self-made.
“We believe that 'we're all in this together' is a far better philosophy than 'you're on your own,'” Clinton said.
Clinton knocked Ryan for the Wisconsin congressman's criticism of Obama for cutting $716 billion from Medicare. In fact, Clinton said, there were no benefit cuts, just cuts to insurance company subsidies, and Ryan relied on the same subsidy cuts in his budget.
“You know, I'll give him one thing. It takes some brass to attack a guy for doing what you did,” Clinton said.
On the campaign trail in Iowa, Ryan sought to draw a distinction between Clinton and Obama.
“President Clinton worked with Republicans in Congress to have a budget agreement to cut spending. President Obama, a gusher of new spending,” Ryan said.
[email protected] The Associated Press contributed to this report.