On September 5th 2012, former president Bill Clinton stepped on stage to address citizens at the Democratic National Convention and countless other Americans watching from home. Clinton’s speech took place prior to the Republican National Convention, and responds to many of the misleading claims that were made there. Clinton’s clear goal and objective is to inform and educate the American voters as to why he believes Barak Obama should be re-elected as opposed to Governor Romney. In doing this he not only gives the facts, but cements his ethos by referencing his own presidency and letting his record speak for itself on issues such as; jobs, the economy, healthcare, and even the constant bickering between parties.
Clinton instantly dives in by pointing out the major flaw in politics: the fighting between parties. “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 with each other.” (Clinton 1) “Though I often disagree with Republicans, I never learned to hate them the way the far right that now controls their party seems to hate President Obama and the Democrats.” (Clinton 2) What Clinton does in this passage is put the constant fighting between parties in perspective. He has worked with Republicans before and after his presidency and gives credibility to the idea the compromising is possible. I think that in talking about how his foundation’s focus is “on solving problems and seizing opportunities, his is connecting to the everyday, average American who is tired of corruption and lack work being done by both sides.
To further this argument he throws out a quote made by Reagan and even gets an applause for Bush by stating, “I worked with President George Hw.W. Bush on national education goals and am grateful to President George W. Bush for his efforts and work with PEPFAR” which is an organization that saves millions of lives in poor countries.” (Clinton 2) By referencing his republican predecessors he not only shows goodwill, but that he and other Democrats are willing to do something the Republicans aren’t; compromise. Before even speaking a word I held this man to great admiration and respect.
The opinions that I already had of Clinton were based on the fact that I was a 90’s baby and grew up during his presidency. The economy was booming and both my parents had steady, good paying jobs like many other American’s. Its these economic times that produced four surplus budgets to which the former president references by saying, “People ask me all the time how we delivered four surplus budgets. What new ideas did we bring? I always give a one work answer: arithmetic.” (Clinton 6)
This leads to the thought that it could happen again if only republicans would do the math. This insinuation also invokes many questions regarding the republican’s validity. Can their word be held truthful? In today’s politics it’s getting harder to tell. Taking this into account, Clinton does an excellent job as painting himself as the “truth teller”, and uses hints of logos to even further his ethos by using data and statistics. Clinton’s strongest and most powerful moment comes when he delivers a moment of silence to get people to listen and to signify that something important was about to be said, and there was. “I experienced the same thing in 1994 and early 1995. Our policies were working and the economy was growing but most people didn’t feel it yet. By 1996, the economy was roaring, halfway through the longest peacetime expansion in American history. President Obama started with a much weaker economy then I did when I came into office.
No president- no 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.” (Clinton 3) I believe that this statement alone helps persuade people in favor of Obama and gives really great insight to voters of the severity of the job he inherited due to the short comings of The Bush administration and republican policy. Clinton faced the difficult task of going before the American people and addressing one by one all the claims made against Barak Obama at the Republican National Convention. To wind down his speech he uses the typical presidential line “my fellow Americans you have to decide what kind of country you want to live in.
If you want a you’re on your own, winner take all society you should support the Republican ticket. If you want a country of shared opportunities and shared responsibilities- a “we’re all in it together” society, you should vote for Barak Obama and Joe Biden.” (Clinton 6) He uses the term “ my fellow Americans” to place himself as one of the people and not above them. This shows one of the many reasons why he is so relatable to the average person.
There is no doubt that the role of president is the most powerful position that one person can hold, but with that title comes a great amount of responsibility and at times a certain kind of loneliness that nobody could possibly understand. In saying this I don’t think there could have been anyone better to argue Obama’s case then someone who has held the position and someone who is probably the most popular president of our time. While many may still be on the fence on who they should vote for, but my opinion is that if he is good enough for Bill Clinton then he is good enough for me.
Clinton, Bill. “Democratic Nation Convention Speech”, ABC News: ABC news corp., September 5, 2012. Web.
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