Expect empathy, not shockers, in Clinton keynote

Former President Bill Clinton is set to deliver the keynote address tonight at the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte, NC. Don't expect him to say anything shocking, despite a slew of reminders on the web about the 2007-2008 feud between the Clintons and the Obamas.

Former President Bill Clinton is set to deliver the keynote address tonight at the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte, NC. Don't expect him to say anything shocking, despite a slew of reminders on the web about the 2007-2008 feud between the Clintons and the Obamas.

For one, it's unlikely the former president would do anything to diminish his wife's chances at the presidency if she chooses to run again in 2016. She'd have a better chance against an untested Republican standard-bearer than an incumbent President Romney. And most of Clinton's gaffes – saying Romney had a “stellar” business career – have taken place during interviews, not on stage.

Clinton, who is riding a 66% approval rating, will do what he's always done well: break down complex issues into easy-to-understand language that voters can comprehend without a degree in law or economics. Expect Clinton's trademark empathy and analogies to describe his take on what a Romney Administration would mean for target voter groups like middle-class Americans and minorities.

The former president will also be up against the New York Giants and Dallas Cowboys, who will kick off the National Football League season on Wednesday night in a nationally televised game.

Clinton will follow Elizabeth Warren, the Democratic candidate for Scott Brown's Massachusetts Senate seat. Brown has pulled ahead of Warren in the hotly contested race.

What to watch on day two of the Democratic National Convention:

Who's not there
Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, who has approval ratings to rival those of her husband, was in China this week and is not scheduled to attend the convention. Popular New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo is also staying out of the spotlight during the event. And former Vice President Al Gore will be in New York with his Current TV network. A week after Clint Eastwood's appearance at the Republican National Convention was widely mocked, will the Democrats try a surprise guest of their own? My guess is no.

The 2016 race
Top 2016 Democratic contenders Deval Patrick and Martin O'Malley spoke on Monday night, and Patrick's address scored higher with pundits than that of the ambitious Maryland governor. Of course, that's not the end of the world. Critics pounced on Bill Clinton after a long-winded speech at the 1988 Democratic National Convention only got a rise from the crowd after he said “in closing.”

Taking it inside
The Democrats will move Obama's Thursday acceptance speech indoors due to the chance of poor weather. Republicans contend that Team Obama made the move because it can't fill the seats in Bank of America Stadium, which is home to the NFL's Carolina Panthers. Regardless of motive, it's a smart move. A rain-soaked, mildly enthused crowd – or anything less than a sell-out – at Obama's address would have been an optical disaster for his campaign.

Watching the clock
Eastwood's longer-than-expected speech at the Republican National Convention in Tampa pushed Mitt Romney's address into the 11 pm hour last Thursday. Expect the Democrats to try to avoid the same problem – a tough task considering the last-minute change in venue.

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