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« AK House Race Still Undecided | Blog Home Page | Biden Accepts Veep Nod »

Clinton: Obama "Ready To Be President"

DENVER, Colorado -- Greeted with the the loudest and longest sustained applause of the convention, former President Bill Clinton did his best tonight to put to rest stories of a bitter rivalry between the one-time First Family and Democratic nominee Barack Obama.

Clinton's only regret, he joked, was that he had to follow his wife's speech a day earlier. "In the end, my candidate didn't win. But I'm really proud of the campaign she ran," the former president said. "Last night, Hillary told us in no uncertain terms that she'll do everything she can to elect Barack Obama. That makes two of us."

Too, Clinton filled in a blank his wife left out the night before and sought to distance his earlier criticism of the Democratic nominee. "Barack Obama is ready to lead America and restore American leadership in the world. Barack Obama is ready to honor the oath to preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States," he said. "Barack Obama is ready to be President of the United States."

The Democrat had already passed his first presidential test, Clinton said, in naming Delaware Senator Joe Biden as his vice presidential running mate. "He hit it out of the park," Clinton said of Obama's selection.

Clinton has been a headache for the Obama campaign, making headlines as late as this week when, at an event in Denver, he said a candidate who can get something done is worth more than a candidate without the clout. Throughout the primaries, and even afterwards, Clinton seemed to suggest Obama lacked the experience necessary to be president.

Tonight, Clinton did everything he could to answer each charge he himself once leveled. "Republicans said I was too young and too inexperienced to be Commander-in-Chief. Sound familiar?" Clinton asked. "It didn't work in 1992 because we were on the right side of history. And it won't work in 2008 because Barack Obama is on the right side of history."

The politician in Clinton knew his place, leveling respectful charges against John McCain over the Republican's record and platform on the economy. But Clinton's speech was about healing a rift with Barack Obama, and while the media may be infatuated with the story, the sustained standing ovation the former president received tonight showed his party is still infatuated with him, and is willing to forgive any sins he may have committed against Obama after a simple act of contrition.