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Krauthammer Scorches Clinton's Speech: "A Giant Swing And A Miss"

Charles Krauthammer reacts to former President Bill Clinton's address to the 2012 Democratic National Convention:

KRAUTHAMMER: Well, I think I’m going respectfully dissent from the panel. I think it was a giant swing and a miss. Mighty Casey and Bill Clinton is a natural, he struck out on this. I don't think it would move a needle whatsoever. Look, it had all the classic Clinton elements; it was engaging, it was humorous. In some cases, it was generous and there are more mentions of the Bushes than I heard in three days in Tampa, but on the other hand it was also vintage Clinton. In that it was sprawling, undisciplined and truly self-indulgent.

This is one of the strangest nomination speeches I think ever given; it was kind of an amalgam between a State of the Union address, a policy wonk seminar and what sounded to me like a campaign speech for a third Clinton term. Obama was sort of incidental. He’d be shoved in every once in a while in the speech as a way to say, well, he thinks as I do.

Megyn, you raised a point about Clinton saying, “I believe that no other president could have done this or done any better than this, or quicker.” But, remember, the slogan of Obama in 2008 was Yes We Can. And as was mentioned earlier, you heard the Elizabeth Warren speech. It was a kind of denunciation of the miserable conditions in America today. And that is the kind of speech you would have expected four years ago, running against the Republicans. There is no recognition whatsoever that the current conditions are the result of, and they're on the watch of, the Obama administration.

And one last point, it is true that he made a lot of detailed rebuttals - that he is sort of the rebuttler in chief of the stuff heard in Tampa - but Paul Ryan can handle all of that in 10 minutes in his debate. So, I think it was a wasted opportunity of what could have been a great, stirring rousing endorsement of Obama…

KRAUTHAMMER: That is precisely right, and it's precisely the one thing Clinton could not admit. That when he lost the house, in the Gingrich revolution in 1994, he actually changed course. First two years, he was a sort of left wing, trying to take over health care with HillaryCare, raising taxes and all of that, as Obama was. But he made a very decisive shift, which for Obama was natural, because he is by instinct a centrist. And Obama is instinctually, a far more left Democrat. And it's because of that shift to the center that Clinton succeeded, that he passed welfare and ended up with a balanced budget. And it is because he did not shift, that Obama is where he is with a fairly wrecked economy, little support, and just hanging on in a race that he could very well lose...

KRAUTHAMMER: I think there is a value in the hall and among the believers that this was an important event. It’s the laying on of hands of the grand old man. Clinton is to Democrats what Reagan, after his presidency, was to Republicans. You know? An icon, and I think there is a kind of symbolism in Clinton saying, in particular because he was centrist, Obama is not, he's okay, support him, etc. But, I don't think it has any resonance beyond the hall. And that is why I think it was a missed opportunity. It could have been a tight speech. It could have been an Obama oriented speech.

And there’s one big irony here. Think about how long Obama was hiding behind the curtain waiting for Clinton to finish. In some ways, it was the Clinton revenge for 2008. I’m sure he was sort of tapping his watch the whole time in disbelief about how long it was going on, and in a way it was Clinton keeping people waiting, as he always does, except this time, it was a man he was supposedly endorsing and promoting.

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