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Robert Reich: The Real Importance of Bill Clinton’s Wonderfully Long Speech

Clinton's speech has given Americans just what they need: facts.
Image from Flickr via Center for American Progress

By Robert Reich
By arrangement with Robert Reich.

Bill Clinton’s speech at the Democratic National Convention was very long but it was masterful — not only in laying out the case for Barack Obama and against Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan, but in giving the American public what they most want and need in this election season: details, facts, and logic.

Republicans have eschewed all detail, all fact, all logic. Theirs has been a campaign of ideological bromides mixed with outright bald-faced lies.

Therein lies the importance of what Bill Clinton accomplished tonight. But, just as importantly, it wasn’t a wonky talk. He packaged the facts in a way people could hear. This is the highest calling of a public educator.

The question is not how many undecided voters saw the speech (I doubt many did) but whether it galvanizes Democrats — giving them the clarity of conviction and argument they need over the next nine weeks to explain why Obama must be re-elected, and why a Romney-Ryan administration would be a disaster for this country.

I believe Clinton’s speech accomplished this perfectly. We shall see.

By arrangement with Robert Reich.

Author Image

Robert B. Reich, one of the nation’s leading experts on work and the economy, is Chancellor’s Professor of Public Policy at the Goldman School of Public Policy at the University of California at Berkeley. He has served in three national administrations, most recently as secretary of labor under President Bill Clinton.

Time Magazine has named him one of the ten most effective cabinet secretaries of the last century. He has written thirteen books, including his latest best-seller, Aftershock: The Next Economy and America’s Future; The Work of Nations: Preparing Ourselves for 21st Century Capitalism which has been translated into 22 languages; and his newest, an e-book, Beyond Outrage. His syndicated columns, television appearances, and public radio commentaries reach millions of people each week. He is also a founding editor of the American Prospect magazine, and Chairman of the citizen’s group Common Cause. His widely-read blog can be found at

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One comment for Robert Reich: The Real Importance of Bill Clinton’s Wonderfully Long Speech

  1. Comment by Timothy O. Okpara on September 7, 2012 at 11:12 am

    I love every news US of A. And highly appreciate Bill Clinton & Hilary Clinton respecting the trust they have on the Obama leadership. I see Obama’s era as an extension of the masterful governance of Clinton (as he then was). I know Obama has a lot more to offer the Americans, peace with the nuclear powers, friends with former haters, security, etc. Look at the removal of Bin Ladin & Gaddaffi & others. He did it for America & the world without noisemaking or troublemaking. Democrats are the key for the time being in force. Thumbs up for Guernica Magazine, Thumbs up for Barack Obama, Thumbs up for Democrats, Thumbs up for the good & other people of USA.

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