KISSIMMEE, FLORIDA -- “Look at this crowd -– it’s not only big, it is highly diverse," former President Bill Clinton told a crowd of 35,000 outside Orlando last night. "You even have a few white haired guys like me -– you haven't cut my demographic out!"
It was the first joint campaign appearance between Sen. Barack Obama, D-Ill., and the former president ever since the former felled the latter's wife in the primaries. It was just August when the 42nd president hemmed and hawed when ABC News' Kate Snow asked him if Obama is qualified to be president.
That is no longer operative, apparently.
Clinton took on the GOP's economic arguments -- "They talk about redistributing the wealth? They just presided over the biggest redistribution of wealth upward since the 1920s and we all know how that ended!" -- and he heralded what Obama stands for.
"Let me tell you, folks, and this is again something I can say because I’m not running for anything -- the historical record shows that virtually every person ever elected president does his best to actually do what they say they’re gonna do in the campaign, and Barack Obama’s 'Do' list is the better 'Do' list."
Clinton's explanations of why Obama is qualified were interesting, to say the least.
"You know what he did?" Clinton said, heralding Obama's reaction to the financial crisis. "First, he took a little heat for not saying much. I knew what he was doing. He talked to his advisers -– he talked to my economic advisers, he called Hillary. He called me. He called Warren Buffet. He called all those people -- you know why? Because he knew it was complicated and before he said anything, he wanted to understand."
"If we have not learned anything, we have learned that we need a president that wants to understand and who can understand," Clinton said.
Thank heaven the Clintons were there to help Obama understand!"The second thing -- and this meant more to me than anything else, and I haven't cleared this with him and he may even be mad at me for saying this, so close to the election -- but I know what else he said to his economic advisers -- he said, 'Tell me what the right thing to do is. What's the right thing for America? Don't tell me what's popular, you tell me what's right, I'll figure it out and sell it.'
"That's what a president does in a crisis," Clinton said, "what is right for America."
-- Jake Tapper and Sunlen Miller