Bill Clinton Previews Nomination Speech: Attacks GOP on Debt and Voter Suppression
Former President Bill Clinton offered a not-so-sneak preview of what he will say when nominating Obama tonight, taking apart the GOP claims that Obama created the current federal debt and saying that the GOP’s voter supression strategy shows a party that is “desperate” to win, according to progressive journalists in Charlotte.
“This economy that [President Obama] inherited was profoundly ruined. Nobody who's ever served—no one, including me—has ever been expected to turn it around overnight,” Clinton said, according to a Huffington Post report on a fundraiser honoring Clinton on Tuesday night. “The economy failed and hit bottom six months after Republicans took office. Nine percent. That’s almost Depression-level shrinkage. And I'll give you the details tomorrow night, but that's quite a blow.”
“And it was really interesting to me that when [Obama] was trying so hard to put Americans back to work—two full years before the election—the Senate Republican leader said that their number one goal was not to put America back to work, it was to put the president out of work,” the former president continued.
You can be sure Clinton will delight in being the Democrat’s historian-in-chief and delving into more details on Wednesday, when he delivers a speech before officially nominating Obama. But Clinton’s remarks to the Arkansas delegation on Tuesday also addressed the GOP’s voter suppression strategy.
As The Nation’s Ari Berman reported, Clinton spent a few minutes at the end of his speech attacking the GOP’s efforts to create new barriers for likely Democratic voters. Here’s a transcript, according to his report:
“Do you really want to live in a country where one party is so desperate to win the White House that they go around trying to make it harder for people to vote if they’re people of color, poor people or first generation immigrants?
“In Pennsylvania, where they passed all these voter ID requirements, the House Republican leader who passed it said it was one of the most important achievements because it will enable Governor Romney to defeat the president in Pennsylvania.
“In Ohio, they passed the whole nine yards. The problem was in Ohio you can actually put this stuff on the ballot pretty easily to overturn it. So they went back in—you gotta give it to Republicans, they’re good. They vetoed it, then they snuck in an end to advance voting. Then they allowed the counties—and every county in Ohio has an election commission of three Democrats and three Republicans—to decide if they were going to go around advance voting. The Democrats, we were for it. So in every county that was Republican, Democrats said ‘OK, we’ll have advance voting.’ And in every single county that is overwhelming Democratic, the Republicans voted against allowing advance voting.
“This is not complicated—America is becoming more diverse and younger and more vibrant. We’re younger than Europe, we’re younger than Japan and in twenty years we’ll be younger than China.”
Let’s hope that all the attention that Clinton and others are placing on new voting rules and hurdles will give people plenty of time to plan to vote this fall—by lining up their credentials and knowing their voting rights.
In the meantime, there was other election news on Thursday that seemed to confirm just how desperate the Romney campaign is—and how the GOP keeps losing in court in its efforts to tilt the playing field to benefit Romney and Republicans.
In Nevada, a federal appeals court ruled against the GOP and will allow a “none-of-the-above” choice to stay on the ballot for the presidential election. That choice as seen as possibly hurting Romney votes, because disgruntled Republicans in Nevada might be tempted to vote for ‘none of the above’ instead of their nominee.
While some election specialists say that fear among the GOP is overblown, it underscores the GOP’s ‘do-everything’ strategy to game the electoral playing field to its benefit—and how many of those efforts are now being turned back by courts.
In the past two weeks, courts and state regulators have reversed GOP voter suppression efforts in Ohio, Florida, Texas and Wisconsin. Add Nevada to this latest losing streak, although in Ohio the GOP is expected to appeal—and there’s no telling what may happen there before Election Day, where the latest fight is over extending early voting hours to the final weekend before November’s Tuesday Election Day.