Former President Bill Clinton at the 2012 International AIDS Conference… (Haraz N. Ghanbari / Associated…)
CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Political strategists for President Obama say they haven’t seen drafts of the speech former President Bill Clinton will deliver at the Democratic National Convention this week. And they’re not one bit worried about what he might say.
Obama campaign manager Jim Messina said Tuesday morning that he thought Clinton always gave a great speech, though he conceded that he missed the long-winded address Clinton gave at the 1988 party convention.
“I was in high school,” Messina told journalists at a breakfast hosted by Bloomberg News.
The question arises this week as the former president prepares to deliver the big address here on Wednesday night. Beloved by many in the party, Clinton always carries the risk of overshadowing whoever happens to be standing nearby.
Republicans learned the dangers of an unvetted speech last week when actor and director Clint Eastwood delivered an odd and rambling set of remarks at their nominating convention.
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But Clinton is a seasoned pro who doesn't much like to be second-guessed. And he has been of great help to Obama lately – a soft-focus ad of him talking about Obama’s accomplishments is running in battleground states right now — and advisors are predisposed to expect the best.
Messina said the Obama team has had "lots of conversations with President Clinton" about the speech. Other people familiar with the talks say Clinton is likely to push back against the Republican attacks on Obama's welfare policies and to talk about why he believes Democrats have the right plan for the economy.
Someone in the campaign organization is “likely to see” the speech before delivery, deputy campaign manager Stephanie Cutter told the Bloomberg gathering. “That’s the normal course of business.”
Even so, Messina said, that's not because anyone has any worries.
“He’s going to give a great speech tomorrow," he said.
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Matea Gold contributed to this report.