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Bill Clinton to say GOP offers a 'you're-on-your-own' society

September 05, 2012|By Michael A. Memoli

CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- In Wednesday’s marquee speech at the Democratic National Convention, Bill Clinton will argue that Republicans offer a “you’re-on-your-own” society, while Democrats want a “we’re-all-in-this-together society,” as he symbolically submits President Obama’s name for nomination to a second term.

According to remarks prepared for delivery, the former president will say Obama “began the long hard road to recovery, and laid the foundation for a more modern, more well-balanced economy that will produce millions of good new jobs, vibrant new businesses, and lots of new wealth for the innovators.”

“The most important question is, what kind of country do you want to live in?” Clinton is to ask. “If you want a you're-on-your-own, winner-take-all society, you should support the Republican ticket. If you want a country of shared prosperity and shared responsibility -- a we're-all-in-this-together society -- you should vote for Barack Obama and Joe Biden.”

PHOTOS: Protests of the DNC

In a separate interview before his speech, Clinton told NBC’s Brian Williams that his speech would not dwell on his own record during two terms in office, because voters already know the highlights.

“That's not what this is about. This is about the choice for the American people. I want them to know what, based on my experience, I believe the president has done, where I think we are, and why I think they should support him. And that's what I'm going to focus on. I'm going to say very little about what happened in the '90s,” Clinton said.

The subplot for Clinton’s starring role Wednesday is the fierce battle his wife waged against Obama for the 2008 Democratic nomination. Asked about the relationship between the two, a subject of endless fascination, Clinton was careful not to oversell it.

“We haven't been close friends a long time or anything like that, but he knows that I support him,” Clinton said. Paraphrasing recent reports on their bond, Clinton added: “It is, from my point of view, not a transaction or a 'bromance' or any of that sort of stuff.”

“He's had a very tough hand to play. I think he's made a good job of a bad situation. People don't feel it yet, but they're going to benefit from it if they stay with him. And I believe that,” he said.

PHOTOS: Scenes from the DNC

Clinton said that he especially appreciated how Obama has treated Hillary Rodham Clinton, his secretary of State, with “enormous respect.” He also shared that before the 2008 election, he told his wife that he thought only she or Obama would win. And he claimed it was easy to move on after her defeat.

“I always had a lot of respect for his raw ability and his appeal. And politics is a contact sport. But when it's over, you have to ask yourself, ‘What do you believe in? Who do you agree with? What direction should the country take? Who's going to be helped most if this person or that person is elected?’” he said.

And so, Clinton declared, “I'm actually more enthusiastic about [him] than I was four years ago.”

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michael.memoli@latimes.com

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