President Clinton speaks at the 2008 Democratic National Convention in… (Charlie Neibergall / Associated…)
CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- Four years ago they were adversaries, when Barack Obama dueled Hillary Rodham Clinton in a fiercely fought contest for the Democratic presidential nomination.
Today, Obama is in the White House, Clinton serves as his secretary of State and Clinton's husband, the 42nd president of the United States, will formally place Obama's name in nomination on Day 2 of the Democratic National Convention. (The result of the roll call vote, officially installing Obama as the party's presidential nominee, is not in doubt.)
Bill Clinton has had an uneasy relationship with Obama, dating back to the 2008 contest, but the two have mended matters well enough that the former president has become an active and important money-raiser and surrogate for the incumbent.
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A TV spot featuring Clinton's endorsement of Obama has been in heavy rotation in North Carolina and was frequently seen during last week's GOP convention in Florida; both are battleground states with a large number of the more conservative, economically hard-pressed Democrats for whom Clinton, a former Arkansas governor, has a special affinity.
Democrats, meantime, will continue their appeal to female and Latino voters, their main political targets this week.
Introducing Clinton in the prime-time hour will be Elizabeth Warren, who served as a consumer affairs advisor to the White House before launching a U.S. Senate bid in Massachusetts.
It was Warren who thrilled Democrats with a stump speech on the virtues of government spending. Obama tried the riff, suggesting successful private enterprise requires public investment, and Republicans seized upon his "you didn't build that" remark as a statement showing an overweening belief in government.
Others on the program include California Assembly Speaker John Perez, Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa and Sen. Patty Murray of Washington, the head of the Democrats' senatorial campaign committee.
The lineup will also include former employees of companies purchased by Bain Capital, the investment firm founded by GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney and depicted by his political opponents, Republican and Democrat, as a model of heartless capitalism. Randy Johnson, Cindy Hewitt and David Foster have all spoken about their unhappy experiences after Bain entered their lives.
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Clinton and Warren will have some competition from the National Football League. NBC will not broadcast his speech, instead covering the Dallas Cowboys and New York Giants.
But it's not just pro football that's getting in the Democrats' way. Mother Nature has also intruded.
The party announced Wednesday it would move Obama's acceptance speech, the Thursday night convention finale, from the outdoor Bank Of America Stadium to the indoor arena that hosts the first two nights of the convention. The threat of heavy rain made it too risky to proceed as scheduled, party planners said.
Christi Parsons contributed to this report.
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