• Click here to read a transcript of Bill Clinton's speech.
What to watch for Thursday at the Democratic National Convention? Click here to read more.
Obama's big night
Arguably the biggest night of Barack Obama's re-election bid. The president has to convince Americans that he's the guy to move the economy forward, that he's the guy to create jobs.
Biden on fire?
Republicans love to criticize Vice President Joe Biden for his verbal missteps. But one thing is for sure, Biden, the ticket's working-class Joe, is a master at firing up the faithful. That will be his job tonight.
A Kennedy appearance
What's a Democratic Convention without a Kennedy? Caroline Kennedy, one of Obama's most influential backers in 2008, will make an appearance. Kennedy and her uncle, the late Sen. Edward Kennedy, gave Obama two of his biggest endorsements in 2008.
Actresses take stage
Republicans had Clint Eastwood. So Democrats fired back with actresses Scarlett Johansson, Natalie Portman and Kerry Washington. Will they bring an empty chair?
– Robynn Tysver
CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Former President Bill Clinton and President Barack Obama embraced on stage Wednesday night at the Democratic National Convention after Clinton delivered an impassioned plea on behalf of Obama's re-election.
“If you want a winner-take-all, you're-on-your-own society, you should support the Republican ticket,” he said. “But if you want a country of shared opportunities and shared responsibility, a we're-all-in-this-together society, you should vote for Barack Obama and Joe Biden.”
Clinton's speech was deemed so important by Obama's campaign aides that they delayed the president's formal nomination to a second term until it was over. The familiar roll call of the states began well after television prime time in the eastern half of the country, and the hall was emptying out rapidly as it dragged on past midnight. Ohio put Obama over the top at 12:06 a.m. EDT.
Clinton remains hugely popular among Democrats, and his speech was hotly anticipated by delegates yearning for a full-throated defense of Obama's economic policies after months of attacks by Republicans.
“I love our country — and I know we're coming back,” Clinton said. “For more than 200 years, through every crisis, we've always come out stronger than we went in. And we will again as long as we do it together. We champion the cause for which our founders pledged their lives, their fortunes, their sacred honor — to form a more perfect union. If that's what you believe, if that's what you want, we have to re-elect President Barack Obama.”
In his 45-minute speech, Clinton paid tribute to a spirit of bipartisan political cooperation that he lamented was now missing.
“One of the main reasons we ought to re-elect President Obama is that he is still committed to constructive cooperation,” he said. “Look at his record. He appointed Republican secretaries of defense, the Army and transportation. He appointed a vice president who ran against him in 2008. Now he, President Obama, appointed several members of his Cabinet, even though they supported Hillary in the primary. Heck, he even appointed Hillary.”
Clinton offered a comprehensive, even exhaustive, assessment of Obama's first-term priorities, from the auto bailout to the health care law. He laid out a case that each of Obama's initiatives had met the Republican litmus test: leaving Americans better than four years ago.
“Is the president satisfied? Of course not, but are we better off than we were when he took office?” Clinton said, pausing as the crowd roared in approval. He added, “The answer is yes.”
In a campaign dominated by voters' concerns over the economy, Clinton sought to offer Obama the credibility that comes from having presided over a period of rapid economic growth, near full employment and balanced budgets.
“President Obama started with a much weaker economy than I did,” Clinton said. “No president, not me, not any of my predecessors, could have repaired all of the damage he found in just four years.”
The second night of the Democratic Convention unfolded in a series of hard-hitting speeches aimed directly at the Republican ticket, with speaker after speaker assailing the records of Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan.
Elizabeth Warren, the Democratic candidate for Senate in Massachusetts, delivered a forceful critique of Romney's business background and invoked anti-Wall Street language to make her case on behalf of Obama, whom she said would fight tirelessly for the middle class.
“People feel like the system is rigged against them,” she said. “And here's the painful part: they're right. The system is rigged. Look around. Oil companies guzzle down billions in subsidies. Billionaires pay lower tax rates than their secretaries.”
Tightening their embrace of social issues, the Democrats also showcased Sandra Fluke, the Georgetown Law School graduate who earlier this year became a symbol of women's reproductive rights in a fight over insurance coverage of contraception.
Fluke's speech, which was delayed so it would be included in the network's prime-time coverage, lit into Romney and his running mate for their positions against abortion rights — and, in Romney's case, for staying silent initially after the talk show host Rush Limbaugh called her a “slut.”
Americans, she said, needed “a president, when he hears a young woman has been verbally attacked, thinks of his daughters — not his delegates or donors.”
This report includes material from the Associated Press, McClatchy Newspapers and Tribune Washington Bureau.