CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- At the end of former President Bill Clinton's full-throated speech in support of Barack Obama, delegates caught a glimpse of the president, who made a surprise visit to the Time Warner Cable Arena a day ahead of his acceptance of the party nomination for re-election.
On stage tonight, he joined former President Clinton, who delivered the nominating speech on this, the second night of the Democratic National Convention.
Appearing in the arena -- home of the Charlotte Bobcats -- Mr. Clinton played both offense and defense in a full-court press.
He spent much of his time on stage refuting claims made during the Republican National Convention in Tampa last week, including that President Obama robbed Medicare to pay for the Affordable Care Act.
"There were no cuts to benefits. None," Mr. Clinton said. "What the president did was save money by cutting unwarranted subsidies to providers and insurance companies that weren't making people any healthier," he said. "President Obama and the Democrats didn't weaken Medicare; they strengthened it."
Mr. Clinton also decried last week's GOP chorus of entrepreneurs who said they built their businesses alone, not with government help, as President Obama had suggested in earlier remarks that had been ridiculed in Republican circles.
"The Republican narrative is that all of us who amount to anything are completely self-made," Mr. Clinton said. It isn't so, he said.
"We Democrats think the country works better with a strong middle class, real opportunities for poor people to work their way into it and a relentless focus on the future, with business and government working together," he said. "We think, 'We're all in this together' is a better philosophy than 'You're on your own.'"
He said President Obama has tried to compromise on health care, debt reduction and job creation, but Republicans have been unwilling to negotiate.
"You see, they want to go back to the same old policies that got us into trouble in the first place: to cut taxes for high income Americans even more than President Bush did, to get rid of those pesky financial regulations designed to prevent another crash," to increase defense spending and to deeply cut the rest of the budget.
He said President Obama began his term with "a deeply damaged economy" that no president could repair in just four years. He made progress by helping to creating new jobs, keeping the auto industry out of bankruptcy, increasing access to student loans and reforming the nation's health care system.
"I know many Americans are still frustrated with the economy. Though employment is growing, banks are beginning to lend and even housing prices are picking up a bit, too many people don't feel it," Mr. Clinton said. "But conditions are improving, and if you'll renew the president's contract you will feel it. I believe that with all my heart."
Washington Bureau Chief Tracie Mauriello: firstname.lastname@example.org or 703-996-9292. First Published September 6, 2012 3:45 AM