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FILE - In this Sept. 5, 2012 file photo, President Barack Obama waves after Former President Bill Clinton spoke at the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte, N.C. Barack Obama could not have asked for a more potent testimonial than Bill Clinton's point-by-point defense of his policies -- destined to play out in campaign ad snippets from now until Election Day. Yet in the end, people vote for candidates, not their surrogates. (AP Photo/David Goldman, File) ------ 4c color
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Date published: 9/7/2012
CHARLOTTE, N.C.--Republicans have no one who can match Bill Clinton's ability to deliver a forceful, point-by-point defense of President Barack Obama in the campaign's final two months. Luckily for Mitt Romney, Americans vote for candidates, not surrogates, and a coming cascade of Republican TV ads might drown Clinton's potent testimonial, which even GOP partisans call a masterpiece.
Obama could not have asked for a more detailed and emphatic rebuttal to every major charge leveled at him. Clinton will take his show to swing states in the next nine weeks, and Democrats will pray that newscasts and social media re-air countless snippets of his 48-minute convention speech.
Some commentators say the former president saved Obama's re-election. That's impossible to know, of course.
Such predictions may look foolish if later events--say, disappointing monthly jobs reports issued Friday and in October and early November--boost Romney's call for a change in leadership.
Also, Clinton's speech ended so late--well past 11 p.m. EDT--that many people had gone to bed in key Eastern Time zone states such as Florida, Ohio, North Carolina, Virginia, Pennsylvania and New Hampshire.
If nothing else, however, Clinton's emotional but policy-laden address underscored the Republicans' lack of a comparably famous and skilled spokesman to defend Romney.
Clinton, scheduled to be in Florida next week, "is going to go around the country in October talking about this speech," said Sen. Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y.
Romney's camp cannot be happy about that.
Clinton's speech "was extraordinary," a "virtuoso political performance," prominent GOP strategist Steve Schmidt said on MSNBC. "I wish to God, as a Republican, we had someone on our side who had the ability to do that. We don't."
Another high-profile Republican consultant, Alex Castellanos, said on CNN: "This will be the moment that probably re-elected Barack Obama."
Perhaps. But Romney and his allies have raised more money than the Democrats for three straight months, giving them a potentially crucial edge in homestretch TV ads in swing states.
Clinton addressed these Republican lines of attack:
"You didn't build that." Republicans have pummeled Obama for his awkwardly worded argument that successful businesses rely on public amenities such as roads and schools.