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Bill Clinton speech: Did it clear way for Obama, or create a hurdle? (+video)

The Bill Clinton speech at the DNC was a tour de force. While President Obama can hold his own as an orator, there's a risk that voters could see a difference between Clinton's politics and Obama's.

Bill Clinton rallies for President Obama at Convention
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Former President Bill Clinton has set the bar high – very high – for President Obama heading into his nomination acceptance speech Thursday night at the Democratic National Convention.

In his 48-minute stem-winder Wednesday, the former president showed everyone why he’s a master political communicator. He started slow, his voice a little thinner with age, but gradually pulled the Democratic faithful into his embrace with a sharp takedown of the Romney-Ryan ticket’s proposals and a better defense of Mr. Obama’s tenure than the president himself has been able to muster.

“He cleared the way for Obama to talk about the next four years,” says Cal Jillson, a political scientist at Southern Methodist University in Dallas.

But is there a risk to Obama in having to follow his popular Democratic predecessor? Mr. Clinton, after all, no longer has the responsibility of governing. And increasingly, he conjures memories of the pre-9/11 era of peace and prosperity, not the Monica Lewinsky scandal that led to his impeachment. The latest Gallup poll shows Clinton’s personal favorability among Americans at a sky-high 69 percent.

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