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Bill Clinton's 2012 DNC Speech Analyzed


            The purpose of former President Bill Clinton’s speech at the 2012 DNC was to tell the American people why Barack Obama deserves four more years as President. This 2012 Presidential Race has already proved to be intense and volatile. Any word that is said cannot be taken back and every move each Political Party makes will be reported on in the news. For both conventions the Democrats and Republicans strategically selected their speakers, and hoped their words would reach each American and sway the votes in their favor. With Clinton’s credibility as a successful President, he was able to touch American’s emotions and put logic to the candidates platforms, making a strong, inspiring, and eye-opening speech.

          Clinton starts out using his credibility to the Democratic Party’s advantage. Being the president during a time of economic prosperity in America, he is credible and offered many statements of praise and approval for President Obama. Starting his speech with a card-stacking technique, he listed all of President Obama’s successes in the past four years. After hearing all of Obama’s successes, it is easier to jump on his bandwagon. This was a very powerful and effective way to start his speech because he immediately discussed successes. Later he uses his credibility to call out the Republicans for not working with the President. Clinton recounted that he worked with the Republicans on many issues, leading to success. He said that while Obama has tried to do the same, Republicans are not reciprocating and for the country this is not beneficial for anyone. Clinton says, “I work with Democrats, Republicans, and Independents who are focused on solving problems and seizing opportunities, not fighting each other.” This enthymeme is effective since, according to Clinton Barack Obama wants to work with everyone while the Republicans just want to criticize the President and tear one another down.  The ultimate affirmative statement that Clinton gave is, “President Obama started with a much weaker economy than I did. No President- not me or any of my predecessors could have repaired all the damage in just four years. But, conditions are improving and if you’ll renew the President’s contract, you will feel it.” Coming from such a well respected past President, this is a very strong statement. Clinton’s powerful credibility legitimized his speech, giving it an advantage to other speeches given at both Conventions.

            On top of the powerful words, Clinton touched the hearts of Americans. He focused on the concept that “we’re all in this together”, painted a picture of what the 21st century could look like with each candidate leading our nation,. Clinton mentioned several times the term “we’re all in this together”, symbolizing the Democratic approach to living in America. No one is left behind in this tactic. This is encouraging to hear for Americans who feel like they are not cared for or forgotten about. Clinton says that “President Obama’s approach embodies the values, the ideas, and the directions America must take to build a 21st century version of the American Dream in a nation of shared opportunities, shared prosperity and shared responsibilities.” This is such a strong statement because this election will have a huge impact on our future. He is not directly saying it, but he is implying that the Republican approach will build a 21st century that is not a version of the American Dream that includes everyone. He touched many people emotionally when Clinton mentioned Michelle Obama and Jill Biden working and supporting military families, and helping America’s veterans with education, housing, and jobs. Helping the military, supporting military families, along with veterans is a responsibility citizens have had ever since America has gone to war. This part of Clinton’s 2012 DNC speech reminds us of the importance of support for our troops and their families. This is another example of how incorporating different walks of life in his speech, and letting the American people know that Barack Obama is doing his best to care for all people, furthers of Clinton’s 2012 DNC speech’s theme that “we are all in this together.”

           Because the emotional sides of issues easily sway people, Clinton also fills his speech with logic that plays as the selling point. He compares the past private sector job creation statistics, talks about the policies that got us into trouble in the first place, and the importance of arithmetic in every decision the President makes. Clinton explains that, “since 1961, the Republicans have held the White House 28 years, the Democrats 24.  In those 52 years, our economy produced 66 million private sector jobs. What’s the job score? Republicans 24 million, Democrats 42 million!” These statistics are too dramatic to ignore or forget. Logic clicks in the audience with statements like this, and come voting day, these statements will be hard to forget. As a past, successful President, he is able to confirm that Republicans, “want to go back to the same old policies that got us into trouble in the first place.” He saw what our economy was like when his Presidency was over, and then what happened to it when policies were changed under the Bush administration. This is an anti- testimonial to the ways the Republicans want to run this country. It is counterintuitive to go back to the policies that did not work. As a satirical comment towards the end of his speech, Clinton explains how his administration delivered four surplus budgets. People want to know “what new ideas [they brought.]” and he gives them a one-word answer: arithmetic. Clinton was logical when he was President, and it showed in the results of his policies. Talking about the logical decisions that need to be made for our future is a significant part of this speech.

           The combination of his credibility, empathy for all people, and the use of logic to bolster his points lead Bill Clinton to give a speech that will definitely help President Obama in this upcoming 2012 election.


Works Cited

Clinton, Bill (2012, September 5), Democratic National Convention, Charlotte, NC

DRAFT: This module has unpublished changes.