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Democrats Start Day Two of Convention With Eyes on Clinton

Obama Arrives in Charlotte as Officials Move Speech Inside
Democratic officials today moved Obama’s nomination acceptance speech tomorrow night from the almost 74,000-seat Bank of America Stadium to the Time Warner Cable Arena, where the convention began yesterday. Photographer: Victor J. Blue/Bloomberg

Democrats opened the second day of their national convention where former President Bill Clinton takes center stage to make the case that President Barack Obama’s policies are best for the U.S. economy.

“What kind of country do you want to live in?” Clinton will ask, according to excerpts released by Obama’s campaign. “If you want a you’re-on-your-own, winner-take-all society, you should support the Republican ticket. If you want a country of shared prosperity and shared responsibility,” voters should support Obama, he will say.

The president “inherited a deeply damaged economy, put a floor under the crash, began the long hard road to recovery, and laid the foundation for a more modern, more well-balanced economy that will produce millions of good new jobs,” Clinton will say.

Clinton also will talk about the choices he faced during his presidency when Republicans wanted to give tax breaks to companies and the wealthy “to help trickle down” economic benefits and how “it didn’t work then, it’s not going to work now,” Obama campaign manager Jim Messina told reporters today at the convention’s site in Charlotte, North Carolina.

The Obama campaign is seeking to portray Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney’s policies as benefitting the wealthiest at the expense of middle-class Americans.

Infrastructure Investments

“President Clinton did what President Obama wants to do, which is invest in education, invest in innovation, invest in infrastructure to create an economy built to last,” Messina said. “We did that under President Clinton, it created the best job growth of a generation, and that’s what we’re building.”

Clinton will be competing for viewers with a prime-time broadcast on NBC of the National Football League’s opening game between the New York Giants and the Dallas Cowboys.

In their first order of business today, Democrats amended the party’s platform to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital. Republicans had criticized Democrats after discovering the language had been omitted, seeking to cast Obama as a weak supporter of the U.S. ally.

Four years ago, Democrats’ platform stated that “Jerusalem is and will remain the capital of Israel.” That language was reinstated.

The convention also added a reference to God, which the platform had lacked. The document now refers to the “God-given potential” of “working people.”

Other Speakers

Speakers preceding Clinton to the podium tonight include Elizabeth Warren, who is challenging Republican Scott Brown for his Senate seat in Massachusetts.

Warren, a Harvard Law professor who helped set up the federal Consumer Financial Protection Bureau under Obama, is her party’s hope to recapture the seat long held by Ted Kennedy, who died in office in 2009.

She’ll highlight what Romney’s plan to roll-back Wall Street regulations would mean for consumers, Democratic officials said. Former employees of companies bought by Romney’s private-equity firm Bain Capital LLC will also address delegates, the officials said.

Obama and allied political action committees have attacked Romney over his work at Bain, linking him to job layoffs and outsourcing by companies that the firm invested in.

Changed Locale

Obama arrived today in Charlotte, where a possibility of severe weather prompted the campaign to scrap plans for his outdoor speech tomorrow night in a football stadium.

Democratic officials moved Obama’s nomination acceptance speech from the almost 74,000-seat Bank of America Stadium to the Time Warner Cable Arena, where the convention began yesterday.

“This isn’t a call we wanted to make,” campaign spokesman Jen Psaki told reporters traveling with the president to Charlotte. “We’re all disappointed.”

First lady Michelle Obama will introduce her husband before he makes his speech, according to a Democratic official involved in the convention’s operation.

The Time Warner arena holds about 20,000 people. Those who had credentials to attend the outdoor event and won’t have seats for the indoor speech are invited to be part of an Obama conference call tomorrow, the party officials said.

Waiting List

Democratic officials said they had a 19,000-person waiting list for the outdoor speech and weren’t worried about filling the arena. Moving the speech to the smaller venue hurts efforts to organize and register voters, they said.

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, a California Democrat, said the move of Obama’s speech indoors won’t take away from his message.

“Whether it rains or not is not in the president’s control,” Pelosi told reporters today at a Christian Science Monitor breakfast in Charlotte.

The decision to move the speech was made “to ensure the safety and security of our delegates and convention guests,” Steve Kerrigan, chief executive officer of the DNCC, said in a statement.

The National Weather Service is forecasting a 40 percent chance of thunderstorms for tomorrow in the Charlotte area, where it has rained much of the week.

Weather also disrupted the Republican National Convention last week in Tampa, Florida, with Hurricane Isaac causing officials to cancel the opening day of the gathering.

Romney Comments

Romney, who is taking a break from campaigning this week to huddle with top advisers on a Vermont estate preparing for next month’s presidential debates, came out of seclusion briefly to travel to a building supply store in nearby West Lebanon, New Hampshire and to sit for several television interviews.

He also spoke briefly to reporters and criticized Obama’s fiscal record, saying Democrats during their convention’s first day avoided talking about the U.S. debt that has ballooned and poverty that has deepened during Obama’s presidency.

“You heard no one stand up and say that people are better off today than they were four years ago,” Romney said after stopping at the Lui Lui restaurant to pick up pizza. “They really can’t say that.”

He said news this week that the national debt has reached $16 trillion -- up from $10 trillion when Obama became president -- and that the number of food-stamp recipients has reached 47 million tell the story of Obama’s failed record.

“There’s just no way he can square those numbers with the idea that America is doing better, because it’s not,” Romney said.

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