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Our Political Pros Say Obama Gave Clinton a Solid Boost

Albert R. Hunt is a Bloomberg View columnist. He was the executive editor of Bloomberg News, before which he was a reporter, bureau chief and executive Washington editor at the Wall Street Journal.
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Two of America's smartest political strategists are analyzing the Democratic National Convention this week for Bloomberg View, giving their perspectives on how the proceedings are coming across to millions of viewers and voters. They are Vin Weber, a Republican lobbyist, consultant and former Minnesota congressman who has advised presidential contenders Bob Dole, George W. Bush, John McCain, Mitt Romney and, this year, Jeb Bush; and John Sasso, a longtime Democratic adviser who was the leading strategist for the presidential campaigns of Michael Dukakis in 1988 and John Kerry in 2004.

The Democratic strategist said President Barack Obama gave an important boost to Hillary Clinton on Wednesday night; his Republican counterpart thought the president helped her with Democratic-leaning voters and not much else.

"It was such an affirmation and positive view of the country and what we can do when we work together,"' said John Sasso, the Democrat. "It was in stark contrast to Donald Trump's dark view last week."

For Sasso, the president gave credibility to Clinton's "judgement, resolve and readiness to be president." He said the embrace of Obama and Hillary Clinton after the speech made for a politically powerful image.

Vin Weber, the Republican, wasn't as enthralled. Although it was "a good speech," he said, it wasn't Obama's best. "He did begin to paint Republicans in a corner," Weber said, "but I'm not sure he accomplished much with those who are negative about his presidency and his exclusionary policies."

Weber didn't think any of the undercards, including Vice President Joe Biden and Virginia Senator Tim Kaine, the vice-presidential nominee, left much of a mark, though his performance "was solid." Sasso essentially agreed.

The Democratic strategist, however, said that former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, an independent, significantly helped Clinton. "He gave a little and said he didn't always agree with her," he said. "That gave him standing in endorsing her and expressing his contempt for Trump."

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This column does not necessarily reflect the opinion of the editorial board or Bloomberg LP and its owners.

To contact the author of this story:
Albert R. Hunt at ahunt1@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story:
Max Berley at mberley@bloomberg.net