(Las Vegas CBS KXNT) “I’m here to see the second-greatest president we’ve ever had,” an elderly woman said as she made her way down the winding concrete walkway toward the amphitheater at the Springs Preserve in Las Vegas.
She hastened to point out that Barack Obama tops her list of American presidents, followed by the day’s featured speaker, Former President Bill Clinton.
Nearly 2,000 people packed the small outdoor venue on Tuesday afternoon, virtually all committed Obama voters. Some of them told KXNT they were looking to Clinton for words of wisdom about the 2012 presidential race. On that level, he seemed to deliver, dissecting Republican rhetoric on such matters as medicare, college loans and recently-released unemployment figures. He also offered a simple, plain-English defense of the targeted Obama administration policies.
Indeed, it may have been the former President’s southern-style plain talk that inspired some misty-eyed Clinton nostalgia.
“I wish he could run again,” a man told KXNT, looking into the distance.
Along with his task as “Secretary of Explaining Stuff” — a title jokingly bestowed by Obama, and clearly relished by the former president, Clinton’s job was to fire zingers at Republican challenger Mitt Romney. He started with last week’s presidential debate, in which victory has been widely awarded to Romney.
I saw it differently than everyone else did, Clinton told the crowd.
“There’s old moderate Mitt…. ” he said, pausing for the chuckles that followed. ”Where you been boy, I’ve missed you all these last two years.”
Clinton then went down the same road as other Democratic analysts, accusing Romney of having changed positions he’s held over the past two years, showing a different face at the debate.
He joked about Republican “whining” after federal job figures showed unemployment below 8 percent last week, suggesting that anti-Obama forces wanted to discredit the president’s efforts with a continued high jobless rate.
“I was kind of embarrassed for them,” he said with mock sympathy.
Using humor to pave the way, Clinton took repeated aim at the Romney-Ryan ticket, and wrapped up with a fiery appeal to his audience to work hard in the final weeks of the campaign, and re-elect President Obama.