Democratic convention: Clinton will say Obama 'put a floor under the crash'
In what seemed to be an effort at damage control after an embarrassing platform revision, President Barack Obama's staff released some of former President Bill Clinton's remarks early.
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Whatever the past differences between presidents current and past, Obama and his top aides looked to Clinton as the man best able to vouch for him when it comes to the economy, his largest impediment to re-election.Skip to next paragraph
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As a group, white men favor Romney over Obama, according to numerous polls, but a Gallup survey taken in July showed 63 percent of them view the former president favorably, to 32 percent who see him in unfavorable terms.
White voters without college degrees preferred Clinton's wife, Hillary, over Obama in during their epic battle for the presidential nomination in 2008. They now prefer Romney over the president by more than 20 percentage points, according to an Associated Press-GfK poll published last month, yet other surveys show they give high favorability to Clinton.
Republicans have suddenly discovered a lot to like about Clinton — a man they impeached in late 1998 when they ran the House and he sat in the Oval Office.
Vice Presidential nominee Paul Ryan made no mention of those unpleasantries when he told a campaign audience in Iowa, "Under President Clinton we got welfare reform. President Obama is rolling back welfare reform."
"President Clinton worked with Republicans in Congress to have a budget agreement to cut spending. President Obama, a gusher of new spending."
Independent fact checkers have repeatedly debunked the claim about Obama's welfare proposals, often repeated in Republican television ads. Nor did the Wisconsin lawmaker mention that under a balanced budget compromise with Clinton to rein in federal spending, Republicans agreed to create a new benefit program that provides health care for lower-income children and others ineligible for Medicaid.
Party leaders did their best to draw as little attention as possible to the change in the platform, making the alternation even before the prayer that opened the second night of the convention.
The changes came after the Republicans criticized an earlier decision to strip the word "God" from the party's official platform.
Romney said that "suggests a party that is increasingly out of touch with the mainstream of the American people. ... I think this party is veering further and further away into an extreme wing that Americans don't recognize."
As for Israel, Romney had declared in a summertime trip there that Jerusalem was the country's capital. U.S. policy for years has held that the city's status is a matter for negotiations between Palestinians and Israelis, and Democrats said Romney was pandering to Jewish voters in the United States with his statement.
In the Democrats' platform change on the subject, the Jerusalem language from their 2008 platform was added to this year's version.
The switch puts the platform in line with what advisers say is the president's personal view, if not the policy of his administration. "Jerusalem is and will remain the capital of Israel," it says. "The parties have agreed that Jerusalem is a matter for final status negotiations. It should remain an undivided city accessible to people of all faiths."
In more direct campaign matters, money is a constant concern for Obama's team, a turnabout from four years ago when their candidate vastly outspent Republican opponent John McCain.
Four years later, Romney is outraising Obama handily, and has pulled in more than $100 million three months in a row.
Outside groups eager to turn Obama out of power are pouring money into television advertising in battleground states at a pace that Priorities Action USA, the sole Democratic super PAC, cannot match.
Associated Press writers Jennifer Agiesta and Jack Gillum in Washington, Kasie Hunt in Vermont, Thomas Beaumont and Steve Peoples in Iowa and Ken Thomas, Matt Michaels and Jim Kuhnhenn in Charlotte contributed.