Clinton’s fireproofing

Former President Bill Clinton kicked off the DNC’s Convention in Boston last night with a masterfully insulated speech, energizing Democrats and most likely frustrating war room Republicans. While the Republicans will no doubt find many points of attack in the former President’s speech, Clinton was able to cut some attacks off at the knees.

In his speech, Clinton thanked Republicans for “my tax cut,” deflating any GOP hopes that he might try to give a “joe everyman” speech, on which they would have jumped faster than anyone could utter “book deal.” The former president went on to criticize Republicans for protecting his tax cut at any cost – specifically those costs, he said, that led to “withholding promised funding to the Leave No Child Behind Act,” cutting veterans’ health care, and reduced funding for job training programs.

On the issue of the war, Clinton pointed out that, like Bush and Cheney, he could have gone to Vietnam and didn’t, while Senator Kerry did. The implication, of course, being that Kerry is a stronger leader for doing so – even to the point where Clinton belittled his own service in the National Guard.

Pundits on both sides immediately categorized the speech as a strong one. In all reality, it was hard not to. The former President’s speech was eloquent in its insulation – vetted skillfully to eliminate the obvious Clinton attack points, leaving Republicans to respond to the issues, rather than the man.

Even the Republican war room machine,, found little to attack Clinton on, settling instead to point out (in all caps) that while the former President’s Monday speech was positive, “Bill Clinton Attacked President Bush [Sunday].”

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