Former U.S. President Bill Clinton delivered a rousing endorsement Wednesday of Barack Obama, who earlier received the Democratic Party's nomination for the presidency.
Mr. Clinton said his eight years in the White House and the work he has done since have convinced him that Obama is the man for the job. He said Obama is ready to lead the United States and restore American leadership in the world.
Mr. Clinton also said the nation is in trouble both domestically and internationally after eight years of Republican leadership under President George Bush. He argued that Obama's Republican rival John McCain will only bring more of the same.
Mr. Clinton made his endorsement on the third day of the Democratic National Convention, just hours after his wife, Hillary, called on Democrats to suspend their symbolic roll call vote and nominate Obama by acclamation.
Mr. Clinton's convention praise for Obama is in direct contrast to the criticisms he heaped on the Democratic nominee during the long and bitter primary race. The former president campaigned vigorously for his wife and often criticized Obama, her main rival.
During the campaign, Mr. Clinton tried to raise doubts about whether Obama had the experience to lead the country. He aggressively attacked Obama's record as a senator for Illinois, with claims denied by the Obama camp.
But in his convention speech, the former president compared criticisms of Obama's age and experience to similar criticisms the Republicans used against him during his run for presidency in 1992. He said the tactic did not work then, and that it will not work now because Obama is on what he called "the right side of history."
Mr. Clinton's speaking role at the convention was announced earlier this month as speculation grew over tensions between the Clintons and Obama.
Obama has said he is honored to have Mr. Clinton's support. Both he and the Clintons have dismissed reports of tension and tried to present an image of Democratic Party unity.
Earlier Wednesday, Obama's former rival Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton called for his nomination by acclamation from the convention floor during the roll call vote of the states. Delegates in the hall cheered and clapped and chanted the Obama campaign slogan "Yes We Can."
At a meeting ahead of the nomination vote, Hillary Clinton released her convention delegates to vote for Obama. Many in the audience yelled "No!" in response. The New York senator said she had already cast her vote for Obama, but said she would not tell her delegates what to do and encouraged them to follow their hearts. A small group of Clinton supporters rallied in Denver Wednesday outside the convention site.