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September 05, 2012

Bill Clinton Brings Excitement to DNC

by Sean Maroney

Former U.S. President Bill Clinton takes the stage Wednesday at the Democratic National Convention, bringing his considerable star power to support President Barack Obama's reelection.

Crowds of delegates packed the halls of the convention center Wednesday. And as Democrats from around the United States headed to and from caucus meetings, some could not contain their excitement about the evening's main speaker: former president Bill Clinton.

Clinton remains a popular figure among many Americans because of the nation’s economic prosperity during his two terms in office.

John Durso is a delegate from New York, where Mr. Clinton's wife Hillary served as U.S. senator after leaving the White House. Some worry about whether the charismatic former president’s speech will overshadow that of his fellow Democrat.

But Durso says Mr. Clinton will be a huge help ahead of President Barack Obama's speech Thursday, and as the campaign heads into its final two months.

“I don't have any fear that he'll overshadow the president's speech. I think he will do what exactly what he is here to do: to remind the delegates of all that we have to be proud of, to remind of the wonderful years that he had under his administration and to fire people up," said Durso.

Photo Gallery: Democratic National Convention
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In the hallways of the convention center Wednesday, delegates also were still talking about Tuesday's opening night, when first lady Michelle Obama shared the human side of her husband and talked about the importance of leaving the country better off for future generations.

Betty Pierce is a delegate from the nation's capital, Washington, DC. She got to see Mrs. Obama address the Black Caucus Wednesday morning, but she says she still cannot forget how moving the first lady's speech was for her the night before.

“She gave a powerful speech from her heart. It was real, and we could feel the energy and the sincerity," said Pierce.

Delegates also were raving about San Antonio, Texas mayor and one of the Democratic Party's rising Hispanic figures, Julian Castro, who gave the convention's keynote address Tuesday.

Lenora Sorola-Pohlman is a delegate from Texas. She says she felt proud to be a Mexican-American when she heard Castro describe how his family struggled through low-paying jobs in order to provide a better life for him and his twin brother.

“His family - his mother, his grandmother - was everything that my own family did, so I could really relate to him. And when he gave his thanks to his mom, it was so emotional for me," she said.

Related video report by VOA's Carolyn Presutti
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As the convention reaches its midpoint, the only real damper so far for participants has been the weather, with high humidity and nightly showers soaking Charlotte.

Earlier Wednesday, organizers announced that President Obama's speech, originally scheduled at a large outdoor stadium Thursday, will now be inside a much smaller arena, leaving tens of thousands of ticket holders unable to witness the event.