NPR logo Clinton Ignites Crowd at Democratic Convention

Clinton Ignites Crowd at Democratic Convention

Former President Urges Voters to Choose 'More Perfect Union'

Hear Bill Clinton's Speech in Full

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NPR's David Welna on Convention, Gore

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Former President Bill Clinton stands with his wife, Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton, after she introduced him as the keynote speaker. Reuters hide caption

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Former President Bill Clinton stands with his wife Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton after she introduced him as the keynote speaker. Reuters hide caption

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Former Vice President Al Gore's wife, Tipper, joined him onstage after his speech. Reuters hide caption

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Former President Bill Clinton closed the first day of the Democratic Convention with a bang, delivering a speech that roused the hall of delegates in Boston to applause and cheers.

After being introduced by his wife, Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton, Clinton outlined what he called basic philosophical differences between the Republican and Democratic parties, saying President Bush's policies benefit only the wealthiest Americans while Democrats prefer a "wider circle of opportunity."

The former president touted his own record as proof of that claim, noting the economic gains the nation enjoyed in the 1990s before stating that it was time for a Democrat to return to the White House.

Clinton derided the Republican-sponsored tax cuts even as he admitted that they have helped him in his current status as a wealthy speaker and author. He went on to say the benefit came at the expense of middle-class taxpayers and Social Security.

In speaking of presidential candidate Sen. John Kerry, Clinton followed the same oratorical path, highlighting distinctions between Kerry and President Bush — sometimes at his own expense. That moment came when Clinton acknowledged that while he and Bush were among the Americans who sought to avoid military service in Vietnam, Kerry volunteered to serve there.

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