Normally, a fact- or statistic-loaded speech is deadly dull, but the genius of Bill Clinton is that he can give that speech for nearly 50 minutes and make it funny, interesting and incredibly persuasive.
As I sat there and listened, I remembered what a terrific president he was and how no one connected with people better than he did. I also marveled at the fact that he's become to tens of millions of Americans the wise, old, trusted uncle who always lets you know what's really going on.
This wise, old uncle delivered his sage advice in a bipartisan tone, but with partisan underpinnings. It was like giving someone flowers with one hand and at the same time using a scalpel to dismember that person. He praised Republican presidents and leaders, while also refuting the major contentions made by the Romney-Ryan team.
The former president also served as the fact-checker in chief. He tore apart the lies contained in the Romney welfare ad and in Paul Ryan's statement that President Obama had "stolen" $718 billion from the Medicare trust fund. He did it so effectively that it had Republicans reeling.
It was vintage Bill Clinton, the best politician we have known and the best speechmaker, as well.
Now for you Ronald Reagan fans, it's true that the Gipper connected with his listeners every bit as well as President Clinton does. But the Gipper simply couldn't put the same policy explanations and facts in a persuasive argument, as the former governor of Arkansas did.
I also believe the Republicans made a strategic mistake by building Bill Clinton up in the past six weeks. They held him out as the model of a successful Democratic president, in contrast to Obama. But having done so, they're in a situation in which they now cannot criticize or turn on him. They helped make him an almost neutral arbiter.
Is all this enough to guarantee President Obama's re-election? Obviously not.
But does it give Obama a tremendous lift and great foundation from which to launch the fall campaign? You bet it does!