September 6th, 2012
02:32 PM ET

Comments: 'Love him or hate him,' but Clinton fires up Democrats at convention

Editor's note: We're listening to you. Every day, we spot thought-provoking comments from readers. Here are some comments we noticed Thursday:

As former President Bill Clinton took to the stage at the Democratic National Convention, readers took to their cameras and keyboards to let us know what they thought about his speech Wednesday night and how the convention is going so far.

Five things we learned from Day Two of the DNC

Clinton has been a controversial figure not only for his politics but for his personal life and resulting impeachment. David P. Kronmiller of Burbank, California, alluded to this past, asking "does he help or hurt Democrats?" and referring to "mixed messages" even as he gave the former president good marks for his words.

"He's an excellent storyteller," Kronmiller said. "He's very good at telling the story of an event - in this case, Barack Obama's successes."

And then there's Mark Ivy, a CNN iReporter who says he leans toward Mitt Romney but was keeping an eye on "classic Bill Clinton" on Wednesday night. The Farmersburg, Indiana, resident said that although many people "love (Clinton) or hate him," he also felt that "no one knows how to reach out and touch the common folk better than the man from Hope," or exhibits better skills to "play to the base of the Democratic Party."

"Bill Clinton was vintage Bill Clinton tonight as he formally nominated President Barack Obama to carry the torch for yet another four years for the Democratic National Party. That included the fact that as customary, Bill was not short-winded... ."

Some of the reaction came directly from Charlotte, North Carolina, site of the DNC events. The following two iReporters won a CNN contest to attend the DNC, just as others had gone to the Republican National Convention.

Omekongo Dibinga of Washington noted in his video commentary that he felt the speech was effective despite some controversy surrounding the convention's second day. FULL POST

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Filed under: Barack Obama • Bill Clinton • Comments • Democratic Party • Israel • Politics • Religion
September 4th, 2012
01:35 PM ET

Democratic convention will highlight differing visions between the parties

Facing a close election and Republican attacks that they have made things worse while in power, President Barack Obama and Democrats seek to emphasize what has been achieved and additional steps to bolster the middle class at their three-day national convention that begins Tuesday.

The political conclave that will formally nominate Obama for a second term serves as a response to last week's Republican convention that nominated Mitt Romney as the GOP challenger in November.

Democrats offered a glimpse of issues expected to play a prominent role in this week's events, releasing their party platform late Monday. It focuses on improving the economic situation for middle-class Americans, a central theme of Obama's campaign and an issue the party hopes will win votes come November. It also contains language endorsing same-sex marriage for the first time, a move that brings the party's official stance in line with that of the president, who said for the first time in May that he supports marriage rights for gays and lesbians.

"Over the course of the week, you'll hear a very different tone than the one that you heard last week in Tampa, which was really essentially one nonstop series of attacks on President Obama," Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, the chairwoman of the Democratic National Committee, told CNN on Tuesday.

"We're going to lay out the case for moving the economy forward. President Obama and speakers throughout the week will talk about and have an honest conversation about where we were when he first took office and where we are now after four years of his policies and 29 straight months of job growth in the private sector. And that we need to continue to move forward and we've got a ways to go."

First lady Michelle Obama will address the convention Tuesday night, and former President Bill Clinton headlines the second night before Obama concludes it with his nationally televised address Thursday night.

Gotta Watch: Performing presidents
President Obama is one of several commanders-in-chief who's proven he's got musical talent.
February 22nd, 2012
12:30 PM ET

Gotta Watch: Performing presidents

We now know President Obama can sing. President Clinton's a sax man. President George W. Bush? Well, we may not go as far as to call him a drummer, but we've seen him drum (He dances, too!).

Are we on the verge of seeing a presidential supergroup? Probably not. But after Obama took the mic at last night's celebration of blues music at the White House, we're turning the amps to 11 for this Gotta Watch featuring performing presidents.


President Obama sings the blues

President Obama joins B.B. King, Mick Jagger and other blues and rock legends at a performance in the White House.


2007: Bush shows off his moves

President George W. Bush dances and beats a drum at an Africa Malaria Day gathering at the White House on April 25, 2007.


1993: Clinton plays the saxophone

With Clarence Clemons, President Clinton performs the classic, "Night Train," on the saxophone at his inaugural ball.

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Filed under: Barack Obama • Bill Clinton • Dance • George W. Bush • Gotta Watch • Music • Politics • Uncategorized
What about Clinton's birth certificate? Bush's? Ford's? Kennedy's?
President Barack Obama released his birth certificate Wednesday to defuse claims he was born on foreign soil.
April 28th, 2011
01:46 PM ET

What about Clinton's birth certificate? Bush's? Ford's? Kennedy's?

The controversy over President Barack Obama’s citizenship sharply divided America before the White House decided to release his long-form birth certificate Wednesday.

Some remain unconvinced he's a U.S. citizen. To many, the issue had already been settled. A CNN/Opinion Research Corp. poll last month indicated that three out of four Americans believe Obama was probably or definitely born in the USA. More than 40 percent of Republicans held opposite sentiments.

Often accompanied by accusations of racism, a common cry among those defending Obama is, “Did past presidents make their birth certificates public?”

An interesting question, for sure, so I decided to have a look back over the past 50 years. The short answer is yes, some indeed did. The long answer? Birth certificates for past presidents are squirrelly things and not the easiest to find.


Gotta Watch: Sleepy politicians
During a California budget hearing in 2009, a lawmaker gets some shut-eye.
April 14th, 2011
11:17 AM ET

Gotta Watch: Sleepy politicians

In light of Vice President Joe Biden's recent napping episode caught on cam here, we thought we'd dig up some of our best naptime videos featuring your favorite sleepy politicians.

Napping greatest hits – Our very own Jeanne Moos highlights political napping that goes back to the Reagan administration, when the president nodded off in front of Pope John Paul II, and Dick Cheney taking a snooze at a briefing.

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Filed under: Bill Clinton • California • Dick Cheney • George W. Bush • Gotta Watch • Politics
Gotta Watch: Presidential first pitches; remembering Selena
It's opening day for Major League Baseball so we're looking at a history of presidential pitches.
March 31st, 2011
11:29 AM ET

Gotta Watch: Presidential first pitches; remembering Selena

It's a throwback kind of day in more ways than one. Baseball season starts today, making it the perfect time to reflect on a century's worth of presidential pitches. Also in today's Gotta Watch, we mark the 16th anniversary of singer Selena Quintanilla-Pérez's death.

Perfecting the presidential pitch – For once, this is a presidential pitch devoid of any politics. Check out how the presidents measure up when it's time to throw out the first pitch. From 20th century presidents to more modern day leaders like Ronald Reagan pitching 1984, see who threw it best.

We have video of George H. W. Bush winding it up in 1991 and 1992. We also threw in Bill Clinton's 1992 pitch, George W. Bush's 2001, 2005 and 2009 pitches. And of course, there's president Barack Obama from 2009 and 2010.


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Filed under: Barack Obama • Baseball • Bill Clinton • George W. Bush • Gotta Watch • Politics • Sports
Funeral remembers Shriver's love of others, service
January 22nd, 2011
01:40 PM ET

Funeral remembers Shriver's love of others, service

Almost 50 years to the day that President John F. Kennedy in his inaugural address asked Americans to get involved by doing good, family and friends bade farewell Saturday to R. Sargent Shriver, who helped lead the way.

Former President Bill Clinton referred to Kennedy's famous line, "Ask not what your country can do for you; ask what you can do for your country."

Shriver, Clinton said at a funeral Mass in Potomac, Maryland, gave the perfect example of public service, both at the bright-eyed beginning of the 1960s and the cynical end of the decade and in the early 1970s.

"He showed up every day and found joy in life," Clinton said of Shriver, first director of the Peace Corps, and a force - with his late wife - behind the Special Olympics. Shriver was Kennedy's brother-in-law.

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Filed under: Bill Clinton • Joe Biden • Maryland • Oprah Winfrey
October 16th, 2010
01:29 PM ET

Once political adversaries, Clinton stumps for Brown

Talk about burying the hatchet. When former President Bill Clinton turned out to rally for California Democratic gubernatorial nominee Jerry Brown on Friday night, the former rivals hugged and made up. Really, they embraced.

The two have a bitter political history dating to 1992, when they ran against each other in the Democratic presidential primary.

Back then, Brown earned Clinton's animus by refusing to drop out until well after it was clear Clinton had locked up the nomination.

Speaking before a crowd on the campus of the University of California, Los Angeles, Brown heaped praise on the former president.


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Filed under: Bill Clinton • California • Politics
August 20th, 2010
01:02 PM ET

Friday's intriguing people

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The former Senate majority leader and current U.S. envoy to the Middle East may not only get Israel and the Palestinians talking, but he also led the special investigation over steroid use in Major League Baseball that contributed to the indictment of Roger Clemens.

According to an extensive profile from The Washington Post’s Whorunsgov website, Mitchell stepped down as Senate majority leader in 1995 to secure universal health care. Previously he had turned down an offer for a Supreme Court nomination from President Clinton. He did, however, accept Clinton’s offer to be a special envoy to Northern Ireland in 1996. He later described the process as “700 days of failure, and one day of success.”

Mitchell was then asked to lead the special investigation into performance-enhancing drugs in Major League Baseball. The 400-plus-page report cast light on the so-called epidemic among players and led to Senate hearings that included testimony by Clemens, who was indicted Thursday. Why Mitchell matters


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Filed under: Anna Nicole Smith • Baseball • Bill Clinton • Environment • Gaza • Health Care • Israel • Most Intriguing People • New York • North Korea • On the Radar • Supreme Court
August 1st, 2010
04:48 PM ET

Chelsea Clinton weds longtime beau in New York

Former first daughter Chelsea Clinton and longtime beau Marc Mezvinsky were wed Saturday "in a beautiful ceremony at Astor Courts," a 50-acre estate in Rhinebeck, New York, according to her parents.

"We could not have asked for a more perfect day to celebrate the beginning of their life together, and we are so happy to welcome Marc into our family," former President Bill Clinton and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said in a statement. "On behalf of the newlyweds, we want to give special thanks to the people of Rhinebeck for welcoming us and to everyone for their well-wishes on this special day."

The confirmation by the Clintons put to rest a slew of speculation on where and when the nuptials would take place.


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Filed under: Bill Clinton • Hillary Clinton • New York