For­mer Pres­i­dent Bill Clin­ton and Mass­a­chu­setts U.S. Sen­ate hope­ful Eliz­a­beth War­ren will anchor the Wednes­day prime­time line­up at the 2012 Demo­c­ra­t­ic Nation­al Con­ven­tion in Char­lotte, the par­ty announced today.

Wednes­day will be the sec­ond-to-last day of the con­ven­tion. Since the mid-1990s, the Demo­c­ra­t­ic nom­i­nee for vice pres­i­dent has tra­di­tion­al­ly accept­ed the nom­i­na­tion on the Wednes­day evening of the con­ven­tion. But this year, Joe Biden will deliv­er his accep­tance speech on the same night Barack Oba­ma deliv­ers his — on Thurs­day, the final night of the convention.

Wednes­day will belong to Bill Clin­ton and Eliz­a­beth Warren.

“Eliz­a­beth War­ren has cham­pi­oned the pro­tec­tion of the mid­dle class through­out her life,” said 2012 Demo­c­ra­t­ic Nation­al Con­ven­tion Chair Anto­nio Vil­laraigosa in a state­ment announc­ing War­ren’s speak­ing role.

“At Pres­i­dent Obama’s side, she helped lev­el the play­ing field for all Amer­i­cans and worked to make sure that every­one from Wall Street to Main Street plays by the same set of rules. Like Pres­i­dent Oba­ma, Eliz­a­beth is a leader com­mit­ted to rebuild­ing the econ­o­my from the mid­dle class out, instead of focus­ing on the top down eco­nom­ics of the past fueled by out­sourc­ing good jobs, risky finan­cial deals and bud­get-bust­ing tax cuts for only the wealth­i­est few.”

War­ren is slat­ed to intro­duce Clin­ton, who has spo­ken at every Demo­c­ra­t­ic Nation­al Con­ven­tion since the Rea­gan era began (includ­ing two that took place dur­ing his pres­i­den­cy, and anoth­er two since he left office).

“It will be an hon­or to share the con­ven­tion stage with Pres­i­dent Clin­ton on Wednes­day, and to talk about what is hap­pen­ing to Amer­i­ca’s fam­i­lies,” War­ren said. “I grew up in a hard­work­ing fam­i­ly, in an Amer­i­ca that was invest­ing in kids like me. Pres­i­dent Oba­ma is com­mit­ted to mak­ing sure that Amer­i­ca has a lev­el play­ing field for all our fam­i­lies and to ensur­ing that every kid has the oppor­tu­ni­ty to make it. When I worked with the Pres­i­dent to cre­ate the Con­sumer Finan­cial Pro­tec­tion Bureau, I saw first-hand his com­mit­ment to build­ing a future for our chil­dren and our grand­chil­dren. Mitt Rom­ney and the Repub­li­cans want to go back to the same poli­cies that broke this econ­o­my. It is time to move forward.”

Accord­ing to news reports, Pres­i­dent Oba­ma per­son­al­ly asked Clin­ton to serve as the head­lin­er on Wednes­day night and place his name into nom­i­na­tion. Clin­ton was delight­ed to accept.

“Pres­i­dent Clin­ton over­saw the longest eco­nom­ic expan­sion in U.S. his­to­ry, pur­su­ing many of the same poli­cies that Pres­i­dent Oba­ma is propos­ing and imple­ment­ing today,” Vil­laraigosa said in a sep­a­rate news release that con­firmed Clin­ton as Wednes­day night’s headliner.

“That eco­nom­ic progress was squan­dered in the fol­low­ing decade by a set of deci­sions that explod­ed our deficit, crashed our econ­o­my, and hurt the mid­dle class. So, there is no one bet­ter to lay out the choice in this elec­tion between mov­ing for­ward with Pres­i­dent Oba­ma or falling back­ward with Mitt Rom­ney, who sup­ports the same failed poli­cies that led to the worst eco­nom­ic cri­sis since the Great Depres­sion,” the Los Ange­les may­or added.

War­ren’s cam­paign broke the news to its own donors and vol­un­teers in an email. Mindy Myers, War­ren’s cam­paign man­ag­er, told supporters:

This is big, big, big — and it means yet again we need to step up our game.

The Repub­li­cans no doubt will be com­ing after us hard — not only as we fight for work­ing fam­i­lies here in Mass­a­chu­setts, but also as we take the case to the coun­try about what’s at stake between Pres­i­dent Oba­ma and Mitt Romney.

We need to give Eliz­a­beth all the sup­port she needs as she plays this piv­otal role at the convention.

The race between War­ren and incum­bent Repub­li­can Scott Brown is wide­ly con­sid­ered to end up being one of the most fierce­ly con­test­ed in the coun­try. Con­trol of the U.S. Sen­ate might depend on the out­come, as well, so it is no exag­ger­a­tion to say the stakes are high.

Not sur­pris­ing­ly, Brown’s cam­paign react­ed to the news of War­ren’s speak­ing role with a fee­ble attempt at a put-down:

“Pro­fes­sor War­ren’s rad­i­cal, anti-free enter­prise rhetoric is so far out of the main­stream even with­in her own polit­i­cal par­ty that she got down­grad­ed from her speak­ing role at the Demo­c­ra­t­ic Con­ven­tion,” said Brown spokes­woman Alleigh Marre.

The Repub­li­can oper­a­tives run­ning Brown’s cam­paign are pret­ty inept if they believe their own sil­ly spin. To be asked to serve as the intro­duc­to­ry speak­er for Pres­i­dent Bill Clin­ton in prime­time at the Demo­c­ra­t­ic Nation­al Con­ven­tion is a very high hon­or. War­ren is going to be shar­ing the nation­al stage with one of the biggest names in the Demo­c­ra­t­ic Par­ty; her remarks will be seen by mil­lions of peo­ple across the Unit­ed States and around the world. How can they sug­gest with straight faces that War­ren got “down­grad­ed”? Ridiculous.

NPI will be cov­er­ing both Bill Clin­ton and Eliz­a­beth War­ren’s speech­es live from Time Warn­er Cable Are­na in Char­lotte on Wednes­day, Sep­tem­ber 5th.

About the author

Andrew Villeneuve is the founder and executive director of the Northwest Progressive Institute, as well as the founder of NPI's sibling, the Northwest Progressive Foundation. He has worked to advance progressive causes for over two decades as a strategist, speaker, author, and organizer. Andrew is also a cybersecurity expert, a veteran facilitator, a delegate to the Washington State Democratic Central Committee, and a member of the Climate Reality Leadership Corps.

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