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Bill Clinton, Elizabeth Warren to anchor Wednesday night lineup at the 2012 DNC

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.