Bill Clinton Address To The Democratic Party Convention

Former President Bill Clinton has received a rapturous reception from delegates to the Democratic Party convention in Charlotte, North Carolina.

Bill Clinton

Clinton gave the keynote speech in support of the nomination of President Barack Obama. At the end of the speech, Obama joined Clinton on stage.

As a CNN commentator put it, the speech, like all Clinton speeches, needed an editor, but it was like a hammer hitting a nail on the head.

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Transcript of former President Bill Clinton’s address to the Democratic convention, as transcribed by the New York Times.

PRESIDENT BILL CLINTON: Thank you very much. Thank you. Thank you. (Sustained cheers, applause.) Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.

Now, Mr. Mayor, fellow Democrats, we are here to nominate a president. (Cheers, applause.) And I’ve got one in mind. (Cheers, applause.)

I want to nominate a man whose own life has known its fair share of adversity and uncertainty. I want to nominate a man who ran for president to change the course of an already weak economy and then just six weeks before his election, saw it suffer the biggest collapse since the Great Depression; a man who stopped the slide into depression and put us on the long road to recovery, knowing all the while that no matter how many jobs that he saved or created, there’d still be millions more waiting, worried about feeding their own kids, trying to keep their hopes alive.

I want to nominate a man who’s cool on the outside — (cheers, applause) — but who burns for America on the inside. (Cheers, applause.)

I want — I want a man who believes with no doubt that we can build a new American Dream economy, driven by innovation and creativity, but education and — yes — by cooperation. (Cheers.)

And by the way, after last night, I want a man who had the good sense to marry Michelle Obama. (Cheers, applause.)

You know — (cheers, applause). I — (cheers, applause).

I want — I want Barack Obama to be the next president of the United States. (Cheers, applause.) And I proudly nominate him to be the standard-bearer of the Democratic Party. [Read more…]

Words Matter: Bill Clinton

In light of the Arizona shootings, there is considerable discussion in the media about the influence of violent and aggressive speech in political debate.

This is an extract from a speech given by former President Bill Clinton to the Center for American Progress Action Fund in April 2010:

Clinton talked of the role of right-wing media and radio talkback hosts in the 1990s. He said participants in the political debate need to be responsible in their use of rhetoric because it falls on the “serious and the delirious alike”:

We can’t let the debate veer so far into hatred that we lose focus of our common humanity. It’s really important. We can’t ever fudge the fact that there’s a basic line dividing criticism from violence or its advocacy, and that the closer you get to the line and the more responsibility you have, you have to think about the echo chamber in which your words resonate. […]

But what we learned from Oklahoma City is not that we should gag each other or we should reduce our passion for the positions that we hold, but the words we use really do matter because there are — there’s this vast echo chamber, and they go across space, and they fall on the serious and the delirious alike. They fall on the connected and the unhinged alike. And I am not trying to muzzle anybody, but one of the things that the conservatives have always brought to the table in America is that no law can replace personal responsibility. And the more power you have, and the more influence you have, the more responsibility you have.

Clinton spoke of how he had changed his own tendency to refer to “federal bureaucrats” in a disparaging way when he disagreed with some aspect of government policy:

Oklahoma City proved that beyond the law, there is no freedom, and there is a difference between criticizing a policy or a politician, and demonizing the government that guarantees our freedoms and the public servants who implement them. And the more prominence you have in politics or media or some other pillar of public life, the more you have to keep that in mind. I acknowledged that in my political career, I had more on than one occasion, in the face of a government policy I disagreed with or a practice that I thought was insensitive, referred in a disparaging way generally to “federal bureaucrats,” as if all of them were arrogant or insensitive or unresponsive, and I have never done it again. You could not read the stories of the lives of the people who perished in Oklahoma City and not respond in that way.

Bill Clinton Returns to the White House

Former President Bill Clinton returned to the White House yesterday to support President Obama in his campaign to pass tax legislation.

Obama took Clinton to the White House Briefing Room and then left him there to address journalists.

[Read more…]

World Trade Talks Collapse; Australian Farmers Lose Out

Australian farmers have suffered a setback following the collapse of the World Trade Organisation negotiations over the weekend.

According to the Financial Review agricultural exports are worth $25 billion to the Australian economy. The Australian Bureau of Agricultural and Resource Economics has predicted that a 36% reduction in all forms of global farm assistance would see Australian exports of rice grow by 54%, wheat 15%, meat 16% and sugar by 12%.

The collapse of the talks in Seattle, and the likely delay of another couple of years, most benefits French and Japanese farmers.

Queensland sugar growers, currently experiencing the lowest world prices in 30 years, will be hardest hit by further delays in global trade liberalisation.

What Is the World Trade Organisation?

The World Trade Organisation was established on 1st January 1995, arising out of the so-called Uruguay round of negotiations. It replaced the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade and consists of 135 countries, has a staff of 500 and a budget of 122 million Swiss francs.

The WTO styles itself as “the only international organization dealing with the global rules of trade between nations. Its main function is to ensure that trade flows as smoothly, predictably and freely as possible”.

The WTO has a consensus-style one-country, one-vote structure and this appears to have been part of the problem in Seattle. Developing countries now comprise 3 in 4 of WTO members and are demanding a greater say than they have had in the past. This is partly because these poorer nations have what the richer nations need most: a market for their products.

All Politics Is Local

A report in today’s Financial Review, (“No trade-offs in a sleepless Seattle”, page 14) provides an interesting account of how the United States pulled the plug on the World Trade Organisation talks in Seattle.

It is even argued by some that the talks were deliberately sabotaged by President Clinton in an interview he gave to a newspaper on his way to Seattle. Clinton said he favoured the eventual imposition of punitive sanctions on countries that failed to meet core labour standards. The US Trade Representative, Charlene Barshefsky, is quoted as saying “my god, he’s blown it” when told of the comments.

Poorer countries see demands for labour and environmental safeguards as a ploy by richer nations to advance their own economic interests in the guise of freer trade.

Some see the Clinton remarks as part of an attempt to win the support of labour and environmental groups in the lead-up to the 2000 presidential and congressional elections.

At a broader level, the impact of local politics can be seen in the huge protests that took place outside the WTO conference last week. Furthermore, the recent New Zealand election can be seen as part of an electoral reaction against globalisation. The protestors, ironically, took advantage of the globalisation of communications by conducting a large part of their campaign via the Internet.

Clinton Facing Impeachment By U.S. House of Representatives

This week's TIME Magazine CoverPresident Bill Clinton is facing near-certain impeachment by the 435-member House of Representatives.

Debate on 4 articles of impeachment passed by the House Judiciary Committee last Friday and Saturday is due to commence at 1am Friday AEST.

The Republican Party holds 228 seats in the House, compared to the Democrats 206. There is one independent who generally votes with the Democrats. To stave off impeachment, Clinton requires the support of at least 10 Republican members of the House. With 2 days before the vote is scheduled to take place, his chances appear to be diminishing by the hour as so-called “moderate” Republicans announce their voting intentions. His most recent apology appears, if anything, to have damaged his prospects even further with wavering Republicans.

Impeachment by the House would mean that Clinton would become only the second president in American history to face a trial in the Senate. Conviction by a two-thirds vote of the Senate’s 100 members would remove Clinton from office and Vice-President Al Gore would become the nation’s 43rd President.

Bill ClintonImpeachment is roughly similar to an indictment and amounts to the laying of charges against the president. The trial in the Senate would be presided over by the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, William Rehnquist.

The Committee of the Judiciary of the House of Representatives comprises 37 members, 21 Republicans and 16 Democrats. It has held public hearings for the past two months following the submission of the Report of the Independent Counsel, Kenneth Starr, in September. Starr’s report alleged perjury, obstruction of justice and witness tampering by the president in relation to testimony about his relationship with White House intern, Monica Lewinsky.

The Judiciary Committee’s 4 Articles of Impeachment may be read here. They can be compared to the 3 Articles of Impeachment voted by the Committee in 1974 against then President Richard Nixon. Nixon resigned the presidency before the full House met to consider his role in the Watergate scandal.

President Andrew Johnson is the only other president to have ever been impeached. He survived by one vote in the Senate.

President Bill Clinton Addresses Joint Session Of Australian Parliament

Fresh from his re-election to a second term, United State President Bill Clinton visited Australia and addressed a joint session of Parliament.

  • Listen to Prime Minister John Howard and Opposition Leader Kim Beazley welcome Clinton

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  • Listen to President Bill Clinton’s address in the House of Representatives chamber

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Text of Kim Beazley’s speech of welcome to President Clinton.

Excellencies, Parliamentary colleagues, Ladies and Gentlemen. This is a delightful occasion for all of us here in this Hall. I don’t think I’ve seen it decked out better and I think you’ll find the entertainment very much to your taste. And I think you’ll find your time here in Australia about as enjoyable as you’ll fit into four days – which is lunatically short. I’ve got to tell you that.

So, we’ll do the very best we can while you’re here – all of us.

I am delighted, too, to see Mrs Clinton here as well after the enormous dedication and energy that she’s shown in a assisting your administration and in the course of the last election.

And I want to congratulate you on that election victory. I always like to see a fellow win an election. It’s a delight for us in Opposition to think that these things can occur from time to time.

It was an historic one indeed.

Looking back, you are the only Southern Democrat since Appomattox to win a second term. Woodrow Wilson doesn’t count. He won it from New Jersey. So, you’re the only Southern Democrat since Appomattox to win a second term as a President of the United States.

And I don’t mention Appomattox in a gratuitous fashion here at all. It was a defining moment for the modern American nation. The event which underwrote America’s role in the 20th century. That you reunited after that, that you emerged with your morality intact meant that America could exercise leadership of the democratic nations this century.

And America has been the bastion of democracy this century as you visit at the end of it. If you had been visiting us here in the middle, of course, you’d have been a bastion looking around you seeing democracy in retreat everywhere. The stand that the United States took for the entirety of this century means that you visit here now and you look at democracy as the norm, as the system governing the nations around the globe. And in those fights and struggles that you’ve had over the years this century to preserve that, to keep decency alive in international politics, it’s been a matter of some pride for us here in this nation that we have been there with you as well.

There’s another reason why I want to mention Appomattox and note – and your status as the most successful southern Democratic candidate for President since that period of time. The way in which you reached out to all Americans of all ethnic, racial, cultural and religious backgrounds and included them in your vision of the United States is an inspiration to all of us.

In the days when I was Defence Minister it was fashionable to say the United States was in decline. What an extraordinary change over the course of the last decade. The way in which the global economy work from this point on, the needs and security of the nations of the economy mean, that if anything, America’s role has got larger over the last decade and the opportunity greater.

As the new international economy emerges, based on essentially information technology and telecommunications. once again, United States companies are leading the way. And I don’t think there’s been any President of the United States who comprehends that better than you.

So, I am looking forward to learning a great deal from you during the course of this visit. I think that you’ve got quite a story to tell this country. But, don’t tell it for too long. Get out on the beaches, get out on the golf courses, get out snorkelling and have a terrific time here.

President Clinton’s Address To The Nixon Centre

This is the text of President Bill Clinton’s Address to the Nixon Centre for Peace and Freedom Policy Conference.

Speech by President Clinton to Nixon Centre.

Just a month before he passed away, President Nixon wrote to me about his last trip to Russia. As with all our correspondence and conversations, I was struck by the rigor of his analysis and the wisdom of his suggestions. But more than its specifics, I was moved by the letter’s larger message — a message that ran through Richard Nixon’s public life and his prolific writings. President Nixon believed deeply that United States cannot be strong at home unless we lead abroad. Tonight, I want to talk about the vital tradition of American leadership and our responsibilities — which President Nixon recognized so well — to reducethe threat of nuclear weapons.

Today, if we are to be strong at home and lead abroad, we must overcome a dangerous and growing temptation in our land to focus solely on the problems we face here in America. There is a struggle going on between those of us who want to carry on the tradition of American leadership and those who would advocate a new American isolationism — a struggle which cuts across party and ideological lines. If we are to continue to improve the security and prosperity of all our people, then the tradition of American leadership must prevail. We live in a moment of hope. The implosion of communism and the explosion of the global economy have brought new freedoms to countries on every continent. Free markets are on the rise. Democracy is ascendant. Today, more than ever before, people across the globe have the opportunity to reach their God-given potential. And because they do, Americans have new opportunities as well. [Read more…]