Analysis of Clinton Speeches

Bill Clinton reminded voters of his political charisma last night — and that’s not necessarily good news for Al Gore, analysts said.

Clinton’s speech was 80 percent touting his own achievements and 20 percent boosting Al Gore, former Clinton press secretary Dee Dee Myers said on Good Morning America. That should make the Gore people “mostly happy,” she said.

But ABCNEWS political consultant Tucker Carlson disagreed.

“Clinton made a very strong case that he was a good president, but when he got around to the time to talk about why Gore ought to be president, he essentially said, well, I had lunch with him a lot, he’s good on technology issues and that was virtually it,” Carlson said.

Whether or not it helped Gore, Minnesota Gov. Jesse Ventura called Clinton’s speech “electrifying.”

“If the Constitution … would permit him, I believe he could be elected for a third term,” Ventura, who was the Reform Party’s highest elected official before leaving the third party, told NBC’s Today show.

Gore, who watched Clinton’s speech from his hotel room, called the president’s farewell a great one. “It’s a handoff, a passing of the torch.”

Setting the Scene

As for Hillary Clinton’s speech, ABCNEWS political director Mark Halperin said she was trying to appeal to the heavily Democratic constituency in New York, juggling her Senate candidacy with explaining her support for Gore. In the end, she hewed to a more partisan line than her husband.

“She probably reinforced support with those who like her already, but there was little in her speech that would seem to appeal to swing voters, or voters already against her,” he said.

The president’s speech could have mentioned Gore earlier and more often, said ABCNEWS political consultant George Stephanopoulos. But it set the scene for Gore’s address on Thursday, he said.

“It was 30 minutes into the speech before he talked about Al Gore … on the other hand, what Clinton can do best for most voters who aren’t hard-core Democrats is to tell the story of the last eight years. He set the groundwork there, freeing Gore to talk about the future,” he said.

“To follow his charismatic boss, Gore’s speech is going to have to be a rip-roarer,” ABCNEWS’ Halperin said.

Both Bill and Hillary Clinton’s speeches “stressed the Democratic issues that Gore wants to run on and framed this year’s election in the context of what Americans like about the last eight years … no matter what the Clintons said on Monday night, the bottom line for Al Gore remains the same: he must rise to the occasion, as he did in both 1992 and 1996, and give, under tremendous pressure, a very good convention speech.”

The Associated Press contributed to this story.

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