Former President Bill Clinton will assume a high-profile role at the Democratic National Convention in September, including a prime-time address in a slot typically reserved for an incumbent vice president.
Clinton will speak on the third night of the convention in Charlotte, N.C., the evening before President Obama will formally accept the party’s nomination at Bank of America Stadium, campaign and DNCC officials tell ABC News.
Vice President Biden will share the stage with Obama on Thursday, Sept. 6, delivering his own solo address before the president speaks, the officials said.
The formal announcement of Clinton’s role is expected later today from the DNCC. News of the speaker line-up was first reported by the New York Times.
Clinton’s prominent placement in the convention comes as Obama increasingly invokes his popular Democratic predecessor on the campaign trail, in part, as a defense of his economic plan. The two have also conducted joint fundraisers in the past few months to help rouse the Democratic base.
An Obama campaign official says of Clinton, “There’s no one better to cut through on economic issues and lay out the choice in the election because he understands the consequences of the policy differences. He knows that with its top down approach the GOP turned a record surplus into a record deficit leading to the worst economic crisis since the Depression.
“The VP will speak Thursday because that night is the focal point of the convention. He and the president will speak to tens of thousands of people at the stadium,” the official said.
“He’ll build toward the president’s speech by giving unique insights and perspective of the president’s governing character and the challenges/decisions over the last four years in a way that only he can. This is a stand alone speech, not an intro.”
One factor in the decision to feature Clinton on nomination eve, and move Biden to Thursday, may be the NFL season kick-off which is set for Wednesday night, Sept. 5. At least one major broadcast network — NBC — had already planned not to broadcast the convention speeches live that night to air football instead.
Republicans dismissed Clinton’s involvement in the Democratic Convention as a sign Obama continues to struggle with selling his own economic plan.
“After four years of trillion-dollar deficits and anemic economic growth, it’s clear President Obama would love to run on President Clinton’s record in office. But no amount of showmanship can paper over the differences between these two presidents,” said Ryan Williams, a spokesman for presumptive GOP nominee Mitt Romney.
“Americans deserve a president willing to run on his own record, not the record he wishes he had,” he said.
This post has been updated.