He clearly set himself up. While the GOP has been embracing Clinton during this entire campaign the folly of it after Clinton's home run of a speech last night, is clear.
"Clinton’s speech last night epitomized the risk the Romney campaign took when it elevated Clinton, first highlighting the former Democratic president’s comments on private equity and Bain Capital and then using Clinton in its TV ads hitting Obama on welfare. But as we’ve written before, there’s danger when you elevate someone who isn’t supporting your candidacy --you make that person seem like a fair arbiter in the contest and someone whose words carry extra weight. (Greg Sargent writes that senior Dems think Clinton “is seen by genuine undecided and swing voters as a kind of ‘referee’ figure.”) So in addition to Clinton’s defense of the past 3 ½ years and his critique of the current Republican Party, he also used his speech to play the role of fact-checker. He pointed out that modern Democratic presidents have created twice the jobs that GOP presidents had; he said that both the welfare and Medicare attacks on Obama aren’t accurate; and he stole a favorite talking point of Paul Ryan’s (“math”) and turned it against the GOP, arguing that the “arithmetic” in Romney’s budget math doesn’t add up."
Greg Sargent lays out why last night's speech was such a grand slam:
"Here’s the key to understanding the barn burner of a speech Bill Clinton just delivered. Senior Dems believe Clinton has taken on a unique role in American politics: They think he is seen by genuine undecided and swing voters as a kind of “referee” figure — someone they can trust to tell them what to think about politics and the economy. These voters, Dems believe, think he understands better than any other major figure exactly the kind of economy they want."
"Clinton played that role with great gusto tonight, delivering a strong pitch for a second Obama term, combined with a sharp, point by point response to virtually every major GOP argument against him."
That's the thing that really jumps out at you regarding Clinton-his ability to always have the real facts and figures at hand yet in his down homey way. Clinton has the unique ability to combine the right brain side-empathy, I feel your pain! and the left brain side-incisive facts and figures.
What was most arresting about it was the way he provided a point by point takedown of GOP talking points.
In this he's the anti Romney on both lobes of the brain. Romney has neither empathy or any of the most rudimentary policy details.