Bill Clinton brought the house down at the Democratic National Convention Wednesday night with a 48-minute long speech -- much of it off-the-cuff -- formally nominating Barack Obama and defending the president's economic policies.
Political commentators touted Clinton's address as an example of his uncanny ability to whittle down complex issues into entertaining soundbites ("It takes some brass to attack a guy for doing what you did").
“Some people just have to have it spelled out for them,” one spectator told the New York Times. “He speaks in plain words people can understand.”
According to NPR, Clinton added 2,300 words to what was already a 3,200-word speech, though the audience never seemed to mind.
But the former president's verbosity hasn't always been so electrifying. As a young governor at the 1988 convention in Atlanta, Clinton gave a 35-minute long endorsement of candidate Michael Dukakis so tiresome that the crowd burst into cheers when he finally said, "In conclusion..."
You can watch part of his much-maligned 1988 address in the following video, in which the audience hollers and boos the then-governor of Arkansas, who ignored convention producers' repeated calls for him to stop speaking.
"I saw him the next day and I literally slipped out of the way," Tom Brokaw said of the speech. "I didn’t know what to say to him. He knew how he’d done."
Here's the full speech from 1988:
Twenty-four years later and the elder statesman has learned a thing or two about entertaining a crowd. Here's a grateful President Obama joining his predecessor on stage for a congratulatory hug, via The Atlantic Wire.
Watch Wednesday night's speech in full below.
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