CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) - President Barack Obama inherited a wreck of an economy, "put a floor under the crash" and laid the foundation for millions of good new jobs, former President Bill Clinton declared Wednesday night in a Democratic National Convention appeal aimed at millions of hard-pressed Americans yet to decide how to vote.
"If you want a you're-on-your-own, winner-take-all society, you should support the Republican ticket," Clinton said. "If you want a country of shared prosperity and shared responsibility - a we're-all-in-this-together society - you should vote for Barack Obama and Joe Biden."
Obama's high command released the remarks before Clinton's appearance as they struggled to bury the news of an embarrassing retreat on the party platform.
President Barack Obama waves with former President Bill Clinton after Clinton’s speech to the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte, N.C., on Wednesday.
Under criticism from Republican challenger Mitt Romney, they abruptly rewrote the day-old document to insert a reference to God and to declare that Jerusalem "is and will remain the capital of Israel." Some delegates objected loudly, but Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, presiding in the largely-empty hall, ruled them outvoted. White House aides said Obama had personally ordered the changes.
The episode was an unwanted intrusion for Democrat officials, who scripted the evening to showcase Clinton, popular 12 years after he left office with the budget in balance and now their unofficial ambassador-in-chief to anxious voters in a tough economy.
"In Tampa the Republican argument against the president's re-election was pretty simple: 'We left him a total mess, he hasn't finished cleaning it up yet, so fire him and put us back in,'" Clinton said.
"I like the argument for President Obama's re-election a lot better. He inherited a deeply damaged economy, put a floor under the crash, began the long hard road to recovery and laid the foundation for a more modern, more well-balanced economy that will produce millions of good new jobs, vibrant new businesses, and lots of new wealth for the innovators."
Obama arrived in his convention city earlier in the day. His formal nomination to a second term in office followed Clinton's speech on the evening program, and his acceptance speech will mark the convention finale tonight.
On an unsettled convention day, aides also scrapped plans for the president to speak to a huge crowd in a 74,000 seat football stadium, citing the threat of bad weather in a city that has been pelted by heavy downpours in recent days.
"We can't do anything about the rain. The important thing is the speech," said Washington Rey, a delegate from Sumter, S.C.
That and the eight-week general election campaign about to begin between Obama and Republican challenger Romney, who spent his second straight day in Vermont preparing for this fall's debates with Obama.
In a tight race for the White House and with control of the Senate at stake, Democrats signaled concern about the growing financial disadvantage they confront. Officials said Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel, who was Obama's first White House chief of staff, was resigning as national co-chairman of the president's campaign to help raise money for a super PAC that supports the his re-election.
Unlike candidates, outside groups can solicit donations of unlimited size from donors. Federal law bars coordination with the campaigns.
Republicans have suddenly discovered a lot to like about Clinton - a man they impeached in late 1998 for perjury and obstruction while in office.
Vice presidential nominee Paul Ryan made no mention of those unpleasantries when he told a campaign audience in Iowa, "Under President Clinton we got welfare reform. President Obama is rolling back welfare reform."
"President Clinton worked with Republicans in Congress to have a budget agreement to cut spending. President Obama, a gusher of new spending."