CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) - God is back in the Democratic platform and people rooting for President Barack Obama hope the dazzle is back in him.
With war ending, the health care system recast and the creaky economy overshadowing all, Obama takes the stage of the Democratic National Convention on Thursday to appeal for a second term before a huge prime-time audience. He's got several tough acts to follow - his wife Michelle's crowd-swooning speech of a few days ago, former President Bill Clinton's rollicking turn on stage Wednesday night and his own soaring oratory of four years ago.
Clinton, the one-time "comeback kid," offered a rousing defense of Obama's economic stewardship in a speech setting up Obama's moment to come. "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," said Clinton - the last president to see sustained growth, in the 1990s. "Conditions are improving and if you'll renew the president's contract, you will feel it."
He also preached bipartisanship and a pullback from politics as "blood sport" - this near the end of back-to-back conventions that feasted on rhetorical red meat and even as he ripped the Republican agenda as a throwback to the past, a "double-down on trickle-down" economics that assumes tax cuts for the wealthy will help everyone down the ladder.
Obama watched Clinton's speech from backstage, then strolled out and embraced him, bringing happy roars from the crowd in his first convention appearance and making for a spirited ending to a trying day for Democrats.