Washington (CNN) – Former President Bill Clinton will play a prominent role at the Democratic convention in Charlotte by giving a major speech and placing President Barack Obama's name into nomination, the Democratic National Convention Committee announced on Tuesday.
The former president will give a primetime speech on Wednesday, September 5, in which he is expected to starkly lay out the differences in the economic policies of the two parties and describe why Obama is the best choice compared to presumptive GOP nominee Mitt Romney, the aide said.
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The campaign believes Clinton can deliver a forceful fiscal message that it hopes can resonate especially with the middle class and is someone who can uniquely tout how he left the country with a surplus which was later erased by Republicans.
The choice to feature Clinton is expected to be formally announced Monday.
The former president is expected to emphasize how Obama's plan will help the middle class - a major general election constituency, the campaign aide told CNN.
While Clinton and Obama have had a rocky political relationship, the choice to feature the former president is a recognition of his continuing popularity and unique ability to deliver an economic message that will resonate with voters.
Republicans pounced on Clinton's appearance, saying it was proof of Obama's electoral weaknesses.
“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. Americans deserve a president willing to run on his own record, not the record he wishes he had," Ryan Williams, a Romney Campaign Spokesman, said in a statement.
Because the former president will speak Wednesday that means Vice President Joe Biden will make his primetime speech Thursday night - the final evening of the convention when Obama accepts the nomination and gives his address.
The campaign will build that evening - occurring before tens of thousands at Bank of America Stadium - as a powerful 1-2 punch and the focal point for the convention. The vice president will precede Obama by talking about the the successes the administration has had and challenges it has faced in the first term as he introduces the president, the aide said.
There is expected to be a primetime professional football game Wednesday night so organizers have decided to put both of its two major attractions on the last night for maximum exposure.
The New York Times first reported Clinton's convention role and the vice president's speech timing.
Note: an original version of the story reported Clinton's appearance would be Tuesday.