Schieffer: Clinton delivers Obama message better than Obama team ever could

The 42nd President of the United States Bill Clinton addresses the audience at the Time Warner Cable Arena in Charlotte, North Carolina, on September 5, 2012 on the second day of the Democratic National Convention (DNC). The DNC is expected to nominate US President Barack Obama to run for a second term as president on September 6. AFP PHOTO / Mladen ANTONOV (Photo credit should read MLADEN ANTONOV/AFP/GettyImages)

(CBS NEWS) CHARLOTTE, N.C. - Bill Clinton has now spoken at seven straight conventions. CBS News chief Washington correspondent Bob Schieffer has covered 23 in a row.

In a CBS Evening News commentary Thursday, he offered his thoughts on the strange bedfellows that shared the DNC stage Wednesday night:

Bill Clinton and Barack Obama never were best buds.

After all, Mrs. Clinton ran against Mr. Obama for president once upon a time.

Well, who'd have thought it, but after Bill Clinton's speech last night, I've decided he's the best thing that ever happened to Barack Obama.

I don't care how good your message is, if you can't explain it in a way that people understand, you might as well not say it.

After the Obama team spent last week trying to answer the old Reagan question, "Are you better off now than you were four years ago?" Clinton gave them an answer people could remember: The Republican logic, he said, was, "We left him a total mess. He hasn't cleaned it up fast enough. So fire him and put us back."

No wonder my friend Brit Hume over at Fox said, "If I were ever in trouble, I'd want Bill Clinton to defend me."

Time and again last night, Clinton laid out President Obama's positions better than the Obama team has been able to do over four years.

So maybe they weren't best buds before, but I sense the beginning of a beautiful friendship. As my colleague John Dickerson observed, the president hugged Clinton so hard after that speech, he looked like he was trying to burp him.

Watch Bill Clinton's Democratic National Convention speech below:


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    Bob Schieffer is a CBS News political contributor and former anchor of "Face The Nation," which he moderated for 24 years before retiring in 2015.