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."
He added, "I want to nominate a man who is cool on the outside but who burns for America on the inside."
Clinton spoke as Obama's high command worked to control the political fallout from an embarrassing retreat on the party platform.
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, but they did not disclose whether he had approved the earlier version.
The convention hall rocked with delegates' applause and cheers as Clinton - unofficial Democratic ambassador-in-chief to anxious voters in a tough economy - strode onstage to sounds of "Don't Stop Thinking About Tomorrow," his 1992 campaign theme song.
"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 flew into his convention city earlier in the day and arrived in the hall for Clinton's speech. He arranged to join the former president onstage afterward in a made-for-television joint appearance.