WASHINGTON - There was a huge, gaping hole in former President Bill Clinton's defensive speech in behalf of Barack Obama's bid for a second term.
He conveniently and dishonestly ignored or papered over all of painful failures of Obama's mediocre presidency throughout the past four troubled years. To use a speaking device Clinton repeatedly applied in his attack on former Gov. Mitt Romney's candidacy, the number of worsening policy problems that Obama was responsible for totaled "zero."
The former president, whose scandal-torn tenure was notable for telling Americans "I feel your pain," had little or nothing to say about the severe economic pain that tens of millions of Americans are suffering under Obama's failed presidency.
The theme of the Democratic national convention, as was evident from the sea of signs before the podium, was protecting the middle class, the bedrock of Obama's party.
But the economic, fiscal and social statistics that have been relentlessly detailed in government reports over the course of Obama's term reveal a jobless, income starved economy that has hit the middle class the hardest of all. No sector of our population has been punished more by Obama's anti-economic growth, anti-job creation policies.
There was no mention of 8.3 percent unemployment, a rate of 8- plus joblessness across the land that shows no signs of improvement. And that's the average of all the states. Unfortunately, the people this is hurting do not live in the statistically-massaged column of averages, but in the real, slow growth economy Obama has given us.
"Adding adults on the sidelines, who say they'd reenter the labor market if conditions improved, and part-time workers, who would prefer full-time positions, the unemployment rate becomes 15 percent," says University of Maryland business economist Peter Morici.
What else did Clinton leave out of his carnival-barker defense of Obama's presidency? Sharply lower median incomes, higher poverty rates in the 15 percent range, a snail's pace, 1.7 percent economic growth rate that's on a downward slope, gas prices skirting $4 a gallon, and a big spike in claims for food stamps to combat growing hunger and homelessness in the United States.
Clinton's slickly-worded speech will be a feast for the fact- checkers, but it was clear that he was cherry-picking numbers and specious facts to make Obama's presidency look better than it is. Earlier this week, the Gallup Poll said only 43 percent of Americans approved of the job Obama was doing, while 48 percent disapproved.