Maryann Tobin

Former Democratic president Bill Clinton shook the 2012 presidential race on Wednesday at the DNC in Charlotte, N.C., by telling the truth about Mitt Romney's campaign message, in simple terms that voters can understand.

In the process, Clinton became the greatest threat to Mitt Romney's changes of winning the White House.

The Romney-Ryan team already has developed a reputation for misleading advertising and has even been caught telling outright lies, as Clinton pointed out at the DNC on Wednesday.

The Republicans "actually have charged and run ads saying that President Obama wants to weaken the work requirements in the welfare reform bill I signed that moved millions of people from welfare to work," Clinton said. "Nobody ever tells you what really happened…..When some Republican governors asked if they could have waivers to try new ways to put people on welfare back to work, the Obama administration listened…and the administration agreed to give waivers to those governors and others only if they had a credible plan to increase employment by 20 percent, and they could keep the waivers only if they did increase employment."

"Now, did I make myself clear?" Clinton added. "The requirement was for more work, not less... but they keep on running the ads claiming it. You want to know why? Their campaign pollster said, we are not going to let our campaign be dictated by fact-checkers."

Add to that Mitt Romney's own admission that he has millions stashed in Swiss bank accounts and the Cayman Islands, and the character and credibility of the 2012 GOP is sinking fast.

Clinton also hit Romney and Ryan hard on their misleading claims about Medicare and Obamacare.

"Both Governor Romney and Congressman Ryan attacked the president for allegedly robbing Medicare of $716 billion… but it’s not true," Clinton said. "Here’s what really happened. There were no cuts to benefits at all. None. What the president did was to save money by taking the recommendations of a commission of professionals to cut unwarranted subsidies to providers and insurance companies…And instead of raiding Medicare, he used the savings to close the doughnut hole in the Medicare drug program - and you all got to listen carefully to this; this is really important — it added eight years to the life of the Medicare trust fund so it is solvent till 2024."

What Clinton did for PObama and the Democrats was tell the truth, because he knows how easy it is to mislead the public with false advertising. "It’s important, because a lot of people believe this stuff," he reminded the crowd.

Clinton also called out Romney, Ryan, and the Republicans on their widely disputed claims that their economic plan will address the federal deficit, saying that it failed the "fiscal responsibility" test.

"Don’t you ever forget when you hear them talking about this that Republican economic policies quadrupled the national debt before I took office, in the 12 years before I took office and doubled the debt in the eight years after I left, because it defied arithmetic."

There is a lot to support suspicions that the Republicans are desperate to win the next election and are willing to do just about anything to trick the public into voting for them. False advertising is one of them. Voter suppression is another.

"If you want every American to vote and you think it is wrong to change voting procedures just to reduce the turnout of younger, poorer, minority and disabled voters, you should support Barack Obama," Clinton added.

Voter ID laws enacted in more than 30 states in 2010 and 2011, threaten to keep more than five million legally registered American citizens from voting. And that may be the most significant argument for claims of Republican desperation to win by any means.

Full transcript of Bill Clinton's speech: New York Times

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