Bill Clinton stumps for Hillary in first 2016 campaign trail appearance

bill clinton hillary iowa rally sot_00000924
bill clinton hillary iowa rally sot_00000924

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    Bill Clinton makes first 2016 campaign trail appearance

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Bill Clinton makes first 2016 campaign trail appearance 02:41

Story highlights

  • The former president made an argument that the stakes in the party nominating race and the general election were simple but profound
  • The Clinton campaign is trying to build on a streak of good fortune which has helped revive the former secretary of state's bid

Des Moines, Iowa (CNN)The explainer-in-chief is back.

Bill Clinton made his first public campaign trail appearance for his wife's 2016 campaign on Saturday, spelling out why she is ready for the White House.
The former president, rallying Hillary Clinton supporters before Iowa's big annual Democratic dinner, and acting as a warm-up act for pop diva Katy Perry, made an argument that the stakes in the party nominating race and the general election were simple but profound.
    He said that as president, his wife would stop bad things happening in national security, make more good things happen at home and abroad and secure and broaden the economic recovery forged by President Barack Obama.
    "The American people in the last six weeks have learned a lot about lot about Hillary, what she is for, why she is running and what kind of president she would be," Clinton said in an open-air rally here.
    The Clinton campaign is trying to build on a streak of good fortune which has helped revive the former secretary of state's White House bid after a tough summer which was dominated by the controversy over her private email server and the surge by her Democratic Party rival Bernie Sanders.
    Bill Clinton praised Obama's legacy of restoring growth and job creation after the Great Recession that struck just before he took office, and said only a Democrat could deliver increased personal incomes and job security.
    "I believe that progress has been made, but there is more that needs to be done," he said.
    And Clinton argued that the next president could get to make between one and three appointments to the Supreme Court, potentially with the chance to shape U.S. politics and public life for decades to come.
    He said that his wife's marathon 11-hour testimony over the Benghazi attack on Capitol Hill Thursday had reminded many people why she had the skills needed to be president. He also argued that his wife was the most electable and qualified person in the race to actually serve as president -- perhaps in a veiled swipe at the self-declared "democratic socialist" Sanders.
    "When you elect a president you have got to say, 'Who is the person I think is most likely to keep big, bad things from happening and to make more good things happen?'" Clinton said. "I don't think it is a terribly close question."
    It was the kind of reasoned argument that Clinton had deployed to help give definition to Obama's re-election campaign in 2012, when he was credited with laying out the stakes in a more methodical way than the President himself. Grateful for Clinton's performances at the Democratic National Convention and on the campaign trail, Obama dubbed the 42nd president the "explainer-in-chief," or the "Secretary of Explaining Stuff."
    Clinton, who served as president from 1993 to 2001, also ended with a tongue-in-cheek reference to his wife's historic potential as the first woman president.
    "There has been a lot of talk about breaking the glass ceiling," Clinton said. "I am tired of the stranglehold that women have had on the job of presidential spouse."