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Obama adviser: Clinton made 'remarkable argument' for president

TODAY's Savannah Guthrie sits down with David Axelrod, the senior adviser to the president's campaign, and David Plouffe, a White House senior adviser, to discuss Bill Clinton's speech and just how much President Obama needs a man with whom he's had a distant relationship with until recently.

By focusing on Barack Obama's achievements over the last four years and the choices Americans face in this fall’s election in his Wednesday night speech at the Democratic National Convention, former President Bill Clinton perfectly set up the current president to concentrate on policy when he speaks Thursday night to the party faithful, senior presidential advisers told TODAY.

“He set up that choice, so now the president can talk about the future, having cleared some of that underbrush out of the way,” Obama campaign adviser David Axelrod said. “What you’re going to hear the president talk about tonight is where we need to go and the things we need to do.”

White House adviser David Plouffe said Clinton made “a remarkable argument” about Obama’s performance so far. The president can now focus on laying out his plans for a second administration in his convention speech.

President Clinton took centerstage at the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte, N.C., to vouch for President Obama. He riffed and adlibbed quite a bit of his speech as he passionately argued a case for the president's re-election. NBC's David Gregory reports.

“It will be clear where he thinks we need to go. This whole week has also laid out a choice, which is, it’s a question for the American people: Who can you trust to build a kind of economy that’s going to work for the middle class?” Plouffe said.

Obama campaigned for president in 2008 as a candidate of change. Americans should hold him accountable, Axelrod said, but they also need to keep in mind that the president inherited weighty problems that take a long time to fix. 

“Change is hard, change takes time. We have to be persistent. We have to stick with it. A lot has been accomplished, we also ended a war, health care reform, financial reform, we stopped the free fall … in our economy," Axelrod said. "We do have work to do in our politics, and we think the verdict of the American people on Nov. 6 is going to help change that.”

Obama had been scheduled to speak outdoors, but a stormy forecast has moved his speech indoors. Axelrod said the venue won’t make much of a difference on Obama's performance or the energy it will bring to delegates.

“We think this is going to be the perfect capstone of a tremendous convention,” he said.

Eun Kyung Kim is a political contributor to TODAY.com based in Washington. She can be followed on Twitter @eunkim.

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Democrats gather in Charlotte, N.C., to officially nominate President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden as the party's candidates for the 2012 presidential election.

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