Ironically, Dukakis Applauds Clinton as Major DNC Highlight

Dukakis ironically praises the man who failed to motivate the crowd at his own nominating convention in 1988.

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Michael Dukakis laughs in the audience as President Barack Obama speaks at a campaign event in Boston in June.

Former Democratic presidential nominee Michael Dukakis, who has been attending the Democratic National Conventions since 1960, says this year's pep rally was top notch.

Dukakis says former president Bill Clinton's address Wednesday was a major piece of its success.

"He did a really terrific job," Dukakis says. "He really moved the crowd."

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It's ironic that Dukakis praised Clinton's 2012 speech, which ran 20 minutes over and included huge chunks of ad-libbing. Dukakis was on the losing end of a classic Clinton speech in 1988 , when he received his party's presidential nod.

Clinton spoke so long, and the audience was so fed up with the young Arkansas governor that biggest applause line was "in conclusion."

"It was one of the very few times where Clinton just didn't have a sense of the audience's reaction," Dukakis says. "I wasn't upset, I wanted Clinton to introduce me, we'd been pals for a long time."

Dukakis also applauded the Democrats for highlighting Romney's record as a job creator during his time as governor of Massachusetts. "It was a disaster, the guy was fourth to the bottom in job creation," says Dukakis, who also served as the state's governor. [Jobs Report Disappoints As Economy Adds Just 96,000 Jobs]

Although Dukakis was blown away by the strength of all the convention's speakers, especially Clinton and former Michigan Gov. Jennifer Granholm, he says the overall message was one Democrats have been promoting for decades.

"The Democratic party is basically where it was 20 years ago," Dukakis says. "There wasn't an awful lot different that was said at that convention then was said at our convention."

The Republicans, however, are a different story.

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"I worked with all kind of Republicans who were great to work with, we got a lot done," he remembers. "The Republican party has moved to the right dramatically."

But Dukakis isn't predicting political extinction at the hands of the Tea Party.

"Life changes, political necessity produces interesting things after awhile when you get hit in the head a few times," he says.

  • Read Robert Schlesinger: 6 Things Bill Clinton Did Right in His Convention Speech
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