2012 ELECTION

2012 DNC: Bill Clinton set to deliver DNC speech

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CHARLOTTE, N.C. (ABC7, AP) - Carolina ground now underfoot, the president is primed for his big night - but not just yet. There's another headliner in town whose speech might just steal a bit of the president's thunder.

PHOTOS: DNC kicks off in Charlotte

PHOTOS: DNC kicks off in Charlotte 13 Photos
PHOTOS: DNC kicks off in Charlotte

PHOTOS: RNC happenings, Conservative speakers and Planned Parenthood rally

PHOTOS: RNC happenings, Conservative speakers and Planned Parenthood rally 14 Photos
PHOTOS: RNC happenings, Conservative speakers and Planned Parenthood rally

Bill Clinton is offering some of his luster to the Democratic National Convention with a prime-time address Wednesday as President Barack Obama ditched plans to deliver his acceptance speech before a throng of 74,000 at an outdoor stadium on the convention's final night due to iffy weather.

With a chance of thunderstorms on the horizon, Obama will accept his party's nomination indoors Thursday night before about 15,000 people at the Time Warner Cable Arena.

Convention CEO Steve Kerrigan said the speech was moved "to ensure the safety and security of our delegates and convention guests."

But GOP spokeswoman Kirsten Kukowski cast it as Democrats downgrading the event "due to lack of enthusiasm."

"Problems filling the seats?" she asked in a statement. Rep. Patrick McHenry, a North Carolina Republican, dismissed the risks of speaking "during a light September rain" and speculated the decision "has to do more with attendance than participation."

Whatever the reason, the shift ensured there would be no repeat of the spectacular scene from 2008, when Obama accepted the Democratic nomination in a packed-to-the-gills, 84,000-seat stadium in Denver, complete with ivory columns on the 50-yard line.

Republicans mocked that as "The Temple of Obama."

The move also reduced the likelihood of anti-Obama hecklers, since most of those in the crowd will be official convention participants.

Focus on the Issues

But tonight, there’s a focus on issues. Specifically, the economy and not just from Clinton. Bill Butcher, the owner of port city brewing company in Alexandria, Va., will sing the praises of how the recovery act helped finance his now thriving company.

“I don't know if what I have to say will make a difference like I say where here just to tell our story and how a very small part of the recovery act helped our business and it helped us in a very large way,” Butcher says.

Also taking the mic is Georgetown law student Sandra Fluke, who will highlight her personal and popularized mission for women's choice with contraception and reproductive rights.

"You know, I try to look at people's records when I vote so that's what I'm trying to make clear what they're records are so -I hope that's convincing for people,” Fluke says.

Hopes for Clinton's speech

Clinton's convention speech on Wednesday will be a high point in a checkered relationship between two men who sparred, sometimes sharply, in the 2008 primaries, when the ex-president was supporting wife Hillary's campaign for the nomination.

Democrats hope that as the last president to preside over sustained economic growth, Clinton can help propel this president to re-election in less rosy times.

His wife - seen as a potential presidential candidate again for 2016 - will be worlds away from the debate, in distance and substance.

Obama's secretary of state, midway through an 11-day tour of the Asia-Pacific region, should be in East Timor by the time her husband speaks.

Republican Mitt Romney, preparing for the fall debates at a private home in Vermont, had no public schedule on the day Obama accepts his nomination, but taped several TV interviews in nearby New Hampshire.

He framed the economic debate against Obama in an email to supporters, writing that "no president in modern history has ever asked to be re-elected with this many Americans out of work.

Twenty-three million Americans are struggling for work, and more families wake up in poverty than ever before."

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