Bill Clinton: Obama is Ready to Lead

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Former President Bill Clinton delivered a firm endorsement of Barack Obama for president Wednesday night, saying in no uncertain terms that Obama "is ready to be President of the United States."

"We have important work to do tonight. I'm here first to support Barack Obama," he said after chiding the crowd for cheering for him for so long.

Click play to watch a portion of Clinton's speech.

Bill Clinton's endorsement comes after a bitter primary race exposed sharp divisions between the Obama camp and Hillary Clinton's camp.

"That campaign generated so much heat, it increased global warming," Clinton joked, a veiled reference to their heated exchanges. "In the end, my candidate didn't win. But I'm proud of the campaign she ran."

During the race, the former President had unleashed a fury of criticism over whether Obama, a first-term senator from Illinois, had the experience to lead the country. The former president had also called Obama's opposition to the Iraq war a "fairy tale."

But those differences were all set aside Wednesday night in an effort to show a unified front in the Democratic party.

"Last night, Hillary said she's going to do everything she can to help elect Barack Obama," Clinton said. "That makes two of us."

"Actually, that makes 18 million of us," he continued, referring to the number of supporters who voted for Hillary Clinton during the primary race.

Since Obama clinched the nomination in June, the former president had only given Obama lukewarm endorsements. Clinton's tone changed dramatically Wednesday night.

"Everything I've learned in my eight years as president and the work I've done since, in America and across the globe, has convinced me that Barack Obama is the man for this job," he said.

"Barack Obama is ready to honor the oath to preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States," he said. "Barack Obama is ready to be President of the United States."

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