Bill Clinton delivers a stirring defence of Barack Obama

Bill Clinton electrified the Democratic National Convention in North Carolina. Photo: REUTERS/Jim Young

Masterful. Detailed. The rarest of combinations: Analytical and inspirational.

Yes, this speech was good. But whether it truly succeeded is unclear to me because the real audience was not inside the stadium.

Bill Clinton was trying to reach just a few hundred thousand people in Ohio and Florida, Colorado and North Carolina. These are the swing voters in the battleground states who will decide this election.

The former president was in his element. No politician on planet Earth enjoys this environment more. In front of him were 15,000 excited activists who see him as a political genius.

And listening nearby was a current president in need of his help. No wonder Clinton rose to the occasion with a passionate defence of Democratic Party values.

Barack Obama is in serious political trouble, damaged by a weak economy that has left many Americans deeply disappointed and frustrated.

The 66-year-old proved he still relishes the political limelight. Credit: REUTERS/Jim Young

Polls show the race to be a dead heat and Obama is in danger of losing his re-election bid. If he is defeated he would the first president to be ejected from the White House since George H Bush lost to - you guessed it - Bill Clinton.

So Bill knew his task. He attempted to destroy the Republican narrative that President Obama has failed to revive the economy.

He sold Obama as calm in a storm. "Cool on the outside, burning for America on the inside," as he memorably put it. Clinton said no president could solve America's deep-seated problems in only four years.

Bill Clinton was appealing to a wider audience in calling for four more years of an Obama presidency. Credit: REUTERS/Rick Wilking

The crowd loved every moment. The man from Hope was promising that President Obama would save the American economy if he was rewarded with a second term.

That mix of heady optimism and policy intricacy is classic Clinton. He was on fine form last night. But has he changed the narrative of the election? We will find out on November 6.