RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — Former president Bill Clinton said Sunday that North Carolina residents should vote for President Barack Obama in part because he supported the bailout of the U.S. auto industry and signed a law that gives workers more time to file pay discrimination lawsuits.
Stealing a phrase from former President George W. Bush, Clinton said Obama was a better "decider-in-chief" than the GOP nominee, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney.
Romney "has been tying himself in knots to say he didn't say what he clearly said," Clinton told about 4,000 people at Pullen Park in Raleigh.
Obama won North Carolina by 14,000 votes in 2008, the first victory for a Democratic nominee since 1976. The win was attributed in part to turnout among energized black voters and young people.
North Carolina is considered a swing state again this year. An Elon poll released about a week ago showed Obama and Romney each with 45 percent of likely voters, and about 5 percent undecided.
In his remarks, Clinton noted the first bill that Obama signed, the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act, which prevents restrictions on workers filing lawsuits over pay inequity. Romney has not taken a position on the bill, but said he wouldn't repeal it
Clinton also praised Obama's performance as commander in chief, citing the end of the war in Iraq and his call to bring troops home from Afghanistan. He also got in a plug for his wife, Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton.
"He is fighting terrorism and vigorously pursuing diplomacy to make a world of more partners and fewer adversaries," Clinton said. "And he's got a heckuva secretary of state."
Clinton praised Obama for cooperating with people with different political views, pointing to his work after Hurricane Sandy with Republican Gov. Chris Christie of New Jersey.
"He knows politics is about people, not about power, not about ideology," Clinton said. "He knows a philosophy of we're all-in-this-together is a heckuva lot better than you're-on-your-own, and not just when natural disasters strike."
Clinton said Obama stopped the sour economy from becoming a depression.
"When Gov. Romney says, oh, the economy's terrible, we left him a mess, he didn't fix it fast enough, fire him, put me in, you say: I'm sorry, governor, but you want to do what we did before," Clinton said.
First lady Michelle Obama will visit Charlotte on Monday, the day before the election.