(CBS/AP) Portraying harmony like never before, Bill Clinton hailed Barack Obama on Wednesday, a power pairing designed to inspire Democrats already smelling victory.
"Barack Obama represents America's future, and you've got to be there for him next Tuesday," Clinton, with Obama at his side, said to the cheers of a partisan crowd.
Heaping praise on President Bush's predecessor, Obama said of Clinton: "In case all of you forgot, this is what it's like to have a great president."
Obama even prodded the crowd to cheer more, saying "Bill Clinton. Give it up!" And there was Clinton, laughing with gusto every time Obama jokingly mocked rival John McCain.
The joint appearance of the future president and perhaps the next one was the first of the campaign. It capped one of the most ambitious days of Obama's White House run, including a 30-minute prime-time infomercial in which he tried to seal the deal with voters.
It wasn't so long ago that Clinton, still a giant of his party, was publicly criticizing Obama as untested and unready for the job of president. His wife, Hillary Rodham Clinton, engaged in a grueling and ultimately losing battle with Obama for the party's nomination.
The two men later smoothed over matters. And lately, Hillary Clinton has been out campaigning for Obama. Wednesday it was Bill Clinton's time, in his element.
He clasped Obama's hand and held it high when the men came on stage. Clinton made a methodical case for Obama, describing him as a strong thinker with smart policies.
In one of his testimonials, he praised Obama for seeking the advice of experts - including him and his wife - on how to handle the country's financial crisis before acting.
"Folks, we can't fool with this," Clinton said. "Our country is hanging in the balance. And we have so much promise and so much peril. This man should be our president."
Obama said of the two Clintons: "I am proud to call them my friends."
Through the day, in two states, Obama unleashed a bleak portrayal of a McCain presidency and told a national TV audience that "the time for change has come."
Ahead in the polls, flush with cash and blanketing himself all over television, Obama said he is counting down the days but not letting up. The election looms on Tuesday.
During a rare prime-time infomercial, Obama addressed television audiences on three broadcast networks for 30 minutes, reinforcing a message he's spent months on the campaign trail honing.
"Ronald Reagan had ‘morning in America,' but this 30-minute infomercial had the feel of ‘mid-morning in America,' said CBSNews.com senior political editor Vaughn Ververs. "Obama's message of change and hope is a powerful one and the primary reason he is clear front-runner in this election. As the examples his campaign chose to highlight in their made-for-Hollywood ad illustrated, however, the message runs up against a harsh reality. It will be up to voters to decide whether he can deliver on the promises."