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Matthews: Bill Clinton is still the leader of the Democratic Party

Let me finish tonight with this.

Bill Clinton. Bubba. The Big Dog. Elvis. How many names of endearment will he carry before this love affairs comes to an end? It's gone on for 20 years now. An entire generation of the Democratic Party and many outside it have clapped in admiration for this guy I have dared to dub "President of the World."

Well, today came word that the Lord, or at least the Democratic Party here on earth, isn't finished with the Big Dog. He's going to get a big chunk of primetime at the Democratic National Convention — a hot night in Charlotte all to himself. He, William Jefferson Clinton, will be the one to put the name "Barack Obama" into nomination for a second presidential term. So as another big fellow used to say, "And away we go," and, oh yeah, "How sweet it is!"

From here on out, this can be Bill Clinton's show. He helps the President get re-elected. He clamps down his position as head of the Democratic Party. He continues to clear the field for his candidate in 2016: the Secretary of State, the smasher of glass ceilings, Mrs. Clinton herself.    

So the beat goes on. The future rises before us. We will do what we've done for a quarter century: talk about the Clintons, think about the Clintons, guess about them, wonder at them. 

Bet against them at your peril. Count on things to go smoothly at your own risk. But know that they will be among us, living rent-free in our political souls.   

Listen even now: somewhere high in Manhattan, above the park and above the trees, you can hear the bark — loud, clear and happy. The Big Dog has gotten his bone.