Bill Clinton to star at Democratic convention, Dick Cheney to skip GOP

Bill Clinton will receive a plum speaking slot at this summer's Democratic National Convention in Charlotte, N.C., a senior Barack Obama campaign official confirmed to Yahoo News.

"There's no one better to cut through on economic issues and lay out the choice in the election, because he understands the consequences of the policy differences--he knows that with its top-down approach, the GOP turned a record surplus into a record deficit, leading to the worst economic crisis since the Depression," the official said. "He'll lay out the case to continue building the economy from the middle class out."

Clinton will be competing for viewership against the NFL season opener the evening of Wednesday, Sept. 5. Vice President Joe Biden and President Barack Obama are slated to address the convention Thursday evening, the lead night of the three-day convention.

Biden will "build toward the President's speech by giving unique insights and perspective of the President's governing character and the challenges [and] decisions over the last four years in a way that only he can," the official said.

Mitt Romney's campaign immediately sought on Monday to turn the news of Clinton's speaking role into an attack on the president. From Romney campaign spokesman Ryan Williams via a press release:

After four years of trillion-dollar deficits and anemic economic growth, it's clear President Obama would love to run on President Clinton's record in office. But no amount of showmanship can paper over the differences between these two presidents. Americans deserve a president willing to run on his own record, not the record he wishes he had.

In further convention news, former Vice President Dick Cheney revealed to ABC News' Jonathan Karl in an exclusive interview that he will be skipping the Republican convention in Tampa, Fla. Instead, Cheney plans to spend time doing something he loves: fishing.

"I've got a fishing trip planned that week," Cheney said. "I've done a lot of conventions over the years, but this is a special trip I've been planning on for a long time."

Cheney's decision means neither of the top two figures from the previous administration will be in attendance.

President George W. Bush recently revealed plans to skip the convention. "In keeping with his desire to stay off the political stage at this point in the post-presidency, he respectfully declined the invitation," Bush spokesman Freddy Ford said in a statement.

Olivier Knox contributed to this story.