From 1992: Zell Miller speaks at Democratic National Convention for Bill Clinton

Former Ohio Gov. John Kasich, a Republican, will speak at the 2020 Democratic National Convention. The news reminded Georgians of Democrat Zell Miller, the late U.S. senator and former governor who delivered 1992 and 2004 national convention speeches at Madison Square Garden. But the second one was for the Republican National Convention.

Here is a story from the AJC about Miller’s prime-time address in 1992 for then-candidate Bill Clinton.

“Listen to this voice,” Mr. Miller said in his distinctive north Georgia mountain accent, and then he told of growing up poor in the Appalachian mountains of North Georgia, raised by his widowed mother. Mr. Miller’s father died when he was two weeks old in 1932. Likewise, Mr. Clinton’s father died four months before he was born in Hope, Ark.

The original story:

Miller fires up the Democrats

Clinton’s old ally blasts wealth of Bush, Perot

By Scott Shepard and A.L. May, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, July 14, 1992

New York — A once-poor, fatherless Southerner held the spotlight of the buoyant Democratic convention Monday night to portray a Bush administration aloof and uncaring for the common man.

Georgia Gov. Zell Miller turned his life story - and its parallels to Democrat Bill Clinton's - into a weapon against three wealthy men of politics: President Bush, Vice President Dan Quayle, and particularly independent Ross Perot.

ExploreFrom 2004: Democrat Zell Miller delivers Republican keynote speech at the same convention hall

Using the litany, "And George Bush doesn't get it," Mr. Miller thundered against a president who he said doesn't understand Americans' frustrations over rising taxes and falling services, inadequate health- care coverage, increasing crime and economic stagnation.

"He doesn't see it, he doesn't feel it and he's done nothing about it," Mr. Miller said as Georgia delegates chanted and waved signs urging him to "give 'em hell, Zell." The speech, which began slowly and led to a hard-hitting finale, was the buzz of post-convention pundits.

Mr. Miller joined former Rep. Barbara Jordan of Texas and New Jersey Sen. Bill Bradley in keynoting a brassy, optimistic opening of a four-day session that will end in the nomination of Mr. Clinton, the governor of Arkansas.

Mr. Miller helped deliver a crescendo of attacks on Mr. Bush as a failed president and defined Mr. Clinton as the candidate of desperately needed political change. He was instrumental in the evening's strategy to portray Mr. Clinton in terms of his modest roots, not his Ivy League education and Rhodes scholarship.

Mr. Miller also delivered the convention's first major attack on Mr. Perot, bringing Madison Square Garden to its feet. "If Ross Perot is an outsider, folks, I'm from Brooklyn," Mr. Miller intoned in his heavy North Georgia accent.

ExploreFrom 2018: Three former presidents eulogize Zell Miller

The speech was written by Mr. Miller, with the assistance of Paul Begala, Mr. Clinton's top speechwriter.

The Democrats choreographed their multiracial, populist message with the pure soprano of youngster Reggie Jackson, who sang the national anthem; the Gabriel-like riffs of trumpeter-singer Phil Driskell; and a giant high-tech video screen that served as a backdrop. There was even a leggy chorus line.

The crowd was spirited and upbeat, making an effort to unite around a candidate about whom many have reservations.

Using a bit of Broadway and high-tech, the Democrats aired an electronic haze to blot out from television screens the dissension that did raise its head on the floor. The delegates of former California Gov. Edmund G. "Jerry" Brown tried to disrupt speeches by chanting "Let Jerry speak," protesting the fact that he wasn't given a time slot for a speech.

Mr. Miller is a top supporter of Mr. Clinton and leveled a tough attack on behalf of the Arkansas governor during the nadir of his presidential primary campaign.

"Listen to this voice," Mr. Miller twanged as he told of growing up poor in the Appalachian mountains of North Georgia, raised by his widowed mother. Mr. Miller's father died when he was two weeks old in 1932. Likewise, Mr. Clinton's father died four months before he was born in Hope, Ark., almost 46 years ago.

Recounting a story he has told many times on the Georgia stump, Mr. Miller told of his mother carrying stones from a stream to build a house.

"She pressed her pride, and her hopes and her dreams deep into my soul," Mr. Miller said. "So, you see, I know what Dan Quayle means when he says it's best for children to have two parents. You bet it is. And it would be nice to have trust funds, too," he said, referring to Mr. Quayle's inherited wealth.

"I'm for Bill Clinton because he is a Democrat who does not have to read a book or be briefed about the struggles of single-parent families, or what it means to work hard for everything he's ever received in life," Mr. Miller said.

He portrayed Mr. Bush as a son of privilege and "a timid man who hears only the voice of caution and status quo."

As for Mr. Perot, Mr. Miller painted him as a power broker who lobbied Congress for a tax break and contributed $55,000 to congressmen. "Sounds to me like instead of shaking the system up, Mr. Perot's been shaking it down," the governor said.

Ms. Jordan, who 16 years ago became the first black woman to deliver a Democratic keynote address, said Democrats are the logical choice to effect change because "we seek to unite people, not divide them."

Mr. Bradley of New Jersey said of the long Republican presidential reign, "When we look back on the last 12 years, one pattern becomes clear: The collapse of standards. Another bank that fails. Another dodge on the deficit. Another high school graduate who can't read."

Of the three keynoters, Mr. Miller and Ms. Jordan both moved the crowd. James Carville, a top strategist for Mr. Clinton and former campaign manager for Mr. Miller, was in the aisle next to the Georgia delegation, leading it in cheers.

"He's really kickin' ass," Mr. Carville said. "He was great; he was awesome; he tore the house down."

Alan Williams, 39, a brewery worker from Sylvester, Ga., said of Mr. Miller, "He was right on the money. He hit home and he told the truth and that's exactly what America needs."

Allen G. Norman of Palm Springs, Calif., said, "It's interesting how Southerners have a way of talking simply to the issues. You don't see that when you're bicoastal."

Staff writers Steve Harvey, Jeanne Cummings and Tom Baxter contributed to this article.