In this year Cicero was praetor, and delivered his first extant public speech (apud populum) in support of the lex Manilia, which gave Pompey the command in the Mithridatic War with the provinces of Asia and Bithynia. The strict Optimates opposed it. Cicero supported it on the grounds of the importance of the war and the proofs Pompey had already given of military ability, courage, personal prestige, and good fortune. He takes occasion to point out the mischief done to the Roman name by oppressive or fraudulent governors and imperators. In this same year he delivered one of his ablest speeches in court in defending A. Cluentius Habitus on a charge of poisoning. At the consular elections this year the two first elected were disabled for bribery.