Democratic convention: Obama lays out election choice

US President Barack Obama accepts the Democratic presidential nomination 6 September 2012 Barack Obama said the hope he spoke of in 2004 and 2008 had been tested since by the great difficulties and uncertainty

US President Barack Obama has told voters they face a generational choice in November's election, as he accepted the nomination of the Democratic party.

He highlighted the differences between his aims and Republican policies, and reprised his 2008 theme of "hope".

"I never said this journey would be easy, and I won't promise that now," Mr Obama told the Democratic convention.

Republican Mitt Romney is challenging Mr Obama for the White House, with polls showing a tight race.

The two rivals now face two months of campaigning before US voters go to the polls on 6 November.

Mr Obama told delegates in the hall and voters watching at home that the nation's problems had built up over decades and could not be fixed in a flash.

"But when you pick up that ballot to vote - you will face the clearest choice of any time in a generation.

"Over the next few years, big decisions will be made in Washington: on jobs and the economy; taxes and deficits; energy and education; war and peace - decisions that will have a huge impact on our lives and our children's lives for decades to come," he said.

Venue change

Mr Obama took to the stage not in a huge arena in downtown Charlotte, North Carolina, as organisers had hoped, but inside the convention centre after Thursday's speech was moved because of weather concerns.

He followed a rousing speech by Vice-President Joe Biden, who praised Mr Obama for his bravery in bailing out the auto industry and ordering the killing of Osama Bin Laden.

The president offered a string of critiques of Republican policies, describing his opponents as "happy to talk about everything they think is wrong with America" without offering suggestions on how to make things right.

"That's because all they have to offer is the same prescription they've had for the last 30 years," he said.

"Have a surplus? Try a tax cut. Deficit too high? Try another. Feel a cold coming on? Take two tax cuts, roll back some regulations, and call us in the morning!"

But there was no mention of his own healthcare law, a signature achievement that remains unpopular with many Americans, and little explicit talk of the stimulus enacted in his first months in office.

The speech prompted a response from Mr Romney's camp: "Tonight President Obama laid out the choice in this election, making the case for more of the same policies that haven't worked for the past four years," his campaign said in a statement after the speech.

"He offered more promises, but he hasn't kept the promises he made four years ago."

Fired-up Biden

Mr Obama also spoke about his energy strategy, saying the US had opened "millions of new acres for oil and gas exploration... and we'll open more".

Start Quote

This was no game changer”

End Quote

"But unlike my opponent, I will not let oil companies write this country's energy plan, or endanger our coastlines, or collect another $4bn in corporate welfare from our taxpayers."

On international issues, the president described Mr Romney and running-mate Paul Ryan as "new to foreign policy".

"But from all that we've seen and heard, they want to take us back to an era of blustering and blundering that cost America so dearly," he said, highlighting his success with Bin Laden and his withdrawal of troops from Iraq and planned drawdown from Afghanistan.

As Mr Obama finished the speech, he roused the crowd by telling them their votes had helped make the changes of his presidency.

"Only you have the power to move us forward," he said. "I recognise that times have changed since I first spoke to this convention. The times have changed - and so have I. I'm no longer just a candidate. I'm the president."

Earlier, Vice-President Biden accepted his own re-nomination in an emotional speech that focused on family and national security.

"Folks, I've watched him," he said of the president. "He never wavers. He steps up.

Barack Obama - press reaction

David Brooks, in the New York Times, said "the speech was dominated by unexplained goals that were often worthy, but also familiar and incommensurate with the problems at hand".

According to the Washington Post's Greg Sargent, Obama's focus on citizenship and shared responsibility was "a gamble that voters will not cast their vote on the current economy alone".

Politico's Glenn Thrush said the president offered "a hybrid of gritted-teeth optimism, hammer-blow attacks on Romney's foreign policy inexperience, and relatively modest policy goals".

Writing in USA Today, Richard Wolf and David Jackson said "rather than propose new initiatives, the goals were mostly retreads and the means of achieving them elusive".

"He asks the same thing over and over again: How is this going to work for ordinary families? Will it help them?"

Mr Biden also criticised Mr Romney for not backing the US auto industry bailout, referring to the former Massachusetts governor's time leading private equity firm Bain Capital.

"I just don't think he understood what saving the automobile industry meant, to all of America. I think he saw it the Bain way, in terms of balance sheets and write-offs," he said.

"The Bain way may bring your firm the highest profit. But it's not the way to lead your country from its highest office."

The third and final night of speeches in Charlotte also saw former Florida Governor Charlie Crist - who was previously a Republican - and Massachusetts Senator John Kerry address the convention.

Mr Kerry criticised Mitt Romney for surrounding himself with "neo-conservative advisers who know all the wrong things about foreign policy".

"This is not the time to outsource the job of commander in chief," the Massachusetts senator said.

Former Arizona Representative Gabrielle Giffords, still recovering from a near-fatal shooting on a meeting with her constituents in 2011, appeared on stage to lead the convention in the pledge of allegiance.

Walking slowly and steadying herself to recite the pledge, Ms Giffords left many in the crowd dewy-eyed as she smiled through her recital.

Thursday's speeches brought an end to the Democratic convention, which also headlined speeches from Michelle Obama and former President Bill Clinton.


More on This Story

US Presidential Election 2012

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external Internet sites


This entry is now closed for comments

Jump to comments pagination
  • rate this

    Comment number 563.

    If you believe the US progresses and becomes more competitive not by fixing its broken schools, but allowing vouchers so those who can afford can abandon the public school system, and the remainder can be left behind, vote Romney.
    If you believe that in order to start a business, you just need to ask your parents to lend you the money (his words), vote Romney

  • rate this

    Comment number 562.

    If you believe the US still has the same power, influence, and control it had during the Cold War, and can go swashbuckling around the world without significant repercussions, vote for Romney.
    If you DON'T believe what our government does has any impact on our foreign exports and trade, like selling Boeing planes or Bell hellicopters, vote Romney.

  • rate this

    Comment number 561.

    Their are people commenting that if you want another war vote Republican.
    I'm in the UK and we had two wars thanks to our Democrats and Tory Blair.

  • rate this

    Comment number 560.

    Well, having just browsed this micro website devoted to the US elections, I am now more informed about US politics than UK politics. Are we just deluded in continuing to believe that the US cares anywhere near about us as we care about it, or is this just the 4-yearly-journo-junket time to rack up travelling expenses at the license payers expense?

  • rate this

    Comment number 559.

    Syria is bad news, we should leave that for Europe to sort, if they can find the money. We need to let Iran shut down Hormuz, drive up oil prices, and then let Government Motors make more fuel efficient cars. Until it hurts no one pays attention, quit subsidizing the world, and spend the money at home. Our next war will be with our creditors when they call in the note that we default on.

  • rate this

    Comment number 558.

    If you are daft enough to vote in romney then I hope your ready for another round of wars he will have lined up to get some brass pinned on his forehead. Stick with Obama or youll be fighting in Syria before you can blink and protecting that pretend state there too thats getting too big for its boots.

    Curly Larry and Mo are romneys advisors with a little Stan and Laurel for special occasions

  • rate this

    Comment number 557.

    If you believe the government should dictate what a woman does with her body, vote for Romney.
    If you believe a person who says whatever to get elected has integrity (stmts running for governor of Mass v. running for president), vote for Romney

  • rate this

    Comment number 556.

    bnichola- I agree and i will

    8 years in the Marines, 5 years in college, started own company and now i and my 12 employees have good wages and great insurance. Why should we be penalized instead of helped? Open the state borders for insurance, re-look at and enforce the current regulation and discard those outdated or no longer valid. Get off my neck and let me expand, before i go bankrupt.

  • rate this

    Comment number 555.

    If you believe that trickle down works when millionaires hide their monies in offshore accounts so not even in native banks for capital investment, vote for Romney.
    If you believe that innovation and jobs cannot come from the bottom (like a Bill Gates/Steve Jobs who created empires from scratch) and can only come from top established wealth, vote Romney.

  • rate this

    Comment number 554.

    tommo642- will you be paying for this grey elephant called healthcare? We have healthcare for the poor and lazy, it is just broken and no one has the guts to fix it, so instead lets start something new and try again without really trying to fix the first one. The new one will end up just like the old systems, no oversight and fraud. I am the who will pay with worse coverage than i have earned now

  • rate this

    Comment number 553.

    If you agree that 20% should own 80% of the countries assets, vote for Romney.
    If you believe christian beliefs shd dictate gov policy in a nation of many religions and creeds, vote for Romney.
    If you believe the rich earning income from capital gains should pay less in taxes than poor and middle class, vote for Romney.

  • rate this

    Comment number 552.

    I will say again people you can not repair everything that was broken in half the time it took to brake it. And stop watching fox news to the supporters of mitt Romney they tell nothing but lies about the state of your country, the healthcare bill did not add to the debt but save you hundreds of millions of dollars so how is it a bad thing to have

  • rate this

    Comment number 551.

    Mitt to go for conservative national voters by strong personal belief - there´s a chicken chain in the US that has a strong rise in profits for his owner being anti gay"
    I think you misread that.The owner was being threatened w/ discrimination in 2-3 cities due to his personal religious beliefs&some who defend the right to religious freedom supported him.

  • rate this

    Comment number 550.

    117. frankiecrisp
    12 HOURS AGO
    Under Romney and Ryan women will have more freedom in Iran and Afganistan .

    Yeah right.

  • rate this

    Comment number 549.

    Barack´s speeches are not very convincing, he just says "Give me more time for the ´Change we believed in´ the first term as president

    Barack appeared weak in the Syria war crisis, Barack not determined enough to act on the field of foreign affairs clearly

    Barack´s line in foreign politics just goes for appeasement

    Simple background:
    Barack knows there´s no more money for expensive wars!

  • rate this

    Comment number 548.

    obamas policies have not made thing better the recession never ended.
    the recover is week because Obama policies did not work for carter in 1970's either. when banks start lending to small business the economy will start get better. the job number just show obama policies are going wrong direction.

  • rate this

    Comment number 547.

    The struggle between a softie and a hardliner:


    Michelle to bring tears to voters´ eye: The American dream of hard work to social rise

    Mitt´s family fairy tale story: Eyerything put in place in a simple view of the complex world

  • rate this

    Comment number 546.

    527 We Americans have a saying, too:"Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me."

    Shame you didn't act on it in 2004, 1984, 1972, 1956...
    Ah, but we did get it right in 1980. And in 1984, too.Great president.When Mr Reagan died the lines of folk waiting to pay their respects went on for miles it seemed.

  • rate this

    Comment number 545.

    Mitt and his religious belief

    Mitt in interviews: "Don´t ask me for my belief - I´m elected as a President, not a religious leader"

    Mitt to go for conservative national voters by strong personal belief - there´s a chicken chain in the US that has a strong rise in profits for his owner being anti gay

    SORRY AMERICA off the point! -
    How election campaigns became ABSOLUTELY MAD & RIDICULOUS

  • rate this

    Comment number 544.

    Outsiders are as affected as US citizens by the choice that America makes. I think American's should reflect on circumstances and reasons that elected Obama, and whether he has received political support to deliver.Chose him not because of his color, his oratory, but what he has achieved.Romney is Bush! if not worse for you and rest of us.


Page 1 of 29


More US & Canada stories



Copyright © 2015 BBC. The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.