New York: Bill Clinton was a tough act to follow. But President Barack Obama made a compelling case for his re-election with a forceful speech framing the November election as a clear choice “between two different paths for America.”
“When all is said and done – when you pick up that ballot to vote – you will face the clearest choice of any time in a generation,” said Obama to a raucously cheering crowd waving signs with his campaign slogan “Forward” on the final day of the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte, North Carolina broadcast live to the nation.
“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 in his 38-minute acceptance speech.
“On every issue, the choice you face won’t be just between two candidates or two parties,” said Obama amid chants of “USA, USA” and “We love you”.
“It will be a choice between two different paths for America. A choice between two fundamentally different visions for the future,” he said.
Dressed in a dark blue suit with striped blue tie, the Democratic colour, Obama came out after a brief introduction from first lady Michelle Obama to slowly but surely warming up to his theme that while “hope has been tested- by the cost of war; by one of the worst economic crises in history; and by political gridlock” more time was needed to fix the nation’s problems.
Likening the years-long economic downturn to the Great Depression and detailing a newly specific second-term economic agenda, Obama asked Americans to choose a “harder” path to long-term economic prosperity.
Rather than asking the country to reward him for a job well done, Obama asked voters to trust that his ideas for the future will create fairer, more durable economic growth than the plans of his Republican challenger Mitt Romney.
“It will take more than a few years for us to solve challenges that have built up over decades. It will require common effort, shared responsibility, and the kind of bold, persistent experimentation that Franklin Roosevelt pursued during the only crisis worse than this one,” Obama said.
“Know this, America: Our problems can be solved. Our challenges can be met. The path we offer may be harder, but it leads to a better place. And I’m asking you to choose that future,” Obama said.
“I’m asking you to rally around a set of goals for your country – goals in manufacturing, energy, education, national security, and the deficit; a real, achievable plan that will lead to new jobs, more opportunity, and rebuild this economy on a stronger foundation.”
As Obama finished with confetti guns shooting into the air and the video screens displaying images of fireworks, Democrats already energised by former President Bill Clinton’s speech Wednesday evening appeared fired up to face what appears to be a close race with renewed confidence.