Obama accepts nomination, promises progress
President Barack Obama’s message of moving forward continued to propel his campaign as he accepted his party’s presidential nomination on Sept. 6 at the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte, N.C.
“If you give up on the idea that your voice can make a difference, then other voices will fill the void,” Obama said. “The lobbyists and special interests, the people with the $10 million checks who are trying to buy this election and the people who are trying to make it harder for you to vote.”
Starting on Sept. 3, the four-day convention was held at Charlotte’s Time Warner Arena, which holds approximately 20,000 people. First Lady Michelle Obama, President Bill Clinton and Vice President Joe Biden were among the keynote speakers who addressed the audience of delegates and supporters during the event.
The last day was scheduled for the approximately 73,000-seat Bank of America stadium—home of the Carolina Panthers—but threats of thunderstorms forced the convention committee to move the event inside, causing upwards of 60,000 community-credential holders, which included campaign volunteers and others from across the country, to be turned away from attending Obama’s acceptance speech.
In response to the venue change, Obama held a community conference call to extend apologies to community credential-holders and encourage his constituents to continue their efforts.
“We can’t let a little thunder and lightning get us down,” Obama said during the conference call. “We’re going to have to work really hard over these next two months…this is going to be a really close election.”
Obama’s 40-minute speech addressed administration goals that he wants to continue working toward, such as “getting back to basics” by continued revitalization of the U.S. manufacturing and auto industry, investment into renewable energy initiatives, restructuring of public and higher education and reduction of the national deficit.
“Business leaders are bringing jobs back to America not because our workers make less pay, but because we make better products,” Obama said.
Expanding the number of teachers for K-12, making vocational training more available at community colleges and reducing tuition costs are all key parts of the plan, Obama said.
“Help me recruit 100,000 math and science teachers within 10 years and improve early-childhood education,” he said. “Help us work with colleges and universities to cut in half the growth of tuition costs in the next 10 years.”
Obama highlighted his administration’s national security and foreign policy achievements, such as ending the war in Iraq, crippling the Taliban and al-Qaida, killing Osama bin Laden, strengthening foreign alliances and developing new ones.
“Four years ago I promised to end the war in Iraq; we did,” Obama said. “Al-Qaida is on the path to defeat and Osama bin Laden is dead…We’ve forged new coalitions to stop the spread of nuclear weapons. We reasserted our power across the Pacific and stood up to China on behalf of our workers.”
Overall, Obama’s theme was clear: to distinguish Democratic goals and visions from GOP candidate Mitt Romney and the Republican Party’s vision.
“When you pick up that ballot to vote, you will face the clearest choice of any time in a generation,” Obama said. “It will be a choice between two different paths for America… two fundamentally different visions.”
Obama steered away from attacking the GOP or Romney, but did spend a brief time commenting on the Republican National Convention, and what he considered the party’s plan to be.
“Down in Tampa, at the Republican National Convention, [Republicans] were more than happy to talk about everything they think is wrong about America,” Obama said, “but they didn’t have much to say about how they’d make it right…They want your vote, but they don’t want you to know their plan.”
Obama also addressed the issue of slow-going progress that critics consider a weakness.
“It will take more than a few years for us to solve challenges that have built up over decades,” he said.
Obama discussed what he considered the “basic bargain” of traditional American values, which he said included fairness and upward mobility for everyone, and how his administration will restore this.
“America’s not about what can be done for us, it’s about what can be done by us, together,” Obama said. “If you believe in a country where everyone gets a fair shot, and everyone does their fair share, and everyone plays by the same rules then I need you to vote this November.”