Obama Formally Kicks Off Re-Election Bid

    President Barack Obama formally accepted the Democratic Party's presidential nomination Thursday, urging his supporters to rally behind him for the final two months of the U.S. presidential campaign.

    It was Obama's most important campaign speech to date, and Democrats gave him a thunderous ovation in the convention hall as he defended his economic record and asked for a second term in the White House.  

    “But 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,” he said.

    Obama said this year's election between himself and Republican Mitt Romney offers Americans the clearest choice in a generation, on the economy, taxes, energy and issues of war and peace.

    He said his policies would bolster the middle class, unlike the Republican approach, which he said would favor wealthy Americans.

    Obama also defended his record on foreign policy, noting the end of the war in Iraq, the planned withdrawal of U.S. forces from Afghanistan and the special forces mission that killed al-Qaida leader Osama bin Laden.

    The president closed his speech with a fresh appeal for support built less on partisan differences than national unity.

    “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!,” Obama said.

    Photo Gallery: Democratic National Convention 2012

    • President Barack Obama waves after his speech at the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte, North Carolina, September 6, 2012.
    • Vice President Joe Biden and President Barack Obama wave to the delegates at the conclusion of President Obama's speech at the Democratic National Convention, September 6, 2012.
    • President Barack Obama and First lady Michelle Obama joined by their children Sasha, left, and Malia walks across the stage after President Obama's speech to the Democratic National Convention.
    • U.S. President Barack Obama (L) embraces former President Bill Clinton onstage after Clinton nominated Obama for re-election during the second session of Democratic National Convention in Charlotte, North Carolina, September 5, 2012
    • U.S. President Barack Obama (L) joins former President Bill Clinton onstage after Clinton nominated Obama for re-election during the second session of the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte, North Carolina, September 5, 2012.
    • Former President Bill Clinton addresses the Democratic National Convention, Charlotte, North Carolina, September 5, 2012
    • First Lady Michelle Obama waves after addressing the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte, North Carolina, September 3, 2012.
    • Delegates cheer as First lady Michelle Obama addresses the Democratic National Convention, Charlotte, North Carolina, September 4, 2012. (J. Featherly/VOA)
    • Delegates recite the Pledge of Allegiance at the opening of the Democratic National Convention, Charlotte, North Carolina, September 4, 2012. (J. Featherly/VOA)
    • A woman records the invocation at the Democratic National Convention, Charlotte, North Carolina, September 4, 2012. (J. Featherly/VOA)
    • Delegates await the start of the first day of the convention, September 4, 2012.
    • A group of third grade students rehearse saying the Pledge of Allegiance ahead of the first day of the convention in Time Warner Cable Arena, September 4, 2012.
    • Advertisements for the DNC line the walls at the Charlotte Douglas International Airport.
    • Protesters block an intersection near the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte, North Carolina for several hours while surrounded by police who allow the demonstration to continue, September 4, 2012. (J. Featherly/VOA)
    • Delegates tour the floor ahead of the convention, September 3, 2012. (J. Featherly/VOA)
    • Programs laid out for guests inside the convention center. (J. Featherly/VOA)
    • The Charlotte, North Carolina skyline seen through the window of an airplane, September 2, 2012.
    • President Barack Obama's campaign manager Jim Messina tours the floor at the Democratic National Convention, September 3, 2012.
    • Delegates and Democratic National Convention visitors crowd one of the merchandise stores in Charlotte, September 3, 2012. (J. Featherly/VOA)
    • Delegates await the start of the first day of the Democratic National Convention, September 4, 2012.
    • A 15-ton sand sculpture of President Obama is on display outside the convention. The sand comes from Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. (J. Featherly/VOA)

    Obama was introduced by his vice president, Joe Biden, who likely will serve the role of critic-in-chief during the campaign against Mitt Romney and his vice presidential running mate, Wisconsin Congressman Paul Ryan.

    Biden described what he said was President Obama's bravery in approving the mission that killed Osama bin Laden and the decision to bail out the U.S. auto industry. And he offered a pithy defense of the president's four years in office.

    “We can now proudly say what you have heard me say the last six months. Osama bin Laden is dead and General Motors is alive!,” Biden said.

    The Romney campaign issued a statement that said the president was making the case for more of the same policies that have not worked over the past four years.

    President Obama's speech provided a dramatic climax to a three-day convention where many Democratic delegates said they felt re-energized about the final two months of the campaign.

    Nebraska delegate Willie Williams is among those determined to take the energy from the Charlotte convention back home, to stimulate grass roots organizing and fundraising efforts that could help the Democratic ticket in November.

    “I mean, we are very confident as Democrats as to what's ahead of us, and we are confident as to what we must do, and we are confident as to what we know is going to happen, so we're happy.  I'm excited,” Williams said.

    Democratic pollster Stan Greenberg says Republican nominee Mitt Romney got little in the way of a post-convention bounce in the polls after last week's Republican convention in Tampa, Florida.

    But Greenberg says a unified and energized Democratic Party emerging from Charlotte could propel the president into a stronger position against Romney for the final weeks of the campaign.

    “This is the last moment for the Republicans to kind of change where the race is and if he (Obama) comes out of here with a three- or four-point lead like he had coming into it, there aren't many points to turn it around,” Greenberg said.

    Polls show the race is still close. Both candidates now hit the campaign trail with renewed intensity and will focus largely on about a dozen closely contested so-called battleground states where the election is likely to be won or lost on November 6.

    Storify by John Featherly & Sean Maroney

    Jim Malone

    Jim Malone has served as VOA’s National correspondent covering U.S. elections and politics since 1995. Prior to that he was a VOA congressional correspondent and served as VOA’s East Africa Correspondent from 1986 to 1990. Jim began his VOA career with the English to Africa Service in 1983.

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    Comment Sorting
    Comments
         
    by: almoros idriss from: Cameroon
    September 07, 2012 10:48 AM
    The great and brilliant nation at the greatest stand to think firmly and VOTE wisely for its children's brightest future and the world peace, God bless USA!!!

    by: Michael from: USA
    September 07, 2012 9:52 AM
    "You didn't elect me to tell you what you wanted to hear, you elected me to tell you the truth." President Obama, 6 Sept 12

    ‎"This is my last election. After my election, I have more flexibility." President Obama, 26 March 2012

    by: Mr. Justin from: London England
    September 07, 2012 9:31 AM
    bama's speech did not unite anything except the people in the room! It was as empty as all his promises and emptier then Clint Eastwood's chair at the RNC and so is Obama's fix for this nation. Let's balance the budget or at least have one, and loosen the restrictions on small businesses, keep taxes down so more money flows through the economy and JOBS WILL OPEN UP. We can be that America of hard workers and dreams, that's not going back that's TAKING BACK! The economy can't be fixed by pumping money into it. Pure and simple IT DOES NOT WORK! Enough... America needs change and the only change that will do is a new President who has knowledge in creating jobs not just talking about an ethereal vision, which is like trying to catch a hot air balloon from the ground!

    by: geral from: usa
    September 07, 2012 9:10 AM
    No mention by the candidates of the clear, present (or imminent) threat to all Americans by those who are being tortured, shot, imprisoned,and targeted for death by intel services fbi/cia/dod globally.

    by: Mike from: USA
    September 07, 2012 8:50 AM
    In my mind, we are on a ship as it embarks--President Obama speaks, and we all listen--"we are not leaving the shore folks, safe waters are ahead"--I hear the tumult of waterfalls in the background--but also cheering from the crowd--he continues, "I will preserve the Constitution, freedom of religion and the American way, I will preserve the free market and a prosperous economy, I will preserve family values and keep this nation strong..."

    by: heshukui from: china
    September 07, 2012 7:17 AM
    I color hope!

    by: A R Sopamena from: Indonesia
    September 07, 2012 4:57 AM
    Hi VOA,
    I like the Obama speech and supported by Bill Clinton and they said "I like the argument for President Obama's re-election a lot better. He inherited a deeply damaged economy, put a floor under the crash, began the long hard road to recovery, and laid the foundation for a more modern, more well-balanced economy that will produce millions of good new jobs, vibrant new businesses, and lots of new wealth for the innovators,"

    "The most important question is, what kind of country do you want to live in? If you want a you're-on-your-own, winner-take-all society, you should support the Republican ticket. If you want a country of shared prosperity and shared responsibility -- a we're-all-in-this-together society -- you should vote for Barack Obama and Joe Biden," Bill said. That excellent, eventually we love Obama and Michele and Thanks for Bill Clinton's support.

    by: Dr. Malek Towghi (Baluch) from: USA
    September 06, 2012 11:43 PM
    A brilliant speech as usual -- and INSPIRING. *** FOUR MORE YEARS ! *** We love Michelle; of course Barack too !!.
    In Response

    by: tony from: China
    September 07, 2012 4:17 AM
    Support Barack! Hope he is consist with the policies to China.
    In Response

    by: lili from: China
    September 07, 2012 3:21 AM
    watching and listening ,I 'm feeling the kind of exciting and inspiring.How marvellous and brilliant!

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