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US Democrats Prepare for National Convention

A sign for the campaign of US President Barack Obama is seen on August 31, 2012, at the site that will host the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte, North Carolina.
A sign for the campaign of US President Barack Obama is seen on August 31, 2012, at the site that will host the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte, North Carolina.
Later this week, Democrats will nominate President Barack Obama for a second term in office at their party’s national convention, following last week’s Republican gathering that nominated former Governor Mitt Romney. Although the messages to be delivered at the Democratic convention will differ from that of the Republicans, the overall focus is expected to be the same: America’s economic challenges.

The Republican National Convention in Tampa, Florida, featured sharp attacks on President Obama’s economic record, culminating with a speech by Governor Romney.

“This president can ask us to be patient. This president can tell us that the next four years will get it right [improve U.S. economic performance]. But this president cannot tell us that you are better off today than when he took office.”

Democrats say they cannot wait to respond at their convention in Charlotte, North Carolina.

“Now it is our turn,” proclaimed Obama campaign strategist David Axelrod speaking on the U.S. television program Fox News Sunday.

While U.S. unemployment remains stubbornly high, economic growth remains stunted, and America’s national debt has ballooned to about $16 trillion, Axelrod insisted President Obama will be able to point to real accomplishments when he addresses Democratic delegates and the nation Thursday.

“When this president took office, we were losing 800,000 jobs a month. The quarter before he took office was the worst quarter that this country has had economically since the Great Depression. And we are in a different place [today]: twenty-nine straight months of job growth, 4.5-million private sector jobs [created],” said Axelrod.

President Obama’s former chief of staff, Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel, gave a pithy summation of Obama’s record on NBC’s Meet the Press program:

“[U.S. carmaker] General Motors is alive and well, and Osama bin Laden is not.”

In addition to defending the president, Democrats will spell out their intentions for the next four years, according to Obama advisor David Plouffe, who spoke on ABC’s This Week program.

“What the Republican Convention last week was, was hiding their own agenda, a bunch of platitudes and angry insults, and reminding people that we have a tough economy. People know that. They want to know how we are going to move forward.”

Democrats have blasted Republican economic proposals as a repackaging and a deepening of the policies of former president George W. Bush. Appearing on Meet the Press, former Republican House Speaker Newt Gingrich said Republicans do not need flashy new ideas since the party is dedicated to principles that have withstood the test of time, including free enterprise and fiscal restraint.

Nominating conventions are prime opportunities for America’s two main political parties to make their cases to the American people ahead of the November 6 election. In recent decades, the conventions have become heavily-scripted events geared towards a national television audience. The goal is to rally the parties’ core backers, while also appealing to independent and undecided voters.