CHARLOTTE, NC — As President Barack Obama walked onto the stage it was difficult to control my emotions. I felt the same surge of excitement and awe I experienced four years earlier in Denver. Tears blurred my vision as I realized the importance of the moment. Four years ago I was a delegate to the first national party convention to nominate a mixed race person. This year the same major party was nominating for reelection a person of mixed race.
“I know that campaigns can seem small, and even silly,” President Obama told delegates and the American people, “Trivial things become big distractions. Serious issues become sound bites. And the truth gets buried under an avalanche of money and advertising. If you’re sick of hearing me approve this message, believe me — so am I.”
“But 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. 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.
“On every issue, the choice you face won’t be just between two candidates or two parties.”
President Obama drew rousing applause when he said of the Republican plan for America:
“Now, our friends at the Republican convention were more than happy to talk about everything they think is wrong with America, 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. And that’s because all they have to offer is the same prescription they’ve had for the last thirty years:
“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!”
President Obama challenged Americans to join him “in a common effort of, shared responsibility, and the kind of bold, persistent experimentation that Franklin Roosevelt pursued during the only crisis worse than this one.”
Goals for a second term
President Obama outlined his concrete goals to move the country forward toward an economy that grows from the middle out, not the top down.
“But know this, America: Our problems can be solved,” Obama said. “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. 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.”
The President set a goal of one million new manufacturing jobs by the end of 2016; and to double manufacturing exports by the end of 2014.
The Presidents plan seeks to cut net oil imports in half by 2020; and support 600,000 natural gas jobs by the end of the decade.
The President looks towards cutting the growth of college tuition in half over the next 10 years. The plan seeks to recruit 100,000 math and science teachers and train two million workers for real jobs at community colleges.
The President plans to continue investment in the economy with the money that we’re no longer spending on war. And his road map will reduce the deficit by more than $4 trillion over the next decade.
Romney/Ryan inexperienced in foreign policy
President Obama got laughs and applause when he highlighted the inexperienced GOP ticket.
“My opponent and his running mate are 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.
“After all, you don’t call Russia our number one enemy – and not al Qaeda – unless you’re still stuck in a Cold War time warp. You might not be ready for diplomacy with Beijing if you can’t visit the Olympics without insulting our closest ally. My opponent said it was “tragic” to end the war in Iraq, and he won’t tell us how he’ll end the war in Afghanistan. I have, and I will. And while my opponent would spend more money on military hardware that our Joint Chiefs don’t even want, I’ll use the money we’re no longer spending on war to pay down our debt and put more people back to work — rebuilding roads and bridges; schools and runways. After two wars that have cost us thousands of lives and over a trillion dollars, it’s time to do some nation-building right here at home.”
“We’re making things again,” Obama said.
“I’ve met workers in Detroit and Toledo who feared they’d never build another American car. Today, they can’t build them fast enough, because we reinvented a dying auto industry that’s back on top of the world.
“I’ve worked with business leaders who are bringing jobs back to America — not because our workers make less pay, but because we make better products. Because we work harder and smarter than anyone else.”
“I’ve signed trade agreements that are helping our companies sell more goods to millions of new customers — goods that are stamped with three proud words: Made in America.”
“After a decade of decline… now you have a choice—we can give more tax breaks to corporations that ship jobs overseas, or we can start rewarding companies that open new plants and train new workers and create new jobs here, in the United States of America. You can make that happen. You can choose that future.”
President Obama addressed the stalemate between his administration and Republicans in Congress. He said he’s willing to negotiate, but not where the math doesn’t add up.
“I’m still eager to reach an agreement based on the principles of my bipartisan debt commission,” President Obama said. “No party has a monopoly on wisdom. No democracy works without compromise. But when Governor Romney and his allies in Congress tell us we can somehow lower our deficit by spending trillions more on new tax breaks for the wealthy — well, you do the math. I refuse to go along with that. And as long as I’m President, I never will.
“I refuse to ask middle class families to give up their deductions for owning a home or raising their kids just to pay for another millionaire’s tax cut. I refuse to ask students to pay more for college; or kick children out of Head Start programs, or eliminate health insurance for millions of Americans who are poor, elderly, or disabled – all so those with the most can pay less. And I will never turn Medicare into a voucher. No American should ever have to spend their golden years at the mercy of insurance companies.”
Things have changed since 2008
President Obama addressed the reality that things today are not the way they were four years ago.
“I recognize 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.
“I know what it means to send young Americans into battle, for I have held in my arms the mothers and fathers of those who didn’t return. I’ve shared the pain of families who’ve lost their homes, and the frustration of workers who’ve lost their jobs. If the critics are right that I’ve made all my decisions based on polls, then I must not be very good at reading them. And while I’m proud of what we’ve achieved together, I’m far more mindful of my own failings, knowing exactly what Lincoln meant when he said, “I have been driven to my knees many times by the overwhelming conviction that I had no place else to go.”
Hope for the future
President Obama addressed his hope for the future can confidence that together America will move forward.
“As I stand here tonight,” Obama said, “I have never been more hopeful about America. Not because I think I have all the answers. Not because I’m naïve about the magnitude of our challenges.
“I’m hopeful because of you.
“I ask you tonight for your vote.
“If you reject the notion that this nation’s promise is reserved for the few, your voice must be heard in this election.
“If you reject the notion that our government is forever beholden to the highest bidder, you need to stand up in this election.
“If you believe that new plants and factories can dot our landscape; that new energy can power our future; that new schools can provide ladders of opportunity to this nation of dreamers; 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.
“America, I never said this journey would be easy, and I won’t promise that now. Yes, our path is harder – but it leads to a better place. Yes our road is longer — but we travel it together. We don’t turn back. We leave no one behind. We pull each other up. We draw strength from our victories, and we learn from our mistakes, but we keep our eyes fixed on that distant horizon, knowing that Providence is with us, and that we are surely blessed to be citizens of the greatest nation on Earth.”
In his remarks to the Democratic National Convention, President Obama asked the country to rally around a set of concrete goals to move the country forward toward an economy that grows from the middle out, not the top down. This road map—a real, achievable plan that will create jobs, expand opportunity, and strengthen the middle class—will deliver concrete results in the key areas of manufacturing, energy, education, national security, and the deficit. Read more about the President’s road map HERE.
Watch the President’s entire address to the 2012 Democratic National Convention below.