Barack Obama took to the stage not in a huge arena in downtown Charlotte, North Carolina, as organisers had hoped, but inside the convention centre after Thursday’s speech was moved because of weather concerns.
He followed a rousing speech by Vice-President Joe Biden, who praised Mr Obama for his bravery in bailing out the auto industry and ordering the killing of Osama Bin Laden, the BBC reports.
Accepting the presidential nomination at the Democratic National Convention, Obama gave a more down-to-earth follow-up to his 2008 “hope and change” message.
“I recognize that times have changed since I first spoke to this convention,” Obama said. “The times have changed â€“- and so have I. Iâ€™m no longer just a candidate. Iâ€™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 didnâ€™t return. Iâ€™ve shared the pain of families whoâ€™ve lost their homes, and the frustration of workers whoâ€™ve lost their jobs,” said Obama.
“If the critics are right that Iâ€™ve made all my decisions based on polls, then I must not be very good at reading them. And while Iâ€™m proud of what weâ€™ve achieved together, Iâ€™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.'”
According to Reuters, Obama said that his economic measures, like the 2009 bailout of the auto industry, are working and asked Americans to rally around a set of goals: Expanding manufacturing and energy jobs and U.S. exports, improving education and trimming $4 trillion from America’s $16 trillion debt.
The president offered a string of critiques of Republican policies, describing his opponents as “happy to talk about everything they think is wrong with America” without offering suggestions on how to make things right.
“That’s because all they have to offer is the same prescription they’ve had for the last 30 years,” he said.
“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!”
All Romney wants to do, said Obama, is reward the wealthy with tax cuts, deregulate banks and let energy companies write a policy for more oil drilling.
“I don’t believe that rolling back regulations on Wall Street will help the small businesswoman expand, or the laid-off construction worker keep his home. We’ve been there, we’ve tried that, and we’re not going back,” Obama said.
The president also spoke about his energy strategy, saying the US had opened “millions of new acres for oil and gas exploration… and we’ll open more.”
“But unlike my opponent, I will not let oil companies write this country’s energy plan, or endanger our coastlines, or collect another $4bn in corporate welfare from our taxpayers.”
Obama took a shot at Republican vice presidential nominee Paul Ryan’s plan to overhaul the Medicare health insurance plan by giving seniors a limited amount of money through vouchers.
“I will never turn Medicare into a voucher. No American should ever have to spend their golden years at the mercy of insurance companies,” said the president.
On international issues, the president described Mr Romney and running-mate Paul Ryan as “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,” he said, highlighting his success with Bin Laden and his withdrawal of troops from Iraq and planned drawdown from Afghanistan.
Earlier, Vice-President Biden accepted his own re-nomination in an emotional speech that focused on family and national security.
“Folks, I’ve watched him,” he said of the president. “He never wavers. He steps up.Â He asks the same thing over and over again: How is this going to work for ordinary families? Will it help them?”
“Day after day, night after night, I sat beside him, as he made one gutsy decision after another — to stop the slide and reverse it,” said Biden. “I watched him stand up to intense pressure and stare down choices of enormous consequence. Most of all, I saw what drove him: His profound concern for the American people.”
There was an emotional moment when the pledge of allegiance was led by former U.S. Representative Gabriel Giffords, who was shot through the head in a mass shooting in her home state of Arizona in 2011.
Thursday’s speeches brought an end to the Democratic convention, which also headlined speeches from Michelle Obama and former President Bill Clinton.