By The Associated Press, Associated Press
CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) — Convention Watch shows you the 2012 political conventions through the eyes of Associated Press journalists. Follow them on Twitter where available with the handles listed after each item.
He calibrated. Then he attacked. Then he did it all over again.
Carefully, deliberately, President Obama reached out to independent voters in his speech Thursday night by calibrating how he talked about government, personal responsibility and the economy. Yet he also provided the type of meaty, base-pleasing comments that he hopes will get loyal Democrats fired up to work for his re-election the next two months.
For the most part, Obama sought to present himself as empathetic and in charge. He never hesitated to claim credit for saving the auto industry, pulling troops from Iraq and killing Osama bin Laden. Pointing to those successes, he insisted that government can do much that good and is important — but, mindful of the socialism charges leveled against him, he also made a point of saying it doesn't have all the answers.
He was perhaps most interesting when he acknowledged that the country still has a long way to go to recover from the devastating economic crisis of four years ago. With unemployment still at 8.3 percent, his campaign must know that sounding too upbeat on the economy could be disastrous.
And yet the president ended his speech insisting that America can soar once again. In a direct outreach to the voters who propelled him to office four years ago, he ended by imploring that if they still believe in America's possibilities, then they must vote for him.
Hours from now, the government will release the country's latest unemployment numbers. And so the argument Obama made here will mix with that as the race enters its next phase: an intense, two-month push to Election Day.
— Sally Buzbee
That's how many times Mitt Romney was mentioned by name by President Barack Obama in his lengthy speech Thursday night accepting the Democratic nomination to run for re-election.
Oh, there was no mistaking who Obama was talking about when he spoke about those who want to cut taxes for the wealthy and roll back federal regulations. Nor was there any doubt about the identity of "my opponent," who, Obama said, would let oil companies write the nation's energy plan and endanger the environment.
The president gave some clues, talking about "our friends at the Republican convention."
The one time Obama mentioned his opponent by name, according to the text distributed by the convention, was this: "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."
— Terence Hunt — Twitter http://twitter.com/terence942
AFTER THE SPEECH
Obama's speech is over, and the arena is alive with American flags, Bruce Springsteen music and signs as he waves to the crowd. The end of this convention marks the beginning of the end of the campaign for the incumbent president — the moment when the race becomes a sprint. First lady Michelle Obama and their daughters are with him on the stage as Springsteen sings, "We take care of our own" and Vice President Joe Biden and his wife, Jill, join them amid a deluge of confetti — which replaced the balloons planned when the speech was going to be outdoors.
NOW EXPERIENCE MATTERS
In his speech, President Barack Obama is telling the audience that "in a world of new threats and new challenges," they should choose "leadership that has been tested and proven."
He didn't feel that way four years ago.
His campaign in 2008 was built on the ideas of hope and change. And during that time, he hit back against the idea that national security experience was critical for a new president. At the same time, opponent John McCain's camp was criticizing him for having very little experience governing.
Nor was the issue a small one four years ago. Polls indicated back then that many voters perceived Obama's biggest weakness then as his lack of foreign policy and national security experience, especially at a time when America was embroiled in wars.