By DANA SPITZER
Charlotte, N.C.—President Barack Obama wrapped up the Democratic convention with a call to maintain the historic course of the party in bringing jobs and new opportunities to working families and the middle class as the nation confronts the challenges of dramatic changes at home and a new world order abroad.
In his acceptance speech ending the three-day convention, Obama conceded the economy had not produced as many jobs as the nation needs, but he said the economy is slowly recovering from the depths of the recession he inherited and it would be a mistake to change course in the middle of the recovery.
He warned that adopting the policies of Mitt Romney, his Republican rival, would reverse the gains his administration has accomplished and go back to policies “that got us into this crisis in the first place.”
In another slap at Romney, he noted that Romney had declared that Russia is the nation’s “number one enemy.”
It was an indication that Romney knew little about foreign policy and was unprepared to cope with current foreign affairs. His chief advisors on foreign policy are the same group of hawks who led former President Bush into an unnecessary war in Iraq and had already persuaded Romney to threaten at attack on Iran.
Obama said the nation was on course to create a million new manufacturing jobs by 2016, to reduce the deficit by more than $4 trillion over the next decade, and reduce the cost of tuition at colleges and trade schools. He committed to the goals of cutting oil imports in half by 2020 and supporting 600,000 natural gas jobs by the end of the decade.
He said a major accomplishment of his first term was to bring medical care to millions of Americans who had been ineligible before Congress adopted his new medical care program. A big benefit of his healthcare program, which Republicans call “Obamacare” is that it is bringing down costs, which had been rising dramatically year after year. Many of those savings are being used to strengthen the Medicare program for the elderly.
Romney has promised to abolish the medical care program if he is elected and to get rid of the new regulations Congress imposed on Wall Street after the financial collapse of 2008. He also promised to put college loans back into the hands of bankers and other lenders and to adopt a voucher program for Medicare.
“I won’t pretend the path I’m offering is quick or easy,” Obama said. It will take more than a few years for us to solve challenges that have built up over decades.
But he promised “a future where all Americans have the skills they need to compete, no matter how much money they have,” he said. He touched on the first-term accomplishments touted by many of the speeches over the week, including the resurrection of the U.S. auto industry and the 500,000 jobs brought back with it; the successful decision to kill Osama bin Laden, and the expansion of health care to Americans in the face of severe political opposition.
“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.”
A highlight of the convention occurred the night before Obama’s speech, when former President Bill Clinton spoke with a stirring endorsement of Obama, who he said inherited the deepest crisis since Franklin Delano Roosevelt at the beginning of the Great Depression in the 1930s. Clinton said he doubted that any president, including himself, could have done better had they faced such a crisis.
Clinton characterized the GOP argument against Obama as pretty simple. “We left him a total mess. He hasn’t cleaned it up fast enough, so fire him and put us back in.”