CHARLOTTE, N.C. — In a speech acknowledging his own shortcomings but asking voters to hang in with him, President Barack Obama on Thursday night accepted the Democratic Party’s nomination for re-election as President of the United States.
Thursday’s session marked the final act of a pair of highly scripted national political conventions and the opening of what promises to be a bitterly contested battle between the President and his Republican rival, Mitt Romney.
Like the rest of the three-day 2012 Democratic National Convention, Obama’s acceptance speech hit on a variety of themes as varied as economic recovery, healthcare, immigration reform, religious diversity, national defense, energy policy and civil rights.
Some of the evening’s loudest cheers came after several mentions of Obama’s successful capture and killing of Osama Bin Laden.
The president also addressed Republicans directly, chiding their intense focus on Russia as an international enemy at their Republican Convention in Tampa, Fla.
“After all, you don’t Russia — not al Qaeda — our number one enemy unless your still stuck in a Cold War time warp,” Obama said.
Obama also stressed the importance of economic recovery without hurting working Americans. “You can choose a future where we reduce our deficit without wrecking our middle class,” he said.
“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,” Obama said. “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 and elderly or disabled — all so those with the most can pay less. I’m not going along with that. 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. They should retire with the care and dignity they have earned.”
Gay Americans were also mentioned in the speech, as Obama stood up for minority groups traditionally scapegoated by the Republican party for the nation’s challenges.
“We don’t think that government can solve all of our problems,” Obama asserted. “But we don’t think that government is the source of all our problems – any more than are welfare recipients, or corporations, or unions, or immigrants, or gays, or any other group we’re told to blame for our troubles,” Obama added to great applause and “LGBT for Obama” signs waved in the crowd.
Gay members of the U.S. Armed Services were also given a nod, as Obama said those gathered at the convention and those who voted for him are the reason “why selfless soldiers won’t be kicked out of the military because of who they are or who they love.”
Obama also addressed voter apathy. “If you turn away now — if you buy into the cynicism that the change we fought for isn’t possible…well, change will not happen,” he said. If you give up on the idea that your voice can make a difference, then other voices will fill the void: lobbyists and special interests; the people with the $10 million checks who are trying to buy this election and those who are making it harder for you to vote; Washington politicians who want to decide who you can marry, or control health care choices that women should make for themselves.”
Watch the President’s speech in full:
Obama’s final remarks resulted in deafening applause, chants of “U.S.A.” and “four more years.”
With 61 days until the election, the campaigns now enter the final stage of the election season.