By Post Staff
President Barack Obama, joined by a cross section of veteran and rising political leaders, galvanized Democrats in passionate speeches at this week’s national convention in Charlotte, N.C
In his speech to the American public, the president asserted the country can cut the federal deficit by more than $4 trillion over the next decade and create a million new manufacturing jobs over the next four years.
He said the upcoming election will be “a choice between two fundamentally different visions for the future,” according to the prepared text of his speech
“You elected me to tell you the truth,” the advance text reads. “And the truth is, it will take more than a few years for us to solve challenges that have built up over decades. It will require common effort, shared responsibility, and the kind of bold, persistent experimentation that Franklin Roosevelt pursued during the only crisis worse than this one.”
When Michelle Obama took the stage on Monday night, she electrified the convention.
While never directly contrasting the lives of President Obama and Mitt Romney, the First Lady painted a picture her husband as someone who did not grow up in a world of privilege and wealth.
She spoke of their early years together, when money was tight and times were tough, when they were “so in love, and so in debt.” She reminisced about the man who now occupies the Oval Office pulling his favorite coffee table out of the trash and wearing dress shoes that were a size too small.
And she told stories about a president who still takes time to eat dinner with his daughters nearly every night, answering their questions about the news and strategizing about middle-school friendships.
“Today, after so many struggles and triumphs and moments that have tested my husband in ways I never could have imagined, I have seen firsthand that being president doesn’t change who you are – it reveals who you are,” she said.
In his speech on Wednesday, former President Bill Clinton framed the November vote as a choice of what kind of country Americans want.
“If you want a winner-take-all, you’re-on-your-own society, you should support the Republican ticket,” Clinton said. “If you want a country of shared prosperity and shared responsibility – a we’re-all-in-this-together society – you should vote for Barack Obama and Joe Biden.”
Clinton criticized Republican proposals to overhaul the Medicare and Medicaid government health care programs for senior citizens, the poor and disabled.
“If that happens, I don’t know what those families are going to do,” he said. “We can’t let that happen.”
“I want to nominate a man cool on the outside but burning for America on the inside,” Clinton said.
Another speaker, congressional candidate Tammy Duckworth, told the story of her rescue after the Blackhawk assault helicopter she was piloting was shot down in Iraq.
“Ultimately that is what this election is about,” said Duckworth. “It’s about whether we do for our fellow Americans what my crew did for me, whether we’ll look out for the hardest hit and the disabled, whether we’ll pull together in a time of need, whether we’ll refuse to give up until the job is done.”
Lilly Ledbetter, a worker at a tire plant for 19 years who initiated one of the largest legal battles for equal pay for equal work, also spoke on Tuesday evening. In 2009, the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act was signed into law, which helps not only women, but all workers who are victims of wage discrimination on the basis of sex, race, color, religion, national origin, age, or disability.
The fight for equal pay for equal work is more than justice for herself, she said. “It’s about my daughter. It’s about my granddaughter. It’s about women and men. It’s about families. It’s about equality and justice. This cause, which bears my name, is bigger than me. It’s as big as all of you.”
San Antonio Mayor Julian Castro’s keynote speech sent a pointed message to voters: “Mitt Romney, quite simply, doesn’t get it.”
Castro, 37, was raised by a single mother and a grandmother who both emigrated from Mexico. Castro and his identical twin brother Joaquin achieved success through hard work and a good education made possible by the American dream.
“We know that in our free market economy some will prosper more than others. What we don’t accept is the idea that some folks won’t even get a chance,” Castro said. “And the thing is, Mitt Romney and the Republican Party are perfectly comfortable with that America.”
“Gov. Romney has undergone an extreme makeover, and it isn’t pretty,” Castro said.
On his remarks Thursday, Vice President Joe Biden said Obama dealt with grave economic crisis, “with a steady hand and with the judgement to see us through.”