The third and final session of the 46th Democratic National Convention formally got underway when it was gaveled to order by Permanent Chair Antonio Villaraigosa at 5:21 PM Eastern Daylight Time (2121 GMT) in that same Time Warner Cable Arena in Charlotte, North Carolina in which the previous two sessions had been held.
[NOTE: This session was originally scheduled to be held outdoors- in Charlotte's Bank of America Stadium- but the threat of inclement weather had forced the proceedings indoors]
The Invocation was given by the Reverend Gabriel Salguero, president of the National Latino Evangelical Coalition and the Presentation of Colors was by American Legion Post 400 of Charlotte. The National Anthem was performed by singer Marc Anthony.
There was now a film about the Obama Administration's policies as they relate to Senior Citizens' Health Issues followed by Carol Berman of West Palm Beach, Florida who was the subject of the film and opined from the dais:
Thousands of dollars may be pocket change to Mitt Romney but it is a lot of money to families like mine... Let's vote like our lives depend on it- because they do!
Congresswoman Donna Edwards of Maryland now came to the podium:
Education is the key to a strong Middle Class and a successful future- and that's why I support President Obama: because he made the single largest investment in higher education ever...
I support President Barack Obama because he gets it. He knows that no one should end up in an emergency room, facing financial ruin and the loss of a Middle Class life, just because they can't afford a doctor's visit and 20 dollars of antibiotics- and President Obama changed that with the Affordable Care Act. Here's the bottom line: we have tremendous challenges ahead of us, but President Obama is solving them in a way that protects and helps families like mine. That's why I'm fighting for him, just like he's been fighting for us.
Congressman Barney Frank of Massachusetts next came forward to speak:
Nice of them to leave a gavel out for me to make me feel nostalgic (a reference to his, back when the Democrats still controlled the House, having been the Chair of the House Financial Services Committee [of which the retiring Congressman Frank is currently the Ranking Minority Member])...There are a lot of issues to talk about- so the question is: which ones do you pick? There are a number that interest me- like: why it is that so many Republicans are afraid my marriage will threaten theirs...
Frank claimed that, under Governor Romney, Massachusetts' job growth was only about 1.4 percent which was a quarter of the national average... our Governor was Mitt Romney; what we should have had as Governor was Myth Romney! Myth Romney is a wonderful, private-sector executive who, when he moved into the public sector, transformed it. I wish Myth Romney had been Governor of the State I lived in: if it had been Myth Romney, I'd probably be riding the commuter train from New Bedford to Boston right now! But, instead, we had Mitt Romney and so we had to wait for the great Deval Patrick to get that started.
Former Mayor Harvey Gantt of Charlotte, North Carolina now came out to introduce a film IN MEMORIAM about those Democratic leaders and officials who had passed away since the previous Democratic Convention.
Congressman John Lewis of Georgia came to the podium:
I first came to this city in 1961, the year President Obama was born- I was one of 13 original 'Freedom Riders'...
we continued on to Rock Hill, South Carolina- about 25 miles from here. When my seatmate, Albert Bigelow, and I tried to enter a white waiting room, we were met by an angry mob that beat us and left us lying in a pool of blood. Some police officers came up and asked us whether we wanted to press charges. We said, "No, we come in peace, love and non-violence": we said our struggle was not against individuals, but against unjust laws and customs- our goal was true Freedom for every American.
Since then, America has made a lot of progress: we are a different society than we were in 1961- and, in 2008, we showed the world the true promise of America when we elected President Barack Obama.
A few years ago, a man from Rock Hill, inspired by President Obama's election, decided to come forward. He came to my office in Washington and said, "I am one of the people who beat you. I want to apologize. Will you forgive me?" I said, "I accept your apology." He started crying- he gave me a hug. I hugged him back and we both started crying. This man and I don't want to go back- we don't want to go back! We want to move forward.! Brothers and sisters, do you want to go back? Or do you want to keep America moving forward?
There was now a film about the Obama Administration having ended "Don't Ask, Don't Tell".
After another brief musical interlude provided by the house DJ, singer Mary J. Blige came on stage to perform for the assembled.
Democratic National Committee Chairman, Florida Congressman Debbie Wasserman Schultz, was the next to speak:
When I addressed our Convention [in 2008], I spoke about what the stakes were for Our Country- what I didn't tell you was how high the stakes were for my family. In 2007, I was diagnosed with breast cancer; in 2008, right before the Convention, I had one of seven surgeries that year. I was fortunate- I had good insurance and great doctors. Today, I stand before you as a survivor! But like every breast cancer survivor, I now have a pre-existing condition...
So, when President Obama passed Health Care reform, it was personal- and when Governor Romney says he would repeal 'Obamacare' and put insurance companies back in charge of a woman's health, that's personal too. When he tries to take us back to the days when insurers could charge us more just for being a woman or deny coverage to breast cancer survivors like me, that's personal; when he tries to take away a woman's control over decisions that affect her health and reproductive choices and family, that's personal.This election is personal for every American...
Congressman Ryan says that he wants Medicare to be around for his grandkids. Well, if that's the case, he had better vote for Barack Obama! I am a proud Democrat, but the choice in this election has nothing to do with Party and everything to do with people: people who believe that a senior needs Medicare more than a millionaire needs a tax cut and people who believe our President's message to the Middle Class should be "we're on your side"- not "you're on your own". These are President Obama's priorities- they are our priorities.
Antonio Villaraigosa, the Mayor of Los Angeles and the Permanent Chair of the Convention, now took to the podium:
This has been the most diverse, most inclusive, Convention ever held- a Convention not just of symbolism, but of substance. For the first time, a Major Party Platform recognizes Marriage Equality as a basic human right! This is a reflection of who we are as a Party and who we can be as a Nation because- as Democrats, as Americans- whenever we've opened up our Party and Our Country, whenever we've opened up doors for more of our people, whenever we've deepened our democracy and renewed our commitment to Equal Justice under the Law, we've grown stronger as a nation.
Last week in Tampa, the Republican Convention gave Hollywood a run for its money: we were promised hard truths and they were right about one thing- the truth was hard to find!
They didn't talk about their plan to cut taxes for millionaires by raising taxes on Middle Class families with kids- on your family!- by $2,000. Or their plan to replace the guarantee of Medicare with a voucher that might not cover the cost of care and could force seniors to pay up to $6400 more a year. Or their plan to deny a woman control over her basic health decisions.
They didn't share their plan because they know it's not a plan the American people want: Americans don't want to go backward- we want to go forward!
Congressman Tammy Baldwin of Wisconsin, candidate for the U.S. Senate, spoke to the assembled:
I know you've heard a lot about Wisconsin lately. You've heard about Paul Ryan, who wants to end Medicare as we know it; you've heard about Scott Walker, who took basic rights away from teachers, nurses, and public employees. Maybe you've even heard about Tommy Thompson, our former Governor, who went to Washington, cashed in on his special interest connections, and never really came back. Well, I'm here to tell you that they don't speak for all of Wisconsin...
The Wisconsin I know knows that having two sets of rules makes no kind of sense. We believe in hard work: for decades, we've worked to make things: paper, engines, tools, ships—and, yes, cheese, brats, and beer. Give our workers a fair shot, and we'll compete against anyone. That's why I'm taking on China's cheating and betting on Wisconsin's workers... the Wisconsin I know knows that an Economy built to last says "Made in America" on the label- and we believe that American History moves in one direction: forward.
Our president has made historic progress toward equality. He repealed "don't ask, don't tell" so that no American ever again has to lie about who they are in order to serve the country we love: Republicans want to write discrimination into our Constitution- but the Wisconsin I know believes that with each passing year and each generation, Our Country must become more equal- not less.
Michael Nutter, Mayor of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania now came to the podium:
Mitt Romney doesn't get it. He recently visited a school in west Philly and told teachers he knows more than they do about what works for their students: he said class size doesn't matter. Doesn't matter? If our teachers can't give our children the attention they need, that doesn't matter? If our students spend the day on their feet, or the floor, because there aren't enough desks in a crowded classroom, that doesn't matter? To Mitt Romney, Education is a luxury: as Governor, he vetoed universal pre-K. In his first year, K-12 schools saw drastic cuts that led to teacher layoffs- he failed his students.
What has he learned from this? All the wrong lessons: he failed the Education test and now he wants a promotion. His budget would mean fewer teachers and bigger class sizes: it would mean fewer Pell grants, costing Our Country millions of college graduates- and he wants big banks back in the student loan business. And just ask him about affording college, like one high-schooler did in Ohio: Romney's answer? "Shop around"!
A film on the Obama Administration's policies in favor of Gay Marriage was now shown, after which Zach Wahls of Iowa City, Iowa stepped up to the podium:
I'm a sixth-generation Iowan, an Eagle Scout- and I was raised by my two moms, Jackie and Terry. People want to know what it's like having lesbian parents. I'll let you in on a secret: I'm awesome at putting the seat down! Otherwise, we're like any other family...
When I was 12, watching the 2004 Republican Convention, I remember politicians talking about protecting Marriage from families like mine. Now, supporting a view of Marriage as being between a man and woman isn't radical.- for many people, it's a matter of faith. We respect that. Watching that convention on TV, though, I felt confused, frustrated: why didn't they think my family was a real family?
Governor Romney says he's against same-sex marriage because every child deserves a mother and a father. I think every child deserves a family as loving and committed as mine- because the sense of family comes from the commitment we make to each other to work through the hard times so we can enjoy the good ones: it comes from the love that binds us- that's what makes a family. Mr. Romney, my family is just as real as yours!
President Obama is fighting for all our families!
Now there was a film about Barack Obama's first campaign trip to Greenwood, South Carolina soon after he had announced for the Presidency in 2007 when a local woman- Edith Childs- started to chant "Fired up-- Ready to go" from behind where Obama was preparing to speak, a chant which became one of the impromptu slogans of that presidential campaign.
Jim Messina, Obama for America Campaign Manager came on stage to greet a handful of "Watch Parties" (groups of Obama supporters who have come together to watch Obama's Acceptance Speech later that evening) that were seen on the big screen behind the podium via Skype.
Then another film, this one about auto workers, was followed by Kenyetta Jones of Toledo, Ohio- the subject of the film- being joined on stage by others, some of whom had appeared in other films shown during earlier sessions of the Convention (such as Ryan Case and Ed Meagher).
After this, Convention Permanent Chair Villaraigosa returned to the dais to announce that only one candidate has qualified to be nominated for Vice-President of the United States: he then introduced Delaware Attorney General Beau Biden, who came forward to formally place the name of his father, Vice-President Joe Biden, in nomination for that same office:
A few years ago, my father wrote a memoir- for his title, he quoted the line from Robert Frost's famous poem. He called it, "Promises to Keep."
In the last four years, you've seen my father partner with President Obama to keep the promises they made and the sacred promises we made. The promises we make to our elderly, who have earned a dignified retirement: the promises we make to our children, who deserve a chance to succeed- the promises we make that if you play by the rules and work hard, things will work out...
We do have promises to keep and my dad and Barack Obama are keeping them. And, yes, we have miles to go before we sleep- but Joe Biden and Barack Obama are leading the way forward.
Four years ago, because I was going to Iraq, I asked you to be there for my dad, and you were- and, for the last four years, I can say with certainty he has been there for us. In moments both public and private, he is the father I've always known, the grandfather my children love and the Vice President Our Nation needs. So, tonight, it is my great honor to place into nomination for the office of Vice President the name of my father- my hero, Joe Biden.
After he had finished his remarks, he himself moved to suspend the rules and re-nominate Vice-President Joe Biden by acclamation, a motion that was approved by the Convention viva voce.
A film was now shown highlighting the Obama Administration's policies on a number of fronts (the overarching theme being "Promises Kept").
This was followed by a performance by the band the Foo Fighters.
Congressman James Clyburn of South Carolina spoke to the assembled:
At the 1960 Democratic National Convention in Los Angeles, John F. Kennedy accepted our party's nomination saying, "We are not here to curse the darkness; we are here to light a candle". More than half a century later, the same can be said here in Charlotte, North Carolina...
As a member of the Democratic House leadership, I have witnessed President Obama light candle after candle- trying to bring Our Country out of the darkness of a great recession, only to see Republicans douse the flickering flames and amuse themselves cursing the darkness. Time and time again, the Romney/Ryan Republicans have walked away from bipartisan efforts to find responsible approaches to moving this country forward: they have made it very clear that their top priority is to make Barack Obama a one-term president. The architect of the Republicans' blueprint is none other than their vice-presidential nominee, Congressman Paul Ryan...
When too many of our senior citizens were living their golden years in the darkness of economic insecurity, Franklin Roosevelt and Democrats created Social Security, lighting a candle while Republicans cursed the darkness; when too many of our elderly found their lives darkened by unaffordable and inaccessible health care and assistance, Lyndon Johnson and a Democratic Congress lit the twin candles of Medicare and Medicaid while Republicans stood on the sidelines and cursed the darkness; when the Economy of Our Country languished in the darkness of uncertainty, William Jefferson Clinton and a Democratic Congress lit the candles that illuminated the pathway to prosperity by creating over 20 million jobs and we did so without a single Republican vote. When President Obama was sworn into office, a dark cloud of uncertainty hovered over our great country- 9/11 was fresh in our memories and domestic terrorism was a constant threat. Our Economy was losing over 700,000 jobs per month and affordable, quality care for all Americans was an unfulfilled, century-old pursuit.
President Obama did not stand on the sidelines and curse the darkness: he rolled up his sleeves and went to work lighting candles. He promised to bring Osama bin Laden to justice: Done! He promised to end the war in Iraq: Done! President Obama promised to make membership in al Qa'eda a high-risk occupation and wind down the war in Afghanistan: Done! President Obama's actions saved our beloved automobile industry...
But the greatest threat to the sustainability of economic growth and family security is the lack of affordable, accessible, quality health care. We should not run from the term 'Obamacare': in fact, I embrace the term and am glad Obama cares...Reflecting on President Kennedy's 1960 admonition to light a candle and refrain from cursing the darkness, tonight this preacher's kid is reminded of Romans 13, verse 12: "The night is far spent, the day is at hand: let us therefore cast off the works of darkness, and let us put on the armor of light".
The Pledge of Allegiance- delayed from when this session of the Convention was formally called to order less than three hours before- was led by former Arizona Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords (still recovering from her having been seriously wounded by a gunman back in January 2011), accompanied to the stage by Florida Congresswoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz.
Caroline Kennedy, daughter of the late President John Fitzgerald Kennedy, next came to the podium to speak.
Four years ago, I was inspired by the way Senator Obama had lived his life- fighting for jobs, giving hope to the hopeless, and working day in and day out for the America he believes in. I was inspired by Barack Obama's vision for America: an America where we look out for one another- where we take responsibility for our sisters and brothers and, most of all, for our children.
Back then, I was inspired by the promise of Barack Obama's Presidency: today, I'm inspired by his record. Over the past four years, we have had a President who has committed himself and his Administration to the values that made America great- social justice, economic fairness, equal opportunity and the belief that if each of us gives back to this country we love, and all of us work together, there is no challenge we cannot overcome. Those are the ideals my father and my uncles fought for: those are the ideals I believe in and this election is about whether we will advance those ideals or let them be swept away...
As a Catholic woman, I take reproductive health seriously, and today, it is under attack. This year alone, more than a dozen states have passed more than 40 restrictions on women's access to reproductive Health Care- that's not the kind of future I want for my daughters or your daughters. Now isn't the time to roll back the rights we were winning when my father was President: now is the time to move this country forward...
Despite critics who said it wasn't good politics, President Obama listened to my Uncle Teddy and staked his Presidency on making Health Care accessible to all Americans. Despite an opponent who wanted to "let Detroit go bankrupt," this President saved the auto industry and now it's coming back strong. He not only demonstrated the courage to oppose the war in Iraq- as President, he showed the determination to bring our troops back home.
Barack Obama is the kind of leader my father wrote about in Profiles in Courage. He doesn't just do what's easy- he does what's hard, he does what's right.
Congressman Xavier Becerra of California was the next speaker:
Maybe Governor Romney has forgotten how we got into the mess that President Obama faced, but we haven't: two wars, tax breaks for the wealthiest, the Wall Street bailout, Katrina! Eight million Americans lost their jobs because of the Great Recession...
We've all heard the saying, "Put your money where your mouth is." Well, Governor Romney, ante up! Show us how your economic policies differ from President Bush's. If you believe in America, you invest in America...
It's not responsible to reward companies that ship American jobs overseas with more tax loopholes- it's not bold to say Our Country is broke and then hand out yet another deficit-busting tax break to millionaires and billionaires. And, Governor Romney, you should know it's not right to tell older Americans after a lifetime of hard work that you're going to pull the rug out from under them and turn Medicare into a voucher system- Couponcare!
I'm not impressed by politicians who vow to veto the dream for immigrant children: that's not the America my parents built. If you want to save the Middle Class, you don't outsource it- you strengthen it...
President Obama is fighting for the Middle Class to put Americans back to work and Our Country back on track. President Obama believes in the promise of America- President Obama believes in you. That's the American Dream—el sueño Americano!
Former Michigan Governor Jennifer Granholm came to the podium:
Let me tell you a story about the dark days in my home state... The entire auto industry, and the lives of over one million hard-working Americans, teetered on the edge of collapse and, with it, the whole manufacturing sector. We looked everywhere for help: almost nobody had the guts to help us- not the banks, not the private investors and not Bain Capital. Then, in 2009, the cavalry arrived: our new President, Barack Obama! He organized a rescue, made the tough calls and saved the American auto industry. Mitt Romney saw the same crisis and you know what he said: "Let Detroit go bankrupt."
Sure, Mitt Romney loves our lakes and trees. He loves our cars so much, they have their own elevator- but the people who design, build, and sell those cars? Well, in Romney's world, the cars get the elevator- the workers get the shaft. Mitt Romney says his business experience qualifies him to be President. Sure, he's made lots of money: good for him- but how did he make that fortune, and at whose expense? Too often, he made it at the expense of Middle Class Americans...
America, let's rev our engines! In your car and on your ballot, the "D" is for drive forward, and the "R" is for reverse. And in this election, we're driving forward, not back!
Governor Brian Schweitzer of Montana spoke to the assembled:
I know Mitt Romney. We were Governors at the same time- both elected straight from the business world... and I'll tell you this: Mitt's a good family man and a loyal American. But- and you knew there was a "but"- he brought the wrong agenda to Massachusetts and he is the wrong guy to be President of the United States. Governor Mitt Romney saddled Massachusetts taxpayers with an additional $2.6 billion in debt and left them with the most debt per capita of any State in America. In Montana, that dog don't hunt!...
Mitt, you can't Etch-a-Sketch away your record. Taxes: up. Cost of college: up. Debt: up. New business starts: down. Manufacturing: down. Median household income: down. Economic growth: down. If private equity Mitt Romney met Governor Mitt Romney, he'd do what he says he likes to do: He'd fire him and outsource the job!
Let me tell you how we get 'er done in Montana-- Clinton Arithmetic!
Former Republican Governor (and unsuccessful Independent U.S. Senate candidate two years ago) Charlie Crist of Florida now came to the podium:
Half a century ago, Ronald Reagan- the man whose relentless optimism inspired me to enter Politics- famously said that he didn't leave the Democratic Party, the party left him. I can certainly relate: I didn't leave the Republican Party, it left me. Then again, as my friend Jeb Bush recently noted, Reagan himself would have been too moderate and too reasonable for today's GOP!
We face serious challenges in this country: we must create good Middle Class jobs so we can have an Economy built to last; we must rebuild our roads and bridges and improve our public schools- and, particularly important to me and my State is the challenge of saving Medicare and Social Security so we can keep our promise to seniors. But there are common sense solutions within our reach if we have leaders who are willing and enthusiastic to find common ground. No political party has a monopoly on that kind of leadership but, as a former lifelong Republican, it pains me to tell you that today's Republicans- and their standard-bearers, Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan- just aren't up to the task. They're beholden to "my way or the highway" bullies, indebted to billionaires who bankroll ads and allergic to the very idea of compromise. Ronald Reagan would not have stood for that; Barack Obama does not stand for that- you and I won't stand for that!...
You know, I used to play quarterback just down the road from here at Wake Forest. My dad always told me, "Charlie, it takes a cool head to win a hot game." Our Country is in the middle of a hot game- we face serious challenges, both at home and abroad: meanwhile, our Politics are defined by discord and discontent. Never has it been harder for a President to keep a cool head- and never has it been more important.
A film showing the late Geraldine Ferraro accepting her nomination as Vice President back in 1984 was now shown to the Convention.
The next speaker was Senator John Kerry of Massachusetts, the 2004 Democratic presidential nominee:
In this campaign, we have a fundamental choice: will we protect Our Country and our allies, advance our interests and ideals- do battle where we must and make peace where we can? Or will we entrust our place in the world to someone who just hasn't learned the lessons of the last decade? We've all learned Mitt Romney doesn't know much about Foreign Policy but he has all these "neocon" advisors who know all the wrong things about Foreign Policy: he would rely on them- after all, he's the great outsourcer. But I say to you: this is not the time to outsource the job of Commander-in-chief.
Our opponents like to talk about "American Exceptionalism"- but all they do is talk: they forget that we are exceptional not because we say we are, but because we do exceptional things... Despite what you heard in Tampa, an exceptional country does care about the rise of the oceans and the future of the planet: that is a responsibility from the Scriptures- and that, too, is a responsibility of the leader of the Free World. The only thing exceptional about today's Republicans is that- almost without exception- they oppose everything that has made America exceptional in the first place!
An exceptional nation demands the leadership of an exceptional President and, my fellow Americans, that President is Barack Obama.
Just measure the disarray and disaster he inherited: a war of choice in Iraq had become a war without end and a war of necessity in Afghanistan had become a war of neglect. Our alliances were shredded; our moral authority was in tatters- America was isolated in the world. Our military was stretched to the breaking point, Iran was marching unchecked towards a nuclear weapon and Osama bin Laden was still plotting. It took President Obama to make America lead like America again- it took President Obama to restore our moral authority and to ban torture. This President understands that our values do not limit our power, they magnify it: he showed that global leadership is a strategic imperative for America, not a favor we do for other countries...
So, on one side of this campaign, we have a President who has made America lead like America again. What is there on the other side? An extreme and expedient candidate who lacks the judgment and vision so vital in the Oval Office: the most inexperienced Foreign Policy twosome to run for President and Vice President in decades.
It isn't fair to say Mitt Romney doesn't have a position on Afghanistan: he has every position! He was against setting a date for withdrawal- then he said it was right and then he left the impression that maybe it was wrong to leave this soon. He said it was "tragic" to leave Iraq and then he said it was fine. He said we should've intervened in Libya sooner, then he ran down a hallway to duck reporters' questions- then he said the intervention was too aggressive: then he said the world was a "better place" because the intervention succeeded. Talk about being for it before you were against it!
Mr. Romney, here's a little advice: before you debate Barack Obama on Foreign Policy, you better finish the debate with yourself!
"President Mitt Romney"- three hypothetical words that mystified and alienated our allies this summer. For Mitt Romney, an overseas trip is what you call it when you trip all over yourself overseas: it wasn't a goodwill mission- it was a blooper reel! But a Romney/Ryan Foreign Policy would be anything but funny...
So, here's the choice in 2012. Mitt Romney: out of touch at home, out of his depth abroad and out of the mainstream; or Barack Obama: a president who is giving new life and truth to America's indispensable role in the world; a Commander-in-chief who gives our troops the tools and training they need in war, the honor and help they've earned when they come home; a man who will never ask our men and women to fight a war without a plan to win the peace.
There was now a film about the Obama Administration's policies and they relate to the veterans of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan (another under the rubric of 'Promises Kept').
Angie Flores, a student at Miami Dade College in Florida, introduced Dr. Jill Biden, the wife of the Vice President re-nominated earlier that same evening, who now came forward to talk about her husband:
Four years ago, Beau stood on this stage to introduce his father, and soon afterward, he deployed to Iraq for a year with the Delaware Army National Guard. Tonight, thanks to the leadership of President Obama and my husband Joe, the war in Iraq is over...
Joe often tells people that I didn't agree to marry him until the fifth time he asked me- the truth is that I loved him from the start. I saw in him then the same character that I see in him today. I've seen Joe's character in his optimism- for families who have lost a loved one, kids struggling to find their way, workers out of a job, Joe always works to give people a sense of hope...
Finally, I've seen Joe's character in his heart. When I first met him, Joe had already seen just how fragile life could be. When he was 29 years old, Joe lost his first wife and baby daughter in a tragic car accident while they were out getting their Christmas tree, and the boys were critically injured. Joe's life was shattered- but, through his strong Catholic faith and his fierce love for our boys, Joe found the strength to get back up. That's Joe- that optimism, that determination: that big, strong heart that drives him forward every day. It's what he learned as a young boy growing up with two hard-working parents in Scranton, Pennsylvania...
For as long as I've known him, Joe has never given up, never failed to see the possibilities and never had any doubt about who he's fighting for and as long as he has the privilege of serving this Nation, I know- from the bottom of my heart- that he will continue to fight for you every day...
God bless our troops, and God bless our military families.
A film about Vice President Joe Biden was now shown to the assembled and, when it had finished, out came Vice-President Joe Biden to take his place at the podium:
My fellow Democrats and my favorite Democrat: Jilly, I want you to know that Beau, Hunt, Ashley, and I are so proud of you- we admire the way you treat every single student who walks into your classroom: you not only teach them- you give them confidence... and Beau, I want to thank you for putting my name in nomination to be Vice President of the United States.
I accept- I accept. With great honor and pleasure, I accept!
Four years ago, a battered nation turned away from the failed policies of the past and turned to a leader who they knew could lift Our Nation out of crisis- a journey we haven't finished yet: we still have more to do. But, today, I say to you, my fellow citizens: in the face of the deepest economic crisis in our lifetimes, this nation proved itself. We're as worthy as any generation that has gone before us: the same grit, the same determination, the same courage, that has always defined what it's meant to be an American is in you. We're on a mission to move this nation forward- from doubt and downturn to promise and prosperity: a mission we will continue- a mission we will complete.
Tonight, I want to tell you about Barack Obama- the Barack Obama I've come to know. I want to show you the character of a leader who had what it took when the American people, literally, stood at the brink of a new Depression: a leader who has what it takes to lead us over the next four years to a future as great as our people. I want to take you inside the White House to see the President as I see him every day: because I don't see him in sound bites- I walk down the hall, 30 steps to the Oval Office, and I see him in action.
Four years ago, Middle Class incomes were already falling- then the bottom fell out, the financial crisis hit. You remember the highlights: 'Markets Plummet Worldwide'- the headlines: 'Highest Job Losses in 60 Years', and 'Economy on the Brink'. From the moment President Obama sat behind the desk in the Oval Office, he knew he had to restore the confidence not only of the Nation but the confidence of the whole World. He knew that one false move could bring a run on the banks or a credit collapse, that could throw millions out of work. America and the world needed a strong President with a steady hand, with the judgment and vision to see us through.
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. I watched him stand up to intense pressure and stare down enormous choices the consequences of which were awesome. Most of all, I saw what drove him: his profound concern for the American People. He knew that, no matter how tough the decisions he had to make in the Oval Office were, families all over America had to make decisions every bit as tough for them as they sat around their kitchen tables and equally as consequential.
You see: Barack and I have been through a lot together and we've learned a lot about each other. I learned of the enormity of his heart and he learned of the depth of my loyalty- and there was another thing that bound us: we both had a pretty good idea what these families were going through, in part because our own families had gone through similar struggles...
When Barack and I were growing up, there was an implicit understanding that, if you took responsibility, you'd get a fair shot at a better deal. The values behind that deal were the values that shaped us both and those same values are Barack's guiding star. Folks, I've watched him. He never wavers- he steps up. He asks the same thing over and over again: how is this going to affect the average American? This is what makes him tick- this is who he is. And, because of the decisions he's made and the strength the American People have demonstrated every day, America has turned the corner. After the worst job loss since the Great Depression, we've created 4.5 million private sector jobs in the past 29 months.
Look, folks: President Obama and Governor Romney are both loving husbands and devoted fathers. But let's be straight: they bring vastly different values and visions to the job. Tonight I'd like to focus- from a slightly different perspective, my perspective- on two crises that show the character of the leadership each man will bring to the job:
The first is the rescue of the automobile industry. Let me tell you about how Barack saved more than 1 million American jobs. In our first days in office, General Motors and Chrysler were on the verge of liquidation. If the President didn't act- didn't act immediately- there wouldn't be an industry left to save. We listened to Senators, Congressmen, outside advisors, even some of our own advisors say: we shouldn't step in, the risks were too high, the outcome too uncertain. The President patiently listened- but he didn't see it their way. He understood something they didn't: he understood that this wasn't just about cars- it was about the Americans who built those cars and the America they built...
When I look back now on the President's decision, I also think of another son of an automobile man- Mitt Romney. Mitt Romney grew up in Detroit: his father ran American Motors- yet he was willing to let Detroit go bankrupt. It's not that he's a bad guy: I'm sure he grew up loving cars as much as I did. I just don't think he understood what saving the automobile industry meant to all of America. I think he saw it the Bain way: balance sheets; write-offs. Folks, the Bain way may bring your firm the highest profits- but it's not the way to lead your country from its Highest Office.
When things- literally- hung in the balance, the President understood, in his gut, it was about a lot more than the automobile industry- it was about restoring America's pride: he knew what it would mean to leave 1 million people without hope or work if we didn't act. He also knew- he intuitively understood- the message it would have sent to the rest of the world if the United States of America gave up on the industry that helped put America on the map. Conviction. Resolve. Barack Obama- that's what saved the auto industry!
Conviction. Resolve. Barack Obama. This President has shown that same resolve, that same steady hand, in his role as Commander-in-Chief. Which brings me to the next crisis I want to tell you about:
In 2008, Barack Obama made a promise to the American people. He said, "If we have Osama bin Laden in our sights, we will- we will!- take him out. That has to be our biggest national security priority". Barack understood that the search for bin Laden was about a lot more than taking a monstrous leader off the battlefield. It wasn't so much about righting an unspeakable wrong, healing a nearly unbearable wound in America's heart: he also knew the message we had to send to terrorists around the world- if you attack innocent Americans, we will follow you to the ends of the earth!...
We sat for days in the Situation Room. He listened to the risks and reservations about the raid and he asked the tough questions. But, when Admiral McRaven looked him in the eye and said "Sir, we can get this done", I looked at [the President] and I knew, at that moment, Barack had already made his decision. He said "do it"- and justice was done.
But Governor Romney didn't see things that way. When he was asked about bin Laden in 2007, here's what he said: "it's not worth moving heaven and earth, and spending billions of dollars, just trying to catch one person". He was wrong- he was wrong! If you understood that America's heart had to be healed, you would have done exactly what the President did and you, too, would have moved heaven and earth to hunt down bin Laden and bring him to justice.
Four years ago, when my mom was still with us, sitting in the stadium in Denver, I quoted one of her favorite expressions. She used to say, "Joey, bravery resides in every heart and the time will come when it must be summoned". Ladies and Gentlemen, I'm here to tell you: bravery resides in the heart of Barack Obama and, time and time again, I've witnessed him summon it. This man has courage in his soul, compassion in his heart, and steel in his spine and- because of all the actions he took, because of the calls he made- and because of the grit and determination of American workers and the unparalleled bravery of our special forces, we can now proudly say- what you've heard me say for the last six months: Osama bin Laden is dead and General Motors is alive!
Folks, we know we have more work to do- we know we're not there yet. But not a day has gone by, in the last four years, when I haven't been grateful that Barack Obama is our President because he has always had the courage to make the tough decisions.
Speaking of tough calls: last week we heard at the Republican Convention- we heard our opponents pledge that they, too, had the courage to make tough calls. That's what they said! But, in case you didn't notice, they didn't have the courage to tell you what calls they would make. They talked about how much they cared about Medicare- how much they wanted to preserve it. That's what they told you. But, what they didn't tell you, is that their plan would immediately cut benefits to more than 30 million seniors already on Medicare: what they didn't tell you is what they're proposing would cause Medicare to go bankrupt by 2016- and what they really didn't tell you is, they're not for preserving Medicare: they're for a whole new plan- they're for Vouchercare...
In Tampa, they talked with great urgency about the National Debt: the need to act, to act now. But not once, not once, did they tell you they've rejected every plan put forward- by us, by the bipartisan Simpson-Bowles Commission, by other respected outside groups- to reduce our National Debt if it contained even one dollar- even one cent!- in new taxes for millionaires. That's not courage and that's not fair!...
Governor Romney believes that, in the global economy, it doesn't much matter where American companies put their money or where they create jobs. As a matter of fact, he has a new tax proposal- the territorial tax- that experts say will create 800,000 jobs: all of them overseas! I found it fascinating last week- when Governor Romney said that, as President, he'd take a jobs tour. Well, with all his support for outsourcing, it's going to have to be a foreign trip! Look, President Obama knows that creating jobs in America, keeping jobs in America and bringing jobs back to America is what being President is all about. That's what Presidents do- or, at least, are supposed to do!...
Governor Romney believes that the kids we call DREAMers- those immigrant children who were brought to America at a very young age, through no fault of their own- he thinks they're a drag on America: President Obama believes that even though these DREAMERs- these kids-didn't choose to come to America, they've chosen to do right by America and we should do right by them. Governor Romney looks at the notion of equal pay for equal work in terms of a company's bottom line: President Obama knows that making sure our daughters are paid the same as our sons for the same job is every father's bottom line!
But I must tell you: one thing that perplexed me the most at their Convention was this idea of a culture of dependency. They seem to think you create a culture of dependency when you provide a bright, qualified child from a working family a loan to get to college or when you provide job training in a new industry for a dad who lost his job because it was outsourced. Folks, that's not how we look at it: Americans have never looked at it that way. These men and women aren't looking for a handout: they're just looking for a chance to acquire the tools and the skills to provide for their families- so they can hold their heads high and lead independent lives with dignity...
As I mentioned at the outset: four years ago, Americans we were hit hard. You saw your retirement accounts drained, the equity in your homes vanish and your jobs lost or on the line. But you did what Americans have always done: you didn't lose faith- you fought back. You didn't give up- you got up. You're the ones bringing America back- you're the reason why we're still better positioned than any other country in the world to lead the 21st Century. You never quit on America and you deserve a President who will never quit on you.
And one more thing that our opponents are dead wrong about: America is NOT in decline. I've got news for Governor Romney and Congressman Ryan: it has never, never- ever!- been a good bet to bet against the American People! My fellow Americans, America is coming back and we're not going back!
And we have no intention of downsizing the American Dream: in a moment, you're going to hear from a man whose whole life is a testament to the power of that dream and whose Presidency is the best hope to secure that dream for our children...
My fellow Americans, we now find ourselves at the hinge of History and the direction we turn is in your hands. It has been an honor to serve you and to serve with a President who has always stood up for you: as I've said- I've seen him tested. I know his strength, his command, his faith. I also know the incredible confidence he has in all of you: I know this man. Yes, the work of recovery is not yet complete, but we are on our way... America's best days are ahead of us, and, yes, we are on our way.
In the light of that horizon- for the values that define us, for the ideas that inspire us- there is only one choice: the choice is to move forward, boldly forward- finish the job we started and re-elect President Barack Obama.
God bless you and may God protect our troops.
After he had finished, he embraced his wife Jill on stage before they both exited. A few minutes later- after another short musical interlude- Senator Dick Durbin stepped up to the podium:
Eight years ago in Boston, I introduced you to a state senator from Illinois with a name that was hard to pronounce. Four years ago in Denver, I asked you to give him our Party's nomination for president. Tonight in Charlotte, I ask you to join me in giving President Barack Obama four more years to finish the job he started. I was there that cold January afternoon when Barack Obama lifted his hand from Abraham Lincoln's Bible and looked out on an America facing an economic collapse. These last four years have been hard: too many families are still hurting- but, today, our Economy is beginning to recover, jobs are returning, businesses are expanding and America is coming back.
Our friends in the other Party have a theory about America: they tell us "we're all in this alone"- they say builders never need a helping hand. Democrats know better- America knows better: History and this President have shown us we are stronger when we are all in this together.
A film about the decisions made by President Obama (with former President Bill Clinton and Vice President Biden appearing therein to give their respective takes on these) was now shown to those in the Convention Hall and, when the lights came back on, First Lady Michelle Obama was already back at the podium from which she had spoken two evenings before in order to introduce the President, Barack Obama, who came onto the stage to hug her before striding to the podium himself:
A few nights ago, everybody was reminded just what a lucky man I am. Malia and Sasha, we are so proud of you- and, yes, you have to go to school in the morning. And Joe Biden, thank you for being the very best Vice-President I could ever hope for and being a strong and loyal friend...
I accept your nomination for President of the United States.
The first time I addressed this Convention in 2004, I was a younger man: a Senate candidate from Illinois who spoke about hope- not blind optimism or wishful thinking, but hope in the face of difficulty- hope in the face of uncertainty: that dogged faith in the future which has pushed this Nation forward, even when the odds are great- even when the road is long. Eight years later, that hope has been tested- by the cost of war, by one of the worst economic crises in history and by political gridlock that's left us wondering whether it's still possible to tackle the challenges of our time.
I know that campaigns can seem small, and even silly: trivial things become big distractions- serious issues become sound bites and the truth gets buried under an avalanche of money and advertising. If you're sick of hearing me saying "I approve this message", believe me- so am I. But when all is said and done- when you pick up that ballot to vote- you will face the clearest choice of any time in a generation: over the next few years, big decisions will be made in Washington- on jobs and the economy, taxes and deficits, Energy and Education; War and Peace- decisions that will have a huge impact on our lives and our children's lives for decades to come.
On every issue, the choice you face won't be just between two candidates or two Parties- it will be a choice between two different paths for America: a choice between two fundamentally different visions for the future: ours is a fight to restore the values that built the largest Middle Class and the strongest Economy the World has ever known... My grandparents were given the chance to go to college, buy their first home, and fulfill the basic bargain at the heart of America's story: the promise that hard work will pay off, that responsibility will be rewarded, that everyone gets a fair shot and everyone does their fair share- and everyone plays by the same rules: from Main Street to Wall Street to Washington, D.C.
I ran for President because I saw that basic bargain slipping away. I began my career helping people in the shadow of a shuttered steel mill, at a time when too many good jobs were starting to move overseas- and, by 2008, we had seen nearly a decade in which families struggled with costs that kept rising, but paychecks that didn't- racking up more and more debt just to make the mortgage or pay tuition, to put gas in the car or food on the table: and when the house of cards collapsed in the Great Recession, millions of innocent Americans lost their jobs, their homes, and their life savings- a tragedy from which we are still fighting to recover.
Now, our friends at the Republican Convention were more than happy to talk about everything they think is wrong with America, but they didn't have much to say about how they'd make it right- they want your vote, but they don't want you to know their plan: and that's because all they have to offer is the same prescription they've had for the last thirty years: "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!"
Now, I've cut taxes for those who need it: Middle Class families and small businesses- but I don't believe that another round of tax breaks for millionaires will bring good jobs to our shores or pay down our deficit... We've been there, we've tried that- and we're not going back- we're moving forward, America!
I won't pretend the path I'm offering is quick or easy- I never have. You didn't elect me to tell you what you wanted to hear: you elected me to tell you the truth- 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. And, by the way, those of us who carry on his Party's legacy should remember that not every problem can be remedied with another Government program or dictate from Washington. But know this, America: our problems can be solved- our challenges can be met: the path we offer may be harder, but it leads to a better place- and I'm asking you to choose that future...
That's what we can do in the next four years and that's why I'm running for a second term as President of the United States. We can choose a future where we export more products and outsource fewer jobs: after a decade that was defined by what we bought and borrowed, we're getting back to basics- and doing what America has always done best: we're making things again. 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...
After a decade of decline, this country created over half a million manufacturing jobs in the last two and a half years and now you have a choice: we can give more tax breaks to corporations that ship jobs overseas or we can start rewarding companies that open new plants and train new workers and create new jobs here- in the United States of America. We can help big factories and small businesses double their exports and, if we choose this path, we can create a million new manufacturing jobs in the next four years. You can make that happen- you can choose that future!
You can choose the path where we control more of our own energy: after thirty years of inaction, we raised fuel standards so that, by the middle of the next decade, cars and trucks will go twice as far on a gallon of gas: we've doubled our use of renewable energy... and, today, the United States of America is less dependent on foreign oil than at any time in nearly two decades.
Now, you have a choice: between a strategy that reverses this progress or one that builds on it. We've opened millions of new acres for oil and gas exploration in the last three years 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 $4 billion in corporate welfare from our taxpayers. We're offering a better path... if you choose this path, we can cut our oil imports in half by 2020 and support more than 600,000 new jobs in natural gas alone: and, yes, my plan will continue to reduce the carbon pollution that is heating our planet- because Climate Change is not a hoax: more droughts and floods and wildfires are not a joke. They're a threat to our children's future and, in this election, you can do something about it!
You can choose a future where more Americans have the chance to gain the skills they need to compete, no matter how old they are or how much money they have. Education was the gateway to opportunity for me- it was the gateway for Michelle: and, now more than ever, it is the gateway to a Middle Class life...
And now you have a choice- we can gut education or we can decide that, in the United States of America, no child should have her dreams deferred because of a crowded classroom or a crumbling school; no family should have to set aside a college acceptance letter because they don't have the money; no company should have to look for workers in China because they couldn't find any with the right skills here at home. Government has a role in this- but teachers must inspire, principals must lead- parents must instill a thirst for learning and, students, you've got to do the work. And together, I promise you, we can out-educate and out-compete any country on Earth...
In a world of new threats and new challenges, you can choose leadership that has been tested and proven. Four years ago, I promised to end the war in Iraq- we did. I promised to refocus on the terrorists who actually attacked us on 9/11- we have. We've blunted the Taliban's momentum in Afghanistan and- in 2014- our longest war will be over. A new tower rises above the New York skyline, al Qa'eda is on the path to defeat and Osama bin Laden is dead...
Around the world, we've strengthened old alliances and forged new coalitions to stop the spread of nuclear weapons: we've reasserted our power across the Pacific and stood up to China on behalf of our workers. From Burma to Libya to South Sudan, we have advanced the rights and dignity of all human beings- men and women; Christians and Muslims and Jews. But, for all the progress we've made, challenges remain- terrorist plots must be disrupted; Europe's crisis must be contained; our commitment to Israel's security must not waver- and neither must our pursuit of peace. The Iranian Government must face a world that stays united against its nuclear ambitions: the historic change sweeping across the Arab World must be defined- not by the iron fist of a dictator or the hate of extremists, but by the hopes and aspirations of ordinary people who are reaching for the same rights that we celebrate today.
So now we face a choice. My opponent and his running mate are 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. After all, you don't call Russia our number one enemy – and not al Qa'eda – unless you're still stuck in a Cold War time warp- you might not be ready for diplomacy with Beijing if you can't visit the Olympics without insulting our closest ally. My opponent said it was "tragic" to end the war in Iraq- and he won't tell us how he'll end the war in Afghanistan: I have- and I will. And while my opponent would spend more money on military hardware that our Joint Chiefs don't even want, I'll use the money we're no longer spending on war to pay down our debt and put more people back to work- rebuilding roads and bridges, schools and runways. After two wars that have cost us thousands of lives and over a trillion dollars, it's time to do some nation-building right here at home!...
Last summer, I worked with Republicans in Congress to cut $1 trillion in spending because those of us who believe Government can be a force for good should work harder than anyone to reform it- so that it's leaner, more efficient, and more responsive to the American People. I want to reform the tax code so that it's simple, fair, and asks the wealthiest households to pay higher taxes on incomes over $250,000: the same rate we had when Bill Clinton was president; the same rate we had when our economy created nearly 23 million new jobs, the biggest surplus in history, and a lot of millionaires to boot.
Now, I'm still eager to reach an agreement based on the principles of my bipartisan debt commission. No Party has a monopoly on wisdom- no democracy works without compromise: 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-- what did Bill Clinton call it? You do the arithmetic- you do the math. I refuse to go along with that and, as long as I'm President, I never will!...
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. Yes, we will reform and strengthen Medicare for the long haul but we'll do it by reducing the cost of health care- not by asking seniors to pay thousands of dollars more. And we will keep the promise of Social Security by taking the responsible steps to strengthen it- not by turning it over to Wall Street.
This is the choice we now face- this is what the election comes down to. Over and over, we have been told by our opponents that bigger tax cuts and fewer regulations are the only way- that, since Government can't do everything, it should do almost nothing. If you can't afford health insurance, hope that you don't get sick; if a company releases toxic pollutants into the air your children breathe, well- that's just the price of progress. If you can't afford to start a business or go to college, take my opponent's advice and "borrow money from your parents".
You know what? That's not who we are- that's not what this country's about. As Americans, we believe we are endowed by our Creator with certain inalienable rights- rights that no man or government can take away. We insist on personal responsibility and we celebrate individual initiative: we're not entitled to success- we have to earn it. We honor the strivers, the dreamers, the risk-takers who have always been the driving force behind our free enterprise system- the greatest engine of growth and prosperity the world has ever known. But we also believe in something called Citizenship- a word at the very heart of our founding, at the very essence of our democracy: the idea that this country only works when we accept certain obligations to one another and to future generations...
Because we understand that this democracy is ours. We, the People, recognize that we have responsibilities as well as rights: that our destinies are bound together; that a freedom which only asks what's in it for me- a freedom without a commitment to others, a freedom without love or charity or duty or patriotism- is unworthy of our founding ideals, and those who died in their defense. As citizens, we understand that America is not about what can be done for us: it's about what can be done by us, together, through the hard and frustrating but necessary work of self-government.
So you see, the election four years ago wasn't about me- it was about you. My fellow citizens- you were the change!
You're the reason there's a little girl with a heart disorder in Phoenix who'll get the surgery she needs because an insurance company can't limit her coverage- you did that: you did that! You're the reason a young man in Colorado who never thought he'd be able to afford his dream of earning a medical degree is about to get that chance- you made that possible. You're the reason a young immigrant who grew up here and went to school here and pledged allegiance to our flag will no longer be deported from the only country she's ever called home; why selfless soldiers won't be kicked out of the military because of who they are or who they love; why thousands of families have finally been able to say to the loved ones who served us so bravely: "Welcome home".
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. 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. Only you can make sure that doesn't happen- only you have the power to move us forward!
I recognize that times have changed since I first spoke to this Convention: the times have changed- and so have I. I'm no longer just a candidate- I'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 didn't return- I've shared the pain of families who've lost their homes, and the frustration of workers who've lost their jobs. If the critics are right that I've made all my decisions based on polls, then I must not be very good at reading them- and, while I'm proud of what we've achieved together, I'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".
But, as I stand here tonight, I have never been more hopeful about America: not because I think I have all the answers- not because I'm naive about the magnitude of our challenges- I'm hopeful because of you...
I think about the young sailor I met at Walter Reed Hospital, still recovering from a grenade attack that would cause him to have his leg amputated above the knee. Six months ago, I would watch him walk into a White House dinner honoring those who served in Iraq- tall and twenty pounds heavier, dashing in his uniform, with a big grin on his face; sturdy on his new leg. And I remember how a few months after that I would watch him on a bicycle, racing with his fellow wounded warriors on a sparkling spring day, inspiring other heroes who had just begun the hard path he had traveled- he gives me hope.
I don't know what Party these men and women belong to- I don't even know if they'll vote for me. But I know that their spirit defines us: they remind me, in the words of Scripture, that ours is a "future filled with hope". And if you share that faith with me- if you share that hope with me- I ask you tonight for your vote. If you reject the notion that this nation's promise is reserved for the few, your voice must be heard in this election: if you reject the notion that our government is forever beholden to the highest bidder, you need to stand up in this election. If you believe that new plants and factories can dot our landscape- that new energy can power our future: that new schools can provide ladders of opportunity to this nation of dreamers- if you believe in a country where everyone gets a fair shot and everyone does their fair share and everyone plays by the same rules, then I need you to vote this November.
America, I never said this journey would be easy- and I won't promise that now. Yes, our path is harder- but it leads to a better place; yes, our road is longer- but we travel it together. We don't turn back- we leave no one behind: we pull each other up- we draw strength from our victories and we learn from our mistakes, but we keep our eyes fixed on that distant horizon, knowing that Providence is with us, and that we are surely blessed to be citizens of the greatest nation on Earth.
Thank you, God bless you, and may God bless these United States.
After the President had finished speaking, he stood alone on stage for a time waving at the assembled before he was joined by his wife and daughters and then, presently, by Vice President Biden and his family. Confetti now rained down on the Convention floor and the music being played was certainly more upbeat than that which had been played when Obama had been nominated four years earlier-- in a way, it was a more normal presentation at the conclusion of a Convention (there was no little irony in the fact that he was ensconced within Greek-columned 'Barackopolis' before he had become President of the United States and now, if only in this particular moment of celebration four years on, seemed- despite the very words of his Acceptance Speech only just concluded- more like one challenging the incumbent in the White House than the incumbent himself!).
After a time, His Eminence Timothy Cardinal Dolan- Roman Catholic Archbishop of New York (who had also given the final Benediction at the Republican National Convention only a week earlier)- came forward to deliver the Benediction. Then Permanent Chair Villaraigosa came to the podium and- after offering the Convention's thanks to all who made the Convention possible- entertained a motion to adjourn sine die which was approved viva voce and the final gavel came down at 11:18 PM Eastern Daylight Time (0318 GMT) at which point this Convention, too, became the stuff of History.