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President Obama: Recovery path hard, challenge 'can be met'

By Robert Furlow

Associated Press

Published: Thursday, Sept. 6 2012 8:48 p.m. MDT

"Tonight President Obama laid out the choice in this election, making the case for more of the same policies that haven't worked for the past four years. He offered more promises, but he hasn't kept the promises he made four years ago. Americans will hold President Obama accountable for his record — they know they're not better off and that it's time to change direction. Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan will restore America's promise and deliver a better future for our country."

In the run-up to Obama's speech, delegates erupted in tumultuous cheers when former Arizona Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, grievously wounded in a 2011 assassination attempt, walked onstage to lead the Pledge of Allegiance. The hall grew louder when she blew kisses to the crowd.

And louder still when huge video screens inside the hall showed the face of Osama bin Laden, the terrorist mastermind killed in a daring raid on his Pakistani hideout by U.S. special operations forces â€" on a mission approved by the current commander in chief.

The hall was filled to capacity long before Obama stepped to the podium, and officials shut off the entrances because of a fear of overcrowding for a speech that the campaign had originally slated for the 74,000-seat football stadium nearby. Aides said weather concerns prompted the move to the convention arena, capacity 15,000 or so.

Obama's campaign said the president would ask the country to rally around a "real achievable plan that will create jobs, expand opportunity and ensure an economy built to last."

He added, "The truth is it will take more than a few years for us to solve challenges that have built up over a decade."

In convention parlance, both Obama and Biden were delivering acceptance speeches before delegates who nominated them for new terms in office.

But the political significance went far beyond that — the moment when the general election campaign begins in earnest even though Obama and Romney have been pointing toward a Nov. 6 showdown for months.

To the cheers of delegates, Obama retraced his steps to halt the economic slide, including the auto bailout that Romney opposed.

"After a decade of decline, this country created over a half million manufacturing jobs in the last two and a half years," he said.

Turning to national security, he said he had promised to end the war in Iraq, and had done so.

"We've blunted the Taliban's momentum in Afghanistan, and in 2014 our longest war will be over," he said.

"A new tower rises above the New York skyline, al-Qaida is on the path to defeat and Osama bin Laden is dead," he declared, one of the night's repeated references to the special operations forces raid that resulted in the terrorist mastermind's demise more than a year ago.

He lampooned Romney's own economic proposals.

"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," he said.

Mocking Romney for his overseas trip earlier this summer, Obama said, "You might not be ready for diplomacy with Beijing if you can't visit the Olympics without insulting our closest ally."

The hall was filled to capacity long before Obama stepped to the podium, and officials shut off the entrances because of a fear of overcrowding for a speech that the campaign had originally slated for the 74,000-seat football stadium nearby. Aides said weather concerns prompted the move to the convention arena, capacity 15,000 or so.

Obama's campaign said the president would ask the country to rally around a "real achievable plan that will create jobs, expand opportunity and ensure an economy built to last."

Biden told the convention in his own speech that he had watched as Obama "made one gutsy decision after another" to stop an economic free-fall after they took office in 2009.

Now, he said, "we're on a mission to move this nation forward â€" from doubt and downturn to promise and prosperity. ... America has turned the corner."

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