If there was any disappointment that the president’s speech was moved inside because of the threat of bad weather, it quickly faded as delegates and the few thousand others lucky enough to be holding tickets jammed the streets around the convention site, giving the scene the feeling of a rock concert and street festival. Inside, the arena slowly filled as performers, including the Foo Fighters, warmed up a crowd eager to greet their president.
Four years after Hope and Change, and after a party convention charmed by his wife and fired up by the last Democratic president, President Obama was charged with acknowledging the tough times, making the case for himself as the man to fix things and dismissing his opponents as naysayers without answers.
All they have to offer is the same prescriptions they’ve had for the last 30 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. — President Barack Obama
“This crowd was driven,” said Sen. Bob Menendez (D-NJ). “I think Barack rocked the house, and I think he reminded us why we voted for him for president four years ago.”
For some, the speech fell short of the electric address of 2008, when a young, first-term senator from Illinois burst onto the American political landscape and made history, but others were still enthralled by the concept of Barack Obama as President. One of the people for whom the Obama magic still works its magic is Rep. Donald Payne, Jr. (D-NJ-10). “When he looked into the camera and said, ‘I am the president of the United States,’ a chill came over my body because you saw the command, you saw the commander in chief.”
In his speech, President Obama exploited the GOP ticket’s lack of foreign policy experience, implying that Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan are stuck in the cold war era. According to Congressman Frank Pallone (D-6), Republicans don’t even want to discuss foreign policy. “Particularly, what the president and the vice president are saying is ‘look, we’ve had to tackle these issues; we the ended the war in Iraq; we’re gonna end the war in Afghanistan; we killed Bin Laden.'”
Most of the members of the New Jersey delegation ended their last night with a party at a local nightclub, energized up by their president and ready to go with just over 60 days left before election day. If there was any doubt about their enthusiasm for their candidate, they say the joyous tone of this convention should have cleared that up.
Reporting from Charlotte, David Cruz has this report.