Obama's case for four more years

Charlotte, North Carolina (CNN) — When President Obama took the stage Thursday night, he wasn’t just competing with the ghosts of conventions present, but with Mitt Romney’s performance last week, Bill Clinton’s Wednesday, and the first lady’s on Tuesday. He had to take on the ghosts of conventions past: comparisons with his stadium acceptance speech four years ago, and the 2004 speech that launched him into the national spotlight.

Those would be tough performances to match in any year — near-impossible under current circumstances. So he didn’t even try: A good deal of the speech came across a bit like a State of the Union address with fewer Republicans and better lighting. But there were a few marks he had to hit — and did.

• He had to acknowledge that things aren’t rosy: “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…”

If you’re keeping score, that’s at least four references to struggle — difficulty, uncertainty, great odds, a long road — in a single sentence.

The Obama family takes to the stage as the gathering draws to a close on Thursday, September 6, the final day of the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte, North Carolina. See the best photos from the Republican National Convention. The Obama family takes to the stage as the gathering draws to a close on Thursday, September 6, the final day of the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte, North Carolina. See the best photos from the Republican National Convention.

U.S. President Barack Obama kisses first lady Michelle Obama after giving his acceptance speech on Thursday.U.S. President Barack Obama kisses first lady Michelle Obama after giving his acceptance speech on Thursday.

Barack Obama embraces his wife, Michelle, after giving his acceptance speech on Thursday.Barack Obama embraces his wife, Michelle, after giving his acceptance speech on Thursday.

Barack Obama waves on stage on Thursday as he makes his acceptance speech.Barack Obama waves on stage on Thursday as he makes his acceptance speech.

U.S. President Barack Obama accepts the Democratic Party's nomination on Thursday.U.S. President Barack Obama accepts the Democratic Party’s nomination on Thursday.

Barack Obama speaks on stage to accept the nomination for president on Thursday.Barack Obama speaks on stage to accept the nomination for president on Thursday.

First lady Michelle Obama, with daughters Malia, left, and Sasha, smiles as Barack Obama delivers his acceptance speech on Thursday.First lady Michelle Obama, with daughters Malia, left, and Sasha, smiles as Barack Obama delivers his acceptance speech on Thursday.

Barack Obama delivers his acceptance speech on Thursday.Barack Obama delivers his acceptance speech on Thursday.

First lady Michelle Obama introduces her husband on Thursday. She gave a full speech on Tuesday night.First lady Michelle Obama introduces her husband on Thursday. She gave a full speech on Tuesday night.

First lady Michelle Obama sits with Jill Biden as Vice President Joe Biden speaks on Thursday.First lady Michelle Obama sits with Jill Biden as Vice President Joe Biden speaks on Thursday.

Attendees watch a video tribute for Barack Obama on Thursday.Attendees watch a video tribute for Barack Obama on Thursday.

 Barack Obama waves from the stage on Thursday. Barack Obama waves from the stage on Thursday.

Crowds react to a speech at the Time Warner Cable Arena in Charlotte, North Carolina, on Thursday.Crowds react to a speech at the Time Warner Cable Arena in Charlotte, North Carolina, on Thursday.

Vice President Joe Biden gives his acceptance speech to run for a second term on Thursday.Vice President Joe Biden gives his acceptance speech to run for a second term on Thursday.

 Actress Eva Longoria speaks at the DNC on Thursday. Actress Eva Longoria speaks at the DNC on Thursday.

Biden walks onstage during the final day of the convention on Thursday.Biden walks onstage during the final day of the convention on Thursday.

First lady Michelle Obama sits with Dr. Jill Biden on Thursday as Joe Biden accepts the vice presidential nomination. First lady Michelle Obama sits with Dr. Jill Biden on Thursday as Joe Biden accepts the vice presidential nomination.

Caroline Kennedy addresses delegates on Thursday.Caroline Kennedy addresses delegates on Thursday.

U.S. Sen. John Kerry of Massachusetts waves onstage Thursday.U.S. Sen. John Kerry of Massachusetts waves onstage Thursday.

Obama campaign co-chair Eva Longoria waves to the audience on Thursday.Obama campaign co-chair Eva Longoria waves to the audience on Thursday.

Attendees hold signs that say Thank You for miltary veterans on Thursday.Attendees hold signs that say “Thank You” for miltary veterans on Thursday.

First lady Michelle Obama attends the final day of the Democratic National Convention on Thursday.First lady Michelle Obama attends the final day of the Democratic National Convention on Thursday.

Former U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords stands on stage during the final day of the Democratic National Convention.Former U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords stands on stage during the final day of the Democratic National Convention.

U.S. Rep. John Lewis of Georgia speaks to delegates on Thursday.U.S. Rep. John Lewis of Georgia speaks to delegates on Thursday.

Loretta Harper of Nevada cheers on Thursday.Loretta Harper of Nevada cheers on Thursday.

Singer Mary J. Blige walks on stage on Thursday.Singer Mary J. Blige walks on stage on Thursday.

DNC Chair and Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, left, talks with Democratic National Committee Chair and Florida Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz on Thursday.DNC Chair and Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, left, talks with Democratic National Committee Chair and Florida Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz on Thursday.

Vice President Joe Biden waves as he stands with his wife Jill Biden and family after being nominated on Thursday.Vice President Joe Biden waves as he stands with his wife Jill Biden and family after being nominated on Thursday.

An Uncle Sam impersonator makes his way across the floor at the Time Warner Cable Arena on Thursday.An Uncle Sam impersonator makes his way across the floor at the Time Warner Cable Arena on Thursday.

Actor Jon Hamm, right, attends the final day of the Democratic National Convention on Thursday.Actor Jon Hamm, right, attends the final day of the Democratic National Convention on Thursday.

Gus Mansour holds up a poster of President Barack Obama on Thursday.Gus Mansour holds up a poster of President Barack Obama on Thursday.

Actress Scarlett Johansson addresses delegates on Thursday.Actress Scarlett Johansson addresses delegates on Thursday.

Actress Kerry Washington speaks to delegates on Thursday.Actress Kerry Washington speaks to delegates on Thursday.

Musican Dave Grohl of the Foo Fighters performs during the final day of the Democratic National Convention on Thursday.Musican Dave Grohl of the Foo Fighters performs during the final day of the Democratic National Convention on Thursday.

Delaware Attorney General Beau Biden gestures during his speech to nominate his father Joe Biden for the office of vice president on Thursday.Delaware Attorney General Beau Biden gestures during his speech to nominate his father Joe Biden for the office of vice president on Thursday.

Delegate Brian Fadie of Nevada watches the program on Thursday.Delegate Brian Fadie of Nevada watches the program on Thursday.

Former Michigan Gov. Jennifer Granholm gestures during her speech on Thursday.Former Michigan Gov. Jennifer Granholm gestures during her speech on Thursday.

Caroline Kennedy speaks to the delegates on Thursday.Caroline Kennedy speaks to the delegates on Thursday.

Former U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, right, recites the Pledge of Allegiance on stage with Democratic National Committee Chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz on Thursday.Former U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, right, recites the Pledge of Allegiance on stage with Democratic National Committee Chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz on Thursday.

Delegates sit around a large cutout of President Obama's head during the final day of the convention on Thursday.Delegates sit around a large cutout of President Obama’s head during the final day of the convention on Thursday.

A woman salutes during the DNC on Thursday.A woman salutes during the DNC on Thursday.

U.S. Rep. Barney Frank of Massachusetts takes the stage on Thursday.U.S. Rep. Barney Frank of Massachusetts takes the stage on Thursday.

Musician James Taylor performs at the convention on Thursday.Musician James Taylor performs at the convention on Thursday.

Supporters pray during an invocation on Thursday.Supporters pray during an invocation on Thursday.

Singer Marc Anthony walks onto the stage to sing the national anthem on Thursday.Singer Marc Anthony walks onto the stage to sing the national anthem on Thursday.

Attendees sing and dance as musician James Taylor performs on Thursday.Attendees sing and dance as musician James Taylor performs on Thursday.

Two women run for cover from the pouring rain during the final day of the convention on Thursday.Two women run for cover from the pouring rain during the final day of the convention on Thursday.

People in the stands wait for the start of the third day of the Democratic National Convention on Thursday.People in the stands wait for the start of the third day of the Democratic National Convention on Thursday.

President Bill Clinton speaks on Wednesday, September 5.President Bill Clinton speaks on Wednesday, September 5.

Former President Bill Clinton embraces President Barack Obama at the end of his speech Wednesday. Former President Bill Clinton embraces President Barack Obama at the end of his speech Wednesday.

The crowd cheers as Bill Clinton makes his case Wednesday for the re-election of Barack Obama.The crowd cheers as Bill Clinton makes his case Wednesday for the re-election of Barack Obama.

A person holds a sign that says Bin Laden Is Dead, GM Is Alive on Thursday.A person holds a sign that says “Bin Laden Is Dead, GM Is Alive” on Thursday.

Bill Clinton formally nominates President Barack Obama for a second term in his highly anticipated speech.Bill Clinton formally nominates President Barack Obama for a second term in his highly anticipated speech.

First lady Michelle Obama receives a standing ovation Wednesday. Bill Clinton praised the president for having the good sense to marry Michelle Obama.First lady Michelle Obama receives a standing ovation Wednesday. Bill Clinton praised the president for having “the good sense to marry Michelle Obama.”

U.S. Vice President Joe Biden speaks on Thursday.U.S. Vice President Joe Biden speaks on Thursday.

Delegates wave union signs supporting Barack Obama on Wednesday.Delegates wave union signs supporting Barack Obama on Wednesday.

U.S. Senate candidate Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts waves to the crowd Wednesday. A consumer advocate, she complained that people today feel like the system is rigged against them.U.S. Senate candidate Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts waves to the crowd Wednesday. A consumer advocate, she complained that people today “feel like the system is rigged against them.”

U.S. Rep. Chris Van Hollen of Maryland speaks on day two of the DNC.U.S. Rep. Chris Van Hollen of Maryland speaks on day two of the DNC.

Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel claps while listening to Wednesday's speeches. He spoke Tuesday night.Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel claps while listening to Wednesday’s speeches. He spoke Tuesday night.

Cuban-American actress and talk show host Cristina Saralegui endorses President Barack Obama on Wednesday.Cuban-American actress and talk show host Cristina Saralegui endorses President Barack Obama on Wednesday.

Planned Parenthood President Cecile Richards walks off stage after her speech Wednesday.Planned Parenthood President Cecile Richards walks off stage after her speech Wednesday.

Delegates cheer during Wednesday's program.Delegates cheer during Wednesday’s program.

Audience members wave signs Wednesday in support of the American auto industry.Audience members wave signs Wednesday in support of the American auto industry.

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi speaks Wednesday.House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi speaks Wednesday.

U.S. Rep. Karen Bass of California speaks before delegates on Wednesday night.U.S. Rep. Karen Bass of California speaks before delegates on Wednesday night.

U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan speaks on Wednesday.U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan speaks on Wednesday.

A guard stands by as former North Carolina Gov. Jim Hunt speaks on Wednesday.A guard stands by as former North Carolina Gov. Jim Hunt speaks on Wednesday.

A choir performs on stage during the DNC on Wednesday.A choir performs on stage during the DNC on Wednesday.

Two men in vests hold a pile of American flags on Wednesday.Two men in vests hold a pile of American flags on Wednesday.

People pose during the official convention photography during Day 2 of the Democratic National Convention at Time Warner Cable Arena on Wednesday.People pose during the official convention photography during Day 2 of the Democratic National Convention at Time Warner Cable Arena on Wednesday.

A tri-colored hat sporting the Democratic party's mascot sits on a chair on Wednesday.A tri-colored hat sporting the Democratic party’s mascot sits on a chair on Wednesday.

Sikh supporters hold up a sign on Wednesday.Sikh supporters hold up a sign on Wednesday.

A woman reacts as Missouri Rep. Emanuel Cleaver II, chair of the Congressional Black Caucus, speaks on Wednesday.A woman reacts as Missouri Rep. Emanuel Cleaver II, chair of the Congressional Black Caucus, speaks on Wednesday.

Rep. Emanuel Cleaver II, chair of the Congressional Black Caucus, speaks to delegates on Wednesday.Rep. Emanuel Cleaver II, chair of the Congressional Black Caucus, speaks to delegates on Wednesday.

Olympic gymnast Gabby Douglas leads the Pledge of Allegiance as the West Charlotte High School ROTC presents the colors on Wednesday.Olympic gymnast Gabby Douglas leads the Pledge of Allegiance as the West Charlotte High School ROTC presents the colors on Wednesday.

Delegate Gloria Goodwin wears earrings depicting President Barack Obama and first lady Michelle Obama on Wednesday.Delegate Gloria Goodwin wears earrings depicting President Barack Obama and first lady Michelle Obama on Wednesday.

Ruby Gilliam of Ohio salutes the flag on Wednesday.Ruby Gilliam of Ohio salutes the flag on Wednesday.

Olympic gymnast Gabby Douglas waves after leading the Pledge of Allegiance on Wednesday.Olympic gymnast Gabby Douglas waves after leading the Pledge of Allegiance on Wednesday.

Priscilla Marquez and Evie Walls from Arizona pose in the Google photo booth on Wednesday.Priscilla Marquez and Evie Walls from Arizona pose in the Google photo booth on Wednesday.

A police officer stands near golf carts outside the Time Warner Cable Arena on Wednesday.A police officer stands near golf carts outside the Time Warner Cable Arena on Wednesday.

First lady Michelle Obama wraps up day one of the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte, North Carolina, on Tuesday, September 4. First lady Michelle Obama wraps up day one of the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte, North Carolina, on Tuesday, September 4.

A sea of signs welcomes the first lady onto the stage Tuesday at the Time Warner Cable Arena.A sea of signs welcomes the first lady onto the stage Tuesday at the Time Warner Cable Arena.

Delegates listen to Michelle Obama's speech Tuesday. The first lady offered a personal perspective on why her husband should be re-elected.Delegates listen to Michelle Obama’s speech Tuesday. The first lady offered a personal perspective on why her husband should be re-elected.

Texas Rep. Joaquin Castro and his brother, San Antonio Mayor Julian Castro, wave to the audience Tuesday.Texas Rep. Joaquin Castro and his brother, San Antonio Mayor Julian Castro, wave to the audience Tuesday.

Julian Castro gives the keynote address Tuesday night. Mitt Romney, quite simply, doesn't get it, he declared.Julian Castro gives the keynote address Tuesday night. “Mitt Romney, quite simply, doesn’t get it,” he declared.

Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick speaks during day one of the Democratic National Convention at Time Warner Cable Arena on Tuesday. Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick speaks during day one of the Democratic National Convention at Time Warner Cable Arena on Tuesday.

Lilly Ledbetter, whose fight for equal pay resulted in the Fair Pay Act, takes the stage on Tuesday.Lilly Ledbetter, whose fight for equal pay resulted in the Fair Pay Act, takes the stage on Tuesday.

First lady Michelle Obama's brother, Craig Robinson, and President Barack Obama's half-sister, Dr. Maya Kassandra Soetoro-Ng, speak on Tuesday.First lady Michelle Obama’s brother, Craig Robinson, and President Barack Obama’s half-sister, Dr. Maya Kassandra Soetoro-Ng, speak on Tuesday.

People hold signs Tuesday that read Forward and Not Back.People hold signs Tuesday that read “Forward” and “Not Back.”

Actor-producer Kal Penn speaks on Tuesday.Actor-producer Kal Penn speaks on Tuesday.

People listen to Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel on Tuesday.People listen to Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel on Tuesday.

Rahm Emanuel, who served as President Barack Obama's first chief of staff, addresses the crowd Tuesday.Rahm Emanuel, who served as President Barack Obama’s first chief of staff, addresses the crowd Tuesday.

Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius walks onstage Tuesday.Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius walks onstage Tuesday.

Former Ohio Gov. Ted Strickland takes the podium on Tuesday.Former Ohio Gov. Ted Strickland takes the podium on Tuesday.

Robert Rios from the Virgin Islands waves a state flag on Tuesday.Robert Rios from the Virgin Islands waves a state flag on Tuesday.

Stacey Lihn of Arizona speaks on Tuesday as her husband, Caleb, holds her crying daughter, Emmy, and other daughter, Zoe Madison.Stacey Lihn of Arizona speaks on Tuesday as her husband, Caleb, holds her crying daughter, Emmy, and other daughter, Zoe Madison.

A detail of the prosthetic legs of Tammy Duckworth, an Iraq war veteran who is running for the U.S. House from Illinois, is shown at the podium on Tuesday.A detail of the prosthetic legs of Tammy Duckworth, an Iraq war veteran who is running for the U.S. House from Illinois, is shown at the podium on Tuesday.

President of NARAL Pro-Choice America Nancy Keenan speaks on Tuesday.President of NARAL Pro-Choice America Nancy Keenan speaks on Tuesday.

Audience members wave American flags Tuesday.Audience members wave American flags Tuesday.

Maria Ciano, who grew up a conservative Republican, addresses the DNC crowd TuesdayMaria Ciano, who grew up a conservative Republican, addresses the DNC crowd Tuesday

Former Rep. Patrick Kennedy holds his child as he speaks to the media Tuesday. He is a son of the late Sen. Ted Kennedy.Former Rep. Patrick Kennedy holds his child as he speaks to the media Tuesday. He is a son of the late Sen. Ted Kennedy.

U.S. House candidate Joe Kennedy III of Massachusetts takes the stage Tuesday. U.S. House candidate Joe Kennedy III of Massachusetts takes the stage Tuesday.

Joe Kennedy III speaks Tuesday during the Democratic National Convention.Joe Kennedy III speaks Tuesday during the Democratic National Convention.

A video tribute to the late Sen. Ted Kennedy is displayed Tuesday in Charlotte.A video tribute to the late Sen. Ted Kennedy is displayed Tuesday in Charlotte.

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi speaks onstage with other female members of Congress on Tuesday.House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi speaks onstage with other female members of Congress on Tuesday.

Pelosi and other female members of Congress applaud on Tuesday.Pelosi and other female members of Congress applaud on Tuesday.

Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar sports a cowboy hat while taking the stage Tuesday.Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar sports a cowboy hat while taking the stage Tuesday.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid of Nevada speaks to an applauding crowd on Tuesday.Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid of Nevada speaks to an applauding crowd on Tuesday.

DNC delegates cheer during Tuesday's program.DNC delegates cheer during Tuesday’s program.

Former President Jimmy Carter addresses the convention in a videotaped message.Former President Jimmy Carter addresses the convention in a videotaped message.

Former Virginia Gov. Tim Kaine speaks to the convention.Former Virginia Gov. Tim Kaine speaks to the convention.

A man from the Texas delegation stands under a campaign sign.A man from the Texas delegation stands under a campaign sign.

A baby sleeps during Tuesday's speeches.A baby sleeps during Tuesday’s speeches.

North Carolina Gov. Bev Perdue welcomes the convention to her state.North Carolina Gov. Bev Perdue welcomes the convention to her state.

The Rev. Jesse Jackson attends the convention.The Rev. Jesse Jackson attends the convention.

Newark Mayor Cory Booker points to the crowd during his speech on Tuesday.Newark Mayor Cory Booker points to the crowd during his speech on Tuesday.

 A woman cheers during Tuesday's program. A woman cheers during Tuesday’s program.

Security personnel looks out at the crowd as U.S. Rep. Steny Hoyer speaks on Tuesday.Security personnel looks out at the crowd as U.S. Rep. Steny Hoyer speaks on Tuesday.

Hoyer gives a thumbs up.Hoyer gives a thumbs up.

U.S. Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, the Democratic National Committee chairperson, opens Tuesday's program.U.S. Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, the Democratic National Committee chairperson, opens Tuesday’s program.

The third-grade class from W.R. O'Dell Elementary School in Concord, North Carolina, recites the Pledge of Allegiance.The third-grade class from W.R. O’Dell Elementary School in Concord, North Carolina, recites the Pledge of Allegiance.

Dr. Lorrie Rickman Jones of Chicago cries as she watches Tuesday's speakers.Dr. Lorrie Rickman Jones of Chicago cries as she watches Tuesday’s speakers.

Law enforcement officers prepare to face off with protesters during a march outside the Charlotte Convention Center on Tuesday.Law enforcement officers prepare to face off with protesters during a march outside the Charlotte Convention Center on Tuesday.

People in the Wisconsin delegation area sit in front of a digital image of the Lincoln Memorial hours before the start of the convention on Tuesday.People in the Wisconsin delegation area sit in front of a digital image of the Lincoln Memorial hours before the start of the convention on Tuesday.

Newark Mayor Cory Booker, left, laughs with stage manager David Cove during a walk-through on Tuesday.Newark Mayor Cory Booker, left, laughs with stage manager David Cove during a walk-through on Tuesday.

A worker checks the stage hours before the start of the convention on Tuesday.A worker checks the stage hours before the start of the convention on Tuesday.

First lady Michelle Obama is interviewed before the start of the convention on Monday, September 3.First lady Michelle Obama is interviewed before the start of the convention on Monday, September 3.

Michelle Obama and actor and former Obama administration aide Kal Penn bump fists after a rehearsal for her speech on Monday.Michelle Obama and actor and former Obama administration aide Kal Penn bump fists after a rehearsal for her speech on Monday.

A man prays during a public prayer service at the Verizon Wireless Amphitheatre on Sunday, September 2, ahead of the convention.A man prays during a public prayer service at the Verizon Wireless Amphitheatre on Sunday, September 2, ahead of the convention.


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Photos: Best of the DNCPhotos: Best of the DNC


Democrats fired up on last day of DNC


Carville: Obama’s speech not best at DNC

“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 recognize that times have changed since I first spoke to this convention. The times have changed — and so have I.”

Opinion: How did President Obama do?

• But he had to paint a plausible picture of rosier times down the road — offer a concrete path forward, and give skeptical voters the feeling that the next four years could be different than the first:

“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. …”

“(A)s I stand here tonight, I have never been more hopeful about America….”

“I’m hopeful because of you.”

And there were roughly a dozen more references to hope scattered through the speech.

• Hitting the right notes: He had to hit the bipartisan notes that the incredibly vanishing swing voters still tell pollsters they’re looking for.

Opinion: We’re in for a heck of a ride

“Last summer, I worked with Republicans in Congress to cut $1 trillion in spending

“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.”

Absent were direct references to the stimulus or Obama’s health care plan — both partisan flashpoints that still get mixed reviews from voters in most opinion polls.

• Drawing contrasts: But he had to draw a sharp contrast with Republicans on issues where he’s got public opinion on his side, like tax cuts for the wealthy.

Opinion: Obama speaks to Americans as adults

“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, you do the math. I refuse to go along with that. And as long as I’m President, I never will.”

Of course, there may be a pretty short shelf life on the political impact of anything he had to say Thursday. When President Obama spoke, he was probably the only person in the arena who knew what the job numbers coming out first thing the next morning would be: A healthy showing that could turbo-charge any convention bounce – or a disappointing showing that could short-circuit it.

“America, I never said this journey would be easy, and I won’t promise that now,” he said, at the tail end of a speech that put a spotlight on struggle. “Yes, our path is harder — but it leads to a better place.”

Obama urges voters to secure the change he started






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