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Biden pledges 'promise and prosperity' in next four years

September 06, 2012|By Mark Z. Barabak
  • Vice President Joe Biden on the final day of the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte, N.C.
Vice President Joe Biden on the final day of the Democratic National Convention… (Chip Somodevilla / Getty…)

CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- Making the case for another term, Vice President Joe Biden said Thursday night that the mission of the Obama administration was to move the country forward in the next four years “from doubt and downturn to promise and prosperity.”

Serving as the warm-up act for President Obama, whose prime-time speech was set to wrap up the Democratic National Convention, Biden renewed a Democratic attack on Mitt Romney, the GOP nominee, as more concerned with profits than people.

“I found it fascinating last week when Gov. Romney said that as president he’d take a jobs tour,” Biden said in remarks released ahead of his speech. “Well, with all his support for outsourcing, it’s going to have to be a foreign trip.”

“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,” Biden said.

He was set to deliver -- twice -- his signature line, summing up two of what he depicted as the Obama administration’s crowning achievements: “Osama bin Laden is dead,” he said. “And General Motors is alive.”

In his acceptance speech, Obama outlined a broad series of goals in excerpts released before his prime-time appearance, including deficit reduction, greater energy independence, lower college costs and a revitalized manufacturing industry.

The goals would not be easy to achieve, Obama said in remarks prepared for delivery. But they lead “to a better place,” he went on. “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.”

His list included creation of 1 million manufacturing jobs by the end of 2016; doubling exports in the next two years; cutting oil imports in half by 2020; slowing by half the growth of college tuition in the next decade and reducing the federal deficit by more than $4 trillion over 10 years.

Speaking exactly two months before voters will render their verdict on Nov. 6, Obama implicitly answered Republican criticism that the country was no better off under his leadership by suggesting the problems he inherited in January 2009 were not susceptible to quick fixes.

“The truth is, it will take more than a few years for us to solve the challenges that have been built up over decades,” Obama said, making the case for more time and another term.

The president’s prime-time speech caps a program with several emotional peaks, including a surprise appearance by former Arizona Rep. Gabby Giffords, who was shot and nearly killed by a deranged gunman while visiting with constituents in January 2011. Arriving to chants of “Gabby! Gabby!” she walked onstage with a noticeable limp, then forcefully led the audience in the Pledge of Allegiance.

Earlier, delegates gently swayed as folk crooner James Taylor performed “Carolina on My Mind” and laughed when he joked about the president’s struggle for support among older, white voters. I don’t get it,” Taylor said. “ I mean, I’m an old white guy and I love Barack Obama.”

Most of the program, however, was devoted to another round of bashing GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney and his fellow Republicans, under the rubric of the Obama campaign slogan, “Forward.”

One after another, speakers accused Romney and the GOP of trying to roll back progress: on civil rights, women’s rights, healthcare, immigration reform and financial regulations that followed the near-meltdown of Wall Street.

“We are going to protect these achievements, and we're going to move this country in just one direction: forward,” said Rep. David Price, one of a series of home-state lawmakers who opened the convention with welcoming remarks.

Broadening the attacks to foreign policy, Sen. John F. Kerry of Massachusetts delivered a scalding speech that described Romney and his running mate, Wisconsin Rep. Paul D. Ryan, as “the most inexperienced foreign policy twosome” to seek the White House in decades.

He praised Obama for ending U.S. involvement in Iraq and winding down the war in Afghanistan, helping topple Libyan dictator Moammar Kadafi, working with Russia to reduce the world stockpile of nuclear weapons and banning the use of torture against America’s enemies.

As the Democrats' 2004 nominee Kerry was relentlessly attacked as a flip-flopper. He returned the favor Thursday night, as one of several speakers who accused Romney of shifting positions and lacking a backbone.

“Mr. Romney, here’s a little advice,” he said. “Before you debate Barack Obama on foreign policy, you better finish the debate with yourself.”

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