CHARLOTTE, N.C. – First lady Michelle Obama lovingly praised her husband Tuesday night in a prime-time Democratic Convention speech as a devoted husband and caring father at home and a man we can trust to revive the nations weak economy as president, beckoning the country to return him to the White House despite an agonizingly slow recovery from recession.
He reminds me that we are playing a long game here ... and that change is hard, and change is slow, and it never happens all at once, she told a nation impatient with slow economic progress and persistently high unemployment of 8.3 percent. But eventually, we get there, we always do, she said in a speech that blended scenes from 23 years of marriage with the Obamas time in the White House.
Mrs. Obama, given a huge ovation and describing herself as the mom in chief, made no mention of Republican challenger Mitt Romney. But those who preceded her to the podium on the first night of the presidents convention were scathing.
If Mitt was Santa Claus, hed fire the reindeer and outsource the elves, former Ohio Gov. Ted Strickland declared.
Tapped to deliver the keynote address, San Antonio Mayor Julian Castro said Romney was a millionaire politician who quite simply, doesnt get it when it comes to the needs of the middle class.
Referring to the Republicans former support for mandatory health insurance when he was governor of Massachusetts, he added, Gov. Romney has undergone an extreme makeover, and it aint pretty.
Obama knows better than anyone theres more hard work to do to fix the sputtering economy, Castro said.
After the deep recession, Castro said, the nation is making progress despite incredible odds and united Republican opposition. He declared that 4.5 million jobs have been created since the president took office – though that number refers only to private-sector employment gains over the past 29 months and leaves out state and local government jobs that continue to disappear each month.
Obama was in the White House after a campaign stop in Virginia. He said he would watch his wife on TV.
Castro, the first Hispanic chosen to deliver a keynote address, was unsparing in criticizing Romney, suggesting the former Massachusetts governor might not even be the driving force on the Republican ticket this fall.
First they called it trickle down, the supply side, he said of the economic proposals backed by Republicans. Now its Romney/Ryan. Or is it Ryan/Romney?
Either way, their theory has been tested. It failed. ... Mitt Romney just doesnt get it, Castro said. Romneys running mate is Wisconsin Rep. Paul Ryan.
The divide over taxes goes to the core of the campaign.
Romney and the Republicans favor extension of all of the existing Bush-era tax cuts due to expire on Dec. 31, and also want to cut tax rates 20 percent across the board.
Obama, too, wants to keep the existing tax cuts in place – except for people who earn $250,000 a year or more.
Delegates in the convention hall cheered whenever Obamas image showed on the huge screen behind the speakers podium, and roared when the late Sen. Edward M. Kennedy was shown mocking Romney in their 1994 Senate race.
On the issue of choice, I am pro-choice, my opponent is multiple choice, the late senator said as cheers grew louder.
Romney supported abortion rights while serving as governor; he opposes them now.
Democrats unspooled insult after insult as they took their turn the week after the Republicans had their convention in Tampa, Fla.
Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn said that Republicans had omitted mention of Romneys term as Massachusetts governor at their gathering.
We already knew this extremely conservative man takes some pretty liberal deductions. Evidently that includes writing off all four years he served as governor, Quinn declared.
Obama, by contrast, was lauded for helping win approval of health care legislation and for supporting abortion rights and gay marriage.
He said hed take out bin Laden, and with our great SEAL team, he did, added Tim Kaine, former national party chairman and Virginia governor, now running for the Senate.
There was no shortage of political calculation behind the program of the conventions first night. Polls show the first lady is more popular than her husband.
Democratic delegates bestow their nomination on Obama and Vice President Biden tonight, the same night as former President Bill Clintons address.
White men favor Romney over Obama in public and private polls, but a Gallup survey taken in July showed that 12 years after leaving office, Clinton was viewed favorably by 63 percent of the same group and unfavorably by only 32 percent.