CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Accepting his party’s nomination for re-election, President Obama on Thursday said voters face the most momentous election of a generation and told them they must choose between locking in his vision of a government that works to boost the most vulnerable, or side with Republicans in rolling back his agenda.
Pleading for his return to the White House, Mr. Obama said he has tried to live up to his promises from the campaign trail four years ago and that he has made progress, even if the results haven’t shown. He challenged delegates to the Democratic National Convention and a television audience nationwide to stick with him for another four years.
“I won’t pretend the path I’m offering is quick or easy. I never have. You didn’t elect me to tell you what you wanted to hear. You elected me to tell you the truth,” he said. “And the truth is, it will take more than a few years for us to solve challenges that have built up over decades.”
On the final night of the convention, Democrats left few appeals untapped. They repeatedly reminded voters that Mr. Obama oversaw the operation that killed terrorist mastermind Osama bin Laden, who eluded American forces under President George W. Bush’s administration.
In an emotional moment, former Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, the Arizona Democrat who was shot in 2011 while conducting an outdoor town hall in Tucson, Ariz., led the convention in the Pledge of Allegiance, drawing chants of “Gabby” from the crowd.
Taking aim at Romney
But with the uplifting moments came the most persistent savaging of an opposing candidate in recent political convention history, as Democrat after Democrat took the podium to hammer Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney.
Sen. John F. Kerry of Massachusetts said Mr. Romney “lacks judgment and vision” and called him “out of touch at home, out of his depth abroad and out of the mainstream.”
He also said that while Americans ask whether they are better off after four years, he had another question: “Ask Osama bin Laden if he is better off now than he was four years ago.”
Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr., who also accepted his party’s renomination for running mate, added his own blast at Mr. Romney’s business record at Bain Capital, saying it led the Republican candidate to mistakenly oppose the auto bailout.
“The Bain way may bring your firm the highest profits, but it’s not the way to lead our country from the highest office,” Mr. Biden said.
Democrats cast the election as not only a referendum on Mr. Obama’s term in office, but also a choice election where voters must decide between two dramatically different visions of government power and the rights and responsibilities of the country’s citizens.
Mr. Obama emerges from his convention with a party firmly unified behind him, though, according to polls, Democrats and the independents who backed him in 2008 are less enthusiastic than they were four years ago.
Facing that headwind, Mr. Obama tried to reignite the sense of purpose he instilled in 2008, when his calls for “hope” and “change” drew millions of new voters to the Democratic banner.
“If you turn away now, if you buy into the cynicism that the change we fought for isn’t possible — well, change will not happen. If you give up on the idea that your voice can make a difference, then other voices will fill the void: lobbyists and special interests, the people with the $10 million checks who are trying to buy this election and those who are trying to make it harder for you to vote” he said. “Only you can make sure that doesn’t happen.”