WASHINGTON – US President Barack Obama
swept away attendees at the Democratic National Convention and once again sent a calmative message to Israel,
but mostly to his Jewish voters.
Barack Obama took to the stage in the early hours of Friday morning to make what many have called the "speech of his career".
a long line of well known speakers warmed up the crowds and prepared them for the "main event" these included Scarlett Johansson, Eva Longoria, and President John F. Kennedy's daughter Caroline Kennedy, Senator John Kerry and Vice President Joe Biden.
While Obama's speech emphasized internal-US policies and the need to handle economic and social problems within the United States, Obama did address foreign policy and security issues – and of course, mentioned Israel.
"Terrorist plots must be disrupted. Europe’s crisis must be contained. Our commitment to Israel’s security must not waver, and neither must our pursuit of peace," the US president said.
He then went on to discuss the Iranian nuclear issue
and the changes in the Arab world: "The Iranian
government must face a world that stays united against its nuclear ambitions.
"The historic change sweeping across the Arab World must be defined not by the iron fist of a dictator or the hate of extremists, but by the hopes and aspirations of ordinary people who are reaching for the same rights that we celebrate today."
The speech was very much in the style of "blood sweat and tears," with Obama stressing the harsh problems faced by the US, as well as their solutions.
In accepting the presidential nomination at the Democratic National Convention, Obama gave a more down-to-earth follow-up to his 2008 "hope and change" message.
Not an easy journey (Photo: Reuters)
"America, I never said this journey would be easy, and I won't promise that now," he said. "Yes our path is harder -- but it leads to a better place."
He then went on to explain that Americans had a choice and claimed Mitt Romney
and Paul Ryan "are
new to foreign policy, but from all that we’ve seen and heard, they want to take us back to an era of blustering and blundering that cost America so dearly.
"After all, you don’t call Russia our number one enemy – and not al Qaeda
– unless you’re still stuck in a Cold War time warp. You might not be ready for diplomacy with Beijing if you can’t visit the Olympics without insulting our closest ally. My opponent said it was “tragic” to end the war in Iraq, and he won’t tell us how he’ll end the war in Afghanistan.
"I have, and I will. And while my opponent would spend more money on military hardware that our Joint Chiefs don’t even want, I’ll use the money we’re no longer spending on war to pay down our debt and put more people back to work – rebuilding roads and bridges; schools and runways. After two wars that have cost us thousands of lives and over a trillion dollars, it’s time to do some nation-building right here at home.
"You can choose a future where we reduce our deficit without wrecking our middle class. Independent analysis shows that my plan would cut our deficits by $4 trillion. Last summer, I worked with Republicans in Congress to cut $1 trillion in spending – because those of us who believe government can be a force for good should work harder than anyone to reform it, so that it’s leaner, more efficient, and more responsive to the American people. "
Obama then made a veiled response to Romney's claims that Obama's hope and change message failed to live up to expectations and noted: "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.
"And the truth is, it will take more than a few years for us to solve challenges that have built up over decades. It will require common effort, shared responsibility, and the kind of bold, persistent experimentation that Franklin Roosevelt pursued during the only crisis worse than this one. And by the way – those of us who carry on his party’s legacy should remember that not every problem can be remedied with another government program or dictate from Washington.
Obama soluted troops during speech (Photo: AFP)
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."
Meanwhile, while there has been no official response to Obama's speech from Republican presidential hopeful Mitt Romney, who earliersaid he would not be watching the president's speech, his campaign manager Matt Rhoades issued a statement on Thursday night claiming: "Tonight President Obama laid out the choice in this election, making the case for more of the same policies that haven't worked for the past four years.
Rhoades added: "He (Obama) offered more promises, but he hasn't kept the promises he made four years ago," Rhoades said. "Americans will hold President Obama accountable for his record. They know they're not better off and that it's time to change direction."
The two candidates are locked in tight race. Polls show that Romney, a wealthy businessman and former governor of Massachusetts, is seen as the better candidate for improving the economy, while Obama is viewed as more likable and having a better understanding of everyday Americans.
Joe Biden at DNC (Photo: MCT)
Obama's speech marked the climax of the three-day convention. First lady Michelle Obama highlighted the first day, talking about her husband's humble roots and compassion for those living through tough times. Bill Clinton, the popular former president who led the United States during years of prosperity, gave a rousing speech Wednesday, vouching for Obama's economic policies and urging Americans not to turn back to Republicans.
Preceding Obama was Vice President Joe Biden, who was formally re-nominated Thursday. Biden proclaimed in his acceptance speech that "America has turned the corner" after experiencing the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression.
He gave a boisterous speech and teared up at one point while talking about war veterans.
There was an emotional moment when the pledge of allegiance was led by former US Representative Gabriel Giffords, who was shot through the head in a mass shooting in her home state of Arizona in 2011.
Obama will be looking for a boost from his convention, but has not received much of a bounce yet. A Reuters/Ipsos online poll found Romney had a narrow lead of 45 percent to Obama's 44 percent among likely voters.
Reuters and AP contributed to the report