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World

Obama seeks convention boost

The Democrats will be deploying their best speakers to promote Barack Obama at their convention. At the end, he'll be presidential candidate, but will he get the boost he needs to win the nation?

Chris Mitchell, chairman of the Democratic Party in Hillsborough County, Florida, is excited. It's the first time he's been to a party convention. He's not just proud that he'll be nominating Barack Obama as his party's presidential candidate at the convention in Charlotte, North Carolina; he's also proud to be voting on the party's election program.

It has many important points, he says, "family equality, the statements on women's equality and women's rights, the way we want to treat our veterans and how we want the economy to grow, education," and it makes it clear that the Democrats offer a political home to many people with different opinions.

Chris Mitchell Picture: Christina Bergmann

Chris Mitchell is proud to be contributing to his party's future

Mitchell is one of 5,000 delegates who will spend three days in Charlotte. On Tuesday (04.09.2012), the first day, the First Lady, Michelle Obama, will speak, to be followed on Wednesday by former President Bill Clinton and Vice-President Joe Biden, who will address the delegates before Obama's speech on Thursday. Former President Jimmy Carter will send a video message. They'll all present Obama's record of the last three-and-a-half years in the most positive light they can, and they'll emphasize the administration's successes, like the end of the war in Iraq, the planned withdrawal of US troops from Afghanistan and the killing of Osama bin Laden.

Contrast to the Republicans

On the domestic front, the main thing Obama has to show is his health reform - but he can also offer a completely different attitude toward the tasks of government from that of the Republicans and the candidate they nominated last week in Tampa, Florida, Mitt Romney. One of Romney's main aims is to reverse the health reforms.

According to Robert Gibbs, one of Obama's election strategists and a former press spokesman, the Republicans only had "insults and old slogans and tired old ideas" to offer at the convention in Tampa. He told the US news network CNN, "In Charlotte, the president is going to focus on a plan to provide the middle class in this country necessary and needed security by investing in research and innovation - I think [that's] a pathway to moving us forward."

So it's consistent that the president's election slogan is "Forward." Obama will arrive in Charlotte on Wednesday and accept the nomination on Thursday. North Carolina was a state which he only narrowly won in 2008.

Relying on the middle class

Obama sitting down with three autoworkers (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)

Obama took time to have breakfast with Toledo autoworkers

On Monday, Labor Day, the president was still on the stump around the country. In the evening he visited a town in New Orleans, Louisiana, which had been flooded by Hurricane Isaac. Earlier he'd attended an election rally in Toledo in Ohio, one of the dozen closely fought states in the country.

He told the rally, "I wanted to stop here in Toledo to spend this day with you: a day that belongs to the working men and women of America, teachers and factory workers, construction workers and students and families and small business owners. And I know we've got some proud autoworkers in the house helping to bring Toledo back."

Both General Motors and Chrysler have factories in Toledo. Both companies benefitted from government support under Obama during the crisis in 2009. The president said that the results of that program showed that state support could be a success and could help drive the economy. The Democrats are relying on the middle class - unlike the Republicans, who promote business and want to create jobs that way.

The election campaign is being dominated by the (for the USA) unusually high unemployment rate of over 8 percent and by the debate over whether Americans are better off now than they were when Obama took office. He said then that he wouldn't deserve a second term if his policies were unsuccessful. Now he argues that the change he wanted still needs more time.

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