Democrats Open 2012 Convention in Charlotte

Posted September 4th, 2012 at 5:30 pm (UTC-5)
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The 2012 Democratic Convention is officially underway, aiming to give a significant boost to the reelection campaign of President Barack Obama.

Florida Congresswoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz called the convention to order Tuesday in Charlotte, North Carolina, calling it the biggest, most diverse and most open in the party's long history.

“Your participation in this convention is a testament to the fact that we are also the most vibrant, inclusive and energized political party.”

The highlight of Tuesday's opening night is U.S. first lady Michelle Obama, set to make the case for her husband's re-election. Party officials say she will present a behind-the-scenes look at the Obamas' life in the White House. In addition, she plans to recount how the president's early background — and his relatives' employment setbacks — helped shape his governing policies as president.

Mr. Obama told a campaign rally at a college in Norfolk, Virginia, that his Republican challenger, Mitt Romney, “did not offer a single new idea” at last week's Republican National Convention about restoring the U.S. economy.

“First of all, everything's bad. And it's Obama's fault. And Governor Romney knows the secret to creating jobs and growing the economy. The only problem was, he kept it secret. There was a lot of talk about hard truths and bold choices. But they never bothered to tell you what they were.”

Former president Bill Clinton will formally place Mr. Obama's name up for nomination on Wednesday night. Mr. Obama will accept his nomination Thursday night during a nationally-televised speech held at the city's 74,000-seat outdoor football stadium, as will his running mate, Vice President Joe Biden.

A rising Hispanic figure in the Democratic party, Julian Castro, the mayor of the southwestern city of San Antonio, Texas, is giving the convention's keynote address.

The party staged a pre-convention festival Monday in downtown Charlotte that featured Grammy-nominated R&B singer Janelle Monae and Oscar-winning actor Jeff Bridges.

The November 6 presidential election pits Mr. Obama against Republican nominee Mitt Romney. Recent voter surveys show the two are virtually tied.