CHARLOTTE, N.C. - US first lady Michelle Obama acknowledged on Tuesday
that the change her husband Barack Obama sought in his White House
campaign four years ago has proven difficult but urged voters to give
him another term to fix the weak US economy.
"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 the Democratic
National Convention in Charlotte, North Carolina. "But eventually we get
there. We always do," she said.
With Democrats anxious about a
race with Republican Mitt Romney that is too close to call nine weeks
before the Nov. 6 election, Mrs. Obama urged party activists to rally
around the president.
"We must work like never before, and we
must once again come together and stand together for the man we can
trust to keep moving this great country forward, my husband, our
president, Barack Obama," she said.
Under fire for high
unemployment, Obama wants to use the convention to seize the political
spotlight back from Romney who held his own nominating convention in
Tampa last week.
A host of speakers at the gathering in Charlotte
attacked Romney for his business record, refusal to release more tax
returns and for spearheading a Republican "war on women."
Democrats even choreographed a swipe at the former executive from beyond
the grave, by playing a video of late Senator Ted Kennedy getting the
better of Romney during a debate in the 1994 election campaign for
Kennedy's Senate seat.
Obama's address was the Democrats' answer to Romney's wife, Ann, who
gave a highly personal account of her husband in trying to present a
more human side to him at the Republicans' convention.
popular Mrs. Obama laced her speech with what seemed to be subtle digs
at Romney but mostly kept her focus on her husband, recalling their
early days together.
"For Barack, success isn't about how much
money you make, it's about the difference you make in people's lives,"
she said about Romney whose fortune from private equity has been a focus
of her husband's campaign.
"He was the guy whose proudest
possession was a coffee table he'd found in a dumpster, and whose only
pair of decent shoes was a half size too small," she said.
a night for women at the convention as the Democrats pressed their
advantage with female voters, a gender gap that is a sore point for
Republicans particularly after remarks by conservative Missouri Senate
candidate Todd Akin about "legitimate rape."
Lily Ledbetter, the
tough-talking Alabama advocate for equal pay for women, took the stage,
as did former veterans official Tammy Duckworth and many others to
criticize Romney and talk up Obama.
"He believes that women are
more than capable of making our own choices about our bodies and our
healthcare. That's what my husband stands for," Michelle Obama said.
Democrats highlighted Obama's successes during his first term - from
ordering the mission that killed al-Qaida leader Osama bin Laden to the
bailout of the auto industry - while reminding voters of the
difficulties Obama faced when he took office.
"Four years ago,
America stood on the brink of a depression," Julian Castro, mayor of the
Texas city of San Antonio, said. "Despite incredible odds and united
Republican opposition, our president took action. And now we've seen 4.5
million new jobs."
Obama will make his acceptance speech in a 74,000-capacity football stadium on Thursday night.
economic argument got a little tougher on Tuesday. New surveys showed
US manufacturing shrank at its sharpest clip in more than three years
last month, while exports and hiring in the sector also slumped.
stayed on the offensive, criticizing Obama for telling a Colorado
television reporter that he would give himself a grade of "incomplete"
for his first term.