President Barack Obama asked Americans on Thursday for patience in rebuilding the weak economy as he appealed for a new term in office and defiantly rejected Republican Mitt Romney's proposals to restore growth.
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.
"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."
Locked in a close fight with Romney, Obama faces the challenge of recapturing the magic of his historic campaign of four years ago and generating enthusiasm among voters who are weary of economic hardship and persistent high unemployment.
His nationally televised address was his best opportunity yet in this campaign to connect with millions of Americans.
Obama argued that the actions he has taken like the auto bailout are paying off and dismissed proposals by Romney to create jobs.
Casting Romney as uncaring of ordinary Americans, he accused the Republican of just wanting to reward the wealthy with tax cuts, deregulate big banks and let energy companies write a policy for more oil drilling.
Romney has vowed to cut taxes for Americans by 20 percent, including the wealthy, and eliminate some popular income tax deductions to help make up the loss in tax revenues. He would sharply ramp up oil production and trade with the aim of creating 12 million jobs over four years.
MILLIONAIRES' TAX CUTS, MEDICARE
"I refuse to ask middle class families to give up their deductions for owning a home or raising their kids just to pay for another millionaire's tax cut," said Obama.
And taking a shot at Republican vice presidential nominee Paul Ryan's plan to overhaul the Medicare health insurance plan for seniors, Obama added: "I will never turn Medicare into a voucher. No American should ever have to spend their golden years at the mercy of insurance companies."
Obama told Americans they face two starkly different paths in choosing between him and Romney in the Nov. 6 election. He said his way may be hard but will bring economic renewal if given more time.
"The truth is, it will take more than a few years for us to solve challenges that have built up over decades," Obama said.
On foreign affairs, Obama dismissed Romney and Ryan as "new to foreign policy" and criticized a comment that Romney made that Russia is America's biggest geopolitical foe. He also tweaked Romney for criticizing London's handling of the Olympic Games when the Republican visited them in July.
"You don't call Russia our number one enemy -- and not al Qaeda -- unless you're still stuck in a Cold War time warp," Obama said. "You might not be ready for diplomacy with Beijing if you can't visit the Olympics without insulting our closest ally."
Obama likened his struggle to that of Depression-era President Franklin D. Roosevelt in calling for "shared responsibility" and bold experimentation in bringing the U.S. economy further out of the worst recession since the Great Depression.
Under pressure to show he can generate strong job growth, Obama set a goal of creating 1 million new manufacturing jobs by 2016. Obama would cut the growth of college tuition in half over the next 10 years.
In an attempt to rebut Romney's charge that Obama is too partial to big government, Obama urged Democrats to "remember that not every problem can be remedied with another government program or dictate from Washington."
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