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Democratic Convention Kicks Off

We’re in Charlotte with the Democrats, raising the curtain on the 2012 convention and Obama’s bid for a second term.

People wait outside a campaign field office in Raleigh, N.C., Thursday, Aug. 23, 2012 to receive credentials for President Barak Obama's acceptance speech during Charlotte's Democratic Convention. (AP)

People wait outside a campaign field office in Raleigh, N.C., Thursday, Aug. 23, 2012 to receive credentials for President Barack Obama’s acceptance speech during Charlotte’s Democratic Convention. (AP)

Now it’s show time for the Democrats.  Sixty-two days to Election Day.  Republicans howling all last week that President Obama’s got to go.  A neck and neck race for the presidency, with everything on the line – White House, House and Senate.

In 2008, this week was electric for the Democrats and their Rocky Mountain high in Denver.  Thrilling history.  But that is history now.  And President Obama now has to make his case that he’s the one for the next four years.

This hour, On Point: we’re in Charlotte, raising the curtain on the Democratic convention, and President Obama’s challenge.

-Tom Ashbrook

Guests

Rep. Chris Van Hollen, Democrat from Maryland’s 8th district.

Bryan Monroe, editor of CNNPolitics.com.

Margaret Talev, White House Correspondent for Bloomberg News.

Howard Fineman, editorial director of the AOL Huffington Post Media Group.

Highlights

The curtain goes up on the Democratic convention today and theatrics in Charlotte are aimed at answering the question posed by all electoral challengers: Are you better off? “Paul Ryan and Mitt Romney are counting on collective amnesia,” said Rep. Chris Van Hollen. He said the Obama administration had made progress to stop the economic downturn and return the country to fiscal health.

Obama would lay out that argument, he said, while contrasting with a more critical GOP line. “The messages from the GOP [convention last week] were all negative. They were just attacking President Obama. They really don’t want to tell the American people about the Romney/Ryan plan,” said Van Hollen. “It provides another round of tax breaks for people like Mitt Romney, while taking away from everyone else.”

 

So, what do the Democrats need to do to win votes? “[Obama] has to change the tone of the debate,” said CNN’s Bryan Monroe. “The American people are eager for someone to reframe the debate into something more positive.”

“[Obama has to articulate what the next four years are going to look like,” Monroe said

“In 2008, [Obama] had a narrative,” said the Huffington Post’s Howard Fineman, “He needs a new narrative; he needs to say and explain how his vision of how the economy works – which is different from the Republicans’– works.”

“Obama has to explain how his vision of the economy helps Americans and their children,” Fineman said. “He has to get specific.”

But don’t expect and round of “Hope and Change” rhetoric, panelists warned. Watch for less the dream, more the reality, said Margaret Talev, who covers the White House for Bloomberg.

From Tom’s Reading List

USA Today “Four years ago, Obama overcame the once seemingly inevitable Hillary Rodham Clinton and held back John McCain by promising hope and change to a nation hobbled by recession and war.”

Washington Examiner “The latest ABC/Washington Post poll, for example, reported that when asked which of the two candidates was more likable, 61 percent picked Obama and only 27 percent said Romney. That looks like a huge advantage.”

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