CHARLOTTE, N.C. (CBSNewYork/AP) — President Barack Obama charges onto the campaign trail Friday after urging voters Thursday night to stay optimistic that America can pull itself out of an economic rut.
On the morning after Obama’s closing speech at the Democratic National Convention, top campaign adviser Robert Gibbs was up early to pronounce the gathering had achieved its goals.
WCBS 880’s Peter Haskell reports
“The entire convention showed you where Barack Obama wants to take this country,” he said. But Gibbs acknowledged there’s a far different dynamic to this race than the excitement and novelty that were associated with Obama’s historic first race for the White House.
Gibbs said being a president is a “humbling” thing and Obama understands that “we still have a long way to go” to rebuild the economy.
“This isn’t 2008, we understand that,” Gibbs said on “CBS This Morning.” He added that Obama knows his mission of strengthening the economy is “incomplete.”
Mitt Romney and the Republicans argue that three years of unemployment above 8 percent and minimal economic growth are valid reasons to fire Obama after one term. The incumbent contends that, having inherited one of the worst economic crises in history, he needs more time to turn the nation around.
“I won’t pretend the path I’m offering is quick or easy. I never have,” Obama told Democrats at their convention Thursday night. “You didn’t elect me to tell you what you wanted to hear. You elected me to tell you the truth. And the truth is, it will take more than a few years for us to solve challenges that have built up over decades.”
He said, “I won’t pretend the path I’m offering is quick or easy,” but he said that the challenges the country faces can be met if people work together.
Obama also declared that the terrorist network al Qaeda is “on the path to defeat and Osama bin Laden is dead.”
It was a much different speech than the one Obama delivered at the DNC four years ago.
“Well, he was four years younger with less experience,” said Bergen County Assemblyman Gordon Johnson.
“He had to explain to the American people what he’s accomplished and where’s he’s going to go forward,” said central Jersey Rep. Frank Pallone.
“He touched every bone in everybody,” said Sen. Frank Lautenberg. “It was fantastic.”
New York Cardinal Timothy Dolan delivered the benediction at the close of the convention.
Obama and Vice President Joe Biden, along with their wives, campaign Friday in New Hampshire — it offers four electoral votes — and Iowa — six votes — before ending the day in Florida, the highest-count swing state with 29.
While Romney hits Iowa and New Hampshire, too, his wife, Ann, presses for votes in Virginia — 13 electoral votes — and his running mate, Rep. Paul Ryan, focuses on Nevada — six votes. The battleground list includes Colorado, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin.
The presidential debates will begin in four weeks.
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