President Barack Obama said on Thursday night that the 2012 elections will be a choice between two different paths.
“When all is said and done - when you pick up that ballot to vote - you will face the clearest choice of any time in a generation,” Obama said in a speech at the Democratic National Convention, moments after he officially accepted the party’s nomination for president.
“Over the next few years, big decisions will be made in Washington, on jobs and the economy; taxes and deficits; energy and education; war and peace - decisions that will have a huge impact on our lives and our children's lives for decades to come,” he said.
“On every issue, the choice you face won't be just between two candidates or two parties.
“It will be a choice between two different paths for America.
“A choice between two fundamentally different visions for the future.
He clarified, “I won't pretend the path I'm offering is quick or easy. I never have. 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. It will require common effort, shared responsibility, and the kind of bold, persistent experimentation that Franklin Roosevelt pursued during the only crisis worse than this one.
“And by the way - those of us who carry on his party's legacy should remember that not every problem can be remedied with another government program or dictate from Washington.
“But know this, America: Our problems can be solved. Our challenges can be met. The path we offer may be harder, but it leads to a better place. And I'm asking you to choose that future. I'm asking you to rally around a set of goals for your country - goals in manufacturing, energy, education, national security, and the deficit; a real, achievable plan that will lead to new jobs, more opportunity, and rebuild this economy on a stronger foundation. That's what we can do in the next four years, and that's why I'm running for a second term as President of the United States."
Obama outlined a set of goals on manufacturing, energy, education, national security, and the deficit.
His plan calls to create one million new manufacturing jobs by the end of 2016 and to double exports by the end of 2014.
In terms of energy, Obama plans to cut net oil imports in half by 2020 and support 600,000 natural gas jobs by the end of the decade.
The education part of the plan will see the growth of college tuition cut in half over the next ten years and 100,000 math and science teachers recruited over the next ten years. The plan calls for the training of two million workers for real jobs at community colleges.
Obama spoke about how the U.S. has “advanced the rights of all human beings, men and women, Christians and Muslims and Jews” but noted that “for all the progress we’ve made, challenges remain. Terrorist plots must be disrupted. Europe’s crisis must be contained. Our commitment to Israel’s security must not waver, and neither must our pursuit of peace. The Iranian government must face a world that stays united against its nuclear ambitions. The historic change sweeping across the Arab World must be defined not by the iron fist of a dictator or the hate of extremists, but by the hopes and aspirations of ordinary people who are reaching for the same rights that we celebrate today.”
He charged Republican candidate Mitt Romney and his running partner Paul Ryan of being stuck in a Cold War mentality.
“My opponent and his running mate are new to foreign policy, but from all that we’ve seen and heard, they want to take us back to an era of blustering and blundering that cost America so dearly,” said Obama.
“After all, you don’t call Russia our number one enemy – and not al Qaeda – unless you’re still stuck in a Cold War time warp. You might not be ready for diplomacy with Beijing if you can’t visit the Olympics without insulting our closest ally. My opponent said it was “tragic” to end the war in Iraq, and he won’t tell us how he’ll end the war in Afghanistan. I have, and I will. And while my opponent would spend more money on military hardware that our Joint Chiefs don’t even want, I’ll use the money we’re no longer spending on war to pay down our debt and put more people back to work – rebuilding roads and bridges; schools and runways. After two wars that have cost us thousands of lives and over a trillion dollars, it’s time to do some nation-building right here at home.
“If you reject the notion that this nation’s promise is reserved for the few, your voice must be heard in this election.
“If you reject the notion that our government is forever beholden to the highest bidder, you need to stand up in this election.
“If you believe that new plants and factories can dot our landscape; that new energy can power our future; that new schools can provide ladders of opportunity to this nation of dreamers; if you believe in a country where everyone gets a fair shot, and everyone does their fair share, and everyone plays by the same rules, then I need you to vote this November.
“America, I never said this journey would be easy, and I won’t promise that now. Yes, our path is harder – but it leads to a better place. Yes our road is longer – but we travel it together. We don’t turn back. We leave no one behind. We pull each other up. We draw strength from our victories, and we learn from our mistakes, but we keep our eyes fixed on that distant horizon, knowing that Providence is with us, and that we are surely blessed to be citizens of the greatest nation on Earth.”