Pundits said President Barack Obama needed to lay out his vision for the next four years during Thursday’s convention speech.
Laurinburg’s Joy Ellison said the president accomplished that and more.
Ellison, a delegate at this year’s Democratic Convention in Charlotte, watched with thousands of cheering delegates as the incumbent president addressed those in the Time Warner Cable Arena and beyond.
“I won’t pretend the path I’m offering is quick or easy,” Obama told the crowd. “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.”
The president, who faces former Gov. Mitt Romney in the fall, asked his audience to rally around a set of goals on manufacturing, energy, education, national security, and the deficit.
He called it a “real, achievable plan that will create jobs, expand opportunity, and ensure an economy built to last.” Specific goals include creating one million new manufacturing jobs by the end of 2016, doubling exports by the end of 2014 and reducing the federal deficit by $4 trillion over the next decade. The president said his administration would also halve net oil imports by 2020, cut the growth of college tuition in half over the next decade and train two million workers for jobs.
“Our problems can be solved. Our challenges can be met,” Obama said. “The path we offer may be harder, but it leads to a better place. And I’m asking you to choose that future.”
Before the speech, Ellison, an educator working in Maxton, said she knew the president would excite and inspire Party faithful and voters alike.
“I expected him to make a fine case for re-election,” said Ellison, a former county Democratic Party chairman. “He highlighted his accomplishments and asked the public to make an intelligent and informed decision.”
Ellison was also wowed by former President Bill Clinton’s address to delegates on Wednesday. The 42 president provided a full-throated — and at times folksy — defense of Obama’s presidency.
“Bill Clinton brought the house down,”Ellison said. “He was explicit in his message and spoke in terms that most everyone could understand.”
The only real hiccup at this year’s convention was a decision to move the president’s speech from a 73,000-seat football stadium back to the Time Warner Cable Arena. Convention organizers made the venue change because of the threat of a thunderstorm. Republicans say the move was based on a lack of enthusiasm for Obama and some ticket holders for the event have grumbled.
But Ellison described the convention as mainly seamless. An attendee in Charlotte since Sunday, Ellison said she has been pleased with how the event was organized. It is the first nominating convention of a major party ever held in North Carolina.
“Charlotte has been an excellent host,” she said. “It was organized and very secure.”
Ellison said the only drawback was that there was very little personal time.
“Delegates were shuttled between the delegate hotel and the convention hall,” she said. “Our schedule was very tight and there was little time for exploring especially if you took advantage of all the caucus meetings and panel discussions.”
Ellison, a former Laurinburg city councilwoman, is one of 157 delegates from North Carolina. She was elected last year to represent Scotland as well as Richmond, Hoke, Anson, Union Stanley and parts of Cumberland and Mecklenburg counties.
“I’m so excited to be representing North Carolina,” she said earlier in the week. “I brought plenty of tissue because I planned to do my fair share of crying. I still have not wrapped my head around this opportunity.”