A smiling, supremely confident Barack Obama took charge of the stage tonight at the Democratic National Convention to repeatedly stress the dramatic choice Americans have in this election, and reveal a vision for the future, which he compared to the "bold experimentation" of Franklin Roosevelt. The president decided to run last time because the "basic bargain at the heart of the American story" was eroding—"the promise that hard work will pay off, that everyone does their fair share, and everyone plays by the same rules," he said. "Our friends at the Republican convention were happy to talk about everything they think is wrong with America, but they didn't have much to say about how they'd make it right," he added. Their "prescription" is always the same," Obama quipped: "Feel a cold coming on? Take two tax cuts, roll back some regulations, and call us in the morning." His solutions, he said, include reducing the deficit by $4 trillion over the next decade, creating one million new manufacturing jobs, and doubling exports by the end of 2014.
He also hopes to slice net oil imports by half, help create some 600,000 natural gas jobs by the end of the decade, and recruit 100,000 math and science teachers for the education system. As for taxes, he won't "stick it to the middle class," Obama vowed, adding: "I don't believe that another round of tax breaks for millionaires will bring good jobs to our shores, or pay down our deficit. When Governor Romney tells us we can somehow lower our deficit by spending trillions more on new tax breaks for the wealthy—well, you do the math." He concluded: "America, I never said this journey would be easy. Yes, our path is harder—but it leads to a better place. 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." (Read more President Obama stories.)