Barack Obama's DNC Speech: "You Were the Change"

President Obama and Vice President Biden wrapped up the convention in Charlotte with speeches that acknowledged hardship and asked for more time, but kept the familiar focus on hope

And that’s a wrap. Three days of speeches at the Democratic National Convention concluded last night in Charlotte with the granddaddy of all Democratic orators: President Barack Obama.

Obama’s anticipated turn at the podium came with especially elevated expectations after two days of well-received speeches from the likes of First Lady Michelle Obama and former President Bill Clinton earlier in the week.

The president’s speech was a dramatic departure from the 2004 DNC speech that made him a huge national name and his inspirational 2008 acceptance of the Democratic presidential nomination. This time, he acknowledged the state of the economy and the difficulty many Americans have endured in the years he’s been in office. He promised he’s working on healing what ails this country -- but that it does not happen overnight. In short, he asked the American people to give him more time.

What he didn’t do was lay out a specific plan for healing the economy, beyond stating -- as Politico puts it -- “that he would aim to extract sacrifices from the wealthiest citizens and special interests in order to bring about widely shared economic gains.”

Overall, Obama’s speech was “defiant,” as described by CNN.

A major applause moment came toward the end of Obama’s speech, when he told the assembled crowd, “My fellow citizens -- you were the change,” responsible for helping a young girl get the surgery she required as a result of healthcare reform and helping a man pursue a medical degree through expanded student loans.

"The man who ran on hope and change didn’t walk away from them," the Washington Post writes. "He redefined them for the long haul.”

As for Vice President Joe Biden, whose speech preceded Obama's, he spoke casually -- in his typically down home way, peppered with lots of “look, folks” -- and referred to the president by his first name.

In his 40-minute speech, he focused on the president’s difficult and successful decisions, like those to kill Osama Bin Laden and rescue the U.S. auto industry. In a section of the speech excerpted by Fox News, Biden said, “I want to show you the character of a leader who had what it took, when the American people stood at the brink of a new Depression -- a leader who has what it takes to lead us over the next four years. I don’t see him in sound bites. I walk down the hall, 30 steps to the Oval Office, and I see him in action.”

He also took plenty of jabs at Mitt Romney -- but made sure to hush reactions from the fired-up delegates in the crowd. “It’s not that he's a bad guy,” Biden said at one point while discussing the auto bailout. “I’m sure he grew up loving cars as much as I did. I just don’t think he understood what saving the automobile industry meant to all of America.”

Biden and Obama both used their speeches to lay out the choice American voters face in the next election. Indeed, it may be the most important decision in a generation.

Alesandra Dubin is a Los Angeles-based writer and iVillage’s Chief Election News Blogger. Follow her on Twitter: @alicedubin.

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