Democrats kick off national convention in Charlotte

Holly Bailey
The Ticket

CHARLOTTE, N.C.—Democrats officially launched their 2012 national convention on Tuesday, kicking off three straight days of party efforts aimed at making the case that President Barack Obama deserves a second term in the White House.

Tuesday night's convention will feature speeches from rising-star Democrats, including Newark, N.J., Mayor Cory Booker, Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley and San Antonio Mayor Julian Castro, who is scheduled to give the keynote address.

The night will end with one of the convention's most anticipated speeches: remarks from first lady Michelle Obama. She's expected to talk up her husband's first-term accomplishments—including the passage of health care reform—while at the same time laying out an argument for her husband to have another term to finish the job he started three and a half years ago.

The Obama campaign's larger effort this week is to cast the upcoming election as a choice between the president and Mitt Romney. By contrast, the Republican nominee has argued that the contest should instead be a referendum on whether Obama has turned the economy around and ushered in the hope and change he promised in 2008.

Calling the proceedings to order, Florida. Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, chair of the Democratic National Committee, said the party would "clearly demonstrate why we need to keep Barack Obama and Joe Biden in the White House."

"But this convention is about more than renominating President Obama," she said. "It's about Americans coming together to build one economy—not from the top down, but from the middle class out and the bottom up. This convention's success will be based on engaging the American spirit and involving people who want to put their shoulders to the wheel and change our country for the better."