ACCEPTING the Democratic Party's nomination for the presidency, Barack Obama roused his audience with a defence not only of his record and his plans for a second term, but of the very role of government in America, insisting that he still had hope and that change took time.
"We don't think governments can solve all our problems, but we don't think that government is the source of all our problems — any more than are welfare recipients, or corporations, or unions, or immigrants, or gays or any other group we are told to blame for our problems," he told a crowd of about 14,000 in a basketball arena in Charlotte, North Carolina.
"We, the people, recognise that we have responsibilities as well as rights; that our destinies are bound together; that a freedom that asks only 'what is in it for me', a freedom without a commitment to others, a freedom without love or charity or duty or patriotism, is unworthy of our founding ideals and those who died in their defence."
The President began sombrely; acknowledging the crises the US has faced this century.
"Now, the first time I addressed this convention in 2004, I was a younger man, a Senate candidate from Illinois who spoke about hope. Eight years later, that hope has been tested, by the cost of war; by one of the worst economic crises in history; and by political gridlock that's left us wondering whether it's still even possible to tackle the challenges of our time."
Mr Obama dismissed the Republican Party's plan for ending America's malaise by cutting taxes to shrink government and pay down debt.
"All they have to offer is the same prescription they have had for the past 30 years.
"Have a surplus? Try a tax cut. Deficit too high? Try another.
"Feel a cold coming on? Take two tax cuts, roll back some regulations and call us in the morning."
The President said voters faced the clearest choice in a generation at the election on November 6.
"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.
"On every issue the choice you face won't just be between two parties or two candidates — it will be a choice between two different paths for America, a choice between two fundamentally different visions for the future."
Mr Obama's speech listed the issues he saw as critical to a second term — including energy PAGE 2
Nick O'Malley analysis PAGE 9