Obama, Biden acceptances must clarify truths

Vice President Joe Biden, who will give his acceptance speech Thursday night, looks like he's trying out a line on Michelle Obama at Wednesday night's convention session.
Vice President Joe Biden, who will give his acceptance speech Thursday night, looks like he's trying out a line on Michelle Obama at Wednesday night's convention session. (ASSOCIATED PRESS)
Posted: September 07, 2012

T HE DAY of the presidential acceptance speech is usually the key moment of the convention. Thursday is the big night for the Democrats, and even bigger still because, in a break with precedent, the vice president is also speaking.

It is extremely important that both the vice president and the president do well and accomplish their goals.

For the vice president, the goal is going to be different from the public expectation of an attack on Mitt Romney. Vice President Biden's speech cannot be overly negative. It has to be strong in comparing the president's plans and Gov. Romney's. It also must spend time correcting the record and pointing out clearly where the Republicans have distorted the truth.

For example, the welfare ad that continues to run in heavy TV buys across the country claims that President Obama has done away with the work requirement and that people are getting checks for doing nothing. That's simply not the truth. Virtually every newspaper in the country has debunked it.

The truth is - and the vice president will have to explain this - the waiver that the Obama administration is granting to the states requires them to increase work participation by 20 percent. Far from eliminating the work requirement, it's strengthening it. The vice president must make that clear in his usual strong and emotional style.

For President Obama, the task is different. He must trace where the country was the day he took his oath of office and where it is today. It's unquestioned that there has been improvement on many fronts and we were saved from going into a complete economic depression.

The president must lay all this out, but then he must clearly and unequivocally tell America about his plans for revitalizing the economy. He must do so in fairly significant detail to avoid the criticism that Gov. Romney's getting for not being detailed enough.

It should be an easy task for the president because he has already spelled out much of his plan in the jobs bill that he presented to Congress last October. The bill calls for significant investment in infrastructure, energy development, research and, most importantly, education.

Ten years down the road, the countries with the most knowledgeable workforces will be the most economically viable.

The president must remind Americans that no business has ever grown successful without investing in its own growth and that we must do the same.

If he does that, I believe it will be an incredibly effective convention for the Democrats, one that will give them a significant bump in the polls and victory in November.

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