Harder path leads to a better place: Obama
Updated: 2012-09-08 08:23
By Chen Weihua and Tan Yingzi in Charlotte, North Carolina (China Daily)
US President Barack Obama at the Democratic National Convention on Thursday. Obama touted his achievements over the past four years and highlighted his experience in diplomacy and foreign policy. Larry Rubenstein / Reuters
US President Barack Obama accepted the Democratic nomination to run for re-election on Thursday night at his party's national convention, telling Americans that he is offering a better path forward than his Republican challenger, Mitt Romney.
"On every issue, the choice you face won't be just between two candidates or two parties. It will be a choice between two different paths for America, a choice between two fundamentally different visions for the future," Obama told an audience of 20,000 at the packed Time Warner Cable Arena.
Like the many other speakers at the three-day Democratic National Convention, Obama touted his achievements over the past four years, including healthcare reform, the auto industry bailout and economic recovery, job creation and national security.
He portrayed himself as a defender of the struggling middle class and Romney as a champion of millionaires.
After laying out his policies for the next four years, Obama said: "The path we offer may be harder, but it leads to a better place. And I'm asking you to choose that future ... Our problems can be solved. Our challenges can be met.
"If you turn away now, if you buy into the cynicism that the change we fought for isn't possible - well, change will not happen. If you give up on the idea that your voice can make a difference, then other voices will fill the void. Only you have the power to move us forward," Obama said in his 38-minute speech.
The 2012 Democratic National Convention had originally planned to have Obama speak at the outdoor, 70,000-seat Bank of America Stadium, but ultimately it was decided the speech would be held in the indoor arena because of a forecast of heavy rain.
The 51-year-old Obama said he has never been more hopeful about America. "Not because I think I have all the answers. Not because I'm naive about the magnitude of our challenges. I'm hopeful because of you. If you share that hope with me, I ask you tonight for your vote," he said.
A greenhorn in foreign policy four years ago, Obama described Romney and his running mate, Paul Ryan, as inexperienced in foreign affairs. "My opponent and his running mate are new to foreign policy. After all, you don't call Russia our No 1 enemy unless you're still stuck in a Cold War mind warp," he said.
While accepting his nomination as Obama's running mate, Vice-President Joe Biden on Thursday night also made fun of Romney's comments on Russia earlier this year.
The only time Obama mentioned China on Thursday night was when he accused Romney of lacking the skills needed in diplomacy. "You might not be ready for diplomacy with Beijing if you can't visit the Olympics without insulting our closest ally," Obama said, referring to Romney's criticism of the UK's preparation for this year's Olympic Games.
While Obama and Biden have not spoken much about China, experts believe Obama, if re-elected, will continue his China policy and strengthen the comprehensive and positive partnership.
Since 2008, the Obama administration has maintained a series of high-level bilateral economic dialogues with China, including the annual China-US Strategic and Economic Dialogue and Joint Commission on Commerce and Trade.
Dianne Feinstein, a US senator from California, said that Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has been trying to establish a "big" relationship with China, and Romney's harsh campaign rhetoric on China is not wise.
"I think (Romney) making a statement that on the first day (of his presidency he will) declare China as a currency manipulator is not the wisest thing to do," she said at the foreign policy panel held by the National Democratic Institute in Charlotte on Thursday.
She said the US has a strong willingness and interest to work with China and she believes the Obama administration will continue to develop its relationship with China.
"I feel the administration has followed the correct course in terms of its actions on the currency question. In the meantime, of course, on real inflation-adjusted terms, the Chinese currency has continued to appreciate," said Laura Tyson, former Clinton Administration Chair of the Council of Economic Advisors and economic policy advisor to the Obama Campaign.
Some US lawmakers and manufacturers have accused China of keeping its currency weak in order to boost exports. Romney has been portrayed as tough on the "China issue" in his presidential campaign. He vowed that he would label China a "currency manipulator" when he sits in the White House.
The Treasury Department said in a semiannual report on May 25 that China has not met the standards of a currency manipulator, noting that China has been committed to moving rapidly to a more market-determined exchange-rate system.
The Obama administration has also opposed legislation that would punish countries if they are named as currency manipulators.
The yuan has appreciated 40 percent bilaterally against the dollar after adjusting for inflation since China initiated currency reform in July 2005. US exports to China have grown by more than 50 percent since 2009, and Chinese investment in the US has created American jobs, according to the Treasury Department.
On Chinese investment in the US, Tyson pointed out the perception that doing business in America is difficult for Chinese companies is wrong, and there has been a significant increase in the amount of Chinese foreign investment in the US.
"We do have a couple of past high-profile cases which Chinese investors worry about, and I think the federal government under President Obama's leadership and a lot of state governments around the United States now are really working to say that the perception is wrong. We welcome Chinese foreign direct investment and we will work with you," she said.
Contact the writers at email@example.com and firstname.lastname@example.org
(China Daily 09/08/2012 page6)