President Barack Obama stands beside former President Bill Clinton and waves to a cheering crowd on Wednesday, Sept. 5 after Clinton nominated Obama for a second term at the Democratic National Convention meeting in Charlotte, N.C.
Photographer: Alex Wong/Getty Images
CHARLOTTE, N.C. - It’s not often Col Owens finds himself in a room with thousands of people who share his belief that President Barack Obama has done a phenomenal job and deserves a second term.
Owens lives in Fort Mitchell, which is Republican red territory. But this week, he has been living in a Democratic blue world as a delegate to Democratic National Convention.
“It’s so reinforcing and really invigorating to meet with people who share my view of the world – my view of (Obama), my view of what he has done, what we are doing together and what’s at stake here,” said Owens, chairman of the Kenton County Democratic Party. “It’s clearly the future of the middle class in this country.”
Kimberly Glenn, another delegate from Fort Mitchell, said the presidential contest between Obama and Republican Mitt Romney “is the most important election my generation is facing.”
“When we talk about privileges from student loans to job opportunity to health care, those are the most critical issues people are facing,” said Glenn, 35, a supervisor in the engineering department of Duke Energy.
Obama speaks to young Democrats and young Americans in general, Glenn said, because he talks about opportunity, “and that’s what all of us want – just give everybody a fair chance at doing their best.”
The purpose of the party’s three-day convention, which opened Tuesday at Time Warner Cable Arena, is for Democrats to nominate Obama and Vice President Joe Biden for a second term.
A number of prominent speakers, including first lady Michelle Obama and former President Bill Clinton, have taken the stage to make the case for Obama’s re-election as the campaign enters its final weeks.
Glenn said she was especially moved by Mrs. Obama, who used her address to remind voters of the Obamas’ humble beginnings and to tie their lives to the struggles of the middle class.
The first lady “talks to your soul,” Glenn said, “and it gets you so revved up and excited and energized, so that when I go back to the commonwealth, I am just that more ready and enthusiastic to work for victory in November.”
Dennis Repenning, a delegate from Richwood, said spending a week at the convention and meeting people from all across the country has shown him that the Democratic Party is truly a big tent.
“I realize how broad this party is and how diverse it is, and, frankly, I am so tickled this party represents the America right now and the America that children are going to see in the future,” he said. “That, to me, is really a part of the legacy of the Democratic Party. We’re the ones who are looking forward and really not looking back.”
Owens said he has felt the same way as he has sat in the convention hall with the other delegates and listened to the speakers.
“I sit in there, and I’m so pumped,” said Owens, an attorney with the Legal Aid Society of Southwest Ohio. “Being here is incredible because we’re deeply committed to President Obama. I think he has done a phenomenal job, given the circumstances he inherited.”
What Obama inherited was the worst recession the country has seen in half a century.
At last week’s Republican National Convention in Tampa, several GOP speakers conceded that Obama had been dealt a difficult hand. But he made it worse, they argued, by pushing a $716 billion stimulus bill that didn’t work and pursuing other policies that have slowed economic recovery.
“The stimulus package really worked,” Repenning countered. “We are better off today than we were four years ago. Had we not been able to get that stimulus package through, we would really be stuck in a horrible recession. I would probably argue we need to do more, but we were constrained by politics at the time. We had to get something done.”
Owens doesn’t buy the GOP attack line that Obama made the economy worse.
“They’re crazy,” Owens said. “He brought us back literally from the brink of a depression.”
Contrary to what Republicans are saying, Obama didn’t make the economy worse, Glenn said, “he stopped what was scary, slippery slope.”
“If we had not taken defensive action that the president outlined, who knows where the country would have been,” she said.
Scripps Howard News Service