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Obama to invoke Roosevelt in asking voters for reelection

CHARLOTTE, N.C.  — President Obama will argue he’s led the country through the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression when he accepts his party’s nomination Thursday night and asks voters for a second term.

Obama will invoke Franklin Roosevelt — the last sitting president to win reelection with employment over 8 percent — as he argues his path is not “quick or easy” but is the right one for the country.

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He also will portray himself as a president who — like Roosevelt — has led the country through tough times and not shied away from hard choices and decisions.

“I won’t pretend the path I’m offering is quick or easy,” he plans to say, according to excerpts of the convention-closing speech released by his campaign. “I never have. You didn’t elect me to tell you what you wanted to hear. You elected me to tell you the truth. And the truth is, it will take more than a few years for us to solve challenges that have built up over decades.”

In the excerpts, Obama appears to acknowledge the reality of the political polarization that stymied him in the last two years — and which he memorably pledged to transcend in 2008.

He argues his vision for the country will require “common effort, shared responsibility. And the kind of bold, persistent experimentation that Franklin Roosevelt pursued during the only crisis worse than this one.”

Obama will give an unmistakable nod to the anti-government forces that carried Republicans to victory in 2010. Channeling both Roosevelt and the last Democratic president, Bill Clinton, Obama said Democrats "should remember that not every problem can be remedied with another government program or dictate from Washington."‬

He will argue that voters on Nov. 6 face a choice between two “fundamentally different visions” for the country.

Parts of the speech are expected to have the feel of a State of the Union address. In the remarks, Obama will offer a hefty agenda on manufacturing, energy, education, national security and the deficit, something that his opponent Mitt Romney has yet to outline.

In his remarks, Obama is expected to call for creating 1million new manufacturing jobs by the end of 2016 and to double exports by the end of 2014. He will also propose cutting the net oil imports in half by 2020 and the "support" of 600,000 natural gas jobs by 2020.

On education, Obama will propose cutting the growth of college tuition in half over the next decade and recruiting 100,000 math and science teachers in that same time period.

The speech will be delivered in a smaller venue, at the Time Warner Cable Arena, than planned after convention aides moved the speech from the vast Bank of America Stadium because of potential thunderstorms.

During a call earlier in the day with the thousands of supporters who now wouldn't be able to attend the speech, Obama urged them to not let “a little thunder and lightning get us down."

“We’re gonna have to roll with it,” he said.

“I could not ask you, our volunteers, law enforcement, first responders to subject themselves to the risk of severe thunderstorms,” he said. “Getting 70,000 people into a place is tough. Getting them out of there is even tougher, and if we had started seeing severe thunderstorms and lightning in particular, it would have been a problem and we would have had a situation where we were putting you guys at risk.”