Obama and Biden Hit the Road After President’s Big Night

BY Christina Bellantoni and Terence Burlij  September 7, 2012 at 8:02 AM EST

Updated at 2 p.m. with photo: President Obama and Vice President Joe Biden arrive at Portsmouth International Airport in New Hampshire on Friday. Photo by Saul Loeb/AFP/Getty Images.

CHARLOTTE, N.C. | Voters in Iowa and New Hampshire, get ready.

The Morning LineFresh off the final night of the Democratic convention where they delivered their argument for a second term, President Obama and Vice President Biden hit the road Friday, starting off in New Hampshire before heading to Iowa.

Republican Mitt Romney, who took a breather from campaigning during the Tampa, Fla., festivities, will return to the stump in the very same battleground states, although he’ll be visiting Iowa first and then New Hampshire. (His running mate, Wisconsin Rep. Paul Ryan, will be focused on another tossup state: Nevada.)

The jumbo jets passing in the sky will mark the start of the home stretch of the fall campaign, with just 62 days left until Election Day on Nov. 6 and most polls forecasting an extremely close contest.

In his speech Thursday night, the president offered his take on the Republicans’ campaign messaging and acknowledged that the “hope” he offered eight years ago as the keynote at the Democratic National Convention in Boston has been “tested” and many people feel like gridlock is insurmountable.

He also issued a call to action using some of the same inclusive rhetoric he deployed on the campaign trail in 2008:

As citizens, we understand that America is not about what can be done for us. It’s about what can be done by us, together, through the hard and frustrating but necessary work of self-government.

So you see, the election four years ago wasn’t about me. It was about you. My fellow citizens — you were the change. …

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: lobbyists and special interests; the people with the $10 million checks who are trying to buy this election and those who are making it harder for you to vote; Washington politicians who want to decide who you can marry, or control health care choices that women should make for themselves.

Only you can make sure that doesn’t happen. Only you have the power to move us forward.

Watch the speech here or below.

How did the speech play in the states that will be critical this fall? Here are just a few of the headlines from battleground state papers:

Romney campaign manager Matt Rhoades had this to say in a statement issued before the president had concluded his address.

Tonight President Obama laid out the choice in this election, making the case for more of the same policies that haven’t worked for the past four years. He offered more promises, but he hasn’t kept the promises he made four years ago. Americans will hold President Obama accountable for his record — they know they’re not better off and that it’s time to change direction. Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan will restore America’s promise and deliver a better future for our country.

Team Romney also released 15 new television spots in eight states on Friday, each one attempting to frame the race as a referendum on Mr. Obama.

“This president can ask us to be patient. This president can tell us it was someone else’s fault, but this president cannot tell us that you’re better off than when he took office,” Romney says in the spot, an excerpt from his convention speech last week. A narrator gives a customized message for each state and insists that voters know, “We’re not better off.”

Watch one of the New Hampshire ads here or below.

The events of the past two weeks will give way Friday to one of the most important points left on the campaign calendar: the release of the August employment figures. Stay tuned to Friday’s NewsHour for a look at how the candidates respond to the Labor Department report during their stops in Iowa and New Hampshire.

Want to see how the those 10 combined electoral votes could impact the election? You can play around with state-by-state scenarios in our Vote 2012 Map Center, and share your predictions with your friends.

In the skybox, Judy and Gwen Ifill talked to analysts Mark Shields and David Brooks about the speakers and political parties’ messages. Historians Michael Beschloss and Richard Norton Smith joined them via satellite, and David Maraniss, author of “Barack Obama: The Story,” weighed in at the booth.

NewsHour correspondent Hari Sreenivasan interviewed Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell from the Romney rebuttal team. He asked how are voters supposed to sift through all the campaign ad messaging, much of which is based on distortions?

“That’s a fair question,” McDonnell said. “People have to say first of all look at the results. When you strip it all away, talk really is cheap.”

Watch their conversation here or below.

Early during the convention program, Obama campaign manager Jim Messina took the podium to do a little grassroots push. He said the campaign has knocked on 3.8 million doors so far, and has registered more than a million new voters.

He also urged the thousands of screaming fans in the Time Warner Cable Arena to donate $10 via text message from their phones.

Warming up the crowd for the president Thursday, Vice President Joe Biden played the role of “character witness,” testifying to the nation about how the president makes his decisions and directly criticizing the Romney-Ryan ticket. Watch that speech here.

And Sen. John Kerry, D-Mass., attacked Romney as a flip-flopper who can’t be trusted. “The only thing exceptional about today’s Republicans is that–almost without exception–they oppose everything that has made America exceptional in the first place. An exceptional nation demands the leadership of an exceptional president. And, my fellow Americans, that president is Barack Obama,” he said. Watch Kerry here.

The NewsHour captured most of the evening’s speeches on our YouTube page. Check out the full list here. It includes Rep. John Lewis, Jill Biden, former Gov. Charlie Crist, Montana Gov. Brian Schweitzer, Caroline Kennedy, Rep. Tammy Baldwin, Zach Wahls, and actresses Eva Longoria, Kerry Washington and Scarlett Johansson, along with all the musical acts.

And you can watch all of the videos the Democrats played during the convention. Here is the one for the president and here is the one for Biden.

As the team travels back home, check out our Flickr feed for images from the convention. Every image is free for use under a Creative Commons license. Here is a slide show from the president’s big night.

Kudos to freelance photographers Mallory Benedict (@mallorybenedict) and Jared Soares (@jaredsoares) for a great two weeks.

And a personal note of thanks to the entire NewsHour team who brought the viewers more than 31 hours of convention coverage and a 24-hour livestream on our homepage operated by Travis Daub, Vanessa Dennis and Joshua Barajas. The livestream has retired for now but will be back this election season. In Washington, D.C., Justin Scuiletti edited and archived all of our video.

To sum it up, here is a gif of Gwen and Judy fist-bumping when the show closed Thursday night.

NEWSHOUR ROUNDUP

  • Hari talked with Christina and Nathan Gonzales of the Rothenberg Political Report about how the messaging from each convention will play out up and down the ballot over the next two months. Watch the conversation here or below.
  • Christina, Gwen and Judy chatted in a final convention Political Checklist. Watch that here.

  • Hari talked to former Clilnton speechwriter Michael Waldman.

  • Where do you fit? Take the Pew Research Center/NewsHour Political Party ID quiz here and share your results with your friends.

TOP TWEETS

ON THE TRAIL

All events are listed in Eastern Time.

  • Ann Romney holds an event in Leesburg, Va., at 11:45 a.m.

  • Mitt Romney holds a campaign event in Orange City, Iowa, at 1 p.m. and another in Nashua, N.H., at 7:10 p.m.

  • President Obama, Vice President Joe Biden, first lady Michelle Obama and Jill Biden all hit the trail together in Portsmouth, N.H., at 12:20 p.m. and make another stop in Iowa City, Iowa, at 6:20 p.m.

  • Paul Ryan campaigns in Sparks, Nev., at 2:45 p.m.

All future events can be found on our Political Calendar:


For more political coverage, visit our politics page.

Sign up here to receive the Morning Line in your inbox every morning.

Questions or comments? Email Christina Bellantoni at cbellantoni-at-newshour-dot-org.

Follow the politics team on Twitter: @cbellantoni, @burlij, @elizsummers, @kpolantz, @indiefilmfan, @tiffanymullon, @dePeystah, @meenaganesan and @abbruns.