“Don’t bet against the American worker, don’t bet against the American people,” President Barack Obama is seen saying on the mammoth video screen behind the stage of the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte.
Cheers from the convention floor.
A second-generation auto-worker from Ohio takes the stage at a podium that rises and recesses to fit the height of the speaker. The arena is full, with some 20,000 people, and others who had been barred at the doors arriving finally.
“President Obama didn’t think about the polls or the politics, he thought about the people,” she says. “Today, I am back at work.”
Bob King, president of the United Auto Workers, follows.
“Standing for what’s right when it’s unpopular is a true test of character,” the union president tells the hall. “President Obama met the test of moral character. He stood up not for what was popular and easy, but for what was right. He stood for, and with, American workers.”
The theme — that Obama saved the auto industry with a bailout for General Motors and Chrysler after the 2008 financial crisis — is at the heart of the Democratic Party’s appeal to working class voters in the Midwest.
Republican Mitt Romney? “He said let Detroit go bankrupt,” King says. The company Romney built, he says, too often made its success not in building companies up, but by taking them apart.
“President Obama’s strong leadership saved a million jobs,” he says. “Jobs making things for an economy meant to last.”