Obama says Americans face starkly different paths
CHARLOTTE, North Carolina
CHARLOTTE, North Carolina (Reuters) - President Barack Obama will tell Americans on Thursday they face two starkly different paths at the November 6 election and that his way may be hard but will bring economic renewal.
In his speech to the Democratic National Convention, Obama will cast the election pitting him against Republican Mitt Romney as a "choice between two fundamentally different visions for the future."
"I won't pretend the path I'm offering is quick or easy," Obama will say in his speech accepting the Democratic presidential nomination, according to excerpts. "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," Obama will say.
Under pressure to show he can generate strong job growth, Obama will set a goal of creating 1 million new manufacturing jobs by 2016 in his address in Charlotte, North Carolina. He would cut the growth of college tuition in half over the next 10 years.
Struggling to bring down chronic U.S. unemployment of 8.3 percent and facing a stiff challenge from Romney, Obama will lay out an upbeat message that America's problems can be solved.
And in attempt to rebut Romney's charge that Obama is too partial to big government, he will say that Democrats "should remember that not every problem can be remedied with another government program or dictate from Washington."
"The path we offer may be harder, but it leads to a better place. And I'm asking you to choose that future," he will say.
Obama's nationally televised address will be watched by tens of millions of people. It was scheduled to begin shortly after 10 p.m. EDT (0200 GMT on Friday).
He will ask Americans to rally around a set of goals, including doubling of U.S. exports by the end of 2014 and cutting in half net oil imports by 2020.
Obama will accept the party's presidential nomination in a much smaller venue than planned, the 20,000-seat Time Warner Cable Arena, after the threat of severe weather forced a move from a 74,000-seat outdoor football stadium.
He has a tough act to follow in President Bill Clinton, who confronted Romney and his Republican allies on Wednesday night in a detailed attack that ignited the arena.
Vice President Joe Biden will also speak on the final night of a three-day convention that marks the start of the fall campaign season, with the two White House contenders locked in a tight race.
Asked during a New Hampshire campaign stop whether he would watch Obama's speech, Romney first answered: "Don't plan on it," but later said he would love to watch if he thought his opponent would give a report on earlier promises he made.
(Additional reporting by John Whitesides, Colleen Jenkins, Susan Heavey, Eric Johnson, Sam Youngman; Editing by Alistair Bell and Doina Chiacu)
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