Last week the Democrats fought back.

Speaker after speaker at the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte, N.C., made a passionate case to voters on why President Barack Obama deserves re-election. Speakers also made a case for Democratic Party policies and principles.

Until the convention, Democrats had mostly put forward a weak defense of the president and his achievements in office. They allowed Republicans to attack without strong opposition the Affordable Care Act, the president’s landmark health-care reform law.

On the Sunday morning news talk shows before the convention, leading Democrats gave muddled answers as to whether Americans were better off today under Obama.

Somehow the Democrats got the message to fight back

Early on in the convention it became clear that the Democrats were finally going to strongly defend the president and Democratic policies.

On the opening night of the convention last Tuesday, the man who succeeded Republican challenger Mitt Romney as governor of Massachusetts delivered a fiery message Democrats and told them to show “some backbone.”

Gov. Deval Patrick, who became governor of Massachusetts in 2007, energized delegates with a scathing attack on Romney’s record in the statehouse.

First lady Michelle Obama followed with a powerful defense of her husband. Referring to the humble roots of herself and her husband, the first lady said the president’s work on health care, college loans and more all come from that experience.

“Barack knows the American dream, because he’s lived it,” said Mrs. Obama. “And he wants everyone in this country, everyone, to have the same opportunity, no matter who we are or where we’re from or what we look like or who we love. And he believes that when you’ve worked hard and done well and walk through that doorway of opportunity, you do not slam it shut behind you.”

On Wednesday, former President Bill Clinton gave a rousing account of the president’s achievements while giving a detailed lecture on the failures of past and present Republican policies.

“No president—not me, not any of my predecessors—no one could have fully repaired all the damage that he found in just four years,” said Clinton. “But he laid the foundation for a new, modern successful economy of shared prosperity.”

Speaker after speaker sought to show the contrast between the two major parties. Speakers presented the Democrats as the party more sympathetic to the plight of the middle class, the poor, workers, the elderly, women and Hispanics.

While the Republican National Convention seemed to focus on business owners as the only embodiment of the American dream, the Democrats sought to portray workers as just as deserving.

Speakers also gave a full embrace of a core Democratic principle that the government has a role in promoting equal opportunity and ensuring a “level playing field,”

On Thursday night, the president capped off the convention by asking voters to stick with him as he shared his vision for the future

He pointed out that the economy is slowly recovering. He talked about how investments in education, energy, innovation and job training will lead to a brighter future for America.

“Yes, our path is harder—but it leads to a better place,” he declared in a prime-time speech to convention delegates and the nation.

Only time will tell if the president and speakers at the convention persuaded undecided voters in what political observers predict will be a close election, but it went a long way in letting voters know where the president and his fellow Democratic stand.

(Reprinted from the Philadelphia Tribune)

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